Mention the word “ascot” and you probably think about a silky, men’s tie most likely worn by the upper crust of European society. Then there is the Royal Ascot horse race, where the word is associated with royalty and high society. Today, however, I want you to associate the word with ‘Ascot Rainbow,’ an evergreen, perennial euphorbia that is capturing the imagination of the gardening world.Botanically speaking, ‘Ascot Rainbow’ is known as “Euphorbia x martinii.” It is native to Australia, where the name “Ascot” is associated with an old, wealthy suburb of Brisbane. In truth, it is known as a spurge, which we most often associate with a host of terrible weeds. ‘Ascot Rainbow,’ however, is worthy of garden royalty.First, know that the plants are perennial in zones 5 to 9, which means much of the country can enjoy the incredible texture this plant offers the landscape border. They reach 20 inches tall, with an equal spread. I am plant-lusting them now in mixed containers where they have been partnered with other cool-season flowers like pansies, violas, kale and snapdragons. There is just something about the plant that holds my attention.The foliage is deep green, with golden margins in the cool season. This drop in temperature also fires them up with shades of red, pink and even orange. In spring and summer, the bloom is among the most unique as it features a cup of lime-colored bracts with red centers.The ‘Ascot Rainbow’ is drought tolerant, and boasts another trait that will thrill gardeners everywhere – they are rabbit and deer resistant. As you would probably think, a drought-tolerant euphorbia from Australia needs good drainage and thrives in full to partial sun.In a way, I think of them as evergreen perennials, but it helps in design if you consider them more as dwarf shrubs. Plant them in a cluster of three with ornamental grasses and perennials like purple coneflowers, rudbeckias and blue salvias. They fit this type of border, perfectly adding a great deal of interest from both leaf texture and bloom.If you are the lucky gardener with rocks or a slope, then let ‘Ascot Rainbow’ dazzle all of your visitors as you combine it with other drought-tolerant, tough-as-nails flowers. But as I have stated, you will treasure them as the thriller plant in cool-season mixed containers. They naturally form a rounded ball, and with a layer of pansies, including some trailing in front, they are most picturesque. If your container is large enough, then your options are limitless as you can use them with tall snapdragons, and dianthus and blue-leafed kale, which contrasts with the golden variegation of ‘Ascot Rainbows.’ You are the artist and simply using it will make your neighbors think, “Look who took a special gardening class!”Maintenance is easy. Remove old bloom stalks all the way to the ground in late summer or fall. Like other spurges, we grow this one not to be eaten, but to be enjoyed for the beauty and texture it offers your garden.Follow me on Twitter: @CGBGgardenguru. Learn more about the University of Georgia’s Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm at www.coastalgeorgiabg.org/.
Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in a day.There’s pressure that comes with being an NBA lottery pick, lofty expectations attached to being drafted 13th overall and arriving with the reputation – based on a 40.9 collegiate 3-point shooting percentage – as a sharpshooter.Sure, sometimes Zion Williamson introduces himself by erupting for 17 consecutive points in three minutes. But more often, life in the NBA (and life in general) doesn’t deliver such instant gratification.Second-year Clippers guard Jerome Robinson gets that. “There’s not grown men in our league for no reason,” Robinson said last week. “There’s not guys who are in their 30s or late-20s flourishing in our league for no reason.“It’s all opportunity and just figuring out the game and figuring out your game. So once the pieces are put together, look how (players such as Markelle Fultz or Brandon Ingram) have blossomed. It’s just staying focused and trying to get better every day, that’s all you can really do.”Heading into Friday’s game in Miami, the Clippers’ first meeting with the Heat, Robinson is figuring it out, one subtle step at a time.Take Wednesday’s 102-95 loss in Atlanta, when the Clippers couldn’t overcome a spectacular second-half collapse or the fact that they allowed a season-high 63 rebounds, including a season-worst 23 on the offensive glass, to a Hawks team that was averaging 42.5 boards, third-fewest in the NBA.For 19 minutes sprinkled across the Clippers’ early surge and their subsequent crash, Robinson exhibited those continued incremental improvements, getting a smart wrap-around pass to a red-hot Montrezl Harrell, showing himself to be an engaged rebounder, keeping his feet moving defensively. For his part, Robinson, who is shooting just 34.1 percent overall and 29.7 percent from 3-point range, said he’s learned the key to unlocking more offensive opportunities will come on the defensive end.“I have limited minutes, so I’m coming out regardless,” he said. “It’s playing those minutes as hard as I can, no matter how it’s going for me offensively, just giving that effort on the defensive end.“Everything else will take care of itself.”—– CLIPPERS AT HEAT —–When: Friday, 5 p.m.Where: American Airlines Arena, MiamiTV: ESPN, Fox Sports Prime Ticket Clippers’ Paul George: ‘If I make shots, this series could be a little different’ Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “You almost have to play perfect to get Doc’s trust,” veteran guard Patrick Beverley said of Coach Doc Rivers. “And even if you do play perfect, it’s still kind of hard.“One thing that’s good for him in a sophomore season is that he’s learning. He’s on a team with Doc Rivers as head coach, where he’s learning how to play the game of basketball the right way. That’s bigger than any type of playing time, any type of experience at all – playing the right way.”Said Rivers of Robinson: “He’s transformed himself into a better defensive player. He’s come into a couple of games and turned it around with his defensive energy. His shot has been inconsistent, but he can do other things than just shoot the ball.”On Wednesday, Robinson recorded five rebounds, four assists, a blocked shot, and although he went 1 for 5 from the field and clanged a couple of shots from behind the arc, the shot he sank came when he stepped confidently into a 3-pointer.“When I was like 19½, people were like, ‘He should go back to Europe,’” said Ivica Zubac, now the Clippers’ 22-year-old starting center. “People are impatient. And some guys take longer than others – and I’m not saying that’s the case with Jerome – but we’ve got to understand his role. It’s hard when you’re a young player, second year, to not play for like 10 games and then they throw you in and they want you to do everything perfect. But what Jerome is doing, on defense, he’s been really great.“I wish he’d shoot with some more confidence, but that’ll come,” Zubac continued. “Everyone’s talking to him, telling him, ‘Shoot it. When you’re open, don’t hesitate, don’t think about it, that’s what you do, that’s why you got in the league, you can shoot it!’”Related Articles What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Game 4 photos: Luka Doncic, Mavs shock Clippers in overtime For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory