Athyrium x ‘Ghost’

A hybrid fern discovred in Oregon and it has become a garden staple. Soft gray/sage green intricately divided fronds arch out from a central rosette. To 2′ tall and as wide in rich, well drained moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. Loves regular irrigation and bulks up more quickly then. More adaptable than its harder to grow parent Japanese painted fern. Completely deciduous in winter. Takes poorly drained sites.

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Baeckea gunniana

Heathmyrtle as it is known is a fine textured shrub that closely mimics Erica (Heath) and is an aromatic member of the Myrtle family- Hence the common name. The fine needle leaves emit a powerfully sweet menthol perfume when bruised. In winter the entire arching dense shrub takes on vivid copper tints. Early summer brings boughs spangled in tiny white flowers like frost. To 3′ tall and  4′ wide in 5 years in rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer water. Pairs perfectly with Heaths and Heathers with identical cultural requirements. Strong deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF or below. Wonderful evergreen shrub. A Xera favorite. High mountains of Tasmania. It would make a fine sheared hedge. Any amount of pruning results in a much denser plant. Plant on three foot centers. Underused wonderful shrub.

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Beesia deltophylla

Still relatively new this extraordinary perennial has so many fantastic attributes it will become indispensable in our gardens. Glossy concave heart shaped leaves emerge tinted black before settling to a deep forest green. The dense foliage is seldom bothered by pests and appears to be slug/snail resistant. Throughout the growing season 2′ spikes emerge over the dome of dense foilage with small white flowers. The over effect is cool sophistication in the shade garden. Slowly expanding to 2′ wide. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. Mix with Hosta, Hakenochloa, Epimedium. Semi-evergreen.

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Berberis darwinii

Darwin’s Barberry is probably one of the showiest barberries in bloom and has excellent performance in Western Oregon. Deep green, glossy, prickily small leaves clothe the frame of this dense and arching shrub. In March/April the whole plant is alight in chains of vivid orange/yellow pendant small flowers. They come in such abundance as to obscure the foliage. By summer those that found a pollinator transform into blue berries covered in a light powdery bloom. Full sun to very light shade in virtually any soil that does not experience standing water. This Chilean native loves our similar maritime climate and is supremely tolerant of summer drought as well. Typically grows to 4′ x 6′ moderately fast. High deer resistance. Locate out of the path of subfreezing wind (east wind) in Portland as it can burn the foliage in severe arctic events. Recovers quickly.

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Berberis x lologensis

Very cool, rare evergreen barberry hybrid that is naturally occurring in the far southern Andes of Chile/Argentina. Apparently where B. darwinii and B. linearis grow together you can get this lovely huge  evergreen flowering shrub. In early spring the arching stems are lined with pendant flowers that arrive as bright red buds and open to hot orange- both colors are present on the flowers which have the fragrance up close of coconut oil. Large growing arching shrub with kind of a wonky habit. Site it where you can spot the vivid flowers in March and then let this spiny creature fade into the background for the rest of the year. Completely drought adapted but will also take regular water. Virtually any soil apart from standing water. Perfectly hardy to cold. High deer resistance. Very difficult to propagate so we only have this fast growing handsome shrub on occasion. But no one else grows it so we list it. Long lived.

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Blechnum penna-marina (Austroblechnum penna-marina)

Antarctic Water Fern is a low creeping evergreen ground cover fern for moist shady sites. To just 5″ tall the new fronds emerge a bright red before settling to soft green. The pointed finely divided leaves overlap densely creating a cover that blocks weeds. Slowly expands up to 3′-4′ wide when really happy. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer water. Avoid compacted dry clay- does not like. Easy to grow in woodlands, Excellent performance under large shrubs. Avoid hot sun. Good small scale shady ground cover. High deer resistance. Chile.

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Blechnum spicant (Struthiopteris spicant)

Deer fern is a lovely native evergreen clumping perennial that is invaluable in wild areas. The tiered upright and then settling to horizontal mid green glossy fronds are handsome all the time. To 2′ wide and 2′ tall (when fronds are emerging). Rich, moisture retentive soil high in organic matter. Light summer water in part shade to shade. Familiar fern of the Oregon Cascades but very widespread. High deer resistance. Design by Vanessa Gardner Nagel Seasons Design. Oregon native plant.

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Bolax (Azorella) gummifera

Incredibly useful and handsome and tough creeping evergreen ground cover. The fine interlaced leaves have a texture very much like plastic or tupperware. It creeps along forming tight rosettes that join. In summer the whole surface of this flush plant is covered in chartreuse yellow flowers. Not showy but conspicuous for a plant that looks uniform and green all year. One of the best ground covers between pavers as it can handle compacted soil better than other small scale ground covers. And this is a small scale ground cover, don’t try to cover acreage. Be reasonable and expect good coverage over a space no larger than 5′ x 5′.  Glossy foliage sparkles when wet. Regular summer water speeds growth though it is tolerant of dry periods  but not complete drought.  Expect each 4″ plant to expand to the size of an apple pie in a season. Completely deer resistant. Top dress with compost every few years- especially if it is between pavers. To 1/4″ tall by 1′ wide. Full sun to the very lightest shade. Carrot family.

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Boorinda angustissima

Little leaf CLUMPING Bamboo has risen to the top as one of our favorite Bamboos. Rapid growing with culms shooting quickly to 10′ tall, they then become clad in masses of tiny mid-green leaves as the culms begin to leaf they slowly sink down. The effect is a a wide spreading fountain. The clump increases painfully slow though and the 1/2″ culms crowd together at the base. Part shade to shade in any well drained soil. Extremely drought adapted for a bamboo. Though it does not run you must give it a wide berth to arch. Amazing texture of green fountains. Culms are purple upon expanding. Light summer water. Protect from reflected heat of hot walls. Takes pruning exceedingly well. Responds almost immediately as a denser plant. It appears best to prune once the culm has completely unfurled. Then head back the culm from the top. If you against pruning it sounds brutal but it actually looks quite natural and does not really diminish the plants grace.

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Brachyglottis greyi

Excellent grey leaved evergreen low shrub for hot and sunny sites. To 3′ x 4′. Foliage is grey on the top of the rounded leaves with a distinct white undersides. In summer clusters of brilliant yellow daisies are showy and provide excellent contrast. Best in poor to average well drained soils – accepts clay soils with little summer water. Very drought tolerant. Best in the mildest gardens. Dry hillsides, shrub borders, hot aspects. Little to light summer water. Good deer resistance. Cold hardy to about 10ºF or a little lower if soil is strictly un-amended and summer water is sparse- neglect leads to a hardier plant in the long run. New Zealand. Excellent performance at the oregon coast.

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