Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ceanothus 'Dark Star' is my favorite plant in the garden, this week…


I bought my Ceanothus 'Dark Star' last March, when I thought I'd be getting rid of the Sasa palmata and needed something to plant in it's stock tank. Cooler heads prevailed and the bamboo stayed. What to do with the ceanothus? It went in a container, holding for the moment it could eventually go in the ground.

Last year it was stressed from life in a nursery container and didn’t bloom much at all. This year it’s rewarded me with dozens of big plump (and plum) buds for weeks. They were beautiful on their own, if that had been it I would have been happy, but of course the blue flowers are an entire other level of bliss, for me and the bees. Oh and they smell good too, I wasn't expecting that.

Thankfully I've been able to show my appreciation for all this plant has given me by sinking it's roots into the ground. It's got pride of place in the former privet-lands. (please pardon the construction zone aesthetic)

The stats for this ceanothus:
  • USDA Zones 7-10
  • 4-6ft tall and 6-8 ft wide, eventually
  • Heat and drought tolerant
  • loves sun but can get by with light shade
  • evergreen


My favorite thing about it is the tiny, yet deeply folded leaves. They look great year-round. What's looking great in your garden this week? Please tell us about it!

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

59 comments:

  1. It's certainly a very classy looking plant Loree and looks right at home in its new spot!

    The normal spring things, like the Hellebores, are looking good in my garden at the moment and have flowered very well this year. I am 3 or 4 weeks behind you, but things are starting to come to life and I often find myself wandering around the garden getting excited about new herbaceous things starting to wake up and pop their heads up from under the soil.

    Another "event" for me was bringing my potted Agave from under the shelter down the side of the house and putting them out on the decking.

    I also potted on a Yucca that I bought from ebay, it is called a Yucca Sapphire Skies and looks remarkably like a rostrata, but its leaves are longer. It will be kept in a pot though so that I can drag it under shelter in the winter - the soil around here is too wet to stick Yucca in the ground unfortunately.

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    1. I know 'Sapphire Skies' as a Cistus Nursery introduction, a bluer form of the plant. http://plantlust.com/plants/yucca-rostrata-sapphire-skies/ it's a beauty!

      I've started to bring a few of the agave prisoners out into the open but haven't yet started the mass migration. Soon...

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    2. I like these photos of Ceanothus 'Dark Star'. Drought and heat tolerant, loving sun and evergreen? Very good. Maybe it can live in my Sicily.

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  2. I love Ceanothus, and 'Dark Star' is a beauty! Ours aren't flowering quite yet, but they're close. My favorite in my garden this week is Primroses -- yep, all of them.

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    1. You must have quite the primrose display Alison!

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  3. Very choice! I have hedges constructed of a paler blue Ceanothus, which, although pretty, doesn't hold a candle to 'Dark Star.' My own favorite this week is an over-exposed beauty: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/04/my-favorite-plant-this-week-digiplexis.html

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    1. Hedges of ceanothus sound pretty wonderful!

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    2. Kris what did you use for the hedge? How tall? ...it blooms regularly?

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  4. Nothing matches that gorgeous blue color and the sweet fragrance is an added bonus. The bees keep the whole bush humming while it's in bloom! I saw a big display of these at a nursery recently and thought of you and yours. Glad to see that (s)he's found a home in the ground!

    My fave this week is Magnolia 'Black Tulip' http://outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2014/04/magnolia-black-tulip-is-my-favorite.html

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    1. Hopefully the bees will think of this as a tiny consolation for the removal of their beloved privet. I swear when that thing was in bloom the whole neighborhood buzzed.

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  5. Stunning! Looks like something you would find on another planet : ) My favorite plant this week are my little So Sweet and Stained Glass hostas. I planted them a couple of years ago. They suffered through a long hot summer and a very cold wet winter for Houston. And I really didn't expect to see them ........but they came back. I have a very shady north-side that runs along the side of my wrap around porch. I have created a little micro climate there with a fountain, ferns, a waterfall Japanese maple and my hostas along with a row of podacarpus so the neighbors can't see into my living room. I just can't get myself to put up curtains and cover my 1905 double hung windows with wavy glass : )

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    1. I understand your desire for privacy as well as to enjoy your beautiful windows, and it sounds like you've found the perfect solution.

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  6. Nice! Glad to see it got pride of place in your new area...that will continue to be a stunning focal point. Mine is looking good in the hell strip but has yet to bloom. My favorite this week? Probably the Podophyllum, looking good with even MORE leaves this year. The thing is taking over.

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    1. Oh I remember your podophyllum was amazing, and that you were a little concerned about the ceanothus. Sounds like it's gotten over whatever issues it was having?

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    2. I think so, looks like it's about to burst into blossom. So far so good!

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  7. So lovely. I first saw this on a trip to England in 1992 & have lusted for it ever since. Unfortunately, in my zone 6 garden it would die a painful cold death. Especially this year. I will think about yours.

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    1. Yes I am afraid you are right, and in fact reading what others have said I guess I was lucky to have been able to protect mine last winter.

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  8. That's a gorgeous Ceanothus...and a good name, since it has no apparent spines!

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    1. Some of the older stems, where they leaves have dropped, can be a little sharp but you're right - no spines.

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  9. I love Dark Star. Party time, bees! I did a google image search for them and saw one pruned as a single trunk standard in full bloom. I tried this with a Skylark ceanothus, but decided it just wouldn't look at all natural. Like most ceanothus,when growing to its full width Dark Star can take up space in a small garden. Are you planning to tip prune to keep in from getting wide, or just letting it do its thing?
    Jim, N.Tabor

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    1. A little of both. In an uncharacteristic move I did space it so there's quite a bit of room for it to grow, but it can't go getting too crazy so I might have to give it a little snip now and then.

