Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Still More Chaparral Shrubs

Here are a few more large shrubs that help make up the basic structure of my garden. First is Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia).

It's another staple of the native garden. It's easy to grow. It has fairly inconspicuous flowers but bees love them. In winter it has red berries that are attractive and birds love them. Like Lemonade Berry it is evergreen. It can get up to 20 ft. tall under ideal garden conditions, but it also takes pruning well. When mine got too big a few years ago, I cut it back to the ground. It resprouted from the stump and now looks like the photo above.

Next is a unique plant, Silk Tassel Bush (Garrya elliptica). I have to admit that mine doesn't look too great at the moment. There used to be a couple of big trees next to it that shaded it too much, so the lower part of it lost all its leaves and there were a lot of dead branches. I cut down the two offending trees so the Garrya is now sprouting new growth all over the place but you can't see it yet.

Despite my not-ready-for-prime-time photo, this is a really nice shrub. It doesn't get as tall as Toyon but it is evergreen and very attractive year round. But Garrya's most unique feature is its flowers. They hang down in long chains or tassels.

Another great chaparral shrub that deserves mention is Summer Holly (Comarostaphylis diversifolia ssp. diversifolia). Unfortunately I don't have a good photo of it. It's a rare one in the wild, but available in several nurseries. It has small but attractive white flowers that very much resemble the flowers of manzanitas to which it is closely related. It has red berries that appear in the summer and are appreciated by wildlife.  Too bad I don't have a picture, but you can look it up on

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