Beautiful, isn't it? The problem is its toxicity. All parts of this pretty Mediterranean native are poisonous. That is one reason it's seldom seen in home gardens, but perhaps oleander deserves a closer look.
Thousands of oleanders are planted in the medians along the freeways here in California. In the spring they give the motorways an ever changing pattern of pink, red and white. Their dense tangle of branches is quite effective at blocking oncoming headlights and cushioning errant vehicles. That same exuberant growth is the second reason they are seldom seen in home gardens; they just get too big! They must be pruned aggressively to control their size.
Oleander is a dependable performer here in our mild climate and puts on a lush display in June. Their waxy flowers are pleasantly scented and the bloom period lasts for several weeks. Hybridizers have created some dwarf varieties that adapt to small gardens better. Now if they could just make them non-poisonous, I might consider one.