Aquilegia x ‘Xera Tones’

A little wacky columbine sex in our nursery between our native orange and yellow flowering Aquilegia formosa and the brown and green flowered (and fragrant) Aquilegia viridiflora. The color range of the flowers is truly insane. And many of them are fragrant. They also have inherited the very good leaves of A. formosa- which are decidedly blue and delicate looking. They appear to be long lived perennials just as their parents and you just know that these buggers are going to reseed themselves. Part shade to full sun with regular water.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Arctostaphylos pajaroensis 'Lester Rowntree'

Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Lester Rowntree’

Virtually the same as ‘Warren Roberts’ it is completely interchangeable with that cultivar. Why do we grow ‘Lester’? Aside from having amazing blue foliage and clusters of deep pink flowers from January to March we LOVE Lester Rowntree. She was an amazing, intrepid self-taught botanist who roamed California in the 1930’s in her simple pickup truck camping and botanizing throughout that state. Her seminal book ‘Hardy Californians’  is a must read for any gardener on the west coast. And its not just about plants- Check it out. This shrub is large in time to about 4′ tall by 8′ wide. The pink flowers born on the blue foliage is a sublime combination. Following bloom new spring growth is a fantastic red/ orange before settling to blue. Bark is a smooth mahogany with time and the trunks are sinuous and winding. This is an excellent shrub in our climate. Once established it requires absolutely no supplemental water- ever. Sailing through temps in the 100’s and bone dry with NO visible signs of stress. Our kind of shrub. It is cold hardy and completely climate adapted. Hell strips, dry borders, informal shrubberies. Mix with Ceanothus, Grevilleas, Halimiums. Very pretty year round.

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Arctostaphylos pajaroensis 'Myrtle Wolf'

Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Myrtle Wolf’

Always at the top of the list of Arcto Afficianados this is not often seen in gardens. An excellent winter blooming Manzanita that has been a fantastic performer in the PNW. Upright growing shrub with blue foliage- new growth is briefly tinted red. In January to March copious bright pink clusters of urn shaped flowers appear. Anna’s hummingbirds are not far behind. To  5′ x 5′ in 6 years in full sun and average, well drained soil. No summer water when established. Excellent winter blooming shrub that is always good looking. This is a reliable cultivar for spectacular floral shows.  Place close to an exit or entrance where you can stare into the pendulous pink flowers and the winding branch structure. Supply good air circulation. Photos by Chris Hembree

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Arctostaphylos pajaroensis 'Warren Roberts'

Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Warren Roberts’

Big beautiful Manzanita that has thrived at our very cold wholesale nursery for almost 20 years and has never been harmed by weather. To 4′ tall and up to 8′ wide the new growth emerges a fiery orange red before settling down to a nice gray/blue. In late winter pink tinted urn shaped flowers decorate the whole shrub. The combination of the blue foliage and strongly pink flowers is magical in winter.  Well drained average to poor soil in full sun is ideal but it can get by with less than ideal conditions. Water to establish the first summer then none in subsequent years. This is a great landscape shrub that retains its good looks year round. Very adaptable to garden situations where water is curtailed. Long season of bloom in February to April. Blushed small apple shaped fruits are stripped quickly by wildlife. Foundations, hillsides, sterile road cuts. Adaptable and very pretty shrub.

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Arctostaphylos pumila 'Grey Leaf Form'

Arctostaphylos pumila ‘Grey Leaf Form’

Surprisingly happy in our climate in its native Monterey Bay area of California its known colloquially as Dune manzanita. Very gray blue leaves are not huge and hug the stems tightly on a compact moderately growing Manzanita. To 5′ tall and wider over time. In mid winter to early spring white flowers tinted pink appear in clusters at the tips of the plant. The trunk becomes deep mahogany brown over time and contrasts greatly with the light colored foliage. All around fantastic shrub for full sun and average, unimproved soils with little irrigation once established. Not as fast growing as other Manzanitas, usually less than 5″ per year.Very pretty plant that mixes wonderfully in droughty shrub borders, and even as a foundation shrub. Makes a nice life in a containers for years. Long lived. Probably harbors some deer resistance. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Native to a restricted range on the central California coast. Great performance on the Oregon coast.

