Elegant Shrubs for the Garden

Elegant Shrubs for the Garden

Today’s post features California native shrubs that are “front-yard natives” because they look good year-round, are easy to care for, HOA’s love them, and they are evergreen.

Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos species) are great in front-garden landscapes because they are leafy evergreen plants with bell-shaped blossoms that support native bumblebees and other wildlife. ‘Sunset’ manzanitas are medium-sized starter plants that are well-suited for the novice native plant gardener. Manzanitas come in all shapes and sizes, from ground covers to small trees. They enhance landscapes with their structural elegance.

A ‘Sunset’ manzanita in bloom in a front garden. (E. Wallace)

Another great shrub is Artemisia ‘Montara,’ a soft, low-growing, silvery cultivar that has a subtle fragrance reminiscent of California. This shrub is perfect for front landscapes because it softens hard edges of sidewalks and driveways.

A fluffy Artemisia ‘Montara’ grows in the mid-ground of this poolside landscape. Dudleyas and White Sage grow alongside. (E. Wallace)

If your front garden is hot and sunny, Yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei) is a low-water, sun-loving species that will add structure to your landscape. Plant it well away from walkways because its leaves have sharp tips.

Surrounded by rocks, Yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei) takes center stage in this Southern California garden. (S. Bressler)

Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii) will steal the show in any front yard. Its violet blossoms are on full display right now, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

Pale swallowtail butterfly nectars on blossoms of Cleveland Sage. (E. Wallace)

Lastly, Baccharis pilularis ‘Pigeon Point’ is an excellent choice as a basic foundation plant for any garden. This shrub is evergreen and spreads three feet wide. Baccharis ‘Pigeon Point’ grows well in most soils and thrives in full sun or part shade. Use it where you want a soft mounded evergreen background in your garden.

Baccharis pilularis ‘Pigeon Point’ is highlighted by the afternoon sun in this photo. (E. Wallace)

These selections are just five of the hundreds of species of California native shrubs you might consider for your front landscape. They will provide year-round beauty and nature value too.

For more native plant choices, go to Calscape and type in your zip code. You can view photos, browse the plant list, and also find nurseries near you that sell native plants.

Native plants support nature. When native plants are growing in your garden, birds and butterflies thrive.

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