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Marionberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

When it comes to ricotta, think beyond fillings and pastas. Ricotta’s mild flavor and high fat content makes it an ideal addition to cakes, creating a perfectly moist and tender crumb. Full-fat supermarket ricotta is your friend here—fancier brands may not have the moisture content you want for this recipe, and using a creamy ricotta is key. Aside from an …

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Viola “Whopping Purple Whiskers”

Viola “Whopping Purple Whiskers”Huge, 2.5″ across, intensely whiskered blooms of velvety purple and white! Free flowering over a long period of time (deadheading extends it even more) on a compact form, 9″ tall and 10″ across. Wonderful in pots. Rich soil for amazing show! Edible!

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Gelasine coeruleax

A rare member of the Iris family with such unusual colored flowers – sky-blue-flushed light lavender. The anthers are bright purple against a soft white throat. To 2” across, the Iris like flowers face outwards atop upright 12-20” stems and they just keep coming May till September – at least. Slender Iris-like foliage is evergreen for us here in USDA …

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Cupid’s Dart

“Cupid’s Dart” (Catananche caerulea ) provides masses of sturdy, upright stems topped by pearly-papery buds that open into these lovely semi-double, purple-eyed, lavender-blue, 2” blooms. Cupid’s Dart appear continuously from early to late summer, peaking in midsummer. Ancient Greeks and Romans used the flowers as the main ingredient in love potions, hence the amorous common name “Cupid’s Dart”. Genus name …

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Coyote Mint

Noted for its pleasant mint scent, Monardella villosa (Coyote Mint) is a small perennial forming a bushy mound of oval-shaped, soft, light fuzzy grayish-green leaves. They are topped by a profusion of small, bright lavender or pink flowers in dense spherical flower heads from late spring to alate summer. Nectar-rich, the blossoms are attractive to insects, especially bees and butterflies. …

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Buddleia ‘Butterfly Bush’

We have grown Buddleia in containers in our Sunnyvale garden for ten years.The purple flower panicle when it starts blooming in June is very beautiful. Unfortunately for Buddleia, as the year progresses, other flowers and fruits distract us. Buddleja, or Buddleia, commonly known as the butterfly bush, is a genus comprising over 140 species of flowering plants endemic to Asia, …

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Convolvulus sabatius

This pretty and tough evergreen groundcover is one of the most versatile, hard-working plants going! Lovely bluish-purple, open-faced, funnel-shaped 1-2” flowers appear in late Spring and continuing nonstop well into the Fall. Not invasive like some annual “Morning Glories”, this Mediterranean sun-lover needs little water once established. Forms a low, dense, vining mat of foliage 3’ across that helps with …

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Teucrium aroanium

This charming, fragrant groundcover hails from Greece. Masses of 3/4” two-lipped mauve flowers appear in late Spring and continue well into Fall! The bee-attracting flowers exude a honey scent while the oblong silvery-green leaves offer a pleasing woodsy fragrance. Like most Teucriums, this “Gray Creeping Germander” is a tough little guy, managing very well with little water and poor soil, …

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Lobelia aguana

Hundreds of well displayed, exotic, bearded, 2″ flowers jut out on prominent stems up and down the numerous upright stalks almost year round with the heaviest bloom occurring in Summer and Fall, with plenty of blooms continuing thru Winter. Pretty, evergreen, linear foliage. Can be cut back to 2′ tall in Winter to contain growth. Hummingbird heaven! Lobelia aguana, a …

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Barrel Cactus

Echinocactus grusonii, popularly known as the Golden Barrel Cactus is a well known species of cactus, and is endemic to east-central Mexico. My barrel cactus in Sunnyvale is 14 inches wide by 11 inches tall and is 30 years old. It started in a 4-inch pot. The plants do have some basic requirements; an average minimum winter temperature of 12°C …

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