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Arctostaphylos x ‘John Dourley’

Exceptional low growing Manzanita with new growth emerging electric red and settling to a mature gray/blue. In late fall to early spring copious pale pink flowers appear- very pretty in concert with the vibrant new foliage and older blue leaves. To just 3′ tall by 6′ wide very shortly. Bark is cinnamon colored in time. Full sun and average well drained soil with great air circulation. Little to no summer irrigation. Extremely drought adapted hybrid that many consider to be one of the best. Excellent slope cover. Good appearance at all times. This durable and adaptable Manzanita is excellent for landscapes where little maintenance is required. Its handsome mounding dense habit precludes pruning and it blooms for an extended period, often beginning as early as November and continuing to spring. Great drought adapted, weed smothering evergreen shrub that is constantly attended by Anna’s hummingbirds in bloom. Very easy to grow.

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This is a relatively cold hardy and spectacular bottlebrush. Very upright growth on a vertical growing plant with distinctly blue leaves. In late spring soft yellow thick bottle brush flowers appear in a massive display. Hummingbirds and people come running. The glowing flower color set against a blue backdrop is sublime. Full sun (no shade, don’t even try) in a warm, protected location such as a south facing wall or fence. Moderately fast growing in the ground to 12′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. It can suffer considerable damage in our coldest winters, but established plants have recovered from temperatures below 10ºF. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed after blooming has ended. Rows of button shaped woody seed capsule follow and persist for several years. Spectacular and easy at the coast. Aromatic foliage has some deer resistance. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 20ºF. Blooms well in a container. Tasmania. Water to establish then occasionally in summer. Avoid strong subfreezing wind.

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Cerinthe major var. purpurescens

Cerinthe major var. purpurescens

Cool mediterranean annual that we love for its complex combination of bract and flower colors. To 14″ tall the nodding bell shaped flowers are blue with a white ring around the lip. The base of these flowers is yellow. Large bracts protect the flowers and turn from blue green to shades of indigo as they mature. A cool season annual that often self sows. These seedlings cruise through winter without much of a hitch and are up and blooming by mid spring. By the heat of july they quickly die setting profuse seed and disappearing. Light additional water besides rainfall will lengthen the show. Seedlings appear where they are happy- this can even be the cracks in the sidewalk. Seedlings are easy to spot and move or dispatch if unwanted. Nice in spring containers. Plant with early blooming Euphorbias for a real picture of yellow and blue contrast.

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Cunninghamia lanceolata var. glauca

Cunninghamia lanceolata var. glauca

This form of China Fir we love for its bright blue vivid foliage. A tall growing conical tree to 40′ eventually. To about 25′ tall in 10 years. A prickly but beautiful conifer that grows fairly fast when young. The boughs eventually house small, cute, ok, damned adorable little wooden pinecones that persist through spring. In time the trunk becomes gray and fissured. A sky line tree with great age and old specimens dot the Portland Metro area. Very drought adapted when established. Great screen or specimen. Give it plenty of room to grow in FULL sun- no shade and rich to average well drained soil. Very good architectural presence. Cold hardy and easy to grow- long lived tree. Moderately deer resistant.

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Datura wrightii 'High Altitude Form'

Datura wrightii ‘High Altitude Form’

LOCO WEED. We discovered this native SW perennial growing very high up east of the cost of the Sierra at above 6500′. Damn it gets chilly up there. Herbaceous perennial that emerges with large, bold, silver-blue leaves. Sprawling to several feet wide in a full, hot position with exceptional drainage. All summer huge white goblet like flowers unfurl from curiously colored gray buds. You can literally watch the flowers open in the evening. They glow in the moon light and emit a soft fragrance. By 2:00 the following day the flower has withered. <sad face> but more are in the wings. Begins blooming in late June and repeats to frost. Completely deciduous (gone) in winter. Good drainage in a hot position- where the soil warms early. Spectacular. Toxic- but what garden plants are not? High deer resistance.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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