Azara microphylla 'Variegata'

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

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 ‘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.

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Begonia grandis 'Heron's Piroutte'

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 (Struthiopteris spicant)

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.

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Boorinda angustissima

Boorinda angustissima

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

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Buxus sempervirens 'Graham Blandy'

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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Buxus sinica 'Sunburst'

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.

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Calycanthus occidentalis

Western Spice bush is native throughout semi shady and shady glens primarily in central and northern California with outliers in Oregon found north of Medford. A large deciduous shrub with a lush quality. The late leaves are medium glossy green and large. In summer double petalled madder red /brown flowers appear. The 2″ wide flowers have the distinct fragrance of a wine cask. Its most noticeable up close, but a large shrub in full bloom is a fruitful fragrant cloud. To 7′ x 7′ and adaptable to full sun to quite a bit of shade. Water to establish in its first year and then only occasional. This very tough drought adapted shrub should be used a lot more in our climate. Fall color is bright yellow but does not stop traffic. Tends to hit its ultimate height and then spreads laterally from there. In habitat its associates are Ceanothus, Aristolochia, Aesculus, Smilax. Very easy and long lived Oregon native shrub. Plant with Frangula, Ceanothus, etc in shrub borders or as an informal hedge. The more flowers you have the more dramatic the perfume. Seed heads that follow the flowers are large round semi woody urns and they are showy as well. Loved by hummingbirds and native insects. Moderately deer resistant  protect when young.   Oregon native plant.

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Camellia japonica 'Black Magic'

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.

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