Tough, durable, and pretty evergold shrub that becomes a fountain of crystal white tubular fragrant flowers from July to November. Fast growing to 4′ x 4′ in just three years. Gold foliage contrasts well with madder red stems and calyxes of the flowers. Adaptable to both full sun and to part shade. Leaves are more vivid in full sun. Regular water to establish then just occasional water. Amenable to all types of pruning. Sheared, chopped, lightly cut doesn’t matter, it regrows fast and blooms on new wood so you aren’t messing anything up. Hedges, specimens. The parking lot at Fred Meyers. Lovely shrub.
Biome: Dry Shade
Dry shade offers a particular challenge to PNW gardeners. In fact, it can be the hardest location to satisfactorily grow plants. Many gardeners have dry shade, a tall canopy of Douglas Fir or Oregon White Oak or even neighborhood street trees that can conspire to rob plants not only of light but water as well. And to complicate matters, the more you irrigate dry shade near trees the more tree roots you get and the more competition for your lovelies. The solution is to depend on plants that have these three adaptations: dry tolerance, root competition, low light conditions.
We’ve amassed a list of plants that really will thrive in these conditions. A good deal of these plants are native to the forest understory in Asia, they are built for serious competition with Bamboo. Many of our very best dry shade plants are from the Pacific Northwest and already inhabit dry woods. Invite these plants into your garden, they play an important role.
Prepare the soil as you would any rich perennial border. Add and incorporate compost and mulch. Give each plant a handful of all organic fertilizer to speed root growth and establishment and water faithfully for the first season. In these conditions an annual application of mulch is not obscene and will reap great rewards. In time you can water much more infrequently.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Acaena ‘Blue Haze’
The blue form of New Zealand Burr with finely divided pinnate evergreen foliage that forms a vigorous creeping ground cover. In summer 3″ stems support round white flowers that appear for several weeks. Easy to grow dense-growing plant to 3″ tall and covering up to 3 square feet in a year. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture to speed growth and keep the appearance fresh. Best in part shade to shade- seems to resent hot sun and permanently dry positions. Excellent for a fast cover that blocks weeds and roots as it grows- perfect erosion control for steep shady slopes. Plant on 1′ centers for a fast cover. Adaptable to dry conditions when established.
Acanthus mollis ‘Hollard’s Gold’
Bear’s Breeches is a standard perennial in our region for dry shady environs. And though the bold foliage is amazing we’ve been drawn to this form which turns it up a notch. Nearly 3′ long bold leaves are imbued with gold changing to acid green as the season continues. In early summer the fantastic white/mauve/grey chalice-like flower spikes rise to 4′ tall. Forms imposing clumps quickly in rich to average, well drained soil with light, consistent summer water. Takes dry conditions well and will actually resort to summer dormancy in extreme conditions. Evergreen to about 20ºF. Low deer resistance. Shines in the deepest shade. A very permanent plant that will live for decades.
Acanthus mollis ‘Tasmanian Angel’
Variegated Bear’s Breeches or just plain old Acanthus with dramatically white-splashed leaves. There is great contrast between the white and the dark green sections of the leaves/stems. In summer this spreading perennial produces a 3′ spike with pure white flower bracts enclosing the pink flowers. Its a big ol party chalice of goodness. Not the hardiest Acanthus (yeah- that might be good). Plant in a protected location with RICH, well drained soil- add compost and all organic fertilizer. Completely deciduous in winter here. Each leaf extends to 2′ long with intricate indentation- aside from the variegation. To 3′ across eventually. Excellent plant for containers. Protect containers from temps below 15ºF (move to an unheated garage, porch). Emerges in mid-spring. Mulch the crown in autumn for the first few seasons.
Vine Maple is perhaps our most beautiful native maple. Found from SW British Columbia to Northern California in the Shasta area. Its a pervasive understory tree throughout the western part of the state. It derives its name from its almost vine like habit in shade. This winding and sun seeking component leads to the most graceful natural forms. In full sun it is a compact, multi-trunked shrub. In autumn in both habitats it turns to shades of fiery orange and yellow and red. Vivid against the pure green trunks and stems. One of the most dramatic places you will see this shrub is at 4500′ on Belknap crater on McKenzie Pass where it lives among the lava. In early fall the brilliant colors of the maples contrasts wonderfully with the black lava. Its very hot and very dry but its also very high in elevation. The symmetrically serrated round leaves rival any Japanse maple. In shade established trees get by with little summer water. In the sun irrigation is welcome. Rich to average soil with regular applications of mulch. To 16′ tall in shade and again quite a bit shorter in full sun- very wide in shade. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. This shrub/tree belongs on the north side or under substantial shade. Some deer resistance. Excellent underplanted with native ferns and Gaultheria. A common native that should be a more common ornamental. Tiny red flowers turn into sunny orange samaras by autumn and persist past the leaves. Avoid very dry shade of un-irrigated over hangs. This is a semi-mesic maple. Oregon native plant
Greg got seed of this distinctive form of Yarrow near Oregon City. Unlike most garden varieties that are derived from European stock which very much appreciates rich soil and regular water to perform and those forms are also not pungent. We wanted our locally native yarrow that is incredibly durable, has gray foliage that is pleasantly aromatic with broad white flowers. This is a much more climate adapted perennial. Its found throughout all of the state, and can be found anywhere from meadows to surprisingly deep woods. This is a very thrifty plant and once established it really doesn’t need supplemental summer water. Spreads to form finely divided low gray foliage. The flat umbels of pure white flowers are very large and this is a landing pad for all pollinators as well as butterflies. To 20″ tall in bloom. Excellent meadow component with clumping grasses, annuals, and bulbs. A great plant for hell strips and hot aspects too. Very easy and forgiving perennial. Blooms May-August. Mostly evergreen save for the very harshest winters. Not bothered by deer. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Great Hounds Tongue or Giant Pacific Forget-me-Not is one of our most remarkable native perennials. On the property where I grew up near Eugene it was native. There was a clump of this majestic perennial that was there for nearly my whole life. Unfortunately, we sold the property but this plant was still there last I checked. In the Willamette Valley and out into the Columbia Gorge you see these luminous blue flowers on a sturdy spikes in the dry areas under oaks. Often seen with Wyethia -Mules ears which blooms later. Large fleshy leaves form a substantial clump. In early to mid spring 2′ spikes reveal outrageously large versions of Forget-me-nots. Established plants will then go dormant with summer drought. Adapted to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. Not only does it not require water established plants can resent it and rot. Place in a wild, shady, unwatered part of your garden. Amend the soil lightly with compost and water in well. Pairs with other native perennials such as Sidalceas. In the wild it is accompanied by Erythronium oreganum , Lathyrus nevadensis, Fritillaria affinis, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Ranunculus occidentalis. That is what grew with our patch, under white and black native oaks, with a madrone here and there. Impressive native perennial whose intense blue flowers are hard to convey in a photograph. It takes an extended time from seed to a growable plant. Patience because of limited quantities. SLOW Oregon native plant.
Agave americana ‘Medio Picta Alba’
Tender <sigh> but perhaps the most spectacular variegated Agave. It makes a great container plant for LARGE containers. To 5′ x 5′, it grows a little slower in containers. Make sure it’s sturdy and well built too because this puppy has been known to grow so vigorously as to shatter its own home. Use well drained cactus mix and add a handful of all organic fertilizer. Move to a freeze free environment such as an unheated garage if temperatures threaten to drop below 20ºF. Otherwise move it to a dry place for winter- under a south facing eave is ideal. Move it back out in the open when rain dwindles. Light summer water will speed growth. Leaves on this form are blue on the edges with a dramatic pure white stripe down the center. Wow.
Anemone x lipsiensis
Delicate in appearance but actually pretty tough and long lived, this pale yellow-flowered Anemone spreads to form large colonies. To 5″ tall and blooming from March to April. Remains in bloom for several weeks. Rich, well drained soil that retains moisture. Goes completely dormant by the arrival of hot weather- still keep watering – Anemones appreciate that even though they are fast asleep. Very pretty as a color echo with golden foliage such as the acid yellow emerging foliage of Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass).
Deeply colored foliage and clusters of white umbel flowers combine to give this easy to grow biennial an important place in the garden. The finely divided leaves are almost black but have a bluish hue on the surface that reflects the light in opalescent waves. The first year it produces only this gorgeous foliage. Combine with chartreuse/gold leaved perennials and/or shrubs for excellent contrast. In the second season the foliage extends and masses of pure white umbels wave to 3′ tall above the plant. Light and airy which is cool for a plant with deep, brooding foliage. Self sows prolifically and the seedlings are easy to spot, move, thin, dispatch. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, moisture-retentive soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Excellent in woodlands or sunny borders. It makes a surprisingly good cut flower as well. Umbels…these days its all about umbels. Winter deciduous.
Anthyllis vulneraria var. coccinea
Kidney Vetch is a playful, short-lived perennial with shocking red flowers that come in clusters much like clover. Low, spreading plant that hugs the ground, all the better to see the piercing red flowers on this form. Seeds prolifically, and the seedlings are both easy to identify as well as move or dispatch. To 3″ tall by 18″ wide, when very happy. Loved by pollinators. Forms a vivid patch of color in the most unlikely places. Seeds germinate in autumn and bloom commences in spring. Excellent little nitrogen-fixing temporary plant for new gardens. Enriches soil in a wonderful way. Light to little summer water. Mediterranean.
Western Columbine is a wonderful native wildflower that forms almost permanent colonies in part shade. 20″ stems support pendant flowers of vivid orange and yellow. Blooms April-June. Rich, well-drained sites that retain moisture in part shade.Little summer water once established. Finely divided, blue-green leaves are pretty as well. Excellent perennial for naturalizing in part shade and cool environs. Often seen living in a basin of moss and this may be repeated in the garden. Self sows and blue green foliage is distinctive almost immediately. Long-lived when established. Associated plants are Sidalcea campestris, Symphoricarpos albus, Tellima grandiflora. Works well with smaller ferns too. Oregon native plant.
Arctostaphylos hookeri ‘James Roof’
Smaller growing Manzanita that assumes the twisted form of a bonsai with age. In fact this 2′ x 4′ wide decumbent shrub makes a wonderful, long lived container plant. In the ground it excels on slopes and other places where standing water never occurs. Full sun to high overhead shade (a high tree canopy). In late winter scattered smaller white urn shaped flowers decorate the branch tips. They morph into highly prized fruit for wildlife. Sage green diamond shaped foliage it lightly twisted and terminates to a sharp tip. Twigs, branches, and trunks all have a glossy mahogany finish. Great shrub for covering low slopes. Effectively blocks weeds. Water to establish and then set it free. Several plants may be massed to produce a small scale, drought adapted ground cover. Exceptionally garden tolerant selection that is exceptionally handsome. This species is native to the central CA coast and has been one of the best for garden culture in our region. Accepts light irrigation in summer. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. It thrives on sandy soils. Nice smaller growing selection. Naturally summer drought adapted. Orange drupes are showy.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Pacific Mist’
Wonderful low spreading Manzanita that we have grown for more than 20 years. Silver/gray pointed leaves densely clothe the spreading stems of this adaptable shrub. In time the lax, decumbent stems point upward at the tips. In spring white flowers are a bonus. To 2′ tall and 6′ wide it may be employed as an informal ground cover. Full sun to light shade and well drained soil of average fertility. Little to no summer water when established. Nice looking plant year round. In time it develops glossy cinnamon colored trunks/stems. Excellent on slopes. Takes more shade than most cultivars. Excellent cold hardiness. Plant on 30″ centers for a large ground cover. Tips may be pruned in spring to encourage density, otherwise it covers the ground densely. A hybrid of obscure parentage that has been around for decades.
As a dry shade evergreen ground cover foliage plant this wonderful perennial excels. Large heart shaped leaves are marked with silver over a sage green background. Pretty. Spreads to form dense colonies in rich, well drained soil in part shade to full shade. Must have regular water for the best appearance but can endure very dry conditions by wilting and will quickly recover with a drink. Takes the most dense shade and is invaluable in planters, beds, containers that are sited under an overhanging roof. Great winter appearance- it should be used in all sorts of year round containers more often. Spreads underground by stolons but doesn’t travel far. Bait for snails and slugs. Small curious brown flowers occur at ground level under the foliage in summer. To 6″ tall and spreading in ideal conditions to several feet wide.
Aucuba japonica ‘Hosoba Hashifu’
A dazzling female selection of Japanese Aucuba with long, thin, tapered leaves of deep green randomly splashed with yellow spots. Dense and slow growing evergreen to 5′ x 5′ in 7 years. This selection will produce clusters of large red berries if a male is present. Very showy. Tiny brown/green flowers in spring are not conspicuous. Part shade to quite a bit of shade in average to enriched well drained soil. Established plants are incredibly drought tolerant and this striking shrub adds light and texture to dry shade areas. It will take full sun with regular irrigation and the leaves will be not as dark lustrous green. A very handsome shrub year round with great cold hardiness. Regular water through the first season to establish. Then light water. Long lived, easy to grow shrub whose dense habit does not require pruning.
Aucuba japonica ‘Longifolia’
Tough and useful evergreen that is always at its shiny green best. Large growing for an Aucuba exceeding 6′ tall and as wide in 7 years. Moderate growth rate. Long glossy green leaves are slightly serrated and very pretty. Endures the deepest, densest dry shade conditions with no issues. Adaptable to full sun but not reflected heat. Tiny brown flowers are not conspicuous but this is a male and makes a great pollinator for female Aucuba (see A. ‘Rozannie). Established shrubs can get by with little to no summer water and not suffer. Pretty foliage shape is a great medium for contrast. Plant with Japanese Forest Grass or Dicentra formosa ‘Langtrees’. Incredibly cold tolerant- slightly below 0ºF. A good candidate for windy, cold gardens.
Aucuba japonica ‘Rozannie’
Rosanna Rosanna Danna is what I think of when I see this cute tough and useful shrub. I have no explanation, I just do. Slow growing broadleaved evergreen with deep forest green leaves that are glossy and pretty at all times. A female that is pretty much self fertile- My kind of woman, yeah 2018. Small green/brown flowers make themselves into glossy red berries. Bring a man around and the crop multiplies. Best in part shade in rich, well drained soil with light summer water. In reality once established Rozannie can go all summer and not miss a drink. To 3′ x 3′ and dense. Avoid blasting hot exposures which will yellow the leaves and rob the whole plant of luster. Supremely adapted to dry shade. Super cold hardy to quite a bit below 0ºF without any tragedy. Japan.
Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’
Pretty form of the normally deep green small leaved Azara. Tiny round, evergreen leaves are mostly cream with a light splash of dark green. Very pretty fine texture effect. Moderately fast growing tree to 12′ tall in 7 years. Part shade in a protected site. Protect from subfreezing east winds by siting on a south or west aspect. Nice semi-weeping tree for woodland margins, urban courtyards. In March it is smothered in tiny yellow flowers with the powerful perfume of cocoa. Loses some leaves below 15ºF but recovers them quickly in spring. Light summer water. Takes dry shade very well.
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.
Begonia grandis ‘Alba’
Flowers are always at a premium in shade, and late season bloomers for shade are not profuse. This wonderful white flowered form of this hardy Begonia is a sparkling white treat. Masses of snow white flowers on white pendant stems decorate the top of the plant from August to October. The foliage with leaves shaped like large deep green wings are an excellent back drop to feature the contrasting pure flowers. This is a wonderful and very different effect than the the much more common pink flowered selections. The purity of the flowers is divine and they seems to appear from nowhere often in the hottest days of summer. At our wholesale nursery I found myself stopping to look at this beautiful perennial every time I passed it. It is exceptionally pretty Part shade to high overhead shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Though it will arrive smaller with less flowers without water. Not bothered by slugs or snails it rises with the opulent green foliage to about 2′ tall before flowering commences. Very easy and long lived perennial. It persists with quite a bit of neglect. Mulch after planting to even out soil moisture. Avoid blasting reflected heat and drought. Often self sows and also propagates by small bulbils. This is never out of control and is usually welcome. Forms expanding patches to several feet wide. Disappears entirely in winter, nada and it arrives late in spring (be patient) it is more than hardy to cold. Wonderful plant Thank you Peter for this plant.
Begonia grandis ‘Heron’s Piroutte’
Cold hardy Begonia that we love as a dependable and pretty late blooming perennial. Large wing shaped leaves have a reverse of light red. In late summer to early autumn to 30″ tall upright plants produce pendant clusters of pink/off white very showy flowers. Rich moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. Great long lived plant for borders, shady glens. the shadows of ponds. Disappears entirely in winter. On occasion bulbils that appear in the leaf axils will detach and produce new plants. Move easily or share with friends. Not bothered by snails/slugs.
Blechnum spicant (Struthiopteris spicant)
The second most common fern in western Oregon Deer fern is a lovely native evergreen clumping perennial that is invaluable. 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. Excellent native fern for life between Rhododendrons and Pieris that are ancient. This fern loves part shade and cool moist soils but has a bit of drought adaptation as well. Its supremely adapted to to the rough life of competition. Useful plant that looks very good year round. Design by Vanessa Gardner Nagel Seasons Design. Oregon native plant.
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.
Buxus sempervirens ‘Graham Blandy’
Hard to find but so useful columnar boxwood. Graham becomes a 10″ wide pillar up to 6′ tall or taller within a decade. Very easy to keep it much smaller. Prune reliably to retain a tidy demeanor. Deep green foliage is thick and handsome year round. Average soil, light summer water. Full sun to full shade- no difference in performance. Very cold hardy. Grows 6″ a year.
Buxus sinica ‘Sunburst’
Useful and pretty and so tough this is a yellow variegated form of Korean Boxwood and its a fantastic dwarf shrub. To just 2′ x 2′ in 7 years this slow growing evergreen shrub is ideal as a hedge or trim it into a crazy shape and make a focal point. Adaptable to full hot sun to part shade. Great in winter containers. Hardy way below 0ºF. A good shrub or hedge in cold gardens or areas blasted by subfreezing east wind. Very good deer resistance. Light summer water in rich, well drained soil. Avoid crowding/shading from other plants in too close of proximity. Easy to grow- good looks year round. For a hedge plant on 2′ centers.
Camellia japonica ‘Black Magic’
If you’ve never been to the Camellia festival at the Portland Japanese Garden in Feb/March you really wouldn’t know that there are fantastic Camellias out there (not just the raw hamburger colored doubles that you see in front of every house). We got this amazing cultivar there and we are always on the lookout for the very true reddest Camellia. This is one of those. Glossy bright green serrated leaves make a wonderful upright growing shrub to 8′ x 4′ in 7 years. In February-April semi double huge true deep red/black flowers appear- they are profuse over the whole plant. Full sun to shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular summer water to establish then a bona fide low water plant. Woodlands, Ann Amato’s garden. Wonderful color early in the season.
Camellia japonica ‘Yamoto Nishiki’
Extraordinary Higo Camellia that is wildly showy and fun to grow. Higo Camellias are a form where the stamens rather than being clustered together in the center are instead splayed out in the shape of a star against smaller flat petals. They are surprisingly rare in the United States. Its a different look for a japonica and we love it. Moderately fast growing handsome glossy evergreen shrub for full sun to shade. To 8′ x 5′ in 7 years. Regular summer water speeds growth and increases flower bud set. Mid-season bloomer with flowers opening from February on. Rich to average soil, definitely apply ample mulch when planting. Good looking shrub at all times- w/ a somewhat formal appearance until the blooms open. 4″ wide flowers have flat petals that are white striped and stippled in peppermint red. Takes low water conditions when established. Long lived.
Camellia sasanqua ‘Hugh Evans’
Rare, obscure, insanely heavy blooming fall and winter blooming Camellia sasanqua. Individual flowers are not formal or stiff, instead the the petals are separated, loose and vivid pink. They appear en masse from October to January and decorate the lithe arching stems in pretty cascades of flowers. Blooms are exceptionally cold tolerant for a sasanqua enduring temperatures into the low 20’s and still remaining fresh. No bother though as a parade of buds exists to replace spoiled blooms. Full sun to quite a bit of shade- without the expense of blooming. Fast growing, vigorous open shrub that takes well to pruning in spring to encourage density- build blooming wood. Rich, to average well drained soil with light consistent summer water. A very wild and informal appearing Camellia and we love it. Glossy deep green foliage. To 5′ x 7′ and arching. Light flower fragrance.
Camellia sasanqua ‘Otome Sazanka’
This is one of my favorite fall blooming sasanquas. Beginning in November and continuing to about the first of the year it produces copious double flowers of a soft, antique pink. The shading of the petals give the impression of an aged flower. VERY pretty. Very dark green foliage is glossy on an upright and then distinctively arching shrub to 3′ x 5′ in 6 years. Give this elegant shrub room to spread, it will grow faster than you think. Full sun to part shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Established plants can survive on just several drinks per summer. This sasanqua does not have the sweet earthy fragrance that many do. The soft pink 3″ wide flowers are born in profusion. Very easily trained as an espalier. Open flowers are cold hardy to about 27ºF. Incipient flower buds are much hardier. Good looking shrub year round. Very elegant late blooming sasanqua that is welcome late in autumn. A very old Japanese selection where this species is native.
Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’
Brilliant flower color cast on huge semi-double flowers are but one advantage to this handsome evergreen shrub. An upright pillar shaped habit makes it a great plant for tight spots or as a hedge or screen. To 8′ tall by 3′ wide in 8 years. The enormous 5″ wide opulent flowers are a a clear and ringing coral. Showy from quite a distance and the entire shrub is clad in blooms from late January to March. Glossy pointed foliage is handsome year round. Somewhat formal dense habit lends it to small gardens, structural shrub. Full sun to quite bit of shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water for the first several seasons. Benefits greatly from a layer of mulch after planting. Tosses its spent flowers which do not cling and discolor. Excellent shrub for Japanese themed gardens. Long, period of bloom.
