Adiantum venustum

Adiantum venustum

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.

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Anemanthele lessoniana

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 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 x 'Sunset'

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.

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Baeckea gunniana

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 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.

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Callistemon (formerly sieberi) pityoides 'Moonlight'

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.

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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.

 

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Carex comans 'Olive Oil'

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 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.

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Carex tenuiculmis

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

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

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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Crocosmia x crocosmiflora 'Solfaterre'

Crocosmia x crocosmiflora ‘Solfaterre’

The market is full of Crocosmia selections but we think this one is a classic. The foliage is a dramatic bronze color and the spikey leaves are a great backdrop to the apricot yellow flowers that occur in July to September. To 2.5′ tall and forming an expanding clump. Full sun to part shade in rich, moisture retentive soil with light but consistent summer water. It makes a very good cut flower that lasts in a vase. Combine with other sun loving late summer blooming perennials. Completely deciduous in winter. Moderate deer resistance.

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Cryptomeria japonica 'Birodo'

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Birodo’

Wonderful easy to grow dwarf form of Japanese Cedar. This form has not scales but more like tiny needles. In summer the foliage is deep green. With cooler weather it takes on amazing russet tints. Very slow growing to 3′ x 2′ in 8 years. Incredibly dense growth habit gives the appearance of diligent pruning- but none is required. Extremely drought tolerant. For full sun and little summer water once established.  Rock gardens, containers, gravel gardens. With or without other dwarf conifers. High deer resistance. An excellent truly long term dwarf conifer that retains its good looks. It would make a great no prune hedge that maxes out at 4′ tall but provides density. Very good resistance to subfreezing wind. This performs very well in the Columbia River Gorge  and eastern suburbs of Portland. Static form but dynamic seasonal color shifts. Cool.

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Epimedium x 'Golden Treasure'

Epimedium x ‘Golden Treasure’

One of our very best Epimedium introductions. Incredibly floriferous hybrid with golden yellow almost shiny flowers with a bright red cap on top. They appear in clouds above the foliage from March to June. New foliage is amber colored before settling in maturity to soft green. Evergreen but we think it looks much better if you remove the tattered foliage from the previous season in February- cut it to the ground to make way for a fresh new season. Blooms very heavily and they are vivid enough to spot from a distance. Vigorous clumping perennial for part shade to shade in rich, well drained hummusy soil. Regular summer water will spur repeat bloom  but once established it easily endures summer drought. Avoid hot sun. to 20″ tall in bloom making a clump about as wide. Moderate deer resistance.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Epimedium x warleyense

Epimedium x warleyense

Very pretty thin spreading Epimedium with soft amber new growth accompanying spikes of fairly large amber orange flowers with a soft yellow center. To 20″ tall in bloom the new foliage on this mostly deciduous perennial settles in at about 1′ tall. Spreads underground and not compactly. Give it room in a woodland to roam. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer water. Part shade to high overhead shade. Easy woodland perennial for spectacular early spring effects. Moderate deer resistance.

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Geranium sessiliflorum ‘Red Select’

Very pretty cocoa brown leaves have fine hairs on them that give them a kind of metallic sheen. Everything about this plant is the same uniform cocoa color save for the dime sized white flowers which appear continuously as long as its warm and provide welcome contrast. Mounding evergreen plant to 6″ tall and 20″ wide. Full sun and rich,well drained soil with regular summer water. Takes less water in richer soil. A very pretty and durable New Zealand native Geranium. Not bothered by slugs and snails.

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Geranium x ‘Stanhoe’

Cute little spreading New Zealand Geranium with pewter brown leaves with  silver sheen and small off white/pink flowers all summer long. To 4″ tall but spreading to 11/2′ wide. Great in containers where the foliage provides contrast and the trailing stems clad in flowers arch over the edge of the pot. Very easy to grow and may self sow a bit. Easy to identify the seedlings to dispatch, transplant, or give away. Full sun to part shade and rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Not bothered by slugs and snails.

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Grevillea australis

Alpine Grevillea is a cold hardy, handsome, adaptable evergreen shrub that is good looking at all times. In late winter/early spring flossy white flowers explode over the bush and emit an intense honey fragrance. Each small leaf is olive/ochre green on the surface and silver below. Dense, fine textured very rounded compact shrub to 4′ tall and 5′ wide in 5 years. Maxes out at that height but continues to gain width. Avoid enriched, over-improved soil. Best in unimproved native or even poor soils with sharp drainage. Little water ever once established. Cold hardiest Grevillea taking temperatures to just near 0ºF with no problem. Tolerates subfreezing wind as well as ice and snow. Easy to grow if left strictly alone. It may be pruned in spring to limit the size- prune tips.  Very good landscaping plant. The powerful honey fragrance of the flowers is detectable for quite a distance on warm days. But for this it would make a good cut flower- fragrance is a little too strong. Cut branches last for several weeks in a vase and foliage is handsome. Takes very well to pruning. Good deer resistance. Video below is of a plant in full bloom. Takes a moment for the video to load.

