Solidago canadensis var. elongata

Our own west coast form of Golden Rod which can be found in vernally wet locations or even fence rows. Vigorous, strong growing perennial that erupts in plumes of golden flowers from August to October.  Spreading via runners it can take up quite a bit of space in lush environs. Best to grow it in un-amended soil with light summer water. Full sun to very light shade. Handsome mid-green leaves line nearly woody stems to 32″ tall. Spreads as far as you let it. Sleeps the first year- LEAPS the second and you have been warned. That having been said its a wonderful romping native perennial for late season pollinators. Its very easy to grow and long blooming. I wouldn’t plant a Willamette Valley meadow without this plant. And my, do you get good bugs. VERY good bugs. Lightly fragrant flowers are great in late season arrangements. Best to pair it with a companion that is just as rambunctious- we select Symphyotrichum subspicatum our native Douglas Aster. Not only do they match each other they make a splendid floral complement and bloom simultaneously. And it will triple the amount of pollinators. Foliage can take on orange/yellow tints in late fall. Cut back in early spring. – but fairly self sufficient.  Oregon native plant.

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Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida

Underused native Spiraea from the western United States and native in Oregon including the immediate Portland area.  Low mounding deciduous shrub to 2′ x 3′. This is the locally native form. Often the straight species is for sale- its from Asia and is 4 times the size of ours. Pink buds open to foamy white flat clusters of flowers appear in late spring. In autumn it turns amazingly vivid colors of red/orange/gold and it holds its color for weeks. One of the most drought tolerant of the genus requiring light summer water to very little. Full sun and rich soil. Spreads to form patches. Locally native and plentiful near the Columbia Gorge and throughout the mountains whose diminutive habit means that pruning is seldom necessary. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Long lived and an excellent landscape shrub. Birch Leaf Spiraea or glossy leaved Spiraea. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.

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Symphyotrichum subspicatum ‘Sauvie Sky’

One of our color selections of the locally native Douglas Aster. This cultivar originates from seed collected on Sauvie Island. A boisterous long blooming perennial at home in wild areas. Rich to average soil with light summer water. Blooms- in this case, periwinkle blue open in early August and continue unabated  to October. They are beacons to all pollinators and are constantly in motion as they bloom. To 32″ tall  forming wide patches. Runs by underground stolons. Nice cut flower. Wetland remediation, forest verges, denuded road cuts. Those are jobs for you Douglas Aster. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Symphyotrichum subspicatum ‘Sauvie Snow’

We selected this form of our locally native Douglas Aster for its snow white flowers. The species in our area ranges from blue/lavender/blue-white. So, this is a nice color break. One of the very best pollinator perennials that we grow. In bloom from July-October it is virtually swarmed by every flying insect you can imagine. A constant buzz of activity. This is a large, rambunctious perennial that is not good with delicate neighbors. Douglas Aster belongs in the wild where it can consort with other similarly overly adapted natives. Virtually any soil in full sun to light shade. In bloom it rises to nearly 30″ and the spread is nearly indefinite This is a rugged perennial for tough sites, even areas submerged during the wet season. Not a bad cut flower. Mix with large ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis  ‘Morning Light’ or Panicum virgatum ‘ Heavy Metal’. Mix with native shrubs- Mahonia aquifolium, Oregon Grape and Holodiscus discolor ‘Ocean Spray’. Drought adapted when established but it appreciates a soak now and again to prolong the bloom period.   Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Tellima grandiflora

Locally native on our nursery site Fringe Cups or Fairy Bells as they are commonly known are a spreading perennial for moist shady sites. Low mounding maple shaped leaves cover the ground densely and in late spring vertical spikes appear to 18″ tall and sport rows of small green cup shaped flowers which change to white and finish with tints of pink. Closely related to Heuchera and thrives in the same conditions. It will even take full sun in moist conditions. It is a background plant because it often suffers from powdery mildew late in summer which is mostly just ugly and I’ve never seen harm to the plant. The drier the conditions the worse the affliction. Good air circulation helps but its best to just accept that this is how this native perennial rolls. Semi-evergreen in winter. Woodland borders, shady containers. Very easy to grow. Often grows with Claytonia as seen below. Flowers emit a sweet fragrance.  Oregon Native Plant.

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Tolmiea menziesii ‘Taff’s Gold’

An exceptional variegated form of our native “pigaback” plant that is excellent as a groundcover in dense to light shade. Vigorous and evergreen it will spread to 4′ wide in 2 years but stay only 1′ tall. Very easy to grow, works well under established Rhododendrons. Pretty, but not conspicuous brown flowers. Regular water but will take drought if in the shade. Easy, indispensible native plant.  Forms new plants directly from the center of each leaf. Cool trick. Also grown as a houseplant. Good in containers. Oregon native plant.

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Trifolium wormskioldii

Springbank Clover. Fascinating perennial clover that was once widespread in wet areas of the Willamette Valley and is now found in restricted sites there but is much more prevalent on the coast and east of the Cascades.  A pretty spreading spring wildflower with heads of brilliant magenta/purple flowers. Mainly in spring but also in summer if wet. To 4″ tall it can be up to 2′ wide in favorable conditions. Though mostly restricted to seeps and wet areas now it once made life under native white oaks and there indigenous people would use it as a food source. The creeping green stems root where they touch the ground. Stems were harvested and steamed as a vegetable and they replanted as they harvested the remaining stems ensuring another crop. Not a long lived perennial 3-5 years but it sets copious seed. Wet sites in moisture retentive soil. Mainly riparian in habitat.  It can dry considerably in summer and still thrive. But regular water is what it wants. Fun plant to grow that has lost a LOT of its native range. In habitat it is best seen on the wet cliffs adjacent to the beach. Great pollinator plant. Easily overwhelmed by invasive exotics.   Oregon native plant. 

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white flowers of Tritelia hyacinthina

Fool’s Onion, though this close relative of Brodiaea is easy to tell apart from Allium as the leaves and stem have no onion odor. A sunny native perennial bulb that forms colonies of white in May-July in meadows, glens, and swales. To 15″ tall in bloom but usually shorter the leaves emerge in mid winter and persist until summer drought. About that time the flowers erupt into clusters of white flowers. Great native bulb for naturalizing, Water if planting from a pot, otherwise it requires only what falls from the sky with a distinct dry period in summer. Associated  plants are Ranunculus occidentalis- Western Buttercup, and Brodiaea elegans- Cluster lily, and Plectritis congesta- Sea Blush.  Native in clay soils that dry completely in summer. Goes very  neatly dormant in summer- nothing is left. Excellent in rock garden conditions. Full sun to very light shade. Moderate deer resistance. Native though out western Oregon. Sweet cutflower Very good for butterflies as well. This plant once occupied large areas of the Willamette Valley, that territory has shrunk considerably.  Oregon native plant.

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Vancouveria hexandra

Inside-Out-Flower is a commonly seen terrestrial component in dry to moderately moist woodlands in our region. The duck foot shaped leaves are conspicuous and pretty and in late spring to mid-summer a continuous supply of dainty downward pointing white flowers. Spreads in gardens very well in enriched soil with regular summer water where it will quickly assume the role of an intertwining ground cover. Winter deciduous- un-like its close and much more drought adapted relative Vancouveria chrysantha (Yellow inside-out-flower, Siskiyou Vancouveria). This perennial is perfect for life among shrubs or mixing with other woodland perennials in part shade to shade. Adapts well to garden culture and thrives on regular summer irrigation. Locally native in the city of Portland. To 10″ tall and spreading. Some deer resistance.  Oregon native plant.

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Canary violet or upland Violet has many subspecies in the PNW and west in general. This is our own Willamette Valley form of this intriguing handsome perennial. Large spoon shaped leaves have an underside with conspicuous hairs. The top of the leaf is glossier. In April-May bright yellow flowers appear. The bottom petal has conspicuous black whiskers. In our region this violet is local in the most undisturbed sites but it shows very good persistence in competition with non-native introduced grasses. My experience is that it favors rocky and scree sites that remain somewhat cool- for instance the north side of a steep slope. To 6″ tall and forming expanding plants. Winter deciduous. Arrives early in spring and can go summer dormant with high heat. Excellent planted in fall or winter and left to its own devices. Average to enriched soil yields the best results. This is one of the showiest violets native to the Willamette Valley. Fairly long lived. Little deer resistance. Some associated plants are Olysinium douglasii, Sedum spathulifolium, Dodecatheon hendersonii. Oregon native plant.

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