Vine Maple is perhaps our most beautiful native maple. Found from SW British Columbia to Northern California in the Shasta area. Its a pervasive understory tree throughout the western part of the state. It derives its name from its almost vine like habit in shade. This winding and sun seeking component leads to the most graceful natural forms. In full sun it is a compact, multi-trunked shrub. In autumn in both habitats it turns to shades of fiery orange and yellow and red. Vivid against the pure green trunks and stems. One of the most dramatic places you will see this shrub is at 4500′ on Belknap crater on McKenzie Pass where it lives among the lava. In early fall the brilliant colors of the maples contrasts wonderfully with the black lava. Its very hot and very dry but its also very high in elevation. The symmetrically serrated round leaves rival any Japanse maple. In shade established trees get by with little summer water. In the sun irrigation is welcome. Rich to average soil with regular applications of mulch. To 16′ tall in shade and again quite a bit shorter in full sun- very wide in shade. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. This shrub/tree belongs on the north side or under substantial shade. Some deer resistance. Excellent underplanted with native ferns and Gaultheria. A common native that should be a more common ornamental. Tiny red flowers turn into sunny orange samaras by autumn and persist past the leaves. Avoid very dry shade of un-irrigated over hangs. This is a semi-mesic maple. Oregon native plant
Western Maiden Hair Fern is native from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska south mainly through shady wet spots in the west south as far as Chiahuahua, Mexico. Its even locally native from Maryland to New Foundland. Its a long lived and vigorous fully deciduous perennial for perpetually wet sites. To 2′ tall and spreading almost indefinitely where conditions suite it. Heavy clay soil that retains consistent moisture in part shade to shade. Often found lining water falls in Oregon or in deep cool moist gullies. The multi fingered leaves are a soft green and are held erect on jet black stems. Very good sited at the bottom of a downspout. Very easy to grow given consistent moisture. Oregon native plant.
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.
Cool hybrid between two California native maidenhair ferns that we love because its EVERGREEN! Finely divided soft green leaflets surprise as they sail through the toughest winter with little or no damage. A clumping variety that slowly increases over time in rich, moisture-retentive soil in part shade to shade. Adores moisture but can go much drier than most maidenhairs. To 10″ tall and as wide – then increasing. Lovely thing that works in woodlands to containers. Excellent naturally-occurring hybrid that deserves a place in our gardens. Moderate deer resistance.
Born and bred in the PNW this excellent compact and extremely floriferous white flowered Lily-of-the-Nile is a first rate selection. To 20″ tall and forming an expanding but compact clump. Flowers appear for 4-6 weeks in mid-summer. Clear, pristine white with abundant flower spikes- a small amount of leaves supports copious flower spikes- a great attribute of the best Agapanthus. Lots of flowers/few leaves. Full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Completely winter deciduous. Handsome pale green matte foliage. Long lived perennial. Mix with Blue Agapanthus for contrast. Bloom stems increase markedly with the size of the clump. Our favorite hardy white Lily of the Nile. Agapanthus do best in neutral to alkaline soil. Incorporate a handful of lime in the planting hole.
An excellent cold hardy Lily-of-the-Nile that was bred in the PNW. To 3′ tall in bloom from a low basal presence of strappy green leaves. Each flower in the truss is light blue with darker blue stripes. They are pretty up close- from a distance it reads as glowing baby blue. And you can use this luminosity to your advantage. Easy to grow perennial for full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. This cultivar performs even without regular water but the blooms last longer and are larger with it. Completely deciduous in winter. Agapanthus perform best in neutral to alkaline soil, incorporate a handful of lime in the planting hole.
Cool bicolored Hummingbird Mint that has masses of flowers that appear from orange buds which quickly change to luminous light lavender when open. To 20″ tall and forming a clump this very, very, long blooming perennial is delightful for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. A soft pastel coloration that pairs wonderfully with light yellow flowers and even blue. Great in seasonal containers. Blooms non-stop from June to October. Do not remove flower spikes as new flowers will appear continuously from the same spike. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light, consistent summer water. Its best to water Agastaches consistently during their first year in the ground- to establish a large root system. Ideal on slopes- to assist in drainage in winter. Double dig soil to incorporate lots of oxygen in the soil. One of our favorite introductions. An amazing combination of flower colors on a single plant. Do not cut back until new growth has flushed out in spring and all threat of a hard freeze has passed.
Xera Plants Introduction
One of our all-time best introductions ‘Electric Punch’ is a floral powerhouse of a hummingbird mint with exceptional adaptation to our cold and wet winters. Rising to 34″ tall in bloom, a clump can become enormous in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light, consistent summer water. Also, accepts no water but with interruptions in bloom. Incorporate plenty of oxygen into the soil and slopes are ideal. Do not remove flower spikes during the season- new orange aging to pink flowers appear from the same inflorescence. Best to wait until spring to cut back the previous seasons defunct stems. Moderate deer resistance.
Xera Plants Introduction.
This is our selection of an improved form of the species Agastache auranticus. It has deeper orange flowers on taller stems and exhibits excellent winter/cold/wet hardiness. To 30″ tall, the vivid blooms erupt from June to October. Tightly clump forming perennial whose tall wand-like stems require more horizontal room as well. Hummingbird Mint excels in very well-drained soils with consistent, light summer water. Full sun- you can fudge in light shade and still get results. Remove the previous seasons spent stems in March. Agastache are plants that like oxygen in the soil and they often seed themselves happily between large stones. They appreciate soil that is rich but permeable at all times. We advise to wait until March to remove the previous year’s stem. The hollow stems that remain over winter actually provide oxygen to the roots. If you cut them back too early (Fall, winter) you also leave the new growth at the base unprotected from the elements. So, the stems should remain to both give the plant oxygen and protect the next seasons clump of foliage. Double dig the soil heartily and add a little compost and even pumice if your soil is stingy. Water regularly for the first season to establish a large root system which will require less H20 in subsequent years. This is a vibrant orange that mixes well with deep purples and blues.
Xera Plants Introduction.
