Some Red Hot Californians

Fri, 2021-07-02 11:10 -- gsparrow
2 Jul
Panayoti Kelaidis

CALIFORNIA NATIVES HAVE a reputation for being intolerant of extreme cold. This truism is so universally acknowledged that most rock gardeners east of the Sierra shun plants from that state. And so it was with me in Colorado for much of my rock gardening career. Accidentally at first, and then with greater and greater determination, I have found some spectacular rock garden plants that not only survive but thrive in the severe continental climate of the Front Range of Colorado. I have a hunch that many of these (and many more) will prove not just hardy but tough across much of North America.

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Submitted by Mikkelsen on

I love this Monardella! In Utah we have Monardella odorotissima which rightfully earned it's species name. I love the scent, but most people I share a few leaves with instantly recoil... lol. Monardella macrantha has a sweeter fragrance and luckily there are a few nurseries nearby that carry it, Granted, mine aren't nearly the size of that scarlet beast you have grown, but they're getting there!

Thank you so much for sharing your writing about this gorgeous Monardella.

Kind Regards,


Margin of the Great Basin Desert & Wasatch Mountains 4350' (1326m) elevation; Zone 5a - 6b; Only 3 miles from the moderating effects of The Great Salt Lake, Utah. 

J. Mikkelsen

Submitted by mikesmedley on

Monardella macrantha ‘Marian Sampson’ can be fussy. I'm growing it in gritty soil (native clay + expended shale + sand) and mostly shade, with 2 hours of direct overhead sun (between the garage and a cherry tree). I cover with Ponderosa pine needles in winter, and that seemed to help in the longevity and hardiness department. Although I have a couple in other parts of the gardens that have persisted for 5+ years. This is a show-stopper, for sure, and still in full bloom as of Sept 20.