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Member Profile

Luen Miller

Luen Miller is owner and president of Monterey Bay Nursery, a wholesale growers of container woody ornamentals, perennials, seasonal color, greenhouse plants and succulents. The nursery is known for its innovative new introductions of new wave perennials, as well as Mediterranean-climate plants from Australia, South Africa, California and the Mediterranean region itself.
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Adenanthos cunninghamii (Albany Woollybush)

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Grevillea ‘Austraflora Fanfare’

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Grevillea x Gaudichaudii

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Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’

Adenanthos cunninghamii (Albany Woollybush)
Plants You Need    | Sustainable Gardening

Plant Family

Proteaceae
Species Icon

Genus

Adenanthos
Plant Species

Species

Adenanthos cunninghamii (Albany Woollybush)
A Tough Australian Shrub with Color for Days. Grows as a spreading shrub, more upright as it matures. The oldest plants at the UCSC Arboretum are about 6-7' tall and wide, with dense, nicely compact habits. Small, narrow flowers are deep red, seen in late spring to early summer. Likes average drainage at a minimum, excellent drainage and mineral soils are its favorite. This is a tough, durable plant that will withstand considerable drought, and is especially forgiving in that regard when used as a container plant. It also tolerates moderately frequent summer watering well but will survive in much of populated California on almost none after a year or two in the ground. It is relatively cold hardy, showing just light foliage damage here after being tested several times to 25F, including five nights in a row.

Water Use

Drought Loving once Established

Conditions When It Thrives

Full-sun exposure in well-drained soil, down to 25 degrees

Ecosystem Services

Native To

Western Australia

Geographic Range

Availability

Height & Habit

Burly, dense silver-blue shrub that can grow 3-6’ tall and 4- 7’ wide

Special Features

Did You Know Icon
The plant was orginally named A. drummondii, but was reclassified as cunninghamii, a natural cross between A. sericeus subsp. sericeus and A. cuneatus.

Why They Love It

Although the red flowers can sometimes hide in the foliage, they are still showy, and the new growth often emerges pink.

Seasonal Appearance/Dormancy

Evergreen, red autumn flowers can be obscured by the foliage

Advice

Grevillea ‘Austraflora Fanfare’
Plants You Need    | Sustainable Gardening

Plant Family

Proteaceae
Species Icon

Genus

Grevillea
Plant Species

Species

Grevillea ‘Austraflora Fanfare’
A very showy, very low, very tough, very drought tolerant, very frost-hardy, weed-smothering evergreen groundcover that is disease and insect resistant, highly deer, rabbit and gopher resistant when established, and can be planted wide centers with discrete (vs. sprinkled) irrigation (for easier weed control). Planted from one or five gallon containers, this is how you cover a lot of ground at a relatively low price. Sound good? Well that's not all - it draws hummingbirds, pollinators and beneficial too! But wait, there's more! It is pretty enough to be used commercially as a cut flower and for cut foliage filler. The flowers are very showy and well-displayed, but the attractive sawtooth leaves are also quite striking, all year, and especially when emerging all bronzy and silky and sprinkled with flower buds.

Water Use

Drought loving once established

Conditions When It Thrives

Full sun, lean, well-drained soil

Ecosystem Services

Feed hummingbirds and other beneficial pollinators, drought-loving once established, low leaf litter.

Native To

Australia

Geographic Range

Availability

Height & Habit

Staying 1’ tall and expanding to 15,’ its seven-inch leaves offer a sawtooth pattern and dark pink-red flowers

Special Features

Dense evergreen growth offers optimal weed suppression, while long-lasting flowers feed hummingbirds and other pollinators.
Did You Know Icon

Why They Love It

These strong-growing long-bloomers are weed-smothering, deer- and rodent-resistant, hummingbird attracting, and with little fire-sparking litter. An alternative to Carmel Creeper (Ceanothus griseus), which creates copious dead leaves.

Seasonal Appearance/Dormancy

Evergreen, spreading shrubs.

Advice

According to Miller, this is the one to choose if your area is prone to heavy winter rains which may defoliate it at 20 degrees F or so, but it will pop back with drier weather.
Grevillea x Gaudichaudii
Plants You Need    | Sustainable Gardening

Plant Family

Proteaceae
Species Icon

Genus

Grevillea
Plant Species

Species

Grevillea x Gaudichaudii
Is a hybrid species of flowering plant in the family Proteaceae and is endemic to a restricted area of New South Wales. It is a prostrate shrub with deeply lobed leaves and toothbrush-like groups of dark pink to burgundy-red flowers. The plant is a popular garden ground-cover.

Water Use

Drought loving once established

Conditions When It Thrives

Full sun, lean, well-drained soil

Ecosystem Services

Feed hummingbirds and other beneficial pollinators, drought-loving once established, low leaf litter.

Native To

Australia

Geographic Range

Availability

Height & Habit

Only 1’ tall but up to 7‘ wide, with upward-facing red toothbrush-shaped flowers

Special Features

Dense evergreen growth offers optimal weed suppression, while long-lasting flowers feed hummingbirds and other pollinators.
Did You Know Icon

Why They Love It

These strong-growing long-bloomers are weed-smothering, deer- and rodent-resistant, hummingbird attracting, and with little fire-sparking litter. An alternative to Carmel Creeper (Ceanothus griseus), which creates copious dead leaves.

Seasonal Appearance/Dormancy

Evergreen, spreading shrubs.

Advice

Grevillea x Gaudichaudii's upward-facing red toothbrush-shaped flowers; usually from February – August. are hummingbird candy. Established plants can be hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but new or young plants should be acclimated gradually. Miller says this is the cold hardiest of the trio.
Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’
Plants You Need    | Sustainable Gardening

Plant Family

Proteaceae
Species Icon

Genus

Grevillea
Plant Species

Species

Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’
Until recently the most popular plant in Australia, now superseded by the Lomandra gang. But it is still the most popular large-scale groundcover, and just check out the images to see why. It is very close to 'Austraflora Fanfare' but its leaves are essentially uncut and thus it appear more lush and verdant. It is also definitely faster, moderately denser, less drought tolerant and less cold hardy, by a couple to a few degrees - degrees F, that is.

Water Use

Drought loving once established

Conditions When It Thrives

Full sun, lean, well-drained soil

Ecosystem Services

Feed hummingbirds and other beneficial pollinators, drought-loving once established, low leaf litter.

Native To

Australia

Geographic Range

Availability

Height & Habit

1.5’ tall and spreading to 9’ across

Special Features

This strong-growing prostrate shrub makes a great groundcover. Green foliage can emerge tinged copper, and flowers are hot pink.
Did You Know Icon
Poorinda Royal Mantle is one of the best-selling plants in Australia.

Why They Love It

These strong-growing long-bloomers are weed-smothering, deer- and rodent-resistant, hummingbird attracting, and with little fire-sparking litter. An alternative to Carmel Creeper (Ceanothus griseus), which creates copious dead leaves.

Seasonal Appearance/Dormancy

Dense evergreen growth offers optimal weed suppression, while long-lasting flowers feed hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Advice

Dense evergreen growth offers optimal weed suppression, while long-lasting flowers feed hummingbirds and other pollinators.
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