Among the Aussies Morganelli pointed out:
Correa pulchella (pictured above);
One of several evergreen shrubs commonly called Australian fuchsia. Little bell-shaped flowers—pink to reddish orange-- dangle from its branches. “It’s a great border shrub,” says Morganelli, “and a great accent you can pepper in, even a wonderful hedge.”
Grevillea ‘Wakiti Sunrise’ (pictured at article top)
This is a cultivated plant (a cultivar) bred from one of the 250 plus species of wild Grevillea. It unfurls intricate clusters of hook-shaped, salmon-colored blossoms. “If you want to get rid of your lawn--and don’t have kids or a dog,” says Morganelli, “look at some of these low-growing shrubs.” She also admires the yellow-green color of the foliage.
The zigzag wattle derives its name from its stems, which zigzag between its flowers--little yellow puffs accompanied by a single pine needle-like leaf (technically, a leaf-like structure called a phyllode). Zigzag’s branches spill out in a weeping fashion. Arboretum CEO Richard Schulhof advises planting this uncommon beauty in front of a wall “so you can see its shadows and the finery of the foliage.” (Note: Some other acacias—cyclops ,longifolia, and decurrens--are invasive; do not plant them.)
Dodonaea viscosa ‘Purpurea’
This Dodonaea is native to the American Southwest and Hawaii, but most of its close relatives, which are commonly called hop bush, hail from down under. Purpurea can be grouped together for a fast-growing privacy screen. Morganelli advises pairing them with showier plants: “Take the purple-bronze color of the leaves and bounce them off some other, low-growing greens.”
The Native Plants Morganelli recommends include
Also known as showy or royal penstemon, this herbaceous plant dazzles with three- to six-foot tall flower stalks, covered with dozens of blue, purple or pink flowers. “I think of penstemons as my answer to foxgloves,” says Morganelli.
This sage is popular with native plant gardeners. It smells delicious (a mélange of honey, lemon, mint), and can fill a difficult niche: dry shady areas. There’s a reason this red-blooming plant is called Hummingbird sage, says Morganelli, “you’ll see hummingbirds drink from these all day long.”
That’s a fancy name for a modest plant known as narrow-leaved Milkweed. “It’s not a beautiful plant all year,” says Morganelli, “but it’s a food source for monarch butterflies.” She advises planting it near the back of a bed, and waiting for the gorgeous black and white striped caterpillars to turn up.
Diplacus or Mimulus
Diplacus or Mimulus
Scientifically, this group of plants goes by a tangle of names, but they are easily identified as monkey flower. Hikers recognize some of them from local trails. Some can be hard to grow and are short-lived; Morganelli recommends the yellow and pale orange shrubby kind.