Crescent Hill Nursery June E-Newsletter 2012 The CHN e-newsletter is our show of gratitude to the loyal market customers at our many events around th

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Crescent Hill Nursery June E-Newsletter 2012

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Veronica 'Red Fox' delivers great color for the front sun border.

The CHN e-newsletter is our show of gratitude to the loyal market customers at our many events around the Central Coast. It will serve as a site for seasonal updates, "plant of the month" specials, the "ask a nurseryman" section, links to our partners, and a whole lot more. The e-newsletter is a way to stay connected with our thriving and knowledgeable garden community. Please send us your comments on how to make this e-newsletter more useful to all, and don't forget to pass along the link to a friend!

Happy Planting,
Nathan Krupa (owner/grower)

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The always spectacular black leafed Dahlia 'Mystic Spirit' now in full flower.

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Gaillardia 'Fanfare Blaze' showing of its exotic burnt orange fluted petals!!



In addition to our monthly outing at De Anza college in Cupertino, Ca on Saturday, June 2, we will also be displaying at the Garden Faire at the Skypark in Scott's Valley, Ca on Saturday, June 23. The annual event features speakers, great food, and a myriad of interesting vendors covering all aspects of the world of gardening. The free event takes place from 9am-4pm in the idyllic redwood valley location. Bring your sunscreen!! Crescent Hill will also be "popping up" for a weekend at RCR Fabricators in Santa Cruz on June 16-17. The leisurely event provides ideas for metal garden art, and its pace permits ample time for consultation. If the pace of some of our garden markets is too fast, this is the place to come, pictures in hand, to get some ideas for the landscape.

Maps and directions to all events are available on the CALENDAR page of the website linked below.

Crescent Hill Nursery was recently accepted into UCSC's prestigious Koala Blooms program, where special Australian plant selections are imported to UCSC's arboretum, and then distributed to local nurseries for propagation. This collection includes the wildly popular Grevillea 'Coastal Gem' and Chorizema 'Bush Flame', as well as many new cultivars yet to hit the market. We are proud and honored to be a part of this group, and look forward to providing you with new plant material in the years to come. Look for a special on the Koala Blooms program, and a contest to decide which selections you would like to see us grow in the E-newsletter next month!!

New for 2012 We are proud to offer Digger's gopher baskets at our 2012 markets, and here at the nursery. The industry standard, these well made baskets last 6-10 years in the ground, and are the ONLY real solution to gopher problems. Why purchase expensive plants only to have them eaten by our friends from below? Protect your investment in three sizes: 1 gallon baskets are $3.50 each or 2 for $5, 5 gallon baskets are $5 each, and 15 gallon tree sized baskets are $8 each.

Nursery tours are encouraged. Please come out and see our 2 acre facility in Watsonville. With over 225 varieties grown, the growing grounds are turning into a little botanical park. Please call for an appointment. Groups are welcome.

Please remember Crescent Hill recycles all 1,2, and 5 gallon plastic containers. Drop off available at all markets, or here at the nursery. Thanks again!!

Thank You for all the pre-orders for our local garden markets. Please place orders by the

Tuesday preceding your chosen market to insure that we can have them available for the weekend.



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Cordyline 'Design-A-Line Burgundy' with its deep maroon hue.


