Below please find our plant list for the garden, also viewable on the Garden Design page!

Trees and Bamboo
Acer palmatum 'Ryusen' / Japanese Maple (world's rarest cultivar)
Acer palmatum 'Tobiosho' / Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum dissectum 'Ever Red' / Laceleaf Japanese Maple
Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star' / Star Magnolia
Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' / Yellow Crook Stem Bamboo
Phyllostachis nigra / Black Bamboo
Podocarpus elongatus 'Icee Blue' / Yellowwood

Shrubs & Grasses
Acorus gramineus 'Ogon' / Golden Sweet Flag
Carex elegantissima / Golden-edged Sedge
Carex flagellifera / Weeping Brown Sedge
Carex testacea / New Zealand Orange Sedge
Cordyline 'Festival Grass' / Red Fountain Cordyline
Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' / Blue Fescue
Helichrysum petiolare / Licorice plant
Helictotrichon sempervirens / Blue Oat Grass
Heuchera 'Regina' / Coral Bells
Heuchera 'Hercules' / Coral Bells
Libertia peregrinans / Orange Libertia
Phormium 'Maori Maiden' / New Zealand Flax
Phormium 'Platt's Black' / New Zealand Flax
Phormium 'Dark Delight' / New Zealand Flax
Phormium 'Yellow Wave' / New Zealand Flax
Stipa tenuissima (aka Nasella tenuissima) / Mexican Feather Grass

Graywater Stream Planting
Acorus gramineus 'Ogon' / Golden Sweet Flag
Equisetum hyemale / Horsetail
Chondropetalum elephantinum / Large Cape Rush
Chondropetalum tectorum / Cape Rush
Juncus patens 'Elk Blue' / California Gray Rush
Ethnobotany [def.] is the scientific study of the relationships that exist between people and plants.

Aside from their aesthetic value, plants have many uses for us humans. They are the basis of most of our modern day products, including medicine.
We decided to offer a quick summary of some of the hidden functions of the plants we chose to showcase in our Reality Rocks! garden.

Acer palmatum – Japanese Maple
--Even though the concentration of sugar is considerably lower than in the sugar maples (A. saccharum), the tree trunk can be tapped for the syrup in early spring.
--And you probably didn’t know that maple leaves can be cooked and eaten, although we have eaten nicer leaves.
--The leaves can also be used as a preservative, packed around apples or root crops to help preserve longevity.

Philostachys nigra – Black Bamboo.
--Harvest the young shoots in spring. Boil them for 8-10 minutes, change water, and boil again. A distinctive taste and aroma.
--Young dried leaves are used medicinally for treating fevers.
--The canes make good plant supports, or for cabinet work and for decorative inlays. The rhizome (root) is used for umbrella handles, wickerwork, canes, musical instruments and various kinds of handicrafts.

Magnolia stellata – star Magnolia
--A famine food only, but the leaves can be cooked and eaten.

Podocarpus ‘Iced Blue’
--Fruit - raw or cooked in pies, cakes
--A decoction of the fruit is tonic for the heart, kidneys, lungs and stomach.

Acorus gramineus – sweet flag
--One can eat the root cooked. First peel and finely chop and soak in several changes of water. A ginger substitute.
--Although safe for consumption, some caution is advised because other members of this plant family are poisonous.

Cordyline – ‘festival grass’
--You can eat the root – baked or brewed into an intoxicating drink. ----The pith of the trunk can be dried or steamed until soft. Sweet and starchy, it is used to make porridge or a sweet drink.
--The plant has edible shoots.
--The leaves contain a strong fiber, used for making paper, twine, cloth, baskets, thatching, etc.
Dodonaea viscosa – Hops bush
--Externally, the leaves are effective when applied to wounds, skin rashes and stings.
--The bark is employed in astringent baths and poultices.

Equisetum hyemale – Horsetail
--A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing.
--Added to a bath benefits slow-healing sprains and fractures, as well as certain irritable skin conditions such as eczema.
--This plant contains irritant substances and should only be used for short periods of time under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
--The stems contain 10% silica and are used for scouring metal, a fine sandpaper, a polish for brass.
--The infusion from the stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses!
--A dye is obtained from the stem.

Heuchera micrantha – Alum Root
--The root can be used as a mordant used in fixing natural dyes. The root is rich in tannin, is this the active ingredient that acts as a mordant.

Juncus patens
--Stems contain fiber used in basket and paper making, thatching, weaving mats, braided into ropes etc.

Phormium – New Zealand Flax
--The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute.
--An edible and very wholesome nectar is obtained from the flowers. But you’ll need a long straw or a beak!
--An edible gum is obtained from the base of the
--A high quality pliable fiber is obtained from the leaves for twine, fine cloth, paper, nets, sandals, baskets etc. A strip of a leaf is an excellent emergency string substitute for tying up plants in the garden!
--The leaf pulp, after the fibre has been removed, can be fermented to make alcohol.
--A gum found in the leaves is used as a paper glue.
--A dye is obtained from the tannin-rich flowers and seeds, requiring no mordant.

Please enjoy PLANTS.
And be mindful when harvesting and take only small amounts at a time so the population stays strong. It’s best to grow what you need verus harvesting from natural areas.

a disclaimer: We cannot take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

SOURCE, compiled by Sara Mossman for Reality Rocks! Garden.
Acer palmatum 'Ryusen'
World's rarest Japanese Maple
Come see the world's rarest Japanese maple, Acer palmatum 'Ryusen', in Reality Rocks! a Garden, a temporary garden display at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, March 23-27 (Wednesday through Friday). 

This special maple is provided by Maples For All Seasons Nursery, a boutique nursery specializing in Japanese maples.  They have hundreds of cultivars of Japanese maples suitable for warmer climates such as the San Francisco Bay Area. 

For a 15% discount off of already discounted show prices on this and other Japanese maples, sign up on our interest list at our Home Page

For tickets, visit

Foliar Color
Plants tagged at Devil Mountain Wholesale Nursery
Our planting palette emphasizes foliar color, drought-tolerance and bio-filtration.  The palette features grasses, bamboos and trees with colorful foliage.  This type of planting keeps the emphasis on the rocks, our stars of the show. 

This Spring has been challenging with several cold periods alternating with unseasonably warm times inbetween.  As a result, the plants have been starting and stopping their Spring growth cycles into March.  We have been waiting to see which plants look at their peak, holding off until the last moment to select the final plant palette. 

Here are some images giving a preview of our garden planting.