Regional Picks: Plants to Grow Together – Southwest

Fine Gardening - Issue 145



Plant This


Gray creeping germander (Teucrium aroanium)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10

Size: 3 inches tall and 8 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

This textural gem of a ground cover from the Mediterranean basin is a welcome addition to our region. Gray creeping germander’s needlelike foliage spreads into a low mound spangled with clusters of honey-scented, lavender-pink flowers in May and June. I have seen this plant blooming into October.


With That:


‘Siskiyou Blue’ fescue (Festuca idahoensis ‘Siskiyou Blue’)

Zones: 4 to 8

Size: 1 foot tall and 15 to 18 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

‘Siskiyou Blue’ fescue is a long-lived, well-proportioned evergreen offering gentle naturalness. This grass grows into a tufted form with fine-textured, powder blue blades. The flowers radiate a light green that mellows to warm amber by late summer. Its evergreen powder blue is an eye-catching accent to germander.


Kannah Creek® buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum var. aureum ‘Psdowns’)

Zones: 3 to 8

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; lean, well-drained soil

Kannah Creek® buckwheat displays rich green foliage with a white underside that spreads to form matting rosettes. Clusters of small, sulphur yellow flowers age to a warm orange. When viewed at close range, germander and buckwheat leaves appear related by the subtle tonal and textural variations of their foliage.


Wasatch beardtongue (Penstemon cyananthus)

Zones: 3 to 8

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; lean, well-drained soil

The lesser-known Wasatch beardtongue has cobalt blue flowers on tall stems with foliage that turns orange-red as the weather cools. It is also a butterfly and hummingbird magnet. The incredible color of Wasatch beardtongue complements germander’s flowers and foliage and adds vertical contrast.


Maggie Lee is the president of Terra Flora Garden Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Photos: Reggie Millette/; courtesy of Maggie Lee; Jerry Pavia. Illustration: Elara Tanguy

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