Abutilon x 'Tangerine Scream'

Abutilon x ‘Tangerine Scream’

A relatively hardy and massive blooming Abutilon that we named for its small but vivid tangerine orange flowers. A tall grower, easily reaching 4′ in the ground in a single season. Excellent in containers in full sun but be warned it gets big, fast. In the ground it has been a great performer. It requires a very protected location- between shrubs that will protect the base or near a house wall- under those conditions it will freeze back below about 20ºF but will be able to return from the base. And don’t be discouraged in spring if this plant looks dead- just water, water, water, in April-June and you’d be surprised at the vigorous recovery that will take place. It helps if it is in rich, well drained soil. Hummingbirds love it. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast where it will seldom be bothered by cold and can bloom nearly year round.

Xera Plants Introduction.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8b 20º to 15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


An exciting shrub/small tree with paddle shaped blue evergreen phyllodes for foliage and in late winter to early spring a massive display of luminous yellow flowers. I’ve always loved Australian wattles so it was with great excitement that we decided to grow this striking plant. Moderately fast growing to 16′ tall and 8′ wide forming either multiple or a single trunk. The bark is chocolate brown and smooth. Very few Australian Acacias will thrive in Portland,  its just about 5 degrees too  cold in our coldest years. This one is different, (a few species will live for 4-6 years before they finally succumb to Jack Frost. Acacia pravissima etc.) This, however, is the cold hardiest  that we have grown. It is hardy to just below 10ºF for brief stints- good enough for long term survival. This is a rare limited endemic to the high mountains of New South Wales but is popular as a garden subject the world over.  The small, fluffy,  balls of electric yellow flowers foam among the blue leaves – incredibly pretty. Full sun and a protected location – against a south facing wall is ideal for a very pretty fun to grow tree. Once fully open the flowering stems may be cut for long lasting bouquets. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering has ended. Light consistent water to establish . Not fussy about soils and happiest in full, all day sun. Protect from subfreezing east wind. Bloom time is concurrent with several earlier Ceanothus  (‘Blue Jeans’, ‘Dark Star’, ‘Concha’) and creates a vivid early spring  yellow and blue display not soon to be forgotten. Drought adapted when established. Not bothered by deer/elk- not entirely sure about rabbits- if they are profuse in your neighborhood it wouldn’t hurt to protect the plant with chicken wire when young. Beautiful year round and spectacular in bloom. AKA Blue Bush.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8a 15º to 10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Acaena 'Blue Haze'

Acaena ‘Blue Haze’

The blue form of New Zealand Burr with finely divided pinnate evergreen foliage that forms a vigorous creeping ground cover. In summer 3″ stems support round white flowers that appear for several weeks. Easy to grow dense-growing plant to 3″ tall and covering up to 3 square feet in a year. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture to speed growth and keep the appearance fresh. Best in part shade to shade- seems to resent hot sun and permanently dry positions. Excellent for a fast cover that blocks weeds and roots as it grows- perfect erosion control for steep shady slopes. Plant on 1′ centers for a fast cover. Adaptable to dry conditions when established.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Acaena inermis 'Purpurea'

Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’

Such a good good plant. The purple-foliaged New Zealand Burr covers the ground in pinnate dark purple foliage. Low spreading evergreen ground cover for full sun to part shade in rich, well drained, moisture retentive soils. Avoid compacted dry soils- it will die out. Instead provide an annual mulch of compost- put it right over the leaves and let the foliage grow up through it. This will give you a dense spectacular ground cover of purple with blue tints. Excellent as an understory in containers as well. In summer sporadic 4″ stems support spiky maroon orbs- these are the flowers. Best as a small scale ground cover, 3’x 3′ is reasonable. It will flow around low shrubs such as Hebes and around paving stones. Regular water.  New Zealand.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6b 0º to -5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Acanthus mollis 'Hollard's Gold'

Acanthus mollis ‘Hollard’s Gold’

Bear’s Breeches is a standard perennial in our region for dry shady environs. And though the bold foliage is amazing we’ve been drawn to this form which turns it up a notch. Nearly 3′ long bold leaves are imbued with gold changing to acid green as the season continues. In early summer the fantastic white/mauve/grey chalice-like flower spikes rise to 4′ tall. Forms imposing clumps quickly in rich to average, well drained soil with light, consistent summer water. Takes dry conditions well and will actually resort to summer dormancy in extreme conditions. Evergreen to about 20ºF. Low deer resistance. Shines in the deepest shade. A very permanent plant that will live for decades.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Acer circinatum

