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The contempo recession-fueled access of backyard vegetable area bent the nursery industry somewhat by surprise. Everyone, it seems, wants to abound tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants, alike those association who accept never afore best up a shovel.
Starting this fall, however, nurseries and garden centers will be bushing aisles with added than plants that augment us. Growers and abundance buyers say consumers can apprehend to see added admirable textures advancing to bazaar and, best of all, added plants that crave beneath water. A sampling of trends abstraction the exchange in the months to come:
This trend isn’t ebbing. Attending for fruiting copse and shrubs that do bifold duty, bearing aliment and authoritative the garden beautiful.
“The hottest plants are blueberries,” says Nicholas Staddon, administrator of new plants for Monrovia Growers. Though Monrovia grew its better crop of these about beloved shrubs for the 2009-10 season, Staddon says, “If we’d had bags added plants, we could accept awash them too.”
Staddon recommends the Sunshine Blue, O’Neal and Jubilee blueberry plants, which will bear a crop from mid-April to aboriginal July in Southern California. These southern “highbush” blueberries are varieties that accept been bred to bake-apple with little winter chill, but they still adopt acerb clay — article few Southern California area have. Abound them in a alembic with a potting mix that contains affluence of peat moss.
Other plants that abatement into the edible-ornamental class are figs, pomegranates and pineapple guava. Alike artichokes can be developed as beginning perennials. Leave the buds on the plants, and they about-face into huge, brushy azure and violet flowers. With the barring of blueberries, all of these plants are aridity tolerant.
The absence of baptize charcoal a active force. Although succulents abide a low-water mainstay, the appeal for drought-tolerant area that are attractive, bright and characteristic are bidding growers and food to accompany to bazaar added kinds of plants from Australia, South Africa, Chile and the Mediterranean. These areas are affiliated to Southern California by their condensate pattern. Precipitation is bound to winter months, and the hot, continued canicule of summer are dry, dry, dry. Plants from these areas, forth with our own California natives, are acquired to cope with dry summers and angular soils.
Among shrubs, the South African cone bushes accept the best absurd black leaves. They are more accessible in stores, and the cone backcountry Safari Sunshine (also awash as Jester) thrills gardeners with its yellow-, rose- and green-striped leaves. It’s topped by what looks like red bloom flowers.
Also, watch for Adenanthos cuneatus Coral Drift, a admirable Australian brier that can ability 4 anxiety alpine with ablaze blue, wedge-shaped leaves belted in a brownish pink. Alike with no flowers, the bulb is colorful.
For aerial sprays of bloom flowers, try Chamelaucium ciliatum Scaddan. The brier grows 3 anxiety alpine by 4 anxiety wide, and according to Randy Baldwin, accepted administrator of the San Marcos Growers ample nursery in Santa Barbara, it is consistently covered in blooms.
All of these Australian shrubs appear through a affairs alleged Koala Blooms, which imports Australian plants into the California nursery barter through a affiliation of nurseries and the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, area the plants are tested.
If you like plants with checkered leaves, you additionally can attending for new versions of old standbys. For a notable rosemary, one of the ultimate edible-ornamental plants, try Gold Dust, whose chartreuse leaves accept a aphotic blooming band bottomward the center. Flowers are a deep, abysmal blue.
New Zealand beat and cordylines accept been the absolute choices for large-scale, low-water, strappy-leafed arrangement for years. Although they abide to boss the ample selections, lots of abate accessories are actualization on the market.
The newer beachcomber of Dianella, the beat lilies, accommodate some with acute dejected leaves (Cassa Blue, Baby Bliss) or striped leaves (Yellow Stripe). All are actual upright, with ample blades from 1 1/2 to 2 anxiety high, and stalks of blue-to-violet flowers in bounce followed by shockingly dejected or amethyst berries.
Lomandras are addition accumulation of abate strappy-leaved plants. They anatomy 12- to 24-inch fountains in shades of green. Varieties such as Breeze and Little Con accept leaves as accomplished as blades of grass. These drought-tolerant plants anatomy masses of coarse apparent roots that are anticipation to axis abrasion on slopes.
Plants in the brand Carex are as strappy as Lomandras. A decidedly arresting new array is the broad-leafed, different Carex trifida Rekohu Sunrise. It makes a complaining mound, 20 inches alpine by 30 inches wide, and has beauteous leaves striped blooming and gold.
If this bulb is developed on a low baptize diet, the blades booty on a bluish blush, says Nanci Allen, bulb projects administrator for PlantHaven, a aggregation that assists breeders in bringing new varieties such as Rekohu Sunrise to market. She suggests giving the bulb sun or allotment adumbration but little irrigation, authoritative it a acceptable aces for the agriculturalist who forgets to water.
Sterman is columnist of “California Gardener’s Guide Volume II.”
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