Bay Gardens in Bloom

Plants that grow well in the Bay area

With global warming and requests to limit our consumption of water, some rethinking of the plants we grow has to take place. We are beginning to experience something like a Mediterranean climate some years, with a burst of flowering in late spring and early summer, drought conditions later producing a semi shut down in July and August and a revival of flowering in the autumn.
With that in mind it might be worth considering some of the following which have been grown successfully in the area for a long time.
Box, yew, myrtle or bay hedges, even olives in sheltered gardens. Escallonia copes well with salt winds and makes a thick evergreen hedge.
Shrubby plants such as Rosemary thrive, the upright kind or the prostrate variety and it is easy to take cuttings from them, which is also true of Lavender. Cistus, Cytisus, Phlomis, Artemisia with its grey foliage all cope with drought and Helianthemum or rock roses flower well and there is a tremendous variety of colours to choose from.
Convolvulus Cneororum with its silver grey leaves and white flowers is a very worthwhile plant. Euphorbias of all varieties do well and if you want more architectural plants you could try Phormium or Yucca. Cardoon does well in our garden, flourishing on the compost heap at the moment. Acanthus is magnificent at the back of the border with its glossy leaves and tall spikes giving it its nickname Bear's Breeches.
It is well worth planting a fig, we get 3 or 4 figs a day throughout August from our Brown Turkey planted some 15 years ago and I picked 30 semi ripe figs at the start of December this year, there's global warming for you. Figs need to have their roots confined and like a warm wall, but ours is freestanding though reasonably sheltered. We've also got a White Marseilles Fig which is beginning to bear fruit after five years.

Try planting some Agapanthus in containers, there are lots of varieties and some are less hardy so you could put them under cover during the winter. Bearded Irises cope well with hot dry conditions and their strap like leaves look good all year round. They need dividing up in July every few years and like their rhizomes exposed so that they can bake.
Gaura, pink or white, is a delightful plant with a long flowering season, tolerant of drought, but doesn't like to get its feet too wet in the winter. Verbena Bonariensis is very easy to grow from seed and says thank you all through the summer with its tall branching shoots with small purple flowers. Caryopteris Clandonensis is a lovely shrub with pale blue flowers even in the driest of Augusts; another though darker blue small shrub at this time of year is Ceratostigma Willmottianumwith lovely red leaves in the autumn.
Finally some bulbs in my mind as I write this in January, Nerines, or Guernsey lilies which give a frilly pink show in the autumn after a good baking, plant them so that the top part of the bulb is exposed to the sun, and Schizostylis or Kaffir lilies, delicate pink or red flowers which survive cold and wind. Don't forget Alliums. Local nurseries will give you advice, as will the Royal Horticultural Society Website.

Open Gardens.

Each year we organise an Open Gardens event, (usually the end of May or early June) and anybody who would like to support this event,please see below.

The grey box on the map is considered to be the maximum area for the Open Gardens. Judith invites anybody living within the grey box area who would like to open their garden to the public, to please contact her.

Thank you

For more information on garden events, please contact Judith Hunt at:     or  telephone: 01983 756217