Erica mammosa 'Orange'

This is a tender Erica inland. It prefers the Oregon coast (Zone 9) and it performs there wonderfully. A large growing S.African heath that displays copious large tubular orange flowers from Aug-Nov. Excellent potted plant if you protect it from temperatures below 20ºF. Move to an unheated garage or bright cool room during times of arctic air. To 3′ x 3′ and mounding. Cut flowering stems last quite a while in water. Full sun and rich, to average soil that drains. Regular summer water. Not a particularly fussy plant. Takes coastal conditions like a champ. Spectacular in bloom. Moderate deer resistance. South Africa.

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Erica terminalis

Erica terminalis

Tree heathers fascinate us and this widespread species of southern to northwestern Europe makes a fantastic, drought adapted garden plant. Fine needle like green foliage lines strongly vertical growth. In mid summer the tips of the stems produce many urn shaped pale pink blossoms that are showy for up to 6 weeks. Following the bloom period these remain on the shrub and turn a russet color adding to its charm. To 3′ x 3′ in 4 years. Full sun and well drained average soil with light summer water to establish. Once you have it going it requires no supplemental water. Great for dry areas, gravel borders, hellstrips. Excellent fine textured shrub that develops a shredded gnarled brown trunk with time. Moderate deer resistance. Gains drought adaptation with age. As with most ericaceous plants it must build up a large root system over time and then it is drought adapted and will sail through the driest summers without fainting.

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Gaultheria shallon

Salal. An iconic native shrub that occupies the understory of the forests from the coast to the Cascades- in the Willamette Valley its restricted to the shadiest, mesic environs. A mounding evergreen that forms large colonies in time. Ranges in height from 2′ to 6′ depending upon its situation. Spread is indefinite when happy. In spring chains of white urn shaped flowers transform into edible berries. Very handsome foliage is used as long lasting cut material and is sometimes marketed as ‘lemon leaf’.  Can be tricky to establish. Shade to part shade is best in rich, humus rich soil with regular water. To establish water, water, water. And apply a liberal deep mulch.  Avoid hot sun and compacted dry soils. Once it gets going, its yours forever. Occurs naturally in mesic/shady environs around Portland.  Mulch annually to accumulate a layer of organic material that this spreading shrub craves. Oregon native plant.

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Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’

One of the best variegated Pieris on the market. This plant was brought to the U.S. by Gossler Farms in Springfield, Oregon and has gained great popularity. In our experience the ‘little’ refers not to the overall size of the plant- which is eventually large 5′ x 5′- but to the smaller size of the leaves. And each leaf is outlined in white with a darker green center. In full sun this shrub sets tons of chains of pink buds which open to white flowers in Feb/March. The overall fine texture combined with the white variegation gives this plant a very graceful mein. New growth emerges salmon and ages to light yellow before its final destination of green and white.  Occasionally shows all green reversions. Simply cut these away.  Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained soil. Grows more quickly with regular summer irrigation but established plants sail through summer with a minimum. Very hardy to cold- and tolerates subfreezing wind well.

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Vaccinium nummularia

Himalayan Whortleberry. Cool, compact, slow growing very nice looking evergreen blueberry relative from the Himalayas. Small round leaves are dense on the stem and very symmetrical. New growth arrives bright red before settling to deep green. In spring striking red and white striped pendant flowers arrive in clusters. If pollinated they produce small blue/black tasty berries ( so far this has been rare for us). To 3′ x 3′ in 6 years for full shade to part shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular summer moisture. Excellent performance in a woodland or along a margin. Avoid dry compact soils which it intensely dislikes. An annual application of mulch will keep the roots cool and moist during the heat of summer.

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Vaccinium ovatum

Evergreen huckleberry is a fantastic native broadleaf shrub. It is well adapted to shady sites and will accept full sun with regular irrigation. Well established shrubs require less water. Rich, humusy woodland soil is its favorite haunt and it will grow moderately fast to a rounded outline of 8′ tall and 6′ wide. The new growth is a beautiful salmon pink before changing to deep green. In spring and early summer small white urn shaped flowers are pretty and transform into tasty black fruits in autumn. Amazing in muffins, pies.It has an interesting natural distribution along the immediate coast in most of Oregon but veering inland at Douglas County to almost the Cascade foothills. In Puget Sound it seems to be most prominent within sight of salt water.  Easy to grow good garden plant. Oregon native plant.

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