Flower power

Maile Arnold transformed a dry slope in Sonoma County into a dazzling flower garden. Her secret? Choosing the right plants

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  • Flower power

  • Flower power

Color makers for hot, dry gardens

Blooming plants

CROWN-PINK (Lychnis coronaria). White-foliage perennial or annual to 2 1/2 feet tall with magenta flowers. All Sunset zones.

DAYLILY (Hemerocallis hybrids). Deciduous or evergreen perennials with grassy leaves and flowers in many colors; grow 1-6 feet tall, depending on variety. All zones.

'FIREBIRD' PENSTEMON. Bushy, upright perennial 2 to 4 feet tall with red tubular flowers. All zones (annual in cold climates).

'IRENE' TRAILING ROSEMARY. Trailing evergreen bush 1 foot tall by 6 feet wide with violet blue flowers. Zones 4-24.

MEXICAN BUSH SAGE (Salvia leucantha). Shrubby perennial to 4 feet tall with velvety purple flower spikes.

MYOPORUM PARVIFOLIUM 'PUTAH CREEK'. Ground cover to 3 inches tall with bright green leaves and white flowers in summer. Zones 8-9, 12-16, 18-24.

'PROVENCE' LAVENDER. Upright, rounded evergreen shrub 2 to 3 feet tall with highly fragrant flowers. Zones 4-24.

ROSES. 'Altissimo', red climber; 'Joseph's Coat', multicolored (red, pink, orange, and yellow) climber. All zones.

SALVIA GREGGII. Evergreen shrub to 4 feet tall with small flowers from spring through fall. Comes in many colors. Zones 8-24.

SANTA BARBARA DAISY. Spreading evergreen perennial ground cover, 1 foot tall by 4 to 6 feet across. White or pinkish daisies appear all year in mild climates. Reseeds. Zones: 8, 9, 12-24.

'SISKIYOU PINK' GAURA. Long-blooming perennial to 3 1/2 feet tall with rose pink flowers. All zones.

TEUCRIUM FRUTICANS 'AZUREUM'. Evergreen shrub 4 feet tall by 5 feet wide with dark blue flowers and gray leaves. Zones 4-24.

VERBENA BONARIENSIS. Airy, branching perennial with 3- to 6-foot-tall flowering stems topped with purple flowers. Reseeds. Zones 8-24.

V. RIGIDA. Spreading perennial 1 to 1 1/2 feet tall by 3 to 4 feet wide with rough, dark green leaves. Lilac to purple-blue flowers appear on tall, stiff stems from summer through fall. All zones.

Foliage plants

RED-LEAF JAPANESE BARBERRY (Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea'). Graceful, deciduous shrub 4 to 6 feet tall with bronzy red to purplish foliage all summer. All zones.

SMOKE TREE (Cotinus coggygria). Deciduous shrub or tree to 25 feet tall with green leaves that turn red in fall and smokelike flowers. 'Royal Purple' has purple leaves. All zones.


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