Marvelous Monochromes

Maximize your hue with a view that just won’t stop
Put some purple power behind your program with one of this year’s hottest hues. Traditionally suited for royalty but perfect for anyone fit to be king, shades of violet complement virtually any container or garden. A quick glance at the palette shows a bevy of variety ready to work in your toolbox.

Pennisetum First Knight

Pennisetum ‘First Knight’

Pennisetum ‘First Knight’ boasts the deepest, darkest, blackest purple foliage. The center stays upright; outer leaves arch gracefully. Great disease resistance and garden- or container-friendly height of 48-54 inches. Thrives in heat. Full sun to partial sun. USDA Zones 8-11.


Pennisetum ‘Royal Lady’

Pennisetum ‘Royal Lady’ bears blades that emerge green, then darken with heat and sun to maroon and finally royal purple with a red midrib. Assertively upright, yet full and graceful. Height 4-5 feet. Full sun to partial sun. USDA Zones 8-11.

Pennisetum Majestic 1

Pennisetum ‘Majestic’

Pennisetum ‘Majestic’ raises long, broad, rich purple-red leaves. Its color deepens even in bright sun, strong heat and humidity. Reaches about 6 feet tall. Full sun to partial sun. Hardy in Zones 7 to 11.


Pennisetum ‘Regal Princess’

Pennisetum ‘Regal Princess’ adds a jewel to the crown with its beautiful striking purple color and enhanced disease resistance. Reaches just 3 to 4 feet high and stuns in gardens and containers alike. Thrives in the heat. Full sun to partial sun. USDA Zones 7-11.

arc-Andropogon g Red October SB WEB

Andropogon ‘Red October’

Andropogon ‘Red October’ PPAF has deep green foliage that darkens to purple in late summer, then vivid scarlet in autumn for spectacular late-season color. ‘Red October’ loves sun and reaches heights of 5 to 6 feet. USDA Zones 3-8.

Pennisetum Noble 'Tift 114' gdn2

Pennisetum ‘Noble’

Pennisetum ‘Noble’ impresses with upright, dark blades so deep purple they look black. With thinner and darker leaves, ‘Noble’ boasts a 6 foot height in a rounded clumping habit. Full sun to partial sun. USDA Zones 8-11.


Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’

The wildly popular Pennisetum xadvena ‘Rubrum’ offers a winning combination of striking burgundy-red foliage and foxtail-like plumes that catch the breeze and add interest to landscapes and containers alike. Fast growing and prolific blooming, this tender perennial is everything an annual should be.

eaton canyon

Pennisetum ‘Eatons Canyon’

Another hot annual grass, P. xadvena ‘Eatons Canyon’, is like a slightly shorter version of ‘Rubrum’, topping out at under 3’. Vibrant red-brown flower plumes rise above stunning narrow red-bronze foliage. With its finer, greener foliage and dwarf size, ‘Eatons Canyon’ is the star of the show in mixed containers or small gardens.

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Bright Spots for Shade

Think that dank, dark shady spot is the cross your garden has to bear? Think again—color and shade don’t have to be exclusive.

How about Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’? Only the second grass to be named the Perennial Plant Association’s Perennial Plant of the Year. This cascading Japanese import forms a waterfall of bamboo-like leaves. Graceful yellow-green variegated foliage in the spring, highlighted with hints of pink and red in the fall.


Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

And ‘Hello Yellow’! Here’s a Belamcanda bursting to brighten. Belamcanda chinensis ‘Hello Yellow’ stuns with beautiful clear yellow blooms on fan-shaped leaves. Known as the blackberry lily, but is actually in the Iris family. After flowering, clusters of shiny black seeds are exposed when the seed capsules split open, hence the name blackberry lily.


Belamcanda chinensis ‘Hello Yellow’

Ugly name, beautiful plant – leadwort spices up your shady spots. Ceratostigma plumbaginoides boasts brilliant gentian-blue flowers from late summer until the first hard frost. It spreads to form a dense mat of zig zag stems with leathery, oval leaves that have beautiful fall color.

ceratostigma plumbaginoides

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

What’s shade without a fern? Athyrium Metallicum is one of our favorites, a Japanese Painted Fern with delicate fronds touched in silver with green highlights and subtle burgundy veination.

Athyrium nipponicum ‘Metallicum’

Athyrium Metallicum

Texture and motion reign supreme, especially in shade, and Chasmanthium latifolium, or northern sea oats, delivers in spades. Seed clusters resembling oats dangle from bamboo-like foliage. Fall colors will surprise as seeds and foliage morph into bronze and copper tones.


