Jasminum parkeri

Adorable congested little shrubby Jasmine that is at home in rock gardens, shrub borders etc. Dense congested growth is arching. Tiny pinnate leaves line the stems in summer. In May-June a spectacular display of starry yellow flowers swarms this shrub. As new growth follows it holds a lesser show but flowers will appear sporadically until frost. Native to the Himalayan foothills in India, it forms a deciduous dome shape to 2′ x 3′ and dense and rounded. Established shrubs spread slowly by stolons as well. Cold hardy precious shrub for full hot sun and light to little summer water. Occasional summer soaks will yield increased bloom. The fragrance is sophisticated and light and most conspicuous on warm days. Prune after bloom has ended, but almost never necessary as will be evident once it starts to grow. Great self contained shrub that I’ve always thought deserves a place in public or commercial landscapes. Its precious in home gardens too. Loved by bees. Very easy to grow. Matches Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’ in density and formal appearance. Excellent in rock gardens, sunny hillsides. Great for erosion control. Slow and steady growth. Moderate deer resistance.

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Olea europea ‘Frantoio’

We’ve grown this extraordinarily cold hardy european olive selection for years. And its performance in the city of Portland is stellar. Fast growing somewhat wild looking, ever-silver tree to 20′ tall and 15′ wide in 10 years. In time it develops a gnarled trunk adding to the trees character. This is a self fertile selection and sets fruit very heavily even on singular trees. The fleshy moderately sized fruits are most prized for oil. They may be brined. (Follow any recipe on the internet). Be aware of autumn and winter fruit drop- not for patios, instead plant a large ground cover at the base for the unwanted fruit to drop and hide. Birds will eat the olives too- especially larger birds.  Overall, its a pretty tree when the thin blue gray leaves are tossed by the wind revealing their silvery undersides. Fast growing especially if watering is frequent and diligent during youth. Water like crazy for the first summer to spur growth and establishment. Olive trees gain cold hardiness with age/size. Small plants are tender to dead below 15ºF but a three year old, well watered of the same variety will be undamaged at much colder temperatures than that. Excellent performance in ice and snow (see picture below)- bends but does not break. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 15ºF. Drought adapted when established. A warm position.

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Osmanthus fragrans var. aurantiacus

One of the coolest shrubs that we can grow and incredibly rare in our climate. Large evergreen shrub or small tree to 12′ tall and forming a dome. Prolifically nestled among each leaf axil clusters of vivid but small ORANGE flowers with the fragrance of juicy fruit gum  appear in October-November. A shrub in full bloom is detectable many many feet away. Handsome large leaves contrast with pale tan stems and bark. Full sun to part shade and rich to average well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Drought adapted when established. Grows 1′-2′ a year- picks up speed when older. Hardier to cold than most forms of regular Osmanthus fragrans. Protect from subfreezing winds. Seems to require summer heat to set flowers as well as harden off for winter weather. Unlikely to thrive in cool summer climates. (NOTE: this plant seldom looks good in a pot, one of the reasons its not often seen for sale. The fertilizer that is necessary also distorts new leaves- This is not a problem in the ground). We’ve been hesitant to sell this because of the weird leaf distortion but it goes away immediately with installation in the ground. And we just love it so much.

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Osmanthus armatus ‘Jim Porter’

Fantastic large evergreen shrub that always looks its glossy best. Finely serrated glossy, deep green leaves become less spiny as the shrub matures. In November and December tiny slightly fragrant white flowers crowd along the stems. Moderately fast growing to 12′ tall and 6′ wide in 7 years. Full sun to almost full shade in rich to average well drained soil. Handles clay soils with aplomb. Light summer water to none when established. A first rate large hedge or screen. A nice specimen as well. Very tough, cold hardy and easy. Grows 2′-3′ a year

 

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Osmanthus armatus ‘Zipline’

Sometimes the garden goddess smiles on us. I found this sport (a variegated stem) on my Osmanthus armatus ‘Jim Porter’ and I separated and rooted it. It has become a fantastic extremely showy shrub. This is welcome because Osmanthus armatus is not a particularly conspicuous species. It has serrated deep green leaves and small white flowers in autumn that emit a faint but sweet fragrance. Variegation improves the species markedly. The variegation is very stable, I have yet to see any reversions. Each leaf is symmetrically serrated and the variegation is vivid and adds an incredible amount of depth. Large growing shrub to 9′ x6′ in 10 years. Excellent cold hardiness on a brilliant evergreen. Full sun gives the best variegation and I have yet to see it burn in the hottest conditions. Excellent specimen, hedge, or screen. Cut foliage lasts for about 1 week in a vase. Light consistent summer water to establish then very tolerant of dry summer conditions  Cold hardy slightly below 0ºF and durable and long lived. In time it can make small tree status which makes a very striking tree. A wonderful shrub and a happy discovery, See video below.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Osmanthus delavayi

