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. 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

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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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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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.  Oregon native plant.

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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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Eriophyllum lanatum

Oregon Sunshine is the cheery common name that greets this widespread native perennial. Silvery gray intricate foliage forms a spreading mat. In late spring and early summer brilliant golden yellow daisy flowers spangle 10″ stems. Loved by pollinators and we’ve been impressed with its draw to butterflies as well. To 2′ across and excellent on slopes where water never lingers. In the wild its a frequent of road cuts and other disturbed sites. It also competes admirably with exotic invasive weeds and will persist where other natives are swamped. Rock gardens, dry borders. Water to establish- the first season- but never boggy. The following year it will rely only on what falls from the sky. Full sun to light shade. Adapts to poor soils. Moderate deer resistance. Semi-evergreen. Native to the Portland city limits.

Oregon native plant. 

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True pink California poppy. Seed from this exceptional pink flowered selection comes true about 95% of the time. Deep rose pink semi-double flowers appear in late spring and continue sporadically until mid summer. A happy plant can become a short lived perennial but the majority will behave as bloomy annuals. Full sun and rich to average soil with good tilth (crumbly texture). It can even thrive in compacted soils. To 10″ x 10″ forming a compact plant with lacy blue foliage. The strident rose pink flowers are showy from a distance. Leave the last round of flowers to seed for the next several seasons. Excellent wildflower display in rough areas w/ low water. Water plants to establish then taper off. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Wonderful flower color. Mix with Eschscholzia c. ‘Alba’ the white form. Deer resistant and drought adapted native plant. Oregon native plant. 

Xera Plants Introduction

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One of my favorite separate strains of CA poppy. ‘Purple’ gleam is a tiny bit of an over statement. More accurate its pink w/ purple overtones and a lighter center. Blooms from April August in a wave of big flowers that tossles over compact plants with filigree blue foliage. Full sun and average  to even poor soil. Often potted Eschscholzia will perennialize and live for a year or two in the ground. Otherwise its an annual and will succumb when the whole plant blooms itself out. To 10″ x 12″ forming a spreading plant. Remove spent flowers to continue the show. Many plants will take a break over summer and then resume blooming w/ cooler autumn rains. Great pollinator plant. Containers, dry areas, borders. Reseeds reliably w/ about 80% true to parent type. Wonderful with Clarkia unguiculata ‘White’ and Collinsia grandiflora. High deer resistance. Leave open disturbed soil for it to reseed. Light summer H20.  Oregon native plant

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Festuca californica

Native to the Willamette Valley from Clackamas county south and once widespread before being pushed to the margins by exotics and development. The best place to find this clump forming cool season  evergreen grass now is on slopes, almost always underneath Oaks. As you go farther south it becomes more widespread. Our seed grown plants come from exceptionally blue foliaged plants. Grows during the winter and looks clean and fresh then. In spring 3′ tall inflorescences arrive and are straight and airy. Following bloom in summer the stems of these blooms take on raspberry tints and remain standing. Totally summer drought adapted  but a little irrigation will improve summer looks. To 1′ x 2′ as a clump of evergreen foliage. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched, well drained soil. Light summer water. Best in wild areas and margins. Looks a tad too wild for some. Check it out in person and see how you feel.  Excels around Manzanitas, Cistus, Ceanothus and in dry shade in woodlands. Oregon native plant.

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Festuca roemeri

Roemers Fescue is a native bunchgrass found on upland prairies and slopes throughout the PNW. In the Willamette Valley it survives on the upward margins of woods, often under Oaks and accompanying California fescue. Roemer’s Fescue has much finer leaves and a tighter clumps than Festuca californica. Its immediately identifiable by this thin blue green foliage. A cool season grower it spends the winter in its freshest and lushest state by the onset of summer drought it has already gone cere (dry dormant). To 8″ tall and spreading. 1′ spikes with tan flowers appear in late spring and remain erect until the entire plant goes summer dormant. With regular water and good drainage this grass will avoid summer sleep and remain green and lush. Excellent underplanting for drought adapted shrubs, or for the garden/wild lands interface. It spreads quickly by seed- its from here, you should expect that so keep it away from highly manicured areas. Its habitat in the Willamette Valley has shrunk to almost nothing. Bring this pretty native bunchgrass back to our gardens. Admirable lawn substitute. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.

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