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May Greys

In San Diego, in the early summer we often have a marine layer of clouds over most of the coastal areas. We call it May Grey and June Gloom. Maybe it is the weather that has me into plants with grey foliage right now.

Grey foliage works as an elegant addition to drought tolerant gardens, making the foliage of the other plants appear more green by contrast. Try them in mass plantings or as single specimens.

Here are a few of my favorites. These are all reliable growers in San Diego county. The blue flowered variety to the left is Teucrium fruticans ‘Azuruem’ by Monrovia nursery. It is a compact shrub to 3′ high, ideal for a low hedge or mass planting. For contrast, try planting it with a mass of Rosemarinus ‘Tuscan Blue’.

The clouds of lavender purple flowers is Leucophyllum frutescens, sometimes called Tezas Ranger or Texas Silverleaf.

The groundcover is one of my favorites: Dymondia margaretae. It forms a very dense matt tight to the ground and takes a fair amount of foot traffic and even occasional car traffic.

The brilliant white flowers belong to Convovulus cneorum. It has brilliant silver foliage and a low round growth habit. Below is Artemesia ‘Powis Castle’ with its soft fluttery silver-blue foliage. Let it drape over a low wall.

Olea ‘Little Ollie’ is a shrub form of an oliver ideal for low hedges. It is very drought and heat tolerant. Lavenders, like this Lavandula ‘Hidcote Blue’ offer a wonderful variety of grey foliage.

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Sage Outdoor Designs is a San Diego landscape design firm. Kate
Wiseman, the Principal, has been a San Diego landscape designer
for the past ten years. Find out more at