The Ceanothus, Beautiful blue lilac from California
The Ceanothus is so called because it is native to California and the flowers resemble those of the lilac tree (Syringa). The Ceanothus are a family of both evergreen and decidious shrubs or small trees. They come in a variety of colours including pink and white but most people will be familiar with the beautiful blue varieties. Ceanothus enjoy a sunny South or West facing position, sheltered from cold winds and a free draining soil. Damage can be caused by positioning in a wet spot particularly in Winter. Ceanothus vary in colour (depending on the variety) from a subtle powdery blue to a deep sapphire blue. They require very little feeding and almost thrive on a little neglect! If feeding becomes necessary early Spring is the best time to do it. Pruning, if necessary, should be done immediately after flowering. Avoid pruing late in the season as it promotes new growth which can be hit hard by early frosts. Some varieties to try; Ceanothus x 'Blue Sapphire', it's graceful arching form makes a beautiful ground cover specimen. Abundant dark sapphire blue flowers cover the plant in April. The dark emerald foliage turns almost black in Winter. Ceanothus arboreus trewithen blue is a much larger growing variety growing 8ft high with deep blue panicles of flowers which appear in April and May, backed by a broad dark green foliage. Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. repens flowers in April, May and into early June. This low growing evergreen shrub is cloaked in fluffy powder blue flowers. Planted at the front of a mixed border, it looks great when coupled with Euonymus 'Emerald & Gold' or Dianthus 'Kahori'.