Unusual Myrtle from Chile that I’ve grown for many years and though it is difficult to root from cuttings we still offer it. Glossy small leaves have the distinct fragrance of citrus when bruised. A tall rainforest tree in its home, in my garden it is a columnar evergreen shrub to 8′ x 2′ in 7 years. In early summer it produces clusters of pretty off-white flowers that are lightly fragrant too. They often turn into clusters of black berries by autumn. Slow growing in youth it picks up a little with age. Full sun to part shade in a protected location. Mine is against an east facing wall and it’s never been damaged by cold – save for a few burned tips below 10ºF. Surprising. If you are a collector and you’d like something different give this handsome shrub/tree a try. It will thrive at the Oregon Coast and likely grow much, much bigger. A water loving tree that requires regular irrigation during summer- this encourages growth and lustrous foliage. Chile.
A mesic biome is one that enjoys a fairly constant supply of moisture. Some natural examples include riparian areas or streamsides, the edges of lakes or ponds, and springs and seeps. Irrigation, of course, can turn an otherwise summer-dry area into an effectively mesic biome. A true mesic plant does not handle drought stress at all, instead of wilting they often go straight to crispy. Simply lacking the mechanisms that conserve moisture for xeric plants. Liberal mulch and deep, rich, moisture retentive soil amended with compost all combine to make life easier for the gardener as well as plants. Group water loving mesic plants together to more efficiently irrigate. You’ll save time and water.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Yerba mansa is a water loving perennial herb that is native in south central Oregon south into California. It comes into our state from the south in Klamath County. There it is found in vernally wet to permanently wet sites. The only member of its genus this plant with large round leathery leaves organized in basal rosettes roams by long runners to colonize large areas. The cheerful flowers appear from late spring into early summer. Excellent perennial for bios wales as it handles inundation and even limited drought. To 5″ tall in the foliage with spikes displaying true flowers on a tall cone surrounded by pure white lower bracts to 14″ tall. This plant performs very well in rich soil with regular summer H20 as well. It has been used as a medicinal herb by both indigenous groups and early settlers. Winter deciduous and cold hardy. Great for sunny stream banks, vernally wet sites, and even containers. Oregon native plant.
Aquilegia longissima ‘Long Spurred’
Stunning columbine native to the American SW that we cherish for its huge flowers trailed by improbably long tails held against blue foliage. Easy to grow late spring bloomer that thrives in many soil types in part shade to full sun with regular summer irrigation. To 14″ tall and becoming a long lived perennial. Winter deciduous. Mix with gold foliaged plants for- a flower color echo. Lovely flower form that hummingbirds and butterflies find delectable. Easy to grow. High deer resistance. Soaring wonderful, whimsical flowers.
Elk Clover. Our native large herbaceous Aralia that forms large, tropical-looking clumps along moist places in the central southern part of the state. To 8′ tall and as wide when established in rich soil with an adequate summer moisture supply. A native plant that takes very well to cultivation. In summer 2′ long spikes reveal white orbs. Showy and a little exotic for a native as well. This is a great large scale plant for tropical effects- mix with Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo) and you have got yourself a big bold look. Black berries follow the flowers and are somewhat showy as well. Completely winter deciduous. Native to the southwest part of the state with a disjunct population in the Cascade foothills of Lane county. Oregon native plant.
Cobra lily or Jack in the Pulpit from Japan with exotic striped flowers in mid-spring but the bold and glossy foliage steals the show. Forming large patches in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with regular summer irrigation. Shade- protect the amazing leaves from blasting sun. They will stand prominently up to 2′ tall- triple lobed, glossy and good looking. One of the more reliable of the genus in fact we think this is the best adapted Jack in the Pulpit for our climate. Mix with other bold shade perennials. Mulch with compost annually. Disappears entirely in winter. A Xera favorite perennial.
Arthropodium maculatum ‘Purpureum’
AKA Arthropodium maculatum ‘Candidum’ New Zealand Rock Lily. Intersting clump forming lily relative that has fine strappy leaves in a dense configuration that are dotted with brown over a madder red overlay. Wonderful little foliage plant for part shade in rich, moisture retentive soil. In summer masses of 4″ stems support clouds of tiny nodding white flowers. Fun. Rock gardens, the front of borders, massed together for a more profound effect. To about 10″ wide. Completely winter deciduous. Nice summer container plant.
Aruncus dioicus var. acuminatus
Goats Beard is a big bold and easy to grow perennial for part shade and perpetually wet sites. To 4′ tall and as wide with large fountains of pure white flowers in late spring to early summer. Native in seeps and along watercourses, mimic those conditions in your garden and you’ll have success. Long lived plant that develops a woody base. Completely winter deciduous. Excellent combined with other mesic water loving plants. Tolerates some inundation but not during the growing season. Often found on cliffs away from the browse of deer. Very large permanent perennial in time. Fall color is often yellow. Widespread in the PNW. Native in the Portland City limits. Oregon native plant.
Athyrium x ‘Ghost’
A hybrid fern discovred in Oregon and it has become a garden staple. Soft gray/sage green intricately divided fronds arch out from a central rosette. To 2′ tall and as wide in rich, well drained moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. Loves regular irrigation and bulks up more quickly then. More adaptable than its harder to grow parent Japanese painted fern. Completely deciduous in winter. Takes poorly drained sites. Mix with chartreuse leaved Lamium maculatum ‘Aureum’ and Vancouveria chyrsantha for wonderful woodland trio. Emerges in March- not bothered by snails/slugs or deer. Excellent in shady, perennial containers. Good appearance thought hot summers with irrigation. A classic.
Heathmyrtle as it is known is a fine textured shrub that closely mimics Erica (Heath) and is an aromatic member of the Myrtle family- Hence the common name. The fine needle leaves emit a powerfully sweet menthol perfume when bruised. In winter the entire arching dense shrub takes on vivid copper tints. Early summer brings boughs spangled in tiny white flowers like frost. To 3′ tall and 4′ wide in 5 years in rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer water. Pairs perfectly with Heaths and Heathers with identical cultural requirements. Strong deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF or below. Wonderful evergreen shrub. A Xera favorite. High mountains of Tasmania. It would make a fine sheared hedge. Any amount of pruning results in a much denser plant. Plant on three foot centers. Underused wonderful shrub.
Still relatively new this extraordinary perennial has so many fantastic attributes it will become indispensable in our gardens. Glossy concave heart shaped leaves emerge tinted black before settling to a deep forest green. The dense foliage is seldom bothered by pests and appears to be slug/snail resistant. Throughout the growing season 2′ spikes emerge over the dome of dense foilage with small white flowers. The over effect is cool sophistication in the shade garden. Slowly expanding to 2′ wide. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. Mix with Hosta, Hakenochloa, Epimedium. Semi-evergreen.
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