Acaena ‘Blue Haze’

The blue form of New Zealand Burr with finely divided pinnate evergreen foliage that forms a vigorous creeping ground cover. In summer 3″ stems support round white flowers that appear for several weeks. Easy to grow dense-growing plant to 3″ tall and covering up to 3 square feet in a year. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture to speed growth and keep the appearance fresh. Best in part shade to shade- seems to resent hot sun and permanently dry positions. Excellent for a fast cover that blocks weeds and roots as it grows- perfect erosion control for steep shady slopes. Plant on 1′ centers for a fast cover. Adaptable to dry conditions when established.

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Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’

Such a good good plant. The purple-foliaged New Zealand Burr covers the ground in pinnate dark purple foliage. Low spreading evergreen ground cover for full sun to part shade in rich, well drained, moisture retentive soils. Avoid compacted dry soils- it will die out. Instead provide an annual mulch of compost- put it right over the leaves and let the foliage grow up through it. This will give you a dense spectacular ground cover in scintillating purple. Excellent as an understory in containers as well. In summer sporadic 4″ stems support spiky maroon orbs- these are the flowers. New Zealand.

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Alchemilla alpina

Our friend Anna Kulgren shared this handy and pretty little perennial ground cover with us. Palmate grass green foliage is lined in fine silver fur- very pretty for this hardy deciduous plant. In spring clusters of chartreuse flowers foam above the plant. Full sun and rich, well drained soil. To just several inches high (if that) it spreads happily to several feet wide. Just aggressive enough to  out compete weeds.This would be a great low plant between pavers. Also, at the foot of borders or  along paths. Simple, easy to grow plant.

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Aruncus dioicus

Goats Beard is a big bold and easy to grow perennial for part shade and perpetually wet sites. To 4′ tall and as wide with large fountains of pure white flowers in late spring to early summer. Native in seeps and along watercourses, mimic those conditions in your garden and you’ll have success. Long lived plant that develops a woody base. Completely winter deciduous. Fall color is often yellow. Widespread in the PNW. Oregon native plant.

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Eriobotrya japonica

Loquat is much hardier than most people think. Enormous specimens are ancient and scattered around Portland. In my previous garden I had a huge specimen that sailed through the worst winters (below 10ºF) and epic ice and snow with NO damage. Bold, broadleaved evergreen tree. The leaves are huge and look very tropical. In winter buds clad in brown fur support many very fragrant white flowers. Loved by overwintering Anna’s Hummingbirds. If the winter fizzles out and temperature fail to drop below 20ºF you may see the small, sweet fruits ripen in summer to early autumn. Primarily it is grown for its great foliage and convenient size. To 18′ tall and 10′ wide forming a rounded crown in 10 years. Full sun and rich to average soil. Completely drought adapted but summer water will increase the growth rate. Hardy to 5ºF and does not suffer foliage damage until that point is reached. Avoid growing this tree in the windy eastern exposed suburbs of Portland. Excellent tree for a small garden. Japan.

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Filipendula palmata ‘Variegata’

Obscure large herbaceous perennial that finds a happy home in the rich soil and regular moisture of woodlands and margins. To 5′ tall the handsome palmate leaves are edged in white with occasional splashes in the interior. In mid summer plumes of foamy white flowers tower over the plant. Very pretty. Completely deciduous in winter. In time it forms large patches. Woodlands, the back of the border, perpetually wet areas.

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Filipendula ulmaria ‘Aurea’

Gold plants are so popular in our climate perhaps because they add light to the garden when the sky is leaden and dark. This brilliant handsome perennial does just that. Bright gold pinnate leaves are arranged in a circular rosette to 2′ across. In summer 20″ spikes rise and produce foamy white flowers. A good combination overall. Rich, moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. It doesn’t go green in shade either- remains vibrant. Excellent woodland focal point and adaptable to permanently wet sites. Long lived easy to grow perennial.

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Fragaria chiloense ‘Aulon’

Pacific coastal strawberry is a beach native- in fact it occurs all around the Pacific Rim and makes an adorable and durable ground cover on sand dunes. Well this version is like the giant hulk of strawberries. Huge in every way and vigorous? Wow, plant and get out of the way. The large glossy evergreen leaves are up to 6″ across and the single white flowers in spring and summer (sometimes in winter) are large also. The paltry fruit that follows is far from edible. It won’t kill you but you really have to like sour and gritty with millions of seeds.  This is an ideal ground cover for rough sites in full sun to part shade. Don’t bother enriching the soil that will just make this trailing monster roar. Instead err on the side of a little neglect and watch what this native plant can do. Be wary of delicate plants in the vicinity. Evergreen, easy and drought tolerant. Oregon native plant.

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Fragaria vesca ‘Alexandria’

Excellent strain of the delicious woodland strawberry. Forms clumping plants to 1′ x 1′ and a continuous parade of small white flowers means that the season of harvest of the small but sweet berries is equally as long. Line paths in a woodland or just stick one where ever so that when you get hot and hungry in the garden you have snack at arms length. Really easy to grow hardy perennial. Burns in full hot sites, happier with protection from blasting rays and dry soil. Rich soil with regular water leads to results. Semi-deciduous in winter. Not bothered by pests. Well, maybe dogs, Dogs will sneak some berries when you aren’t looking. I love dogs. Oregon native plant.

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Fragaria vesca ‘Golden Alexandria’

Haute edible gardening meet haute ornamental gardening. This cheerful and bright woodland strawberry sets shade alight and continuous small white flowers turn into tasty red berries all summer long. Pair in part shade with Hakenochloa macro ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass for a great color echo and contrast in leaf shapes. To 6″ tall and maintaining a clump in part shade and rich, moisture retentive soil. May self sow and gold seedlings are easy to spot and move or give away. Such a good idea for many reasons.

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