by David Salman

Clustering Sempervivum ‘Silverine’ is a medium sized selection of Hen and Chicks, with rosettes of silver and green.

Great Plants Hiding on the Internet

Every year, I struggle to work as many plants as I can onto the pages of the catalog when designing the coming season's edition. But there is never enough space. And the economics of a free catalog dictate that you must sell a certain number of plants of each variety featured to "pay" for their spot in the book. It's the old adage, "So many great plants and so little space."

High Country Gardens has been selling plants on the Internet since 1999. And one of the advantages of an online catalog is that there are not the same restraints in choosing what plants to include because there is no limit on the space you can use. But this means that the savvy gardener must know where to look to find these hidden treasures. To help in the process we've created a category of "web-only plants" to pull up all the plants that we sell but aren't shown in the printed catalog.

And here are some of my favorites that you'll find in the "Web-Only" section of our website:

Avalanche White Sun Daisy (Osteospermum Avalanche)

My fascination with cold hardy South African plants has held me in its grip for several decades. This country at the southern tip of the continent of Africa has one of the most bio-diverse plant populations on the planet. But alas, many of this country's botanic treasures do best in the mild climate of coastal CA. Not so with this ever-blooming daisy. Huge brilliant white daisies open in the day. They close at night to show the blue-silver backs of the petals. Growing over attractive succulent foliage, this heirloom plant brought from England many years ago remains very unfamiliar to most gardeners. Give it a try in good garden loam with full to part shade. View plant details.

Ruschia pulvinaris
Ruschia pulvinaris.

Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant (Ruschia pulvinaris)

I've been growing and selling this spreading groundcover iceplant for more than 25 years and yet it has never had the popularity of Hummingbird Mints or Lavender. The mounding stems of evergreen foliage burst into flower in mid-spring and cover the plant with hundreds of dime-sized bright pink flowers. Ruschia is tough-as-nails and incredibly showy in flower. And it thrives in hot, sunny spots with poor but well drained soils. It's much tougher than Delosperma, it's more famous cousins. View plant details.

Other "Web-Only" plants to explore include the following:

Darkest of All Fleabane (Erigeron "Darkest of All") — Its outstanding blue-purple flowers attract butterflies and cover the plant in early summer.

Silverine Hen and Chick (Sempervivum "Silverine") — A medium sized selection of Hen and Chicks with rosettes of of silver and green. The new growth at the center of each rosette is green and quickly matures to silver.

Showy Pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera 'Rosea') — A heat loving plant that thrives in sunny, dry areas. It does especially well in sandy soil.

So jump in and take a look at these and other worthy plants to discover wonderful but often overlooked beauties. You'll find many of my "hidden" favorites in the "Web-Only" category.

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