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Grevillea x ‘Leanne’

Handsome evergreen shrub that displays masses of gold/old gold spidery flowers nearly year round- peaking in late winter into spring. Clean paddle shaped leaves are olive green on top and silver gray on the underside- a great combination with the flower color.  Dense growing to 4′ x 6′ in full sun and poor to average well drained soil. Little summer water when established- extraordinarily drought tolerant.  Loved by hummingbirds. One of the easiest to grow and fairly spectacular in full winter bloom. Excellent everblooming shrub for slopes, dry hillsides, low water areas.  Avoid compost, nutrients. Tip prune if growth is too fast or rank and endangers the plant from rocking.  ‘Leanne’ thrives on our own unimproved native soils. Full sun to very light shade and neglect. Excellent cold hardiness. Hybrid between G. victorae and G. juniperina. Avoid summer water which can leave it susceptible to phytophthera. It can tolerate ANY amount of extreme drought with no problem. Nice mounding habit for hot hell strips. Mixes well with Arctostaphylos, other drought adapted shrubs. Gains cold hardiness with age- establishment.  Excellent garden shrub. At one point this and many other hybrids were known for the ranch, Poorinda where they were discovered/bred. That first moniker has been dropped in all of the varieties (Save for x ‘Poorinda Queen’- which, well. Cuz.) So, this is just Grevillea x ‘Leanne’ now. Why they made this change I do not know. Crazy Australians.

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Grevillea x ‘Poorinda Queen’

Spectacular hybrid Grevillea with fine needle-like foliage produces  a nearly constant parade of soft citrus orange spidery flowers. The perianth is soft orange and the protruding style is red. No matter the weather this carefree shrub seems to be in bloom. Heaviest flowering is in mid-winter just when the gardener needs it most. Large spreading shrub to 8′ x 8′ in poor, well drained native soil. Little to no summer water when established. Very very cold hardy enduring 5ºF with no damage. Give it room to spread as it can grow very fast. Takes light overhead shade if not too dense. Incredibly drought tolerant. Very difficult to propagate but we are always trying to make as much of this awesome shrub as possible. The intensity of the flower color shifts with the seasons gaining vividness with cooler temps. Wonderful winter blooming shrub. Grevillea victorae x Grevillea juniperina.  A Xera favorite. Protected location. Very good in the city of Portland.

 

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Hebe ‘Hinerua’

We love this tough and easy to grow whipcord Hebe. Ochre green upswept branches on a rounded evergreen shrub to 28″ tall and as wide. Full sun and rich to average well drained soil with light summer water. Takes very dry conditions when established. Perfectly hardy to cold down to 0ºF. In summer occasional white flowers decorate the top branches. Easy to grow always good looking little shrub.

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Hebe ‘Karo Golden Esk’

We try to restrict our Hebe selection to those that are totally hardy to cold, thrive with a minimum amount of water, and are disease resistant. This pretty whipcord type checks all those boxes. Wonderful golden green upswept foliage on a rounded dense shrub. To 2′ x 2′ in time for full sun and well drained average to enriched soil. Alpine Hebe that is perfectly hardy to cold. In summer tiny white flowers appear at the branch tips. More of a temporary curiosity than a display. The great glory of this graceful shrub is its its year round excellent appearance. Light summer water.

 

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Hebe decumbens

Decumbens= decumbent which basically means crawling on the ground. Good looking decumbent Hebe with dark army green glossy round leaves outlined in red. They are attached to black stems- wonderful contrast and depth to this easy ground cover for full sun to part shade. Just 8″ high an individual plant can cover an areas 4′ x 4′ in several years. Rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer irrigation. Avoid boggy soils as well as dust dry and compacted. Loose and friable and this Hebe will surpass your expectations. Clusters of white tinted blue flowers appear in summer. Not a total all out floral display but more random which is kind of nice. Cold hardy, disease resistant and long lived for a Hebe. Great dense evergreen ground cover.

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Hebe ochracea ‘EC Stirling’

A very showy and dwarf form of this alpine species that is much easier to grow. Slow growing ochre colored whipcord Hebe to about 1′ x 1′ in half a dozen years. The fanstastic color literally glows in a landscape and is vibrant year round. Full sun in a cool position. Avoid blasting hot locations and locations with reflected heat – like near a rock wall. This is a true alpine and it likes to be comfortable. Light summer water once established in very well drained average soil. Avoid boggy soils + heat= certain death. In summer the top branchlets are decked out in pure white flowers. Adores. Rock gardens, open north exposure. Read: The north side of your house where it is bright and open to the sky and sunshine but protected from direct rays and scorching. Thrives at the cool Oregon Coast. Cold hardy to near 0ºF.