One of our larger growing introductions this is a flowering machine with large individual flowers that open pale orange and senesce to pale pink. Overall this is a pastel flower palette. To 36″ tall and as wide in full sun and well drained soil with light, consistent summer water. Agastaches are excellent as container subjects- they will accept the most cramped roots and still perform. Wait until March to remove the previous years spent stems. Give this guy room. Hummingbird nirvana. Good winter hardiness.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Cute flowering hyssop that makes a clump of strongly vertical stems clad at the tips with soft mauve/purple flowers. A boon to pollinators as well as hummingbirds. Blooms June to October continuously from the same spikes. To 18″ tall and barely half as wide. Agastaches like light soil. Double dig the soil well to incorporate oxygen and apply a handful of all organic fertilizer at planting. This will establish the plant much faster. Excellent performance on slopes where it achieves the drainage that it likes. Middle of the border or massed in a meadow- this easy to grow perennial performs for a long time. Do not cut back until after Valentine’s Day. Consistent water for the first summer then light water in subsequent years. Excellent performance in mixed container plantings. Moderate deer resistance. Foliage is sweetly pungent.
Far and away the easiest Agave to cultivate in our climate and the handsome contorted sage green leaves are free of a deadly spike at the tip. Don’t be fooled, though. The leaves are lined in fine serrations that can cause a cut if you rub your person against them. To 3′ tall and as wide for very well-drained soils in full sun to very light shade. Amend the soil with pumice to sharpen drainage if needed. Ideally adapted to slopes. Good dimensions as a large focal point in a rock garden or clustered into clumps in the gravel bed. Accepts the highest reflected heat. Light summer water speeds growth. Often produces offspring from the base. These can be detached and replanted when its truly warm. Bold mature clumps are breathtaking. Wonderful life in hellstrips. Obviously deer resistant, but the tips can be brittle so handle them with care when planting. Excellent year round appearance and texture.
A good Alstro is hard to find. The dwarf varieties are ever plagued by snails/slugs, Many of the most exquisite varieties (patented) are poor garden performers, lacking vigor or something. Enter this most fave cultivar. First of all its orange and many will confuse it with the more diminutively flowering A. aurantiacus which can become an ineradicable weed. THIS IS NOT THAT. Its a polite clumper with enough vigor to send up fully 30″ flowering stems repeatedly for up to 6 weeks in summer. Speaking of which the individual flower will last up to two weeks in a vase. Do not cut them (which injures the plant – it bleeds out) rather gently rock the base of the stem back and forth to detach. This will help and not hurt it. Regular summer irrigation in rich, moisture retentive soil. Winter deciduous. To 2′ wide..
Threadleaf Bluestar is a fantastic native North American perennial with many seasons of interest. To 4′ tall this strongly clump-forming perennial has thread-like green leaves that line the sturdy, very vertical stems. Upon rising in late spring they host clusters of star shaped, fragrant (yep) blue flowers. Very pretty. The green, fine-textured foliage holds space as a blowsy presence in borders, gravel gardens, hellstrips. In autumn the entire plant turns shocking yellow and stays that way for weeks. Fall color at ground level and it rocks. Light but consistent summer water to aid in establishment. Very drought tolerant then. Full sun in any soil type but for permanently boggy. Good deer resistance. They will try it once but not again- for what it’s worth. Completely deciduous in winter. Emerges mid-spring. Very long lived, no-fuss perennial. Mix with ornamental grasses, cacti, just about anything.
A really interesting and wonderful vine that we grow as an annual but its a perennial in warmer climates and can be here too if you treat it right. Arrow shaped leaves have modified petioles that attach and hoists this climber to 8′ in a single season. A continuous supply of tubular (snapdragon shaped) purple blue flowers with a white throat. Loved by hummers this native of the driest parts of the mediterranean is adapted to being dry in the winter and wet in summer. If wet and saturated the whole vine is only hardy to about 26ºF. However, if the plant is kept dry in the winter it is hardy to MUCH colder. In a former garden I had it planted against the south facing side of my house under the eaves. It was bone dry in winter and to my shock it lived for 7 years with temperatures down to 10ºF. I offer this information as interesting but its a primo delicate vine with beautiful flowers that appear continuously all season which makes a lovely seasonal bower. Great on a tripod, or teutier in containers. Full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil. Excellent on spring blooming shrubs that are quiet in summer- its a fine textured plant that will never smother the host. Excellent plant.
Native Oregonian butterfly weed that has a great wildflower demeanor and is just as attractive to pollinators as well as Lepidoptera (butterflies). Full sun and well drained soil, though it accepts clay soil on slopes that are strictly unwatered in summer. To 22″ tall and making a spreading plant. Mix with fine textured ornamental grasses,such as Tufted fairy grass – Deschampsia caespitosa and tall spiky perennials such as simultaneously blooming Kniphofias. Light summer water. Flower color is most often creamy white but ranges to light pink. Often seen on road cuts and in ditches in the Willamette Valley. Blends in with grasses and other plants but pollinators find it no matter what. Nice cutflower. Important food source for Fendler’s Blue Butterfly which is very endangered and locally indigenous. Winter deciduous. Blooms open in June and persist to August. Oregon native plant.
One of our all time favorite Begonias that is surprsingly hardy when established. Soft green angel wing shaped leaves fan out and are the great backdrop to masses of small, single soft orange flowers. Blooms continuously from late June to frost. Rich soil that drains in part shade to high overhead shade is ideal. Protect from blasting sun. Exquisite container subject that mixes well with other plants and adds a saucy orange to shade plantings. In the ground this plant requires a little more care. Rich soil in protected location – under shrubs or near the house and a little patience. Returns slowly in the ground- not usually showing its face until Mothers Day or later. Once growth proceeds it goes quickly. Nice self cleaning blooming plant. Spent flowers simple tumble off the plant and are replaced by a massive continual display. To 8″ x 8″ and wider with time. Winter deciduous. For plants growing in containers you’ll need to protect the container from excess wet and freezing. The best way to overwinter it is to put it under an eave or an unheated garage or greenhouse. Add organic fertilizer with the onset of growth. Lovely perennial that we adore at Xera.
Bird of Paradise shrub is an incredibly showy flowering plant that is surprisingly adaptable to the Willamette Valley. Native to Argentina/ Uruguay the exotic large yellow flowers in whorls each with 3″ strings of blood red stamens protruding. Each flower lasts but a day but a truss carries many individual flowers. Fine divided foliage is light gray green and a great foil for the exotic flowers. Full hot, all day sun in a hot site. Ideally, it should be located against a south facing wall- this heat lover is slow to break dormancy in spring and doesn’t normally begin flowering until mid-summer and continuing until cool weather. To 8′ x 8′ drought adapted but water speeds growth. Deciduous. Spectacular. Non-blooming youngsters may need a year or two in the ground to commence blooming heavily. Patience is all that is required. This shrub loves the hottest spot in the garden. Pick a place that would be unbearable on a hot day and you’ve found the home for this sun lover. Bipinnate leaves close with darkness. Each flower opens for just one day but a procession of buds releases them over a period of many weeks. Blooms on new wood, growth from the current season.
