Origanum libanoticum

From the middle East (Syria, Lebanon) this hop flowered species of Origanum has been a stalwart performer in our climate. Low and spreading stems create hop shaped structures that house the little protruding hot pink flowers. The hops are mostly light green but can take on pink tints. They are fully pendulous and the best way to display this plant is to site it on the edge of a precipice or wall or from the side of a container. To 8″ tall and 2′ wide when happy. Rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Begins blooming in May and continues unabated to September. One of the parents of several popular hybrids but we like the straight species quite a bit- it seems tougher. Graceful. Dies to a very low mound of foliage in winter. Cut back the previous seasons dead stems in early spring. Cold hardy and very showy.

My Favorites

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


Origanum x ‘Bristol Cross’

Unusual hybrid that has created some striking effects for an ornamental oregano. Distinctly upright stems to 2′ tall, beginning in June groups of up and outwards facing pink small hope like structures bear tiny violet pink flowers. Bloom goes on virtually for months and even when officially done these “hops” remain and change to a deep madder red. A large plant with dozens of upright stems bearing these remnants of flowers is really cool. Full sun and rich, well drained soil. Consistent light watering. Detach the whole stem from the base as a long lasting unusual cut flower. Dies to a low rosette of leaves in winter. Cut back the dead remaining upright stems in spring. Cold hardy. Photo credit: Grace Peterson- thanks Grace.

My Favorites

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


Origanum x ‘Xera Cascade’

A chance hybrid announced itself in our nursery with these insanely long hop flowered blooms. A low spreading perennial with distinctively blue foliage. In summer many, many stems emerge bearing clusters of flowers. They are shaped like long skinny hop fruits with tiny violet flowers that protrude through the layers of the hop structure. That structure is remarkable. Taking on purple and blue tints it begins to elongate and doesn’t stop until its fully 4″ long. They come in multitudes- this plant lives to bloom. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with light summer water. To 1′ tall and 2 wide in a season. The floral display goes on well into fall. Place near a wall where it will happily cascade. Excellent in large containers. Hardy and easy to grow. Cut back old material in early spring. A new low batch of foliage will already be present.

Xera Plants Introduction.

Photo credit: Chris Hembree

My Favorites

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


Phlomis (anitolica) ‘Lloyd’s Variety’

Aka Jerusalem Sage. This is a very compact but floriferous form of this evergreen perennial/subshrub. To 3′ x 5′ and forming a dome of thick gray/green foliage. In summer spikes extend and display yellow flowers in whorls around the stem. Very symmetrical and loved by pollinators. Surprisingly up close it is very fragrant reminding me somewhat of the sweet clovey scent of Dianthus. Long, blooming for 4-6 weeks. Full hot sun and rich to average well drained soil. Ideal on hot slopes. Light summer water aids vigor but it can take very dry conditions once established. Easy to grow, long lived plant. Mix with other hot sun dwellers and other mediterranean natives. Moderate deer resistance.  Evergreen.

My Favorites

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


Phlomis aurea

Wow, a species with golden leaves. Not variegation. How cool is that and it is a cool old gold color that the felted thick leaves glow. Rounded evergreen shrub to 30″ tall and 3′ wide forming a dome. In summer whorls of large yellow flowers surround the stems and kind of blend in with the foliage. Wonderful year round appearance. A plant I nominate as #1 Hellstrip plant of the year. It thrives in the heat reflected off the asphalt and it requires absolutely no water whatsoever when established. Plant for foliage and the flowers will follow. Glows in the dead of winter. Moderate deer resistance.

My Favorites

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


Phlomis fruticosa ‘Quilted Leaf’

A really handsome and unique form of Jerusalem Sage. The large gray leaves are spongy and quilted and good looking all the time. This woody perennial forms a large spreading plant to 4′ tall and 5′ wide in full sun and rich to average well drained soil. Regular light summer water- to establish then drought adapted. Very drought adapted when established. Blooms June to August in our climate and makes a great paring with smaller low water full sun woody shrubs such as Cistus or Ceanothus. The whorls of soft yellow flowers born on upright stems have the sweet fragrance of cloves in close proximity. A very cool cut flower that lasts for more than a week in a vase. Loses some leaves in winter- gets them back quickly in spring. Wonderful on sunny hillsides. Moderate deer resistance. This form will often have a re-bloom with the return of fall rain. Give it room to spread out horizontally.

