Asarum splendens

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.

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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 of 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Beesia deltophylla

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

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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.

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Blechnum spicant

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

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Boorinda angustissima

Little leaf clumping Bamboo has risen to the top as one of our favorite Bamboos. Rapid growing with culms shooting quickly to 10′ tall, they then become clad in masses of tiny mid-green leaves as the culms begin to leaf they slowly sink down. The effect is a a wide spreading fountain. The clump increases painfully slow though and the 1/2″ culms crowd together at the base. Part shade to shade in any well drained soil. Extremely drought adapted for a bamboo. Though it does not run you must give it a wide berth to arch. Amazing texture of green fountains. Culms are purple upon expanding. Light summer water. Protect from reflected heat of hot walls.

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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.

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