Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Erigeron glaucus in December


One native plant I haven’t always appreciated is Erigeron glaucus. It’s a nice enough plant — tough, low-water, good habitat value, long bloom period, showy during peak bloom — but the odd yellow in its center clashes with the purer yellows I like — Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’, Achillea ‘Moonshine’, daffodils — and I’ve also never been totally happy with how it combines with a lot of the purplish bloomers that I tend to use. I have a dozen of them in my garden, but I only have them because I bought them on impulse for a project and then decided they clashed with the other plants. I brought them home and eventually planted them because I didn’t have anywhere else to put them; they look okay but I’ve never been particularly excited about them.


I really like how they work in this planting, however. The cultivar is ‘Wayne Roderick’, which has more of a lavender tinge to the petals than the pinkish ‘Cape Sebastian’ in my garden. More than that, though, I like them because the planting around them is primarily grasses — Sesleria ‘Greenlee’s Hybrid’, Festuca idahoensis ‘Tomales Bay’, and Lomandra ‘Breeze’ — and a patch of Delosperma, so there aren’t a lot of other colors for the yellow to clash with. And even though there aren’t many other things to bloom in that part of the planting, they bloom heavily enough and continuously enough to carry the flower burden; it’s December and they haven’t been cut back once this year, but they still have flowers. The focus of the photo above is the Sesleria in front of them, but the flowers in the background do a lot to add interest and give it a meadowy look, and all those old stems waiting to be deadheaded speak to what they looked like earlier this year. Obviously I’ll be able to get a better photo in the spring, but this is pretty good for mid-December without any maintenance, and it’s nice to find myself coming around to a native plant I hadn’t previously embraced.

4 Responses to “Erigeron glaucus in December”

  1. December 17th, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    James says:

    I agree with you in your ambivalence towards this plant. It performs well for me, even in part-shade, with lots of flowers. But the color… There’s so much lavender and yellow in the native plant palette, and I have a hard time loving or working with combining them, and it’s tough when the color appear together on one plant. I like you planting with them, though, when they don’t have to compete with colors they don’t like. I’ve been trying out using “bridge” colors like pink butterfly sage or apricot-yellow indian mallow to calm the color battles.

  2. December 19th, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    ryan says:

    A pink sage might be nice. I haven’t ever planted indian mallow, though eventually I hope I will. I like them, but I don’t know how much the deer like to eat them, which limits the chances I have to try them out. I get to see other colors with it in my garden, but so far I haven’t been excited about any of them. There are other colors in this planting, but each color is pretty much sequestered by the green of the grasses.

  3. January 10th, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Kelly says:

    The cultivar ‘Wayne Roderick’ is a must-have for anyone gardening for native bees. Maybe that little fact will help sway you further in favor.

  4. January 13th, 2015 at 11:31 am

    ryan says:

    Good point. I do like the native bees.

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