Anemanthele lessoniana

Pheasant Tail Grass is a clumping large arching grass with colorful surprises throughout the year. To 30″ tall and a little wider the army green arching foliage takes on dramatic orange and red tints if given just a little stress. In summer fine tawny orange/brown glossy seedheads arch gracefully within the foliage. Full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil with consistent summer moisture- a little dryness and wham! You get those fiery tints. Requires a protected location in gardens, avoid full on exposure and cold winds. Its best application though is as a large graceful container subject. And the drainage adds to cold hardiness. Remove seedheads before they mature as it does like to seed around. Mulch for arctic weather. Moderate deer resistance. New Zealand.

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Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Lester Roundtree’

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 Roundtree. 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 ‘Flowering Shrubs of California’ 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 x ‘Sunset’

One of the very best landscape shrubs for western Oregon. Named for the 50th anniversary of Sunset Magazine way back in 1977- its an excellent, garden tolerant manzanita. Dense growth emerges orange/red before settling to a mature fashionable army green. The stems and leaf margins are outlined in fine white hairs- an elegant detail. In spring sporadic white flowers appear. Rounded dense shrub for full sun and average to poor soils, including the most compacted. This should be a basic landscape shrub in our climate- To 4′ x 6′ it covers the ground well. A perfect candidate for such places as frying hot circular planters in a sea of asphalt. This remarkable shrub will thrive and not flinch without a drop of supplemental irrigation- and it will still always look good. May be tip pruned to encourage density if required. The shredding cinnamon/brown bark is handsome with time but the foliage mostly obscures it. Excellent cold hardiness. A truly climate adapted shrub. A xera favorite shrub that we’ve grown for close to 20 years.

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Baeckea gunniana

Heathmyrtle as it is known is a fine textured shrub that closely mimics Erica (Heath) and is an aromatic member of the Myrtle family- Hence the common name. The fine needle leaves emit a powerfully sweet menthol perfume when bruised. In winter the entire arching dense shrub takes on vivid copper tints. Early summer brings boughs spangled in tiny white flowers like snow. To 3′ tall and  4′ wide in 5 years in rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer water. Pairs perfectly with Heaths and Heathers with identical cultural requirements. Strong deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF or below. Wonderful evergreen shrub. A Xera favorite. High mountains of Tasmania.

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Callistemon (sieberi) pityoides

I got this form of alpine bottlebrush almost 30 years ago. From a municipal bus driver from Vancouver, BC. He grew hardy exotics and I actually had to go that far to source this cold hardy bottlebrush. Fine ochre-green needle like foliage on curiously winding stems. Eventually forms an upright rounded shrub but can be wonky too. In late spring 2″ condensed soft but luminous bottlebrush flowers. And in most years again in autumn. Rich to average soil Tolerates heavy clay and drought. Moderate deer resistance. Fun little shrub that provides both a foliar and flower texture that is unusual in our landscapes. 3′ x 3′ in 7 years. Best with occasional summer water. Full sun. Mountains of Australia.

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Callistemon pityoides ‘Mt. Kozuisko’

Dwarf alpine Bottlebrush that we like most as a clipped hedge. Dense rounded shrub composed of fine olive green needles. To 3′ x 3′ in time. Full sun and very little water when established. It can also tolerate regular summer irrigation. Sporadically, in spring starry cream colored bottlebrush flowers appear. Extremely hardy to cold and very deer resistant evergreen. Alpine Australia. This durable shrub with a fine texture makes a fantastic clipped hedge. It can be trained as one solid shrub or separated into spheres. Pruning is done just once a year in early summer. This can sacrifice blooms but the effect is striking for a small cold hardy, drought tolerant, low prune hedge.

 

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Carex comans ‘Olive Oil’

We found this unique foliage color in a seed batch of regular old green Carex comans. Such a cool khaki/olive color that we named it ‘Olive Oil’ and have been producing it ever since. To 1′ tall by up to 3′ wide in rich, moist soil in full sun to part shade. In summer much longer trailing stems hide little brown blooms that morph into very fecund seeds. Excellent combined with chartreuse/gold leaved plants. Great in containers. Not drought tolerant. Evergreen.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Carex tenuiculmis

We playfully refer to this large sedge as rootbeer grass. Its that color of ochre brown and it shine on this plant all year. One of the hardiest and longest lived New Zealand sedges for full sun, well drained soil and light consistent summer water. To 14″ tall but spreading up to 3′ across. Trailing stems hold little brown flowers in summer. Very good winter appearance and it has survived temperatures below 10ºF with good drainage and full sun. Elegant trailing down a hillside. Very good in large containers including winter containers. Easy to grow. Moderate deer resistance. Give it room to spread.

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Carex testacea

Wonderful orange Carex that is a great (if temporary] garden plant. Clumping and upright then broadly arching. Leaves take on intense copper tints for most of the year. Excellent plant for containers, winter containers. Evergreen and for full sun to light shade. Regular to rich, well drained soil- average summer water. Not drought tolerant over the long haul, so at least a soak once a week in summer. To 10″ tall x 20″ wide. Give it room to reach its full dimension. Containerized plants will drape gracefully over the edge. Do not cut back hard in spring- limit your tidying to removing dead/ratty leaves. If you do have to cut it back hard then make sure you apply some all organic fertilizer and water consistently to speed recovery. Average lifespan 3-5 years. Avoid full exposure to subfreezing wind. New Zealand.

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Chionochloa rubra

Snow Tussock from alpine New Zealand is a clump forming grass of great grace and texture. The fine upright growing blades are a soft taupe color that shines in the sunlight. Most often the tips of this grass become cere and it gives it a wilder look. To 2′ x 2′ and a tightly clumping evergreen that increases very slowly. In summer stems clad in tan oat like flowers dangle in a pretty way from the plants top. Full sun to part shade in Well drained, rich soil with light consistent summer moisture. Appreciates an open exposure- avoid neighbors that are too rambunctious or close. Stunning in a mass planting. A great grass for our climate. Do not divide,  or move once established.

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