This has become the standard cold hardy red flowering bottlebrush in our climate. 4″ brushes of raspberry red occur en mass in May/June and sporadically there after on established plants. Low, spreading arching habit. Give it horizontal space to grow. Virtually any soil type and incredibly drought adapted when established. Accepts regular irrigation as well. Must have full, all day sun to perform. Avoid exposure to subfreezing east winds, err on the side of protection. Cold hardy to a little below 10ºF but has vigorously recovered from subzero lows returning from the base. If damaged by cold cut back in spring- then supply regular irrigation and recovery is rapid. Moderate deer resistance. To 3′ x 5′ wide in 6 years.
Several things about this sedge set it apart in this genus. Broad, wide leaves are soft green on the interior but lined boldly in cream. And its completely winter deciduous. Forms a spreading clump of great bolder texture that arches all in the same direction. Very nice. To 10″ tall and several feet across eventually. Rich, moisture retentive soil in part shade with consistent summer moisture. Excellent combined with the large leaves of Hosta. Line paths or use as a graceful punctuation in a woodland. Avoid really hot sunny dry locations- it will live but it won’t look so great. Completely deciduous in winter. Turns a tawny yellow in fall before leaves disappear.
DESERT CANDLES. This fascinating annual thrills us. Most often seen in the wild in its native California, and is commonly seen in the wildflower mecca of Carrizo Plain. Poppies, gillias, Brodiaea accompany this relative of brassicas. A small rosette of fleshy leaves gives way to an extending inflated hollow spike. Its colored bright yellow/chartreuse and glows from a distance. The MAROON flower not only cluster at the top they symmetrically line the tall stems. All together a glowing sentinel of a plant that is almost never seen for sale. The period of exceptional showiness is brief – 4-6 weeks but it such a bizarre and showy display that we wouldn’t be without it for early/mid spring containers. Might self sow in open disturbed sites. Better to save your own seed. Such a cool west coast native it needs to be appreciated for its unique and luminous beauty. To 30″ tall. Draws native insects including hover flies. Sets seed and dies in early summer completing its life cycle.
A very pretty intergeneric hybrid tree between Catalpa and Chilopsis (Desert Willow). We really like this small tree that forms an umbrella shaped crown in time. To 20′ tall and continuously producing opulent large white flower clusters- the interior of the flower is marked with purple veining- much like an exotic orchid. The flowers appear on new growth and are continuous from June to September. The long thin tapered light green leaves have a nice texture. They do not color up appreciably in fall- making due with light yellow to off green before abandoning the tree. Excellent garden tree. We prefer the white flowered form as the often planted pink variety …..well, lets just say Portland has a LOT of pink flowering trees. Fast growing in youth-especially if well watered in summer. Otherwise, supremely tolerant of drought as well as rough, hot urban conditions. Casts moderate shade in time. Breaks dormancy late- usually late April. Be patient.
Interesting hybrid between two Mexican Oranges and wow, you get an incredible shrub that adores this climate. Rounded evergreen shrub to 5′ x 5′ after 6 years. In spring (and again in autumn) the whole bush becomes a cloud of fragrant white blossoms. They show up well with the finely divided leaves. Easy to grow shrub that is very forgiving. Drought tolerant when established and it has been hardy to near 0ºF. It takes very well to pruning which will increase both the shrubs density but the amount of flowers as well. The palmate leaves look like thin fingers or even bamboo especially as it becomes dense and layered. Moderate deer resistance. Perfectly adapted to the climate of Western Oregon. Full sun to part shade. Any reasonably well drained soil.
Excellent little selection of our locally native wildflower ‘Farewell to Spring’. To just 10″ tall this plant(s) become a solid dome of white flowers from May-August. Cute little cut flower. Full sun in rich, to average well drained soil with just light competition from other plants. Re-seeds reliably in open disturbed sites. A great native derivative for hell strips and even containers. Regular summer water – or it will shut down go dormant and think its time to set seed and then make its melon. Rough areas, cut flower. Oregon native plant.
Native annuals often get over looked in our gardens. They occupied vast stretches of the Willamette Valley and civilization has caused those displays to suffer. In our gardens they are precious reminders that we should include every category of native plant. Giant Blue Eyed Mary is one of our most delicate looking and stunning in floral detail, It makes a hazy cloud of beautiful blue and white small snapdragon flowers from late April to Mid June. A true annual that dies once the floral display is done. But leave the skeletons of the plant for several weeks longer to form and shed seeds for next years display. This 20″ tall grassy plant occupies open sunny sites as well as the margins of forests. In our gardens it appreciates open slightly disturbed soil. Seedlings germinate in autumn and over winter as small plants. They will heavily occupy an area about the size of a 9″ pie. Excellent plant to succeed mid and late spring bulbs. Water lightly after planting and to establish then none required. Native to the Portland city limits as well. Fantastic displays of this plant can be seen at Camassia in West Linn all through late spring. This is a very reliable re-seeder if you give it some open ground and check for slugs. Seedlings germinate quickly following the first rains and are incredibly cold hardy and drought tolerant. Don’t worry, they are from here, they know what to do. Attracts a wide variety of native pollinators including a wealth of smaller hover flies. Oregon native plant.
Columbia Coreopsis or Columbia tickseed is a locally native annual but more often biennial that is found along the Columbia River and into the gorge. Also, native throughout eastern North America. Its first season is spent as a rosette of curly, finely divided leaves that have a glossy sheen. The following early summer it erupts into groups of gold flowers, slightly reflexed petals and a red dot that surround a brown protruding cone. Loved by pollinators and they come en masse. To 22″ tall on average in bloom. For rich to average soil in full sun. The sun part is non-negotiable. Mix with native Oregon perennials and annuals such as Sidalcea virgata or Clarkia amoena var. lindleyi as well as Madia elegans for a summer long show. Very good butterfly plant. It has a scattered population in the Willamette Valley but should be grown here much more often. Self sows in open disturbed sites. Very prolific in bloom with clouds of golden flowers unobscured by pesky foliage. Nice cut flower. One stem can be an entire bouquet. light consistent summer water improves the show but this is a tough, climate adapted biennial. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
We originally grew this wonderful vivid free blooming bat flower as an annual. But after years of growing it in the ground we’ve found that its remarkably root hardy. To 20″ tall forming a semi-woody shrublet it produces sprays of small but vivid flowers from May to frost. Full sun and rich, WELL DRAINED soil in the ground and patience- it takes a while to come back in spring- usually not until truly hot days appear in May. Once up- with regular supplemental water it zooms and blooms and resumes its previous stature quickly. Good drainage in a hot position seems to be the key as a perennial. Mine has happily lived in the ground in my garden in North Portland for 7 years- returning from the coldest winters. It will freeze to the ground below about 28ºF- but it always returns. Great seasonal plant in containers and it will draw hummingbirds from 5 counties around. Nice plant. Blooms continuously without intervention. My kind of plant.
Adorable little bulb that forms grassy colonies. Beginning in early summer and continuing to fall 10″ stems support amber orange intricate three petalled flowers. Each lasts just one day but new flowers appear seemingly from nowhere from the stems so do not remove- these stems can produce flowers for up to 6 weeks. Grassy medium green corrugated leaves accompany the flowers. Open sites with little competition from other plants. Sharp drainage in average to rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Full sun to light shade. Surprisingly cold hardy. Rock gardens, containers. Native to rocky plains in Argentina and Uruguay. It makes a great candidate for troughs and perennial containers where you can closely inspect the fascinating blooms. Mostly evergreen in our climate. Some deer resistance. Close iris relative.
Tufted Fairy Grass is an Oregon native that forms bright green fine clumps but is in its glory in bloom when tall vertical stems display hazy tan flowers at the tips. Easy to grow grass that improves under cultivation. Native to semi-shady to sunny aspects in rich soil that drains but also retains moisture. Adaptable to wet sites that dry in summer. To 10″ x 1′ as a clump of foliage but rises to 3′ tall in bloom. Very wild looking grass that can be massed for a hazy meadow effect, or placed in straight lines a modern aesthetic that combines a wild plant with spaced symmetry. Excellent among shrubs and with other wild looking meadow perennials. Winter deciduous. Cut back dead growth in spring. Relatively long lived. Native in the Portland city limits. Graceful. Winter deciduous. A pan global plant- this is our local form. Click on the link for a video of the dried seed heads. Oregon native plant.
If you are a victim of deer and rabbits let me introduce you to the vast world of Foxgloves beyond the weedy bi-ennial purpurea. They are all supremely deer and pest resistant in general. This relatively long lived perennial sends up 20″ spike of the softest yellow tubular flowers. They appear in late May- July. If you remove the spent spike often more flowers will occur. This soft color – staunchly in the realm of pastel goes so well with other colors. Its a harmonious hue and this is an adaptable plant. Rich to average soil- go for rich, with regular summer water. Requires FULL SUN to bloom its best. Excellent cut flower. Winter deciduous but it returns very early in spring. Plant with Euphorbia ‘Dean’s Hybrid’ for a close tone on tone color scheme. Very pretty with Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’. and purple/blue Salvia cohuilensis ‘Nuevo Leon’. Very cold hardy and easy to grow.
Shade plays by its own rules and to be honest flowers are often pretty modest. Therefore we rely on foliage to brighten dark corners and add texture and contrast. This elegant perennial is 18″ tall and arching stems have large opposite leaves delicately feathered in white. In spring small white bells droop gracefully along the stem. Deep, rich, hummus rich woodland soils that retain moisture. Regular summer water. Winter deciduous.
Calico flower is a widespread showy annual of vernally wet sites throughout our region. A low spreading plant that rises up in bloom to reveal shovel shaped blue and white flowers. They closely resemble annual Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) to which it is closely related. Blooms appear from Mid May to early August. Rich soil with regular summer water. Downingia is native to areas that are often submerged in winter. And in the garden it appreciates ample water. Full sun and resist competition from there plants. Very good in rain gardens. One potted plant will expand to 2′ with rising showy flowers. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. Excellent container plant. You can simply remove it when it has completed its life cycle- replace with warm season annuals. A food source for the endangered Willamette Valley endemic Fendler’s Blue Butterfly. Leave established plants in place once they have died to distribute seed for the following year in the ground. Oregon native plant
The bodaciously named Chilean Glory Vine is a great low weight, long and strong blooming perennial vine in our climate. Filligree intricately divided leaves and petioles wind this deciduous vine up to 10′ in a season. Most years it returns to the ground and resprouts in spring and that isn’t a bad thing. It gives you the opportunity to clear away the previous seasons chaff. If we have a mild enough winter it will retain some green but you may still cut it back in early spring. Waves of long stemmed tubular flowers are soft pink with a recurved lip tipped in yellow. Its an exquisite show that goes unabated from late May to September. We’re very attracted to this orchid like coloration of this form and we find it accommodating for mixing colors. It also comes in red, orange, yellow, and cream- in time we will offer those. Hummingbirds LOVE this vine and will immediately show up when flowering commences. Much easier than cleaning and refilling a feeder. Remove spent flowers and that will encourage more flowers. Blooms on new growth. As it grows it blooms. Fantastic on the wall of a chicken coop providing ample shade. Rich soil that drains and regular summer water. Mulch the base- protect the crown in the first winter.
A sure sign that spring is on the way when this large interesting shrub’s buds begin to swell in January. First white, then silver and finally open sesame fragrant golden yellow. Its a fascinating procession. Large deciduous shrub with sweetly fragrant late winter flowers. Best in light shade with a bit of overhead protection so a late freeze doesn’t wreck the show. Truthfully, that rarely happens. Light shade and well drained, somewhat enriched soil. Overly rich soil can lead to a host of problems among which are fungal root diseases and rank huge growth which shortens the shrubs lifespan and leaves it vulnerable to tipping. Average soil- steady as she goes and regular summer water. Fascinating Daphne relative native to China thats been cultivated for so long its actually naturalized in Japan and is considered weedy. Ah, well. We still love it. Forms a framework of several trunks and then suckers like crazy. Do not prune the top half of this shrub- not that there is any legit reason too. It HATES being pruned. Remove the suckers and plant them around your yard. Have a whole freakin forest of this plant once used to manufacture paper. Size depends on the fertility of the soil.
We love this little multidimensional barrenwort that pairs fresh green leaves outlined in black in spring while simultaneously producing clouds of star shaped crystal white flowers. A compact smaller growing plant to 10′ tall and with good care spreading to 18″ wide. The remarkable new growth morphs to solid fresh green in summer. Blooms March to May in part to full shade (really doesn’t like sun so don’t fudge it). Regular summer water. Rich, moisture retentive hummus rich soil. Add an annual application of compost and even a handful of organic fertilizer in spring to increase vigor- give it a good life. Completely winter deciduous. Long lived perennial.
Beautiful barrenwort selection of an already beautiful species. Large spiny leaves with a glossy sheen begin in shades of vivid salmon red with darker mottling on new growth changing slowly to medium green by mid summer. A really good evergreen perennial that always looks its best. Evergreen leaves over winter fairly well, and if they get beaten up simply chop the leaves to the ground in February. In March, accompanying the stellar new growth tall spikes of many congest off white and pale yellow flowers seem to pour out between the new leaves. All in all its a great color coordinated perennial, dynamic and always changing. Clumps expand markedly in rich, moisture retentive woodland soil. Avoid blasting bright sun. To 2′ x 2′ shortly. Moderate deer resistance. Adapts quickly to dry shade conditions.
Cranesbills come in all colors but this is one of the most garden worthy, in fact its one of the best perennials for our climate. A GREAT PLANT PICK. Tightly clumping perennial with frilly silver intricate leaves. Beginning in spring and continuously to frost a constant supply of soft yellow cupped flowers on 5″ stems. Pale yellow with silver. YUM. Full sun and rich to average WELL DRAINED soil. Light to little summer water- actually once its established I never water it and everything is just fine. Nice en mass. Rock gardens- thrives in the hellstrip. Not a fan of shade. Winter deciduous- unusual for an Erodium. Long lived.
Fun tall growing sea holly that may be impossible to pronounce but its easy to grow. Upright growing finely serrated or prickly leaves first make a low 2′ wide rosette then when it feels like it- usually the second year a big as spike rises with a divided scape and tons of off white prickly clover like flowers dot the stem tips. Its cool. This whole perennial is cool and its slightly hardier than the species. Very cool. Evergreen perennial for full sun and just about any well drained soil. Flowers rise to 5′ tall and with time there will be many spikes. Pollinators arrive in droves to pollinate this very unusual but architectural perennial from South America. High deer resistance.
Excellent CLUMPING bamboo that is adaptable to a wide range of situations. Ultimately 15′ tall the 3/4″ culms rise up green with dramatic white culm sheaths before changing to a golden yellow. The foliage is dense and clusters around the top 3/4th of the canes. Easy to grow bamboo for redistricted sites in high overhead shade to full sun (but avoid the reflected heat of walls). Spreads moderately fast by a steadily increasing clump- each new culm is just inches from the other. Forming a grove to 4′ wide at the base in 6 years. Very upright growth makes it ideal for the thin space between houses, or for shading a courtyard. Regular summer water in rich, moisture retentive soil that drains. Drought adapted when established. Good performance in ice and snow. Hardy.
Fatsias are invaluable in our climate for their tropical good looks, and overall hardiness. They endure dry shade with aplomb and in autumn they explode into exotic bloom with large stems supporting orbicular white flowers. This cultivar has leaves with an interior zone of yellow. Slower growing than the species it will eventually top out at 6′ x 6′ in full to part shade in rich well drained soil. Light summer water. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy and very easy to grow.
Woodland strawberry that is native to large parts of Oregon. This upright growing smaller strawberry is delightful when pristine white flowers morph into sweet pendant red fruits. To 10″ tall and as wide this clumping plant expands at a moderate clip forming patches in rich to average soil with light, consistent summer moisture. Blooms in April- fruit arrives in June. This is the locally native form of this widespread plant. In France the same species is famous as Fraise du Bois. Our local species in Oregon will produce several rounds of fruit with reliable irrigation. This is not a long lived species and it seems to find its happy place on its own. Expect several years lifespan and leave fruit on the plant annually to ensure reseeding. Great in containers. Use in partly shady borders, its a diminutive plant and fits nicely among larger perennials. Great for fresh eating…and dogs like them too so protect from marauding pooches. Very natural lining woodland paths. Semi-deciduous to winter deciduous. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant
Big, huge hardy Fuchsia with much larger and more conspicuous flowers than the similar F. m. ‘Molinae’. To 4′ x 4′ in a season. Continuously blooms from June to frost in rich soil with REGULAR irrigation. This is a thirsty Fuchsia and pairs wonderfully with other thirsty plants as Hydrangeas and Weigela. Large flowers have a sepal and corolla of the same chalk pink. The wood is hardy to about 24ºF and it will freeze to the ground below that. Vigorous regrowth in spring shoots up from the semi-woody framework. Very hardy and recommended for the coldest gardens. Excellent performance on the Oregon coast. Purportedly has some resistance to rabbits but I would not bank on that. Makes a great hedge in full sun to part shade. Excellent on an eastern exposure with afternoon shade. Amend the soil well to enrich for the most vigorous establishment. Excellent in concert with all white flowered Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’. Hardy in containers. A large plant in full bloom is spectacular.
Mt. Etna Broom is a remarkable TREE from the slopes of Italy’s tallest active volcano. Unlike Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) this fine, leafless tree will NEVER become a pest in our climate. Rush like pendulous green stems are replete with yellow jasmine scented pea flowers for months in summer. This tree casts no shade but provides an elegant vertical element. The sweet perfume travels many feet on a warm day. Blooms May-August. Fast growing drought adapted tree to 18′ tall and 8′ wide in 10 years. Full, all day sun in a hot position in poor to average very well drained soil. Little summer water once established. Forms a very nice trunk in time. Plant with drought adapted shrubs/perennials. Wonderful small garden tree where you need height but don’t want shade. High deer resistance. Slightly tender when very young- fully hardy as an adult (3-4 years). Spectacular in bloom. No shade, it casts no shade.
Photo credit: Loree Bohl (Danger Garden)
Not many gardeners are aware that we have our own native hardy Geranium. And its a really good garden plant. Bushy herbaceous perennial that displays very large magenta/blue flowers in late spring to mid summer. It peaks in June and is quite a display. To 2′ x 2′ and completely deciduous in winter. Excellent in manicured borders or areas that receive a bit of extra irrigation in summer. Adapted to clay soils it improves considerably under cultivation. Mix with native Sidalceas for a bonafide native combination. Native throughout western Oregon but also native in the Rocky Mountains. One of our finest natives that should be used more often. Fall color is yellow before going cleanly away. Not bothered by slugs or snails (!) but not entirely deer resistant. Full sun to light shade to very high overhead shade (a tall tree canopy). Best in enriched soil with consistent summer moisture. Associated plants in the wild are Sidalceas, Achillea. Very good performance in rain gardens. Oregon native plant.
Possibly the best hardy Geranium ever selected. Sky blue flowers with a slightly white center appear non-stop from June to frost on this vigorous and flowery perennial. To 18″ tall and twice as wide or more. Well drained soil of average to rich fertility with light consistent summer water. Planted adjacent to shrubs and trees this perennial may actually act as a climber- rambling up into lower branches and displaying its cheery blue flowers up high. Full sun to light shade and regular summer water. Winter deciduous. As with all hardy Geraniums it shows great resistance to slugs/snails. Unauthorized propagation prohibited. PP#12,175.
Yarrow Gilly Flower as the 49ers named this sweet little annual California wildflower. Frilly green foliage gives rise to 10″ stems supporting violet to sky blue flowers. Blooms May-July in our climate. Very easy to naturalize in open disturbed sites. A great reblooming pollinator wild flower. Makes sweet little bouquets as well. Full sun and loose un-compacted soil- turn the soil to incorporate oxygen before planting. Light summer water keeps things going. Or it will finish with drought setting seed for the next years performance. A reliable and useful re-seeding plant for open, rocky places, where no sane plant can find purchase. Often comes up in the ‘Alba’ white form which is fantastic and makes the blue form seem more intense. Great little cut flower. Very light H20 extends the show.
About 15 years ago we planted this tiny seedling at the top of our propagation hill behind our wholesale nursery in Sherwood. After all those years and two trips down to 5ºF, numerous ice, snow, wind events it has remained completely happy and unblemished. This is closer to the species in form. To 4′ tall x 6′ wide in 5 years. Very prickly needles pose as the leaves forming a very formidable shrub. From January to July flaming red/orange flowers are curly and lick the tips of the stems like flames. And LOVED by hummers. Full sun to part shade, the very poorest, most well drained soil with no summer water once established. Takes clay soils on slopes. Completely drought adapted and it likes it that way. Great deer resistance. Long season of bloom on a charming architectural evergreen shrub. Excellent companion shrub for Arctostaphylos ( they both bloom in winter and attract hummers) as well as other drought adapted plants such as Italian Cypress and Arbutus. Our plant lives in what is termed ‘gravel reject’ which is the tailings from the gravel pit near by. It is 50% gravel and 50% fine soil- and is fairly challenging as far as summer drought goes. This plant has thrived. In richer soil expect faster growth. We do not give our stock plant supplemental water ever. Tough plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Low ground cover form of the Juniper Grevillea. Spreading to 6′ wide it rises to just 2′ when happy. Most of the time it is much lower. This selection is the most commonly seen orange form of this species. Spidery orange/red flaming flowers appear in clusters at the branch tips. The most likely bloom period is February-June- but older plants pump out sporadic flowers year round. Excellent on slopes- especially warm south facing slopes in a protected location. Surprisingly cold hardy enduring temperatures down to about 8ºF with no damage. Avoid subfreezing wind as well as boggy conditions and crowding from other plants. It likes to dry out in winter, and loathes wet plants laying on it. Extremely drought adapted requiring no supplemental water after a year or two. Highly deer resistant. Excellent evergreen- but prickily shrub for Hell strips. Loved by hummingbirds. We have since introduced G. j. ‘Xera Ember’ which is a more compact shrub 2′ x 4′ and has more deeply hued (bordering on red) flowers for a longer period. Gains hardiness with age. Pictured here with ‘Molonglo’.
Juniper leaved Grevillea that is a low spreading ground cover. Grass green needle like foliage plays host and is often obscured by masses of curly apricot yellow flowers. They peak in late spring but occur almost any time of year. Poor, well drained soil in full sun with no supplemental water ever. To 2′ tall by 6′ wide in 5 years. Supremely adapted to the heat and drought of parking strips. Prickly foliage deters animals- and even people. Incredibly floriferous shrub that gains cold hardiness with establishment. Loved by hummingbirds. Protect from subfreezing wind. No fertilizer. Dense enough growth to smother weeds Best with total neglect. Loved by hummingbirds. Little water when established. Amazing in bloom.
We grew and selected this spiky long blooming juniper Grevillea years ago, After a few years hiatus we’ve brought it back. Upright then spreading evergreen shrub. Incredibly sharp needles pose as the leaves. Curly orange typical spider flowers for the species with profuse flowers. Bloom is year round on established plants but for the first several years it peaks in spring. To 3′ x 5′ in 6 years. Full sun to part shade- Increased bloom and a more compact habit will be achieved in full sun. Tolerates a wide variety of soils but seems to excel with at least moderate drainage. Adaptable to clay soils. This is one of the cold hardiest cultivars of this species enduring 5ºF with no damage. Best in an open exposure with reasonable air circulation. No crowding with other plants. Excellent in the back of a rock garden or in a shrub border with Manzanita and Halimium. Water to establish , once its growing in earnest you can taper off and drought adaptation is exceptional. Avoid enriched soils, best in average unamended soil. Double dig a wide hole to assist the plant in rooting into virgin soil. Extremely deer resistant but adored by hummingbirds and many other birds in general. Very fun shrub to grow.
Xera Plants Introduction
A pretty shrub for a protected location. Compact growing evergreen shrub with medium green needle-like foliage. To 2′ x 4′ in 5 years. Nearly year round-but peaking in spring, copious light pink curly flowers are loved by hummers. Protected location in virgin, un-improved soil. Little to no summer irrigation. Excellent on a hot south facing slope- avoid crowding by other plants or an exposed cold site. Its possible that this is a hybrid and not pure G. juniperina. However, there is so much variability in this species that we are unsure. Extremely drought tolerant but it seems to grow faster and bloom more profusely with light water in summer. This plant is great at the Oregon coast where it is in nearly full bloom year round. It has survived undamaged in my garden for 9 years and has endured temperatures to 10ºF undamaged. It could be much hardier (when established). Limited qualities.
