native plant garden

25/09/16: Orostachys ‘Chinese Hat’.
Monocarpic, sadly, but I’ve taken plenty of cuttings, and there are some rosettes that aren’t flowering. This is my first year growing it so I can’t attest to how hardy it is, and I’ve heard varying reports. I’ll be keeping it in an unheated greenhouse this winter, as, like many succulents, it can probably take temperatures below freezing as long as it’s kept dry. 


Penstemon strictus is in the foxglove family Plantaginaceae. Commonly known as rocky mountain penstemon, it is native to Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, and a small area of California. Rocky mountain penstemon is a herbaceous perennial found growing in subalpine areas including pinyon-juniper forests, and open meadows. It is also considered one of the most common penstemon species in the Rocky Mountain area, often forming dense populations of plants that cover forest clearings and bloom in the spring and summer. Because of its vibrant display of blue-purple flowers, coupled with its high drought tolerance, rocky mountain penstemon has been cultivated widely for use in perennial beds and native plant gardens.


Two books I’m very excited about. The first is Baker Creek Heirloom seed catalog. It arrived unexpectedly in the mail a little while ago and I’ve been flipping through its pages and day dreaming. The second is my wifes Decolonize Your Diet cookbook that she got for Christmas. Its full of plant based recipes for Mexican food using ingredients native to the Americas. The two books complement each other nicely. I’m compiling a list of seeds I’ll need for a native plant vegetable garden. Growing and cooking food native both to my culture and my locale has been an idea I’ve been mulling over for a while and I’m finally taking small steps in that direction.


Plant of the Day

Sunday 17 July 2016

Dactylorhiza elata ‘Glasnevin’ (robust marsh orchid) is a vigorous form of this species, originating from the Dublin Botanic Garden around 1895. These deciduous tuberous perennials have lance-shaped leaves with erect spikes of reddish-purple flowers. These plants need a damp site.

Jill Raggett


Ranunculus californicus is in the family Ranunculaceae. Commonly known as california buttercup, it is found throughout the state of California, with a range that extends north and south into Oregon and Baja California. California buttercup can also be found on islands near the Pacific coast. This species produces small yellow flowers that rise 2-3 feet above the basal rosette of leaves. Guaranteed to add a splash of color to the landscape, the california buttercup is commonly cultivated for use in native plant gardens.