Saruma henryi

Lovely, sophisticated woodland perennial that is handsome in all of its parts. Large soft arrow shaped leaves have a thick, quilted quality. In mid spring to early summer simple light yellow flowers have three simple petals and they appear for weeks. A mounding perennial to 20″ tall and in rich soil with regular water twice as wide. Part shade. Excellent aesthetic and cultural companion with Hosta, Tiarella, Heuchera. Completely winter deciduous. Not bothered by pests. Easy, classy, long lived perennial that has a soft but substantial mien. Does not do drought or full sun. Perfectly hardy to cold. Saruma is a monotypic genus from SW China. Light deer resistance.

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Saxafraga x geum ‘Dentata’

Really cool evergreen Saxafrage that has deep green spoon shaped leaves that are strongly serrated. The serrations are remarkably symmetrical and give the plant a very architectural appeal. In late spring wiry stems to 10″ supply clouds of small white flowers. If you look closely each flower is adorned with yellow and red polka dots. Spreads moderately fast to form large, dense colonies in part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil with regular moisture in summer. Avoid blasting sun and dust dry soil. Not hard to grow in a cool position. Very hardy with a great year round appearance. Excellent lining woodland paths or as a pool of cool leaves beneath established shrub. Very good in winter containers. Easy to pick up and move if you need a new patch. Lovely.

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Selaginella braunii

Arborvitae fern, but it isn’t a fern at all! Actually its a really big spike moss! A moss with stems and arrow shaped fronds like a fern. To 10″ tall and forming a mounding colony in time. Bright green summer color is replaced by russet red and light brown with winter cold. Spreads slowly underground and new “fronds” unfurl out and up. With great age you’ll get a decent patch. So damn pretty for woodlands in the shade in rich, well drained soil that retains moisture- perpetually moist is what it wants. Its best home is in containers where it adds both a tough of doily green but 3D tiered layers as well.  Regular summer moisture. Slow and easy does it. Its a moss! Can you dig it? Evergreen.

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Selaginella krusseana ‘Aurea’

Shocking bright chartreuse moss that we love for containers and for sheltered moist shady spots in the garden. Easier to grow in containers where it makes a fantastic understory to containerized shrubs or trees. Part shade to shade in rich, moisture retentive soil that is never compacted. Regular summer water in a humid environment. Excellent next to shady ponds. To 3″ deep and spreading as far as it feels like it.

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Selaginella moelendorfii

Funny little spike moss that forms an upright clump of acid green to ochre foliage that turns bright russet red and pink in cooler weather. This moss is actually easy to grow in rich soil in a woodland with regular moisture. Forms little new platelets at the leaf tips and they drop off an wah lah  new plants. Thrives in containers. Protect from blasting sun and avoid total drought. They thrive in the most humid atmosphere you can find. Near a pond margin or in the spray zone of a waterfall. I even mist mine mine in the ground when it gets over 90ºF for an extended time. Mosses are cool. To 6″ x 6″.

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Sisyrinchium ‘EK Balls’

Diminutive and flowery little Blue Eyed grass that forms dense colonies of grassy green foliage to just 5″ high and is topped with a non-stop display of single purple flowers. Full sun and rich soil with regular summer moisture. Blooms continuously. Forms spreading colonies quickly when happy. Seldom sets seed. Easy to grow long lived plant for a big floral display. Winter deciduous. This cultivar has been grown in England for more than 100 years. Pretty cool.

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Sisyrinchium bellum ‘Rocky Point’

Remarkable and improved variety of this west coast blue eyed grass. Much larger flowers than the species are deep purple with a distinct yellow eye. Flowers appear continuously from spring into mid-summer. Rich, moist soil with regular irrigation in full sun prolongs the very showy flower display. To just 6″ tall and multiplying quickly to form colonies. This Blue Eyed Grass does NOT set seed and never becomes weedy Full sun. Good butterfly plant. Winter deciduous. The front of borders, rock gardens, hellstrips. Improves with regular irrigation. Oregon native plant.

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Sisyrinchium x ‘Stripey’

PRECIOUS and showy blue eyed grass. Sometimes variegation really works on a plant and this is one of those cases. Grassy leaves are soft green with prominent ivory stripes. This backdrop virtually glows in combination with the relatively large purple/blue flowers. Blooms April-July and appreciates rich soil with regular water to really get going and colonize. Excellent rain garden subject. Its best position is possibly in containers. Upright leaves have a pointed top to 6″ tall in bloom.  Excellent contrast between the variegation and the flower color. Full sun. Moderate deer resistance. Showy, sweet perennial. Mix with other low perennials. Combine with Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’ and Dianthus ‘Pink Pyrenees’.  Fun to grow. Flowers close tightly at night.

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Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Aurea’

God I hate to pronounce this name. Its unpronounceable but its such a good and useful plant. We’ll just call it Golden Baby’s Tears- much easier. Golden tiny dense leaves on a spreading very very low, completely prostrate, just millimeters high ground cover. The golden hue is welcome in the shady, moist but well drained soil that this little baby likes. Don’t try to cover vast amounts of real estate with this plant. I can tell you now that it won’t work. Instead pick a small reasonable area where it can form a happy solid patch- maybe 2′ x 2′. In the part shade to shade that it seeks it will virtually glow. Freezes to the ground in severe cold- returns in spring from root bits and the recovery speeds along with truly warmer weather. Give it regular irrigation. It takes dry conditions in the shade. Terrariums, shade gardens, under bonsai, the floor level of modern containers. Useful pretty plant that is more commonly known as a houseplant.

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Spiraea splendens (densiflora)

Subalpine Rose Spiraea is native to the higher elevations of the the Cascades. Above 4500′ in sunny, moist glens it makes carpets of deep rose pink umbels from low rounded shrubs. To 30″ tall by 4′ wide in garden conditions, Rich soil with regular irrigation. Moderately fast growing to this dimension. The emerging soft green leaves take on hints of blue as they mature. Bloom at low elevation is May-July but in its highest native haunts bloom can be delayed to late summer. Deciduous shrub with wonderful orange/ red fall color if brief. Easy to grow native garden plant with regular irrigation. Established plants can take deep watering every two weeks. Remember that this as with all Spiraeas have little tolerance for drought and they don’t necessarily wilt going straight to crispy (a look not as fixable as wilting). Mulch heavily for the first few seasons. Avoid blasting, reflected heat and and hot dry situations. Wonderful combined with Rhododendrons and Azaleas for similar cultural conditions. In its native haunt it can be found with Pacific Rhododendron, Helenium, Delphiniums and Veratrum. I’ve never seen it afflicted by disease. Watch for aphids, hose those off if they appear. Beautiful in bloom. Very cold hardy. Oregon native plant.

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