Chasmanthium latifolium

Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’ gets gardens and pots glowing. This beautiful golden chartreuse shrub is sure to brighten your shade garden. Extra points for extended seasonal interest too, thanks to its summer swell of white blooms and fall rush of dark purple berries—favorites of our fine feathered friends.

Aralia Sun King gdn

Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’

And finally, add a perennial that keeps on giving! Stokesia ‘Color Wheel’ sends up branched bloom stalks that open almost pure white. As the days progress, the same bloom cools to lavender, then to deeper lavender and finally to purple. It’s pure pleasure watching its palette progress!

stokesia colorwheel 1

Stokesia ‘Colorwheel’


Pick your own palette, or paint by numbers with one of our pre-planned shade gardens. Questions? Call 1-866-681-0856 or e-mail

Posted in Jude Groninger, Ornamental Grasses, Perennials, Shade, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Magic of Moon Gardens

If you’re like us, while you’d rather be deep in the dirt ’round the clock, you’re more likely to gaze at your garden in the wee hours rather than in the light of day, at least during the workweek. So why not conjure up a collection of nature’s most delightful night-dwellers, and plant a moon garden? Night-blooming gardens are beautiful by day, luminescent by night. Dusk draws out a whole new appeal for these carefully curated collections.


Start by mapping the moon’s path through your garden. Pinpoint the location where it shines the brightest and is the most visible to you, whether you’re planning on enjoying from the house or the patio.

But don’t be fooled by the name—moon garden plants still yearn for light. Choose a sunny spot that affords partial or full light for most of the day, to recharge the plants’ nighttime potential.

Many moon garden plants are trailers, happiest when they can climb or creep, something to consider when you’re settling on a spot. Trellises, lattices and fences all offer creative carte blanche.

Plan for the masses—plant clusters of plants rather than single plants whose blooms will be swallowed both by foliage and night.

Finally pick your palette, sticking with pastels and whites for maximum glow power. Weave in your own brand of magic with not only flowers but foliage that glows. Think silver, blue-gray, variegated or veined. And speak to your senses with scent—there’s something magical about a delicate aroma wafting while you wind through the garden.

Not sure how to begin your spell? Tip things off with a few of our faves:

Phlox paniculata ‘David’, a 2002 PPA Perennial Plant of the Year with wonderfully fragrant, clear white, giant flower heads


Phlox David

Aquilegia caerulea ‘Songbird Blue Bird’, a super-large columbine with showstopping heavenly blue blooms that face upward


Aquilegia Songbird Blue Bird

Dianthus ‘Early Bird Frosty’, with pure white double flowers and wonderful fragrance

Dianthus Early Bird Frosty

Dianthus Early Bird Frosty

Artemisia stelleriana ‘Silver Brocade’ with its silvery cut-leaf foliage. Bonus: deer resistant!

Artemisia stelleriana 'Silver Brocade'

Artemisia Silver Brocade

Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’, a lamb’s ear prized for its dense rosettes of thick, soft, velvety, silver-gray leaves


Stachys Silver Carpet

Iberis ‘Snowsurfer’, a candytuft featuring dark green uniform mounds of shiny leaves frosted with drifts of snow white flowers in spring


Iberis Snowsurfer

Digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmatian White’, a foxglove that spikes upright columns of beautiful bright white bells with maroon spots



Digitalis Dalmatian White


Questions? Call 1-866-681-0856 or e-mail

Posted in Jude Groninger, Moon Garden, Perennials, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A-Bee-Cs for Pollinators

Bee-witched by pollinators?
…but bee-wildered by how to help them?

Not long ago, many folks saw bees as scary bugs to flee or exterminate.

Now that we all know how vital pollinators are, it’s just good gardening practice to welcome them with open blooms.


And it’s not just about bees: Butterflies, moths and hummingbirds like the same blooms. They’re the “flying flowers” that bring your garden to life in a whole new dimension.

So, how do you garden for pollinators? It’s as easy as ABee-C!

Aster: Honeybees and bumblebees love heavy-flowering ‘Purple Dome’. So will you.


Aster ‘Purple Dome’


Buddleia: It’s called “butterfly bush” for good reason. They can’t resist those fragrant florets.

Asian Moon


Coreopsis rosea ‘American Dream’: Another butterfly magnet, this native benefits from a haircut after flowering.


Coreopsis American Dream

Already growing those? There are 23 more letters in the alphabet, y’know.

Gaillardia, Monarda and Sedum are all loved by pollinators.

Help our fluttering, buzzing, hovering, nectar-loving friends with easy-to-grow, ready-to-plant perennials from Santa Rosa Gardens.



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Time to Garden

Time to Garden!!! from Santa Rosa Gardens on Vimeo.

