Himalayan Maidenhair fern is one of our favorite groundcovers for shade and rich, moist soil. The divided fronds in the shape of an arrow are always soft and fresh. In spring this deciduous variety emerges with tones of amber and soft pink before taking on a mature soft green hue. These delicate leaflets are held on thin, wiry black stems to 10″ tall and it spreads prodigiously to form vast colonies. It doesn’t smother neighboring plants however, instead it seems to just flow around such woodland neighbors as Epimedium, Hellebores, even woodland bulbs like Erythronium. Regular summer water. Avoid hard, compacted dry soils. High deer resistance.
Foliage Color: Bronze/Orange
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.
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 incredible 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.
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. In fact, soil that is too rich or too much additional summer water leads to an initially massive plant that is then not long lived. A little rough living adds years and slows down what has got to be natural hybrid vigor. May be tip pruned to encourage density if required- and may even be sheared quite severely and still maintain its self respect. 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.
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 frost. 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. It would make a fine sheared hedge. Any amount of pruning results in a much denser plant. Plant on three foot centers. Underused wonderful shrub.
Callistemon (formerly sieberi) pityoides ‘Moonlight’
We’ve grown this plant for almost 20 years. In fact I got my original plant in the 1990’s from a rare plant dealer in Vancouver, BC. This fine textured shrub has needles posing as leaves that densely line the lithe arching stems. In early summer the whole plant is alight in 2″ moonlight yellow colored brushes. A hummingbirds dream. Following hot summers it may repeat bloom in autumn. To 3′ tall by 4′ wide with a somewhat twisted habit. Following the bottlebrush flowers small woody seed capsules line the former blooms and persist sometimes for years- it adds interest to this already interesting shrub. Very deer resistant and accepting of quite dry conditions once established. Foliage takes on bronze tints in very cold weather. Grows moderately fast to its ultimate size. Well sized for smaller gardens. Requires full sun- at least 6 hours per day for best bloom. Prune AFTER blooming if necessary. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Alpine Australia.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Mt. Kosckuisko’
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 late 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. In time it blooms more heavily. Give it a few years. The starry white stamens are tipped in yellow for a light yellow overall color. Highly deer resistant shrub. Great year round appearance.
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.
Carex praegracilis ‘Chisai’
Excellent dwarf form of our native meadow sedge. To just 6″ tall it forms dense spreading evergreen patches. In spring to summer both male and female flower spikes rise to just a few inches above the foliage. Nice looking compact plant that retains its verdancy through the winter. An admirable substitute for lawn and mowing is not necessary. This species is most widespread east of the Cascades. Its native throughout the west and this form was identified in California. Plant on 10″ centers for a modern massed ground cover. The mid green to ochre green leaves are dense and smother competition. This creates less of a hummock affect and more of a small dome. Very easy to grow. Excels in containers. Full sun to light shade, also very high overhead shade (a tall tree canopy). Amending the soil with compost and fertilizer will increase vigor and green appearance and quicken establishment. Spreads by slowly expanding rhizomes. Excellent between stones or pavers. Tolerates light foot traffic. Not really large enough to be bothered by deer once established. Hardy below 0ºF. This useful plant has great smaller scale, ease of culture, and consistent good looks. This would be an excellent smaller grassy component of a meadow. Established plants can take quite a bit of summer drought. Carex praegracilis is an Oregon native plant.
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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