Last Sunday, I had the great pleasure of seeing a garden in San Jose that showcases one of the greatest number of different species of Ceanothus (California wild lilac) in the world, around 60. I've seen the garden in late April before, and I was quite impressed by the variety at that time. But this time, because so many plants are still dormant, the show that the Ceanothus were putting on was even more impressive.
Ceanothus Maritimus 'Dr. Leiser' which grows to 3 feet high and 8 feet (or more) wide had beautiful large flower clusters, already attracting lots of bees. It's shown above with Salvia 'Bee's Bliss', not yet in bloom.
I especially liked some of the combinations, such as Ceanothus Maritimus 'Dr. Leiser' together with Ceanothus rigidus 'Snowball'.
Ceanothus verrocosus, also white blooming but with much larger flower clusters, is a small tree of easily 10 feet.
(Forgot the name of this white-blooming Ceanothus, but again I especially like it together with the Salvia. In general, I was impressed by the many other native plants in the garden. The owner has a very large property and has an amazing collection of native plants - flannel bush, manzanitas, salvias, and much more - all growing without any summer water in clay.
Ceanothus 'Blue Jeans had just started to bloom but looked like a potentially good choice for the Ceanothus that I currently have in my back garden.
And the best thing about the garden? Those who live in the San Francisco Bay Area can visit it during Going Native Garden Tour, a free tour of over 60 gardens on April 20 (South) and April 21 (North). It's a little off the beaten track, but very much worth the drive. If you register at the gngt.org website, you will receive a list of gardens and addresses via email.