B

Baccharis magellanica    low 'n green   who'd a thought a Coyote Brush could be cute? This one is! With its small round leaves and diminutive habit, it stays under a foot tall and slowly spreads, densely. Creamy yellow flowers are held on top of the mound in fall and winter. This form is only modestly drought tolerant, being native to the colder but wetter extreme southern tip of South America through the Falkland Islands. It will need moderate to infrequent watering. Full to almost full sun, average drainage at least. USDA zone 5. Compositae/Asteraceae. (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

pilularis ‘Twin Peaks #2’  DWARF COYOTE BRUSH  foliage    planting  a dense evergreen groundcover to 2’ tall, 10-12’ wide. This is a male form of a coastal selection and features relatively long, dark green leaves, toothed at the tips. Since it is male it won't form seed pods that release variable (including upright) seedlings. Flowers are cottony and occur in fall, usually maturing around Thanksgiving. Male flowers are scentless, but females (variety 'Pigeon Point,' or those growing in the wild) smell like sweet hay, or green tea with honey. Neither sex is showy, but male flowers are quite noticeable when massed due to their cottony appearance..Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering when established, except in hotter inland climates. Probably not frost hardy beyond 15°F. Can take very wet winter soils but needs to be drier in summer. California. (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

Bambusa  clumping bamboos of mostly medium to large size, sometimes very large. Being grasses they mostly react just like them as far as sun, water, and fertilizer are concerned. To push growth supply more, to restrict them just cut back on any or all. Graminae/Poaceae. rev 7/2017

multiplex  a rather small-textured clumping species, with a number of selections ranging from large to small, and all recognized by distinctive bluish leaf undersides. Most show very golden stems with age. All varieties seem to appreciate extra iron if they begin to yellow, most especially ‘Golden Goddess’ and ‘Fernleaf.’ Find more info on bamboo in general here. Sunset Zones 8-9, 14-24. rev 7/2017 

‘Alphonse Karr’  stems    typical lush, dense form, at Berghuis Nursery    foliage    clump showing golden orange stems  a clumping species, spreading very slowly by underground rhizomes. Grows to 15’ or a little  more. The culms are yellow with green stripes, often flushed coral on young plants. As the culms age the yellow stripes become much darker golden. This variety has neat, dark green foliage and a rather narrow, erect habit, spreading at the crown. One of the best features of all B. multiplex types is that the foliage is wonderfully blue on the undersides, especially on new stems. All  B. multiplex varieties like sun to part shade, average to infrequent watering, and respond well to fertilizing. Protect all from gophers, especially when young. And all B. multiplex varieties make great container plants. Hardy to 20°F. China. rev 11/2003

'Eddie Gaedel'   first crop, 5g   dense foliage   this is a dwarf sport we found within a block of 'Alphonse Karr.' It appears to be a "Buddha's Belly" type of variant, growing to a short height with compact, very swollen joints, short internodes and a strong zig-zag growth pattern, especially close to the base. The youngest fine stems and new foliage arches gracefully over, quite conspicuously, and it is much denser than the regular, tall form of 'Alphonse Karr.' In containers it barely reaches 3-4' on older plants, and maximum height in the ground appears to be 6-7' (so far!) on plants that are uniform and don't contain any remnant buds of the original, tall parent form. so far. It is exceptionally dense and nice looking, with very blue leaf undersides. This makes an excellent dwarf specimen plant, good for containers, small spots, and short screens.  MBN INTRODUCTION-2010  rev 7/2017

‘Fernleaf’  clump  foliage  dense, compact, arching growth to 6-8', with very fine-textured foliage and congested clusters of leaves. A small scale, formal looking bamboo when well tended. This plant becomes a dense, tangled, arching mass of green, golden yellow, and spent, bleached grey white dead stems and leaves within a few years. To keep it decent, consider sawing the whole mass off every three or four years in winter, right to the ground.  you should probably saw the whole mass off to the ground in late winter and give it a good fertilizing to allow it to renew itself. This variety is especially good in small containers and is one of the best bamboos of all for a very small, restrained clump in the landscape. It can be thinned if it becomes too dense in order to present the classic airy bamboo effect. rev 7/2017

‘Golden Goddess’  nice 16 year old stand at Blue Bamboo Nursery   golden culms  culms reach 8-15’ tall in good soils, with watering and fertilizing, though usually it will be around 6-7' at most if left mostly untended after established. Soft foliage is moderately fine-textured, about twice as large and open as ‘Fernleaf.’ Stems two years old or older usually turn a beautiful, bright golden yellow-orange where exposed to sun. Like other fine-stemmed selections of this species this can be cut completely to the ground, fed and regrown if it starts looking too yellow and runty. One of the best medium size clumping bamboos, it can be hedged, the stems don't lean out from the main clump very much and in my experience will reliably remain under 15', often more like 10' without a warm climate (SoCal), regular watering and fertilizing. rev 7/2017

'Monterey Bay'  (not currently in production)  plant   this is the reverted, un-striped form of 'Alphonse Karr,' useful if you're looking for a dependably large, vigorous, standard, green, "species-like" form of B. multiplex. It is a good large substitute or replacement for 'Golden Goddess' in landscape plans because it actually gets to the size 'Golden Goddess' is supposed to reach but rarely does. Because the stems and leaves aren't marked like AK, and the leaves and scale are so much more robust than in GG, the bright blue undersides and clean presentation of the larger scale foliage leaves are more noticeable and valuable. MBN INTRODUCTION-2010  rev 7/2017

'Silverstripe'  young clump  foliage  a relatively larger, faster grower, with green leaves variegated with clean white stripes, and striped green culms. Older culms become strikingly deep golden yellow to yellow orange. Grows to at least 10' in height, sometimes to 20' when kept happy with lots of water, fertilizer, sun and warm temperatures. Habit is more open and broad, plants spread wider as the older culms lean progressively farther out from  new stems in the core of the main clump. Prune out old wood selectively on this larger-scale variety. rev 7/2017

oldhamii  GIANT TIMBER BAMBOO  at Berghuis Nursery, Lindcove   mature clump at the Huntington   California Adventure   tight habit, powdery culms, wonderful sheaths  usually seen as a large impenetrable clump, spreading to 10’ or more across, with culms reaching to 40’. This is the most commonly encountered timber bamboo because it gets big, is the hardiest large form, doesn't run, and is relatively easy to propagate compared to others. Individual culms can reach 2-3" in diameter and age to a golden color. Foliage is dark green but often has an olive green tint. Same cultural requirements as  B. multiplex, with sun/part shade and regular watering/feeding required for best appearance. This is a large, stiff, coarse-textured timber bamboo. It can be left to grow as a dense thicket or carefully thinned to a very open, sparse stand. It does NOT make a good container plant for a long period, tending ultimately to resent attempts at restriction and eventually breaking the offending container, whatever the material, and the same goes for landscape barriers. But it can be used that way for a while. If you want to thin the clump remove some of the older culms for timber (for which they are well constructed) and leave the younger shoots and their more juvenile buds. Plant it where you want it to live for a long time without being disturbed too often. Hardy to 15°F. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9  China, Taiwan. rev 2/2010

textilis   WEAVER'S BAMBOO   Strybing    Seabright neighborhood, Santa Cruz   tight, dense culms   this intermediate timber type is easily recognized by its almost obsessively vertical habit and stiffly held, dark green to blue green leaves. It grows as a very tight, dense clump and is best used in applications where horizontal spread is strictly limited, both below and above. Culms reach 2 inches across, height ranges from 20' (sun, lean, shallow, or water-restricted soils) to 40' (some shade, deep, rich, moist soils, regular irrigation, feeding). The culms are thin and good for splitting and weaving into baskets, mats, furniture, even ropes and twines. With age the lower branches don't develop on new culms, resulting in a stately, towering clump with up to 3/4ths of the length being open and clear. Like most large diameter bamboos it sheds intriguing, beautiful, ornamental stem sheaths that are worth appreciating by themselves. It isa slow, difficult divider and is usually in short supply.China.  rev 2/2012

tuldoides  PUNTING POLE BAMBOO  very old clump at the Huntington    culms   a very useful, medium sized, clumping timber bamboo, growing to about 20-30' tall with an erect then partly nodding habit. The culms get about as big around as you could wrap your thumb and middle finger around, about 2" diameter. This is extremely close to B. ventricosa, and that species is now usually treated as just a selection of B. tuldoides. They differ in that B. tuldoides never "bellies" up, with swollen basal internodes in a zig zag growth pattern, and the leaf doesn't twist as much. The primary reason I think B. tuldoides is generally superior is that Buddha's Belly grows as much sideways, in all directions, as it does up. This means a 20' high plant can take up a 40' diameter circle in your garden, with culms tilting all the way down to the ground in all directions unless pruned out of the way. Coupled with the sad fact that the Buddha won't get a belly in Northern California, and it's the biggest no brainer in the history of man kind to see that B. tuldoides will eventually completely replace B. ventricosa for all applications, except in Southern California. rev 6/2011

ventricosa  BUDDHA'S BELLY BAMBOO, FO DU ZHU  at Berghuis Nursery  there are those who claim that this is simply a form of B. tuldoides. For us plants of B. tuldoides are stiffer and have leaves that don't twist. This is an arching, clumping species to about 20-25' tall and broad. It tends to spread widely at the crown and has very horizontal branches for a clumping type. It has much of the grace and peaceful, open appearance sought by those planting bamboo and found much more commonly in the running types as opposed to the rather stiff, chunky style of most clumpers. See bamboo.html for more info. A ten year old clump here at our nursery is about 4' across at the base, 20' tall, and spreads to 20' at the crown, with some branches arching over halfway to the ground. With age it can spread over 35 feet across. The common name comes from the swelling of the lower stems immediately above the joints. These can become quite swollen and show a strong zig zag pattern, or remain rather narrow, smooth and uniform, depending on reasons under disagreement. One possibility is that there are various strains, though this is doubted by most. Another suggestion is that the plants need to be stressed by heat and lack of water. Another says the plants must be crowded. Some say it will never swell in Northern California because we aren't hot and dry enough and something about the daylength or generally heavier rainfall makes it behave differently. They say the only way to make it “belly up” is to grow it in Southern California, cut it back in the middle of summer, and don't water it (the plants can take quite a bit of drought stress). We procured plants with swollen lower culms and watched them grow out narrow and smooth, so we are believers in the latter theory. This is a wonderful container variety, one of the best. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. rev 7/2004

'Kimmei'  VARIEGATED BUDDHA'S BELLY BAMBOO  container trunks   the same swollen lower stems, moderate size clumping growth, and attractive appearance but with stems dramatically striped with green. What is interesting about this variation is that it is much more likely to get the alternating trunk angle and swollen nodes than the regular form, and we regularly see both develop here in our nursery. Very rare, choice. rev 3/2008

Banana    EDIBLE BANANAS AND PLANTAINS (for ornamental bananas see Musa)    California Rare Fruit Growers planting at Quail Botanic Gardens     fruting Dwarf Orinoco mat, High Street, Santa Cruz      dwarf fruiting variety as an ornamental, Water St., Santa Cruz       tropical foliage at the Huntington   giant evergreen clumping perennials, with fruiting types ranging from 3' to 20' in height. Tropical Asia. Musaceae. rev 9/2015

     QUICK GROWING INSTRUCTIONS FOR FRUITING YOUR PLANT:   a pre-bloom "paddle" leaf      buy a variety adapted for your climate (USDA zone 9, 8b with protection/Sunset zones 8-9, 15-24), plant in full or mostly full sun, in rich soil that is watered regularly to infrequently (yes!), feed as needed. Most importantly keep the basal sprouts down to one or none until the primary stalk has finished setting and ripening the fruit. Fruit are ready to remove for ripening when they have stopped enlarging and have turned from dark green to a slightly lighter color. Each horizontal cluster, known as a "hand," can be removed individually, or the entire stalk can be cut once all are ready.