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  10. Was just admiring a beautiful, currently in flower Ceanothus in Regents Park earlier but that pales in comparison to that. The intensity of that blue is outstanding!

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    1. It really is, especially combined with that hit of purple and pink.

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    1. There's a bit of pink there too!

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  12. I saw this shrub growing everywhere when I visited Portland last summer. I loved it. I've never seen it here in Alabama.

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    1. There are quite a few around town, I think the biggest one I'm aware of is just a few blocks away at the Kennedy School restaurant/hotel. They've got a vine with chartreuse leaves growing through it...gorgeous!

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  13. Your Ceanothus is miles ahead of mine, which lost at least half its leaves thanks to the December vortex. However, my garden pal Carol lost hers altogether so I'm not complaining. Your photos are amazing. If I didn't already have a plant, I'd run out and get one just because of them.

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    1. Yikes! I am sorry to read yours, and Carol's, suffered. I guess I was lucky to have been able to pull mine into the "greenhouse" when things got ugly out there.

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  14. We have this shrub in Australian nurseries, it does put on quite a spectacular floral show with pretty little green leaves. I didn't realise it had a fragrance though, must have a sniff next time around. http://gardeningdaysgardeningways.blogspot.com.au

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    1. I was really surprised by the scent. If I hadn't been wrestling it out of the container (with my face right in the flowers) I might not have noticed it as it doesn't really travel far.

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  15. I couldn't resist bringing home the dark-leaved 'Tuxedo' recently, even tho I'm reading from San Marco that it's a weak grower they discontinued. What a nice shape your DS has already. I hope I can get a fave post up later today. So glad that winter is behind you!

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    1. I have heard that too (weak plant) but boy what a looker! And yes, winter was a real blow this year and I am so glad it's behind us.

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  16. voila!
    http://agrowingobsession.com/?p=53906

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  17. Just lovely. I have visions of combing a dark blue ceanothus with a flannel bush. What a combination! Too bad I currently don't have room.

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    1. That would be amazing! Had mine lived (the fremontodendron) I would have had that combo in the front garden, not with 'dark star' but rather C. victoria which isn't nearly as lovely.

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  18. I just realized I forgot to leave a link to my favorite plant post: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2014/04/my-favorite-plant-in-garden-primroses.html

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    1. Yay, we won't have to just imagine what they look like but instead actually get to see them.

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  19. Oh yeah, that is a beauty! I'm not familiar with it, but you can be sure that I lived in its range, I would follow your advice. It's stunning. I hope to see one in person someday.

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    1. I hope you can, when in bloom of course.

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  20. Love your Ceanothus! The plant i love most in MY garden this week is my double trillium. I have a small collection of them in a pot sunken into the ground. I collected them all locally in the wild - from the sides of logging roads, etc., where they would otherwise have been graded over and killed. And guess what? They have the most lovely fragrance of Lily of the Valley! I smelled them ten feet away and couldn't believe it was them until i got onto my hands and knees and checked. Sure enough!! None of my standard, three-petalled trilliums smell like that! Wow!

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    1. Interesting, I've never heard of a trillium with a scent but I am hardy an expert. What color are the flowers?

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  21. I'm a sucker for blue! I love Ceanothus, though I haven't been brave enough to test one against the deer's appetites. Supposedly the small-leaf types like 'Dark Star' are more deer-resistant.

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    1. Try it! Maybe they won't like it...

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  22. Wow, those blooms are something else! I wish someone would develop a way to send scents through the internet, because it looks like it'd be divine. I too love the little leaves (and that it's heat and drought tolerant!).

    Here's my favourite: http://crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/my-favourite-plant-in-garden-this-week_12.html

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    1. Do you ever see it offered for sale in your part of the world?

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    2. I can't say I remember seeing it, but that may just be because I didn't know of its merits and didn't notice it!

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  23. Just posted my fav! First post after returning to the PNW, too! http://practicalplantgeek.blogspot.com/2014/04/im-back-and-my-favorite-plant-in-garden.html

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  24. Wow - that's a real looker. Great bright contrasting color combination all on the same plant. Gonna have to ask my nursery owner friends if it can survive our heat and drier air. I'd love to have them order that for some of my clients.

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  25. Oh, well, YEAH. I'm loving that too. Great color, cool form, and touchable texture. What more does one need?

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  26. I have fallen hard for its blue color, but while on paper it looks like it would do well here, it is no match for our hot humid summers.

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  27. AnonymousMay 13, 2014

    Oh my. What a beauty! This is my favorite tree; since I first saw it a few years ago in a community garden. I want one, but wonder if I can keep it in a a container? Will it flower?

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    1. Mine bloomed in a container just fine.

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  28. I needed another ceanothus to replace one which had gone too woody and wasn't at all attractive. I was visiting our local DIY store for tools, only to find some small ceanothus trees for sale. They weren't labelled as to what particular variety they were, but as this plant had lovely dark green cute tiny leaves and was a bargain price, I took a chance on this one. How pleased I am that I took a chance buying the one I did, as I Googled it and it turned out to be 'Dark Star'. It's now just starting to bloom - beautiful flowers and evergreen too.

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  29. Any advice for drought resistant, bee friendly plants for zone 7? Prefer something just plant once. TY

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