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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Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Adoration’

Sturdy spire of a perennial with symmetry in mind. Whorls of pointed foliage lines the stems on the 5′  tall plants. At the top vertical spikes of fine periwinkle blue/rose flowers appear and grow. They remain pretty for weeks. In fall the still standing stems take on bright yellow fall tones and holds it for several weeks. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation Becomes more tolerant of drought with age and establishment. This form is popular for its occasional tendency to fasciate. A harmless contortion of the flower spikes. Cool cut flower. Blooms June/July and mixes ideally with perennials of the same soft vertical texture. Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ is an ideal candidate. Loved by butterflies and hover flies as well as bumbles. Long lived perennial. Emerges annually in mid-spring. Excellent prairie component.

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Viburnum atrocyaneum var. harryanum

Unique and we think very pretty evergreen Viburnum. Small perfectly round leaves are placed in threes around the stems. In summer the terminal branches host clouds, or cymes I should say of tiny white flowers. They have no fragrance but are pretty  to look at.. Moderately growing rounded shrub of great symmetry to 4′ x 6′ in 7 years. Full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Takes very dry conditions when established. At first glance this does not look like a Viburnum- which is charming. Its a very pretty dense growing first rate evergreen.

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Viburnum ellipticum

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.

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Viburnum henryi

Rare but wonderful evergreen viburnum that has pretty elongated leaves held symmetrically on thick stems. The growth habit is branching in tiers. This displays the lovely foliage as well as the cones of white summer flowers at the branch tip. These turn into red and then black berries eagerly consumed by wildlife. To 9′ tall and 8′ wide in wide vase shape. Part shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Takes very dry conditions when established. Extraordinarily cold hardy to below 0ºF with no ill effects. Moderately fast growing. SW China.

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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.

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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.

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Viola corsica

One of the parents of modern violas this perennial is short lived but while its around its never out of bloom- year round. Slender indigo blue flowers are small but profuse on a compact plant to just 6″ tall and barely wider than that. Seeds itself around prolifically…how the seeds find their way so far from the parent plant is natures mystery. It will germinate anywhere – cracks, beneath rocks. Sun, Shade. Very hardy to way, way below 0ºF. Light summer water during the hottest weather. Part shade in nearly any texture soil. Mediterranean wild flower.

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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.

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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.

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