As a perfect ground cover providing excellent contrast against an Arizona stone and stucco wall, consider using Santolina chamaecyparissus, commonly known as Lavender Cotton. Its finely-toothed foliage of striking grey color is a sub-shrub, a woody perennial that grows to about two-foot tall and one-foot in width. It is right at home is your Scottsdale desert garden and anywhere in your yard.
Shown in the foreground before a widespread Desert Willow, Santolina is a popular choice for Scottsdale landscapers used as a stable component in any flowerbed or employed as a border or possibly used as a niche plant placed between flagstones and garden rocks. Although the Santolina does flower throughout the summer months producing small, button-shaped, daisy-like blooms, it is better noted for its small-scale properties making it quite suitable for lending itself to contrast needs in any Phoenix or Scottsdale landscape design or xeriscape planting.
From a pure aesthetic viewpoint, Santolina is an excellent herb addition to any desert garden as an accent or border blending well with herbs like Lavender, Sage and Thyme that possess similarly shaped foliage. When its leaves are clipped it produces an attractive fragrance making it a valuable addition to any Scottsdale landscape design incorporating the use of an herb garden. Foot-high Santolina edging an herb garden makes for a striking formal composition.
Give thought to easy to grow Santolina while considering the placement of bedding plants in association with trees such as the Desert Willow shown here in a sharp garden design. To create as much unity as possible in your desert landscape, your ground cover should link with your garden’s natural stone wall. As well as create good contrast with the ‘ceiling’ created by larger shrubs and trees. Santolina will work well with many different Agave shrubs such as Queen Victoria, Octopus or Huachuca as well as desert tress such as the Willows, Sycamores and Mesquites.
Low maintenance in dry calcareous or alkaline soil makes Santolina an excellent choice for any xeriscape design in Scottsdale and Phoenix.