     Other short, basic instructions for banana culture can be found in the “the bible,” the Sunset Western Garden Book. For the full sermon as I preach it, keep reading the MORE DETAILED CULTURAL INFORMATION link here..

     Much of the extensive information here has come from my own experience, educational resources, and discussion with other growers with direct hands-on experience, especially the irrepressible Jeff Earl, who regularly fruits several varieties at his home in Modesto, Calif., David Johnson, who does the same in nearby Waterford, and Ben McNeill, a small commercial grower in relatively cool New Zealand.

     History of Cultivation   in spite of its ubiquity and importance the exact botany and history of the modern edible banana is actually not well known. The exact role of the almost fifty wild species in its development is still being probed. With modern genetic analytic tools we may be able to trace the full historic path of its development. Derived from at least two and possibly several species, market bananas are sterile hybrids, usually polyploid (multiple sets of chromosomes). Recent genetic work indicates that highland New Guinea might be the origin of banana cultivation. Varieties long in cultivation there are still being discovered, and new species keep popping up in Southeast Asia and around the South Pacific.

     Bananas are an extremely important food crop worldwide, especially in developing and tropical countries, where they serve as an important source of starch, ranking fourth in worldwide importance after rice, wheat, and corn. For those of us in the First World bananas have been a commodity for over 100 years, but for many poor people in Third and Fourth Worlds they remain a critical staple. Besides being consumed fresh, in many societies they are important for cooking, roasting, and even brewing beer.

     Breeding    there are several efforts around the world aimed at improving banana fruit quality and growing characteristics. While none are specifically aimed at growers in climatically marginal areas such as ours, we benefit from these efforts to shorten the growing cycle, increase climatic adaptability and increase disease resistance. The best source of new varieties has been FHIA, the Fundacion Hondureña Investigación Agricola. Their primary mission is to reduce poverty through increasing yields and limiting losses. North American hobbyists pass information back and help the quest to better people's lives.

     Edible bananas are classed based on genetic parentage, with a letter-reference based on the two hybrid-parents, such as . Letter A is for Musa acuminata (sweet fruit, warm growing) and B for M. balbisiana (starchy, cooler growing). Our modern, sterile, seedless cultivated types arose eons ago as natural hybrids or random mutations found growing in the endless, ungodly hot, dripping wet, dark, insect-infested, crocodile-infested, snake-infested, impenetrable jungles of New Guinea by innovative and creative humans living there. In Guns, Germs and Steel author Jared Diamond, who lived and worked in the highlands of New Guinea, gives a wonderful account of how this probably happened as well as giving us a look at how the modern inhabitants of those innumerable "island communities" alertly identify and exploit the natural variation in plants and animals in their world. They propagated and cultivated them and their early work remains the basis for everything grown today.   and  the start of our modern either a natural hybrid, random polyploid mutation or both, were the origin of our modern cultivated lines. plant originally found  ommercial bananas usually don't have the large, obnoxious seeds found in the edible wild species.Hybrids between them, either diploid (AB, two chromosomes, one from Musa A and one from Musa B) or polyploid (AAB, ABBB), are sterile, which is why

    The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture divides the cultivars into the following groups, but other groups are recognized, and a group can still vary in cold tolerance, fresh/cooked qualities, etc.

     AAA - dessert, highland beer and cooking bananas
     AAB - plantains and dessert bananas
     ABB - cooking bananas

'Belle'    flowering height    female flowers    ripening fruit   (not currently in production)    (AAB) This is a first class variety. A sport of Pisang Raja, which itself is a vigorous grower (15-20') with a moderately heavy crop of very sweet, high quality fruit that are ivory white (to supposedly orange!) inside and of moderate to large size. My plant, the first banana variety I successfully fruited, flowered at 5' trunk height. The fruit formed were 4" long by 1 1/2" across, and had a wonderful, typical banana flavor with an elusive, perfumy, flowery undertone that was somewhat apple-like. The fruit also have a respectable and quite wonderful acidity which doesn't diminish, making them considerably zingier and more interesting than supermarket bananas. They hold very well after picking, to the point that they keep improving in flavor even past when the skins start to turn black and tough. This form has highly colored juvenile foliage with whitish undersides, an powdery white trunk, and is a vigorous, early season grower. Plants in this group are wind resistant and cool tolerant. Pisang (or “Pysang”) types hail from Malaysia but aren't all related. Some Pisangs are AA while the Pisang Raja group itself is AAB. I have also eaten 'Belle' flowers as a cooked vegetable, as described above. rev 12/2006

'Dwarf Brazilian'   ('Dwarf Prata Ana', 'Santa Catarina Silver,' 'Santa Catarina Plata')   (AAB)    a dwarf bud sport found on 'Brazilian.' This is a sweet, fresh-eating dessert banana that is cold-resistant, shows good wind tolerance, and is one the best varieties to try outside the tropics. The fruit are smaller than market Cavendish-types, also slightly smaller than its parent 'Brazilian,' and are sweet and mildly acidic. The flowers are good cooked (once female flowers have finished setting fruit!). Trunks reach 6-7' here, leaves to 10' but in the tropics plants are taller. rev 9/2017

‘Cardaba’   wonderful white leaf undersides    (not currently in production)   (BBB or ABB)    may be a sport of ‘Saba.' An easy, fast, tall variety, reaching 15'. It can be eaten fresh or cooked, and is excellent either way. This is one of the very best eating varieties. Fruit should be fully yellow before eating, but they don't hold long at that stage. They tend to get very soft and mushy near the skin at that stage but the flavor is incomparable when that ripe. Fast, wind tolerant, with a reputation for good cold tolerance and high resistance to choking. ‘Cardaba’ has a nice blue green colored leaf with whitish undersides. The large, rather rotund fruit is very white inside and often unevenly shaped and sized. Good, consistent reports from growers in cooler areas, and one of my best and fastest growing varieties in Santa Cruz. Also the #1 favorite of David Johnson in the heart of the Central Valley, who reports stalks in the 18-25 lb. range and "lemony, with undertones of other flavors." In commercial areas the clusters range between twenty and sixty pounds. rev 9/2017

‘Dwarf Orinoco’    young summer fruit, Santa Cruz    overwintered fruit, February    typical plant    (ABB)  a compact sport of ‘Orinoco,’ also known as Burro or Blugoe. Almost always fruits by the time the trunk is 6-7' tall. The fruit is the same as that of the original ‘Orinoco,’ large, and heavily angled, usually with three edges. This is a great one for small places and arguably the best one to start with in a hot summer/cool winter climate since it is small enough to be easily protected in real severe conditions. I have seen it grow and fruit in Santa Cruz. Reported to be quite shade tolerant. Leaves are whitish underneath, trunks have a waxy white coating. See ‘Orinoco’ for more growing and eating characteristics.The number one performer for most. rev 9/2017

'Goldfinger' (FHIA-01)   young leaves with red markings     (AAAB)  a heavy yielding, sweet desert banana that is a good choice for home gardens, being cold-resistant and a reliable producer. Dwarf Brazilian was it's female parent, the male was FHIA-SH3142. It does better in subtropical climates than in the tropics. It is resistant to Black Sigatoka (or Black Leaf Streak, Mycosphaerella fijiensis), crown rots, Fusarium wilt, nematodes and all three strains of Panama Disease. Cold-resistant as well, it has better wind resistance (fruit-bearing trunks blown over) than most. It is a moderately dwarf variety, with trunks reaching to 7-8' and leaves reaching to about 12', but smaller here and in our drier Mediterranean climate than in the tropics or subtropics. Fruit are sweet, dense, and smaller than commercial bananas. The flavor is slightly different than market Cavendish-types, sweet and slightly acidic ("apple") and while popular in Australia they have never become popular in Europe or North America for some reason. The immature fruit can even be eaten green when cooked (becomes white with a yellow interior) or dried, and ripe fruit don't turn black when cut, nor lose firmness when cooked. In commercial production plants can yield bunches of 50-75 lbs, fruit are rather straight in shape. Hands are harvested sequentially off the stalk. rev 9/2017
 
‘Ice Cream’
(‘Blue Java’)    flower picture from "Vallejo Mike"     yield picture, "Vallejo Mike"   (ABB).  Tastes like ice cream, they even say you can eat it with a spoon. May be a sport of 'Saba' (I seriously doubt it) or 'Orinoco' (more probably). Choke resistant, but reports are it is more sensitive to cold soil than 'Goldfinger’ or ‘Orinoco.’ A larger grower to 14-18' with beautiful silvery leaves, a stout, glaucous trunk, robust root system, and relatively fast production cycle. Silvery, blue green fruit are heavily produced and have pure white, very sweet, soft, cottony interiors with a vanilla-like fragrance and a slightly tangy aftertaste. Some say this one is the best of all, one source says it can sometimes get a spongy core. People who have tasted it personally (me!) tend to rave about it (me!). Leaves are whitish below, trunks have a waxy/powdery white coating. A great grower for me in Santa Cruz. Fruit on a plant in a dowtown commercial landscape, fruit survived a light freeze in December 2015 to ripen the following spring. A very good tall variety for the Central Valley, with high sun tolerance. rev 8/2016

‘Misi Luki’    short, rotund, 4" long lady finger-type bananas are very sweet and very white and very good. A large, skinny grower to 15-20', it is best in locations not exposed to hard winds. It was reportedly selected from a high elevation in Samoa, and it does seem to produce good quality fruit under cool conditions according to one commercial grower in New Zealand. Another Southern California grower in a warm location rates it among his best, as does David Johnson growing it near Modesto. For me in cool, wet Santa Cruz as well as in the more severe Central Valley it has consistently been one of the fastest, most vigorous growers. It is also a beautiful ornamental, with blue green leaves that are silvery underneath and with a nice whitish powdery bloom on the petioles and crown. This plant would be great if it never bore a fruit. Plus it has a nice, exotic name. rev 3/2006

'Tropicana'    colorful juvenile leaves   another ultra-dwarf Cavendish-type, it will produce edible fruit on a plant that only gets 4' tall. Usually used just for its foliage, it likes full to half sun, rich soil, heavy to surprisingly little watering (like all bananas it can drink heavily and store huge amounts of water in its thick pseudotrunk), no frost, and the warmest winter soil temperatures you can provide. Once established it tolerates cold, wet soils much more easily.  rev 6/2015 

