Sedum spathulifolium ‘Rogue River’

Would it surprise you that I found this form of native stonecrop on cliffs above the Rogue River? It fascinated me how tightly to the ground this spreading succulent occurred. Gray green foliage appears to be almost rubbery and it grows in a dense pile. Very nice. To just inches high it eventually makes large colonies in rich, to average well drained soil. Light to little summer water. In late spring 4″ stems support hot yellow sunny flowers for weeks. Loved by pollinators of all types. Evergreen and ever lovely form. Perennial borders, rock gardens, containers. Easy and climate adapted native succulent that loves to be in gardens. Oregon native plant.

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Sidalcea campestris

The Willamette Valley is the center of the Sidalcea universe. Willamette Checker Mallow is a fantastic long lived native perennial that thrives in gardens. In May-July and sporadically later stems rise up from low foliage to 14″-36″  and support many soft pink flowers. Loved by pollinators and very easy to grow. This perennial inhabits slopes around the Willamette Valley in very heavy clay soil that dries out to concrete in summer. Adaptable to richer conditions, it also encourages a longer bloom season. Full sun to part shade. Native in Oregon Oak woodlands with Oregon Iris, Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon hendersonii). Pretty meadow flower that combines well with native grasses and the aforementioned perennials. Established plants can get by with very little water. Forms a spreading clump to 2′ wide. This species and several others have a natural range that is defined by the Willamette Valley. Its a special member of the Valley biome. Common associates in the wild are Rosa nutkana var, nutkana as well as Lupinus of various kinds.  Good cut flower. Winter deciduous Long lived perennial. Very important for native butterflies. Its a host plant for gray hairstreaks and a nectar source for Fendler’s Blue butterfly.  Oregon native plant.

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Sidalcea malvaflora ssp. virgata

Rose checker mallow is one the showiest summer perennials native to the western part of the state. This ‘wild hollyhock’ decorates meadows and swales from slightly south of Portland to the Rogue Valley in SW Oregon. A low rosette of mallow-esque leaves are glossy. The tall straight 16″ spires of densely arranged hot pink flowers wave in the early summer breeze.(Blooms May-July)  A great cut flower this obvious mallow relative is among our natives that improves under cultivation. And it is rust resistant. Double dig a wide hole to incorporate oxygen in the soil add a handful of all purpose organic fertilizer into the hole and mix with the existing soil. Water regularly and deeply for the first few months. Allow the ground to dry some between irrigation Loved by butterflies and pollinators and actually one of the host plants for the endangered Willamette Valley ‘Fendler’s Blue’ butterfly. Continuously irrigated plants will have successive flushes of bloom. For native rainfall only plants the show is a little shorter. Long lived, resents disturbance. Excellent with Iris tenax, Penstemon kunthii and all Achilleas. Native to clay soils that dry in summer. Oregon native plant. 

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Sisyrinchium idahoense var. idahoense

Idaho blue eyed grass is a widespread perennial that forms colonies in full sun, in many soil types, including vernally wet sites. To 18″ tall dark purple flowers open in bright light and close with cloudiness or dark. The blue green foliage is distinctively flat and the plant produces a procession of flowers for 2-3 weeks.  Deep purple with a yellow eye and about 1/2″ wide. An integral part of a Willamette valley meadow and only adaptable to full all day sun. Spreads by seed and  colonies that increase to form a slender clump.  Excellent pollinator perennial and is visited by a wide variety of insects.  Found in field that have not been invaded by invasives. Typically its found between native clumping grasses such as June Grass (Koeleria macrantha) Roemer’s Fescue (Festuca roemeri).and with other perennials of the meadow. It can be found from riparian to upland sites. Common associated plants are Carex tumulicola, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis, Dichelostemma congesta, Clarkia amoena, Camassia, ( C. quamash, leichtlinii ). Full sun, no shade. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent year. Goes summer dormant and will awaken the following February. Oregon native plant

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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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Spiraea x pyramidata

This is our local form of the Pyramid Spiraea an attractive naturally occurring hybrid between two local species. Spiraea douglasii (dark pink flowered) and Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida (white flowered).  Its a larger plant and much more controlled than  its parent S. douglasii and it inherits some of the drought adaptation of Birch leaf Spiraea. To 5′ tall and 4′ wide this upright growing shrub produces pyramid shaped inflorescences of the softest pink- intermediate between the two species. This form was found just east of Portland. Full sun and occasional deep soaks in dry summers. Tolerates part shade at the expense of a tidy, upright habit. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering. Adaptable to wild areas. Deciduous shrub that turns to tones of yellow and flaming orange in mid autumn. This twiggy shrub would make a great hedgerow plant. Blooms late May to early July. Flowers turn to tan seed heads that persist on the plant. Cold hardy and not difficult to grow. Not bothered by pests or disease. Not fussy about soils adaptable from sand to clay. Oregon native plant.

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Symphoricarpos mollis

Creeping snowberry is widespread in western Oregon and indeed throughout the state. Its a low suckering deciduous shrub that can occupy large areas. To 30″ tall spread is indefinite in rich to average soil with regular water for the first year to establish. Mulch is extremely beneficial and will suppress weeds for the first few years which can arrive in the middle of a patch of this spreading plant. Leaves are fresh green in spring turning blue green with the heat of summer. Small pinkish flowers occur in late spring and morph over the summer into plush white squishy berries. They line the bare stems and are showy until birds make off with them or they remain and rot. The berries are toxic for humans. Fall color is light yellow to very little. Common on undisturbed slopes on the edges of the valley and in the eastern foothills of the Coast Range and western Cascades. Snow berry is often afflicted with powdery mildew in the driest parts of summer. No harm will come to the plant. A wonderful habitat plant. Oregon native plant.

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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.

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Symphyotrichum subspicatum ‘Sauvie Star’

One of our color selections of the locally native Douglas Aster. This cultivar originates from seed collected on Sauvie Island. This is the predominant wild Aster of the Willamette Valley. 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.

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