SYLVIA MATLOCK has a keen eye for plants and a sophisticated way with color. So I couldn't wait to see the list of plants she calls her must-haves.
Matlock is proprietress of DIG Floral & Garden on Vashon Island, known for its stylish succulents, grasses and gabion walls. The home garden she shares with husband Ross Johnson is an eclectic mix of unusual potted treasures and workhorse shrubs and perennials. So it's no surprise that Matlock's indispensables are practical with a pronounced edge of cool.
Matlock doesn't grow typical anything, which includes her basil (Ocimum 'African Blue'), a shrubby, clove-scented herb that billows out of giant containers in fragrant waves. Unlike Italian basil, it's sufficiently cold-resistant to thrive in our tepid summers. The taste is pungent, and the flowers are pink and deep purple.
"You can only observe so many explosions of color before it becomes overwrought and numbing to your senses," says Matlock, explaining why Pacific Coast iris cultivars made her list. While these pretty little natives, with textural evergreen foliage, come in a wide variety of colors, the hues are subtle and blend into the garden rather than popping like a cartoon...
Read more >>