Banksia   shrubs and trees native to Australia, related to Grevillea and Leucadendron. Eastern species are relatively easy, Western species tend to be pickier for soil, watering and frost but they are very drought tolerant. Proteaceae. rev 2/2010

ericifolia compact form  HEATH LEAVED BANKSIA  closeup     habit     this outstanding form grows to 4-6' tall by 6-8' wide in a reasonable amount of time. Pliant, dark green, rolled needle-like leaves grow to only 1/2" long, and are light beneath. They are densely packed along the slender twigs. Perfect, cone-like spikes open to bottlebrush-like flower clusters, to 10" tall, composed of hard, wiry, shiny orange red flower styles and dark golden anthers. This greatly improved selection has yearly growth only about half as tall and open as the regular species form, which means the flowers are much more conspicuously displayed. The flowering period is also longer than the type form, occurring intermittently from fall through spring, at the junction of branches produced the preceding year or two. The dried flower heads remain on the plant and are attractive for about a season after bloom. Several flowers will usually be pollinated in each spike, resulting in interesting swollen seeds which are retained for years. This is one of the most adaptable  Banksias, and probably the most forgiving to grow along with the showy B. spinulosa and a number of large, leafy, not very showy Eastern species. It needs average to good drainage and occasional summer watering. It survived 25°F without damage, and should survive 20°F. Eastern Australia. rev 1/2013

spinulosa ‘Schnapper Point’  flower   typical plants at UCSC   another couple  a very compact, prostrate form, one the best we have seen of the many low forms of this very variable Eastern Australian species. To about 30" high and spreading slowly to 2-3' wide in a reasonable amount of time. It fills in very well and the upright flower stalks make a nice show against the carpet of dark green needle-like leaves. In the usual upright forms the flowers are usually clasped by subtending branches and the flowers usually aren't as well displayed. The flowers themselves are honey with black styles. This is a Koala Blooms introduction through the UCSC Arboretum. rev 1/2013

Baumea rubiginosa variegata  foliage    grass garden planting    water garden planting  a slowly spreading grass-like plant with dense, glossy bright green leaves striped with yellow. The habit is strictly vertical, with leaves usually to about 18" tall but reaching almost 3' on really happy, wet specimens. The leaf blades are flattened but still thick. The plant seems to be self-cleaning, since the appearance is always neat and no dead leaves are ever seen. Sun to part shade, average to frequent watering. Can be grown as a bog plant. Hardiness unknown but will probably tolerate 20°F and resprout from stolons. Australia? Or Central and South America? Cyperaceae. rev 10/2005

Begonia  root hardy to completely tender herbaceous perennials, grown for flowers or foliage, with some in Mexico used for their edible roots. Almost all like part to full shade, light, rich soils, and regular watering. Begoniaceae. rev 4/2004

'Art Hodes'  massive, textured leaf   large, up to 12" wide, green, bumpy leaves with a red haze from the little hairs on the surface, this rhizomatous begonia grows up to 18" tall. Likes part sun or bright shade. Nice outside for summer but bring it in before winter comes outside of Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 10. rev 9/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Benitchoba'  compact, cut leaves are mostly silver, with green veins. Maroon reverse. rev 6/2012 

'Black Fancy'    another dark beauty!   dark, scalloped leaves with a light starry pattern of veins and a bit of a swirl.  Dark underneath and small pink flowers. Upright to 18" tall and wide. Sunset zones 16-22/USDA 9. rev 8/2013-Suzy Brooks 

bolivensis  a very large, open, spreading deciduous species with robuts canes and pendant, quite fuchsia-like orange red flowers produced from late spring through fall. It seems somewhat particular about soils and needs good drainage and rich, moist conditions. Its best application is as a container plant. Part sun, regular watering. Remember it will be fully deciduous in winter, and over time produce a huge dormant tuber so don't throw it away when the stems fall off in late fall. Ernie Wasson rescued a dormant plant being thrown out at as "dead" when he was working in a retail nursery. It remains a famous icon and spectacular display plant at the Cabrillo College Horticulture greenhouse. Protect it from hard freezes if planted outside, and maybe keep it somewhat dry if possible. However large plants overwinter just fine in containers here in our cold, wet Northern California coastal gardens, as long as protected from the occasional very hard freezes.USDA zone 9a/Sunset zones 16-77, 21-24 outside (container only?). rev 9/2017

'Bon Bon'      Cherry    Sherbert  a terrific choice for a hanging basket or tall container. Pointy green leaves with standout white veins look gorgeous with the double, cherry red or yellow flowers. Compact, to about 10-12" tall, filling out to 14-16" wide. Flowers all summer. rev 7/2014

'Million Kisses'  a Ball Seed Co. breeding effort, these varieties flower early, are vigorous yet stay compact, have a mostly gracile form and a gently trailing habit closer to hanging tuberous types as opposed to the mostly vertical form of its original parent species. These also might not be as hardy as that wild species form either, so to be safe give them a little more protection from winter cold and wet. rev 9/2017
'Amour'  closeup   deep orange red flowers against narrow, moderately dark bronzy green leaves. rev 9/2017 *New for 2017!*

'Elegance'    clouds of white and pink flowers    close   makes a waterfall of blooms in hanging baskets, window boxes, or pots. Under a foot tall and spreading 2-3'. White and coral pink blend with the green leaves that match its elegant name. rev 5/2015-Suzy Brooks

'Honeymoon'   happy yellow faces   a compact bushy to gently trailing mound of relatively broad lemony yellow flowers, set against nicely contrasting dark green leaves. rev 9/2017 (not currently in production)
'Sparkle Scarlet'   'Scarlet' flowers   another hybrid derivation, but slightly more compact than the 'Bonfires.' This line reaches about 12" tall and 16" wide. 6/2011 (not currently in production)
'Sparkle Rose'  flower closeup   nice, big, rose pink flowers. rev 7/2011  (not currently in production)
'Sparkle Salmon'  perky flowers  closer to orange red than salmon, but I don't get to pick the names. rev 7/2011 (not currently in production)

'Dragon Wing'   red    pink   red in Molly's tall back porch combo   pink, in Molly's neglected other combo pot  this is a hybrid type about intermediate between a true cane-stem/Angel Wing type and a bedding type. It is very close to the old 'Glamour' begonias, which were a very nice strain sold back in the early eighties. They are lush, tropical looking, bloom their heads off, and so far have been totally mildew resistant here on the foggy coast. A real solid performer! Just spectacular in containers. With age they can form short cane trunks, to a couple of feet tall, and you can either leave them in that mini-tree configuration or cut them back, to which they respond beautifully.  rev 9/2009 (not currently in production)

'Escargot'   you are getting sleepy! sleepy!   this Rex type was selected for its amazing heart-shaped leaf, which is coiled at the top-center. The green-silver-green bands become a wonderful rolled, snail shell-like pattern. With subtle other burgundy and pink tones, minute hairs,veins bumps etc. it all begs for closer study. To 6" tall, 12" wide, a container plant for house or indoor/outdoor patio application. Pink flowers. Rich, humusy soils, let it dry down a little between waterings, bright indirect light is best. Tender, doesn't even like cold, wet soils. rev 7/2014

'Fanny Moser'    spots and undersides   another study in bumpy silver freckles and glowing red undersides, this very compact grower reaches just 12-15" in height and produces short, compact clusters of blush pink to white flowers with yellow centers. Morning sun or bright shade, rich, moist well drained soil, average watering. Where it gets cold, enjoy it outside and then bring indoors for winter. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 6/2013 

foliosa miniata red   red up close    the red version of the already incomparable pink form, slightly bigger in scale and slightly faster/taller. The fuchsia-like flowers begin in spring and last until it gets cold and crummy - November? I've seen the pink form as a mostly veritical shrub, I guess that's what you'd call it, reaching all the way to the eves of Mrs. Anderson's house in her Aptos garden. It was a vertical column of coral pink flowers in cascading sprays, against neat, glossy, dark green leaves. No reason to suspect that this one won't do the same except it seems just a leeeetle touchier about cold, a little more brittle, and both of those qualities suggest it is probably a hybrid. Mostly sun (very cool, very much fog) to mostly shade (summers hot, dry), with regular to infrequent watering. Overhead frost protection in winter is a must outside of frost-free zones, or use as a indoor/outdoor patio plant. This species shows some tendency to act like B. boliviensis and go dormant during winter. USDA 9a/Sunset zones 23-24. rev 9/2014

grandis 'Heron's Pirouette'  HARDY BEGONIA  flowers  a deciduous, hardy, cane-stem type, a Japanese species, brought in by Dan Hinkley, grown for the facts that it is hardy and has nice pink flowers. It grows to about 18' tall and begins to flower in May, continuing until frost. It is root hardy to Sunset zone 4/USDA zone 6 at least, but also does well in warmer-winter areas. It will seed or spread by stem bulbils. rev 6/2010

'Gryphon'  Molly's plant   cut, maple-shaped leaves with mostly silver between green veins. A good patio container subject, easy and disease free. rev 6/2012

‘Irene Nuss’  flowers   Molly's plant  this variety is the showiest of the cane stemmed/angel wing types we have seen, as far as flower show. The bracts are extra large, light pink, turning dark rose pink when exposed to sunlight. They are so nice you almost want to eat them! (hmmmmmmmm   .   .   .   ) The leaves are smooth, dark green above, sometimes with a few very faint silver spots, and burgundy red underneath. To 3-4’ or more. Use in part shade to full shade with average watering and protection from frost. This is probably best used in containers, for superior winter drainage, and is one of the very best of all begonias for that application. It mostly stops moving during winter, and certainly can't take any frost.I have been told we are slightly off in our identification of this variety, and I believe it, but I haven't been able to get the definitive replacement name. This ID is the closest I can get right now. rev 6/2011

'Joe Hayden'    green bronze leaves   a brazen display of dark foliage, definitely not your grandmother's begonia! Neat, dark green leaves stand upright to 12" tall and display the usual dark red bronze reverse. Dramatic is the word! Small pink flowers are produced in sprays in summer. Bright diffuse light to full, medium shade outside, or try it inside as a houseplant. Let the soil surface dry a little between waterings. Protect from cold in winter, we don't know its soil temperature minimum yet. Sunset zones 17-24/USDA 10. rev 7/2013 

