Viburnum ellipticum

Oregon Viburnum or Western Way Faring tree is a moderate to large native deciduous shrub. It stretches a little bit into W. Washington where it is rare but its primary populations are in western Oregon and south into N. California. Its found in moist to dry woods often on the margin where its can get at least half a day sun. It also thrives only much larger and lankier in outline in the shade. It easily tolerates winter inundation but is found on well developed soils in upland situations as well. Its common associates in the wild are Oregon white oak/Quercus garryana, Oregon Ash/Fraxinus latifolius, Cornus stolonifera. Leaves are round, glossy and scalloped and are very handsome on a well proportioned fountain shaped shrub. Shorter in full sun, taller in shade. This plant needs just a modicum of light watering for its first year and once it is thoroughly established you can set it free. In late spring off white cymes of flowers have the fragrance to me of raw potatoes. We had a large specimen of this shrub in our back 40 where I grew up near Eugene. In certain years it can produce quite a fall show with orange/red tinted leaves and translucent blue fruits. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed AFTER blooming has ended. June. To 5′ tall in the sun to much taller in shade. Protect young plants from deer. Oregon native plant.

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Viburnum henryi

Rare but wonderful evergreen viburnum that has pretty elongated leaves held symmetrically on thick stems. The growth habit is branching in tiers. This displays the lovely foliage as well as the cones of white summer flowers at the branch tip. These turn into red and then black berries eagerly consumed by wildlife. To 9′ tall and 8′ wide in wide vase shape. Part shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Takes very dry conditions when established. Extraordinarily cold hardy to below 0ºF with no ill effects. Moderately fast growing. SW China.

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Viburnum propinquum

Where a dapper, durable evergreen shrub is required look no further than this handsome Viburnum species. Upright growing to 5′ x 5′ in 8 years it bears glossy deep green foliage held on cinnamon red stems and petioles. In spring intricate and tiny green flowers occupy a structure much like a tinker toy. Moderately fast growing shrub for part shade to full sun. Much, much more graceful than the used and abused Viburnum davidii. Very good cold hardiness- to 0ºF. Long lived and always good looking. Regular summer water or very little once established.

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Viola odorata (Parma) ‘Duchess du Parme’

There’s nothing like the smell of sweet violets in late winter and early spring. But the regular species in our climate is nothing less than a thug. It seeds and grows where you really would rather not have it. Well, forget that. Enter this exquisite fully double flowering Parma Violet. The rich violet blue flowers appear on long stems from January to April. Parma violets are the Mediterranean form of V. odorata and they are less hardy to cold and not so rampant. This form we have never seen set seed- but there are always exceptions. Very glossy green foliage frames the flowers well. Excellent in containers in an unheated greenhouse, conservatory. In the garden choose a protected spot (under evergreen shrubs for example) and give this violet rich soil with regular summer moisture. Tolerates full sun but looks better with some shade. Flowers tend to lean horizontally, they are great for cutting and making little fragrant winter posies. Spreads by runners to form a nice patch in time. Tolerates summer drought when established.

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Woodwardia fimbriata

Our native Giant Chain Fern that occupies specific spots in seeps randomly from CA to BC. Large pendant and trailing 3′ long glossy fronds form huge rosettes. Usually occupying permanently wet seeps on shady hillsides in cool places. The entire plant may be up to 5′ across. Evergreen but it benefits greatly from some early spring tidying of spent and aging old leaves. Part shade to shade in rich well drained soil with regular consistent moisture for the best look. Highly deer resistant. We’re honored to grow this, one of our most spectacular native ferns. Oregon native plant.

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Wulfenia x schwarzii

Obscure perennial hybrid that has yielded a wonderful perennial. Evergreen rosettes of fleshy scalloped green leaves look good year round. From February to June (yep.) 10″ spikes are covered in violet blue tubular flowers. The display is continuous for months. Part shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Mass for a stunning effect for months. A natural for PNW woodlands. Cold hardy and easy to grow. Not bothered by slugs or snails. Excellent perennial that has amazed us with its long, uninterrupted bloom period which is continuously showy with no intervention from the gardener. Mix with spring blooming perennials. Mine makes its life with regular old wild Primula vulgaris. I love the soft yellow flowers paired with this violet-blue hue. Easy, showy, and carefree perennial. This plant has everything needed for greatness. Too bad its so obscure. We intend to change that.

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Zantedeschia aethiopica

Calla Lily- the dream of many gardeners and an heirloom perennial that has been grown in our region for eons. Large clump forming perennial with dramatic pure white flowers with the familiar form. They begin in early spring with a large flush of bloom and then sporadically until frost. The large boisterous foliage is mostly evergreen and rises to 2′ tall with flower spikes twice as tall. Deer resistant. In cold gardens it is traditionally grown agains warm foundations. But I have seen it thrive in the wide open in the coldest parts of the Willamette  Valley. Amenable to saturated soils and can reside as a marginal plant in a pond. Rich, well drained soil is ideal.  Water VERY heavily the first summer to establish- then light consistent water in summer. Full sun to quite a bit of shade but at the expense of flowering. Can be a little tricky to establish and ironically it can be a little hard to get rid of once you have it. Lives for many decades. South Africa.

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