Ceanothus are one of the most attractive blue-flowering shrubs producing tight thimble-like clusters of tiny flowers from May to June or August to September depending on the variety. They come in a mix of evergreen and deciduous types with deciduous varieties being hardier with larger leaves and looser clusters of flowers. Commonly known as Californian lilac based on their origin, they come in a range of sizes to suit most gardens. They can be grown as border plants, ground cover or informal hedges and work particularly well trained against a south or west- facing wall. Plant at a time of year when the soil is still warm and incorporate horticultural grit when planting to improve drainage. Ceanothus are mostly hardy in the UK but avoid frost pockets and windy sites. A sunny, sheltered position with protection from the winter cold works best.