'Little Darling'  dazzling!  it is a little darling of a plant, only 5-6" tall, forming with dark green leaves neatly marked with lighter patches between the veins. The hairs defining the edge and burgundy undersides just add to the effect. Blush pink to white flowers are produced in open sprays on stalks held above the foliage in spring and make a nice show. Fast, easy, rewarding, and makes a forgiving houseplant for windowsills or terrariums. Also nice as a warm season porch or patio container. Bright light, let soil surface dry a little between waterings, protect from real cold and frost. Sunset zones 17-27/USDA 10. rev 7/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Looking Glass'   definitely silver   a real show stopper, this one, silver leaves with green veins and red underneath. Easy to grow in bright light, loose, well drained soil, and watering when the soil surface dries out. Makes a nice houseplant too. Protect from cold and frost outside Sunset zones 17-24/USDA 9a-10. rev  6/2013-Suzy Brooks 

luxurians  with flower  this is a highly lusted-after species that forms an impressive column of luxuriant (yes!), tropical, almost sinister-appearing foliage, with the deeply cut, palmate leaves reaching over 16" across on mature specimens. It can reach 6-8' or more from mature rhizomes, and grows best in warm, partly shaded conditions with rich, moist soil and regular watering. The dense clusters of yellow and white flowers are very nice and show up in summer, but they are a secondary benefit to the foliage. This is a nice choice for a narrow spot with morning sun, like a porch entry, or is quite effective against a dramatic background (painted wall, bamboo fence, etc.). It is hardier than most realize, behaving much like B. boliviensis by going fall/winter dormant to a large rhizome under cool conditions. But if the soil freezes so will the bulb. The important point is that it is relatively resistant to cold, wet soils. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9, as a patio, houseplant, or indoor/outdoor anywhere. rev 3/2012

maculata 'Wightii'    upright habit, upright leaves    a compact, very upright grower with closely held upright leaves that are conspicuously, attractively and uniquely marked with big, white polka dots. White flowers peek out in summer. This needs protection from frost and really long, cold, wet winters. It is fabulous as a patio or porch container, indoor/outdoor subject or house plant. eventually to about 2' tall. Part sun to full shade, rich, moist soil, regular watering. rev 7/2012

masoniana   closeup   container  IRON CROSS BEGONIA  IRON CROSS BEGONIA  this highly sought-after rhizomatous variety is grown for its strong 5-armed bronze cross in the center of the amazingly textured, jade green to light olive green leaves. The edges are highlighted by rusty red hairs and coloring and each micro-mammose tubercle on the surface has a bronzy hair at the center. The closer you get, the better it looks. Flowers are small, white, in small panicles, and nice, but not the reason for having it. The winner of an RHS Award of Garden Merit. Roots need to stay above about 50F or it dies, so it needs either a minimally heated cold frame or a climate where winter soil temperatures stay above that. In California, that happens mostly only south of LA or inside your house, where it likes high winter light or medium light the rest of the year. To about 10" high and 18" across. China or India. rev 10/2013 

Mocha   see Non Stops, below

Non Stop   Orange   Rose  Scarlet   White   Yellow  the original compact tuberous hybrid seed strain, still one of the best. Hard primary colors, soft pastels, now against dark foliage, if you'd like. Just the ticket for containers, baskets, window boxes. Flowers from about June until mid or late fall. Part sun to shade, light but rich soil, average watering. rev 7/2014

Mocha    red    attractive dark red to burgundy foliage, flowers in the same range of colors. rev 4/2016

odorata 'Alba'     flowers, leaves    a soft-textured, shrubby fountain of large, lush, shiny green leaves, with sprays of white, slightly fragrant flowers during the warm season. A good choice for a container plant for outdoors, patio or house in morning or dappled sun, or shade. Typical watering/feeding. USDA zone 10/Sunset 17, 23-24. rev 9/2014

paleata    textured leaves   deep, rich green, quilted leaves show reddish veins at maturity. White flowers are held in a small, open cluster atop a tall, slender spike, well above the leaves in winter. This is a low, cold-sensitive, subtropical "shrubby" species, to maybe a foot or two tall and wide, that just glows with rich green color. Good sited in dapples sun or bright shade on your porch, patio or inside. Shade, rich, moist, humusy but well-drained and aerated potting mix, water as needed but let dry between, and never let it stand in water. Brazil rev 8/2017  *New for 2017!*

'Plum Paisley'  beauty  beautiful new leaves of purple, green, and silver that age to dark plum. About a foot or two tall and wide, a splendid choice for a container in morning sun or bright light all day. Let the soil surface dry between waterings. Try it as a houseplant. Sunset zones 14-24/USDA 10.  rev 7/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'River Nile'  spiral green   just as brilliant green in color as the lime-colored algae mats that grow in warm, shallow water! Corkscrew leaf centers and dark ruffly edges make it even better. With foliage like this you don't even need flowers but you'll get some pink ones anywat. Enjoy it in dappled or bright shade. About 24" tall and wide. Protect from cold. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 6/2012-Suzy Brooks 

'Soli-Mututa'  SUNTAN BEGONIA  wonderful leaves  a strange name for a strange and very beautiful foliage form. Round, textured leaves of rich olive to bright chartreuse green are dark burgundy-brown between the veins and show red undersides along wavy, upcurled edges. They grow closely nestled against one another to make a really compact package. The top surface of the leaf is most beautiful, being deeply pebbled and quilted then covered with felty red hairs. Plus if you put a penny on the leaf surface, within 10-30 minutes you can see a shadow remaining when it is removed! Magical. Flower are small, white, in small open sprays, on long stalks well above the foliage. Pretty, elegant, classy, but not an overwhelming display. An easy to grow foliage plant for house or patio in bright light. Rhizomatous, and tends to grow out more than up. Protect from and real cold and frost. Sunset zones 17-24/USDA 10. rev 7/2013 

'Sophie Cecile'  leaves and flowers   a compact angel wing type, with a few silvery spots, maroon brown leaf undersides and deep clear pink flowers. To 2-3' tall at full maturity. rev 1/2013

'Sparks Will Fly'    orange, and more orange   well named for its many tangerine colored flowers exploding out of pale green veined, bronze leaves. About 15-18" tall and wide for hanging baskets or tall pots. Morning sun or bright shade with average watering for bright orange 'sparks' until cold weather. rev 5/2015-Suzy Brooks 

'Torch'  typical plant   flower skeins   closeup   a shrubby Angel Wing in the finest 'Irene Nuss' tradition, but smaller, broader, with more flowers that are smaller in size and just slightly oranger in color. The leaves are a really dark olive green with red reverse. A great grower and bloomer, really first class for containers, porches, well-protected planting sites, etc. Rewarding and easy. rev 10/2011

'White Dove'  blooming   white flowers against dark olive green leaves, with burgundy leaves. Low, slow, nicely fuzzy. rev 4/2010

'Wild Pony'  swirls   very attractive leaves with a swirl on both sides of the stem, dark veins looking like deltas on a green map. Some lively foliage for the patio, deck, or even indoors, growing about 12-15" tall and wide. Summer time flowers are white. Regular watering, bright light, and well drained soil will make it happy. Shelter from frost outside of Sunset zones 17-27/USDA 10. rev 5/2013-Suzy Brooks 

Berberis darwinii  flowers    habit    clipped  evergreen shrub to 8’ tall and wide with small, spiny dark green leaves and conspicuous terminal clusters of small, bright orange yellow flowers from spring through fall. Sets heavy crops of ornamental blue black berries. This plant makes an excellent companion plant for California natives such as  Ceanothus and manzanitas. It tends towards an open, arching habit, and attempts to keep its shape too regular or dense are doomed to defeat. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering when established, hardy to 10°F. Chile, Argentina. Berberidaceae.

thunbergii  JAPANESE BARBERRY  thorny deciduous shrubs valued for their thorns, leaf color (some forms), wonderful red orange fall color, deep red ornamental berries that remain on intricate, bare branches in winter, and growth habit and form. All are frost hardy enough for all of California. It is almost always seen here as one of its selected forms:

‘Crimson Pygmy’  DWARF PURPLE LEAF BARBERRY  flowers    fall color closeup    fall color  habit  deciduous shrub to 2’ tall and wide bears dark reddish foliage in spring and summer, turning beautiful red orange in fall. Will grow in shade, but color is darkest in sun. Fall color is often a little lighter and more luminous with a bit of shade, though. Average to little summer watering. Frost hardy. Excellent in containers or for bonsai.

‘Rose Glow’  planted    foliage close up  to 6’ tall, 7’ wide, with dark burgundy leaves irregularly streaked with light pink. Excellent fall color. Best foliage color in full sun.

Bergenia clumping perennials native to Eastern Asia. Useful for foliage and flowers. They're all mixed up in the trade, see B. crassifolia, below. Saxifragaceae. rev 8/2017

cordifolia  foliage  upright, rounded leaves, flowers spring through fall. Often mislabeled and/or misidentified, see B. crassifolia below. rev 8/2017

crassifolia (x schmidtii?)  WINTER BERGENIA  closeup    untended patch   this is a great plant! This is the really ubiquitous, colorful, lavender pink Bergenia we see blooming heavily and continuously all over yards during fall, winter, and spring, from at least Portland all the way down through San Diego. I suspect what we are seeing is actualy a hybrid called B. x schmidtii, because I have seen it labeled as such at Strybing Arboretum. In support of that "hybrid" theory I never seen it set seed. I had wanted to sell it for years, but could never find the genuine article, so eventually I just peeled up a patch from my own back yard and started working up the numbers. Some vendors say they list this, but the whole issue is completely and hopelessly confused in the trade. What is really offered is always B. cordifolia in its various selections. That is an okay plant, but clearly inferior for much of the West Coast to this, the genuine article. They are easy to tell apart, since B. cordifolia is a chunkier plant that blooms only in spring and summer, and it almost always sets seed. The real deal blooms reliably through our often continuously cold, wet, soggy winter weather, and generally brings cheer and color when little else in the garden. sterile. It is drought tolerant enough to thrive along the coast with no summer watering, and will expand slowly by extending coarse, above-ground stems to form large colonies in old heirloom gardens when undisturbed. Divisions have been passed over back fences for generations. It grows to about 12" tall and spreads at a slow to moderate pace. Full sun to mostly shade, not picky about soil, very drought tolerant. Incredibly, snails and slugs mostly leave it alone, which is probably why there is so much of it. Limited quantities, always! Buy it when you see it available. Bloom time is usually September-October through April but flowers can initiate on mature rosettes at any time of year given enough time at ~50F temps with any amount of daylight. Frost hardy to Sunset zone 5 or lower/USDA zone 8b. rev 8/2017

'Harzkristall'    PIG SQUEAK  flowering   from the sound it makes when you rub the leaf with your fingers. Try it! It's a cute little grunting noise. This easy to grow perennial forms clumps of dark green, leathery leaves edged in red and blooms in early summer. The flowers are white with a bit of pink, more color in shade. Growing about 12" tall. Takes sun or shade. Likes well drained soil but will do with less. Average watering. Sunset zones 1-9, 12-24/USDA 5. rev 7/2013-Suzy Brooks (not currently in production)

'Winter Glow'  PIGSQUEAK  just lush foliage for now   you have to have this just so you can tell people that you have Pigsqueak in the garden, especially as the parting word! Thick, rounded, wonderful green leaves, it gets its name from the noise it makes when you rub your fingers on them. Low maintenance, carefree, evergreen perennial for some sun or shade. The 'Winter Glow' is from the reddish bronzey colors it turns in fall and winter. It also sends up thick, stout stems of reddish pink flowers in early spring, one of the first to cut for bouquets. A big, bold texture to add to the garden or containers. About 12-15" tall and slowly clumping. Sun or shade, moist or dry soil. Sunset zones 1-9, 12-24/USDA 3. rev 7/2011-Suzy Brooks  (not currently in production)