Regal, tough, evergreen shrub that loves our climate and performs beautifully in a host of situations. Small holly like deep blue green leaves are completely obscured by masses of small, white, sweetly fragrant, tubular flowers that crowd the stems in April. Beautiful. To 4′ x 6′ in 6 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade which doesn’t diminish bloom. Rich, to average soil including dry clay soils but never anywhere there is standing water. Extraordinarily drought tolerant when established and will still thrive and bloom with none. Elegant clipped hedge which will become dense and still bloom heavily. The leaves are small enough that shearing does not mangle them. Long lived and cold hardy to 0ºF. Easy, elegant broad leaved evergreen. AKA Delavay Tea Olive.

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Osmanthus fragrans

Long ago I dismissed this tall sweetly scented Tea Olive as hopelessly tender in our climate. Then in a garden in Lake Oswego under towering firs I ran head on into an 18′ tall perfectly happy specimen. Looks like it had never suffered damage. It was just a really nice broadleaved evergreen tree. Copious amounts of small off white flowers crowd the stems beginning in autumn in our climate and then sporadically until spring. The POWERFUL fragrance they emit is that of apricot/freesia/rose and it travels- detectable 20′ away when in full bloom. To 15′-20′ tall apparently. Requires protection as a young plant and it really should not be in an exposed site. Instead locate near a house wall- where you can open the windows and let the perfume flow- and gain added protection. Gains much, much, greater hardiness with age. Summer heat seems to play a role- the more heat in summer the hardier in winter. Full sun to high overhead shade. Grows 2′-3’/yr. when young- aided by consistent summer water. Otherwise established trees need little. Not a plant for cold gardens.

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Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Kaori Hime’

What a sweet little version of Holly Tea Olive. Leaves are tiny compared to the species and the whole plant is a diminuitive version of the that plant. To just 4′ x 4′ in 10 years it eventually gets progressively larger. An extremely floriferous form that condenses hundreds of small white fragrant flowers along the stems in October to December. Slow to finish in a container because of its size- be patient.  Grows about 4″ per year. Foundations, rock gardens, hedges, specimen. Great cold hardiness for a broad leaved evergreen. Drought adapted when established otherwise it tolerates regular irrigation which will eventually speed growth. Cute. Really, freaking cute ancient cultivar from Japan. Rare plant that is slow to increase. Limited quantities.

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Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Akebono’

An exceptional Tea Olive that we love. New growth emerges pink before changing to lacquer white and finally deep green. This period of transition lasts for months and is far showier than the small white flowers that cluster at the leaf axils in autumn. They do, however, emit a sweet perfume that is detectable for many yards. Great cold hardiness for a broad leaved evergreen enduring temps below 0ºF with no harm. Tolerates subfreezing wind and would be a fantastic and showy hedge to block the east wind. To 7′ tall in 7′ years eventually reaching small tree size. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched soil where there is never standing water in summer. Tolerates clay soils on slopes and it is best with about 3 deep soaks per summer once well established. Mulch when planting. Avoid reflected heat. Moderately deer resistant. Blooms on old wood. Prune if needed AFTER blooming has ended. Naturally dense habit. As the shrub matures the leaves which are  mildly prickly in youth change to smooth edged entire leaves. Pretty, tough, dynamic shrub. Japan.

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Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Fastigiata’

Fastigiata is very much a misnomer in the case of this excellent hardy Tea Olive. After growing it for 15 years we can tell you that it in fact forms a perfectly round dense ball. After all that time it is just 4′ x 4′ and perfectly round. In October-November tiny fragrant white flowers crowd the stems. Full sun to part shade in any well drained soil that does not harbor standing water in winter. Very drought tolerant when established. So useful as a NO PRUNE hedge. Perfect size for small gardens. Hardy below 0ºF. The leaves change from prickly to smooth and entire with age. Excellent hedge and very tolerant of subfreezing wind.

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