Camellia x cuspidata ‘Magi’s Mystery’
Our friend garden designer plantswoman extraordinaire Magi Treece spotted this Camellia and observed it over time. I too had noticed it around town- always large and VERY old. Its most conspicuous trait is to produce simple single fluted ivory flowers from pink buds. Up close these 3″ wide flowers have a decadent sweet scent. Its appearance is most like the species Camellia cuspidata which is a very cold hardy species known for its fragrant white flowers. Blooms appear from December (Often as early as November) and open until the end of February. The elegant flowers are tough and it takes some serious weather to impede or even damage the flowers. Deep green leaves are long and thin and very glossy/handsome with a sharp tip. The entire plant is good looking at all times. Ancient varieties around town are upwards of 15′ tall and 3/4 as wide. I’d say it would be an 8′ x 8′ shrub in 10 years. Regular water speeds growth and assists in bud set for the following season, this is only important in summer. Excellent specimen or hedge. This is one tough and beautiful Camellia. Dig a large hole to disturb the soil around the planting site and set the plant in the hole even with the soil horizon. Backfill, water and mulch. Magi queried Camellia Forest about this plant with no luck. I queried Nuccio’s and their best guess was that it was a form of C. cuspidata or a hybrid close with it. Either way its one of our most favorite Camellias and we have our sweet friend Magi to thank. This Camellia looks and acts very much like an evergreen Magnolia and it could be used as a smaller substitute. The flower fragrance on warm days is a bit like a Gardenia. Moderately fast growing.
Xera Plants Introduction
Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Cinnamon Cindy’
She’s a great girl this Cindy. Small semi-double flowers open blush and change to sugar white. Intimately, they have the spicy sweet fragrance of cinnamon – especially on the warmest winter days. A profuse bloomer that grows as an open small tree in time. The handsome deep green semi-glossy foliage is good looking at all times. Before the flowers discolor they drop cleanly to the ground. Blooms late December to March. To 6′ tall and 3′ wide in 5 years. Average to rich, well drained soil with light, consistent summer moisture. Easy to grow wonderful fragrant reward of winter.
Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Minato no Akebono’
This lovely winter blooming Camellia hybrid includes the fragrant species C. lutchuensis and has simple HIGHLY perfumed pink flowers. The 4″ open single flowers have fluted petals that are medium pink with darker pink stains at the petal tips. Fast growing shrub that shows excellent hybrid vigor. Glossy evergreen leaves are perfect year round. Open branching pattern features the clusters of cinnamon scented flowers from December to March. To 9′ tall and 4′ wide in 8 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained soil. Consistent summer moisture ensures superior flower bud set. Elegant Camellia that will perfume a wide part of the garden. Mine is visited by happy hummingbirds in winter. Open growing shrub. Flower fragrance is spicy, sweet cinnamon and wafts on the winter breeze. Very heavy blooming cultivar.
Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Spring Mist’
Exceptional C. lutchuensis hybrid that imparts sweet fragrance to the profuse semi double blush flowers in late winter to early spring. Extremely heavy bloomer the smaller flower cluster in groups along the boughs- quite unlike other Camellias with a massive display . These sprays of fragrant flowers weigh down the boughs and the whole shrub is covered in blooms. Grass green matte foliage is a handsome backdrop to the small (3″) but profuse bloom. Part shade to shade in rich, moisture retentive soil with adequate drainage. Not as tolerant of full sun as other Camellias. Consistent summer irrigation ensures a larger flower set. To 6′ x 4′ in 6 years. Tough and elegant. Takes dry shade very well and still blooms profusely.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Buttermint’
Unusual, profuse and a great color for a Camellia, ‘Buttermint’ produces fully double, but small flowers that deck all the stems for months in mid-winter to spring.The flower color is elusive with warm tones of light yellow on the interior fading to a bone color farther out on the petals. Moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 6′ tall and 4′ wide in full sun- but not reflected heat, part shade to quite a bit of shade. Regular, consistent summer irrigation for the first few years to establish. Older plants can get by without summer irrigation- but bud set and flowering is improved with such. The flower color is aptly described by its name. Pale yellow to buff to off white as they unfurl. Flowers do not turn brown and cling when spent instead they drop cleanly so in bloom there is a uniform fresh appearance. Long lived shrub that grows about 1′ a year when young. Give it room in time. Exquisite winter blooming companion for Hellebores, Grevilleas, Iris lazica, Iris unguicularis. Small glossy deep green foliage is fetching year round. Sets many, many flower buds in autumn.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Little Lavender’
Interesting, hardy, and very bloomy Camellia that enchants us with anemone style flowers with a distinct lavender cast. Upright growing shrub to 8′ tall by just 3′ wide in 7 years. Glossy foliage looks good year round. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Regular water to establish then deep and sporadic during summer. Excellent skinny Camellia for tight quarters. Takes quite a bit of summer drought when established. Excellent tolerance of sub-freezing wind and this upright plant would make a showy hedge or screen. Little pruning needed. Flowers shatter cleanly, never clinging and discoloring- one of the best traits of any Camellia. The lavender hue of the flowers is most pronounced in full sun. The ‘Little’ part of the name refers to the size of the adorable flowers which appear en masse February-March.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Night Rider’
One of the very best of all Camellias. This remarkable hybrid bears small semi double black/red flowers with petals that have a glossy rubbery quality. The thin foliage is deep green black as well and new growth is brilliant red before settling down. Slow growing shrub for shade to full sun to 6′ tall by 4′ wide in 8 years. Regular summer water speeds up the growth rate. Otherwise light consistent summer water is recommended. There is so much of the chemical that makes up the hue red that even the roots are brilliant blood red. Handsome at all times and cold hardy. Not an easy Camellia to produce in a container- easy and adaptable in the ground. Blooms late for a Camellia- March to April.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Waterlily’
Extraordinary hybrid that combines all the great attributes of a Camellia with larger, more dramatic flowers and more of them. It also possesses excellent cold hardiness as well as garden adaptation. Large growing glossy evergreen shrub with fetching deep green leaves. In late January to early March- and often longer than that depending on the weather 5″ flat fully formal double clear pink flowers are stunning. You really have to see them up close to get a handle on the size and perfection of each flower. Upright growing shrub to 9′ tall by 7′ wide in 10 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in well drained soil that retains moisture. Light consistent summer moisture aids establishment and also increases the amount of flowers the following season. Established plants can endure quite a bit of drought. Exceptional cold hardiness, slightly below 0ºF. . Flowers shed cleanly- they shatter without clinging and discoloring. Excellent candidate for a large espalier. Exquisite large shrub.
Don’t let this cute little demure ground cover fool you. This is one tough little plant. An evergreen mounding perennial that throws up 6″ clouds of white flowers in very early spring. So fresh and welcome along side other early bloomers for part shade to shade. Very slow growing to 1′ wide for rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. However, if you skip watering this little gem no harm will come. Incredibly drought adapted. I mean withering drought. And it may wilt a little but it seems to recover from just about anything. Deep green leaves. Bait for slugs if needed. SE Europe.( kar-DAM-ih-nee )
California meadow sedge is native to stream banks, and vernally wet places at the beach from British Columbia south in to Baja. A deep green winter growing sedge which each plant reaches about 18″ across and 10″ or so inches high. It flops over gracefully and has a very uniform appearance through the year with light irrigation. This is a winter growing plant that resumes growing and greens up with winter rains. In very cold weather (below 20ºF) it can take on russet tints. A FANTASTIC LAWN SUBSTITUTE where it has been used extensively for that application in California. We should use it here too. Plant on 1′ centers for a lawn (faux lawn) cover from one gallons and water regularly through the first season. No water plantings can go summer dormant but in wetter environs this can be avoided and it will remain green and verdant. Water once a week in summer to remain green. Fantastic ground cover, slope cover as it will out compete weeds and form a uniform cover. Tolerates clay soils well, but some amending will reap rewards with a faster growing plant. Tolerates mowing very well. Oregon native plant.
Bush Anemone is a locally rare native of the Sierra Nevada foothills in Fresno County in central California. This tough evergreen shrub with thin deep green leaves set against pale exfoliating glossy bark is perfectly hardy to cold and drought. In May/June 3″ wide pure white flowers with a central yellow boss of stamens are sweetly fragrant. Full sun to almost full shade in any soil with adequate drainage. Adaptable to dry clay soils and able to endure extreme drought. Extraordinarily climate adapted- enduring summer drought and winter rain. Appreciates good air circulation. No crowding. To 8′ tall and 5′ wide in 6 years. Often left alone by deer- but they will definitely try newly installed plants. One of our most treasured west coast native shrubs. Very long lived sited correctly and denied summer water. Accepts blasting reflected heat. In time you can limb up the shrub to reveal the white/taupe exfoliating bark which appears glossy with age- this also assists in the air flow that this shrub craves. A monotypic genus. There’s just one species. Limited quantities.
Carpenteria californica ‘Elizabeth’
A wonderful selection of Bush Anemone that was chosen because it produces more flowers (though they are a tad smaller than the species) born in multiple sprays. And this form is slightly more compact as well. An evergreen shrub with lanceolate leaves w/ a rolled margin (revolute). The deep green leaves are attached to tan stems and trunks that with age exfoliate to a glossy metallic sheen. To 6′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full hot sun to very light open shade in average, well drained soil. For clay soils its best planted on a slope. Water to establish then none after the first summer- in fact this extremely drought adapted shrub prefers to go with out water. Provide good air circulation. Adaptable to the hottest sites, including western and southern exposures. Moderate deer resistance- they will try young plants so protect them. Long lived, climate, adapted shrub. Cold hardy to about 0ºF. The white flowers that occur in May/June are sweetly fragrant. Prune, if needed AFTER flowering.
This is a different form of our locally native Buckbrush. We found this at approximately 2200′ on Mary’s Peak in the Coast Range in a forest that was comprised primarily of Douglas Fir and Golden Chinquapin. This shorter shrub with smaller deep green leaves is most conspicuous in its slick gray stems. To 3′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full sun and average to poor soil. Blooms April to May with ivory colored panicles that cover the whole plant on old wood. The sweetly fragrant flowers are always buzzing with pollinators. A true low water shrub that can easily get by on only what falls from the sky, once established. This is a cold hardy and locally native evergreen shrub. Often it grows in an arching and then angular kind of way. This form is less upright. Red seedheads follow the flowers. This is a very well known and stable population in the wild that is regenerating nicely. Extraordinarily tolerant of heat and drought. Traditionally this shrub follows disturbance and was widespread in the Willamette Valley often as a meadow component with Rosa nutkana and Amelanchier, Excellent with native clumping grasses, perennials, and annuals. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Iceberg’
We are so pleased with this useful and striking dwarf conifer. New growth is strongly tipped in white before settling to a sea green. Slow growth to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Soft mein and compact habit make it a great versatile plant. Light summer water though tolerant of regular irrigation. Average soils with reasonable drainage .Good looking year round. Accepts regular irrigation and is wonderful in mixed borders. Easy to grow.
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘White Pygmy’
Always on the lookout for dwarf conifers that really are dwarf and that are easy to grow with a minimum amount of water. This little gem does just that. Forming a spreading and arching shape- much like an anvil, the new growth on this slow grower is tipped in white. It remains showy throughout the year. To 2′ x 3′ in 10 years. Full sun to light shade in any soil. Light summer water to none when established. Adaptable to dry shade conditions as long as the shade is not too deep. Excellent, easy to grow small evergreen. Fits in the smallest gardens. Great in containers, especially winter containers.
Cliff and rock dwelling elegant evergreen silver fern. Forms a tight clump and the silver gray fronds are slender and rise to about 8″ tall. It is capable of going summer or dry dormant when established. At its best in well drained rock gardens with some protection from blasting sun. In the wild the cliffs they occupy often shade them for half the day. Its a great container fern where it thrives and always looks nice. Best with consistent light moisture. Deer resistant.
Choisya x ‘Goldfingers’
Excellent hybrid Mexican Orange selected for glowing golden foliage. The finely divided palmate leaves have the fine texture of bamboo. Tolerates full sun and becomes deeper green and less dense in more shade. In March and again in November fragrant clusters of pure white flowers appear. Drought tolerant when established but summer irrigation tolerant as well. Nice clipped hedge (not sheared but thoughtfully clipped) to let the patterns of the leaves layer and reveal themselves. Moderately deer resistant. To 4′ x 5′ in 5 years.
Lovely ubiquitous woodland flower that brings waves of glorious airy stars for weeks in late spring to mid summer. Occasionally pink the flowers most often are white. Handsome somewhat bold foliage provides a plant that is more than suited to competition on the forest floor. Often self sows and this is welcome. Plant containerized plants in spring and water faithfully through the first summer- but never boggy. Then it is yours. Let it romp among ferns, Hosta, Japanese Forest Grass for a sparkling NATIVE treat. Mix with other natives such as Vancouveria and deer fern. Very easy to grow. Blooms for a very long time and longer if we have a cool beginning to summer. AKA Candy flower. To 10″ x 10″ on average. Summer deciduous and emerges early in spring. Not bothered by pests. Forms spreading colonies in rich, humus enriched soil in part shade to shade. Locally native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Lansdowne Gem’
Extraordinary form of the winter blooming Clematis cirrhosa. A vigorous evergreen vine that thrives in part shade to full sun. Beginning in November and continuing unabated to February a continuous supply of 2″ deep velvet red flowers. They are lighter colored on the outside of the petals. Opulent flowers for winter loved by hummingbirds. Flowers are cold hardy to the upper teens and if frozen more buds are waiting in the wings. Easy to grow but provide support as it is vigorous- to 15′ tall shortly. Light summer water in rich, well drained soil. Position where you can look up into the pendant flowers in winter. Loved by Anna’s hummingbirds.
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Wisley Cream’
Winter doesn’t end the Clematis season and this variety delights from November to February with masses of small cup shaped cream flowers. A very vigorous evergreen vine that prefers part shade to full sun and a large support system. To 15′ tall very quickly. Rich to average well drained soil. Visited by Anna’s hummingbirds. The delicate appearance of this vine belies its vigor. Nice looking glossy foliage. Flowers are cold hardy into the low 20’s and if open flowers are frozen more buds will be waiting for milder weather. in summer this plant goes into a kind of drought dormancy. No water is necessary, the leaves droop and may drop. This is totally normal. This winter growing vine will wake up quickly with the first cool rains. Excellent up a large tree or along a pergola. It may be pruned hard in late summer. Blooms on both old and new wood. Mediterranean.
Clinopodium (Satureja) douglasii
Yerba buena is a fine trailing herb native to southeast Alaska south into northern California. Its a common scrambling component of woods and forest margins. The round slightly scalloped leaves emit a sweet herb/mint fragrance that reminds me of childhood and they line trailing stems. This 4″ tall by 2′ wide perennial is commonly found among shrubs and clumping grasses as well as perennials. It can be found in the wild with such plants as Vancouveria hexandra (Inside out flower) and Whipplea modesta (Whipple Vine). In late spring to early summer barely conspicuous tiny white snapdragon flowers appear in the leaf axils. Evergreen. Often the leaves turn maroon red in cold weather. The sturdy semi-woody stems root where they attach to the ground and it may be used as a deer resistant small scale ground cover for stabilizing smaller scale slopes. This member of the mint family can be used to flavor iced tea or any cold drink. Shade to part shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Combines well with clumping grasses and smaller scale shrubs such as Symphoricarpos (Snow Berry). Good in containers as well. Yerba buena (the good herb). Excellent native pollinator perennial in the mint family. Oregon native plant.
Convallaria majalis ‘Fernwood’s Golden Slippers’
Usually this old a fashioned species sends chills up our spines. No mind it has one of the best floral fragrances of all time its a known thug. Enter this MUCH more restrained variety with new foliage in a remarkably soft texture with gorgeous citrus/chartreuse foliage that darkens up a bit in summer. To 8″ tall and blooming in mid spring as it emerges. Fragrant! Glowing! Gorgeous! Part shade to shade with light consistent summer water. Handles clay soils with no problems. Very deer resistant.
Oregon cut leaf gold thread is a widespread but not common evergreen perennial that is found in dry shade on the west side of the Cascades. Native primarily to Oregon it extends north into Washington and is rare south into California. A colony creating perennial that has handsome, intricate deep green foliage. The arrow shaped leaves are arranged in rosettes along the expanding yellow stolons. The effect is a dense cover that expands at a slow rate. In spring sparse thread like flowers are curious followed by swollen seed pods arranged in a circle. Rich to average soil in shade to dappled shade, though if pushed it can tolerate a little sun. Good year round appearance. It may be cut back at the end of winter, but I haven’t really found this to be necessary. Use its best attributes, adaptation to dry shade and evergreen good looks as a limited groundcover beneath woodland perennials or at its best on the forest floor. Not a wide scale groundcover and clumps expand at a slow/moderate pace. Not adapted to compacted or clay soils. Best in heavy duff on the forest floor. Great in shade containers at the foot of Aspidistra . Not bothered by deer. Limited quantities. It derives its common name from the bright yellow roots and stolons. Water until you see good new growth then set it free. Oregon native plant.
Pacific Dogwood is one of our most beloved native flowering trees. From BC south to the Sierra Nevada of California this understory to margin tree alights in April and May in pristine white flowers. They perch on upward arching stems for a perfect display. This large conical shaped tree can achieve 35′ in great age. Water deeply and infrequently during its first summer in the ground, once it is firmly established it can go with natural rainfall. In full hot sun more irrigation may be needed. Native to the Portland city limits and a firm spring decoration on our freeways. Pacific dogwood contrasts wonderfully in bloom with deep green conifers. Average growth when young is 2′-3′ per year. In certain seedlings this spectacular species may re-bloom in August/September. Its a fairly small percentage but when it occurs its a refreshing display at the end of hot summer. Fall color is pink/red/orange and is conspicuous in the understory. Full sun to overhead shade in the understory. In autumn red fruits decorate the branch tips and are food for birds. Give this native tree good air circulation and mulch after planting. Oregon native plant.
Why, its not a Cotoneaster at all, in fact Corokia is a wildly architectural shrub and evolved its twisted zigzagging stems (the official term is divaricating) and tiny leaves to fend off grazing by giant Moa birds in New Zealand. The birds are now extinct and we are left with this shrub as an evolutionary natural bonsai. To 5′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. Average to enriched soil. Full sun to part shade. Flowers are more profuse in sun. Regular water. Great container plant. The yellow flowers in May are often followed by red /orange berries that don’t last long. I assume the brilliant color draws birds. Established plants accept both regular irrigation as well as summer drought. Irrigation encourages growth. Left to contend with summer drought the plant is naturally smaller. Cold hardy to 5ºF or lower for brief periods. Excellent landscape or garden plant that imparts a haze on the landscape from a distance but thrills with up close views of the zig zagging branches and tiny black shovel shaped leaves. Excellent long lived container subject and will thrive even with constricted roots. We love this shrub for its silvery winter appearance in containers and in container combinations. Mix with Sasanqua Camellias and Western Blue Fescue (Festuca californica) for months long entertainment. Seldom bothered by deer.
Winter Cyclamen is a fantastic adaptable bulb that will form impressive colonies in time. The fabulous leaves are marked with silver and deep green designs. This form is known as the ‘Christmas Tree’ for its shape on the rounded leaves. From January to March small nodding purple/pink flowers form groups in concert with the foliage. A tonic for winter. To just 4″ tall in bloom and each corm gets bigger and bigger as years pass. Ants spread the seeds far and wide and new plants appear quite a distance a way. If you begin with a fancy leaved variety chances are most of your seedlings will mimic the parent. Part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil. Goes dormant and can tolerate completely dry conditions in summer. Excellent companion for winter Crocus, Hellebores, Snow drops.
Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Xera’s Silver’
Our seed strain of the fall blooming ivy leaved Cyclamen. After 15 years we’ve separated the best all silver leaf forms. Most have white or light pink flowers that appear from late summer through mid-autumn. In time the corms become enormous and they will seed with a large majority revealing silver or heavily silver marked leaves. Great plant for competition with dry tree roots or anywhere that is dust dry in summer. Leaves appear after blossoms and are showy all winter before going spring/summer dormant. Deer resistant. Excellently adapted to our climate. Mediterranean.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Japanese Holly fern we love as a great fairly large evergreen. Large glossy fronds extend to 2′ long in a substantial rosette. Part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Very heat tolerant- but requires shade. Excellent container fern- great winter appearance. High deer resistance. Mass under shrubs, in woodlands for a great texture and year round good form.
Alexandrian Laurel is the common name for this evergreen shrub that is a member of the lily family. Common as a cut foliage component in bouquets- it lasts for weeks in a vase. Arching glossy evergreen plant with handsome foliage year round. To 3′ x 5′ wide forming expanding clumps. Tiny flowers transform to showy orange/ red fruits which hold for months on the plant. Part shade to full shade- including the worst dry shade. Regular summer water or very little when established. Moderately slow growing- about 2 new stems per year. Rich to average well drained soil. Great plant for dust dry entryways or under stairwells. Very cold hardy and long lived. Moderate deer resistance.
Daphne odora ‘Zuiko Nishiki’
Excellent all green form of Winter Daphne with dark pink buds that open to softer pink insanely fragrant flowers from January to April. One of the larger growing cultivars 4′ x 4′ in 6 years. Excellent in part shade to shade, including dry shade, where it will continue its fabulous bloom. ‘Zuiko Nishiki’ is known for superior cold hardiness as well, taking temperatures to 0ºF with little harm. This is a great cultivar for colder gardens. Moderate rate of growth about 10″ per year. Supremely deer resistant evergreen shrub that will never be bothered. Prune if needed very lightly after blooming has ended. Regular water to establish then very drought tolerant. Loves clay soils that dry in summer. Irrigate only when very dry. This increases the flower bud set for the following year. The sweet lemon fragrance fills the air for months. Somewhat formal appearance out of bloom.
Daphne odora var. ‘Alba’
The pure white flowered form of winter Daphne that we cherish for its large,profuse clusters of flowers that are intensely fragrant of lemon from February to April. The entire leaves are deep green and lustrous. We have decided this is the most fragrant form of winter Daphne. Dome shaped dense evergreen shrub to 3′ x 4′ for part shade to shade. Amazingly tolerant and adapted to dry shade. Avoid blasting hot afternoon sun. Great on an eastern exposure. Light water to establish. Well drained average soil but at its very best in clay soils that dry in summer- what most people have- do not amend the soil rather dig a wide hole to incorporate oxygen and allow water to percolate to the roots. Remarkably drought adapted when established. Supremely deer tolerant. Fantastic Daphne that we carry very early in the season. Reliable and heavy blooming cultivar. Exquisite.
Underused cold hardy evergreen tree that has fascinating and handsome foliage and tolerates full sun to total shade as well as summer drought. Umbrella shaped tree with glossy large triple lobed leaves that become entire on adult foliage. Slow growing to 17′ tall and half as wide. Attractive pale tan bark. Very tough and adaptable small tree. Green flowers in summer become black berries by autumn but are almost always stripped by birds. Great branching structure and form in time. Very cold hardy and deer resistant. Flowers attract bees and beneficial wasps. Rare but stately evergreen tree. A member of the Aralia family from SW China. Moderately fast growing with supplemental summer water. Excellent small evergreen tree for courtyards.
Dutch Man’s Breetches. One of the first wildflowers that I learned mostly because of the funny common name. Native to selected spots in Oregon- in the Columbia River Gorge as well as along parts of the Clackamas River. Adorable little thing closely related to bleeding hearts. Ferny blue foliage emerges in early spring and is followed by a precious display of two spurred upside down white flowers. Each patch holds many. By the time hot weather has arrived this true spring ephemeral has disappeared completely- a good rest during the summer drought. Part shade to high overhead shade in a protected location in rich, moisture retentive soil. Occasional summer water is good- even though it is dormant. Mix with other spring delights like Erythronium (Dog tooth violets) and mid spring small bulbs like Scilla or Chionodoxa. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Oregon bleeding heart is a widespread lush, long blooming perennial wildflower for moist conditions in shade to full sun. A somewhat rambunctious plant that spreads quickly by stolons. Do not plant it near shy or small plants that can become swamped. It tolerates quite a bit of shade and if in full sun it thrives with supplemental water and a massive flower display. Divided soft green foliage is very good looking, in April-July a continuous supply of rose colored downward pointing clumps of flowers on an 18″ spike. The foliage rises on average to half that height. Responds vigorously to amended soils and regular irrigation. In hot dry situations it will go quickly summer dormant. In the shade with water leaves persist to autumn and re-bloom occurs. Not bothered by pests, including deer and snails and slugs. Frequently found in shady ditches in the Willamette Valley. Winter deciduous, if not already summer drought deciduous. An easy to grow, self sufficient perennial for wild areas. Mix with other vigorous and scaled plants. Very easy to grow. Oregon native plant
Dicentra formosa var. oregana ‘Langtrees’
Excellent form of our native bleeding heart that is an incredibly long blooming perennial for gardens. Remarkable blue foliage is beautiful if it never produced 1′ spikes of clear white pendant flowers. Blooms begin in spring and with regular summer water in rich soil continue throughout summer. Shade to full sun (with regular water). Forms widely spreading colonies. Give it room to spread. This tough, adaptable plant handles any soil situation from perpetually moist to quite dry. Resistant to pests- that includes slugs and snails as well as deer. (They will briefly browse it before ditching it for better things- it recovers quickly). Completely winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.
Handsome and useful evergreen lily relative for woodland gardens. To 20″ tall and arching each stem is lined with large green leaves. In early summer the whole stem is clad in white pendant bell shaped flowers. If you greet them up close they have the surprising fragrance of jasmine. Spreads slowly to form substantial colonies. Staunchly evergreen with great winter presence. Rich, moisture retentive woodland soils suit it. Its adaptable to very dense shade and there it can take remarkably dry conditions. Mix with Danae, Polystichum, Aspidistra. Not sure about deer resistance. Please let us know.
Elaeagnus pungens ‘Glen St. Mary’
Compact Silverthorn is a pretty, tough and useful evergreen in our climate. This form is compact with dense foliage that begins clad in brown fur and settles to silvery gray. The underside of the leaves are pure metallic gold. In autumn small pendant white flowers emit an intense sweet perfume. Noticeable many feet away. Hedges, specimens, barriers. Full sun to part shade with any soil that is never boggy. To 4′ x 5′ in 7 years. The juvenile stage of Eleagnus pungent is a shrub , with great age they can assume the figure of a vine, climbing by large canes that reach upward. These can easily be pruned off to retain a smaller shrub. This slower growing form takes many, many years to reach this stage. Flowers on old wood, prune AFTER flowering. Very drought tolerant when established. Fast growing and easy. Very cold hardy. Japan.
Epimedium pinnatum ssp. Colchicum
We love this wide spreading and tough barrenwort. Prior to the new foliage emerging in early spring 18″ spikes arise clad in wonderful sulfur yellow almost transparent flowers. The individual flowers are large for this genus. The new growth that follows emerges amber and red before making its way to its green summer hue. Runs underground to form large stands, give it room – or at least expect this. Mostly evergreen- to be honest that foliage looks pretty beat up by spring so we advice removing it in February prior to spring growth. Part shade ( to a surprising amount of sun – if you water and are brave) in rich, deep, moisture retentive soil. Once of the most drought adapted of the genus making due with light summer water- which spurs it to spread. Ground cover under dense tree shade, dry hillsides, woodland gardens. High deer resistance. Long lived.
Epimedium wushanense ‘Spiny Leaved Form’
Beautiful barrenwort selection of an already beautiful species. Large spiny leaves with a glossy sheen begin in shades of vivid salmon red with darker mottling on new growth changing slowly to medium green by mid summer. A really good evergreen perennial that always looks its best. Evergreen leaves over winter fairly well, and if they get beaten up simply chop the leaves to the ground in February. In March, accompanying the stellar new growth tall spikes of many congest off white and pale yellow flowers seem to pour out between the new leaves. All in all its a great color coordinated perennial, dynamic and always changing. Clumps expand markedly in rich, moisture retentive woodland soil. Avoid blasting bright sun. To 2′ x 2′ shortly. Moderate deer resistance. Adapts quickly to dry shade conditions.
Epimedium x ‘Aurora’ (Xera)
One of our selections of a hybrid barrenwort with stunning sunset colored flowers for a long period in spring and often into early summer. Pendant star shaped flowers are orange and red with white tipped spurs. Easy to grow evergreen clumping perennial for part shade to shade. Rich, moisture retentive soil with consistent summer water. Mulch annually with compost to drive vigor, health. New foliage emerges amber with darker red flecks throughout before settling in to medium green in summer. To 14″ x 14″.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Epimedium x ‘Golden Treasure’
One of our very best Epimedium introductions. Incredibly floriferous hybrid with golden yellow almost shiny flowers with a bright red cap on top. They appear in clouds above the foliage from March to June. New foliage is amber colored before settling in maturity to soft green. Evergreen but we think it looks much better if you remove the tattered foliage from the previous season in February- cut it to the ground to make way for a fresh new season. Blooms very heavily and they are vivid enough to spot from a distance. Vigorous clumping perennial for part shade to shade in rich, well drained hummusy soil. Regular summer water will spur repeat bloom but once established it easily endures summer drought. Avoid hot sun. to 20″ tall in bloom making a clump about as wide. Moderate deer resistance.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Epimedium x ‘Hinode’
Our own selection of a barrenwort with amazing sunset colored flowers. In fact ‘Hinode’ is Japanese for sunrise. The orange/red/pink/yellow adorable nodding flowers are born above the foliage on slender wiry stems. Blooms March-May. New foliage is mottled in amber and madder red before settling to medium green. Evergreen selection. Remove the winter tattered leaves in February prior to new growth. Clump forming to 1′ wide after 5 years. Full shade to part shade, not fussy about soil- avoid compacted dry clay soils. Regular summer water increases growth and maintains the plants luster. Woodland wonder.
Xera Plants Introduction
Epimedium x ‘Kym’s Gold’
This was found in the garden of our wonderful garden writer friend Kym Pokorny. Its a superior selection with profuse star shaped gold flowers with an amber collar around the lower petals. New growth is dramatic madder red with darker splotches before settling to a soft medium green. The new foliage color in combination with the flowers yields a very sophisticated plant. Clump forming evergreen perennial for part shade to shade. Rich, well composted soil with regular summer irrigation sends this cultivar into a wonderful place. To 18″ across and 1′ tall in bloom. Remove winter tattered leaves in February to feature the new foliage/flowers. Epimedium are resistant to slugs and not often bothered by deer.
Xera Plants Introduction
Epimedium x ‘Peter Rabbit’
Special barrenwort selection with some of the largest flowers in the genus that we grow. Arching flowers are pastel white and yellow and appear most profusely around easter time. Long long blooming from April into July. Tightly clumping perennial for RICH, well drained soil with regular moisture in part shade to full shade. New growth is mottled in red before settling to medium green handsome leaves. Plant with Omphalodes, Primula sieboldii cvs. and Vancouveria chrysantha. To 10″ tall and clumping. A personal favorite. The flowers are large and have unusual substance suspended from black wiry stems. Exquisite. Begins blooming later than other barrenworts.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Epimedium x ‘Raspberry Cascade’
Searching the universe for a truly red flowered barrenwort- this seedling came along and it has more than just that. Large, profuse nodding flowers are true raspberry red with white tipped spurs. Blooms appear continuously from April to July and sporadically after that. Additionally the new foliage is amber with soft red splotches settling to a soft glossy mid green. Tightly clumping perennial for rich, well composted soil that retains moisture in part shade to full shade. Tolerates dry conditions when established. Evergreen, remove winter tattered leaves in February to make way for the new spring show. One of our best introductions. Long lived, easy to grow perennial for shade.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Epimedium x ‘Supernova’
Something about the clean lines of the hot yellow flowers topped with a symmetrical bright red cap recalls a miniature explosion in space. Wiry stems to 14″ support clouds of this starry flowers from late March for and extended period well into summer. New growth is mottled with maroon over an initial hue of amber before settling to soft glossy green. All together this is a great performer for part shade to shade in rich to average well drained soil. Regular summer water not only refreshes these tough shade plants it will spur them to increase. The rewards often are not apparent until the following spring. Cut away the evergreen foliage in late winter to reveal the new years flower as well as highlight the pretty new growth. Good deer resistance. Spreads moderately fast to form a clump 20″ wide in 5 years. Nice cut flower as well. Very easy to grow.
Xera Plants Introduction
Erodium x ‘Fran’s Delight’
If you’ve never grown any of these selections of Crane’s Bill- Erodiums which are close Geranium relatives you really are missing out. This cultivar is a Xera favorite. Low clumps of dense frilly gray foliage are evergreen and a cool canvas for the constant supply of outward facing luminous lavender purple flowers on 8″ stems. Continuously from March to October it produces these simple flowers that have a darker purple blotch on the bottom two petals. Much wilder looking than hardy Geraniums they are invaluable because they take up virtually no space- and again their bloom season is phenomenal. Not bothered by pests of any kind- including slugs and snails. Deer mostly over look them but they will dine if their attention goes that way. Full sun to quite a bit of shade which does not diminish their blooming power. Well drained soils of average to slightly enriched fertility. Remove spent flower spikes to to tidy and encourage more flowers. Forms a clump to 1′ wide in time. Fantastic plant. Come on join us in the world of Cranesbills.
Erodium x ‘Spanish Eyes’
A blooming marvel is this perennial. I’ve had it in bloom in every month of the year. Beginning in early spring a truly phenomenal constant show of soft lavender flowers with a deeper purple blotch on the upper two petals. Very wildflower looking and it forms a contained clump about the size of an apple pie. The flowers born on 6″ stems should be lifted away when spent to encourage more. Not that much encouragement is needed. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, well drained soil. Little summer water once established. A little water in the heat of summer will promote bloom. Evergreen low finely divided foliage is gray green and pretty with the flowers. No cutting back, easy, everblooming. Low water. What more could you want? Pictured below with Helianthemum ‘Henfield Brilliant’. What was once ‘Natasha’ is really ‘Spanish Eyes’ different name same great perennial.
Excellent CLUMPING bamboo that is adaptable to a wide range of situations. Ultimately 15′ tall the 3/4″ culms rise up green with dramatic white culm sheaths before changing to a golden yellow. The foliage is dense and clusters around the top 3/4th of the canes. Easy to grow bamboo for redistricted sites in high overhead shade to full sun (but avoid the reflected heat of walls). Spreads moderately fast by a steadily increasing clump- each new culm is just inches from the other. Forming a grove to 4′ wide at the base in 6 years. Very upright growth makes it ideal for the thin space between houses, or for shading a courtyard. Regular summer water in rich, moisture retentive soil that drains. Drought adapted when established. Good performance in ice and snow. Hardy.
Fatshedera x lizei ‘Annemieke’
Hybrid between English Ivy and Fatsia that makes a fascinating decumbent (sprawling) evergreen shrub for part shade to shade. May be diligently trained as a bold evergreen vine. Large glossy green leaves with a center of gold are striking year round. To 9′ tall as a trained vine or as wide as a decumbent shrub on the ground. Takes drought when established. Small off white orbicular flowers in autumn. Sterile. Good deer resistance. Gains width with time and can cover an entire wall. Blooms in autumn do not produce viable fruit. You can prune this shrub/vine back hard and it will regrow as a smaller shrub. Very good bold solution for dank dark walls and planters under over hangs. Cold hardy to 5ºF.
Fatshedera x lizei ‘Variegata’
Bold sprawling shrub or vine that is a hybrid between Hedera and Fatsia. This form has large leaves outlined in cream. Evergreen that seeks shade but is surprisingly sun tolerant too. It may be grown as a free standing shrub, bold ground cover, or trained as a vine. Very nice in winter containers too. Well drained soil average to rich fertility. Light water. White flowers in autumn never set viable fruit. To 4′ tall and sprawling 8′ wide. Moderate deer resistance.
Fatsia japonica ‘Murakamo Nishiki’
Fatsias are invaluable in our climate for their tropical good looks, and overall hardiness. They endure dry shade with aplomb and in autumn they explode into exotic bloom with large stems supporting orbicular white flowers. This cultivar has leaves with an interior zone of yellow. Slower growing than the species it will eventually top out at 6′ x 6′ in full to part shade in rich well drained soil. Light summer water. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy and very easy to grow. Light consistent summer water speeds growth.
Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’
Not easy to find this is a most regal evergreen shrub. The large palmate leaves are emargined in splashes of white. In autumn the large candleabra like flowers structures are themselves variegated white. White orbs of flowers at the tips. To 8′ x 8′ in 7 years. Full shade to part shade in average to rich well drained soil. Adapted to dry shade. Drought adapted but tolerates regular irrigation. Fast growing. Variegation becomes more conspicuous as this shrub ages. Moderate deer resistance.
Festuca californica var. californica
California Fescue native to the Willamette Valley from Multnomah county south and once widespread before being pushed to the margins by exotics and development. The best place to find this clump forming cool season evergreen grass now is on slopes, almost always underneath native Oaks. As you go farther south it becomes more widespread. Our seed grown plants come from exceptionally blue foliaged plants. Grows during the winter and looks clean and fresh then. In spring 3′ tall inflorescences arrive and are straight and airy. Following bloom in summer the stems of these blooms take on raspberry tints and remain standing. Totally summer drought adapted but a little irrigation will improve summer looks. To 1′ x 2′ as a clump of evergreen foliage. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched, soil where water never stands. Light summer water. Best in wild areas and margins. Looks a tad too wild for some. Check it out in person and see how you feel. Excels around Manzanitas, Cistus, Ceanothus and in dry shade in woodlands. A great garden plant. One of our best native grasses. Oregon native plant.
Festuca rubra var. juncea ‘Patrick’s Point’
A west coast native grass that ranges from British Columbia to Southern California- usually near the beach. This form is exceptionally blue and so pretty as a year round evergreen presence. To 9″ tall and spreading at a measured rate by stolons slowly expanding the plant to several feet wide. Forms an incredibly dense cover and weeds will seldom compete with this climate adapted grass. In late summer and not profuse 8″ stems hold gray floral spikes. This is along lived, easy to grow grass that does not die out in the center or poop out after a few years. In fact it would make an admirable lawn substitute. This form is from Humboldt, County in CA and was named for the small town where Greg lived as a child- so we had to grow it. And damn it turned out to be a fine, evergreen, native grass. Full sun to light shade and little to no summer water once established. Not fussy about soil and not a rambunctious thug unless soil is overly enriched- instead give it oxygenated average soil. Excellent among drought adapted shrubs and especially nice interplanted with Pacific Coast Iris. Fine dense foliage is bright blue in summer turning to more of a greenish hue during the cooler months. Excellent winter appearance. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Fragaria vesca var. bracteata
Woodland strawberry that is native to large parts of Oregon. This upright growing smaller strawberry is delightful when pristine white flowers morph into sweet pendant red fruits. To 10″ tall and as wide this clumping plant expands at a moderate clip forming patches in rich to average soil with light, consistent summer moisture. Blooms in April- fruit arrives in June. This is the locally native form of this widespread plant. it differs from the European version in that it produces runners. I In France the same species is famous as Fraise du Bois. Our local species in Oregon will produce several rounds of fruit with reliable irrigation. It will increase by RUNNERS, the european variety does not run, but clumps. This is not a long lived species and it seems to find its happy place on its own. Expect several years lifespan and leave fruit on the plant annually to ensure reseeding and nurture new plants at the end of stolons. This is our local selection and it is very drought adapted. The European variety much less. Great in containers. Use in partly shady borders, its a diminutive plant and fits nicely among larger perennials. Great for fresh eating…and dogs like them too so protect from marauding pooches. Very natural lining woodland paths. Semi-deciduous to winter deciduous. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant
Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Josephine County’
(California) Coffee Berry. Greg collected the berries/seed from this evergreen shrubby species in southwestern Oregon. In Josephine county it is a common dry shade understory component of both the forest and in open stands in chaparral. A light and gaunt evergreen with slightly glossy convex leaves that hang on the tips of the gray branches. In spring/ summer tiny green flowers morph into the familiar berries. They start green move to red and arrive at black/brown. To 6′ tall x 6′ wide on average. Growth in rich soil is much more verdant and dense. In dry shade, its natural haunt, it assumes its most common form. Birds will spread this tough shrub that is ideal for wild scaping, xeric landscaping, rural areas. Perhaps its most wonderful characteristic is that it is deer resistant- they will munch but it will cause the plant to return twice as dense and verdant. Leaves are glossy on top and blue/gray on the reverse and persist for 3-5 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Water to establish, or ideally plant in fall then natural rainfall alone. It will tolerate quite a bit of shade as well as root competition but not low shade, high overstay shade is better. . Informal shrub- good year round appearance. Extreme drought adaptation when established. In habitat this shrub is found with Arctostaphylos canescens, viscida, and Rhododendron occidentale and macrophyllum. Overstory is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Pseudotsuga, Pinus attentuata, Umbellularia californica. Quercus sp. Cold hardy. Great for wildlife. Seed grown., Oregon native plant
Xera Plants Introduction
Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana
AKA Cascara or Cascara sagrada. This is a widespread small tree to shrub in the northwestern part of the United States to SW Canada. West of the Cascades its found in almost every biome. It can be a wind contorted shrub on blasting headlands at the coast. In the Willamette Valley its common where birds drop the berries/seeds on fence rows and it borders fields with native roses and Oso Berry. Its even found in the Bitteroot mountains in Montana/Idaho. It was frequently used by indigenous people as a laxative. Cascara is a small round crowned tree/shrub. In drier locations it is more shrub like but in deep, rich soil with access to water it can grow to be a thirty five foot tree. Large round alternate leaves turn dark green and glossy in summer. In May and June the tiny greenish flower appear and transform into red fruits by autumn. This is the mechanism that makes this plant so widespread, its dispersal by birds. A lovely little straight trunked shade tree that requires almost no water once established. It functions as an understory component as well. Full sun to quite a bit of shade, including dry shade. Easy to grow and climate adapted. Average life span 35 years. In winter its very symmetrical open branch structure is handsome. Fall color is soft yellow to chartreuse and not especially showy. Oregon native plant
Mission Bells or Western Checker lily. This is a handsome native bulb that is found extensively throughout the west side of the Cascades. It can inhabit Oregon oak savanna or Douglas fir forests. It is a prime Willamette Valley prairie component. This was one of the first native plants that i ever grew. In our backyard in the country under white/black oaks you would see them sporadically. When I put up a fence to block the voracious deer I inadvertently protected a patch of uncultivated forest floor. Where there was one meager Mission Bell the first year blossomed literally into 25 the next year and 50 the following year. Apparently, the deer had been eating them. So,learn my lesson protect this native plant from deer. To 20″ tall in bloom in April to June. The flowers are large for a Fritillaria and are most often black brown with green checkers and nod dramatically. To be honest this is a flower to view up close, from a distance this mostly green and brown plant blends right in to the forest floor. Tolerant of many soil types, ours grew in heavy silica based clay that dried to concrete in summer. Once established this tough bulb thrives and each lives many years. Spreads by seeds and bulbils and offset bulbs. Goes completely summer dormant with true heat- no presence in summer. Attracts quite a few pollinators including butterflies. No supplemental water in summer.Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.
Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’
Wavy Leaf Silk Tassel is a beautiful winter blooming evergreen shrub native to the Oregon coast from Lincoln county south to Santa Barbara county California. Amazing 1′ long silver gray tassels from late fall last through winter. Large shrubs have the appearance of a chandelier. Tassels dry and abort the plant by late spring, then its just a clean evergreen To 12′ x 12′ for well drained soil in full sun with good air circulation. Some leaf burn in the coldest winters. Eventually it can become a multi-trunked tree. Extremely drought tolerant when established, never needing supplemental summer water. Prune AFTER flowering. Excellent espalier. Spectacular in full bloom– which lasts for two months in mid-winter. Full sun to quite a bit of overhead shade. Avoid strong subfreezing east wind. Oregon native plant.
Mountain Silk Tassel is an evergreen shrub that can be found in the mountainous regions of western Oregon at elevations below 4000′. Rounded large evergreen shrub with handsome mid-green glabrous leaves. In early spring 3″ silver/green tassels decorate the whole shrub. Male and female plants are a little different. Male plants (which is our clone) have longer, showier tassels and female plants bear clusters of small blue berries. Full sun to light shade in average well drained soil. Best on slopes and it is found on steep grades throughout its range. Little to no summer water when established. Great tough, native shrub for hot urban sites with no water. Good clean, green foliage. Thrives in less than perfect conditions. Much hardier to cold than Garrya elliptica. To below 0ºF slightly when established. Thanks to our friend Patricia for giving us this clone. To 7′ x 7′ in time. Oregon native plant.
Garrya x issaquahensis ‘Glasnevin Wine’
Large exceptional evergreen shrub that is a hybrid selection between two native west coast species. To 12′ tall and nearly as wide the merlot red stems support wavy deep green leaves. From December to April 3″ long wine red tassels are graceful and showy. Fast growing shrub for average to rich well drained sites in full sun to high overhead shade. Little water when established. Slightly hardier to cold than G. elliptical ‘James Roof’. Great low water hardy fast screening shrub. Easy to grow. Give it space to fill out. Prune AFTER flowering has ended in spring if needed. Appreciates good air circulation. An open exposure or this is also is a great plant for the high dry shade of native Oaks.
Oregon native plant
Salal. An iconic native shrub that occupies the understory of the forests from the coast to the Cascades- in the Willamette Valley its restricted to the shadiest, mesic environs. A mounding evergreen that forms large colonies in time. Ranges in height from 2′ to 6′ depending upon its situation. Spread is indefinite when happy. In spring chains of white urn shaped flowers transform into edible berries. Very handsome foliage is used as long lasting cut material and is sometimes marketed as ‘lemon leaf’. Can be tricky to establish. Shade to part shade is best in rich, humus rich soil with regular water. To establish water, water, water. And apply a liberal deep mulch. Avoid hot sun and compacted dry soils. Once it gets going, its yours forever. Occurs naturally in mesic/shady environs around Portland. Mulch annually to accumulate a layer of organic material that this spreading shrub craves. Oregon native plant.
Geranium phaeum ‘Darkest of All’
There is something cool about the darkest flowered Mourning Widow Geranium. This tough and graceful spring blooming perennial creates dark downward pointing black/maroon flowers for months beginning in April. To 26″ tall and creating spreading colonies. The flowers appear in air sprays and float about the maple shaped leaves. Part shade to high overhead shade in woodlands, Lightly irrigated borders. Often if you cut back spent plants it will send up a second though less showy round of flowers. At the very least it will refresh the foliage. Light consistent summer water. Blends wonderfully with Pink and white flowered narcissus for deep contrast. Not bothered by slugs. Winter deciduous, emerges early. Long lived, sturdy perennial.
Geranium phaeum ‘Lily Lovell’
An older cultivar of the shade loving mourning widow geranium. Lily is set apart by deep purple blue large nodding flowers. To 28″ tall and forming an expanding clump of handsome serrated leaves this perennial requires protection from bright sun to really perform. But avoid dense shade, so we’ll say high overhead dappled shade or part shade. Grows in any soil but appreciates some amending to start out. Regular summer water. In rich soil it requires less. Blooms appear in late summer and pop off and on all summer. Really pretty color on an old fashioned but tough shade perennial. Not bothered by snails and slugs. Oh, thats why we love Geraniacae.
Cheerful perennial Geranium that comes from tubers. This vigorous, undemanding plant spreads liberally, even in difficult sites. April to June a continuous display of frosty purple and blue striped flowers. The mass of flowers wave above 20″ stems and create a haze of purple. The deeply divided leaves are typical Geranium. In summer heat and dry forces the entire plant into dormancy. Therefore, this plant can subsist on only what falls from the sky once established. This plant can increase rapidly in rich soils, err on the side of average to poor fertility. Nice cut flower. Not bothered by slugs or snails. Mix with other mid-spring flowers for a cottage garden effect. Each flower is nearly 1″ across. Mild deer resistance.
Geranium tuberosum ‘Slender Silver Leaf Form’
This is a really pretty take on the more common form of Geranium tuberosum. Rather than brilliant deep purple flowers this very distinct variety makes due with the hues pink and lavender. The foliage on this spreading bulb is what really shines. Deeply incised palmate leaves are brushed with silver hairs. This pairs with the more pastel colors of the flowers in a very good way. Rich soil to average soil in part shade. Once established rely only on what falls from the sky. Bloom is 4-6 weeks April to early June and the flowers wave above 18″ stems. Vigorous and healthy and not bothered by any pests, that includes slugs and snails who will leave it strictly alone. Goes quickly dormant with summer heat- disappears entirely. Very easy and satisfying perennial to grow in Cottage gardens, spring borders, will flower gardens. Combine with spring ephemerals and bulbs. Sophisticated cultivar that improves the species.
Helleborus x ‘Amethyst Glow’ Winter Jewels ®
Kind of a nifty color breakthrough for the breeding team Ernie and Marietta O’byrne. We’ve been delighted with this soft pewter purple color on a vigorous group of plants that produce enormous blooms. To 2′ x 2′ for shade to part shade in rich, well composted soil. Light summer water. High deer resistance.
Helleborus x ‘Apricot Blush’ Winter Jewels ®
One of our favorite strains of Hellebore hybrids by the O’Byrnes at Northwest Garden Nursery. Single, large flowers are blushed apricot, russet, to almost orange. Blooms January-April. Vigorous plants. Regular summer water in well composted soil in shade to part shade. To 2′ x 2′. Great deer resistance.
Helleborus x ‘Black Diamond’ Winter Jewels ®
The darkest black flowers on a Hellebore that we have encountered. Jet black flowers have a sheen. Great in combination with the deep maroon/purple new foliage. To 2′ x 2′ blooming from January-April. Light, consistent summer water in part shade to shade. Completely deer resistant.
Helleborus x ‘Blue Diamond’ Winter Jewels ®
Well, blue may be a stretch but this difficult to photograph hue at least attains hints of the color. More aptly its a luminous pewter shade that seems to reflect light in a metallic way. Strong growing perennial for part shade to shade in rich, well composted soils. Regular summer water- though it takes dry conditions in the shade. In extreme drought the leaves will simply lie on the ground- rising up almost immediately with water. Blooms appear from late January and are effective until April. To 2′ tall and as wide in several years. Excellent in combination with the yellow flowered series ‘Golden Sunrise’. Highly deer resistant and long lived. Remove self sown seedlings which will unlikely come true to the parent. A special color.
Helleborus x ‘Cherry Blossom’ Winter Jewels ®
One of the best strains from the master Hellebore breeders the O’Byrnes. The majority of these seedling feature semi-double or double blushed pink flowers. Even the single flowered plants are well formed and vivid. Part shade to shade in well composted soil with light consistent summer water. To 2′ x 2′ shortly. High deer resistance.
Helleborus x ‘Cotton Candy’ Winter Jewels ®
Regal strain of double flowered Hellebores from the O’Byrnes. The colors vary but many are light pink with a pronounced picotee on each row of petals. And there are many. The more substance to the flower the longer it remains showy and these already bloom from February to April. To 2′ x 2′ vigorous plants for rich, well drained soil and regular summer water.
Helleborus x ‘Golden Lotus’ Winter Jewels ®
Spectacular strain of hybrids with fully double flowers. They range in color from lime green to vibrant chartreuse/light yellow. Blooms appear in January and remain showy and effective for several months. The flower retaining their form after they have released their pollen. To 2′ x 2′ forming an expanding clump in part shade to shade in well composted garden soil. Light consistent summer water. Highly deer resistant. Evergreen.
Helleborus x ‘Golden Sunrise’ Winter Jewels ®
The more we grow Hellebores the more we can advise which are truly the most spectacular to grow. ‘Golden Sunrise’ is a strain that sports true luminous yellow flowers (often with extra markings on the inside). Large vigorous plants whose foliage takes on yellow tints in winter- part of the yellow flower coloration shining through. Don’t be alarmed. These yellow flowers show up from a much farther distance than any other. Easy to grow shade perennial for well composted soil and light but consistent summer moisture. Deer resistant.
Helleborus x ‘Jade Star’ Winter Jewels ®
Understated but beautiful strain of hybrids that have simple single flowers marked with jade green and brushed with maroon highlights. Finely divided leaves are handsome also. To 2′ x 2′ in rich, well composted soil in part shade to shade with regular summer irrigation. Completely deer resistant.
Helleborus x ‘White Pearl’ Winter Jewels ®
There is no doubt that white flowers show up the best from a distance and this is no different with Hellebores. This strain of variants on white has single to semi-double flowers often marked with dots of red or green. Elegant, fascinating flowers that remains showy for months. To 2′ x 2′ in part shade to shade in rich, well composted soil Regular summer water. High deer resistance.
Helleborus x sternii ‘Pewter Leaf’
There are so many Hellebores flooding the market these days that this really good variety has been sidestepped. Bad move. It has so many great attributes that we can’t help but offer it. Large divided evergreen thick leaves are a scintillating metallic pewter. The undersides of the leaves are soft red. Great combination. In winter simple cupped celadon green flowers pop out of the top and remain fresh and showy for many weeks. To 2′ x 2′ and completely evergreen. Produces multiple stems as the years pass on. Excellently adapted to our climate and dry shade specifically. Light summer water in average to rich soil. Full sun to part shade to shade. High deer resistance. Long lived sturdy and pretty.
Helleborus x sternii ‘Variegata’
The O’Byrnes gave us this strain of the variegated form of Helleborus x sternii. Inheriting cold tolerance from H. corsica and nifty, thick palmate leaves from the more tender H. lividus .The result is a tough plant with green cupped flowers stained rose on the outside of the bell. The flowers remain effective for several months. Not quite as long as the straight H. x sternii, but a relatively long time. A shrubby species with large evergreen leaves. They are heavily speckled with cream dots with an underside to the leaves and the stems tinted pink. The palmate leaves become large and arching. Full sun with more frequent irrigation to full shade with less. To 2′ x 2′. Deer and possibly rabbit resistant. The rough leaves resist weather. Site as you would for a small shrub. It is elegant with other woodlanders or can be grown with drought tolerant to low water plants even in full sun. Flower bend over enshrouded in a cup shape that protects the pollen from rain and the vagaries of winter weather. Blooms January with flowers effective for three months. Great, sophisticated but tough plant for rural areas. May be afflicted with aphids in late spring. Hose those off or do not look closely.
One of our prettiest native Heucheras that can be found in partly shady locations from the Willamette Valley to the Cascades. A low rosette of handsome maple shaped leaves looks good for most of the year. In late spring very vertical straight stems erupt and cruise to 14″ tall. They terminate in rows of green flowers. As the flowers fade and change to seed the erect stems turn a soft red. Blooms are effective for months. A colony forming plant that spreads in rich to average soil with regular summer irrigation. Best in moist shady locations but is amenable to full sun- which will dramatically increase the number of flowers. Climate adapted perennial that improves under cultivation. Mass for a soft green floral effect. Mix with other woodlanders or even in full sun in rock gardens. Semi-deciduous. To 18″ wide. Moderate deer resistance. Excellent plant for partly shady meadows, which is its native haunt. Native to the city limits of Portland. Excellent plant. Oregon native plant.
Green Alum Root. Fantastic native Heuchera found east of the Cascades but a stellar garden plant on the west side too. Handsome scalloped leaves form a tight evergreen clump. For weeks and weeks in late spring to summer 20″ spikes have columns of small green flowers at the top. Very pretty. Amazing massed in part shade and rich to average well drained soil. Regular summer water though established plants thrive on very little. A pretty Oregon native perennial. Thrives in such diverse places as partly shady hellstrips to the front of borders. Not bothered by pest and disease and much more durable than the hybrids. Easy to grow. Climate adapted. Oregon native plant.
Heuchera sanguinea ‘Count Dracula’
Pale green leaves are striking and fade to cream, the transition appears differently on each leaf and the gradation of colors give you a cool affect. Pair that- pale leaves with the darkest red flowers we have yet to see on this species and you get a phenomenal plant. Adapted to part shade to full sun – and it doesn’t burn or bleach in sun. A long lived perennial with blood red flowers and foliage the color of Draculas skin that spreads to form colonies 1′ x 2 wide. In bloom the straight dark stems rise to 18″ tall. The deep red but small flowers are full of nectar and call hummingbirds, butterflies and a host of other small pollinators. Blooms for an extended period from late April to early July. Rich soil with regular irrigation to establish for the first season then just light summer irrigation. Long lived pest free perennial. We adore it in light shade paired with Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ for a soothing gray blue back drop. A selection from this native of the south western U.S. into Mexico. Semi-deciduous in winter. Leaves shrink but there is a presence. Very showy in bloom. Avoid crowding by other plants.
Xera Plants Introduction
Heuchera sanguinea ‘Hot Mess’
We found this vigorous seedling in a batch of Heuchera sanguinea. The leaves are pale green and liberally splashed with white. Unlike, the red flower of the species straight spikes of HOT PINK flowers rise in a cloud above the playful foliage. This is just a seedling and unlike many variegated plants it shows excellent vigor and longevity. Evergreen clumps of foliage. Loved by hummingbirds in bloom from April to mid-July. Tolerates full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of blooming Excellent paired with ferns Hosta, Tiarella. To 14″ tall in bloom and spreading to about 2′ wide when happy. Rich, moisture retentive soil high in organic matter. Established plants are surprisingly drought adapted. Do not let other plants crowd or over top this perennial. The lack of light and competition will take it out. Instead match it with a similar sized perennial. See above. Easy, forgiving perennial.
Xera Plants Introduction
Heuchera x ‘Canyon Delight’
This is a really good garden Fairy Bells that has performed for years in our garden. Its derivative of two western species and boy does it know how to bloom. From a low evergreen matt of nice looking maple shaped green leaves it send many many 2′ stems bearing clouds of true red flowers. Each flower is clad minute fur giving the extra substance. A saturated color that appears in our climate for up to two months beginning in April. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Avoid boggy soils in summer. Its a carefree, long lived perennial that really performs in landscapes. Visited frequently by hummingbirds (yep). Create a clouds of rich red. Evergreen.
Ocean Spray is a well known shrub west of the Cascades. It occupies dry woods in part shade to full sun. Large and spreading it displays foamy white clusters of flowers in early summer. They age to a tan color before falling apart. Handsome small scalloped leaves are very pretty and turn yellow to orange in autumn. To 9′ x 7′ very quickly in virtually any soil type. Extremely drought adapted when established- but amenable to light irrigation in summer. Wild look for wild areas, match with native perennials. Often suckers to form patches and it is common for seedlings to show up around the parent plant. These can be moved when young or dispatched. Birds adore the dried seeds in winter. Pretty native in the Rose family. Moderate deer resistance- but sometimes they attack it if it is newly planted so protect. Winter deciduous. Ours are raised from seed native to our wholesale site. Oregon native plant.
Very good evergreen climbing Hydrangea that is a tough and reliable vine for shady walls. Large slightly indented leaves are glossy green year round. Self clinging vine that will adhere to virtually any surface- not for the walls of houses or porches- better on fences, rock walls and even as a ground cover. In June large white buds explode into a doily of 6″ wide white flowers. Blooms 2-3 years after planting. To 15′ tall and as wide. Part shade to shade- regular water in full sun. Rich, well drained soil. Excellent cold hardiness to 0ºF. Gains speed as it ages. Avoid blasting hot locations. Woodlands are ideal.
Illicium floridanum ‘Pink Stars’
This form of the aromatic Florida Anise shrub which is native to the SE United states bears showy 2″, spidery star-like flowers of the palest pink. The entire large shrub displays these outward facing flowers in March to April and again in September to October. The flowers have an odd scent up close- mothballs or fish- but in our climate it blooms when it is cool and the odor does not carry. More importantly its a handsome broadleaf evergreen shrub with sharply pointed long leaves that have a sweet delicious anise flavor when bruised or brushed. Upright and then spreading shrub to 8′ x 6′ in 7 years. Best with light shade to shade for the deepest green foliage. Tolerates full sun as long as there is not the reflected heat of a wall. Flowers are showy from quite a distance. Excellent among rhododendrons, as an understory shrub for interest, joy. Very hardy to cold, enduring subzero readings with no damage. Nice hedge. Moderate deer resistance. Rare, cultivar. Light consistent summer moisture. Established plants are summer drought tolerant. Easy.
Illicium floridanum ‘Scarlet Skirts’
Florida Anise shrub is a cold hardy shade tolerant and aromatic broad leaved evergreen with exotic red flowers for long periods in spring and again in autumn. To 8′ x 4′ in 7 years in rich to average well drained soil with regular summer water in full sun, drought tolerant in shade. Moderately fast growing and summer water speeds growth. Very hardy to cold native to SE United States. Highly deer resistant. Spidery black red flowers appear in early to mid spring and again in autumn. They turn into star shaped seed pods that become woody. Flowers have an odd scent which is barely detectable from a distance as it blooms here when the weather is cool. Hedges, specimens. Great companion for Rhododendrons in a woodland. A Xera Plants selection with larger, darker black/red flowers. Long lived.
Xera Plants Introduction.
People love this perennial (hardy) Impatiens- they are immediately drawn to its very pretty foliage and for most of the season thats all there is. Spreading as a low herbaceous perennial to just 16″ tall but many feet wide when happy. Rich, loose, hummusy rich soil that drains quickly with regular irrigation. Part shade to quite a bit of shade. Ideal under large shrubs, in shady spots. Each pointed leaf is minutely scalloped with a red to yellow central vein. The undersides of the leaves are madder red. In autumn relatively large tubular ( or police helmet shaped) flowers of soft yellow appear at the tips. The show is late and to be honest most people kind of miss it. Completely winter deciduous. Avoid blasting hot sun and compacted soils.
Iris douglasiana (Pacifica) ‘Canyon Snow’
Pretty, floriferous and reliable form of Pacific Iris that forms large impressive evergreen patches and in April/May large white flowers with a touch of yellow on the lower petal. To 18″ and spreading to form large colonies in full sun to quite a bit of shade. Virtually any soil. Tolerates summer irrigation if the drainage is excellent otherwise follow a dry summer regime. High deer resistance. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.
Formerly lumped with the winter blooming Iris- I. unguicularis this larger form blooms later February into April. Large simple violet blue flowers appear within the large evergreen foliage. Foliage is large, one inch wide, rich green, and good looking all the time. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Very very drought tolererant when established. Low maintenance plant that works very well as a small scale year round ground cover. to 14″ tall and spreading several feet wide. High deer resistance. Long lived. Excellent in concert with Hellebores, Cardamine trifolia, and Cyclamen coum.
Oregon iris or Tough leaved iris is the most northerly species of Pacifica Iris- extending its native zone as far as SW Washington. Its common throughout the western part of our state where it decorates grassy hillsides in full sun to quite a bit of shade with jolly purple flowers April-June. That was the most common color where I grew up SW of Eugene. Turns out this Iris comes in quite a few colors. Pink, blue, white, golden yellow, red- all hues that have been recorded for this species. Conspicuous also, among the 11 Pacifica species this is a winter deciduous perennial and its the hardiest of the lot. Forms grassy clumps in fan shaped displays to about 10″ tall. A large clump can be 30″ across and filled with nearly 20 flowers- these rise on cantilevered stems to 14″ tall. Not very tolerant of disturbance and to be honest it has stymied us quite a few times. They HATE division. Therefore, we feature seed grown plants- local seed. These plants feature extra vigor and usually bloom with in 3 years. They also establish better. Best in light shade, dappled shade on slopes. Average, clay soil is what it wants and you can increase vigor by double digging the hole very wide to incorporate oxygen in the soil and water lightly and consistently through the first summer. Then none to light in subsequent years. An admirable competitor with introduced invasives and as per all Iris it is supremely deer and even rabbit resistant. Winter deciduous- also, it may go drought deciduous in extremely dry summers. Mixes well with native annuals. Established clumps live for decades. The flowers have the light fragrance of root beer (at least to me) and are the only fragrant Pacifica species that I can detect. First nation people used the incredibly tough leaves to braid into ropes, traps. Which is cool. Oregon native plant.
Clackamas Iris is a rare endemic to only three counties in northern Oregon. Though it appears in scale with Pacific Coast Iris, it is not related and is more closely aligned with bearded Iris. Pale green 15mm wide leaves first emerge vertically before settling to a more horizontal position. Light lavender buds unfurl to white with yellow on the falls in May-July. In its native range this smaller iris is everywhere which begs the question; Why isn’t its natural range larger? Not bothered by deer or pests this is a supremely climate adapted perennial. To 12″ tall in bloom the arching leaves equal that and spreads out. Light consistent summer water to establish, then only what falls from the sky. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. In habitat it is an understory component with Sword Ferns and shrubs such as Hazel, Oso Berry, and Viburnum. Provide deep rich soil and room to spread. This Iris makes very large colonies quickly- to 3′ wide. The broad leaves are winter deciduous. Wonderful Iris for gardens and wild areas. Oregon native plant.
Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’
Not a very enchanting cultivar name but a useful and distinct flower color variant of Algerian Iris. This winter blooming species produces large pale lilac/ivory flowers from November-sporadically until March. The 4″ flowers are nestled in the grassy evergreen foliage but are a light enough color to read from quite a distance. This for is perhaps best planted with the species to produces contrasting flower colors for more depth. To 1′ tall and twice as wide in several years. Full sun to very light shade in well drained soil of average fertility. Not quite as cold hardy as the species but it has to get pretty damn cold (below 5ºF) for damage to occur and that just never happens. Long lived perennial. High deer resistance. Low summer water requirements.
Iris x pacifica ‘Meadow Pastels’
This is our own seed strain of Pacific Coast Iris. We save from specific plants and aim to include as many unusual colors as possible. Typically 1/3 are deep purple, 1/3 are amber/yellow and 1/3 are combinations of the two- whats left is the odd deep blue. Full sun to part shade in any reasonably well drained soil. Adaptable to clay. Regular summer water for the first year to establish then none in subsequent years. Blooms appear from late April through May. Height is variable but all make large clumps of grassy foliage over time. Do not disturb once established and remember that Pacific Coast Iris thrive on neglect. Excellent and wild looking cut flowers. Highly deer resistant. Xera Plants Introduction. The plant pictured is an example of an Amber seedling. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Iris x pacifica ‘Native Warrior’
Pacific Coast Iris can be dodgy to divide. You have to do it at the exact correct time in the fall just before they grow roots for the new year. Even then it takes a careful and gentle hand to produce viable divisions that will grow on and bloom. Native warrior must derive its name from from its ease of division. Either way its a fantastic PCI that begins blooming in late April and continues almost to June. Red and raspberry colored flowers are dramatic on a very compact plant to just 10″ tall. Grassy evergreen clumps of foliage do not obscure these precious flowers. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in any soil with reasonable drainage, including clay soils. Water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Highly deer resistant. Long lived. Do not disturb once established. Neglect is its friend.
Iris x pacifica ‘Violetta’
Far and away the darkest purple PCI that we’e encountered. This hybrid heavily draws fro the excellent and floriferous species Iris inanimate. Grassy fine foliage is evergreen forming substantial clumps in virtual any soil in part shade to full sun. One clump produces many flowers of the the deepest black purple. To 1′ tall and 2′ wide in time; Little to no summer water when established. Resents disturbance. Highly deer resistant.
Jasminum nudiflorum ‘Aureum’
Winter Jasmine cheers us greatly when its shocking yellow (scentless) flowers erupt along the arching and climbing bare green stems of this shrub/vine in winter. Beginning in December it opens flowers continuously until a crescendo is reached in late February. To 9′ tall trained as vine. The lithe stems must be corralled and pegged or twiddled through a lattice. Be patient it will get there. Blooms occur on wood from the previous season. Prune directly after bloom has ended. Fast growing as a scandent ground cover. To 3′ tall x 8′ wide very quickly. Very nice trailing over banks, walls. This form has gold splashed leaves that appear in spring adding another dimension to this plant. Light summer water or none when established. Rich, well drained soil is ideal in full sun to part shade. Winter deciduous. Moderate deer resistance.
Celery leaved Licorice root is a subtle native perennial that is widespread in the western third of the state. In late spring umbels of white flowers are symmetrical and beckon to a host of pollinators. Especially attractive to native wasp species that are good and that predate bad caterpillars. The arrow shaped glossy deep green divided leaves provide a handsome collar for the subtle flowers in bloom. The entire plant tastes and smells very strongly of anise and as children on hikes we would eat the green seeds before they ripened for a blasting hit of licorice. To 2′ x 2′ forming long lived clumps in part shade to full sun. Prolific in the Willamette Valley and able to compete somewhat with non-natives. Water to establish plants from containers in rich soil with consistent irrigation until about the Fourth of July. then it can go dry. Self sows moderately. A common component of Oregon oak woodlands. Often found with Phacelia heterophylla and Polysticum minutum (Western Sword Fern). Oregon native plant.
One of the boldest species of lily turf that is as tough and adaptable as the rest of the genus. Wide leaves (for this genus) measure about 1″ wide and form rosettes that are staunchly evergreen. The initial rosette measures about 1′ across, in time it increases by stolons as well as enlarging clumps. This species is native to SW Asia and is surprisingly cold hardy. Great year round appearance of foliage. In late summer 2′ thin spikes rise above the leaves and displays soft mauve flowers for several weeks. An added vertical element that is subtle but very pretty. Part shade to shade, avoid hot dry sites. Rich soil and regular irrigation speeds growth and establishment. Adaptable to dry shade when established. Great in year round containers- I have yet to see it blemished by winter weather. Easy to grow, long lived perennial that is pretty and useful. Not bothered by deer- unsure about rabbits but I suspect they would love it. This Liriope has the widest leaves. Clumping. Consistent summer irrigation for the best appearance. Pronounced Leer-EYE- oh-pee.
Bare stem biscuit root is a locally native perennial that is found in rocky dry areas among clumping native grasses. The stemless rosette bears upright trifoliate glabrous blue leaves. 20″ stems rise up in late spring to earl summer with umbels of sulphur yellow flowers (sometimes purple). To establish, water thoroughly through the first month in the ground. Winter deciduous it emerges very early in spring. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. In the Willamette Valley this biscuit root grows in various biomes but is most common on dry hillsides. Festuca californica and Festuca roemeri are two native grasses seen with this plant in the wild. Full sun to light deciduous shade. Avoid standing water in winter. Long lived perennial once established. Excellent in gravel gardens. Leaves remain handsome after blooming. Spreads slowly to form colonies. Locally native in the Portland city limits. Drought adapted when established. Moderate deer resistance. Resents disturbance once established. Widespread in the west. Important pollinator plant. Common associates in the wild are Potentilla gracilis ssp. gracilis Slender Cinquefoil, and Sidalcea m. virgata Pictured below. Oregon native plant.
Lonicera ‘Lemon Beauty’
Dramatic yellow foliage with an interior of deep green on the small evenly spaced evergreen leaves of this low spreading shrub. To 3′ x 4′ and forming something of a mound. Spreads low at first- gains height with age. Rich soil with light summer water in full sun to part shade. Very drought tolerant when established. Lights up borders, is easily clipped- without mangling the small foliage. Flowers are tiny and cream colored often followed by translucent purple berries. Sometimes reverts to all green – just cut those reversions cleanly out. Very easy to grow plant for foundation plantings, tough sites, hedges. There is some confusion over the exact species…if you look it up half say L. nitida and half say L. pileata. I’m going to have to go with L. ??. Shrubby honeysuckle.
PNW Orange Honeysuckle is one of our most showy native vines. Our region is sparse on native vines so this pretty plant is welcome. In late spring to summer clusters of brilliant orange tubular flowers decorate the branch tips. Loved by hummingbirds as well as other birds which is obvious, its also important for all native pollinators. The flowers change to brilliant red fruit which is consumed by wildlife and seldom lingers. Deciduous mid green foliage is verdant all through the season. As with the vast majority of Honeysuckle vines this plant nearly always goes leafless at the base. Expect this and plan for it. Strongly twining plant to 12′ tall and almost as wide. Provide strong support. Light consistent summer water to establish then very little necessary once established. (Also accepts regular summer H20). Excellent vine for country fences, decorating mailboxes etc. Protect from deer, otherwise it is pest and disease resistant- occasional mildew in the autumn is virtually harmless – great news for a honeysuckle. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering. This vine can be very hard to find. We grow it from seed and quantities are limited. Oregon native plant
Not available 2022/23
Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesens Gold’
Useful fine textured golden evergreen shrub that brightens the landscape. This form of box leaf honeysuckle is popular as a sheared hedge but we think it makes a better focal point. The leaves can burn in the hottest locations and conversely turn a bit more green in the shade. Takes any amount of pruning. We have yet to notice flowers or berries on this cultivar. To 4′ x 4′ very quickly. Very drought tolerant when established. Cold hardy to 0ºF when established. May be pruned into any conceivable shape. The tiny leaves escape damage by shearing and the whole plant becomes immensely dense. Prune virtually any time of the year. Supposedly tiny yellow flowers are not very conspicuous but can transform into translucent purple berries if pollinated. Rare to see. Grows quickly.
Lonicera x standishii
Winter Honeysuckle is an often forgotten shrub. Its large and in our climate it doesn’t usually lose all of its leaves until mid-winter. But that is the time when this big girl shines. Small but powerfully fragrant off white honeysuckle flowers stud all of the stems. And remain sweet for weeks. To 9′ x 9′ as a free standing shrub. Flowers are born on wood from the previous year. Prune after flowering in spring. May be trained as a vine with diligence. The flower stems are also easy to force into bloom indoors. A great shrub for hedgerows and even hedges. In the garden it often does duty in the back 40- where it will thrive in anything from full sun to almost dense shade and little extra water once established. Loved by over wintering Anna’s hummingbirds. Don’t forget winter flowers. Underplant with winter flowering Cyclamen coum and Crocus tommasinianus. Very tough. Not bothered by disease or bugs. Consistent water to establish then VERY drought adapted.
Prairie wood rush is such poetic name for a sedge that is widespread on the west side of the Cascades from BC to N.California.The common name describes its love of both open conditions as well as woodlands. Its adapted to winter wet summer dry conditions and is found in a lot of different biomes. Soft green leaves terminate in a blunt tip. The leaves are covered with fine hairs. In spring wiry stems grow to 11″ tall with tawny black flowers followed by seed heads. that are swollen and brown. A component of oak woodlands in part shade to the verge of wetlands where it is found in full sun. Forms a wispy clump that expands slowly. As with most sedges it will respond to better conditions vigorously. Excellent for insect and wildlife. Semi evergreen., especially if drought stressed, (plants much be established well to do this and survive). Part shade to full sun with regular irrigation to establish then little to none in subsequent years. Pretty wispy sedge with a poetic name. Oregon native plant.
Sylvatica- of the woodland and this woodland evergreen workhorse of a sedge is both easy to grow and always good looking. Forms bold rosettes of 1/2″ wide deep green stems to about 2′ across. In early spring 1′ spikes hold metallic tan flowers. Very pretty. Full sun to dense shade in rich to average well drained soil with light summer water. More water will be needed the more sun it gets to remain deep green. Easy to grow and excellent massed for a uniform if somewhat wild look. Remove spent flower spikes to prevent seeding which will occur in open disturbed sites that you irrigate. These seedlings are easy to spot and move and it never becomes a pest. Long lived. Adaptable to very dry conditions in shade. Nearly uniform appearance year round.
Luzula sylvatica ‘Aurea’
This! This is one of the coolest sedges for winter displays. It virtually glows in yellow/chartreuse and spreads to form large patches. Adaptable to both full sun (with water) to dense shade. it holds its gold coloring in shade but is more conspicuous in the cold months. In summer it turns lime green and can be site where it fades into the background. In early spring 1′ chartreuse stems display excellently contrasting warm, metallic brown flowers- they are quite showy and come in great quantity. Excellent in rich to average soil with regular summer water. Full sun (but not reflected heat) to dense shade. Very adaptable to dry shade conditions. We love this evergreen workhorse of a sedge that virtually glows. Great en masse or as a simple single glowing patch. This species of woodland sedge is native to Europe. Excellent plant.
Luzula sylvatica ‘Marginata’
This is the most common form of this tough and good looking woodland sedge. The wide curving leaves are finely lined in yellow on the margins. It give this useful plant extra dimension. To 18″ across and forming multiple rosettes. In spring 1′ spikes carrying showy tan flowers create a haze. Rich to average well drained soil with consistent summer moisture. Full sun (with regular summer water) to quite dense shade. Useful evergreen for winter containers. Excellent winter appearance. Long lived, easy to grow. Takes very dry shade when established.
Oregon Grape, our ubiquitous state flower. This evergreen shrub can be found almost anywhere aside from the immediate coast to high Cascades west of the mountains. Its native from B.C. to Southern California. Variable shrub to on average 5′ tall and suckering as wide. In rich, happy conditions it will soar to 8′ or more and in more impoverished conditions it makes its life as a spreading low plant. In late February-April the top of the plant erupts in golden yellow incredibly fragrant flowers that are one of the first joys of spring. By late summer these flowers have transformed into clusters of dusty blue incredibly sour fruits. Often employed in the toughest situations where its performance is some what rough. It thrives in cultivation with light, consistent summer moisture. Tolerates heavy clay soils and summer drought. The pinnate leaves often take on purple/maroon tints in winter. Ours are cuttings native to our wholesale nursery site. So its a local plant. Full sun to part shade to quite a bit of shade at the expense of blooming and a lankier outline. Excellent deer resistance when established. Oregon native plant.
Mahonia euryobracteata ‘Silver Seedlings’
This form of this wonderful Mahonia has leaves that are more silver and a little bit larger than the more commonly seen and finer textured selections of this species. It has also exhibited excellent cold resistance. To 5′ tall moderately fast the finely divided leaves shine. In spring clusters of fragrant yellow flowers are followed by dusty purple/blue berries. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched, well drained sites. Very easy to grow and gorgeous, long lived shrub that consorts with perennials or adds a light texture massed with bolder evergreens. Light consistent summer water speeds growth but established plants are more than drought adapted. Excellent in containers and wonderful winter appearance. Great deer resistance. Forms multiple stems in time to a width almost as tall as it is. These are seedlings from a particularly gray and cold hardy specimen. Easy.
Xera Plants Introduction
Mahonia fortunei ‘Dan Hinkley’
While visiting Dan several years ago he lamented that Monrovia had not picked up his collection of this showy evergreen shrub. He then gave it to us and we named it after him. Handsome evergreen shrub with finely serrated divided leaves that emerge ruby red when new. Forms a multiple stemmed patch to 5′ wide and 4′ tall. If it gets leggy do not hesitate to chop it back it will return more dense and less floppy. And it will recover fast. In September 2″ long streamers of light yellow flowers are followed by blue fruit. Part shade to full sun in a protected location with light summer water. Locate out of subfreezing wind. Great in a woodland. High deer resistance.
Xera Plants Introduction
Cascades Mahonia is found throughout the western part of Oregon occupying shady environs under the tree canopy. Low growing creeping evergreen with large deep green leaves. They emerge in spring tinted bright salmon before settling to their mature color. In spring spikes of fragrant light yellow flowers appear and then turn into small edible blue berries. Which also attracts birdlife to the forest floor. To just 2′ tall but a single plant can spread to 5′ wide in 6 years. Part shade to shade in rich, humusy soil with regular summer water. Established plants get by with nothing. Takes some patience to establish and a lot of water. Mulch annually. Moderately deer resistant. Oregon native plant.
Mahonia nervosa var. mendocinoensis
Rare but excellent form of Cascades Mahonia that is actually found only in the redwoods of N. California to southern Oregon. A TALL upright growing shrub with thick trunks to 9′ eventually. It forms a clump of stems and can increase by suckering closely to the main clump and sending up new stems. Handsome foliage- pinnate dark green leaves to 1′ + long. In winter the whole shrub takes on great plum purple tones. In mid-spring trailing clusters of yellow flowers are followed by blue berries. Moderately slow growing evergreen shrub for part shade to dense shade. Established plants take dust dry conditions in shade. Accepts regular summer water as well- in well drained soil that is not compacted. Mulch each year with a coarse bark. Easy to grow. Appearance is very much like the M. x media hybrids. New growth emerges red. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Wow what an interesting plant. This perennial member of the carrot family from Mexico almost immediately recalls a Hellebore. Nope. Clumps of blue divided leaves are very pretty and surprisingly evergreen even through the coldest temperatures. In spring the stem elongates to carry acid green cupped shaped flowers on a circular arranged inflorescence. Part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil. There is only the male form on the market in the U.S. as far as we can tell so no seed set. Tends to flop or lean on other plants…just what it does. To 30″ tall and 4′ wide. Rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Looks absolutely nothing like a carrot.
Millium effusum ‘Aureum’
Golden Millet grass we love for its bright and shining appearance in shady woodlands. The upright growing then strongly curled leaf blades appear very much like ribbons. In summer stems rise and then arch with little round seeds. The entire plant is the same shade of glowing chartreuse. To 2′ tall and forming slowly expanding clumps. Shade to part shade in rich, well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Avoid blasting hot sun- it will bleach horribly to an ugly appearance. The combination of the soft, ribbon-like foliage and the airy seed heads is a great texture to counter balance the bold appearance of Hosta or Bergenia ciliata. Completely winter deciduous. Seeds around- and seedling come true and are easy to spot and they move very well. Dies away to nothing by midwinter- seldom even have to cut it back.
Coastal (Yellow) mitrewort is a little seen but wonderful native primarily in Oregon- going to BC in the north to very far northern California to our south. In Oregon its found primarily on open north exposed aspects and steep hillsides, often near seeps. Glossy foliage is the same shape as Tellima grandilflora which has dull lighter green leaves. In spring to summer 12″ straight stems unfurl intricate chartreuse yellow flowers that line a scape. Evergreen to semi evergreen perennial for part shade to full sun. Closely related to Heuchera this member of the Saxifrage family improves greatly under cultivation. As a small scale ground cover in part shade its a good native for the dry areas around trees. Light summer supplemental water – but never boggy and hot. Established plants are robust and handsome and are NOT afflicted by powdery mildew. The vertical yellow flowers lined with little intricate 3-d flowers brings many tiny pollinators. To 18″ across forming an expanding clump. This is a very good native perennial that is almost never seen in gardens but is local and excellently adapted to our climate, again it also improves greatly under cultivation and it responds to enriched soil. Drought adapted in shade. Winter foliage is smaller and takes on bright red tints. Common in the Oregon Coast Range as well as the western Cascade foothills. Super saxifragaceae for your stumpery. Adorable in bloom. Associated plants in the wild are Oxalis oregana, Tellima grandiflora, Adiantum aleuticum, Heuchera chlorantha. A very handsome plant. Oregon native plant.
Myrtus communis ‘Emerald Compact’
This is a seedling myrtle that showed up in our nursery. I moved it to a stock bed and observed it for several years. Its proven to be hardy to lower than 15ºF and its a dense and compact growing form. Good looking evergreen that has deep forest green foliage with a slight gloss. Dense growth forms a shrub to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years- progressively larger after that. In late summer to early autumn a procession of pure white flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens. This aromatic shrub is adapted to hot dry conditions and light to little water once established. In fact, the more lean the conditions the hardier this myrtle will be to cold. Black elongated drupes follow the flowers. Formal appearance that can be even more formal with pruning. Though, its naturally dense habit makes pruning less likely. Great against baking hot south facing walls. Loves the zone of south facing planters that are asphalt on one side and a hot wall on the other. Best as a specimen- not a hedge as it can be prone to damage in severe winters ( below 10ºF) which recovers quickly in spring but makes it less useful as a hedge. Great container subject. Moderate deer resistance. Tolerates VERY dry summer conditions. Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of a dense habit. Very durable urban shrub. Protected location. Locate out of the path of subfreezing east wind.
Xera Plants Intoduction
Baby Blue Eyes is a hardy annual wildflower native to the southern coast in the blue form. In the Willamette Valley up to about Portland the variety Nemophila menziesii ssp. Atomaria is the native form. It has large cup shaped flowers that are white on the inside w/ fine intricate black spotting and blue on the reverse of the petals. That is the form that I grew up with in the country near Eugene. This is a fascinating annual that is adapted to just about any soil that is not boggy. Finely divided foliage forms sprawling rosettes that support the nickel sized sky blue to pale blue flowers. Blooms April to June. Reliably reseeds in open disturbed sites and with a little protection from slugs and lack of competition. The whole plant is dead and chucking seed by the heat of summer and ultimately disappears on its own. Adaptable to full sun to light shade. Self sown plants get by with no supplemental irrigation- plants from containers seem to like regular water. In habitat it occupies slopes usually under the canopy of Oaks. To 4″ tall and 1′ wide. Excellent, long, showy display in reconstructed Willamette Valley meadows. and laugh at summer drought by finishing their life cycle and simply spreading anew by seed. We are actively searching for the ssp. atomaria but the seed is hard to obtain. Occurs natively with Erythronium oreganum, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis as well as Plectritis congesta. Oregon native plant.
Nemophila menziesii ‘Frosty Blue’
Impressive selection of this wonderful native annual. Leaves are brightly frosted in white and make a great backdrop to the sky blue nickel sized flowers. Blooms April-June in part shade to full sun. AKA Frosty Blue Baby Blue Eyes. To 4″ x 6″ forming a spreading plant. Very attractive and it will reseed in the autumn or early spring- the seedlings are immediately identifiable by the silver foliage. Likes to germinate among other small plants/grasses for overwintering protection. Water to establish then only lightly until bloom has ceased and seed is set. The whole plant dies and decomposes almost instantly in the real heat of summer. Excellent in early season containers. This form was found in California but this is also an Oregon native plant.
Giant baby blue eyes is kind of a misleading common name. The flowers in our locally native form of Baby blue eyes are a pure white with black dots on the interior. The only blue that appears on this subspecies is on the reverse of the petals which is often blushed with navy blue. This delightful wildflower grew natively in my back yard where I grew up. In early April to early June it would make sheets of cup shaped blooms under the native white and black oaks. There it bloomed simultaneously with Foothill shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii), Prairie stars (Lithophragma parviflora) and western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis) and mission bells (Fritillaria affinis) – a really cool native vignette. Wonderful annual for many kinds of native pollinators. Native bees favor this plant and if you look diligently they will be visited over and over. It will resow itself very reliably if foreign invasive plants are kept away. Mixes really well with (Collinsia grandiflora) Giant Blue Eyed Mary and (Plectritis congesta) Rosy plectritis. A truly exquisite west coast and Oregon native that is adapted to life between clumping grasses. Non native turf grasses will quickly over run and out compete this plant. So, invasive weed control is paramount in maintaining consistent years. In my own backyard it grew between (Festuca californica) California fescue and California three awn (Danthonia californica). Water in potted plants.Protect seedlings in spring and fall from slugs. Oregon native plant.
Cool shrub in the rose family that is native to the state of Alabama. To 5′ x 5′ light green serrated leaves are pretty. In April/May the entire shrub is smothered in white flowers made up entirely of stamens. No petals here. Graceful and durable deciduous shrub for part shade to high overhead shade. Regular soil including heavy clay soils. Light, consistent summer water. Soak once every 2 weeks. Fall color is yellow to light orange. Long lived and easy to grow unusual shrub of great grace. Avoid blasting sun and extreme drought.
Oso berry is a classic west coast shrub. Its one of the earliest shrubs to burst into leaf and flower long before anyone else- often as early as early February. Exceptionally fresh green leaves emerge vertically and for a time appear as rabbit ears lining the stems. On female plants fragrant chains of white flowers are showy in a very spring like way. Following pollination chains of charming fruit (the berries or plums)first turn yellow then red/orange and arrive at deep purple. They are reputed to be good. And even though I’ve known this plant my entire life i’ve never tasted a ripe berry. Seems like they disappear to wildlife very fast. There was a thicket of this early spring shrub near the bottom of our long driveway and it would leaf out and bloom in February and March. When I spotted those acid green leaves I knew that winter was over. To 8′ x 8′ quickly from a massively suckering central shrub. Branches soar up and arch out. All the better to observe the colorful fruit. Native, often under Oregon white oaks and in dry woods with Holodiscus discolor/ Ocean spray, Corylus cornuta californica /Western Hazel. By late spring this shrub has all but faded into the background. Often it will lose many or all leaves in a very dry summer, but its drought tolerance is phenomenal. Fall color is soft yellow and shows up nicely on the dark forest floor. Its natural range is from the N. Bay area in CA north to extreme SW British Columbia. Always on the west side of the mountains. Stems force well when brought inside in December- January. Deer resistant and possibly rabbit resistant. This is a very wild looking shrub, goes well with other plants of that mein. Stirs early pollinators and even Anna’s Hummers. These are unsexed seedlings. Best in part shade to shade though it will tolerate full sun with a less refined overall look. Water lightly but consistently for the first summer then none in subsequent years. Virtually any soil type including heavy clay. Simultaneous bloom with flowering currants (Ribes sanguineum). A great garden pairing. Oregon native plant.
Ophiopogon ‘Kyoto Dwarf’
Congested grass like lily turf that rises to less than 3″ high and forms dense colonies to mimic a lawn. Deep green foliage is handsome year round. Best in rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. Tolerates full sun with regular summer water otherwise takes shade, even dense shade. Inconspicuous flowers morph into turquoise blue berries in late summer/fall. Excellent in heavy soils with irrigation. Mulch annually with compost to increase luster and vigor. Foliage not blemished by the coldest winters. Good container plant.
Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Pamela Harper’
AKA ‘Pam Harper’. Nice lily turf that brightens up shady areas with ribbon like evergreen leaves outlined in white. The interior of the leaves is soft green. In early to mid summer 8″ spikes produce lavender flowers. To 10″ x 12″ forming a spreading clump. In time it will spread to form a small scale ground cover. Good appearance year round. Part shade to shade in rich to average soil- including clay soils. Avoid compacted soils and regular summer water speeds up the growth rate. High deer resistance.
Probably the best looking and easiest to grow lily turf species for our climate. Tightly clumping deep green grasslike mounds of foliage are good looking YEAR ROUND- no scorching or freeze burn. To 8″ tall x 10″ wide eventually it thrives in quite a bit of shade to even sun if irrigation is consistent. Loves heavy clay soils and will happily live in standing water for part of the year. Established plants (1-2 years) are much more drought resistant even in full sun. The glossy leaves are just 3mm wide and 10cm long. In summer masses of white flowers appear within the foliage. These turn into masses of large, vivid sky blue berries which are showy well into winter. Excellent for massing (plant on 8″ centers) for a small scale ground cover. For this application it plays to amend the soil with compost and all organic fertilizer to speed growth and establishment. Excellent as a marginal plant near natural ponds and creeks. Very deer resistant. Native to eastern China.
Ophiopogon umbraticola ‘Sparkler’
Without a doubt one of the finest lily turf/liriopogons that I have ever grown. Dense clumps of fine deep green leaves are handsome at all time. Including unblemished after the hardest winters. In early summer with in the leaves small spikes of white flowers are not conspicuous and by autumn they have transformed in to luminescent turquoise berries. Not slow for a lily turf and tolerant of everything from compacted soils to intense dry shade. Will take full sun but with regular irrigation or foliage can yellow. To 8″ tall and expanding to almost a foot wide within several years. Line paths, mass as a ground cover. Carefree plant that always looks its best.
Osmanthus fragrans var. aurantiacus
One of the coolest shrubs that we can grow and incredibly rare in our climate. Large evergreen shrub or small tree to 12′ tall and forming a dome. Prolifically nestled among each leaf axil clusters of vivid but small ORANGE flowers with the fragrance of juicy fruit gum appear in October-November. A shrub in full bloom is detectable many many feet away. Handsome large leaves contrast with pale tan stems and bark. Full sun to part shade and rich to average well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Drought adapted when established. Grows 1′-2′ a year- picks up speed when older. Hardier to cold than most forms of regular Osmanthus fragrans. Protect from subfreezing winds. Seems to require summer heat to set flowers as well as harden off for winter weather. Unlikely to thrive in cool summer climates. (NOTE: this plant seldom looks good in a pot, one of the reasons its not often seen for sale. The fertilizer that is necessary also distorts new leaves- This is not a problem in the ground). We’ve been hesitant to sell this because of the weird leaf distortion but it goes away immediately with installation in the ground. And we just love it so much.
Osmanthus armatus ‘Jim Porter’
Fantastic large evergreen shrub that always looks its glossy best. Finely serrated glossy, deep green leaves become less spiny as the shrub matures. In November and December tiny slightly fragrant white flowers crowd along the stems. Moderately fast growing to 12′ tall and 6′ wide in 7 years. Full sun to almost full shade in rich to average well drained soil. Handles clay soils with aplomb. Light summer water to none when established. A first rate large hedge or screen. A nice specimen as well. Very tough, cold hardy and easy. Grows 2′-3′ a year
Regal, tough, evergreen shrub that loves our climate and performs beautifully in a host of situations. Small holly like deep blue green leaves are completely obscured by masses of small, white, sweetly fragrant, tubular flowers that crowd the stems in April. Beautiful. To 4′ x 6′ in 6 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade which doesn’t diminish bloom. Rich, to average soil including dry clay soils but never anywhere there is standing water. Extraordinarily drought tolerant when established and will still thrive and bloom with none. Elegant clipped hedge which will become dense and still bloom heavily. The leaves are small enough that shearing does not mangle them. Long lived and cold hardy to 0ºF. Easy, elegant broad leaved evergreen. AKA Delavay Tea Olive.
Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Kaori Hime’
What a sweet little version of Holly Tea Olive. Leaves are tiny compared to the species and the whole plant is a diminuitive version of the that plant. To just 4′ x 4′ in 10 years it eventually gets progressively larger. An extremely floriferous form that condenses hundreds of small white fragrant flowers along the stems in October to December. Slow to finish in a container because of its size- be patient. Grows about 4″ per year. Foundations, rock gardens, hedges, specimen. Great cold hardiness for a broad leaved evergreen. Drought adapted when established otherwise it tolerates regular irrigation which will eventually speed growth. Cute. Really, freaking cute ancient cultivar from Japan. Rare plant that is slow to increase. Limited quantities.
Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Akebono’
An exceptional Tea Olive that we love. New growth emerges pink before changing to lacquer white and finally deep green. This period of transition lasts for months and is far showier than the small white flowers that cluster at the leaf axils in autumn. They do, however, emit a sweet perfume that is detectable for many yards. Great cold hardiness for a broad leaved evergreen enduring temps below 0ºF with no harm. Tolerates subfreezing wind and would be a fantastic and showy hedge to block the east wind. To 7′ tall in 7′ years eventually reaching small tree size. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched soil where there is never standing water in summer. Tolerates clay soils on slopes and it is best with about 3 deep soaks per summer once well established. Mulch when planting. Avoid reflected heat. Moderately deer resistant. Blooms on old wood. Prune if needed AFTER blooming has ended. Naturally dense habit. As the shrub matures the leaves which are mildly prickly in youth change to smooth edged entire leaves. Pretty, tough, dynamic shrub. Japan.
Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Sasaba’
We adore this wickedly armed evergreen shrub. Its a piece of pure architecture. The sharply pointed leaves jut out like blades and are deep glossy green year round. Excellent, interesting evergreen for screen or specimen. Totally cold hardy- excellent performance in blasting subfreezing winds from the Gorge. Rounded, upright shrub to 9′ tall and 6′ wide in 8 years. In autumn the stems of older wood are crowded with tiny white flowers that emit a sweet perfume. Bloom Sept.-Nov. and sometimes later. The fragrance carries quite a distance on mild days. Light water to establish then completely drought tolerant in average, well drained soil. Also accepts the regular irrigation of borders. Good bet where deer are a menace. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Great barrier hedge.
Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Variegatus’
Excellent cold hardy, drought tolerant shrub that reaches tree like proportions with great age. The pretty variegation presents as prickly leaves outlined in white. With age/maturity the leaves lose their prickles and become smooth and entire. The variegation on this plant is incredibly stable. I have yet to see a reversion of any consequence. Ancient specimens that are now 20′ trees can be found in old, old gardens. Its obviously been grown in this climate for eons. Very, very cold hardy evergreen that is not only hardy below 0ºF it makes a great hedge even near the Gorge where it endures subfreezing wind with no ill effects. Tolerates regular irrigation which increases the rate of growth- on average about 2′-3′ per year can be expected. 8′ x 6′ in 7 years is typical. Full sun to shade. Avoid permanently boggy soils- otherwise very adaptable- including heavy dry summertime clay. In October-December tiny fragrant white flowers crowd the stems. Moderate deer resistance. Long lived.
Osmanthus x burkwoodii
An iron clad shrub for western Oregon. It endures heavy clay soils, summer drought and the coldest temperatures we can expect with no harm. Dapper evergreen shrub with handsome matte green leaves. In February and March masses of small tubular white fragrant flowers crowd the stems and emit the perfume of vanilla. Very drought tolerant but adaptable to regular irrigation as well. Avoid permanently wet sites. To 7′ x 7′ in 7 years. Tolerates subfreezing wind and is useful as a hedge/windbreak in areas exposed to gorge outflow. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune- if needed after flowering. Tolerates quite a bit of shade. Very old specimens turn into exotic looking evergreen trees with umbrella shaped clouds of foliage.AKA Burkwood Tea Olive or Burkwood Osmanthus.
Osmanthus x fortunei ‘San Jose’
Amazing hybrid Tea olive that inherits the insane perfume of O. fragrans and cold hardiness from O. heterophyllus. Fast growing columnar broad leaved evergreen shrub to 16′ tall x 5′ wide in 7 years. In time it can make tree like status to 20’+ tall. Otherwise pruning easily keeps it much smaller. In Oct-Dec. tiny parchment colored flowers crowd the stems and emit the sweet penetrating perfume of Freesia and apricots. On mild days its detectable up to 20′ away. Juvenile foliage is prickly but as the shrub matures it develops entire leaves with a smooth margin. Young plants grow about 2′-5′ per year depending upon summer irrigation and soil fertility. This shrub is always at its most lustrous and healthy appearance. Average well drained soil with light but consistent summer irrigation. Totally summer drought tolerant when established. Excellent screen, hedge, or just as a large specimen if you love perfume. Bark/stems are a handsome pale tan- good contrast with the deep green leaves. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. Long lived.
Oxalis oregana ‘Klamath Ruby’
Far and away our most vigorous clone of our native Oregon Sorrel. So named for the bright red underside of the leaves. In spring and sporadically into summer pure white flowers peek over the foliage. This is a fast colonizing plant that goes by underground stolons and it can cover several feet in a year. In time it will cover anything in part shade to shade in rich, hummus laden, moisture retentive soil. Piles up to about 6″ deep in no time. This form is decidedly evergreen. Use for wild areas to obstruct smaller weed growth- under decks, shady glens, other areas too dark for plants to grow. Oregon native plant.
Oxalis oregana ‘Select Pink’
Not the most original cultivar name but its aptly descriptive. Vigorous evergreen ground cover with dramatic hot pink flowers for weeks in spring. Spreads by underground stolons in rich, fertile, woodland conditions with regular summer water. To 4″ high and spreading many feet across shortly (in ideal conditions) . Part shade to shade. Very easy native perennial to grow. This is the second most vigorous Oxalis o. clone that we have behind ‘Klamath Ruby’. Simple pink flowers are pretty and rise up just above the foliage. AKA Redwood Sorrel or Oregon Sorrel. Long lived. Edible. Oregon native plant.
Oxalis oregana ‘White Flower Form’
There are quite a few selection off Redwood Sorrel or Oregon sorrel. This is the most common light green leaved form that you see carpeting shady dells and tree rootwells in the deepest shade. To 8″ tall and spreading vigorously by underground stolons. Clear white flowers in mid to late spring. Edible. Very simple plant to grow in part shade to shade. It will even thrive on an open north exposure. The soft foliage is semi-evergreen and has a great rebirth in spring. Not bothered by pests or deer. Spreads to several feet wide in rich soil high in humus. Do not plant with smaller delicate neighbors this plant will easily swamp them. Avoid full sun and compacted soils. Established plants can get by the summer with minimal to no irrigation. Oregon native plant.
Oxalis oregana ‘Xera’s Blush’
I found this form of our native Redwood Sorrel in a drier and hotter part of the Siskiyous than what is normally the range for this woodland plant. Large soft green leaves have a silver chevron in the center of each leaflet. In spring very large pale pink/lavender flowers appear with a central yellow eye. Very showy. ideal candidate for dry shade- give it mulch and plenty of water to established then this form seems much more drought and heat adapted than the familiar forms on the market. Forms a semi-evergreen ground cover in shade. Edible. Part shade, shade, regular summer water. Spreads underground by stolons. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Scorpion weed is a beautiful native perennial found on rocky slopes/ hillsides/road cuts throughout California and western Oregon. Handsome corrugated trifoliate leaves are silver and have a pointed tip. In May-July curled flower inflorescences arise unfurling as they bloom to reveal rows of mauve/blue flowers. To 2′ tall in bloom it forms a handsome dome of evergreen foliage to 14″ across. The leaves are the most striking and conspicuous feature of this plant. Pollinators adore the flowers and its especially important for native bees. Full sun to very light shade, average, well drained soil. Light summer water. Excellent in the front of borders. Wonderful bold contrast with other fine leaved silver beauties- it even shines with lavender. As you hike throughout the mountainous parts west of the Cascade Crest the incredibly handsome leaves are sure to catch your eye. Easy to grow and perfectly climate adapted. Oregon native plant.
Sometimes you need a large shrub or small tree that is evergreen but not dense and one that does not cast enervating shade. This incredibly drought adapted and cold hardy shrub fits that bill. Native to the Mediterranean region and closely related to Osmanthus this fast growing plant has never been injured by cold for us and sails through intense summer drought with not one ill effect. Always good looking the long thin opposite leaves have a nice symmetry on the stems. In spring tiny white flowers crowd the stems but are not fragrant or significant. It makes a great small tree- limbed up from the base with either one straight trunk or multiple. Ultimately about 16′ tall. Grows about 2′-3′ per year. Tolerates summer water as well as dried out clay soils. Unique.
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Emerald Sentry’
We selected this form of New Zealand Pittosporum because its been cold hardy in Portland for the past 15 years! Not bad- for a species that can range to tender- those are great odds. Upright growing evergreen with deep green very glossy foliage with wavy edges. Black stems support the leaves and provide elegant contrast. In mid-spring small but profuse jet black flowers appear on the stems from the previous years growth. Prune, if needed AFTER spring bloom has ended. To 5′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. Full sun to part shade in a protected location. We selected this form after enduring temperatures below 10ºF with no damage. Slow growing shrub with great drought tolerance. Always fresh and good looking. Light water speeds growth in summer. Avoid full exposure to subfreezing east wind. Best on a west or south facing aspect. Nice as formal sentries to a sunny entrance. Great urban performance. Fantastic performance at the Oregon Coast.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Pittosporum tobira ‘Wheeler’s Dwarf’
Useful somewhat formal looking ground cover shrub that is always good looking . To 2′ x 3′ slowly the dense deep green foliage is arranged handsomely. In May/June clusters of off white fragrant flowers appear- Not as heavily as the species but pretty none-the-less. Excels in hot dry situations- including the reflected heat of walls. Hardier to cold than generally thought. My 10 year old plants have never been damaged by cold- down below 10ºF. Avoid freezing cold exposed sites, however. Useful as a massed weed smothering ground cover. Deep green uniform appearance of foliage is just what many people are seeking. Drought tolerant. Evergreen. Hardy to 5ºF when established. Excellent appearance year round.
Wonderful dense, arching and low growing conifer for full sun and only occasional water when established. This cold hardy conifer is native to the highest elevations of Tasmania up into eastern Australia. In the summer the fine but substantial needles turn to dusty blue. The arrival of colder weather brings a distinct and beautiful soft purple cast. To 2′ tall and arching to 5′ tall in 7 years. Long lived and carefree conifer for full sun to very light shade. Dense and blocks weeds. Excellent large scale, weed supressing low water shrub. This cultivar originated in New Zealand and was released as a cultivar in 1994. Very good deer and rabbit resistance. Excellent appearance year round. It has been hardy slightly below 0ºF. Easy to grow.
Coast Polypody or creeping leather fern is an evergreen colony forming plant that is native from British Columbia south along the coast to even the Guadelupe Island off of Baja. It makes its home as an epiphyte trees, logs, rocks, the ground almost anywhere it finds adequate moisture and shade. During the summer it will take a surprising amount of dryness but we recommend light consistent irrigation for the best appearance and to spur multiplication. Fronds to 10″ long with rounded lobes. Excellent garden plant, grows very well in rich to average soil as well. Good year round appearance. A native fern that should be grown all the time. Great in winter containers- excellent winter appearance with little maintenance. Protect from hot sun. Highly deer resistant. A natural for the Oregon coast which is its native home. Oregon native plant.
Western sword fern is one of the most ubiquitous plants on the west side of the Cascades. In many forests in the Coast Range and Cascade foothills it is the sole understory plant. Western sword fern is a large species with long arching fronds. Adaptable to a host of situations. Often self sown spore will show up in the oddest places. I’ve seen it as an epiphyte and even self sown into hot concrete steps. In rich, acidic soil this evergreen fern soar- provided soils rich in humus, organic matter and protected from direct sun with consistent access to water. Very well adapted to our winter wet/ summer dry climate- it will cruise through dry summers unscathed. In the garden it does useful duty in the toughest, dry, shadiest sites. Along with Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) and Ophiopogon (Lily turf) it is one of the best dry shade inhabitants. As an understory component it is often accompanied by Cascades Mahonia (Mahonia nervosa), Inside-out-flower, (Vancouveria hexandra), and Pacific Blackberry (Rubus ursinus). To 4′ x 4′ in ideal situations. Though it is evergreen western sword fern does go through a transitional period before new croziers unfurl in spring. The 3′ long fronds begin to lie flat on the ground by winter. This is the time to remove tired, old leaves. and make way for fresh, new, unfurling foliage. Though very tough western sword fern does look its best with consistent light water. Supremely deer and rabbit resistant. Long lived and not a slow grower. Oregon native plant.
Polystichum setiferum var. divisilobum
Soft Shield fern is native to Alaska- well points north in general. That means its bone hardy to cold but its also a fantastic evergreen fern for dry shade in our region. Finely divided fronds taper to 2′ long. The central stem is a soft furry brown- good contrast. Spreading colony creating fern to 3′ across. It has the unique habit of vivipary. It makes small new plants spontaneously right off the frond. Useful. Good looking appearance year round. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular water to establish. Incredibly drought adapted when older – as long as its in shade. High deer resistance. May be cut back hard in early spring to refreshen. Grows very quickly.
Potentilla aff. gelida
We’ve grown this stunning perennial for years but there has always been some question to the exact species. All we know is that for foliage there really is nothing like it. Large spreading rosettes of pure metallic silver pinnate leaves are gorgeous all season. In summer and not very prolifically sporadic spikes of small yellow flowers rise above the foliage. Not the point of this plant and they can be removed if they are a distraction. To 1′ tall and forming a large patch in RICH, moisture retentive soil in full sun to light shade. Established plants can get by with much less water. Performance is equally as good in either position. Completely deciduous in winter. Beautiful leaves.
Potentilla gracilis ssp. gracilis
Slender Cinquefoil is a common, somewhat quiet but easy to grow long lived native perennial. Palmate leaves are conspicuously serrated on long stems. In early to mid summer 20″ stems support multiple clumps of sunny single yellow flowers. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched soil. Water to establish the first season then let it go with seasonal rainfall. Wild looking perennial that shines in borders, among shrubs and along the urban wild lands interface. Very pretty clustered at the foot of Holodiscus whose bloom is simultaneous. Loved by pollinators and an important food source for many butterflies. Native from SW. British Columbia south to San Diego County California. Often found in Ponderosa pine forests. Blooms much more heavily in full sun and improves under cultivation. Winter deciduous. Little deer resistance. Rose family. These are seed raised from Willamette Valley populations so it is the local form. Oregon native plant.
Primula sieboldii ‘Late Snow’
Excellent, selection of this easy and graceful perennial Primrose. Grass green round leaves form a rosette from the middle 8″ spikes support masses of flat, heavily frilled pure white flowers from April to late May. This is the most vigorous selection that we grow and will quickly increase in size in rich, moisture retentive soil in part shade. Blooms heavily for 6 weeks then goes quickly but quietly summer dormant. Though it has disappeared its important to at least occasionally water the plants roots through summer. To 1 1/2′ wide in several years. Apply a handful of all organic fertilizer in early spring. Excellent planted among Hosta. The Primula will emerge, bloom, and go to sleep just as the Hosta expand.
Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata
As a child in the country near Eugene western self heal was one of the first wildflowers I learned to identify. And its a beautiful and fascinating native perennial. This ‘weed’ circles the world but our locally native form is an exceptional improvement. Lance shaped basal leaves (the trick for identifying our local sub-species) forms stout upright stems. They are crowned with ‘cones’ that have whorls of showy deep purple tubular flowers- they appear continuously for up to 6’weeks into August decorating the tops of a 1′ tall plant. Spreads to form a clump as wide and appreciates average to enriched soil in full sun. Regular summer water increases vigor and lengthens the bloom time. A very charming native cut flower that produces new blooms continuously after its picked. This is a very important plant for native pollinators. Also, it differs from the pan-weedy form in larger cones and much showier flowers. Its a larger plant as well. Adapts to clay soils with regular irrigation to establish. A natural magnet for butterflies. Blooms May-August. In our region it is now found primarily away from the valley in upland valleys to alpine meadows and scree. A good native weed that is a great garden plant as well. Oregon native plant.
Fantastic early spring perennial that possesses arguably the bluest flowers in the genus. Large clusters of reverberating blue appear in late February and are showy until late April. The smaller than normal leaves posess the spots that makes this a classic Pulmonaria. To 2′ x 2′ and arching. Very easy to grow hardy perennial for part shade to full sun in rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. A substantial patch of this perennial is a sea of blue. Not bothered by slugs or other pests in general. Mixes ideally with white or yellow flowered Hellebores or grouped with hardy winter Cyclamen coum. Easy to grow and long lived. If you like blue, this prolific bloomer is the Pulmonaria for you.
Three fingered felt fern. This clump forming evergreen fern has been a fantastic performer in the ground in the Portland area. The large sage green leaves have three finger like lobes and are held horizontally at the ends of 6″ stems. Forms a dense clump that expands slowly in rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. Part shade to dense shade and it will tolerate quite dry shade when established. An excellent fern for planters and containers in hopelessly dark dry places (usually with a few dead or dwindling plants) this won’t do that. Excellent in containers with great winter appearance. Its been hardy in the coldest winters in my garden- below 10ºF. (Sometimes rated as zone 6…um no). Slow to increase- be diligent with water. Makes an admirable houseplant. Moderate deer resistance. Taiwan.