Beschorneria  evergreen, perennial, yucca-like or agave-like plants, forming rosettes of soft and unarmed foliage, which makes them immensely useful in landscapes. You get that dramatic form and useful focal-point effect without the hassle of trying to weed around the spines or worry about children playing near it. All species have reddish flower spikes and bloom annually to every few years, then the rosettes which flowered are replaced by pups which will sprout from its base. None are very frost hardy, and crowns likely die somewhere between 20-25F. USDA zone 9, 8 with protection. Asparagaceae. rev 8/2017

albiflora  UC Berkeley Botanic Garden     this species looks very much like a lush Agave, with its soft, green, flat, basal leaves spread wide to 2-3' across. It gets 1-2' tall, and much wider and taller in warm, humid, more tropical climates. Its showy, dark raspberry-coral flower spike stem emerges after the rosette is several years old. This tall, robust, often heavily branched structure bears long, pendant, tubular greenish-white flowers that might be the showiest of the genus. They slowly open over many months, providing a very long season of color. When the parent rosette has finished flowering cut off the declining spike but otherwise leave it alone until the replacement pups appear, after which the old top can be removed entirely. Central America. rev 9/2017 *New for 2017!*

wrightii   nice clump at Strybing  a smaller scale species, with very narrow, upright, medium green foliage, and bearing coral red stalks to 4-5' tall in late spring and early summer. This is more discrete and easier to site in the landscape than B. yuccoides, which needs some room for its tall, lax leaves. rev 8/2017

yuccoides  commercial landscape    flowers closeup a larger form, with greyish green, slightly glaucous foliage, and robust shiny coral red flower stalks to 6-8' tall. Hardy to at least 25F without damage, possibly surviving 20F, and grown by a few gardeners in USDA zone 8 (Portland!). rev 8/2017

'Flamingo'  first leaves  another useful form of an already useful plant (easy to grow, relatively hardy, drought tolerant,  looks like an Agave but soft and no thorns!). This new intro has a broad creamy white center leaf stripe that makes an arguably nicer backdrop for its eventual primary showy feature, which is the coral pink flower spike. I don't know yet if it will leaf-scorch in the really bright, furnace-like summer areas. rev 8/2017

Bidens ferulifolia 'Sun Drop'   flowers   a powerhouse dome of larger than usual deep golden yellow flowers against compact, ferny green  foliage. To just 10-12" tall by 16-18" wide, flowering from spring through mid fall. Southwestern US. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 3/2014 

triplinervia 'Hawaiian Flare' series   Orange Drop    Orange Yellow Brush    Red Drop  the first Bidens that are not yellow! Also not growing as the usual compact, tidy little mound, these fast sprawlers go to 2-3' wide, and are open until trimmed back, when they break from the nodes to fill in nicely. The first thing you notice with this one is the distinctive bronzy plus bluish cast to the leaves against their dark stems. Then when the flowers emerge you see the striking banded zones of color near the center. These are good for groundcovers, as hanging baskets, or spilling over the edge of containers or down walls. They would complement Agaves and other blue or grey-toned succulents well because of the foliage color and dark stems. Reblooms and is self cleaning. Sun, water when the soil surface is dry, hardy to around 25F so treat as an annual outside Sunset zones 8-9, 12-24/USDA 9. rev 5/2014

Blackberry (Rubus sp.)  we are offering a variety of new and improved varieties from various university breeding programs, offering sweeter, larger fruit and heavier crops. Our nativeCalifornia wild blackberry (R. ursinus, three leaflets, thin stems, tiny thorns), produces a single light crop in early June of narrow, rather small black fruit with intense flavored but only mild sweetness. Its relative, the giant-leaved, overwhelmingly vigorous Himalayan invader (R armeniacus, five leaflets, thick stems, big thorns) which is usually what you'll find in roadside verges, starts about a month later (starting midsummer) and bears heavy crops of jet-black fruit which become very sweet but are actually almost completely lacking in berry-essence flavor. For all varieties grow in full sun, average to rich soil, moderate summer watering, frost hardy. For most varieties, cool temperatures of fall and early winter will initiate flower buds, which wait to develop with the warmth and longer days of the following spring. After stems have borne fruit leave until winter, then cut back completely to the ground. Rosaceae. rev 8/2014

'Apache' PP11865   getting close  this variety breaks the mold for thornless berries, being not only vigorous and fast growing, but having a lot of large fruit! About 4-6' tall, it can be trained against a fence or in a pot with support. Clusters of big, sweet, black berries in summer that you can pick in the morning for breakfast and nibble on while watering the garden. Sun, regular watering. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 6. rev 7/2012-Suzy Brooks 

'Boysenberry'   ripening berries    a  hybrid of uncertain parentage, first found by Ralph Boysen of Napa in 1923. This long, dark maroon-black fruit is reportedly a cross of a hexaploid dewberry/loganberry parent and a blackberry, or a raspberry, or one then the other, or maybe neither. It is grown for its unmatched, intense wild berry flavor but is usually only marginally sweet enough to eat fresh. When cooked into pies, made into jam or just by adding sugar to fresh fruit, the sweet/sour ratio improves and this variety truly shines. Eating fully-ripe boysenberries is the closest you will come to enjoying our native California blackberry (see above). rev 8/2014 

'Marion'    the standard of excellence, rich, intense flavor and properly sweet when fully ripe. rev 6/2013

'Natchez' PP 20,891   very sweet!   from the University of Arkansas, this is a thornless, summer fruiting, upright to semi-upright plant that is adaptable to most well drained soils and is disease resistant. Produces large, dark, tasty berries the year after planting.  This one does not require trellising, but can be a free-standing plant. Makes a wonderful container plant and a good reason to buy that obelisk to grow it on. Likes well drained soil on the acid side, regular watering, and sun. All Sunset zones/USDA 6. rev 5/2011 

'Olallie'  big flowers first!   from these big flowers come those big, firm, sweet, intensely flavored berries, one third raspberry, two thirds blackberry. Provide some support for the trailing canes with sun and regular watering. Sunset zones 4-9, 14-24/USDA 7. rev 2/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Prime-Ark 45' PP 22,449  and 'Prime-Jan' 15,788   berries  here are two new varieties from the University of Arkansas breeding program. Both are "primocane" varieties, meaning they will bear fruit on first-year as well as second-year canes, meaning stems don't have to mature and overwinter before flowering and bearing. These have excellent, heavy yields, especially in areas with cooler summers such as coastal California and the nearby inland valleys, or the Pacific Northwest. Besides the obvious advantage of faster fruit, they also bear over a longer season and have excellent quality fruit, lagging only in commercial fresh-storage qualities. If desired you can mow your plants to the ground annually, though you will lose the fruit from late canes which didn't mature and bear before going dormant. If some old canes are left they also will bear early season fruit from canes growing from undeveloped buds near the base. 'Prime-Ark' probably has more commercial application because of better post-harvest handling considerations but both of these have been trialed and done well in all regions of the country. Berries should ripen from early summer through late fall in most of California and the Pacific Northwest. USDA zone 4/Sunset all zones. rev 8/2017

'Thornless Boysenberry'   all the sweet-tart, fragrant, berry goodness without the suspense of thorns! Needs support, so create a trellis in full sun, plants can get 5-6' or more tall and wide. Nothing like a fresh berry on vanilla ice cream in summer! Regular watering. Sunset zones 2-24/USDA 5. rev 4/2013-Suzy Brooks 

Blechnum  a genus of evergreen ferns, creeping or developing short trunks. Many are very nice but there are few species grown. Almost all are relatively tender. Some are colonizing, some are solitary and often form short trunks for a minature tree fern look. Blechnaceae. rev 8/2016

brasiliense  BRAZILIAN TREE FERN  fronds  a striking, formal looking, mostly solitary, rosette-forming species that can develop a short trunk with age. It is most recognizable by its deep bronze-red new fronds, which are produced in flushes, which age to a glossy dark green. The simply cut sword-like fronds reach about 2' and are usually rather upright, forming a shuttlecock or vase shape and getting to about 5' tall. It needs frost protection and should be sited where it won't get a severe freeze if possible (below 28F) but I have also seen references that it will actually tolerate much lower (close to 20F) and is simply facultatively deciduous. Not having had the chance to actually kill it myself yet I am reluctant to say. It makes a superb container plant and is tough enough for commercial landscapes, malls, etc. Brazil. Sunset zones 9, 16-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. rev 8/2008

chilense   CHILEAN HARDY FERN, COSTILLA DE VACA ("cow's rib")   nice commercial container   garden, with fertile fronds  a dramatic, imposing, premium, slow-growing, creeping/clumping species for landscapes or large containers, bearing long, arching, broad, cut, sword-like fronds. Those wonderful leaves can reach 5' (very cool but not really cold, very shady, very wet!) but are usually more like 2-3' long under California conditions. When new they emerge a beautiful, outrageously shiny, coppery red color, then age to very dark green as they mature. Fertile fronds are quite different, being very narrow, with short, narrow leaflets, and growing vertically from the center of each mature rosette in summer. This species can eventually form large specimens or stands in favored sites, expanding slowly by robust underground rhizomes. Part sun to full, deep shade, humusy, organic soils, average fern watering but surprisingly drought tolerant when established by virtue of their tough leaf texture and thick, flesh rhizomes. Chile, Argentina, Juan Fernandez Island. rev 8/2016

gibbum  DWARF TREE FERN  Marty's Paradise Park yard, guarded by Mattie   another angle  very slowly forms a short trunk to 3-4’ tall. The narrow, sword-like, sterile evergreen fronds have long, very narrow pinnae (leaflets) that are not divided. New growth emerges pink. Fertile fronds are finer and more vertical. Shade, average watering, protect from severe freezes. While usually listed as "frost tender" there are some who claim it is rather frost tolerant, merely shedding its fronds in all but the coldest of USDA zone 9 (Sunset zones 8-9, 15-24). It remains evergreen if it has any overhead protection at all. Excellent in containers or protected landscape situations. Sunset zones 9, 16-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. New Caledonia, New Hebrides, Fiji. rev 9/2009

