Join NARGS (North American Rock Garden Society). Hebe species are usually
available on the seed list as wild and/or garden collected seed. Plants may be
available from Arrowhead Nursery or Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery
from email@example.com (Zemedelec) contains these words:
Now there's an(other) addictive plant. Hebes thrive in mild coastal
areas, the (mostly) evergreen leaves are tough, wind and salt-proof and
the flowering period is long. Some I grow mainly as a cushion of
foliage, like "Red Edge" (glaucous blue-green leaves with a fine red
edge) and Pink Elephant, cream green and pink leaves. Others have dark
purple leaves (Mrs Winder, Alicia Amherst), others a rich shining dark
green. Some I grow for their handsome four or five inch flower spikes in
brilliant shades of pink, magenta, purple and blue. Some are much
daintier, such as Nicola's Blush, inch long pink and white flower heads
so dense they hide the foliage. The roundy moundy "cloud" shapes of hebe
bushes look good set against spiky foliage plants such as New Zealand
Flax (phormium) or fine grasses.
They grow so easily and fast from cuttings, that's a failsafe way to
multiply favourites. Lots of people here grow them as boundary hedges
(shearing just makes them bushier and more floriferous the next year).
Plant stalls at fetes and jumble sales invariably include a selection of
potted hebe cuttings, usually nameless and too small to flower, and I
can never resist taking them home in case it's some lovely form I
Janet (Isle of Arran, Scotland).
Janet, I too, am particulalry fond of hebes. They grow very well here in the
PNW, but I think are much less common in other parts of the US - I've not
even seen too many different ones offered in California, which seems to have
a preponderance of other plants originating from NZ.
'Nicola's Blush' is my current fave and I'm not even a fan of pink flowers!
It is just such a strong performer with such a long lasting bloom period. I
grow all of the others you mention as well as a number of the cupressoides
and the variegated cultivars of speciosa. Even with last year's awful
winter - one of the worst we've had in some time - my 'Amy' bloomed right
through the snow and cold in January. Great container plants, too.
pam - gardengal
This year I planted a variegated H. speciosa which has loved the nasty hot
summer with only moderate watering. The seller warned it might not survive
the winter, & when I looked it up on line, some mixed advice, but many
saying it doesn't like even zone 8 winters; & on one of Cisco's local
shows, he says his dies every winter but he always plants another for each
year (which I wouldn't like to do). I'm really counting on this not being
all that tender, & that it will not be bothered by winter in an enclosed
unwindy sunny spot, in a raised bed that drains utterly, as I want it in
the garden for years to come.
Of my few hebes, the oddest is Hebe ochracea, or whipcord hebe, which
looks rather like a dwarf cypress. It never bloomed until this year --
then all it had were teency white flowers of little consequence. Even so,
as an imitation of a needled evergreen it's just cool.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
Keep your fingers crossed! The variegated speciosas are NOT reliably hardy
here, although the University Village Mall has a number in container
plantings that have lived through a couple of our winters. And I managed to
hang on to mine this past winter, although it started the season looking
less than wonderful. It was pretty leggy with foliage clustered only at the
ends of the branches. I cut it back hard and it responded with a lot of new
growth and is now looking quite full and lush. As with a number of other
plants from NZ, I believe it is our wet winters that does them in rather
than the cold - if you can provide really good drainage (and some reflected
heat wont hurt), its chances of winter survival will be much better.
I also grow the ochracea 'James Sterling', which can get to be a pretty good
sized plant in time. It is truly a conversation piece. Visitors to my garden
always want to know what that odd looking gold juniper is and then when it
flowers they are really confused! 'Boughton Dome' is another of similar
appearance - looks very much like a form of dwarf Chamaecyparis.
FYI, my hebe mentor provided this little tip: the broader and larger the
leaves, the more tender the hebe tends to be. That would indicate that any
of the speciosas (including 'Varieagata', Tricolor' and the dark-leaved
clones like 'Amy' and 'Alicia Amherst') may need additional protection in
pam - gardengal
Good tip Pam, thanks. I knew Alicia Amherst is a bit delicate (she
survived -3 C last winter in a well drained bed, planted with plenty of
grit).So many of my others came with no names it's good to know which I
really need to keep spare cuttings of in a cold frame.
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