Hi, my name is Tom and I’m a plantaholic, unable to leave a nursery without a plant, incapable of ignoring a nodding bud, lacy leaf or fancy frond. Adhere to a climate zonal chart? Nah, not me. One place where I always find unique and wonderful plants is Colvos Creek Nursery right here on Vashon Island. Plantsman and proprietor Mike Lee is a soft-spoken gardening genius who searches for native plants and compatible drought-tolerant species from similar climates around the world. His inventory fills a 27-page catalog.
One such plant that had me at hello was the Royal Grevillea (Grevillea Victoriae), a shrubby little showstopper from Australia with flawless foliage and joyful autumn blossoms. I purchased a small start, planted it that day (a rarity for me) and proceeded to ignore it. Three years later it’s a four-foot evergreen crown in my garden, bejeweled with flaming cascades of honeysuckle-like flowers.
Top Ten Reasons Royal Grevillea Is a Great Landscape Plant:
Drought tolerant (I rarely water it.)
Fall bloomer (September – November)
Deer resistant (Second photo: The Grevillea remains untouched, while rose (right) is stripped of its leaves.)
Survived several severe snowstorms
Flowers attract hummingbirds
Healthy, handsome gray-green foliage
Hardy to USDA Zone 8
Thrives on neglect
From a man who practically feeds his gardenias and roses with a sippy cup, I appreciate a low maintenance alternative, especially one that takes no back seat to beauty and presence in the garden. (For more see: Pacific Northwest Grevilleas Revisited.)