Consistently one of the most successful Agaves for gardens in our region. Soft gray rosettes have leaves with a distinct upright habit. At the tips of the wide leaves is a single (deadly) black thorn. Very nice. Full sun and very well drained soil with little to no summer water when established. This Agave requires soil that is never soggy- amend heavily with pumice and gravel to create air pockets. Plant this (and all) hardy Agaves in our climate on a tilt. The tilted rosette sheds rainwater and it keeps it much drier in winter. Ideally, this Agave should be sited on a hot, south facing slope. In autumn deciduous leaves from (everywhere) seem to blow into the rosette and collect. You must remove these immediately so that they do not rot the center of the plant. A shop vac works wonders…so do bar-B-Q tongs. Excellent in containers. Its best to plant hardy Agaves in early spring to early summer. They require a long season to develop a root system which ensures that they are cold hardy. No root system and not so hardy. Hardy below 0ºF when dry. Highly deer resistant.
This delightful onion has a wide range in our state. Primarily you see it in dry, exposed sites a little way up from the bottom of the Willamette Valley. Mid green slightly fragrant grassy leaves give way to an 8″ stems in May-June with a chalice of multiple pink/lavender pink upward facing flowers. Full sun to part shade and adaptable to many soils as long as there is a dry rest in summer. This onion quickly goes summer dormant directly after seed set and disappears entirely by mid summer. Great pollinator bulb for Willamette Valley meadows. Its nearly always on a slope where it is found. Replicate this and give it only the rain that falls from the sky in subsequent years. In time the bulb multiplies and it can also self sow. Leave a disturbed area around the plant and keep it free of weeds and they can mature and bloom in several years. Light deer resistance. aka Slender leaved onion. Very attractive food source for butterflies. Oregon native plant.
Slim leaved onion is very easy to identify in Western Oregon though it occupies more than one biome. Where I grew up it was always found in the same meadow. The meadow was primarily Festuca californica and Festuca roemeri. This onion was found between those grasses and usually intertwined at the base with native mountain strawberriy (Fragaria virginiana var. platyphylla) and rosy plectritis. Its ease of identification comes with a pinch of the leaf or flower- resinous onion odor. This 10″ tall allium supports clear white flowers (occasionally they range to pale pink in these seed grown plants). This is a petite but very ornamental native onion. Its bloom time coincides with onset of summer drought. June into July. It forms enlarging bulbs and as soon as the starry flowers are spent the seed ripens and bursts casting it all around. Full sun and average to enriched soils. Water to establish potted plants then in subsequent years natural rainfall will suffice. This local native is sold in Europe as a cultivar called ‘Graceful Beauty’- its just the species A. amplectens but graceful is a great description of this wildflower. Excellent planted among Rosa nutkana and a perfect and natural accompaniment with native hardy annuals. Each bulb produces multiple flowers which increase over time. Attractive to a vast group of pollinators- local bees and hover flies make repeated visits. Adaptable to all soils that drain. Avoid standing water. Adaptable to clay soils. Oregon native plant
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.
Spreading Dogbane is a pretty semi-shrubby native perennial that is found in every biome in our area. David Douglas mentioned this billowing perennial with clouds of light pink/white bells. Mostly he hated tripping over it in the Willamette Valley. This very permanent plant spreads to form big drifts in the wild. Streambanks, prairies, alpine meadows it can appear. The rounded downward pointing leaves emerge on semi-woody stems. In June-August clouds of flowers appear for weeks. Loved by pollinators and birds specifically attractive to native hummingbirds and butterflies. To 2′ tall and spreading by stolons to a wide area. Water to establish then none in subsequent years. Mulch after planting. Virtually any somewhat rich soil type including amended sand. Full sun to part shade. Wonderful plant and floral texture for meadows. I have great childhood memories of this plant in July in full bloom perched with our huge native black bumble bees. Very convenient bloom time- it begins to bloom just as most other natives are finished. Dogbane is toxic when consumed by humans or animals- hence the common name. When stems are broken a milky sap is exuded. Moderate deer resistance. Distantly related to milkweed. Once very common in the Willamette Valley its territory has shrunk. Great performance in hellstrips and verges that are lightly or completely non-irrigated. Give this plant room to spread and plan ahead. Limited availability. Oregon native plant
Native to the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and extreme west Texas this adorable columbine enchants us with its whimsical soft yellow flowers and fine blue foliage. To 18″ tall in bloom the petite flowers have long fantastic tails. They appear from April-June, and occasionally again if you remove spent flowers and prevent seed set. This smaller plant has wonderful finely divided blue green foliage that forms a fountain before and after bloom. Often self sows in open sites. The original plants live about 5 years but the distinctive leaves will give away the seedlings. They seem to favor cracks in pavement, stones. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. Mix with our native Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) for a color echo on the yellow perianth of both. Very popular with pollinators including native pollinators. Winter deciduous. Moderate deer resistance. Charming and easy to grow wild flower.
Western Columbine is a wonderful native wildflower that forms almost permanent colonies in part shade. 20″ stems support pendant flowers of vivid orange and yellow. Blooms April-June. Rich, well-drained sites that retain moisture in part shade.Little summer water once established. Finely divided, blue-green leaves are pretty as well. Excellent perennial for naturalizing in part shade and cool environs. Often seen living in a basin of moss and this may be repeated in the garden. Self sows and blue green foliage is distinctive almost immediately. Long-lived when established. Associated plants are Sidalcea campestris, Symphoricarpos albus, Tellima grandiflora. Works well with smaller ferns too. Oregon native plant.
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.
A little wacky columbine sex in our nursery between our native orange and yellow flowering Aquilegia formosa and the brown and green flowered (and fragrant) Aquilegia viridiflora. The color range of the flowers is truly insane. And many of them are fragrant. They also have inherited the very good leaves of A. formosa- which are decidedly blue and delicate looking. They appear to be long lived perennials just as their parents and you just know that these buggers are going to reseed themselves. Part shade to full sun with regular water.
Xera Plants Introduction.
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.