Achillea millefolium, common yarrow

Achillea millefolium

This is the green foliage form of our wild yarrow. A rambunctious, easy to grow evergreen perennial for rough sites in well drained soil in full sun. Continuously from spring to autumn ‘umbels’ of pure white flowers rise 18″ above low spreading aromatic, finely divided ferny foliage. Most often it is green with variants that have gray foliage from time to time. Low water perennial that can even be used as a lawn substitute. A single plant spreads to several feet wide. Moderate deer resistance.  Butterflies oh the butterflies.This is a pioneer perennial and will often out compete less robust native perennials. Its best use is as a contained weed. It is great for pollinators Individual plants rarely persist more than 3 years.  Oregon native plant.

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Achillea millefolium 'Pretty Woman'

Achillea millefolium ‘Pretty Woman’

Of all the selections of our native yarrow this stands out for many reasons. The ‘umbels’ of flowers are a rich red which holds the color for an extended period. It fades only slightly to a rust red with time. Its vigorous and easy to grow. And it re-blooms reliably if spent flowers are removed. All the way until frost and sometimes longer. A very, very good long-lasting cut flower. To 18″ tall forming spreading colonies. Semi-evergreen. Low water when established in well-drained soils. Excellent to moderate deer resistance. Appreciates an annual application of compost.  Oregon native plant.

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Achillea millefolium ‘Salmon Beauty’

Achillea millefolium ‘Salmon Beauty’

Yarrow is an unbeatable native perennial that blooms for a LONG time with a minimum amount of effort from the gardener. Foamy, ferny gray green leaves creates a low carpet of evergreen foliage. Rising up on 2′ spikes flat umbels of soft salmon flower create landing pads for pollinators. The flowers fade lightly after opening for a wonderful multicolor effect. Remove spent flowers, apply a little water and it will repeat bloom until frost. Best in lighter soils that are enriched but drain quickly. Best floral displays occur with light consistent summer water though it is very drought tolerant when established. Tolerates the toughest, hottest sites. Admirable if a little pungent cut flower. LOVED by pollinators. Creates a growing patch to several feet wide quickly. Blooms spring- autumn. Moderately deer resistant. Borders, dry borders, hell strips, etc. Oregon native plant.

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Achillea millefolium ‘Willamette Gray’

Greg got seed of this distinctive form of Yarrow near Oregon City. Unlike most garden varieties that are derived from European stock which very much appreciates rich soil and regular water to perform and those forms are also not pungent. We wanted our locally native yarrow that is incredibly durable, has gray foliage that is pleasantly aromatic with broad white flowers. This is a much more climate adapted perennial. Its found throughout all of the state, and can be found anywhere from meadows to surprisingly deep woods. This is a very thrifty plant and once established it really doesn’t need supplemental summer water. Spreads to form finely divided low gray foliage. The flat umbels of pure white flowers are very large and this is a landing pad for all pollinators as well as butterflies. To 20″ tall in bloom. Excellent meadow component with clumping grasses, annuals, and bulbs. A great plant for hell strips and hot aspects too. Very easy and forgiving perennial. Blooms May-August. Mostly evergreen save for the very harshest winters. Not bothered by deer.  Oregon native plant.

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Achillea sibirica

Achillea sibirica

A wonderful relatively new Achillea (Yarrow) from Siberia. It brings not only larger chalk pink flowers in bold umbels it is cold hardy to USDA Zone 2. This plant will never freeze out.  Forms expanding clumps with upright stems clothed in glossy long green leaves with small teeth. On 22″ stems umbels of flowers appear from May to August. After the first flush of flowers shear away and water and another round will commence. The long stems make great long lasting cut flowers too. Loved by a bazillion pollinators, hover flies, bees of all kinds swarm the flat landing pad. Full sun to very light shade in rich, soil that drains. Incorporate some oxygen in by double digging. Good companion plants are Agastaches and Penstemons as well as ornamental grasses. Completely deciduous in winter. Light consistent summer H20 to establish. Long lived perennial. Moderate deer resistance. Elegant perennial. Siberian Yarrow.

