Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna

A superior Christmas box – purple stem Sarcococca is a slight improvement on this useful, fragrant, and durable evergreen shrub. Fine white flowers emit a strong sweet fragrance from late December to March. Slow spreading shrub that travels locally by suckers to form patches. To 2′ tall and up to 4′ wide if soil is rich, well drained and summer irrigation is reliable. Tolerates dense dry shade well. Black/red berries can follow the flowers into spring. Cold hardy to 0ºF. May burn in full sun- best with shade or at least protection from reflected heat- like an open north exposure. A member of the boxwood family that gives it high deer resistance. It can be slow to establish without regular irrigation in the first season. Water well and apply mulch. Though tough it pays to treat this shrub well from the beginning. Cut twigs that are blooming can perfume a room in winter. First and second year stems are deeply blushed purple- very pretty in contrast with the deep green simple leaves. Combines well with native ferns and perennials like Vancouveria and Epimedium. Native to S. central china.

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Sarcococca orientalis

We think this is the best Sarcococca or Christmas box. A nice little 2′ x 2′ slow growing evergreen shrub with a formal air. In January to March relatively large white petal free flowers emit a sweet perfume. Best in part shade and rich, well drained soil. Light summer water when established. Always looks good. Can turn yellowish in full sun. Long lived trouble free shrub that delights in winter. Mass for a great perfume effect during the coldest days of the year. Moderate deer resistance. Long lived and always good looking. Flowers are large for the genus.

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Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis ‘Dragon’s Gate’

Graceful and formal at the same time. This low arching form of winter box is wonderful with uniform thin, deep green pointed foliage on arching stems. In mid-winter to early spring the undersides of the stems are clad in fine powerfully FRAGRANT white flowers at every leaf axil. The fragrance spreads for quite a distance on mild winter days. Following the flowers are berries that turn black and arrive at red. Handsome low shrub to 2′ tall and 3′ wide suckering to form patches with time. Moderately fast growing and easy to establish shrub in the BUXACEAE which means that this boxwood relative is also deer resistant. Excellent performance in part shade to shade but not low dense shade. Massed it performs as a large scale ground cover. Light consistent summer H20 for the best looks. Takes dry conditions in shade once established- especially if you apply mulch liberally. Unlike the species it does not lose leaves in bloom which is an important difference. Finds a home under dark stairwells and foundation plantings. Impressive relatively new selection. China.

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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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Schefflera (Heptapleurum) delavayi

Big bold evergreen shrub that deserves a place in every garden. Tall growing cold hardy shrub with leaves that can be up to 18″ across- all five leaflets. New growth in spring emerges slowly clad in a showy taupe indumentum that clings to the new leaves for quite some time. The ultimate leaf color is deep green with a matte surface. To 12′ tall and branching. Moderately fast growth in rich soil that is well drained with consistent summer moisture- to speed growth. Otherwise established plants are remarkably drought adapted in part shade to shade. Takes full sun but leaves are smaller and the plant grows more slowly. An open north exposure is ideal with cool roots and the tops in the bright sun but not reflected heat. In autumn 3′ long pale yellow flower spikes appear and persist until frost. Excellent, refined shrub that has been perfectly hardy to cold for us for the past decade. Much more heat tolerant than other members of this genus.

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Sedum confusum

Useful and pretty evergreen Sedum that thrives in diverse biomes but always looks good. In dry dappled shade it will create a dense spreading deep green colony. To 5″ tall by several feet wide. In full sun it will grow a little slower but regular water will speed things up. The bright green rosettes of leaves are perched atop stems. In early spring the whole plant is awash in gold flowers and attending pollinators. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. The more shade the less water is required. Nice ground cover for small areas. Dense and evergreen. Surprisingly cold hardy and amenable to life in our climate. Mexico.

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Sedum divergens

Oregon native Sedum that is found at mid and high elevations of the Cascades. It makes its home on recent road cuts and rocky, gravelly cliffs. Small rolly polely green succulent leaves line trailing stems. Very juicy. Forms a thick evergreen mat in full sun to part shade in well drained soil. Excels in enriched soil that also drains. Light to regular summer water to retain luster otherwise completely adapted to summer drought. Rock walls, containers, rock gardens. Easy to grow native that is one of our most attractive stone crops. In late spring 4″ stems rise with clusters of bright yellow/gold star shaped flowers. As with all Sedums they are coveted by pollinators. Takes on red tints in cold weather. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.

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Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’

Interesting small yellow Sedum from Japan that is from a summer rainfall climate. That means that it likes consistent water in the summer. Good drainage is key and this plant performs a valuable role as the glowing understory to woodland perennials and shrubs. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation in part shade to shade. Bleaches to almost white in full sun. Early spring flowers are yellow and brief. Excellent as the lower level of a summer planting. Evergreen and easy. Aerate the soil well by double digging and incorporating oxygen into the soil before planting. To 3″ high and spreading to more than a foot wide in a season. Its best home is in containers where it makes a great, glowing year round element. Excellent as a ground cover under shrubs in a container.

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Sedum oreganum

Not hard to tell where this stone crop is endemic. It resides mostly in the middle elevations of the western Cascades. Rocky slopes, cliffs, and road cuts is where you find the clusters of small green rosettes that makes large colonies. In summer 4″ stems arrive topped with bright gold/yellow flowers- a pollinators dream. Little spreading plant to just inches high but expanding to several feet wide in well drained, somewhat enriched soil with light summer water. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Forms a dense mat and may be used as a small scale weed blocking ground cover. Easy to grow plant. Roots into the ground as it spreads- evergreen.  Excellent winter container subject, it will happily trail over the edge of pots. The yellow flowers are specific to some of our most endangered pollinators. Very cold hardy. Oregon native plant.

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