"Boxwood was always the mainstay, usually English box, which could be clipped," Cothran says. In the 1830s and '40s, many new plants were introduced, including azaleas, camellias, cryptomeria, crape myrtles, and other imports from China and Japan. Other typical Southern-garden plants are still widely used: magnolia, hydrangea, sweet olive, and flowering seasonal bulbs.
Epidendrum radicans - place this hummingbird-attracting orchid in light, humus-rich soil in bright shade or full sun, in containers or in the ground in milder parts of the Bay Area. Occasional quarter-strength applications of Maxsea or Epiphyte's Delight will encourage vigorous growth and bloom. Plants can also be grown as epiphytes if watered every two or three days from April to November.
Dendrobium kingianum - the hardy Australian garden orchid grows well in rocky crevices outdoors with gravel and bark, blooming fragrantly in late winter and spring. They can also grow mounted on tree bark, indoors or out.