The new issue of Horticulture Magazine has an interesting article about a lady in Washington state who turned her front yard into plant-land. What was really fascinating was the true point of the article: plantings for dry climates.
I was like "WTF? Washington state is dry?" But apparently, outside of Seattle, they get less than 1" of rain during the summer. That's a head-scratcher, isn't it?
There are some truly drool-worthy pictures too, the kind that send me off to the nursery in a plant-buying frenzy...which is what I did today at lunch. I loaded up on perennial herbs, sedums, an Achillea 'Paprika', a Penstemon 'Huskers Red', a 'Mordens Pink' loosestrife, a couple of ornamental grasses, a couple of artemesia, and a really cool-looking green santolina.
Lastly, I am suffering with "phormium phetish" at the moment. Unfortunately, few of the nurseries around here carry phormiums (i.e. New Zealand flax), and when they do, they're $50. The best online source seems to be Heronswood.
A guy at the nursery talked me into a Dianella tasmanica, which he called Tasmanian flax or a Variegated Flax Lily. The foliage was nice, and a bit softer than some phormiums, so I took it.