‘Silver Lady’  fronds   Sea World   an especially vigorous, large form. About twice the scale of the regular species. I don't see anything silver about it. rev 11/2007

occidentale  new growth   established planting  a choice short fern to about 12" tall in our climate with a simple bipinnate frond deeply cut with narrow leaflets. It runs slowly by short underground stolons to form carpets and clumps of dark green foliage on banks and in between rocks in shade. Its best feature is its wonderfully showy coral pink new fronds, which are produced heaviest in spring but also anytime it flushes new growth, which is throughout the year. It seems happiest in our cool, humid coastal environment but it can be expected to do well anywhere there is shade, a minimum of frost (though it can come back from its extensive root system), adequate humidity and soil moisture. It makes a great container plant and even a good houseplant if you can keep the relative humidity high enough (bathroom, kitchen, etc.). A good planting of it can be seen at Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco, where it does well. It is very widely distributed in the warmer parts of the Western Hemisphere, ranging from Hawaii all the way over to the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and South America to northern Argentina and Chile.  Sunset zones15-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. rev 8/2008

penna-marina   ALPINE WATER FERN  dark green leaves   a small-textured, evergreen groundcover fern, spreading moderately quickly by rhizomes to form a dense carpet of dark green, upright leaves to 6-8" tall. Delightful between pavers, near your after-commute meditation pond (you do have one, don't you?), or in dappled shade under shrubs and trees. It looks really nice in containers with rocks or small logs - or hey maybe a nice hunk of petrified wood! New growth emerges salmon pink to bronze and matures to dark green. In more sun it needs regular watering but will take moderately dry shade well once established. Original wild-strain selections were famous for requiring cool (but not too cold) climates, and needing moist, gritty, humusy soil mixes. With many generations of domestication selection it is now a much easier subject for warmer, drier climates. USDA zone 7/Sunset 5-6, 14-17, 23-24.  rev 8/2015 

spicant  DEER TONGUE FERN    Henry Cowell Redwoods, one of its most southerly populations   shade commercial landscape   sun commercial landscape  a small to medium size rosetted species, characteristic of redwood forest associations of Central and Northern California. It likes acidic, surface mulched, well drained soil, can take summer drought when established, and tolerates deep shade. In the cool, humid, rainy northwestern corner of the state it can grow to be quite large, and I have seen fronds to over 4' tall in some stands. Usually it is going to be much smaller and more compact, say 1-2' tall and wide. It often becomes highly attractive, with long, trailing fronds that lay down on the ground. Its southern limit in nature is Santa Cruz County. We actually raised this in the distant past but it has been so long it may as well be truly new to our line. Keep it well watered until well established if it is expected to tolerate dry summer conditions. rev 9/2006 

Blueberry     SOUTHERN HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY   these varieties are rather easy to grow, Southern versions of the older, more traditional Northern Highbush blueberries, or hybrids between them. Botanically they are Vaccinium corymbosum. They are reliable and tough. Most berries available in California markets today are varieties like these, successfully farmed in the hot, middle sections of the Central Valley. Flavor is essentially as good as northern types. They will bear from late spring through late summer, depending on the variety, often with a few fruit available almost all year. Coastal plantings can bear quite late with cool summers, even into fall. All they need is mostly sun, rich, acid soil (plant with lots of peat moss - 50% of the planting hole soil, with as big a hole as you can stand to dig - and a couple of cups of soil sulfur per planting hole, that ought to do it), and lots of water, though they don't need the almost boggy conditions necessary for northern types. The most important factor is soil pH, which has to be between 4 and 5 for them to grow right. It is very hard to drive soil pH below this point, and it can take 4-6 months for the soil sulfur to do its job. Heavy textured soils will likely take more acidification than you first realize, due to greater density and surface area. Another important factor is that they need thick surface mulch, since the roots will only grow a couple of inches down. Over time the pH will tend to drift up (more alkaline) as the buffering capacity of the soil begins to kick in and minerals begin to decompose in the higher acidity and neutralize it. Also, all city water supplies are limed to prevent corrosion of pipes and this alkalinity accumulates in the soil from evaporation. So if your plants start looking sad, most likely more acidity is in order. If you are growing organically, you will need to use water treated with citric or acetic (vinegar) acid on a regular basis. Experimental plantings into pure organic matter (wood waste, peat moss) have done very well.

     They DON'T like strong nitrogen fertilizer ever, but they respond well to feeding and you can feed them after they are established with regular light applications beginning about April. End your feeding in July or August to minimize Lilac Blight, a bacterial branch disease (Pseudomonas bacteria) that causes early spring stem dieback problems. Also, excess nitrogen will lower bearing on mature, established plants. Plant from 2 1/2 - 6' apart, with rows from 4-6' apart, or use as single specimens, but plant as multiples because most are not self fertile and will need another variety nearby for adequate fruit set. They will greatly appreciate thick, coarse mulch over the top except right against the base, and mounding the rows slightly is usually recommended. Watering is best as sprinkling or surface application that thoroughly wets the mulch. Plants bear on young branches produced the previous year, so thin out the dense twiggy growth to about 5 major branches every year in order to flush new growth. If you are having problems with plant vigor, they probably will trace back to too-high soil pH or inadequate watering. A wonderful feature of many varieties is their outstanding fall color, hot, luminous reds, pinks, and oranges that really light up with fall rains. Then most offer striking coral red stems in winter. Even those without striking fall color at least get smoky wine red leaves with a glaucous cast in cool weather. Plant them where you can see them through your window. In mild winters expect them to hold quite a bit of foliage until they releaf in spring. Temperatures in the mid twenties will cause plants to abort flowers and fruit. All these varieties have excellent flavor. rev 1/2011

'Blueberry Glaze' PP25467     part of the Bushel and Berry® program, this is a very compact, dense, small-leaved hybrid that should top out at around 2-3'. It is highly self-fertile, and bears dark blue fruit with a nice "wild-berry" character. Growth is upright, dense, and it makes a great container plant. Fall color is excellent. USDA zone 5. rev 7/2017 *New for 2017!*

'Bluecrop'   fruit   a Northern type, this is probably the best tasting berry generally available, as well as being  a very heavy, self-pollinating producer. Berries are big, hold well (don't abort or drop immediately when ripe), and skins don't split, which is a really valuable trait if you have the high day-night temperature and humidity swings experienced throughout California. Adaptable and easy to grow, it does need more chill than Southern types, about 800 hours. Showed good performance at the Santa Clara County Ag Extension Office trial done by Nancy Garrison. We have seen fruit ripen as soon as early February here at the nursery. Also offers excellent fall color most years. Sunset zones 1-8, 14-17. rev 6/2014

'Blueray'    another storied, self-fertile Northern variety, it can often be grown right along with Southern types as it does so well in hot climates, especially compared to other Northerners. Just remember that as a Northern type it will need more chill, about 800 hours. Berries are large, quite firm, have great Northern flavor, and come in heavy crops. Sunset zones 1-8, 14-17. rev 6/2014

'Herbert'       huge, dark blue, sweet berries are slightly tart and often over an inch across! Too soft for commercial havesting and packing, they make an excellent home variety and have the handy feature of holding well, so they aren't lost to falling as soon as they are ripe. Clusters of these blue treasures appear late mid-season. Low, spreading, to about 3-4' tall and wide. See detailed growing tips on our website. About 650-900 hours. Sunset zones 1-8, 14-17. rev 6/2014

'Jewel' PP 11,807  large, light blue berries are full of tangy flavor and anti-oxidants, grow on an upright plant to 5-6' tall and  4-5' wide. Adaptable to different soils, with a vigorous growth, and high yields of quality fruit. From the University of Florida breeding program, it is an early to mid-season ripener and should be planted with other varieties for best fruit production. 200-300 hours chill. rev 6/2014

'Jubilee'    fruit    upright, fast, hard berries, a regular producer. From the USDA breeding program, actually a North/South hybrid. 500-700 hours chill, a midseason variety. Has a reputation as a good producer in less than perfect conditions. Has a tight habit, tends to produce two crops. The fruit is supposed to keep well. Wonderful fall color. rev 1/2007

'Legacy'    a Southern Highbush USDA release (1993), growing to 4-5' tall with an upright habit. Large (first crops) to medium sized berries (later crops) have excellent flavor, often rated as best in Southern-type taste tests. They also hold after ripening and resist spoiling after picking. Production is usually very heavy. Needs high chill (for a Southern type), 700-800 hours. Sunset zones 1-8, 14-17. rev 6/2014 (not currently in production)

'Misty'    fruit    an early variety of narrow, upright habit and great vigor. Does well coastal or inland and has an extended production season. Chill requirement may be as low as 150 hours. Prune heavily to remove old annual wood and lessen overproduction. Commercial growers use trellises on this variety. No real fall color, but this variety has wonderful, very blue foliage. This variety did very well at a trial at the Santa Clara County Ag Extension office. We have seen fruit ripen in early February here on the Central Coast. The berries have a rich blueberry flavor. Reluctant fall color, often evergreen in mild winters. rev 1/2007

'O'Neal'    fruit    fall color    flowers   probably the earliest variety, a robust, fast grower. Considered by some to have the best flavor of any of the Southern Highbush types and described as "terrific." Fruit is medium dark blue, medium large, on bushes to about 4' tall. A very early ripener with chill requirement estimated at 4-500 hours. Has nice pink flowers and great fall color too, purple bronze then bright scarlet red and hot orange over yellow. Local home grower Jerry Stanhoff reports this to be a continuous summer bearer for him, at 800' in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with "great" fruit that are greedily scavenged by his wife and kids before he gets to enjoy almost any. We find fruit ripening on this one even in January, and even after the hard freezes. Gotta like tthat! rev 1/2008

'Pink Lemonade'   fruit   berries of rich pink are the new rage. Just imagine pink berries mixed with blue, sprinkled over any summer dessert, like cream cheese fruit tart, or cheesecake, or how about just over vanilla ice cream with brandied cherries, or just pitched into a simple fruit salad. Are you ready to buy yet, or should I keep going until you give up? Orange red fall color is a bonus. Suitable for Southern and Northern California. A larger grower to 4-5' tall and wide. Only needs about 150 hours of chill. rev 5/2011

'Pink Popcorn' PPAF a Northern Highbush type, released by the University of Minnesota. Bears fruit that are light lavender pink to salmon pink at maturity. The very crisp texture inspired the popcorn allusion, flavor is as good as the best Northern types, which are considered the standard of excellence for all blueberry classes. This variety also is valuable for its typical Northern-style intense pink, orange and red fall color. For being the only variety hardy to USDA zone 4 this has grown very well for us and hjas broken dormancy reliably in spite of warm winters. rev 8/2017 *New for 2017!*

'Sharpblue'    fruit  early, really vigorous (up to 6' if very happy), adaptable. Has a reputation for taking soils ranging from clay to light sand. The fruit is very large but must be picked frequently in hot weather or it will overripen. This one has almost no chilling requirement. is almost everbearing on the coast or in Southern California. It did very well at a trial at Nancy Garrison's Santa Clara County Ag Extension field trial. rev 6/2014

'Southmoon' (PP 9,834)   fruit   a good variety for California, with the main crop ripening around the end of May. Very productive, with large, beautiful berries. It only seems to need about 500 hours winter chill. Especially good on sandy or well amended soils. Modest fall color, and then only with extended cold weather. rev 1/2011

'Star'    large to very large sweet berries of medium blue, that ripen early. About 4-5' tall and wide. rev 4/2012-Suzy Brooks 

Borinda fungosa maroon form  UCSC Arboretum plants    at Brett's house, 2001    another nice clump   wonderful culms  this outstanding clumping species is a reliable medium tall grower with excellent vigor. It forms a dense stand of green to reddish brown culms, each to about 1" thick, and always seems to show a dense canopy of bright to deep green foliage. It grows to about 15-20' tall by about the same wide. It varies from seed and this form is distinguished by its deep maroon colored stems. It is usually readily recognized by its distinctive pendant, terminal foliage. This is one of the nicest clumping varieties because it has a plumose, open habit reminiscent of running types. Before it flowered it was classified as Fargesia. China. 10-15F, estimated Sunset zones 5, 7-9, 14-24/USDA zone 8. rev 9/2010