Our improved selection of the Juniper Leaved Grevillea with darker orange to near red profuse flowers and a more compact habit. To 2′ x 4′ wide in time the prickly grass green foliage of this spreading evergreen shrub allows the vivid curly deeply colored flowers to shine. Blooms nearly year round with a peak in mid to late spring. Loved by hummingbirds. Completely drought adapted- never needs supplemental water. Poor to average soil that drains but has never been amended or fertilized. Awesome candidate for a hot hillside or a protected hot south facing wall. Spectacular in bloom. Requests neglect- you should oblige. Hardy to around 7ºF. Full sun. High deer resistance.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Round leaf Grevillea is a great hardy species from the highest elevations in the mountains of SE Australia. Handsome wavy round evergreen leaves frame showy pendant flower clusters from January to June. The sunset colored flowers feature orange/yellow/pink in various incarnations depending on the temperatures. Loved by over wintering Anna’s hummingbirds. Any reasonably well drained soil that has NOT been amended. Native soils are perfect, and tolerant of clay as well as sand. Great on slopes. Fast, large growing to 8′ x 8′ in 6 years. Sporadic flowers appear year round. Avoid fertilizers. One of the best climate adapted Grevilleas that we have grown. Grows very fast with little water. Full sun and a hot position. Listed as endangered/threatened in Australia where it occupies just a half dozen sites in the high mountains. Extra reason to grow this fabulous multidimensional shrub that is good looking year round and blooms for a long, long period. Light summer water is best as infrequent deep soaks when it is not hot. This shrub gains cold hardiness with establishment. Excellent sited where its roots can find protection and a cool respite. Large boulders, even pavers will help create this. A very rare Grevillea that is truly alpine in nature.
One of the easiest Grevilleas to grow in our gardens this free flowering hybrid requires a protected location but is surprisingly hardy when well sited. To 4′ x 6′ wide in 5 years, the needle like foliage is bright green and fairly crowded along the stems. In spring through autumn- and sometimes during mild winters clusters of spidery deep vivid magenta flowers appear all over the plant. Very showy. Loved by hummers. Full sun and average to poor well drained soils. Great at the top of a hillside or next to the south wall of a house. No summer water- ever, or compost. Native unimproved soils are what it loves. Cold hardy to the low teens. It has recovered from lower and we’ve seen established shrubs in protected places all over western Oregon. Fantastic performance at the Oregon Coast where it should become a staple landscape shrub. High deer resistance- and that includes Elk on the coast. Takes well to pruning after the first flush of bloom has ended. Hybrid between G. rosmarinifolia and G. juniperina. Evergreen. See video clip below.
Very architectural cold hardy Hebe with a tidy upright habit and masses of pale, sky blue flowers in summer. Light green/gold glossy round leaves are congested around vertical stems. Very pretty year round appearance. In time it develops a light tan/gray trunk which contrasts with the deep green foliage. To 3′ tall and usually half as wide for full sun an rich to average- to even poor soil that drains well. Light summer water- though this Hebe can take very dry summer conditions. Cold hardy below 10ºF. Very pretty shrub for tight spaces, rock gardens, borders. New Zealand.
Wonderfully fragrant and early blooming this ravishing plant is one of our favorite perennials. In May towering scapes to 3′ tall are topped by clusters of widely opening citrus yellow flowers. They emit a powerful perfume and the intensity ramps up at night. Blooms 3-4 weeks from a lower clump of grassy leaves. Full sun and rich soil with regular irrigation in summer. Established plants can get by on water once every two weeks. Spreads to form colonies and this markedly increases the number of blooms. The floral perfume is detectable 10′ away and actually carries on the breeze. Mix with low shrubs or include in the center of a border. Lovely species that is very long lived and low maintenance. Completely winter deciduous. The flowers are edible and taste a little like the way they smell. This species can be hard to locate. (photo credit: Evan Bean).
One of our prettiest native Heucheras that can be found in partly shady locations from the Willamette Valley to the Cascades. A low rosette of handsome maple shaped leaves looks good for most of the year. In late spring very vertical straight stems erupt and cruise to 14″ tall. They terminate in rows of green flowers. As the flowers fade and change to seed the erect stems turn a soft red. Blooms are effective for months. A colony forming plant that spreads in rich to average soil with regular summer irrigation. Best in moist shady locations but is amenable to full sun- which will dramatically increase the number of flowers. Climate adapted perennial that improves under cultivation. Mass for a soft green floral effect. Mix with other woodlanders or even in full sun in rock gardens. Semi-deciduous. To 18″ wide. Moderate deer resistance. Excellent plant for partly shady meadows, which is its native haunt. Native to the city limits of Portland. Excellent plant. Oregon native plant.
Green Alum Root. Fantastic native Heuchera found east of the Cascades but a stellar garden plant on the west side too. Handsome scalloped leaves form a tight evergreen clump. For weeks and weeks in late spring to summer 20″ spikes have columns of small green flowers at the top. Very pretty. Amazing massed in part shade and rich to average well drained soil. Regular summer water though established plants thrive on very little. A pretty Oregon native perennial. Thrives in such diverse places as partly shady hellstrips to the front of borders. Not bothered by pest and disease and much more durable than the hybrids. Easy to grow. Climate adapted. Oregon native plant.
Coral Bells. This is the original species that lept into gardens nearly a century ago. Native to the mid and higher elevations of the southwestern U,S. this is a tough, beautiful, long blooming species that will live for decades in a garden. Maple shaped leaves, occasionally decorated with white form rosettes and in time colonies. In April to July a fantastic display of red flowers on 16″ straight stems. They create a pool of color above the plants. We love this species also for its ease of cultivation. Full sun to part shade in rich to average soil with light summer water, or none when a patch is established. Excellent long lasting haze of red color for the front of a border or with in other perennials. Adored by hummingbirds and moderately deer resistant. Very easy to transplant and move around where you need some color. Evergreen to semi evergreen foliage. Rosettes to 1.5′ wide. Indispensable, old fashioned but always beautiful and reliable. Avoid heavily compacted soils.
We got this form of Holboellia from Heronswood eons ago. It has much larger leaves than those being sold as angustifolia, And it bears larger flowers too. A vigorous, hardy, evergreen vine applicable to a large pergola, fence, or sturdy arbor. Twining vine to 20′ or more over time. On wood from the previous year large clusters of pendant white flowers have a soft sweet fragrance in close proximity. We have yet to see fruit set on this particular cultivar. Good year round appearance, not roughed up by winter in most years. The large palmate leaves are held on sturdy petioles that separates the whole leaf. Full sun to shade in rich to average soil w/ regular summer irrigation. Takes very dry conditions when established. Provide STRONG support- established plants can put on many feet of growth per year. Elegant layered appearance of the leaves gives this plant a graceful mein. Prune AFTER flowering if needed. You can prune it hard in late winter – this will sacrifice many flowers but re-growth is vigorous, if not instant. SW China.
Curious and rare western oregon native plant that can be found in permanently wet sites. This gives you a clue about how to grow this striking little pea. Wide stretching arms deliver pink and yellow flowers in clusters at the tips. Blooms April to July. Native along the immediate coast from the Bay Area in California north to British Columbia Inland it clusters around permanently wet sites. . Never common in its range. Stream banks, seeps, the margins of ponds for full sun and perpetually moist soil. Excellent for use in rain gardens (bioswales). Often short lived in gardens where it is dry. You must supply constant moisture. To 8″ tall by 4′ wide. Not difficult to grow and very climate adapted pea that is welcome in gardens. Oregon native plant.