While many people are aware of the multitude of benefits offered by New Zealand Flax (Phormium sp.), some are still in-the-dark concerning its close relative Cordyline. Crescent Hill's June Plants of The Month hope to give gardeners other options which fill the same cultural nook. Cordylines are New Zealand native grass-like plants that are drought resistant and thrive in both sun and partly shaded locations. They range in size from the taller varieties like C. 'Red Star' and C. 'Torbay Dazzler', which can go to 20 feet and above, to the more compact C. 'Renegade', C. 'Design-A-Line Burgundy', and C. 'Electric Pink' which max-out at 3-4 feet. The taller species have a tree-like form with a central trunk, perfect for the back border or when used as an eye-catching focal piece anywhere in the garden. Whether using Torbay Dazzler's rich tricolored (yellow/white/green) or Red Star's deep maroon foliage, the architectural form and vivid contrast color certainly command attention. The new hybridized/patented shorter varieties are perfect for those gardeners which crave the form of Phormium (NZ Flax), but not the size. Design-A-Line Burgundy is the landscaper's dream plant, providing bold darker tone foliage on a maintainence-free, tidy (3' X 3'), clumping selection. Similar in size and form, C.Renegade accentuates any garden with its rich almost black foliage, and combines impeccably with silver/grey, or bright yellow/orange foliage types. We especially love it in concert with the orange Carex grasses like C. buchananii, C.testaceae, or the red C. 'Red Rooster'. Cordyline 'Electric Pink' is the super-star of the group, and easily one of the most popular plants of the last 3 years. Its absurdly outlandish pink-striped variegation stops even non-plant lovers in their tracks, especially when reaching its full 4' X 4' potential. Now, if flamboyant color on a maintainence-free, drought resistant plant is not enough for you, we also point out the little known fact that Cordylines blooms are highly fragrant. The spikes of white, purple-tinged flowers emerge from late spring through summer, and can literally be smelled from one side of the yard to the other. As a design component, the main feature of this unique Genus of plants is to provide structure to the garden. Many of you reading this have probably heard my rant concerning the need to balance structure and function in the garden. These are the structural plants, which hold together the flowering masses, bestow interest in the wind, line pathways or entrances, and offer striking constant color. Add to this deer and rabbit resistance and tolerance of windy, high impact, or coastal situations, and one can see why the utilitarian Cordyline is a part of almost any professional landscape design. Whether used in containers (where they especially excel as the central specimen upon which other color plants surround), in mass, or as specimen plants, Cordylines are a must for any central coast garden!!

Special E-Newsletter Price; $9 per 1-gallon container (sorry does not include C.'Electric Pink') $20 per 5-gallon container!! (Usually $10, and $30 respectively). Mention this ad to receive discount.

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Sword-like leaves bring shining color to sun or shade gardens!

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Cordyline 'Renegade' and its glossy almost-black foliage.



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Chorizema 'Bush Flame' lights up any dry shade garden with its two-toned "pea" family blossoms.

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the yard and landscape can seem like an insurmountable task. This quarterly section attempts to provide ideas for weekend "projects" that will make the task less daunting, and hopefully fun as well!!

Dry Shade

Some of the hardest positions to fill in any garden are those which receive shade or dappled light, but also require drought resistance. Whether responding to the onset of Sudden Oak Disease (where over-irrigation under the canopy leads to the spread of the deadly Phytophthora ramorum pathogen), or simply looking for a way to save on water bills, proper selection of dry shade plants can lead to a fruitful garden in a tough location. I have broken down the possibilities into the following four categories; color, foliage, succulents, and Australian (Eucalyptus tolerant) plants. We encourage the mixing and matching of categories to optimize the effect.

Color - Most people don't often mention dry shade and color in the same sentence. Our research and landscape installations prove otherwise, and demonstrate just exactly what can be done with the right plant palette. Two of our go-to color plants are from the Salvia tribe, and give brightening color, wonderful aromas, and also attract hummingbirds to this garden niche. S. chamaedryoides is a Mexican native shrub, with silver foliage and bountiful blue blooms. It goes to 1 foot tall, but spreads to 4 feet wide where it happily fills out the front border. Similarly, S. spathacea, or Humminbird Sage, grows to 1-2 feet tall X 4-5 feet wide, and gives highly scented large magenta/rose blooms throughout the spring and summer. Lobelia laxiflora is a California native running subshrub, which reaches 1-2 feet in height, and features generous helpings of tubular, hummingbird attracting, red/orange "candy corn" blooms. Like the Salvias, this long blooming perennial is also resistant to deer. Hellebores, or Lenten Roses, are another deer resistant color choice for low water shade gardens. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, and provide a tough and hardy alternative in a neat and care-free clump. The various forms of Euphorbia also prosper in this environment, and colorful selections like E.'Ruby Glow' or E. 'Tasmanian Tiger' add contrast color while resisting deer and gophers. The more sun they get, the more blooms they produce, so try to place them wherever they will receive the most light.
Foliage - One of Crescent Hill's favorite choices for dry shade are the Cordylines featured as the June Plants of the Month. On top of all their previously mentioned benefits, Cordylines color and function bring body and life to some of the other listed selections. Another New Zealand grass-like plant perfect for brightening dark areas is the Astelia chathamica 'Silver Spear'. This plant acts exactly like a NZ Flax but boasts shimmering silver foliage on a 3 foot tall X 3 foot wide frame. Leymus arenarius 'Findhorn' is a spreading silver/blue grass that can cover some ground at a rapid pace. For those of you who have found joy in our various offerings from the South African Restionaceae family (Elegia, Cannamois, etc.), two more grass/horsetail-like selections to investigate are those in the Thamnochortus and Chondropetalum genera. They take less water than other Restios and embolden dry shade gardens with size and texture. Last, but not least, the various Coral Bells or Heuchera sp. generate animated colored foliage choices where deer are not a problem.
Succulents - Being low water by definition, many succulents flourish in the dry shade garden. Aloes, Dudleyas, and Echeverias are just a few which tolerate our winters and a mixed light situation. Fascicuaria pitcairnifolia is a new Crescent Hill selection with spiky silver foliage, and outrageously red bracted blooms. Tough, rugged, and herbivory resistant, just plant this one and watch it grow. The various species of Dyckia, especially the purple foliage tones like D. 'Morris Hobbs' and D. 'Black Gold', behave exactly like the former, but yield a more frequent and colorful bloom cycle.
Australians - Whether you are trying to garden under Eucalyptus, or simply appreciate their usefulness and beauty, Australian dry shade selections promise to thrill. Two plants from the UCSC Koala Blooms program in the Fabaceae (Pea) family are amongst the showiest ever, dry shade or not. Chorizema 'Bush Flame' is a 3 foot tall subsbrub with eye popping orange and purple "pea" blooms, and foliage that resembles the oak leaf. Its closely relative Brachysema praemorsum 'Bronze Butterfly' contrasts dark black foliage with large (to 2") parrot beak-like red/orange blooms. Never before has benign neglect yielded such fabulous results!! The final members of this category are the various Correas, or Australian Fuchsia'. The large genus spans both compact and large varieties, and are available in a multitude of flower colors. All resist deer/rabbits, and attract hummingbirds with their tubular blooms.

