Plant of the Month: Lupine
Silver Bush, Arroyo, Bush, Pigmy-leaved, Silver Dune, Broadleaf, Dwarf Silver Bush, Sky and more--all varieties of California Lupine, and all with diverse growing requirements. Some are happy in sandy or salty soil, some tolerate clays, some want full sun, while others still love a little dappled shade. California's list of lupines pales in comparison with those cultivated in the rest of the United States. Dozens of species have been either discovered or developed, along with their uses, since lupine is a member of the legume family.
One of the reasons they're successful in both the ornamental and the edible garden is because of their valuable role as a nitrogen-fixer, so consider them as a crop rotator as you cycle veggies through your plot--however, don't ingest, since most aren't edible. The right lupine for your garden's soil is probably out there. This website details certain lupines and their growing needs and potential. Give it a read and then head over to your local garden center to see which is in stock.
If they're not in your landscape, consider taking a drive up the coast to watch for the signs of their purple, blue, and indigo majesty!
(Photo credit to Steve Burgess of Santa Maria, California)