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Artemesia versicolor 'Seafoam'

Artemesia versicolor ‘Seafoam’

Lovely, soft gray curls make up the foliage of this low spreading perennial. Easy to grow and long lived plant for full sun and well drained soil. Little summer water when established. Takes the hottest aspects with aplomb and remains good looking all season. At the end of summer stems extend to produce small white flowers. Not really showy but it expands the overall texture of the plant. Completely winter deciduous. Cut back hard in early spring. Forms woody stems at the base and is a quite permanent plant. Flows in and around other plants gracefully. Moderate deer resistance. To 1′ x 3′ in a season.

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Artemisia douglasiana

Many learn this plant as Douglas Mugwort but its more official common name is Douglas Sagewort.  This aromatic vigorous perennial is common throughout western Oregon. It happily inhabits everywhere from ditches to the headlands at the beach. The plant has medicinal qualities that were used by native Americans and they also used the pungent smoke to ward off the spirits of the dead. To 3′ tall and spreading underground by rhizomes. This is a very vigorous plant when established, give it room and the respect it requires. In improved situations it can swamp other plants so best to leave your patch of sagewort to its own devices. Mix with other plants of similar vigor- Spiraea x pyramidata or Rosa nutkana. Give it at least 5′  x  5′ feet to roam. In summer plumes of off-white flowers produce a haven for pollinators. This member of the daisy family brings them from long distances. Very long lived deciduous perennial with long indented leaves that are dark green on top with an underside of pure silver. This makes this almost woody perennial very easy to spot in breezy conditions  It appreciates average soil and light water to establish.. If it flags in drought you may give it a deep drink in summer to refresh. Loved by a host of butterflies. Doesn’t need much love to perform. Oregon native plant.

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Baccharis pilularis ssp. consanguinea

This is the Willamette Valley form of coyote brush (bush)- also known as chaparral broom. A relatively short lived evergreen shrub in the aster family. Indeed this form blooms in autumn through winter with small brushes of white plumed flowers on female plants. Smaller yellow flowers on males. Typical of the steepest cliffs abutting the ocean and in the Willamette Valley it populates recent road cuts and fire zones. Often it will be seen all alone in the center of a Willamette Valley field. Native inland from northern Marion county to Douglas county. Very fast growing and drought adapted daisy bush for rough sites and poor soil. Improved soil will yield an enormous shrub so its difficult to pin point an exact size but everything from 4′ tall in poor soil with no summer water to 12′ x 12′ in rich soil with irrigation. I suggest no irrigation after planting. Excellent fodder for insects and birds. It may be pruned heavily in spring and will quickly regenerate. Foliage is deep glossy green but fine textured. Not bothered by deer. Excellent native companion for Manzanita, Grevilleas. VERY EASY to grow. average life span 10 years. Good instant plant for a native garden, but not long term. Native from N. Oregon coast south to Baja California. A prominent component of the California beach chaparral and on the Oregon coast as well. Common associated plants on the coast are Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and Mahonia nervosa. In the Willamette Valley its primary role has been ursurped by Scot’s Broom. Too bad.  Oregon native plant.

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Berkheya purpurea

Berkheya purpurea

Fascinating daisy from South Africa with intensely thorny, conspicuously ridged stems and throughout summer a long display of large light purple to white daisies. The interior of the flower is much darker than the petals and provides great contrast. Each 4″ wide flower faces outwards and is easy to see. To 30″ tall from a slowly spreading clump. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Drainage is important but so is good care during summer to establish an extensive root system. Excellent on sunny slopes. Add a yearly application of compost to spur vigor and blooms. Full sun to very light shade. All together a very spectacular perennial. Worth the effort to make it happy. Very unusual cut flower. Completely winter deciduous. Rated as zone 6, In our observations over the years it is more like the low end of zone 7. Mulch in autumn. Moderate deer resistance.

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Berlandiera lyrata flower

Berlandiera lyrata

The so called Chocolate Daisy of the great plains we love for the sweet chocolate scented yellow daisy flowers in summer. Forms a rosette of humble green leaves and then repeatedly in summer it sends up the wonderfully scented flowers on long stems to 1′ high. Full sun and well drained soil of average to rich fertility. Regular summer water encourages more bloom but it takes dry conditions when established. Rock gardens, gravel gardens, borders, containers. To 18″ wide when happy. Full all day sun. Lifespan: 3-5 years in our experience in Oregon. The yellow petals surround a soft green center- makes a nice scented cut flower.

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