Acer circinatum

Vine Maple is perhaps our most beautiful native maple. Found from SW British Columbia to Northern California in the Shasta area. Its a pervasive understory tree throughout the western part of the state. It derives its name from its almost vine like habit in shade. This winding and sun seeking component leads to the most graceful natural forms. In full sun it is a compact, multi-trunked shrub. In autumn in both habitats it turns to shades of fiery orange and yellow and red. Vivid against the pure green trunks and stems.  One of the most dramatic places you will see this shrub is at 4500′ on Belknap crater on McKenzie Pass where it lives among the lava. In early fall the brilliant colors of the maples contrasts wonderfully with the black lava. Its very hot and very dry but  its also very high in elevation. The symmetrically serrated round leaves rival any Japanse maple. In shade established trees get by with little summer water. In the sun irrigation is welcome. Rich to average soil with regular applications of mulch. To 16′ tall in shade and again quite a bit shorter in full sun- very wide in shade. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. This shrub/tree belongs on the north side or under substantial shade. Some deer resistance. Excellent underplanted with native ferns and Gaultheria. A common native that should be a more common ornamental. Tiny red flowers turn into sunny orange samaras by autumn and persist past the leaves.  Avoid very dry shade of un-irrigated over hangs. This is a semi-mesic maple.  Oregon native plant

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Acer glabrum ssp. douglasii

Rocky mountain maple or locally also known as Douglas maple is our form of a widespread and sweet small tree that ranges from the Yukon in Canada  to the highest  mountains of  northern Mexico. Our local variety is found in all of the mountainous parts of the state. This demure tree is the least planted of our native maples and deserves much more inclusion in our gardens. In the coast range it is found primarily above 2000′ and it can even be found lower in the Cascades. It follows the spine of the Ochocos in eastern Oregon up into the Blue mountains and Wallowa Mountains in the far north east. Rarely pole straight in stature its often multi-trunked and single trunked trees are in the minority in the wild. Ours are single trunks but multiple stems do not take away from the fresh green leaves and pretty to stunning fall color. The familiar maple leaves can achieve anything from dull yellow to shots of vermillion. Depending on the weather and tree. Soft gray bark.  To 25′ tall moderately fast. Tiny green flowers morph into rosy hued samaras in autumn. Regular water for the first several years. This tree does appreciate rich soil that retains moisture in the Willamette Valley. Excellent woodland tree or even more appropriate on the edge of a stand of trees where it receives at least half a day of sun. The most recent years stems are often sanguine red, nice contrast with the grass green elegant leaves. The most striking fall color is achieved with more sun. A mesic maple that often follows water courses or lines wet ground.  Single trunked trees are conical shaped and multi-trunked forms are more rounded and spreading. Deciduous.  Avoid blasting heat and sun. Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Achillea millefolium, common yarrow

Achillea millefolium

This is the locally native form of our wild yarrow. A rambunctious, easy to grow evergreen perennial for rough sites in well drained soil in full sun. Continuously from spring to autumn ‘umbels’ of pure white flowers rise 18″ above low spreading aromatic, finely divided ferny foliage. Most often it is green with variants that have gray foliage from time to time. Low water perennial that can even be used as a lawn substitute. A single plant spreads to several feet wide. Moderate deer resistance.  Butterflies oh the butterflies.This is a pioneer perennial and will often out compete less robust native perennials. Its best use is as a contained weed. It is great for pollinators Individual plants rarely persist more than 3 years.  Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Achillea millefolium 'Calistoga'

Achillea millefolium ‘Calistoga’

A fine form of our native Yarrow that has leaves that are a striking gray with pure, clean white flowers. A great combination. Spreads to form a low wide plant that is evergreen (gray). The flat clusters of flowers appear continuously from May to frost. More consistently if you remove spent flowers. The umbels, unusual for the daisy family, are loved by butterflies. Well, actually all pollinators. They are given a flat landing pad and tons of flowers- what more could you want. Excellent for low care areas where this romping perennial will happily out compete weeds and hold ground with very light amounts of water. Full sun and well drained soil. its best to double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen and de-compact the soil. Does not like compacted soil. Light but consistent summer water speeds growth and vigor. Otherwise very drought tolerant. Excellent on slopes. To 20″ tall in bloom on a low spreading foliage plant to 2′ wide or wider. High deer resistance. Great cut flower. Mix with other low water plants. Pretty with other colors of yarrow. Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Achillea millefolium 'Pretty Woman'

Achillea millefolium ‘Pretty Woman’

Of all the selections of our native yarrow this stands out for many reasons. The ‘umbels’ of flowers are a rich red which holds the color for an extended period. It fades only slightly to a rust red with time. Its vigorous and easy to grow. And it re-blooms reliably if spent flowers are removed. All the way until frost and sometimes longer. A very, very good long-lasting cut flower. To 18″ tall forming spreading colonies. Semi-evergreen. Low water when established in well-drained soils. Excellent to moderate deer resistance. Appreciates an annual application of compost.  Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: