Clarkia amoena 'Dwarf White'

Clarkia amoena ‘Dwarf White’

Excellent little selection of our locally native wildflower ‘Farewell to Spring’. To just 10″ tall this plant(s) become a solid dome of white flowers from May-August. Cute little cut flower. Full sun in rich, to average well drained soil with just light competition from other plants. Re-seeds reliably in open disturbed sites. A great native derivative for hell strips and even containers. Regular summer water – or it will shut down go dormant and think its time to set seed and then make its melon. Rough areas, cut flower. Oregon native plant.

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Clarkia amoena ssp. lindleyi

Clarkia amoena ssp. lindleyi

Farewell to Spring is so called because it is one of the last conspicuous native wildflowers to bloom before the onset of summer drought. And bloom it does  all the way to late August. Its seen in mass populations waving above the already cere grass on hillsides that dot the valley. Little water is needed but a little supplemental water and removing spent flowers will extend the show.  Otherwise it will die upon setting seed. The 2′ tall stems support multiple luminous pink cup shaped flowers. They appear superficially like a poppy. This is the variety that is locally native in the Portland area. The distinctly lavender pink flowers fade to a lighter interior near the center. But it will also appear with a darker pink/red blotch in the center of each petal on a minority of seedlings.  These assist in guiding pollinators and this plant is a prime source for all native bees and butterflies. Excellent cut flower that lasts for quite a while in a vase. This is the source species of all the fancy cultivars that are raised in the cut flower trade. Reseeds happily in open disturbed sites. Excellent plant for wild areas and is often employed on road cuts and freeway embankments in deliberately sown wild flower mixtures. I’ve noticed that this local subspecies re-sows itself annually where other subspecies and especially the showy florist varieties are shy to do so. If you want a robust, climate adapted wildflower then go with this subspecies. It comes back strong. Probably our showiest and longest blooming native annual.  Reseeds- leave stems to dry and disperse seed and remember to leave open spaces for next years show. Wonderful with yellow Madia elegans for a months long display of brilliant native annuals. A Xera favorite plant. See video below (IMG) taken at the William Finley Wildlife Refuge just south of Corvallis.  Oregon native plant.

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Claytonia sibirica

Claytonia sibirica

Lovely ubiquitous woodland flower that brings waves of glorious airy stars for weeks in late spring to mid summer. Occasionally pink the flowers most often are white. Handsome somewhat bold foliage provides a plant that is more than suited to competition on the forest floor. Often self sows and this is welcome. Plant containerized plants in spring and water faithfully through the first summer- but never boggy. Then it is yours. Let it romp among ferns, Hosta, Japanese Forest Grass for a sparkling NATIVE treat. Mix with other natives such as Vancouveria and deer fern. Very easy to grow. Blooms for a very long time and longer if we have a cool beginning to summer. AKA Candy flower. To 10″ x 10″ on average. Summer deciduous and emerges early in spring. Not bothered by pests. Forms spreading colonies in rich, humus enriched soil in part shade to shade. Locally native in the Portland city limits.  Oregon native plant. 

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Collinsia grandiflora

Collinsia grandiflora

Native annuals often get over looked in our gardens. They occupied vast stretches of the Willamette Valley and civilization has caused those displays to suffer. In our gardens they are precious reminders that we should include every category of native plant. Giant Blue Eyed Mary is one of our most delicate looking and stunning in floral detail,  It makes a hazy cloud of beautiful blue and white small snapdragon flowers from late April to Mid June. A true annual that dies once the floral display is done. But leave the skeletons of the plant for several weeks longer to form and shed seeds for next years display. This 20″ tall grassy plant occupies open sunny sites as well as the margins of forests. In our gardens it appreciates open slightly disturbed soil. Seedlings germinate in autumn and over winter as small plants. They will heavily occupy an area about the size of a 9″ pie.  Excellent plant to succeed mid and late spring bulbs. Water lightly after planting and  to establish then none required. Native to the Portland city limits as well. Fantastic displays of this plant can be seen at Camassia in West Linn all through late spring. This is a very reliable re-seeder if you give it some open ground and check for slugs. Seedlings germinate quickly following the first rains and are incredibly cold hardy and drought tolerant. Don’t worry, they are from here, they know what to do. Attracts a wide variety of native pollinators including a wealth of smaller hover flies.  Oregon native plant.

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Collomia grandiflora

Collomia grandiflora

Wild Phlox is a native hardy annual that occurs from the prairies of the Willamette Valley to the sage brush country east of the Cascades. Clusters of flowers open sherbet orange and then fade to white with conspicuous blue pollen for a multi colored effect. Adaptable plant that will occupy any open disturbed site. Reseeds prolifically. To 2′ tall. Cute cut flower. Nice native to let wander your garden. Low water. Locally native in the city of Portland and to our nursery site in Sherwood. A charming plant that should be given average conditions and not pampered- otherwise it will contract powdery mildew which is harmless but kind of ugly. The unique, nearly indescribable color of this flower certainly is not. Oregon native plant.