My Favorites

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


Plectranthus (Isodon) longituba

I can’t imagine my garden in autumn now without this crazy late blooming blue, blue blue perennial. To 6 ‘x 6’ long stems terminate in clouds of bright blue guppy shaped flowers beginning in mid-October and continuing usually until the first hard freeze- often mid-December in the city. Part shade in deep rich moisture retentive soil. Kind of a quiet plant until autumn and then holy shit. Clouds of blue guppies people. Clouds of blue guppies. Often it gets yellow fall color simultaneously with this display. Incredible cut flower at a weird time of the year. Regular water all through summer. This plant gets big, big, big. Perfectly hardy to cold way below zero. So happy I found you Rabdosia now Isodon which sounds more like a freaking Dinosaur than a groovy late fall blooming perennial. Give this plant room, it will get much larger than it looks in a nursery pot. It can be nearly tucked behind shrubs or taller late season perennials. It often turns a soft straw color in concert with the blue flowers. Foliage out of flower is somewhat dull but the fall display makes it worth it. Native to Hokkaido, Japan. Formerly known as both isodon and before that Rhabdosia. Seems to have settled into the mostly tender genus Plectranthus. Fabulous late season perennial.

 

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5a -15º to -20ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Prostanthera cuneata

Australian Alpine Mint Bush is a great, dense, low growing evergreen shrub for full sun and a warm position. The deep green small aromatic foliage is glossy and tightly congested on the stems. In late spring relatively large (compared to the leaves) cupped white flowers have an interior dotted with purple. Dense growing formal looking evergreen  in average well drained soil. To 2′ x 3′ in 5 years. Avoid the coldest gardens. Hardy in correct siting to 5ºF. Forms a low weed smothering layer. Moderately fast growing. Regular summer water. Moderate deer resistance. This is a true mint in a woody form. It occupies the highest sub alpine areas of the Great Dividing Range in Australia. There it can be found in herb communities with such shrubs as Leptospermum namadgiensis and Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. Niphophila (Snow Gum) and various tufted grasses. Wonderful aromatic shrub that is deep green year round.  Consistent water during the hottest times of the year.

My Favorites

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


Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata

As a child in the country near Eugene western self heal was one of the first wildflowers I learned to identify. And its a beautiful and fascinating native perennial. This ‘weed’ circles the world but our locally native form is an exceptional improvement. Lance shaped basal leaves (the trick for identifying our local sub-species) forms stout upright stems. They are crowned with ‘cones’ that have whorls of showy deep purple tubular flowers- they appear continuously for up to 6’weeks into August decorating the tops of a 1′ tall plant. Spreads to form a clump as wide and appreciates average to enriched soil in full sun. Regular summer water increases vigor and lengthens the bloom time. A very charming native cut flower that produces new blooms continuously after its picked. This is a very important plant for native pollinators. Also, it differs from the pan-weedy form in larger cones and much showier flowers. Its a larger plant as well. Adapts to clay soils with regular irrigation to establish. A natural magnet for butterflies. Blooms May-August. In our region it is now found primarily away from the valley in upland valleys to alpine meadows and scree.  A good native weed that is a great garden plant as well.  Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Rosmarinus (Salvia) officinalis ‘Portland Violet’

After almost 30 years of selling plants I can say that usually the first plant to go into a garden is Rosemary. And why not? It loves our climate. Its drought tolerant beyond measure and heck its even edible. And that fragrance. One thing you might not think of is winter flowers. This form from an ancient plant that has unique flowers. From September to June it is alight in clouds of soft violet blue flowers. Flowers all winter! Excellent as a specimen or hedge. This cold hardy variety can inhabit the coldest gardens. And my god there is always pork. To 3′ tall x 5′ wide in 10 years. Full sun and average soil that drains. Light to little summer water required. Moderate deer resistance. Salvia rosmarinus

Xera Plants Introduction

My Favorites

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