Tongue fern from Asia is also known as a leather fern in reference to the robust thickness and texture of the leaves. These evergreen ferns creep stoloniferously to create patches. Not rocket fast, but you can enhance growth in rich, well drained soil with regular SUMMER water. This semi-subtropical-ish fern grows fastest during summer so thats when you supply water. Otherwise it is tolerant of very dry conditions and will make due with one spring moisture burst of growth. Very good appearance year round. Part shade to shade- reasonable shade, not a dark planter under the Brady Bunch stairway but bright shade. Mixes well with Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) and Asarum splendens a green and textural combination that looks good year round. And sometimes in dry shade thats the best you can ask. HEH. To 18″ tall and spreading several feet wide with care. Long lived and cold hardy to about 5ºF. Avoid strong subfreezing east wind which can scorch the edges. Great in shady containers. Even successful as a houseplant. Moderate deer resistance.
Pyrrosia lingua ‘Variegata’
Variegated tongue fern. So called for the tall oblong shaped evergreen fronds that rise up vertically. This form has new growth marked with chartreuse stripes that fade a bit with maturity. Spreads to form colonies by furry stolons on the surface of the soil. Rich, well drained soil in part shade to dense shade. A great evergreen presence for really dry, dark spots. Avoid hot sun. Regular summer water increases the growth rate which is typically slow. May suffer some damage in the coldest winters (below 10ºF) remove those fronds and more will appear. Mix with other denizens of the dark- Aspidistra, Ophiopogon etc. Moderate deer resistance. Taiwan.
Western Buttercup is our own wonderful wildflower. This is the real thing and NOT the invasive Ranunculus ficaria or repens. Traditionally it occupies open Oregon Oak woodlands and meadows including vernally wet meadows. Though it handles winter inundation it is also adapted to upland situations and in every biome it goes quickly summer dormant. Rosettes of pretty pinked leaves elongate in bloom to an airy spray of bright yellow flowers. Intimately, the petals have a glossy sheen. And growing up in the country it was traditional to put a picked flower under your chin and the reflected color yellow revealed that indeed you did like butter. Great cut flower that peaks on May Day and has made many a wild flower bouquet with purple Oregon Iris and purple Dodecatheon hendersonii- Shooting stars. Pictured here with Common Camas Camassia quamash at the Camassia reserve in West Linn, Oregon. Blooms from mid-April to early June. Vast meadows of western Oregon still harbor this sweet short lived perennial. Adapted to heavy clay soils- reseeds when happy. Suitable for mowed meadows as long as it has gone to seed by the time you mow. Wait until June. Good competitor with invasives and absolutely integral to a Willamette Valley meadow. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant
Ribbon lily or ribbon grass. Creeping evergreen perennial with ribbon like arching leaves arranged in fans. Spreads rapidly in rich, moisture retentive soil with protection from hot sun. To 8″ tall. In autumn, among the deep green leaves pink spikes open to white flowers. Not conspicuous but cute when you notice. Even more showy are the bright orange berries that persist through winter Great tough, low maintenance ground cover for part shade to shade. Accepts no summer water if there is protection from the sun. Great winter appearance even after the repeated arctic blasts and ice and snow of winter 2017. This tenacious plant has a real will to grow. It should be used everywhere. Not bothered by gastropods- surprisingly.
Rhaphiolepis umbellata var. minor
Excitement doesn’t really well up with this genus. The reason we grow this plant is that it is healthy, drought adapted, and handsome all the time. And its a great scale and is slow growing. Dense evergreen shrub with wavy deep green foliage. New growth is conspicuously tinted red. In spring clusters of pure white flowers are pretty if not enough to stop a car. To 3′ x 3′ in 8 years. Yep. Slow growing and a great size for full hot sun to light shade and rich to average soil. Drought adapted when established it will also accept regular irrigation. Somewhat formal appearance and a great backdrop to other plants. A nice formal hedge plant or left to its own devices an informal hedge. Clusters of blue berries often follow the flowers and are added interest. NOT DEER RESISTANT. Rose family. Excellent performance in tough urban sites. Including unwatered parking strips. Grouped tougher it can form a low groudcover (3′ high). Regular water to establish. Dwarf japanese yedda hawthorne.
Coast gooseberry or black gooseberry is an intricately branched native deciduous shrub that is incredibly important to wildlife as well as pollinators. Mounding and spreading with fine and prickly needles housed at each node. The maple shaped leaves have a fine skunk aroma up close. To 4′ x 6′ in the extreme this moderately fast growing plant is best in full sun but can handle quite a bit of shade-especially deciduous shade. This species is never common and its found mainly west of the Cascades The small pendulous flower feature red petals surrounding a white corolla. These morph into prickly sour fruits whose final color ripens to black. Fall color is soft yellow to orange and brief. Light consistent summer water in a average to enriched, well drained soil. The berries are edible but intensely sour and make fine food for a wide range of cool birds. Native to the Portland city limits. Excellent shrub for remediation of wild sites. This pretty shrub makes a great transitional plant for wild areas and has a wild look itself. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Prune if needed AFTER flowering. Oregon native plant
Curious low, evergreen, winter blooming shrub that erupts in 3″ long pale, ghost green flowers from January to March. To just 2′ tall and spreading twice as wide its large rubbery, dark evergreen leaves are a great backdrop to the flowers. Just as nice the leaf petioles are a dramatic madder red. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture. Part shade to high overhead shade. Excellent combined with Hellebores, Cardamine, Cyclamen coum- which all desire the same cultural requirements. Strongly horizontal habit. Blooms on wood from the previous year prune (very lightly) if needed after flowering has ended. Moderate deer resistance. AKA Laurel Leaf Currant. Wonderful on shady hillsides where it lights the winter months.
Ribes odoratum ‘Crandall’
This form of the famous eastern U.S. clove currant is fabulous not only because it is resistant to White Pine Blister Rust – and won’t transmit it to those trees- it bears large black, sweet edible fruit in summer. The chains of yellow flowers in March/April emit the adored fragrance of powerful cloves. Detectable quite a ways away. To 4′ x 3′ in 5 years. Full sun to shade in rich to average well drained soil. Light summer water. Very adaptable and extremely hardy to cold. Fall color in our climate is yellow to orange. Self fertile. Protect fruit from birds. They really are a good quality black currant. Native to the summer rainfall eastern U.S. and appreciates water and good care. Provide good air circulation. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed AFTER flowering. Limited quantities.
Sierra gooseberry or sticky gooseberry is a pretty if prickly native deciduous shrub for rough areas. Charming in bloom , the 1/2″ pendant flowers have sepals that are reflexed and red around a pendant white corolla. After opening they both change to light red and remain showy for several weeks. They line zig zagging stems with three thorns at each node. That means you must site this 7′ tall by 4′ wide arching plant carefully. The flowers are pretty viewed up close and turn into prickly translucent green/red drupes. These are eaten by a huge variety of wildlife and especially smaller birds. Often the shrub will be completely stripped of berries by the time the soft orange fall color appears. Native from the Cascades of Marion county south throughout inland California down to San Diego county CA. Its most often found in dry gravelly areas on slopes in full sun to deep woods where its habit is more restrained and open. Blooms appear in mid spring. Water lightly to establish the first summer then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Adaptable to dry shade if it is not completely dark. Moderate deer resistance. Very similar to another native Gooseberry Ribes lobbii which is discrete in its dull non sticky leaves. Wonderful native shrub.Rarely seen in habitat below 1000′. Oregon native plant
Ribes sanguineum ‘Oregon Snowflake’
Excellent improved form of the already popular white flowered Flowering Currant. This form sports foliage that is deeply divided- very pretty- and a more dense and compact habit. Its an incredibly heavy blooming form that has great garden application. To 4′ x 5′ in 7 years with a rounded mounded habit. In late February- April pendant clusters of pure white flowers glow in the early spring sunlight. The buds emerge chartreuse and then become pure sparkling white. This was bred and selected at OSU. And so far has been rare on the market. Full sun to quite a bit of shade with light consistent summer water to establish. Then- it can survive on all that falls from the sky. Takes light irrigation in gardens but never soggy and never soggy during hot weather. Fall color is yellow/orange and brief. Sour fruits are dusky blue in summer. Moderate deer resistance. Derivative of an Oregon native plant. PPAF.
Ribes sanguineum ssp. sanguineum
Flowering Currant. One of the most conspicuous flowering shrubs over the western half of Oregon. From extreme Southwest BC to northern California. .This v shaped and arching shrub protrudes from highway plantings like a chandelier of pink flowers. Each chain of flowers is a slightly different shade of pink to white on this batch of seedlings. To 9′ x 9′ forming somewhat open shade. Blooms on old wood, prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended in late spring. Fall color ranges from pink to orange and quite often yellow. We had several shrubs of this plant on the property where I grew up. We randomly harvested the branches for cut flowers for almost two generations and none of the plants suffered. They were wild plants and as good as any named variety. Blooms March to April and then maple shaped leaves unfurl and are a quilted nice texture. Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of flowering. Dusty blue fruits cascade in chains as the leaves drop in fall. These are immensely sour fruits. Best on hillsides poking through the rest of the underbrush. Flowers which have a slight skunk funk force easily if brought inside. One of Oregons greatest native flowering shrubs. Moderate deer resistance. Water to establish then only occasionally. Oregon native plant.
Fuchsia flowering gooseberry is a fantastic shrub for dry shade. Heavily armed arching stems produce rows of pendant blood red flowers beginning in December and continuing to early spring. Retains leaves in winter – loses them in heat and drought. Little to no water once established. Best in part shade with good drainage. The millions of little red flowers are irresistible to over wintering Anna’s hummingbirds. Locate away from paths…the thorns on this California native shrub have a bite. To 5′ x 6′ in 7 years. Dramatic in bloom which lasts for months. Tough and beautiful. From an understory chapparel shrub in central California to a common component of that community in the south. Remember that it will go drastically deciduous in mid summer. It looks bad but this is temporary. As with many dry/mediterranean climate adapted shrubs it has a reverse dormancy. Fresh green and blooming during the cool wet season and deciduous and resting to wait out the heat. Prone to growing low and spreading at first then it sends up large vertical whips.
Sacred Lily from Japan is a stellar evergreen perennial that may not be dynamic and changing but it takes horrible dry shade and still looks good ( or the same ) year round. Rosettes that are somewhat elongated with scooped scrappy deep green arching leaves. Tiny white/green flowers in summer turn to bright red showy berries in fall and winter. Very slow growing for shade to dense shade and a champion in dry shade. To 1′ tall x 2′ wide Unmolested by slugs and snails. Light summer water. Takes sun but will turn yellow- not pretty. Japanese style gardens, overhangs, under outside stairwells. Cold hardy.
Pacific Snakeroot is a fascinating native perennial that is native west of the Cascades from British Columbia south -to the tip of South America. A summer deciduous perennial whose presence is really from January to July- before slipping into summer/dry dormancy. This unique plant forms handsome palmate leaves that are edged in black when young. As summer approaches the plant elongates up to 30″ tall and begins to bloom. Tight gold/charteuse inflocenscence that must attract very specific pollinators. I know for a fact that it draws butteries because I vividly remember them visiting this plant in the country. I’ve always found this easy growing plant pleasant and I have to admit that it is present in just about every biome west of the Cascade Crest. At the coast it is nearly evergreen – no need for summer dormancy. The small spiny seeds that perch at the top of plant are carried away by animals. Adapted to a LOT of soil conditions including compacted xeric clay. Forms increasing rosettes to 18″ across. More than likely you will find seedlings. Found in the Willamette Valley with Dodecatheon, Camassia, Rosa, and in shade with Symphoricarpos and Polystichum. Full sun to full shade. Not eaten by deer. Oregon native plant.
We think this is the best Sarcococca or Christmas box. A nice little 2′ x 2′ slow growing evergreen shrub with a formal air. In January to March relatively large white petal free flowers emit a sweet perfume. Best in part shade and rich, well drained soil. Light summer water when established. Always looks good. Can turn yellowish in full sun. Long lived trouble free shrub that delights in winter. Mass for a great perfume effect during the coldest days of the year. Moderate deer resistance. Long lived and always good looking. Flowers are large for the genus.
Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis ‘Dragon’s Gate’
Graceful and formal at the same time. This low arching form of winter box is wonderful with uniform thin, deep green pointed foliage on arching stems. In mid-winter to early spring the undersides of the stems are clad in fine powerfully FRAGRANT white flowers at every leaf axil. The fragrance spreads for quite a distance on mild winter days. Following the flowers are berries that turn black and arrive at red. Handsome low shrub to 2′ tall and 3′ wide suckering to form patches with time. Moderately fast growing and easy to establish shrub in the BUXACEAE which means that this boxwood relative is also deer resistant. Excellent performance in part shade to shade but not low dense shade. Massed it performs as a large scale ground cover. Light consistent summer H20 for the best looks. Takes dry conditions in shade once established- especially if you apply mulch liberally. Unlike the species it does not lose leaves in bloom which is an important difference. Finds a home under dark stairwells and foundation plantings. Impressive relatively new selection. China.
Schefflera (Heptapleurum) delavayi
Big bold evergreen shrub that deserves a place in every garden. Tall growing cold hardy shrub with leaves that can be up to 18″ across- all five leaflets. New growth in spring emerges slowly clad in a showy taupe indumentum that clings to the new leaves for quite some time. The ultimate leaf color is deep green with a matte surface. To 12′ tall and branching. Moderately fast growth in rich soil that is well drained with consistent summer moisture- to speed growth. Otherwise established plants are remarkably drought adapted in part shade to shade. Takes full sun but leaves are smaller and the plant grows more slowly. An open north exposure is ideal with cool roots and the tops in the bright sun but not reflected heat. In autumn 3′ long pale yellow flower spikes appear and persist until frost. Excellent, refined shrub that has been perfectly hardy to cold for us for the past decade. Much more heat tolerant than other members of this genus.
Useful and pretty evergreen Sedum that thrives in diverse biomes but always looks good. In dry dappled shade it will create a dense spreading deep green colony. To 5″ tall by several feet wide. In full sun it will grow a little slower but regular water will speed things up. The bright green rosettes of leaves are perched atop stems. In early spring the whole plant is awash in gold flowers and attending pollinators. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. The more shade the less water is required. Nice ground cover for small areas. Dense and evergreen. Surprisingly cold hardy and amenable to life in our climate. Mexico.
Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’
Interesting small yellow Sedum from Japan that is from a summer rainfall climate. That means that it likes consistent water in the summer. Good drainage is key and this plant performs a valuable role as the glowing understory to woodland perennials and shrubs. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation in part shade to shade. Bleaches to almost white in full sun. Early spring flowers are yellow and brief. Excellent as the lower level of a summer planting. Evergreen and easy. Aerate the soil well by double digging and incorporating oxygen into the soil before planting. To 3″ high and spreading to more than a foot wide in a season. Its best home is in containers where it makes a great, glowing year round element. Excellent as a ground cover under shrubs in a container.
One of the very best Sedums that we grow. Trailing stems hold relatively large rosettes of fleshy blue gray leaves. Superficially it resembles a tender echeveria etc. But, its totally hardy and incredibly adaptable. Forming mounded spreading colonies from a dome shape and encompassing an area several feet wide shortly. Adaptable to full sun and no water but also a surprising amount of shade. Its best application is perhaps in containers and specifically winter containers. Excellent winter appearance. In early spring it erupts in clouds of bright yellow flowers. To 6″ tall x 2′ wide in rich to average, well drained soil. Not a fussy succulent by any stretch it persists with just average conditions. Native to the highest elevations of Mexico. Cold hardy (when not saturated) to at least 0ºF. Widely used in seasonal and permanent containers in Europe. Picture a Sempervivum (Hens and chicks) on a slightly trailing stem. Light consistent summer H20 but accepts drought. Very easy to propagate by moving stems from one location to the next. Even share with your neighbors. Easy.
Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’
Immensely useful, if rambunctious sedum that glows in vivid gold to chartreuse. The needle like leaves are vivid and line trailing stems. The stems root where they hit the ground- good local solution for erosion. Fast growing plant that spreads indefinitely in sun to quite a bit of shade. So easy to grow that I suggest you plant it in AVERAGE well drained soil. No need for amendments because the truth is once you have this plant you will always have it. Evergreen. Easy to remove from unwanted places. Simply pick it up off the ground and dispose. Or move it. I use this plant as a fast low water place holder when I’m deciding what to put in next. To plant simply toss it on the ground and water. You can bury it a little but its really not necessary. Avoid strongly compacted soil. Yellow flowers in early spring. Nice ground cover under trees. Hardy. Oh, so hardy.
Sedum sediforme ‘Spanish Selection’
A really good Sedum that I got from a friend who collected it on the Iberian Peninsula in the Spanish mountains. Very soft blue gray foliage is shaped like pine needles lining trailing stems. Forms a good ground cover very fast. In summer 10″ vertical stems support clouds of soft off white flowers. Very different from so many other Sedums that bloom yellow. This soft color is very effective in the garden and of course draws pollinators from miles around. When spent the stems remain erect and turn gray- they may easily be collected by simply giving each a soft tug- or a whole a handful and they will break cleanly. Full sun to very light shade. Average to enriched soil that is not compacted. Good looking year round appearance. Not quite as dense or prolific as Sedum reflexum but still good. Slopes, between shrubs, as competition for weeds. Roots along the ground as it grows. Moves with ease and may be used as a temporary place holder while you think of what to plant next. Simply scoop up the foliage and move it to another place. Actual planting is not necessary. Share with friends. Great in seasonal as well as winter containers. To several feet wide. Light summer water or none when established. Easy plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’
An old standard form of our native and widespread Stonecrop. This form is unique for its very pale gray almost white rosettes of leaves. It spreads vigorously in rich to average well drained soil with light summer water. Soil should be light and not compacted. It makes a very good small scale ground cover. Also excellent in rock gardens and even winter containers. Great long lived and easy container subject. To just inches high a single plant can reproduce to several feet wide. In late spring 6″ stems grow upright to display masses of brilliant yellow flowers. Adored by all pollinators. When cold wet weather arrives the entire plant takes on red/raspberry tones. Very pretty. Easy to grow native perennial. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.
Sedum spathulifolium ‘Carnea’
Interesting form of Stone crop that has foliage that takes on brilliant red/purple tints in cold weather or with drought stress. Powdery blue foliage is arranged in rosettes at the end of 3″ stems. Starting with the outer most leaves the vivid tints become most apparent in mid-late summer through winter. Red stems support clusters of gold/yellow flowers in early summer. Excellent pollinator plant as are all Sedums. Easy to grow in any soil that drains reasonably well. In regular ground double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen into the soil and avoid compaction. It will spread to multiple feet across in short order. In rock gardens it can be a little rambunctious around delicate plantings. Give it room and plan for it to spread. Great in seasonal containers, troughs, rock walls. Light summer water speeds the growth rate- it also inhibits the bright color. Oregon native plant.
Sedum spathulifolium ‘Rogue River’
Would it surprise you that I found this form of native stonecrop on cliffs above the Rogue River? It fascinated me how tightly to the ground this spreading succulent occurred. Gray green foliage appears to be almost rubbery and it grows in a dense pile. Very nice. To just inches high it eventually makes large colonies in rich, to average well drained soil. Light to little summer water. In late spring 4″ stems support hot yellow sunny flowers for weeks. Loved by pollinators of all types. Evergreen and ever lovely form. Perennial borders, rock gardens, containers. Easy and climate adapted native succulent that loves to be in gardens. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Sempervivum ‘Soft Line’
I’m the one doing the descriptions so I get to choose which is my favorite. And this is my favorite ‘Hens and Chick’. Soft and downy with fine hairs that cover the entire rosette. Dove gray to pink coloration changes little throughout the years. To 3″ across it quickly multiplies to form colonies in rich to average soil in full sun to part shade. Regular summer water enhances the appearance as well as initiates faster growth. Rock walls, slopes, containers. Very easy to grow. Light pink flowers appear at the tips of 6″ stems spring-autumn. Soft and cuddly.
Sempervivum ‘Virgil Ford’
Collectively this handsome Hens and chicks is one of our favorites. Soft pink to lavender and tipped with purple in cold weather. Nice. Large rosettes to 5″ across when happy. Boisterous multiplier and forming large colonies quickly. Rich, well drained soil with regular water to keep up appearances. Containers, rock walls, rock gardens, as a small scale weed smothering ground cover. Full sun to light shade. Even dry shade when established. Detach the babies and give them to a friend. Or chuck them at a Trump voter. Pretty plant. High deer resistance.
Sidalcea malvaflora ssp. virgata
Rose checker mallow is one the showiest summer perennials native to the western part of the state. This ‘wild hollyhock’ decorates meadows and swales from slightly south of Portland to the Rogue Valley in SW Oregon. A low rosette of mallow-esque leaves are glossy. The tall straight 16″ spires of densely arranged hot pink flowers wave in the early summer breeze.(Blooms May-July) A great cut flower this obvious mallow relative is among our natives that improves under cultivation. And it is rust resistant. Double dig a wide hole to incorporate oxygen in the soil add a handful of all purpose organic fertilizer into the hole and mix with the existing soil. Water regularly and deeply for the first few months. Allow the ground to dry some between irrigation Loved by butterflies and pollinators and actually one of the host plants for the endangered Willamette Valley ‘Fendler’s Blue’ butterfly. Continuously irrigated plants will have successive flushes of bloom. For native rainfall only plants the show is a little shorter. Long lived, resents disturbance. Excellent with Iris tenax, Penstemon kunthii and all Achilleas. Native to clay soils that dry in summer. Oregon native plant.
Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Aurea’
God I hate to pronounce this name. Its unpronounceable but its such a good and useful plant. We’ll just call it Golden Baby’s Tears- much easier. Golden tiny dense leaves on a spreading very very low, completely prostrate, just millimeters high ground cover. The golden hue is welcome in the shady, moist but well drained soil that this little baby likes. Don’t try to cover vast amounts of real estate with this plant. I can tell you now that it won’t work. Instead pick a small reasonable area where it can form a happy solid patch- maybe 2′ x 2′. In the part shade to shade that it seeks it will virtually glow. Freezes to the ground in severe cold- returns in spring from root bits and the recovery speeds along with truly warmer weather. Give it regular irrigation. It takes dry conditions in the shade. Terrariums, shade gardens, under bonsai, the floor level of modern containers. Useful pretty plant that is more commonly known as a houseplant.
