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Tried and True plants

To see more information about a particular plant or genus, click on the name to go to a more detailed page. There is a pager at the bottom.

Aethionema subulatum Aethionema subulatum

A very attractive Aethionema, in or out of flower.  Narrow silver leaves, compact habit, and early spring flowers in a nice mauve-pink with a dark eye

Calylophus drummondii Calylophus drummondii

Texas native forms mounds of fine green leaves, covered with large clear yellow primrose flowers in spring, summer and fall.  Very adaptable given well drained soil.


I had a complete love affair with Dianthus for a while.  Cute little silver buns with pink flowers.  Sigh.  Unfortunately, the gophers like even more than I do. The only surviving Dianthus in our garden are tucked into a tiny crack in a large boulder where they managed to seed.  But, should you live somewhere where you do not have to deal with the pestilence that is gopher, there are many to try. Almost all of them prefer full sun. 

Dianthus arpadianus Dianthus arpadianus

Worth growing just for the absolutely perfect buns of tiny dense green leaves. Decked out with small pink flowers in spring. A precious plant native to mediterranean rocky slopes. One of our absolute favorites.

Dianthus ericaceous Dianthus erinaceus

Possibly my favorite Dianthus, because I have a predilection for spiny things. Hard spiny domes of green, dotted with stemless dark pink flowers in early summer. A Turkish delight. 

Digitalis obscura Digitalis obscura

Wonderful foxglove from Spain with willowy green leaves on woody stems.  Burgundy flower stalks with interesting flowers of tawny copper.  Can take lots of sun and is  more xeric than many foxgloves. Plant with Spanish Lavender for an arresting combo.


A fantastic genus of plants from North America, including many species from California.  These are very tough adaptable plants for the sunny, dry rock garden.  Very gopher resistant due to an extensive fibrous root system.  Even many of the alpine species can be grown at lower altitudes.

Eriogonum heracleoides minus Eriogonum heracleoides minus

This is a miniature version of heracleoides, and it is super cute.  Lots of  fluffy cream flowers with hints of pink.  Plant it near a blue Penstemon. 

Eriogonum heracleoides Eriogonum heracleoides

A larger Eriogonum from the Great Basin with cream colored flowers that fade to a tawny rust.  Often found in sage brush communities.  May not be able to handle a lot of summer water. 

Eriogonum kennedyi Eriogonum kennedy

Even though this is an alpine species, it has done well in our lower elevation garden.  Mats of tiny silver leaves and white flowers in spring.  There are various subspecies.  E. kennedyi var. alpigenum has flowers that are almost stemless. E. kennedyi kennedyi has flowers with much longer stems.  Less choice, perhaps, but it was more persistent in our garden. Must have rock garden setting and gravel mulch.