Boronia a genus of shrubs and subshrubs native to Australia. Relatives of citrus, they have fragrant to strongly scented foliage, often have strongly and pleasant flower fragrance, and are notable for usually very long vase life when cut. Many are important commercial cut flower items. Some are hardy to near 20F, some are tender, and some have peculiar cultural requirements. Rutaceae. rev 5/2010

crenulata ‘Shark Bay’  closeup of flowers   at Chris Chaney's    young plant at UC Santa Cruz  a small, compact evergreen shrub to 2-3’ tall, 3-4’ wide, with soft spreading branches bearing dense sprays of neat, oval bright green leaves to 1/4" across. Bears small, star-like pink flowers almost all year, with heaviest bloom from late winter through spring. Part shade, average watering, most soils, including clay with reasonable drainage. Hardy to around 20°F. Very good in containers. This is a great plant that always looks good, blooms its head off, and isn't touchy to grow. Western Australia. UC Santa Cruz.

 megastigma 'Lutea'  YELLOW BORONIA  flowers    habit    small evergreen shrub to 3’ tall and wide with dense, needle-like leaves and small, pendant bell flowers which are  bright, citron yellow. Intense but light fragrance, like  Freesia or Osmanthus, and can be detected hundreds of feet away when in bloom by those who can detect it at all, which is about three quarters of the population. Excellent cut flower. Blooms in late winter. Sun to part shade, good drainage, average watering. This species is native to sand bogs in Western Australia and experiences winter inundation followed by drying down such that the tips of the roots have access to water far below while the crowns are completely dry. In Australia, it is often planted in a hole about 2-3’ deep which has been lined with plastic. Holes are punched in the walls about halfway down, and the bottom is filled with peat moss, then the plant is planted above. Planting this species in part shade helps extend its life. Western Australia.  rev 1/2013

Bougainvillea hybrids  tender subtropical evergreen vines and mounding to trailing shrubs. All do best with full sun to part shade, infrequent watering and feeding when established, and as little frost as possible. All the colors except ‘B. Karst,’ ‘San Diego Red,’ B. spectabilis are much more tender. South America. Nyctaginaceae. 

‘Barbara Karst’  flowers    more flowers  bright red pink bracts. A very vigorous grower and easily trained.
‘San Diego Red’  a nice display    blooming at Christmas on a nice Victorian  deep crimson red, relatively frost hardy. Vigorous, with reddish new growth. The best, hardiest, showiest red. rev 5/2010
 spectabilis  closeup    over a fence    great specimen    violet purple bracts, vigorous growth. Reliable, dependable, a survivor as well as very showy. rev 5/2010

Brachyscome 'Radiant Magenta'   shocking pink  charming, little red violet flowers on wiry stems are held over a mound of dark green foliage. Only 5-7" tall and wide, perfect for containers, combinations, or masses of color. Attract some butterflies in spring and summer. Average watering. Perennial in Sunset zones 14-24/USDA 9. Australia. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 3/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Lemon Mist'    light mist     ferny green foliage and dainty little flowers with fine, yellow petals combine to make a mound of cheerfulness to about 6" tall by 10" or so wide. Spot this around your garden in the ground, or in small containers in sun or part shade, with average to infrequent watering. Sunset zones 14-24/USDA 9. rev 2/2014-Suzy Brooks

'Surdaisy Yellow'
PP22887     at Spring Trials     in close    pure, cute cheerfulness! Perky, little yellow daisies are produced in large amounts, and over a long time. Makes a mound of color 4-8" tall and 6-12" wide. Let it sparkle in containers or a sunny spot in the garden, it likes the heat! Easy to grow and very rewarding. USDA 9. rev 5/2016-Suzy Brooks

Brahea armata  MEXICAN BLUE FAN PALM, BLUE HESPER PALM  young plant, Santa Cruz    old plant, Fresno    Karl Dobler's front yard   frond    ornamental seed spikes  one of my all time favorite, favorite plants, deeply loved because of its wonderful luminous, ethereal blue white color, perfect strong architectural form, dramatic presence, and ability to do what it does pretty near anywhere, from Mordor-like, below sea level Sonoran/Mohave Desert so hot it gives you goose bumps conditions to even more miserable cold, foggy, windblown Dante's icy-cold Last Circle of Hell Northern California coastal plain. It will grow in full sun inland, it will grow in almost total shade along the coast. I like it because it is blue, and cactus-level drought tolerant, and resistant to the sooty black mold that attacks so many blue leaved desert plants in foggy climates, and small scale, and perhaps most importantly, SLOW. I want this plant to stay small and blue, not get big. I want it to be a focal point of blue color in my garden for a long time, and getting tall just ruins the effect. When my plant starts to mature, I am going to dig it up and give it away, which is just the opposite to what you normally do with palms, which is to covet and crave the big ones, and nurture and push your specimens to get them big to show off whatever it is that they do. But this is one species that is best when in its juvenile condition, and as they mature to flowering age, over perhaps 4-8' in trunk height, they will begin to not only to flower but the fan fronds also change to a less striking grey green color, especially when grown in cool climates. In the hottest climates you get to enjoy the blue white color at maturity. The flower spikes appear in spring and summer on big plants, and are quite attractive, being long, billowy, feathery, creamy white plumes much like Pampas Grass flower stalks, but much prettier, arching out and away from the trunk and well outside the leaves, then hanging down in long, dramatic, pendant feather boa plumes. They really are quite stunning when they go off. The mature trunk is chalky grey, the young plants show red brown thatching that contrasts with the blue leaves, the plant is just striking in every aspect. They are a phenomenal container plant, can be used in hardscapes, xeriscapes, and foliage plant gardens to equal effect. Usual specs are to about 6-8' across as a large dome, for at least a few years, until it begins to develop trunk height. Very old plants can be up to 20' tall or even more, but that takes a lifetime. Reportedly they don't transplant well when big. About the only thing the don't like is very much water during summer, at least on a continual basis, and very especially against the trunk, which can kill them. Hardy to at least 15F. Sunset zones 8-10, 12-17, 19-24/USDA zone 9b. Palmae/Arecaceae. Baja California, perhaps the very best of a long line of great plants from Mexico. rev 4/2010 

Brugmansia candida  ANGEL’S TRUMPET  tender subtropical shrub to 12’ with huge, felty leaves and enormous, pendant, trumpet shaped flowers. The single form is rarely encountered,  its double form (below) is the only one in the trade to any degree. Both are characterized by a sweet, heavy, musky fragrance which is produced after sundown and rolls off the plant in clouds to scent your entire back yard, your neighbor's back yard, and their neighbor's yard too. This variety seems to recover faster from hard frosts than other strains. Solanaceae. Brugmansias have been selected, hybridized, and planted out in the wild by Central and South American Indians for hundreds of years, and "species" as we know them may not exist anymore. To the extent we can we will list the current "best accepted species designation" for the various forms. All have more recently been separated out of the genus Datura, with the old genus retaining all those species with upright facing flowers and the new genus including most of those with pendant flowers. But all Brugmansias can still be rightfully known as Daturas if you wish. Sun to part shade, average to little summer watering. Faster with fertilizing, but more prone to insect damage. They also usually greatly appreciate any kind of trace element mixtures you throw at them. Solanaceae. Central and South America. rev 7/2005

'Double White'  flowers    mature plant    against a lavender Victorian  the most usually encountered form, with one flower neatly nested inside another. rev 6/2005
'Shredded White'  amazing flower  very long flowers are blown into monstrose, shredded forms, wider and more fan shaped than the double, the Dr. Moreau of Angel's Trumpets. rev 6/2005

‘Charles Grimaldi’  typical, tiered flower display    our plant in the ground before December 1998    more trumpets    great as a chlorotic foliage plant in The Circles  a result of Bartley Schwartz's crossing of B. 'Hetty Kraus' ('Dr. Seuss') and B. insignis 'Frosty Pink,' the deepest colored of the yellow orange varieties in this country, with long, curly "tails" where the petals join. Leaves are often conspicuously toothed, the flowers always hangs vertically. Flowers are heavily fragrant at night, with a sweet, musky scent. This variety is easily recognized by its endearing characteristic of generating a heavy display of the pendant flowers in neat horizontal tiers, and is the best mass bloomer of all the varieties we have grown. rev 7/2005

insignis 'Single White'  plant  single white flowers that flare widely into broad, soft funnels or trumpets. All forms are fragrant at night, with a lighter fragrance than  B. candida, smelling somewhat like Ivory soap. This is what I think is the least-derived form, closest to what may have originally been found in the wild. There are many forms of it, some of lower, broader stature. This clone can probably reach 8'. rev 7/2005

‘Frosty Pink’  flowers    another fine plant    up close  flowers are more openly flared, are light salmon pink, and held outwards at a slight angle. Probably the most commonly planted form. rev 7/2005
'Little Moon'  flowers  a wonderful little thing I picked up from my ex-business partner and always friend Steve Brigham at Buena Creek Nursery in San Marcos, this delightful charmer is a half-size variant, with small, elegant, relatively dainty, fragrant single white flowers to about 6-8" long, freely produced on a plant that looks like it is going to stop at 3-4' in height. It branches and shapes easily and should be a wonderful container variety, as well as easier to site in a garden just due to its dimunitive size. Quite a charmer! rev 7/2007 
‘Miner’s Claim’ Plant Patent #15747    why you just have to have it      more of having to have it      flowers      younger and older flowers can be darker      wonderful fragrance!     lookin' good with Blue Dawn Morning Glory   our own outstanding, peerless form of ‘Frosty Pink,’ found right here in our own nursery by our sales rep ("he's not just a rep, he's a land shark!") Keith "Eagle Eye" Miner. Grow it for its wonderfully luscious, broad leave,s irregularly and broadly edged in creamy yellow to ivory white, plus its pleasantly fragrant light pink flowers, the same as those of its unmutated parent. It has that same soft, relaxed growth habit, but is not as fast. This would be a great foliage plant even if it never bloomed, and we in fact consider that to be its highest purpose. We have had nothing but positive comments from those who have seen it! One of the best foliage plants for dark locations, it grows best under warm conditions. rev 5/2015  MBN INTRODUCTION-2004

versicolor 'Ecuador 'Pink'  mature flower    young flower    more flowers   long, parallel-walled tubular flowers start as creamy white and slowly become deep salmon pink to almost clear pink before falling. Best color in warm-summer climates, under very cool conditions the flowers are only briefly pink before dehiscing. To 10' or more. rev 9/2005 

'Cypress Garden'  flowers  single flowers which are extremely long, longer even than the occasionally encountered "regular" single form of the species, and aging to light golden yellow. rev  7/2005