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Cynoglossum (Adelinia) grande

Cynoglossum (Adelinia) grande

Great Hounds Tongue or Giant Pacific Forget-me-Not is one of our most remarkable native perennials. On the property where I grew up near Eugene it was native. There was a clump of this majestic perennial that was there for nearly my whole life. Unfortunately, we sold the property but this plant was still there last I checked. In the Willamette Valley and out into the Columbia Gorge you see these enormous blue flowers on a sturdy spikes in the dry areas under oaks. Often seen with Wyethia -Mules ears. Large fleshy leaves form a substantial clump. In early to mid spring 2′ spikes reveal outrageously large versions of Forget-me-nots. Established plants will then go dormant with summer drought. Adapted to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. Not only does it not require it established plants can resent it and rot. Place in a wild, unwatered part of your garden. Amend the soil lightly with compost and water in well. Pairs well, of course with other native perennials such as Sidalceas. In the wild it is accompanied by Erythronium oreganum , Lathyrus nevadensis, Fritillaria lanceolata, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Ranunculus occidentals. That is what grew with our patch, under white and black native oaks, with a madrone here and there. Impressive native perennial whose intense blue flowers are hard to convey in a photograph. Oregon native plant.

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Delphinium trolliifolium

Giant Larkspur or Cow Poison, I prefer the first common name for this stunning large growing native Delphinium. In vernally wet sites to moist upland sites  it forms large spectacular colonies. In late spring and early summer stems that soar to nearly 4′ tall are loosely decorated with marine blue flowers with a lighter central bee. In habitat its common associates are Oregon Ash (Fraxinus latifolius) and Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) where it can be found in the shade of these deciduous trees. The one variable with this Delphinium is that it is found in cool places- never hot and dry. These shadowy environs can make this plant hard to spot even in full bloom.  Often they will be in standing water during the winter months and they are adapted to very heavy wet clay soils. In cultivation the need for moist conditions continues and it does appreciate at least an application of all organic fertilizer and compost at planting time. Keep it well watered through its bloom cycle, then it can go drier but never dust dry- in time it can handle much less irrigation. An annual mulch is beneficial. Wonderful, bold cut flower , but its loved by pollinators as well ( what is it about blue flowers? ). Forms spreading colonies in time. Give it room to stretch out. Its often found with our native Cow Parsnip (Hieracleum maximum) and great Camas ( Camassia leichtlinii) in habitat. This could easily be replicated in a garden. Native to the Willamette Valley into the Columbia River Gorge. Once widespread in the Willamette Valley its territory has shrunk precipitously. Long lived perennial. Very good deer resistance. Extremely showy in bloom.   Oregon native plant.

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Deschampsia caespitosa

Deschampsia caespitosa

Tufted Fairy Grass is an Oregon native that forms bright green fine clumps but is in its glory in bloom when tall vertical stems display hazy tan flowers at the tips. Easy to grow grass that improves under cultivation. Native to semi-shady to sunny aspects in rich soil that drains but also retains moisture. Adaptable to wet sites that dry in summer. To 10″ x 1′ as a clump of foliage but rises to 3′ tall in bloom. Very wild looking grass that can be massed for a hazy meadow effect, or placed in straight lines a modern aesthetic that combines a wild plant with spaced symmetry. Excellent among shrubs and with other wild looking meadow perennials. Winter deciduous. Cut back dead growth in spring. Relatively long lived. Native in the Portland city limits. Graceful. Winter deciduous. A pan global plant- this is our local form. Click on the link for a video of the dried seed heads.  Oregon native plant.

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Dicentra formosa 'Langtrees'

Dicentra formosa ‘Langtrees’

Excellent form of our native bleeding heart that is an incredibly long blooming perennial for gardens. Remarkable blue foliage is beautiful if it never produced 1′ spikes of clear white pendant flowers. Blooms begin in spring and with regular summer water in rich soil continue throughout summer. Shade to full sun (with regular water). Forms widely spreading colonies. Give it room to spread. This tough, adaptable plant handles any soil situation from perpetually moist to quite dry. Resistant to pests- that includes slugs and snails as well as deer. (They will briefly browse it before ditching it for better things- it recovers quickly). Completely winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.

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OOKOW. The common name for this wonderful native bulb. A naked lily closely related to Brodiaea. Also, referred to as cluster lily though that isn’t even remotely as fun to say as OOKOW. Stems to 22″ tall support 6 to 15  showy purple flowers clustered at the stem tip. Dry sunny hillsides in clay soils to meadows throughout western Oregon.  Its native range goes a bit to the north into Washington and south to California but its primary populations are in our state. This happy bulb spreads to form colonies in time. It will also spread by seed. An integral part of Willamette Valley meadows. Excellent cut flower that lasts a week in a vase. Water to establish when planting from containers. In subsequent years it will rely only on what falls from the sky. in habitat it can be found with native clumping grasses such as Koeleria and Festuca roemeri var. roemeri. Sisyrinchium idahoense is a frequent associate. The flowers nod slightly at the end of the stems. Smalll grassy foliage appears in early spring and disappears cleanly following bloom. Adapted to heavy clay soils that are wet for 6 months of the year that dries in summer. Full sun. Loved by Hummingbirds and butterflies.     Oregon native plant.

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