Teucrium fruticans

Silver Germander is a wiry shrub with gray foliage and even lighter gray/white stems. All summer it bears pale blue small flowers with a prominent central lip. Traditionally used in topiary or as a trimmed hedge, it takes amazingly well to heavy shearing. It responds by becoming incredibly dense. Its malleability  leads people to also trim it into any whimsical shape they can dream of. Full sun, average, well drained soil. Little to light summer water when established. Requires full sun and a hot position with protection from subfreezing wind. Classic mediterranean shrub. Grows as well at the cool coast as it does in the hot inland areas. To 4′ x 4′ if left unpruned.

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Thymus vulgaris ‘Peter Davis’

Form of the useful culinary herb that is also a nice looking little evergreen shrublet. To 6″ x 6″ the gray green foliage is aromatic and most useful before it blooms. In early summer it becomes a ball of light pink flowers- very pretty. Wait a bit until the blooms have receded to harvest again. A first rate, semi-woody evergreen garden plant that is good looking for most of the year. Average to rich, well drained soil in full sun. Light summer water. Very easy go grow. Takes quite a bit of drought when established.

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Is this hardy? Why, yes, yes it is. Mexican Shellflower or just Tigridia is a fun bulb that produces large, immensely showy flowers that last but a day. Three large petals emanate from a wildly speckled center. White, red, orange, yellow, and pink flowers are all represented in this mix. Rich, well drained soil in a warm position- mine are on the south side of my house in average soil and they not only multiply year to year they self sow. The wonderful flowers appear individually for weeks in mid to late summer. Add a handful of all purpose fertilizer when planting and water consistently through bloom. Full sun- no fudging here. Very easy to grow. To 20″ tall in bloom on average. Flowers 3″ wide. -Emerges late in the spring- usually mid-May. Patience.

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Trachelium caeruleum & cvs.

Florists variety of Flossflower that we think makes a nifty garden plant too. Large rich violet umbels repeat through summer. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Full sun and rich, well drained soil. Lightly fragrant and a stupendous cut flower. To 18″ tall and 10″ wide. Deep green foliage and black stems are handsome. Short lived perennial- approximately 3-4 years per plant. Freezes to the ground below 20ºF- resprouts from the base if temperatures never drop below about 10ºF. Often self sows in open disturbed sites- even following hellacious winters that compromise the parent plant.  Light summer water- extends bloom. Cutting flowers encourage more bloom. Light sweet fragrance up close.  The species is pure light blue and the cultivar ‘Dark Purple’ is just that a deep purple/ blue. See photograph below. Cottage gardens, borders, between established roses, containers.

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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.

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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. 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.

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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 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.

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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.

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Trachycarpus fortunei

A classic palm in the PNW. Windmill Palm or Trachys as they are also known are extremely popular. And they should be. Moderately fast growing palm to about 18′ tall in 10 years. The trunk is covered in fur and this acts almost like insulation to protect the interior meristem from cold. Very cold hardy to near short dips to 0ºF- many venerable and ancient Windmill Palms can be found in old neighborhoods having gone through the very worst winters of the last 50 or more years. The fronds usually have drooping filifers on the species but that can vary. Male and female and requires one of each for viable fruit set. Following huge aromatic cream colored flower structures pollinated berries drop and will often germinate in open ground. Full sun to full shade. Drought tolerant but regular irrigation in rich soil will speed growth. Excellent performance in tight spaces. Occasionally young palms become nitrogen starved and turn yellowish. To correct simply feed with all organic fertilizer and mulch and water well through summer.

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Trachycarpus fortunei var. wagnerianus

Waggies! Our fave hardy palm at Xera. The fronds on this slower growing tree are stiff and tidy and have none of the drooping filaments on the branch tips that the species T. fortunei possesses. To 12′ tall in 7 years. A very clean and tidy looking palm with a distinct asian look. The fronds are even finely outlined in white hairs…more definition for this stately plant. Grows about 2′-3′ a year if well watered. You really can’t water Trachycarpus too much in the ground, it just makes them grow faster. Same wooly trunk as the species. Waggies are recommended for windy cold areas as they are not affected by those conditions. Fantastic cold hardiness not suffering damage until temps dip below about 5ºF.  This is a great palm for colder gardens and tolerates quite a bit of shade. Always looks it’s clean best.

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