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Southern California Gardening: Plants You Will Love

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Lowe's Southern California garden contributor Sharon Lovejoy shares some plants that please a variety of creatures... maybe even you!

I use the seeds of love-in-a-mist for seasoning.
Bumblebees and hummingbirds visit hollyhocks for their nectar.

In my little garden a flourish of flowers, a scrawl of herbs, a line of hollyhocks and sunflowers and a calligraphy of blooming heirloom borders exist chockablock with old-fashioned favorites.

These plants are inscribed in my heart and in every landscape I plant and tend. They're my personal signature, my nonnegotiable choices. I couldn't imagine my life or my garden without them. I think you'll like them too!

The plants I love aren't finicky; they're stalwarts - hardworking, bee-pleasing, butterfly-attracting, bird-friendly and kid-charming. Hollyhocks, poppies, old-fashioned calendulas, rosemary, thyme, chives, jasmine and lavender attract pollinators and are easy enough for a child to grow.

The evocative names of these favorites conjure memories of brilliant spring colors; warm, perfume-laden summer nights; and autumn's cargo of seedpods, hips, haws and glowing leaves.

Cecile Brunner roses are fragrant and edible.

Nasturtium, with its paint-box colors and edible flowers, attracts hummingbirds. Lunaria flaunts pink or white flowers in spring, flat green disc pods in summer, and beautiful opalescent bangles in the fall. Old-fashioned pansies, with kitten-face flowers, enliven a salad.

A favorite of mine is love-in-a-mist. (See photo, top.) It self-sows easily, filling empty sunny spots with its tall, feather-leaved foliage and brilliant-blue starry flowers. The fat, papery pods are great in bouquets and dried arrangements, and the seeds are used as a spice.

The prolific 'Cecile Brunner' rose quickly climbs walls, fences and trellises. The tiny, fragrant roses are perfect for potpourri and bouquets or can be harvested as toppings for desserts.


See more Southern California gardening articles.