Libertia peregrinans

Orange sword. Striking spiky ever orange monocot in the iris family. Forms upright spreading colonies in rich, well drained soil in full sun to light shade. The curving thin blades color brilliant orange with any kind of environmental stress. Hardier to cold when established. Runs by stolons give it room. In summer with in the evergreen foliage three petalled pure white flowers transform into yellow berry-like structures. Grows well in pots if left undisturbed and protected below 15ºF. In extreme cases it can freeze to the ground (below 10ºF) and will vigorously return. Avoid boggy situations. Moderate deer resistance.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Moraea alticola

Cool Iris relative from South Africa in a genus that is common in warmer climates. This cold hardy high elevation species is peculiar in that it produces just a few very long evergreen leaves that mostly splay out on the ground. At the base of the leaves are fine netting- bulb netting that protects the bottom from damage. In May-July it sends up usually, just one solitary stem. At the top a large Iris flower of the softest yellow opens. The lower petals (the falls) are intricately marked with gray veining around a brighter yellow spot. Its a beautiful flower. But don’t remove it when its done because there are more to come from that very same stem- seemingly from no where a parade of flowers will erupt for weeks. Full sun and well drained rich to average soil. Very easy to grow and long lived. Avoid compacted clay and competition from other plants…it doesn’t like that. Thrives in the baking heat of hellstrips or in rock gardens. A very pretty flower that is an exceptional color. Moderate deer resistance.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Olysinium douglasii

Grass widows or Grass maidens  is a beautiful and fascinating perennial bulb that is native over a wide but scattered part of our region. Most common east of the Cascades it finds a home in several drier portions of the Willamette Valley. The summit of Spencer’s Butte south of Eugene is one location as are appearances in dry prairie in Benton county. One of the very first conspicuous wildflowers to emerge in February/March. From shallow soils, it lifts to 8″ tall with a wide nodding purple flower- the exact hue of each plant is slightly different. A clump of leaves follows the flowers before going neatly summer dormant. Best in rock garden conditions where you rely only on natural rainfall. Spreads in time to form quaint colonies. Once a Sisyrinchium this member of the Iris family is one of the dearest wildflowers for our gardens. Full sun- no shade at all and amend the soil w/ a handful of pumice. Water after planting until summer heat induces dormancy. Then never again.  Seed grown. Avoid crowding from other plants. It can and has been overwhelmed by invasive exotic grasses. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4b -20º to -25ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Sisyrinchium ‘EK Balls’

Diminutive and flowery little Blue Eyed grass that forms dense colonies of grassy green foliage to just 5″ high and is topped with a non-stop display of single purple flowers. Full sun and rich soil with regular summer moisture. Blooms continuously. Forms spreading colonies quickly when happy. Seldom sets seed. Easy to grow long lived plant for a big floral display. Winter deciduous. This cultivar has been grown in England for more than 100 years. Pretty cool.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Sisyrinchium ‘Quaint and Queer’

Sweet little blue eyed grass with a penchant for being different. Eschewing the purple and yellow and blue flowers commonly assigned to this genus this little freak puts out simple flowers with petals that alternate soft tan and purple. Its a groovy combination and adds a wild flower flare on long thin stalks to 18″ tall. Forms increasing clumps of grassy blue/green foliage. Deciduous in winter. Full sun and rich to average well drained soil with light but consistent summer water when established. A good sized clump can measure about 10″ across after several years. A charming perennial that we have found is excellently adapted to the open mindedness of the west coast as well as climate. Easy. Gay Iris relatives are few and far between. Treasure them. Moderate deer resistance.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6a -5º to -10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Sisyrinchium bellum ‘Rocky Point’

Remarkable and improved variety of this west coast blue eyed grass. Much larger flowers than the species are deep purple with a distinct yellow eye. Flowers appear continuously from spring into mid-summer. Rich, moist soil with regular irrigation in full sun prolongs the very showy flower display. To just 6″ tall and multiplying quickly to form colonies. This Blue Eyed Grass does NOT set seed and never becomes weedy Full sun. Good butterfly plant. Winter deciduous. The front of borders, rock gardens, hellstrips. Improves with regular irrigation. Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Is this hardy? Why, yes, yes it is. Mexican Shellflower or just Tigridia is a fun bulb that produces large, immensely showy flowers that last but a day. Three large petals emanate from a wildly speckled center. White, red, orange, yellow, and pink flowers are all represented in this mix. Rich, well drained soil in a warm position- mine are on the south side of my house in average soil and they not only multiply year to year they self sow. The wonderful flowers appear individually for weeks in mid to late summer. Add a handful of all purpose fertilizer when planting and water consistently through bloom. Full sun- no fudging here. Very easy to grow. To 20″ tall in bloom on average. Flowers 3″ wide. -Emerges late in the spring- usually mid-May. Patience.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Watsonia latifolia

A true red flowered Watsonia and one of the hardiest of the genus. Wide green spikey leaves rise to 2′ tall in spring. In late spring to early summer 3′ tall spikes of tubular true red flowers line the stems. Loved by hummingbirds and cut flower aficionados alike. Rich soil in full sun in a protected position- a south or west facing wall is ideal. Freezes to the ground below 20ºF- re-sprouts in spring. Forms an expanding clump to several feet across. A fun genus to experiment with in our climate. Rated as zone 7 in its native high elevation South Africa.  We think its more like 10ºF in our climate. Plant with royal red Lobelia tupa and Rosa ‘Bengal Fire’ for a red extravaganza. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Somewhat deer resistant.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8a 15º to 10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Watsonia pillansii

This is one of the hardiest species of Watsonia Lily. It forms large evergreen clumps of spikey foliage to 3′ tall. In early summer 4′ spikes lines with brilliant orange flowers are stunning. They bloom for weeks. A protected location such as close to a south or west facing wall. Capable of freezing to the ground in extreme cold (below 20ºF) but regrowing vigorously and still blooming in late spring to early summer. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture. If allowed to go completely dry in summer this as with other Watsonias will go dry dormant. It returns with the first rains in autumn. Amazing cut flower. Mulch your clump in autumn. Wonderful South African perennial that is glorious at the Oregon Coast. To 3′ wide eventually.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8a 15º to 10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


We love Watsonias but the most successful climate is truly on the coast. This form is seed from a persistently hardy, well blooming plant that has survived in Portland. The majority of these seedlings will be coral/ orange/ light pink. To 20″ tall forming clumps in RICH, well composted soil in full sun. Regular summer water increases both the growth rate and the cold hardiness. Larger more established clumps are hardier to cold. Amazing cut flower that will produce several dozen spikes off of one good clump. Mostly evergreen. Foliage looks burnt below 20ºF and can freeze to the ground. This winter growing bulb is also immensely drought tolerant with a period of summer drought inducing dormancy. Place in a warm, protected location Near a south facing wall or fence. Mulch for the first few winters with dry leaves. Place in a location where summer dormancy is not an issue. Very fun to grow South African bulb. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Not bothered by deer or elk- well the elk might step on them but they won’t eat them. Fantastic cut flower and clumps become huge there.

Xera Plants Introduction

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8a 15º to 10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: