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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Tulbaghia violacea ‘Big Violet’

Society garlic. This form of the popular South African perennial has performed fantastically in our garden. Aromatic clump forming foliage that rises to 10″ tall and to 2’wide in time. In June and continuously until frost spikes emerge, to 2′ and hold clumps of luminous, soft lavender flowers. Each spike is in bloom for a week or more. New flowers are continuously produced. Remove spent spikes to tidy. Full sun and WELL DRAINED rich soil with regular summer water. Very drought adapted when established. In cold gardens its best on hot slopes. Freezes to the ground in winter, returns quickly in mid spring. Foliage is intensely aromatic of garlic when disturbed. Useful, pretty, long blooming. Moderate deer resistance.

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Verbascum ‘Clementine’

OH MY DARLING, OH MY DARLING, OH MY DARLING Clementine you are lost ….Not lost at all this wonderful Verbascum is delightful and blooms repeatedly from spring to late summer. To 3′ tall or taller in ideal conditions, spires of soft orange to pale yellow depending on the temperature have a central bee of lavender feathers. Adorable and conspicuous as when observed as a cut flower of which this flower is great. The spires of flowers erupt directly from the center of a basal rosette of flat green leaves. Full sun, average to enriched soil that drains with light, consistent summer water. Remove spent blooms and another round will begin. Does not seed around. Mix with other sun-loving perennials with similar cultural requirements. Agastache, Digitalis lanata, Penstemon ‘Enor’ for a LONG LONG flowering spectacle. Winter dormant. Cold hardy and easy to grow. Great flower color for mixing or for tone on tone continuity- for that try it combined with Digitalis x ‘Honey Trumpet’.

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Verbascum bombyciferum ‘Arctic Summer’

Big ol magical biennial and we couldn’t imagine a garden without it. The first year it produces a large (2′ wide) rosette of huge furry white leaves. They lie flush with the ground. The following year total transformation occurs. A spike from the center of the rosette and soars to 6′ or taller. Its lined densely with furry white buds that pop open to reveal electric yellow soft looking flowers. The inflorescence will often wind this way and that. Even after bloom is through this tower remains spreading quantities of seed all over. Germinates best in open disturbed soil and they will germinate. Move them or thin them in spring. Snow white perennial with oodles of architecture. Full sun and rich, well drained soil. It makes due with less than perfect conditions but this way is the most impressive. Loved by pollinators. Light summer water if it looks like it needs it. Established plants get by with no water.

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Verbena rigida

Vigorous and floriferous perennial Verbena for tough areas. Spreading by underground stolons in rich to average well drained soil this deep purple flowering perennial covers ground in short order. Full sun and light summer water when established to lengthen bloom time. Even then it begins flowering in June and continue unabated for two months. To 2′ tall and 4′ wide. Give it room to spread and do not pair with delicate neighbors. Hellstrips, Insanely hot and dry south facing hillsides. Freezes to the ground in winter- returns from the ground when truly warm weather arrives. Moderately deer resistant.

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Veronica liawanensis

Turkish speedwell is an excellent low water creeping ground cover that performs wonderfully in our climate. Flush with the ground this evergreen creeps in well drained average to enriched soil to several feet wide in several seasons. In April to May carpets of sky blue flowers obscure the entire plant. Very pretty. Roots as it grows, excellent for erosion control on a small scale on steep slopes. Regular summer water speeds growth but once established it takes summer drought very well. Full sun to the very lightest shade. Dies out in compacted soils- make sure to double dig the area around where it is to go to incorporate oxygen in the soil. For tired plantings simple overspread compost on top of it and let it settle between the leaves in early spring. Easy to grow hardy little ground cover. Moderate deer resistance.

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Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’

Its been around for a long time and its an introduction that has stood the test of time. This low mounding evergreen perennial is beyond delightful when it alights in masses of deep blue flowers from late February to late April. Each simple blue flower has a small white eye but the effect from a distance is a pool of blue. To 8″ tall and forming large 2′ x 2′ wide patches in full sun in rich to average well drained soil. It excels on slopes and in rock gardens. The new growth that follows is tinted mahogany before become strong glossy green. Cut back by 1/3rd after blooming to create a much denser and ultimately more floriferous plant. Light, consistent summer water. Excellent bold backdrop to early and mid blooming bulbs. We suggest large white Crocus vernus followed by Narcissus ‘Blushing Lady’. Very easy to grow. Long lived for a speedwell.

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