Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Foundation Favorite

Want to know one of my favorite foundation plants?


'Bay Breeze' Dwarf Indian Hawthorn (Raphiolepis indica).  Also known as 'Hines Darkleaf'.


Mine are planted in a hedge between my front porch and the sidewalk.  I love that:

1)  They stay small, so I can sit and still look over them, but have a sense of privacy.
2)  They're evergreen, so even in December they are cheerful to see.
3)  They bloom in spring.

They're almost no care.  I have been known to throw some fertilizer under them, and I have also been known to forget to do that for years at a time.

'Bay Breeze' (Hines Darkleaf) Indian Hawthorn

I have to shape mine to keep them off the sidewalk, but other than that, they are truly one of the easiest plants in my garden.  Don't shape them before they bloom in spring - you might cut off that year's blooms.


They love full sun, but can be planted in part shade.  And any plant that loves full sun in hot Texas really, really loves the sun!  I have some planted in a place that is full shade, and they are leggy and rarely bloom.  I keep thinking I will need to put something else in that place, and I will eventually, but it's hard to pull out a plant that is still evergreen with lots of leaves on it, even if it is unhappy.


The only problem I can see with this plant as a foundation planting is the fact that they attract bees when they're blooming.  It doesn't bother me, but if I had a lot of visitors or was allergic to bees, I might not want these near my front door.

'Bay Breeze' grows in zones 8 to 11, to 3 ft. tall and wide, with a nice rounded shape.

34 comments:

  1. Beautiful small shrub! Unfortunately, I think I have too much shade to be able to use them in my garden They really bloom profusely, don't they?!

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    1. It's amazing how many blooms they have on them. The blooms don't last long, but the bees love them while they're in flower!

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  2. How wonderful to have such a care free and beautiful plant. I've never seen it down here.

    Happy spring gardening ~ FlowerLady

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    1. They're not as common as I think they should be. I'm always amazed that people don't use this plant more, and that the stores don't stock them more often.

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  3. Those are so beautiful. I am so envious. I've always wanted a Hawthorn but they are not hardy up here. You are so lucky.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. It really is sad that they're not more cold hardy. I feel lucky that I found such a great plant when I first started gardening. Beginner's luck, I suppose!

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  4. Hi there
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  5. Thank you for profiling that particular Raphiolepsis. I'm looking for some low foundation plants to replace azaleas that were removed. We have the larger Raphiolepsis...excuse me while I go look at my garden spreadsheet! ;) ...'Clara', that were planted in various areas of the yard when we moved in 25 years ago. They are looking pretty rangy now despite my attempts at pruning them. I really like your 'Bay Breeze' dwarf variety. I'm going to look for it at the nursery!

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    1. I hope you can find it. It's not as common as Clara, but I think it should be! Its leaves turn very dark in the winter - almost purple. Thus, the 'darkleaf' name. I have these in different places, and the only time I'm unhappy is if they're in too much shade. I've never grown Clara, although I see it often.

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  6. I have seen that plant before but never knew what it was... I love the Dwarf Indian Hawthorn.... Gorgeous!!!!

    Have a wonderful Sunday.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. So many hawthorns grow to be very, very big. I like that this one stays small.

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  7. I will have to look for these. They are very beautiful. Thanks for sharing them.

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    1. I do recommend them - and the bees do, too!

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  8. I would love to have a few of these too. Will be keeping my eyes open for them.

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    1. I have them here and there, but I love them in a hedge the best.

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  9. Don't know this plant but sure looks pretty...bees think so too!! Doesn't like my cold weather...

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    1. The bees really do like them. We saw so many different types of bees on them, too. And butterflies. They seem to be ignoring most of the other blooms while these are available!

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  10. If we keep up with warm WInters like we had this year, maybe my zone 6 will turn to zone 8 and I will definitely add that beautiful shrub to my garden! Lovely photo!

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    1. hahaha - I hope not! That will make me a zone 10 and I'm already hot enough!

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  11. What a beautiful plant, pretty and low maintenance.

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    1. Low maintenance is a wonderful thing, isn't it? I should look for that more often!

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  12. What a scrumptious plant - I can see why you love it! The foliage and the flowers harmonize together so nicely. Now if only some clever breeder could develop one hardy in zone 5 for me... :-)

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    1. Maybe they will! I hope someone is working on that right now!

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  13. Beautiful shrub, and it seems very low maintenance. Like one of your other commenters, I might need to replace my azaleas soon too. They're not looking good. Good mention about attracting bees and how that might not be something you want near your front door if you have visitors who are allergic. That'll be something to consider.

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    1. I have a hard time with azaleas, too. If you are concerned about bees, be very careful where you place these. I can not tell you how many bees are on mine - probably hundreds!

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  14. Any plant that stays evergreen, looks this gorgeous in Spring & attracts the bees is great! Love it xx

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    1. Obviously it just needs to be more cold hardy!

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  15. I love this plant, too! Of course, I cannot cultivate it here, but it surely is a beauty.

    I was thinking about your catenary project the other day, have you finished it yet? Someone gifted us with a bunch of tall telephone poles and I thought of your lovely plans immediately.

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    1. I have done nothing with the catenary. :( It is full of weeds, but I am going to finish weeding and mulching the other beds first, and I have a different project I've been working on, too. I hope by fall I'll be planting roses on it. I can't wait to see what you do with those telephone poles! How exciting - just opens up a world of options!

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  16. Your Bay Breeze shrubs are just beautiful. What wonderful blooms and the darker foliage goes so well with the pink blooms making them pop.

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    1. The darker foliage gets very, very dark in winter. I love its different dark shades - it could be a great contrast to lighter foliage plantings.

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  17. I can see why you love this plant. Shiny dark green leaves are a favourite of mine and the blooms are just a bonus.

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    1. That's how I feel - that the blooms are just a bonus. I look forward to them every spring, but I really don't miss them when they're not there - just the shrub is nice enough.

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