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. Not tolerant of shade at all. Hates it. Revels in full hot sun. Limited quantities.

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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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