Geum ‘Blazing Sunset’

Gems are so useful for us because they virtually laugh at heavy clay soils and still perform. But better is rich amended soil and they will bloom- in the case of this cultivar almost non-stop through the heat of summer. 2′ tall divided spikes yield fully double large brilliant orange red flowers. Opulent but with a wildflower charm at the same time. A big ol branch of flowers makes a great cut flower that lasts for ore than a week. Full sun to light shade and regular summer water. Remove spent flowers to encourage more- and there will be quickly. Forms a substantial patch in a few years. Very long lived perennial. Match with blue flowered Salvias for a thrilling visual bonanza. Completely deciduous in winter.

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Geum ‘Herterton Primrose’

Elegant spring blooming perennial that is very graceful, understated but beautiful. From rosette of lush leaves it sends up branched stems at the end of each is a soft primrose colored nodding flower from a madder red calyx. Wonderful. It remains in bloom and actually re-blooms from early April to early June. To 18″ tall in bloom and forming a patch several feet across. Full sun to part shade in rich, moisture retentive soil. Regular summer water is beneficial. Excellent and fun cut flower. Adapted to clay soils as many Geums are and a great reason to grow them in Western Oregon. Winter deciduous.

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Geum triflorum ‘Ochocos’

From one of our favorite mountain ranges in Oregon The Ochocos Greg spotted this great form of Prairie Smoke. Pretty spreading perennial with gray green divided leaves and in summer upright then nodding pink fur covered buds that mostly overlap small pink petals. Its glory shines when these flowers go to seed. The stems turn straight up and fluffy silver seed heads puff up and wave in the breeze like smoke. Full sun and well drained soil of average fertility. Light summer water. To 2′ x 2′ slowly. Completely deciduous in winter. Ultra cold hardy Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction. 

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Gillenia trifoliata (Porteranthus)

Indian Bow root is an elegant perennial native to the eastern U. S.. Finely divided handsome leaves rise up on 3 stems that support a myriad of small delicate pure white flowers in May/June. The foliage remains handsome following bloom and in autumn turns raspberry red  and holding before falling down. Slowly increasing clumps in rich soil with regular summer moisture. Full sun  to quite a bit of high overhead shade. Long lived carefree perennial. Extremely cold hardy. Winter deciduous.

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Heteromeles arbutifolia

Toyon. One of the most widespread shrubs in California this plant also known as Christmas berry ranges right up to the Oregon State line and appears just inside our border. Large evergreen shrub with finely serrated large green leaves. In late spring flat clusters of white flowers appear- they are pretty but nothing compared to the brilliant red berries that follow and ripen in early autumn- remaining showy through winter. Most often they are eaten by birds. AKA Hollywood this shrub is where that city got its name. heh. Fast growing to 13′ tall by 10′ wide in 10 years in our climate if left strictly unpruned. Slightly tender it requires a protected location. Most large established specimens I’ve seen around Portland are placed on the west or south side of large trees. They get the protection of the overstory and it shields them from the coldest winds. No water or regular water- either way, very adaptable shrub that really likes cultivation. Small tree in time. West coast native evergreen shrub for the mildest gardens. Oregon native plant.

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Holodiscus discolor

Ocean Spray is a well known shrub west of the Cascades. It occupies dry woods in part shade to full sun. Large and spreading it displays foamy white clusters of flowers in early summer. They age to a tan color before falling apart. Handsome small scalloped leaves are very pretty and turn yellow to orange in autumn. To 9′ x 7′ very quickly in virtually any soil type. Extremely drought adapted when established- but amenable to light irrigation in summer. Wild look for wild areas, match with native perennials. Often suckers to form patches and it is common for seedlings to show up around the parent plant. These can be moved when young or dispatched. Birds adore the dried seeds in winter. Pretty native in the Rose family. Moderate deer resistance- but sometimes they attack it if it is newly planted so protect. Winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.

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Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. Asplenifolius

Catalina Ironwood is a tree locally native to the Channel Islands off of Southern California. Surprisingly hardy once established and older this spectacular evergreen tree in the rose family boasts amazing divided foliage with symmetrical scalloped serrations along each margin. Very pretty. The glossy aromatic leaves are seen to great advantage against the straight, red exfoliating trunk. In spring flat umbels of white flowers appear all over the tree. Fast growing in youth to its ultimate size here 25’+ tall in 15 years. Requires a protected location- such as against the wall of a large building. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing wind. Little water once established. Wonderful tree for courtyards- protected areas. Fantastic performance at the Oregon Coast. Protect young trees from temperatures below 15ºF- wrap or swaddle in burlap or remay until arctic weather has passed. Reaches its full hardiness several years in the ground. There is a wonderful mature specimen of this tree at the McMennamens in St. John in PDX and scattered large specimens occur around the city. Nice, nice urban tree.

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Nevuisia alabamensis

Cool shrub in the rose family that is native to the state of Alabama. To 5′ x 5′ light green serrated leaves are pretty. In April/May the entire shrub is smothered in white flowers made up entirely of stamens. No petals here. Graceful and durable deciduous shrub for part shade to high overhead shade. Regular soil including heavy clay soils. Light, consistent summer water. Soak once every 2 weeks. Fall color is yellow to light orange. Long lived and easy to grow unusual shrub of great grace. Avoid blasting sun and extreme drought.

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Potentilla aff. gelida

We’ve grown this stunning perennial for years but there has always been some question to the exact species. All we know is that for foliage there really is nothing like it. Large spreading rosettes of pure metallic silver pinnate leaves are gorgeous all season. In summer and not very prolifically sporadic spikes of small yellow flowers rise above the foliage. Not the point of this plant and they can be removed if they are a distraction. To 1′ tall and forming a large patch in RICH, moisture retentive soil in full sun to light shade. Established plants can get by with much less water. Performance is equally as good in either position. Completely deciduous in winter. Beautiful leaves.

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Potentilla gracilis ssp. gracilis

Slender Cinquefoil is a common, somewhat quiet but easy to grow long lived native perennial. Palmate leaves are conspicuously serrated on long stems. In early to mid summer 20″ stems support multiple clumps of sunny single yellow flowers. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched soil. Water to establish the first season then let it go with seasonal rainfall. Wild looking perennial that shines in borders, among shrubs and along the urban wild lands interface. Very pretty clustered at the foot of Holodiscus whose bloom is simultaneous. Loved by pollinators and an important food source for  many butterflies. Native from SW. British Columbia south to San Diego County California. Often found in Ponderosa pine forests. Blooms much more heavily in full sun and improves under cultivation. Winter deciduous. Little deer resistance. Rose family. These are seed raised from Willamette Valley populations so it is the local form.  Oregon native plant.

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