Coastal Escape

Garden tip from Designer Plant Combinations by Scott Calhoun

Storey Publishing, $18.95, paperback, 240 pages

03312 garden_flowers


More than 100 creative combinations, planted by top garden designers, inspire home gardeners to put plants together in unexpected but stunning groupings. Each garden composition uses six plants or fewer — perfect for every small space.




Garden designer Dave Buchanan, who specializes in gardens featuring California native plants, designed a garden brimming with jewels like California poppy and miniature lupine around his client’s beach-town cottage. Augmenting the natives, his clients innocently planted a little western Mediterranean daisy, mini marguerite. The unplanned hybrid planting made an impressive spring display.

Mini marguerite daisy

Chrysanthemum paludosum

A vigorous little bedding plant for coastal and desert gardens, the white, daisy-like flowers resemble a small Shasta daisy. The deeply toothed green foliage lends a lush feel to this great little plant. It’s mostly grown as a summer annual, although it overwinters in mild climates. Likes full sun. It does spread so be warned. 8-10 inches tall x 8 inches wide.


Miniature lupine

Lupinus bicolor

Awesome in coastal sage scrub areas, miniature lupine likes full sun and will thrive without watering in sunny, open areas. Like other lupines, miniature lupine fixes nitrogen in the soil so that surrounding plants will benefit. To get the hard-coated seeds to germinate drop them into a mason jar filled with boiling water. After the seeds have swollen, they are ready to sow in the garden. Annual. 4-6 inches tall x 6 inches wide.


California poppy

Eschscholzia californica

With orange, yellow and occasionally cream-colored flowers borne above ferny foliage, these poppies love poor, sandy, well-drained soils but will tolerate richer garden soils as well. Their long, sickle-shaped seedpods explode when ripe. In cold climates, sow California poppy seeds in spring. In warm-weather climates, fall sowing is best. Annual. 12 inches tall x 6 inches wide.

Categories: Gardening