The following photos are from Crescent Hill's various winter landscape installations, and aim to show how our four categories can be seamlessly blended together. More photos are available on our Facebook page by clicking on the"photos" tab. Please let us know if we can help in any way with a dry shade "project" weekend!!

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Freshly installed shade garden in Carmel Valley under foundational Coast Live Oak.

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Looking down at the same garden through Chondropetalum and Cordyline.



Towards the end of 2011, in celebration of our 10th year in business, we invited ourselves over to customers homes to get a chance to see Crescent Hill's stock "out in the wild." It gave us an opportunity to understand more about the local microclimates where our customers (and plants) live, and further our relationship with the gardening community. This regularly occurring section will chronicle those landscape adventures.

One of the most visually arousing gardens we visited this past fall was that of longtime Crescent Hill customer Neil of Mountain View, Ca. Neil has been visiting us for years at the De Anza College market in Cupertino, and with incredible vision has created what we have termed a "contrast of opposites" garden that blew our socks off. The classic adobe and tile mission architecture was perfectly met in the front yard with a cactus and succulent garden that harkened thoughts of the horse and buggy general store. Large Agaves of copious colors and textures, along with cactus and succulents, formed the base of the drought resistant planting, while bright Euphorbia 'Tasmanian Tiger' and Cordyline 'Dark Star' provided unique contrast color while fitting the drought resistant theme. The end result of the tightly manicured, mature planting was a garden that demands attention, as the regular parade of neighborhood walkers and photographers can attest. As much as we liked the front yard, the trip to the back is what really blew our minds. Expecting a continuation of the xeric theme in the front, we were shocked, pleasantly, by a true tropical landscape (complete with pond) in the back yard. Bananas, palms, and ferns structured the garden, while Honey Bush (Melianthus major), Gunnera manicata, and Lion's Tail (Leonotis leonurus) added points of interest throughout. The tightly packed garden, and wild style, made it feel as if one was walking through the dank tropical rainforest, and the "hidden gem" sitting area was a true break from the rigors of urbanity. We give our heartfelt thanks to Neil for including us in the design of his masterpiece, and inviting us over for the tour. His completely do-it-yourself garden, including pond and hardscape, brought us to the jungle and the desert all in one hour. Additionally, the fantastic fresh squeezed cactus fruit and Brazilian rum cocktails were the perfect metaphor for this "contrast of opposites" garden!!! Thanks again.

Please enjoy more pictures of Neil's garden on our Facebook page, reachable from the link below.
If you are interested in participating in Garden Tour 2012, please drop a line and let us know.

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The desert style drought resistant front yard.

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Neil explaining construction of the pond in the midst of tropical wonderland.