'Sweet Spice'   giant apricot Angel's Trumpets   by far this has the nicest fragrance I've found for an Angel's Trumpet. I have been lucky to have the fragrance drifting in my window all night for month, and I still can't get enough. The closest I can come to describing  it is "a little lemony, plus baby powder, maybe with some vanilla thrown in." The usual enormous, creamy white trumpets fade to a warm pale apricot as they age. Juvenile-phase leaves can be gigantic on this variety, and very good for tropical effect. A very few plants left the nursery under another temporary production handle, 'Sweet Dreams,' but that conflicted with a pre-existing variety. Frost protection, sun to some shade, average watering to surprisingly drought tolerant when established. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 8-9, 15-17, 21-24. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 8-9, 15-17 21,-24. rev 6/2015  MBN INTRODUCTION-2015

Brunfelsia pauciflora 'Royal Robe'    4½" flowers!!       my plant   so nice - let's see the reverse angle!   old camera, mass bloom    aanother re-reintroduction, this old, famous hybrid seems to be B. pauciflora 'Macrantha' renamed, but I can't confirm that. This wonderful plant grows as a slow,evergreen shrub, arching its way to 7’ tall and 4' wide in SoCal, but usually seen under 4' in Northern California. The luxuriant, very heavy-textured leaves reach 6" long by 3" wide and form a wonderful background for those gi-normous, deep, almost-unfading, intensely violet purple flowers, which can reach 4½" across! How can you not like that??? Flowers last up to 4-5 days, bloom is heaviest in spring and fall, with occasional flowers going off almost all year. This usually does best with little or no direct sunlight, and iut will tolerate quite deep shade. Grow it in, rich, loose, well-aerted soils with average watering but regular feeding with high-N soluble fertilizers ("Azalea and Camellia food,"etc.). This is especially heading into winter. Prune only to shape, sparingly. A plant in my garden in Santa Cruz survived the all-time-record freeze of December, 1990 -19F - without even dropping its leaves. Th just turned a very nice dark purple! Certainly it doesn't like going below freezing, but mMany other supposedly hardier plants nearby either froze completely to the ground or just plain up and died. It isn't as tropical as it looks. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 15-17, 21-24. Tropical America. Solanaceae. rev 2/2015  

Brunnera macrophylla  nice leaves, flowers   closeup   a semideciduous to evergreen perennial related to Cynoglossum and Forget-Me-Nots. It has large, distinctive, heart-shaped leaves to 10" long by 6" across and forms a low clump. Tiny, clear sky blue flowers are borne in long, wiry, open spikes, most heavily in spring but showing some flowers all during the growing season. Deep rooted, it is relatively drought resistant when established. Spreads slowly by underground stolons and by seeding. This is a choice, formal looking perennial for part sun or shade. It is more persistent than most members of its family and doesn't “travel” away from its planting site by dying out in the center, unlike many others. This is probably the toughest, most durable, most dependable genus in the entire family. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 3. Caucasus, Siberia. Boraginaceae. rev 4/12

'Dawson's White'   a little summer bloom  another variegated variety, with nice wide, ivory white leaf margins and pale blue flowers. rev 8/2012 
'Hadspen Cream'  BUGLOSS  just pretty  charming perennial for moist shade, light green leaves with creamy yellow edges and those too cute blue flowers on wiry stems above the foliage in spring. Rough textured, heart shaped leaves look terrific with ferns and hostas. Grows about 12" and spreads slowly to 24". Site just where you would want to be in summer, under a tree with moisture.  rev 4/2012-Suzy Brooks
'Mr. Morse'   wonderful leaves  leaves are all silver white except for a tidy green margin and well-defined green veins. Clear white flowers complete the elegant package. rev 8/2008
‘Variegata’  blooming  leaves are margined creamy white. Slow! Also difficult to propagate. rev 9/2003

Buddleia   BUTTERFLY BUSH     evergreen and deciduous shrubs, with a few species large enough to become trees,  native to Asia, Africa and America, including one species (B. utahensis) native to desert areas of Eastern California. Used in gardens and landscapes for their showy clusters of tiny, usually fragrant flowers, which often have the scent of curing honey, with some species having attractive foliage as well. The flowers attract butterflies, moths (especially after dark), bees and other beneficials as well as hummingbirds, especially with American species, which often have evolved to display long, tubuler, red flowers. Asian species usually have flowers in long panicles, American species tend to produce rounded clusters. Small fruits are produced in fertile species, these can make plants invasive in wetter areas due to disperal by birds. This is more much common in colder, wetter climates, but  B. davidii is recorded as escaped and problematic in several areas in California, including the SF Bay Area and near Eureka. For this reason we currently offer only  sterile or very low seeding varieties. This genus name was bestowed by the mighty Linnaeus himself (genuflect please!), and properly is spelled as he published it, Buddleja, with the "j" being a modern stand-in for the archaic long i, in order to conform as closely as possible to modern practices (International Code of Botanical Nomenclature,  Article 60.5). The name is always pronounced as if spelled with a short "i", never a "j". This genus is now considered to be in its own family, the Buddlejaceae, but was formerly listed as belonging to the Scrophulariaceae or Loganiaceae.  rev 8/2017
davidii 'Silver Frost'  silver leaves, and white flowers that are more erect. To 5', nicely compact growth. A notorious butterfly magnet. Not for sale to some states and be careful using it near wet environments in California. Scrophulariaceae. rev 8/2016 (not currently in production)
'Buzz Magenta'   flower   name says it all! A tall one, with fragrant dark magento-violet flowers in long, luxurious spikes. Sterile. rev 10/2017
'Buzz Midnight'   dark flower  typical long, fat flower spikes, in an intense purple blue  so deep it is hard to photograph, on a plant just 3-4' tall and wide - and it's completely sterile! To 3-4' wide and tall. rev 10/2017 *New for 2018!*
'Buzz Sky Blue      typical awesome panicle    fragrant lavender blue flowers attract scads of butterflies all summer on a plant only 3-4' tall and wide. Color combo of flower against dark green leaves backed by felty white undersides, plus the low, compact habit, is the reason you just have to own this. Showy, hardy, undemanding. Sun, average watering until established, then rather tough, toadally frost hardy, and easy! Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 10/2013
'Buzz Velvet'  violet, violet, violet!   here is a Butterfly Bush for small gardens or containers. Just 3-4' tall and wide, you can attract those winged beauties to a window or seating area where they can be enjoyed close-up. Magenta flowers, fragrance, and continuous bloom into fall. Sun, average watering. All Sunset zones/USDA 5. rev 9/2013-Suzy Brooks
'CranRazz'   eye-straining color    display plant at Ball, Spring Trials   this is a new, very free-flowering buddleia from Ball Ornamentals. It's main claim to faim is spikes of blindingly intense, ruby magenta flowers in clusters to 8" long, forming branched panicles, from mid-spring through late fall. Growing to 5-6' tall by 4-5' across, it attracts hummingbirds, is surprisingly drought tolerant when established and will survive all but desert heat. Full to half sun, and does wll in a container. All Sunset zones/USDA zone 5a. rev 5/2014

Bulbine frutescens 'Athena Compact'   this is an easy, tough, showy succulent, something like a grassy Aloe, that blooms continually from spring through fall. It bears short spears of cheery orange and yellow flowers (or pure yellow) held above the longa, narrow, round, succulent leaves. This particular selection is a little more compact. It is great for filling even larger spaces, covering gaps in other perennial or succulent plantings, around rocks, etc. It is also a low-water, low care container subject. Needs some shade where it gets really hot. About 12" tall, sprawling and spreading sideways considerably if not restrained. Distinguish from the similar, and similarly named Bulbinella. And hummingbirds like it! Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 9. South Africa. Liliaceae. rev 6/2011 

'Hallmark'  what it does    here's a showy, easy, low maintenance groundcover that's almost always covered in orange and yellow flowers, good for those hard to reach or not-hooked-up-to-water locations. A grassy leafed succulent that forms a clump, about 1-2' tall and wide. Also nice in containers, softening the edges of a path, or spilling over walls. This will freeze down below about 25F but can come back from the roots. This seems to be a facultative short day bloomer, but once initiated the long stalks produce so many flowers that they actually keep the plant in color until it re-initiates, at least in our cool-summer area. And hummingbirds like it! Sunset zones 8-9, 12-24/USDA 8b. rev 1/2012

Butia capitata blue form   JELLY PALM, PINDO PALM   nice plant at the Huntington   silvery foliage  this is a wonderful blue-white to silvery-grey or grey-green form of the most cold- hardy "feather palm" (as opposed to "fan palm"). At its best if often shows a swollen base, narrow neck, ornamental retained leaf bases stacked verticaly on the trunk and an attractive spreading, wispy crown. It is the bluest/greyest feather palm you are likely able to grow in California, along with the inestimable Brahea armata, and actually one of the best and most highly sought-after palms in the world, especially where it is hard to grow. It is highly variable, and more than once I have stopped to examine what I was sure was some odd, new species, just to conclude it was just another interesting seedling form of Pindo Palm. These seedlings are derived from isolated, very blue adult trees, and with maturity, and only with maturity, they will start to show their superior leaf color. At its best in hot, dry conditions, I also know of fine specimens along the cool, foggy coastal plain in Central California. It produces fruit that are edible and of varying quality, the best like high quality pineapple and very acidic or odd-tasting in others. It is a great container plant, as lacks spiny leaflets that might be a problem for nearby foot traffic, and is also quite tough natured and quite tolerant of the water stress. To 10-20' tall by 10-15' wide, before you die, if you plant it when you are young. Frost hardy to about 15F or lower, and highly drought tolerant. Very limited supply. USDA zone 9/Sunset 8-9, 12-24. Palmae/Arecaceae. South America. rev 1/2016
Butiagrus nabonnandii   MULE PALM   at Manuel's house, about 8 yrs. old from 5g   a highly-sought-after hybrid palm (Butia capitata, Pindo or Jelly Palm, x Syagrus romanzoffianum, Queen Palm), valued as the hardiest "tropical-looking" palm available. Plants are  slightly variable, as both parents vary, but figure these seedlings will be faster than a Butia plus more luxuriant, and slower than a Queen Palm but more frost hardy. Able to tolerate freezes to around 15F, they have a compact-yet-luxuriant appearance under either more tropical, Florida-like conditions or drier, Mediterranean to semi-desert California climates. Sun to part shade, average to very infrequent watering when established, not picky about soil. Very limited supply. Palmae/Arecaceae. rev 1/2016

Buxus sempervirens 'Variegata'    shade specimen  a classy, formal, evergreen landscape shrub for use as a hedge or single, nicely-located specimen. It looks great against any darker background, even just a shady garden. This is slower growing than the green form, and seems to grow more horizontally,with respect to height, especially in shade. It took us a year and a half to get this crop ready for sale, don't expect more than a foot a year of growth in the ground. Eventually it might reach 8-10' tall by 6-8' wide. Flowers are inconspicuous. Full sun to almost full shade, average soils, quite drought tolerant when established but will tolerate rather frequent irrigation if necessary. USDA zone 6. Northern Africa, Eurasia. rev 7/2016