Skip to main content

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.

Eriogonum siskiyouense Eriogonum siskiyouense

A wonderful Eriogonum, with dense mats of green leaves backed in white. The foliage turns a deep burgundy color in winter. Flowers in late spring on erect stems up to 8 inches, pale yellow that fades to a rich apricot.

eriogonum umbellatum Eriogonum umbellatum

There are a multitude of forms of E. umbellatum.  There are many mid-size mounding versions, and even some small diminutive forms.   Almost all of them are perfect for Sierra Foothill gardens.  They can survive with very little water through the summer, but can handle weekly (possibly more) water in the garden setting.  Flowers are usually yellow, but they often fade to red or rusty hues, providing a long season of color. 

Eriogonum wrightii

Another mat forming silver Eriogonum.  Looks like a looser version of E. kennedyi. White flowers on sprawling stems.  Very common along the higher elevations of Hwy 108.


It has always been a mystery to me why the Globularia are not better known.  They are bombproof, water wise, adaptable.  Most of them are mats of glossy bright green leaves, topped with powder puff blue flowers in the spring.  What more could you ask for?  We have some in the front that get watered only a few times in the summer, but they persist without complaint. 

Globularia trichosantha Globularia tricosantha

One of the larger Globularias, a wonderful mat of glossy green foliage topped with purple powderpuff  flowers on 8 inch stems in early spring. A gopher resistant tough plant from the Balkans 

Globularia cordifolia Globularia cordifolia

Dense mats of small glossy green leaves topped with miniature lilac blue powderpuff flowers in spring.  Excellent for the mediterranean rock garden.


These fantastic plants have a serious name issue.  When I first encountered them, they were known as Ptilotrichum.   A great name that really rolls off the tongue.  Then for a while they were put into the Alyssum genus.  Highly unsatisfactory as these guys are much tougher and more spiny than any Alyssum.  Now, they have been put into the genus of  Hormathophylla.  I am still trying to get used to this, so I will probably continue to call them Ptilotrichum.

Hormathophylla macrocarpa blooming with veronica Hormathophylla macrocarpa

Small shrublet with green felt leaves.  Mounds of white flowers with dark brown anthers are followed by large inflated seed pods.  

Hormathophylla pyrenaicum

Dense mound of grey leaves, pretty white flowers in spring followed by inflated green heart-shaped seed pods.  A very tough and beautiful plant that does well on hot banks. Highly Recommended. Previously Ptilotrichum pyrenaicum. Flowers with many of the dwarf veronicas, forming a pleasing color combo. 

Hormathophylla spinosa 'Roseum' Hormathophylla spinosa 'Roseum'

Alyssum relative that forms  mounds of spiney tangled branches sparsely decorated with small grey leaves.  The species is usually graced with rather drab and small dirty white flowers.  But THIS version is adorned with deep pink flowers in spring.  It looks fantastic slowly flowing over rocks.  I know not everyone is as enamored of spiney plants as I am, but this plant earned the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit. It is good.