Rare and somewhat obscure evergreen tree that belongs in the Hamamelis family. Graceful medium green tapered leaves fold neatly over each other in a pendant habit. The branching structure itself is graceful as well. To 18′ tall with a columnar habit at first and then spreading a bit with time. In winter curious flowers look like little red brushes and occur profusely. Nice looking cold hardy, shade tolerant and extremely drought adapted small tree. WE love this tree and have been incredibly impressed with how tough but beautiful it is. Accepts regular water in summer as well. Ideal sized tree for small gardens, or the space in-between the new close together construction. Not an oppressive evergreen but rather light. Moderately fast growing.
We have been so impressed with the performance of this small evergreen tree species that when we saw this charming narrow leaved form we snagged it. An upright growing but not wide tree to 18′ tall. The thin leaves are 4mm wide but up to 6cm long and are thinly produced so that the tree has a fine texture and is even better to view the late winter and early spring red brushy, flowers. Moderately fast growing it is also very drought tolerant. Water to establish and in summer or to speed growth otherwise it can get by on natural rainfall. Very neat and tidy and cold hardy to -5ºF. This tree is a good candidate for areas affected by subfreezing east wind- its exceptionally tolerant of that for a broad leaved evergreen. Full sun to high overhead shade ( with less of the red flowers). In time the cut branches can be brought inside and forced into bloom for arrangements. Not deer food, but i’m not as familiar with this form. Unusual, tough and beautiful. Narrow leaved Sycopsis. Tolerates many soil types including heavy soils in upland situations. SW China
Common snowberry is very widespread in our state and is found in a host of biomes This small, deciduous, suckering shrub begins spring with leaves of the freshest green, so fresh they flutter on the late spring early summer breeze. After several weeks of foliage the small white tinted pink flowers are shaped like small bowls and line the stem at every leaf axil. These morph into plush, plump pure white berries that are quite a bit larger than the relatively insignificant flowers. The berries (drupes) are perched in groups on the stems. Their pure white hue is easy to spot for humans and especially birds.They relish the berries while they are toxic for humans. To 32″ tall forming a dome shaped suckering shrub twice as wide. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Mulch heavily. The berries last well into winter before becoming animal snacks. The gray thin arching stems create a haze on the forest floor that becomes acid green as leaves appear. Spreads by stolons underground to expand its territory. Its adaptable to both upland quite dry situations as well as vernally wet spots in floodplains and fields. In the Willamette Valley its common associates are with Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir) Quercus garryana ( Oregon White Oak) and Fraxinus latifolia ( Oregon Ash) as an understory component. Its tolerant of dense shade as long as its deciduous to full hot sun, Very well adapted to the driest summers. In summer the acid green leaves change to a dark blue green and are often afflicted by a strain of powdery mildew- my whole life I’ve known this shrub and I’ve never seen powdery mildew cause any permanent damage- mostly its just a poor aesthetic look for late summer to autumn. Fall color is soft yellow and brief. Branches may be carefully cut in berry and will hold them in arrangements for quite a few days. An excellent forage and cover plant for native fauna. A great native shrub for beginners. This is the taller form of the two species that we grow. Native to the Portland city limits. Moderate deer resistance. One of our best shrubs for seasonally dry shade. Oregon native plant.
Creeping snowberry is widespread in western Oregon and indeed throughout the state. Its a low suckering deciduous shrub that can occupy large areas. To 30″ tall spread is indefinite in rich to average soil with regular water for the first year to establish. Mulch is extremely beneficial and will suppress weeds for the first few years which can arrive in the middle of a patch of this spreading plant. Leaves are fresh green in spring turning blue green with the heat of summer. Small pinkish flowers occur in late spring and morph over the summer into plush white squishy berries. They line the bare stems and are showy until birds make off with them or they remain and rot. The berries are toxic for humans. Fall color is light yellow to very little. Common on undisturbed slopes on the edges of the valley and in the eastern foothills of the Coast Range and western Cascades. Snow berry is often afflicted with powdery mildew in the driest parts of summer. No harm will come to the plant. A wonderful habitat plant. Oregon native plant.
Locally native on our nursery site Fringe Cups or Fairy Bells as they are commonly known are a spreading perennial for moist shady sites. Low mounding maple shaped leaves cover the ground densely and in late spring vertical spikes appear to 18″ tall and sport rows of small green cup shaped flowers which change to white and finish with tints of pink. Closely related to Heuchera and thrives in the same conditions. It will even take full sun in moist conditions. It is a background plant because it often suffers from powdery mildew late in summer which is mostly just ugly and I’ve never seen harm to the plant. The drier the conditions the worse the affliction. Good air circulation helps but its best to just accept that this is how this native perennial rolls. Semi-evergreen in winter. Woodland borders, shady containers. Very easy to grow. Often grows with Claytonia as seen below. Flowers emit a sweet fragrance. Oregon Native Plant.
Piggy Back plant is what we called this moisture loving woodland plant. Its famous for its ability to sprout a new plant right from the leaf petiole, it forms roots and drops off the plant and roots into the ground. Its also commonly known as a very easy to grow houseplant. Native from Southern Alaska to Northern California. In moist, cool climates like the coast it can grow just about anywhere. The distinctly arrow shaped leaves cover the ground densely on a wide spreading perennial. In mid-spring 2′ spikes erupt with rows of brownish-red flowers. A member of the Saxafrage family and closely related to Heucheras and Tiarellas. this is as superb a garden plant. Evergreen and consistently moist shady sites are where it thrives. Though with some supplemental water it can make its home in some pretty challenging dry shade. Foliage forms spreading mounds to 10″ tall and spreads laterally 2′-3′ when happy. Plants shrink somewhat in winter, and not as verdant but they do cover the ground and out compete weeds. Great container plant. Very nice naturalized among ferns of any kind. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Tolmiea menziesii ‘Taff’s Gold’
An exceptional variegated form of our native “pigaback” plant that is excellent as a groundcover in dense to light shade. Vigorous and evergreen it will spread to 4′ wide in 2 years but stay only 1′ tall. Very easy to grow, works well under established Rhododendrons. Pretty, but not conspicuous brown flowers. Regular water but will take drought if in the shade. Easy, indispensible native plant. Forms new plants directly from the center of each leaf. Cool trick. Also grown as a houseplant. Good in containers. Oregon native plant.
Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Chirofu Chirimen’
Cool little Asian Star Jasmine with tiny variegated leaves that forms dense mounds as a ground cover or in time it can reach up as a cute and not strangling vine. Each leaf is margined and splashed with white. New growth has distinct pink tints for a distinct multicolor effect. Forms a fine textured plant but as a small scale ground cover it will block weeds. To 1′ tall x 30″ wide as a ground cover. To 8′ tall or higher as a self clinging vine in wind free places. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Definitely double dig the soil before planting to incorporate oxygen as well as assist in absorption of water. Add organic fertilizer as well. Trachelospermums appreciate good drainage and regular summer irrigation to do their best. Otherwise drought tolerant but slow growing. Nice on fences or screens or up the trunk of a Trachycarpus (Windmill Palm). Good deer resistance. Evergreen.
Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Ogon Nishiki’
This poor plant though spectacular has a bunch of silly marketing names attached to it. We stick with the original Japanese cultivar name- seems appropriate. No other evergreen vine/groundcover has a foliage display that matches this plant. New leaves emerge bright orange and then morph slowly to patches of light yellow surrounded by dark green. Delightful. We’ve never seen flowers on this cultivar and we don’t need to. Great small scale and vivid ground cover. Mounds and trails to 8″ tall and several feet wide in a single season. It has been surprisingly hardy to cold enduring temps below 10ºF with no harm. Best in part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. This vine grows when its warm therefore you water it when its warm. Twins around thin objects and will eventually hoist itself skyward. Solidly evergreen. Excellent container plant. Moderate deer resistance.
Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Red Top’
We’ve grown this excellent small scale groundcover for 20 years and it never fails to find a useful place in gardens. ‘Red Top’ Asian Star Jasmine is named for its bright red new growth which settles down to green with white veins. Each leaf is very pretty but as the plant mounds up and becomes dense its downright elegant. Thick growing ground cover for full sun to full shade in rich, moisture retentive soil. Takes very dry conditions once it has rooted in a bit. Trailing stems will root as they touch the soil providing erosion control. In wind free places with support it will actually climb as a vine and become self adhering to any rough surface. Adult foliage has leaves that are nearly circular and will produce a long season of ivory propeller shaped non-fragrant flowers June – August. Moderate deer resistance. To 10″ tall and 3′ wide as a ground cover. Regular water significantly speeds growth. Good winter appearance. Easy to grow plant.
Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Variegatum’
Variegated Asian Star Jasmine. Excellent evergreen ground cover with playful foliage that looks great year round. Lovely entire leaves are spaced and outlined in cream. Great contrast to the sage green leaf interior. Trailing ground cover (occasionally it can rise up to be a vine- in windfree locations with support) but mainly its value is a year round showy and consistent look. Mounding and trailing it will root into the ground when it feels like it. To 10″ tall and 3′ wide as a ground cover. To 10′ tall as a vine. Full sun to dense shade in rich, well drained soil. But it adapts to harsher sites if given regular water. Excellent under trees, shrubs. Dense enough to discourage weeds. Very cold and drought tolerant. Seldom blooms. Moderate deer resistance. This and all Trachelsospermum asiaticum have two distinct forms of foliage. Juvenile and adult. Juvenile foliage is associated with long trailing and vining material. In wind free, still locations it can rise up as vine and thats when it becomes adult. This plant ONLY BLOOMS ON ADULT foliage. So, that is one reason you seldom see flowers on Asian star jasmine. Over time adult foliage will appear on ground covers. Its less vining and more bushy. Again, until adult foliage forms there will be no flowers.
Not a true Jasmine at all but Star Jasmine is a classic summer blooming evergreen vine in our region. One of the most popular vines and rightly so with its clouds of ivory colored propeller shaped sweetly fragrant flowers for all of summer. Twining vine, provide support- easily guided with the help of #4 gauge copper wire. It has the enviable trait of clothing itself to the ground in evergreen foliage- seldom has bare knees. Full sun to quite a bit of shade, including dry shade. To 12′ tall and 4′ wide in 6 years. Cold hardy to the single digits when established. Can be slightly tender when vines are young- hence the myth that it is not hardy. Regular water in summer speeds growth measurably and should be applied for the first few years. Blooms on wood from the current season. Prune before or after blooming. In warmer climates this vine is only a spring bloomer. In our milder summers with cooler overnight lows in summer it spurs Star Jasmine to bloom for all of our summer. Lucky us. Moderate deer resistance. Drought adapted with age. See below- trained as a free standing hedge in Laurelhurst. Kind of cool.
Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Madison’
Reputed to be a hardier form of Star Jasmine, we really haven’t witnessed that. It seems just as hardy as the commonly grown clone. But it has several important differences. The large deep green leaves are conspicuously convex and thick. In June to September it alights with tons of ivory colored sweetly fragrant pinwheel shaped flowers. These are slightly smaller but come in such fragrant abundance that it doesn’t seem to matter. Evergreen from the base to the top which is nice. No bare knees. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, well drained soil. Summer water speeds both growth and early establishment. Then light regular summer water. Moderate deer resistance. Twining to 15′ provide support. Fences, pergolas.
Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum’
Nice form of star jasmine with large sage green leaves edged in cream. New growth emerges a very pretty pink. From June to August a continuous supply of clusters of sweetly fragrant ivory flowers. To 12′ tall and twining. Provide sturdy support. A nice attribute of Star Jasmines is their habit of keeping their foliage densely to the ground- never any bare knees. Takes full sun to quite a bit of shade- and still blooms. Slightly more tender than the species it requires a protected location- against a wall is ideal. Regular summer water speeds growth and this intensifies the re-blooming. Evergreen. Moderate deer resistance.
The apricot hued flowers of this Star Jasmine species are not the only difference in this elegant evergreen vine. The fragrance is different too with much more of a balmy citrus scent. Vigorous twining vine for part shade. Provide sturdy support. Very cold hardy and permanent. To 14′ tall and 8′ wide on trellis. Possible to use it as a small scale ground cover. Tolerates full sun but with some leaf discoloration. Regular summer water in well drained soil. Occasionally at the end of the season this species will form twin bean seed pods which are showy as well. Blooms earlier than Star Jasmine and finishes later as well. Evergreen foliage is light yellow green- lighter than other species of Star Jasmine. Moderate deer resistance.
Tricyrtis ‘Spotted Toad’
Toad lilies are the joy of late summer into autumn in the shade garden. This tall growing selection has leaves that are conspicuously spotted with maroon dots. In August to October 20″ stems support multiple orchid-like flowers. The flowers have three petals heavily marked with purple/blue dots. Very pretty. Surprisingly its a nice cut flower. Forms a spreading clump in time. Rich, moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. It has the nice habit of winding through other plants and the cheery exotic flowers will show up quite far from the source. Very easy long lived perennial. Regular summer water. Avoid hot sun which will scorch the leaves. Completely deciduous in winter. Adapts to dry shade when established.
One of Oregon’s greatest wildflowers. This native of the Siskiyous and the SW part of the state makes an outstanding garden plant. Ours are divisions from well marked leaves and flowers with a deep maroon/black hue. To 18″ tall in bloom it responds readily to rich, humus filled soil with regular summer water. In very dry conditions it will go happily summer dormant. And it usually does anyway by the end of the hot season. The black and green leaves are dramatic but a great collar to the tall upright dark flowers. Blooms appear in Portland in April/May and last for weeks. Part shade to shade- avoid blasting hot sun- it will grow in sun but go dormant very quickly. Roots very deep into the ground- difficult to move once established so pick its home carefully. Multiplies into a substantial patch with good care. One of our favorite native wildflowers. Limited quantities. Oregon native plant.
Evergreen huckleberry is a fantastic native broadleaf shrub. It is well adapted to shady sites and will accept full sun with regular irrigation. Well established shrubs require less water. Rich, humusy woodland soil is its favorite haunt and it will grow moderately fast to a rounded outline of 8′ tall and 6′ wide. The new growth is a beautiful salmon pink before changing to deep green. In spring and early summer small white urn shaped flowers are pretty and transform into tasty black fruits in autumn. Amazing in muffins, pies.It has an interesting natural distribution along the immediate coast in most of Oregon but veering inland at Douglas County to almost the Cascade foothills. In Puget Sound it seems to be most prominent within sight of salt water. Easy to grow good garden plant. Increase your chance of pollination by planting more than two shrubs. The theory is that berries like to party- and I’ve observed it to be true. Oregon native plant.
Rare perennial Siskiyou Inside-out-Flower is a much more drought tolerant version of our locally native Vancouveria hexandra (Inside out flower). This yellow flowered species tolerates extreme dry shade and colonizes even compacted dry soils to create a handsome ground cover. The delicate looking interestingly shaped leaves create a soft mound of shapes in cool green and edged slightly in red. In April-June 20″ wiry spikes suspend small downward pointing flowers- they appear to float above the foliage reminding me of a group of fireflies. (Wish we had those). Mostly evergreen if temperatures stay above about 15ºF. Basically this is our version of Epimedium (to which it is related) but with more tolerance for summer drought. To 8″ tall and spreading to several feet wide in richer, moisture retentive soil. Light summer water increases growth. This is an extraordinarily elegant native that should find a happy home in gardens too. Part shade to full shade. Not bothered by pests. Excellent perennial under large shrubs or within tree roots. In the wild it is the understory plant to Arctostaphylos, Rhododendron, Vaccinium, Notholithocarpus densiflorus var. echinoides. Associate perennials were Oxalis oreganus and Mianthemum as well as viola semperivrens- Redwood violet. Easy community to replicate in your garden. Oregon native plant.
Inside-Out-Flower is a commonly seen terrestrial component in dry to moderately moist woodlands in our region. The duck foot shaped leaves are conspicuous and pretty and in late spring to mid-summer a continuous supply of dainty downward pointing white flowers. Spreads in gardens very well in enriched soil with regular summer water where it will quickly assume the role of an intertwining ground cover. Winter deciduous- un-like its close and much more drought adapted relative Vancouveria chrysantha (Yellow inside-out-flower, Siskiyou Vancouveria). This perennial is perfect for life among shrubs or mixing with other woodland perennials in part shade to shade. Adapts well to garden culture and thrives on regular summer irrigation. Locally native in the city of Portland. To 10″ tall and spreading. Some deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Oregon Viburnum or Western Way Faring tree is a moderate to large native deciduous shrub. It stretches a little bit into W. Washington where it is rare but its primary populations are in western Oregon and south into N. California. Its found in moist to dry woods often on the margin where its can get at least half a day sun. It also thrives only much larger and lankier in outline in the shade. It easily tolerates winter inundation but is found on well developed soils in upland situations as well. Its common associates in the wild are Oregon white oak/Quercus garryana, Oregon Ash/Fraxinus latifolius, Cornus stolonifera. Leaves are round, glossy and scalloped and are very handsome on a well proportioned fountain shaped shrub. Shorter in full sun, taller in shade. This plant needs just a modicum of light watering for its first year and once it is thoroughly established you can set it free. In late spring off white cymes of flowers have the fragrance to me of raw potatoes. We had a large specimen of this shrub in our back 40 where I grew up near Eugene. In certain years it can produce quite a fall show with orange/red tinted leaves and translucent blue fruits. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed AFTER blooming has ended. June. To 5′ tall in the sun to much taller in shade. Protect young plants from deer. Oregon native plant.
Viburnum japonicum ‘Variegatum’
Unusual and actually superior form of this species with large glossy evergreen leaves splashed with yellow. In spring flat corymbs of flowers appear and remind me of lace. Red berries follow but are consumed by birds. This form is not prone to mildew which can afflict the green leaved form. So, we love it for it’s bold leaves that look good year round and easy demeanor. To 8′ x 8′ in 10 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Doesn’t burn in sun. Adaptable. Light summer water once established. Very old specimens get by with no summer water. Excellent year round appearance. Take out green reversions if they occur. Blooms on wood from the previous season- prune if needed after flowering. Specimen. Nice shrub.
Spring bouquet viburnum or Laurusitinus is a common shrub in our climate. This form lightens up what can be a very pedestrian plant. The edges of the evergreen leaves are margined in cream with an interior of soft green. This makes a shrub that glows year round and can be used to lighten up dark corners. In autumn clusters of pink buds form and hold until mid winter. Then as the days begin to lengthen it opens these clusters which are lightly fragrant and white. Strong growing shrub that requires very little water once established. To 8′ tall and 5′ wide in 6 years. Full sun to part shade to high overhead shade. Nice looking, tough shrub native to the Mediterranean very easy to grow and long lived. If a green sport appears simply prune it off to the base to retain the variegated form. Water to establish. Not deer resistant. Excellent backdrop to a mixed border or trimmed into a contained hedge. Nice fast growing screen. Blue berries sometimes follow the flowers. Buds and flowers put on a show for months. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune after flowering if needed. Naturally dense and rounded.
Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’
Really there is nothing like the clove/carnation/sweet fragrance of this shrub in late winter to early spring. The large clusters of flowers begin as pink buds and open to white. Nice bicolor effect along the way. Blooms 3-4 weeks. Evergreen to semi-evergreen to deciduous in arctic places. Large growing shrub that can attain tree like proportions with great age. To 8′ x 4′ in 7 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained sites. Light consistent summer water speeds growth and increases spring flowering. Otherwise relatively drought adapted, especially in shade. Tolerate the most obnoxious sticky clay soils- especially on slopes. Plant where you can pass by the flowers and take a big ol whiff. Very easy to grow. Prune AFTER flowering.
Viola odorata (Parma) ‘Alba Plena’
This cool cultivar of Parma violet can be difficult to stumble upon. We love the plush double white flowers that sends its sweet perfume on the breeze in late winter to mid-spring. Parma violets are basically the Sicilian version of the common sweet violet (Viola odorata). They are not nearly as cold hardy or pernicious as the species and they tend to have much larger more opulent and fragrant flowers. Also, their leaves are distinctively glossy as opposed to matte. This little sweetie forms spreading patches and the long stems are a bit weak for the large double white flowers- they tend to bend. Excellent for small bouquets that you can sniff and sniff. In the garden they need a sheltered position away from the freeze and thaw and harsh conditions in the open. Instead coset them under large shrubs and among ephemeral early perennials such as Anemones, and small bulbs like species Crocus. Part shade- they bloom best with a bit of sun. Regular summer water encourages them to spread. This form seldom sets seed- I don’t think I’ve ever seen seed in fact. Pity. Rare plant.
Viola odorata (Parma) ‘Duchess du Parme’
There’s nothing like the smell of sweet violets in late winter and early spring. But the regular species in our climate is nothing less than a thug. It seeds and grows where you really would rather not have it. Well, forget that. Enter this exquisite fully double flowering Parma Violet. The rich violet blue flowers appear on long stems from January to April. Parma violets are the Mediterranean form of V. odorata and they are less hardy to cold and not so rampant. This form we have never seen set seed- but there are always exceptions. Very glossy green foliage frames the flowers well. Excellent in containers in an unheated greenhouse, conservatory. In the garden choose a protected spot (under evergreen shrubs for example) and give this violet rich soil with regular summer moisture. Tolerates full sun but looks better with some shade. Flowers tend to lean horizontally, they are great for cutting and making little fragrant winter posies. Spreads by runners to form a nice patch in time. Tolerates summer drought when established.
Yerba de Selva or whipple vine, a wonderful small scale evergreen native ground cover. Related to Hydrangeas but this trailer is actually very droughtadapted.e In late spring clouds of small white flowers , Scrambling plant to about 8″ tall and 2′ wide. Full sun to considerable shade. From Portland south this is a common understory component of the herb field. It grew happily in our back 40 where I grew up. There it made pretty scrambling patches between Vancouveria, snow berry and hairy honeysuckle. Often you would see our native columbine ( Aquilegia formosa) as an associate. Its very drought adapted when established but it improves with a few soaks over summer- never perpetually wet and never hot and wet. Otherwise an easy native that should be grown a lot more. For use as a small scale ground cover plant on 10″ centers. It will also gracefully trail over rockeries and walls. Butterflies adore the flowers. Competes well with invasives. Some deer resistance. It may be cut back in early spring to refresh. Once native in the Portland city limits. This is a great native understory for Arctostaphylos, which is frequently seen in the wild. Oregon native plant.