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Hebe ochracea ‘James Stirling’

Ochre colored whipcord Hebe that is delightful year round for its deep hue as well as arching swept look of the shrub. To 3′ x 3′ tall and arching for a cool position in full sun- an open north exposure is ideal or part shade. Dislikes hot soil. Best in rock garden positions with great drainage- use boulders to shade the soil. White flowers appear at the branch tips in summer. A true alpine plant from high elevations in New Zealand. Perfectly hardy to cold. Light summer water- never boggy. Grows moderately fast.

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Heuchera ‘Huntsman’

A really good Heuchera that works well in the garden and not just containers. Maple shaped leaves are bronze with a darker central zone forming a mound 1′ x 1′. From April to August a continuous parade of clouds of pink flowers held on 30″ wiry stems. The display begins with an initial huge showing  and then sporadic flowers until August. Removing spent flowers will ensure re-bloom. Very pretty and creates an ethereal effect of clouds of pink.  Evergreen to semi-evergreen for rich well drained soil that retains moisture. Regular summer water. Better bloom in full sun though tolerant of part shade. Long lived carefree perennial. Add compost or all organic fertilizer on tired plants, they will respond almost immediately. This is an English selection that we love. Wonderful planted en masse.

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Libertia ixoides

Spikey evergreen Iris relative that forms substantial clumps quickly. This species has leaf blades in a fashionable taupe. To 14″ tall and eventually getting wider. In summer three petalled pure white flowers appear on panicles within the foliage. These are followed by small showy yellow berries. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Sharp drainage is important for cold hardiness. Put this on a hillside or in a gravel bed. Water faithfully to establish. AKA White flag. Native to New Zealand. Great in containers. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.

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Libertia peregrinans

Orange sword. Striking spiky ever orange monocot in the iris family. Forms upright spreading colonies in rich, well drained soil in full sun to light shade. The curving thin blades color brilliant orange with any kind of environmental stress. Hardier to cold when established. Runs by stolons give it room. In summer with in the evergreen foliage three petalled pure white flowers transform into yellow berry-like structures. Grows well in pots if left undisturbed and protected below 15ºF. In extreme cases it can freeze to the ground (below 10ºF) and will vigorously return. Avoid boggy situations. Moderate deer resistance.

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Macleaya microcarpa

Plume poppy is one of our favorite big bold perennials. A true poppy it rises to 8′ tall and spreads vigorously forming large stands. Give it room to spread in average well drained soil with light summer water. In summer at the top of blue deeply lobed leaves (with a white underside) foam with coral colored plumes of bloom. All around a good looking plant. Doubles as a lush tropical looking presence. Plant with such things as the hardy banana ‘Musa Basjoo’ and large leaf Cannas. Spectacular. Moderate deer resistance. Drought adapted when established. Long lived perennial that is totally herbaceous in winter.

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Magnolia laevifolia

Excellent small scale evergreen Magnolia  with handsome rounded leaves touched with brown indumentum (fur) and in mid spring masses of large 4″ ivory white intensely fragrant flowers. The flowers have a rich and penetrating lemon aroma. Following bloom buds form immediately in the leaf axils for the following year and are clad in brown fur- they add to the over all sophisticated aesthetic of this 9′ x 6′ shrub. Formerly Michelia yunnanensis. Full sun to light shade and rich to average soil with light summer water. Very drought tolerant when established. This particular form we’ve grown for almost 20 years and it has proven to be a cold hardy clone (to 5ºF) year after year. In colder gardens provide a protected spot.  In time this species can develop what is called a lignotuber. That is a swollen woody root-like structure at the base. This adaptation is possibly for fires and a plant can regenerate very fast if the plant is damaged above the lignotuber. Shoots will appear from this and grow regaining apical dominance and forming a straight leader. This is seldom necessary. Pruning of any kind should be done directly AFTER flowering. SW China.

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Pelargonium ‘Vancouver Centennial’

One of the very finest Pelargoniums or (Geranium- annual) with stupendous jagged foliage and vivid flowers. Each palmate leaf has a center of dramatic bronze and is outlined in bright chartreuse green. The star shaped hot orange flower is a bright and elegant contrast with this foliage. Compact growing habit. Excellent seasonal container subject or even bedded out. To 20″ x 20″ by the end of the summer. Rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer moisture. Remove spent flower spikes to tidy, encourage more. Moderately deer resistant. Avoid over watering. This Pelargonium is a VERY HEAVY FEEDER. Use ample amounts of all organic fertilizer. It also responds to foliar feeding with liquid fish. But fertilizer is essential. Easy, striking plant and our favorite Pelargonium.

