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Perennial Pleasures

Articles: Perennial Pleasures

Lessingia filaginifolia ‘Smart Aster’. Author’s photographs

As landscape designer Nan Fairbrother wrote,
Flowers are the last and least important class of vegetation for design, even though millions of contented gardeners consider them the essential raison d’etre of the whole process. . . . Just as architects are concerned with the structure of buildings, so landscape designers are concerned with the structure of landscape. When considering the overall design, flowers are largely irrelevant, for we can no more make a good garden by starting with flowers than a house by starting with the ornaments on the shelves.[1. Fairbrother, Nan. 1974. The Nature of Landscape Design: As an Art Form, a Craft, a Social Necessity. Knopf, New York.]
Sound advice indeed, but sometimes our passion for plants gets the better of us. When it comes to creating a California native garden, the most popular flowery perennials include monkey-flowers, irises, California poppy, California fuchsia, coral bells, and that rambunctious gem, Matilija poppy. To further whet gardeners’ appetites—the design process notwithstanding—the Santa Ba...

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Articles: Calochortophilia: A Californian’s Love Affair with a Genus by Katherine Renz

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