Formal Need Not Mean Thirsty

fluffy botanic balls of loveliness, no?

fluffy balls of botanic loveliness, no?

I’m always on the lookout for a climate appropriate plant that can function in a more orderly, formal fashion since it is a style some of my clients will ask for.  I was walking and was struck by the beauty of this lovely formal garden edged in Westringia fruticosa.  Westringia being from Australia is pretty darn happy in our climate and not too greedy about the water.  If the right variety of Westringia is used (i.e., ‘Mia’s wonder’ or ‘Highlight’) a perfectly sized  3-4′ wide rounded boarder is formed with minimal pruning, thus minimal green waste.  Voila!

Other great garden performers for formal hedges include:

  • Pittosporum crassifolium ‘Compactum’ (super  Australian performer, rounded shape 2-3′ wide)
  • Rosemary (smaller growers like ‘Roman Beauty’)
  • Correa (a gorgeous evergreen shrub from Australia with drooping bell shaped flowers)
  • Lavender ‘Goodwin Creek’ (gorgeous compact grower)
  • Artemesia pycnocephala ‘David’s Choice (California native with low mounding silvery soft foliage)
  • Monardella villosa (California native commonly known as Coyote Mint, good for “informal” formal).

I’d let you know when I think of some more.  Better yet, tell me your pick for a climate appropriate formal hedge.

Those Amazing Aloes

Aloe plicatils in bloom
Aloe plicatils in bloom

I’m always on the look out for a beautiful, tough, structural “living sculpture” for the garden and I think Aloe have it all.  This Aloe spans out from it’s thick base and over the years adds arm by arm of reaching fans.  It’s coral blooms last forever and it’s super slow growing nature make it an excellent container succulent.  It’s really nice that there are no spines to worry about – so planting near a walkway or by a pool is no problem.  Imagine this Aloe lit in a way to show it’s silhouette against a wall.  To see more Aloes than you ever thought existed visit the Los Angeles Arboretum.  The LA Arboretum has over 1/4 of the worlds species of Aloes.  Aloes are tough and beautiful.  Look how great this Aloe functions as both a lovely front yard focal point and a prickly security barrier near the window and house.  Aloes in bloom are a sight to behold 🙂

Body Guard by Aloe
Body Guard by Aloe