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Phormium tenax ‘Atropurpureum’

The most commonly seen New Zealand Flax in our climate and arguably one of the most hardy to cold. Deep maroon/purple evergreen foliage in a large clump to 5′ x 5′ ultimately in a hot position and full sun in rich, well drained soil. Regular summer water increases the growth rate which in turn establishes the plant more thoroughly. The more established the Flax the more vigorously it returns if it gets hit by cold. If it does, try not to cut the whole thing to the ground but leave as many viable leaves as possible for food to aid in the recovery. Great plant for hot hellstrips and containers. Borders. etc. Following mild winters (above 20ºF) it may send up 6′ spikes with duckbill shaped yellow flowers in summer. Thrives at the Oregon Coast where it seldom is ever bothered by cold and where it absorbs blasting salt laden winds happily. High deer resistance.

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Podophyllum x ‘Red Panda’

Exquisite May apple hybrid done by the O’Byrnes near Eugene. New growth erupts out of the ground in March with leaves convex and stained in red. As the leaf unfurls it matures to a semi-glossy green. Large growing perennial to 3′ x as wide as it can spread. Often Podophyllums spend their first couple of years in stasis. It will get a bit larger but after a certain amount of time these plants will run. Give this shade loving, and shade causing perennial room to stretch out. Dark red flowers appear right after the leaf unfurls. They have an odd scent that is barely detectable, except for close up. Fun to grow, majestic perennial for part shade to shade in rich, moisture retentive soil. It adores rich conditions and you cannot add enough compost. Pay special attention during intense heat (above 97ºF) which can be tough on this plant. Water well and protect from hot afternoon sun. Leaves are up to 1′ across. Bold and wonderful. Winter deciduous. Limited availability.

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 |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
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Selaginella braunii

Arborvitae fern, but it isn’t a fern at all! Actually its a really big spike moss! A moss with stems and arrow shaped fronds like a fern. To 10″ tall and forming a mounding colony in time. Bright green summer color is replaced by russet red and light brown with winter cold. Spreads slowly underground and new “fronds” unfurl out and up. With great age you’ll get a decent patch. So damn pretty for woodlands in the shade in rich, well drained soil that retains moisture. Regular summer moisture. Slow and easy does it. Its a moss! Can you dig it? Evergreen.

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Selaginella moelendorfii

Funny little spike moss that forms an upright clump of acid green to ochre foliage that turns bright russet red and pink in cooler weather. This moss is actually easy to grow in rich soil in a woodland with regular moisture. Forms little new platelets at the leaf tips and they drop off an wah lah  new plants. Thrives in containers. Protect from blasting sun and avoid total drought. They thrive in the most humid atmosphere you can find. Near a pond margin or in the spray zone of a waterfall. I even mist mine mine in the ground when it gets over 90ºF for an extended time. Mosses are cool. To 6″ x 6″.

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Solanum pyracanthum

My half hardy perennial can kick your perennials ass. And this spiky creature is a damned fine plant. Large lobed leaves are fiercely armed with bright orange spikes down the midrib. Violent orange spikes also cover every stem and virtually glow when backlit. All summer long this large tender plant (to 3′ x 2′) bears large solanaceous 5 petalled purple flowers with a central orange beak. The overall effect is beyond charming, its a fierce plant with attitude and we adore it. Great in containers but mind that this sucker does have a bite, locate away from traffic.  Very fun to grow in the ground as well. Hardy to the low 20’s and sometimes makes it through a mild winter. Orange fruits follow the flowers but are not assured. One of the amazing plants native to Madagascar. Full sun and rich soil with regular water. Basically grow it just like a tomato. Highly deer resistant.

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Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Ogon Nishiki’

This poor plant though spectacular has a bunch of silly marketing names attached to it. We stick with the original Japanese cultivar name- seems appropriate. No other evergreen vine/groundcover has a foliage display that matches this plant. New leaves emerge bright orange and then morph slowly to patches of light yellow surrounded by dark green. Delightful. We’ve never seen flowers on this cultivar and we don’t need to. Great small scale and vivid ground cover. Mounds and trails to 8″ tall and several feet wide in a single season. It has been surprisingly hardy to cold enduring temps below 10ºF with no harm. Best in part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. This vine grows when its warm therefore you water it when its warm. Twins around thin objects and will eventually hoist itself skyward. Solidly evergreen. Excellent container plant. Moderate deer resistance.

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