Garden design by Google?

Garden design by Google?

‘Tis the season for year end countdowns, and so we look at our top ten most searched plants this year, the ones that were requested more often than the other 27,000 in our library. I would not have expected such a well coordinated collection to emerge from random searches. Year-round interest with varied shapes and textures in a restrained palette of greens, golds, and a touch of red. A good mix of foliage and flowers. The wisdom of crowds is at play here. I think 2014 had excellent taste in plants.

10. Euonymus japonicus ‘Greenspire’

euonymus japonicus greenspire

Photo Credit: Megan Hansen (oh, me)




A tall, skinny evergreen with glossy green leaves, not fussy about sun exposure or soil. Sounds so easy. You could squeeze in this little exclamation point just about anywhere. No wonder so many people are looking to plant it.

9. Nandina domestica ‘Moyers Red’

Nandina domestica moyers red

Photo Credit: Karl Gercens III, traveling garden photographer extraordinaire




A biggo of a heavenly bamboo coming in at around 6 feet. With ol’ Moyers Red here you get you the benefit of year round leafiness with an evergreen, while still seeing a spectacular show of red fall foliage even in milder climates, plus the rosy berries. Easy enough to grow in sun or light shade. Good choice, internet.

8. Furcraea gigantea variegata

Furcraea gigantea variegata

Photo Credit: Our very own Loree Bohl




I’m happy to see a Furcraea made the list. Easy to grow plants carry the weight in my garden, but I need some high-maintenance, high-drama beauties to be happy. Yes, this zone 10 kid is one of the ones I’ve lugged in and out, in and out with each change of the winter weather forecast. Worth it.  

7. Corokia cotoneaster

corokia cotoneaster

Photo Credit: James Gaither, J.G. in S.F. who was kind enough to share his photos with us as we were just getting started. Sadly Jim passed away in 2012, while his partner and friends maintain his wonderful botanical photography archive on Flickr.




I’m happy to see this zig-zaggy plant get some love from the crowd. Tiny leaves, tiny but fragrant flowers. Big personality in those crooked stems.

6. Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’

Calycanthus x raulstonii hartlage wine

Photo Credit: Karl Gercens III, traveling garden photographer extraordinaire




The flowers on this shrubby calycanthus are often described as magnolia-like, but I think of calycanthus flowers as something you might cut from paper. They’re sturdy and stiff, usually unfolding curiously asymmetrical, which I find charming. I like a little oddball in my flowers.

5. Sophora prostrata ‘Little Baby’

Sophora prostrata little baby

Photo Credit: Jim Mecca from his Cistus Nursery days




Another zig-zag shrub made the list. Tiny leaves, tiny orangey flowers. It likes tough love: hot sun, lean soil. Good year for zig zag plants! I am in the fan club.

4. Lonicera nitida ‘Lemon Beauty’

lonicera nitida lemon beauty

Photo Credit: Native Sons Nursery




An bright evergreen shrub with small glossy variegated leaves. Sun or light shade, pretty happy with most soils. Easy, peasy.

3. Dipphylleia grayi




Ooh, I like a delicate woodland plant with jaggedy edged umbrella leaves. Very good top 3 choice.

2. Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’

schizophragma hydrangeoides moonlight

Photo Credit: Karl Gercens III, traveling garden photographer extraordinaire




A beauty of a climbing hydrangea with silvery veined leaves and 10″ diameter lacecap flowers that bloom for almost two months. If you have a good wall or established tree trunk where you can set it loose, it’ll cling and climb eventually to about 40′. Check one out in person at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland if you get the chance. The brown dried flowers are still pretty even in winter.

1. Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’

cypressus macrocarpa wilma goldcrest

Photo Credit: Greer Gardens




And our #1 most searched plant this year was a Golden Monterey Cypress, which is a fine pillar of acid green, one of my very favorite colors in the garden. Even better when you get to appreciate it year round with a 10 foot-ish plant that’s tall enough to poke it’s head into view while you sit in your cozy chair with a hot cup of tea in front of the fire, or however it is you like to enjoy winter in your garden. Hope you are all warm and cozy and dreaming of spring planting time.

  • It’s just crazy (in a good way) that both Sophora prostrata ‘Little Baby’ and Corokia cotoneaster are on the top ten. I love those plants and they’re hardly what I would call mainstream. Also I’m thinking that peer pressure dictates that I must add a couple Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’ to the garden. I’d be saying the same about the Calycanthus if not for the fact there’s one growing near the tennis courts at the park, so it’s kind of mine simply due to the proximity. Fabulous post!

  • This is a great idea to highlight the top ten on your website. Af ew new ones to me including the Diphylleia as we only have the species cymosa.