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Our Droughty Little Secret

The following is a public service announcement for gardeners.

When selecting new varieties for your garden, you’ll often encounter the phrase “drought-resistant,” or “drought tolerant.” This descriptor is applied to numerous species, from Achillea and Agastache to Stachys.

It’s accurate, and helpful — but potentially just a little misleading. IOHO, such comments require this caveat: “Drought tolerant once established.”

Every garden plant we’ve ever met needs a little TLC when first planted. Until it’s had a chance to sink new roots and really settle into its new home, even the most teetotaling species appreciates a drink once in a while. And if it doesn’t arrive as a gentle rain at the right time, it’s up to the gardener to play Mother Nature.


Here are just a few of our favorites among this sturdy crowd that thrives without fuss – once established:


Achillea Desert Eve series: We’ve been very pleased with these. Attractive foliage, a choice of colors and a dainty appetite for water – what’s not to like?

Agastache: This Southwest native genus can really take the heat. Many varieties and colors to choose from. Hummingbirds love it — and deer don’t!

Succulents almost go without saying. From ground-hugging Delosperma and Sempervivum to two-foot Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ that doubles as a durable cut flower, count on these juicy water-hoarders to shrug off dry weather.


Andropogon & Schizachyrium: Big bluestem and little bluestem are go-to grasses for tough sites. Their deep, deep roots enable them to find water in dry times. Try A. ‘Red October’ and S. ‘Standing Ovation’ for the latest in breeding advances.

Bouteloua gracilis: This underused native forms attractive clumps with seed heads held at a jaunty angle, like little pennants. Try ‘Blonde Ambition’ for a cool color break.

Bouteloua Blonde Ambition, cotoneaster, Yucca 10_09 DS crop

Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’

The many varieties of Panicum virgatum now available on the market range from the steely blues of ‘Heavy Metal’ and ‘Northwind’ to the bold maroon of Panicum ‘Hot Rod’.


Panicum virgatum ‘Hot Rod’

As plant professionals, we know overwatering can do more harm than underwatering. But no plant, not even desert denizens like cacti, can survive without any water ever.

These stoics heroically shrug off arid spells – once established.

This has been a public service announcement from your friends at Santa Rosa Gardens. We now return you to Spring, already in progress. Happy gardening!

Posted in John Friel, Ornamental Grasses, Perennials, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cook up something great – herbs every gourmet needs

Why look any farther for fresh flavors than your very own garden? A culinary garden can be the ultimate inspiration for budding cooks and gourmet chefs alike. Like any recipe, start your kitchen garden with the basics. Think light, placement, planning. Place plants of similar size and water needs together, for example. You wouldn’t want your woody rosemary to crowd out your herbaceous chives. More tips to get you cooking…



5 Cardinal Rules of Culinary Gardens

Location, location, location: Close to the kitchen, not too close for aesthetics. You want your culinary garden to be close enough to cut quickly. But remember, you’ll be cutting your herbs often, so the plants might not be the prettiest. If it will bother you to have cut-back plants as your first view out the door, rethink placement.

Shoot for sun. By and large, herbs hanker for sun. Choosing a sunny locale gives you the best chance for overall success with your culinary garden. Added to that, they just taste better, with more nutrients and richer colors that add up to better flavor.

Flowers begone! When herbs flower, their leaves tend to grow bitter. After that it’s unlikely to go back to producing leaves. The best strategy? Every four to six weeks in season, plant new plants.

Prune your evergreens. Sage, thyme, rosemary…these are the evergreen herbs, and as such they’ll need care and attention. If you aren’t cutting them regularly, you’ll notice branches that appear dead or dormant. Prune them at least once a year (spring or fall).

Beware the mint! If you insist on mint, whatever you do, don’t put it in the garden. Contain it in the pot of your choice, and keep it there. Invasive beyond a fault, mint will spread vigorously, choking out anything in its path. Space plants at least 12 to 18 inches apart.

Wondering what to include in your culinary garden? A few of our favorites (three or four plants of each should do it, except bigger woody plants like rosemary—one can produce for years):


Oregano – a staple in pastas, pizzas and stews

Nasturtium – flowers and leaves alike add a peppery kick to salads and other dishes

Basil – sweet or lettuce leaf, vital for pestos and versatile enough to do double duty

Arugula – the mother of mixed greens, bringing flavor and spice to salads

Sweet marjoram – a tasty take on Greek oregano and an excellent accent in soups, eggs and butters


Think you have your recipe for success set? Fill your cart with our hearty herb selection. Questions? Call 1-866-681-0856 or e-mail

Posted in Herbs, Jude Groninger, Uncategorized | Leave a comment