Maianthemum stellatum

An incredibly widespread North American wildflower that is known by many different common names. In our region the preferred common moniker is Low False Solomons Seal.  This rhizomatous perennial forms expansive colonies when happy. It appears as strongly arching stems clad in alternate wide green leaves. In late spring to early summer and dependent upon altitude small, white, starry flowers appear at the tips. After bloom they slowly morph into black berries. These can easily be dispersed by birds. Part shade in naturally mesic sites, that means woods on the north side of a slope in the Willamette Valley in shade beneath Douglas Firs and often consorting with sword ferns. To 10″ tall and forming expanding colonies. Winter deciduous, fall color is often a lingering gold before the whole plant disappears. Tellima grandiflora (fringe cups) and Claytonia sibirica ( candy flower) are common associates. Part shade to shade in humus enriched soil with regular summer water. VERY established clumps can get by with natural rainfall. Avoid, hot dry sites, and stubborn dry clay. Mulch heavily after planting. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Chilean Jasmine is not common in our region but it has been grown for many decades and it does well in warmer gardens, protected places. Large entire deep green leaves are 3″ long and  opposite on twining stems. This strongly growing vine requires heavy and reliable support (See #4 copper wire). Blooms on new growth, which is continuous, In rich soil it can achieve 15′ in a season. The 2″ long tubular white flowers have the familiar propeller petal configuration of this family the Apocynaceae . The fragrance to me is delicious on warm days and nights and close to the blossoms which appear in clusters. It is not a sweetly cloying scent but more sophisticated. I once had this vine around my front door. In full bloom on warm summer nights it would be a cloud of perfume. Deciduous and often freezes back either 1/2- 3/4 of the way in colder than normal winters. In horrendous winters (below 12ºF) it can freeze away. Choose a protected site in full sun with rich soil and ample water. The more verdant the growth the more profuse the display and fragrance. Blooms late May- October. Avoid, cold frosty sites, cold gardens. In rural areas place it against  south facing wall. Because it blooms on new wood and grows so prolifically it may be cut nearly to the ground for a fresh start to the year- do this in late March.  In most summers large two chamber connected bean pods are 8″ long and bright green. When they ripen to tan they will twist and release downy clad black seeds that sail on the wind. Several winters in a row and the seeds that germinate may survive. I almost always lose them but the climate is changing and don’t bet on self sowing any way -its rare  Root hardy to about 5ºF- mulch for added protection. Exquisite vine. Native to central southern Chile.

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Matteuccia struthiopteris ‘The King’

First rate, cold hardy and excellently adapted to permanently wet sites in part shade to shade. This larger form of the Ostrich Fern forms a large crown in time. It supports very vertical soft green fronds to 3′ tall. In time the clumps increase in size. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. Creek margins, bogs, the edge of ponds. Completely deciduous in winter. Often turns showy russet orange before dying down. Returns in mid spring. Loathes drought and avoid hot sun. Opulent fern and a great selection. Moderate deer resistance.

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Morella (Myrica) californica

Pacific Wax Myrtle is native along the direct coast from Santa Barbara California to near Tofino, on Vancouver Island, BC. It forms a large evergreen shrub to eventually a small tree in time and has thin, pretty dark green foliage. Aromatic if bruised the leaves are deep green and lustrous year round. Tiny brown flowers change to waxy gray berries that line the stems but are not terribly conspicuous. Fast growing to 12′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Adaptable to a variety of soils, including winter inundation. Soil that is too rich can lead to prodigious growth and an unsteady plant until it bulks up. Judicious pruning can keep it much smaller. Prune at any time of the year. An excellent, drought tolerant, cold tolerant shrub for a hedge, screen or small garden tree. Our material is from locally cold hardy stock. Easy. Tolerates salt spray- including first line strand conditions. Recently changed from Myrica to Morella. In time it can become a handsome rounded evergreen tree with contrasting pretty white bark.   Oregon native plant.

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Mukdenia rossii

Fan plant is a nice looking spring blooming perennial that gets its common name from the fan shape of the leaves. They emerge light pink and then change to medium green with a sheen. To 20″ high and spreading in moist rich soil with regular irrigation. Part shade to shade. White flowers in March/April. Remarkably unmolested by slugs and snails. In fall the foliage turns bright red before going deciduous.

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Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’

A hardy annual with exciting lime green flowers that are fragrant at night. Full sun to part shade in rich soil with regular water. Blooms May until frost.
Remove spent flower heads to encourage more. To 30″ tall. EXCELLENT container plant. Combines very nicely with light blue flowers such as Salvia patens ‘Cambridge Blue’. Reseeds somewhat in disturbed soil. Great en masse. May behave as a perennial in mild winters- above 20°F. Moderately deer resistant.

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Omphalodes cappadocica

The blue stars of this borage relative are unmistakenly breathtaking in spring. This European relative of forget me nots (Myosotis) forms spreading clumps which give rise to clouds of sky blue flowers from March to June. To 6″ tall and 15″ wide in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Very pretty with early blooming Epimediums and the pale primrose yellow flowers of Primula vulgaris. Nice looking corrugated foliage. Part shade. Regular summer water. Resistant to slugs/snails.

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Omphalodes verna

A wonderful, incredibly long blooming perennial with clouds of true blue flowers waving above substantial spreading foliage. Easy to grow, long lived and very hardy plant to just 8″ tall in bloom but spreading to several feet wide. Rich, moisture retentive, well drained soil is where this plant for woodland margins thrives. Regular summer water. Avoid drought and compacted soil but this is a forgiving perennial. Blooms March-June. Plant bulbs among the foliage for a great spring floral display. Winter deciduous. Protect new growth from slugs.

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Omphalodes verna ‘Alba’

Easy to grow, long lived spreading perennial that blooms for an incredibly long three months in spring. Fresh white forget-me-not flowers appear in clouds on wiry stems. The solid corrugated green foliage is an ideal foil. Creeping to several feet across in rich to average well drained soil with regular summer moisture. Thrives in part shade and finds a perfect home under large shrubs, at the base of trees. Fresh and white. To 8″ tall.

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Ophiopogon ‘Kyoto Dwarf’

Congested grass like lily turf that rises to less than 3″ high and forms dense colonies to mimic a lawn. Deep green foliage is handsome year round. Best in rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. Tolerates full sun with regular summer water otherwise takes shade, even dense shade. Inconspicuous flowers morph into turquoise blue berries in late summer/fall. Excellent in heavy soils with irrigation. Mulch annually with compost to increase luster and vigor. Foliage not blemished by the coldest winters. Good container plant.

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