One of the staples in a garden designed and installed by Details Landscape Art, a Windsor landscape contractor, is ceanothus.
Ceanothus is an evergreen shrub native to California, although some species do grow in the Rocky Mountains and on the east coast. The varieties range in flower color from pale blue to deep violet blue, and even white. Varying greatly in shape and habit, there are low ground covers that spread widely, upright varieties, and dense and bushy species. They are useful in hillside applications.
There are larger leafed varieties, but the smaller leafed types are deer resistant. They have a relatively short life span, generally around eight years, and then need to be replaced. Most need occasional summer water when established, but all require well drained soil. Use drip irrigation only.
Common varieties we like to use are as follows:
Ceanothus ‘Yankee Point’ – a sprawling wild looking variety, growing four to five feet tall and eight to ten feet wide. They are definitely not deer resistant, but are useful in situations away from the manicured areas near a residence, where a more natural wilder look is desired. Flowers are a light blue.
Ceanothus ‘Julia Phelps’ – growing to six to eight foot tall and wide, this is a small leafed deer resistant ceanothus with deep blue flowers in early spring. We use them as a larger background evergreen shrub.
Ceanothus ‘Ray Hartman’ – We use this variety as a small evergreen tree, although it can be a very large shrub. Grows to twenty feet tall and fifteen feet wide, the dark green larger leaves are two to three inches. Medium blue flowers are in clusters.
Ceanothus ‘Griseus horizontalis’ (Carmel Creeper) – short ground cover type, only grows two feet tall but spreads to ten to fifteen feet wide with light blue flower clusters.
Ceanothus ‘Concha’ – similar to Julia Phelps (above), dark leaves, dark blue flowers, six to eight feet tall and wide.
Ceanothus ‘Gloriosus’ – similar to Carmel Creeper (above), shorter ground cover to one and one-half feet tall and spreading to twelve to sixteen feet wide.
Ceanothus ‘Dark Star’ – leaf and flower look almost identical to ‘Julia Phelps’, but Dark Star is a little shorter (maybe five to six feet tall), and wider (eight to ten feet).
Ceanothus ‘Joyce Coulter’ – medium green leaves and medium blue flowers, grows to two to five feet tall and ten to twelve feet wide. Looks more like a mound than a flat groundcover.
Ceanothus ‘Snow Flurry’- larger shrub to ten feet tall and ten feet wide, notable for its clusters of pure white flowers.
Ceanothus rigidus ‘Snowball’ – three to six feet tall, eight to twelve feet wide, this long lived shrub is the most drought tolerant ceanothus available.
As you can see, there are so many species available, that a Windsor landscape contractor can find so many uses for ceanothus, from small trees, to larger shrubs, to mounding plants to ground covers. They can be planted in masses or, in the case of the upright varieties, mixed in with lighter foliaged plants, yellow flowered shrubs like forsythia, and even daffodils.