Pretty version of this hardy perennial impatiens. It forms mounds of lush foliage that has a light icy sheen on the surface of the leaves. If you look closely at this cultivar the leaves actually sparkle as if they were inlaid with crystals. Groovy. To 2′ x 3′ spreading in part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil. Consistent summer moisture. In autumn the tops of the plant bears many tubular light yellow flowers that are surprisingly large. Completely winter deciduous.
Cool Indigo shrub that produces erect stems of light pink flowers w/ a touch of white. The flowers appear on new growth and as long as the plant is vigorous the display will be too. Deciduous woody shrub to 8′ tall by 8′ wide in a season. Established plants may be pruned to the ground in early spring and will vigorously rebound and bloom. Loved by pollinators. Not a dense shrub rather a light texture that is almost see-through. Very fun and flowery and easy to grow in full sun to light shade in average soil w/ regular summer water. I’ve never seen this species set seed in our climate. Cold hardy below 0ºF as a subshrub that can freeze to the ground below 10ºF. Pinnate leaves as for the species is a soft light green. Admirable cut flower- a whole branch yields many flower inflorescences. Remarkable shrub that can difficult to locate. Loved by butterflies. We grew this pretty shrub years ago and have brought it back.
Chinese Indigo is one of our favorite perennials/subshrubs. Arising from the ground in late spring the arching stems to 3′ support 6″ long pendant pale rose pink flowers for months and months. No intervention needed from the gardener. In time it suckers to form 4′ wide patches. Regular water to establish in average to rich, well drained soil. Full sun. Freezes completely to the ground in winter- cut back defunct stems from the previous year in early spring. When it does emerge its a very quick trip to up and blooming. Incredibly drought tolerant when established but light consistent watering seems to encourage new flowers- as it grows it blooms so you want to keep it growing. Incredibly elegant but tough plant that asks for so little but gives so much.
Precious! Amazing little spring blooming iris from the eastern U.S. Tiny green fans of leaves creep along the ground and form interconnected colonies with their long rhizomes. In late March into April 3″ wide soft blue and white flowers appear out of nowhere. The rise above the low foliage to 5″ high. PRECIOUS. The lower petals (the falls) have a zone of darker blue and orange. PRECIOUS. Part shade in rich woodland conditions- excellent under established shrubs or at the fore of borders in the forest. Regular summer water. High deer resistance. Completely disappears in the winter. PRECIOUS. Little spring wonder from the east.
Oregon iris or Tough leaved iris is the most northerly species of Pacifica Iris- extending its native zone as far as SW Washington. Its common throughout the western part of our state where it decorates grassy hillsides in full sun to quite a bit of shade with jolly purple flowers April-June. That was the most common color where I grew up SW of Eugene. Turns out this Iris comes in quite a few colors. Pink, blue, white, golden yellow, red- all hues that have been recorded for this species. Conspicuous also, among the 11 Pacifica species this is a winter deciduous perennial and its the hardiest of the lot. Forms grassy clumps in fan shaped displays to about 10″ tall. A large clump can be 30″ across and filled with nearly 100 flowers- these rise on cantilevered stems to 14″ tall. Not very tolerant of disturbance and to be honest it has stymied us quite a few times. They HATE division. Therefore, we feature seed grown plants- local seed. These plants feature extra vigor and usually bloom with in 3 years. They also establish better. Best in light shade, dappled shade on slopes. Average, clay soil is what it wants and you can increase vigor by double digging the hole very wide to incorporate oxygen in the soil and water lightly and consistently through the first summer. Then none to light in subsequent years. And admirable competitor with introduced invasives and as per all Iris it is supremely deer and even rabbit resistant. Winter deciduous- also, it may go drought deciduous in extremely dry summers. Mixes well with native annuals. Established clumps live for decades. The flowers have the light fragrance of root beer (at least to me) and are the only fragrant Pacifica species that I can detect. First nation people used the incredibly tough leaves to braid into ropes, traps. Which is cool. Photo credit: East Multnomah Conservation District. Oregon native plant.
Not a very enchanting cultivar name but a useful and distinct flower color variant of Algerian Iris. This winter blooming species produces large pale lilac/ivory flowers from November-sporadically until March. The 4″ flowers are nestled in the grassy evergreen foliage but are a light enough color to read from quite a distance. This for is perhaps best planted with the species to produces contrasting flower colors for more depth. To 1′ tall and twice as wide in several years. Full sun to very light shade in well drained soil of average fertility. Not quite as cold hardy as the species but it has to get pretty damn cold (below 5ºF) for damage to occur and that just never happens. Long lived perennial. High deer resistance. Low summer water requirements.
Adorable congested little shrubby Jasmine that is at home in rock gardens, shrub borders etc. Dense congested growth is arching. Tiny pinnate leaves line the stems in summer. In May-June a spectacular display of starry yellow flowers swarms this shrub. As new growth follows it holds a lesser show but flowers will appear sporadically until frost. Native to the Himalayan foothills in India, it forms a deciduous dome shape to 2′ x 3′ and dense and rounded. Established shrubs spread slowly by stolons as well. Cold hardy precious shrub for full hot sun and light to little summer water. Occasional summer soaks will yield increased bloom. The fragrance is sophisticated and light and most conspicuous on warm days. Prune after bloom has ended, but almost never necessary as will be evident once it starts to grow. Great self contained shrub that I’ve always thought deserves a place in public or commercial landscapes. Its precious in home gardens too. Loved by bees. Very easy to grow. Matches Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’ in density and formal appearance. Excellent in rock gardens, sunny hillsides. Great for erosion control. Slow and steady growth. Moderate deer resistance.
Even though this poker blooms but once the color is so intense and the amount of flower spikes on one clump of plants so impressive that we have to include it. 3′ tall flower spikes support HOT orange solid colored flowers from June to July. The clump expands annually in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Full sun to very light shade. Winter deciduous. Very easy to grow hummingbird food.
For pale coral/pink flowers ‘Timothy’ is tops. From a clump of relatively few leaves multiple spikes of 3′ tall richly selfed flowers rise up. A beacon to hummingbirds and a great harmonious color in the garden. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer water to spur re-bloom which will continue through the very hottest weather. An annual application of compost and all purpose organic fertilizer will result in more vigor, flowers, and re-bloom. Full sun to very light shade. Long lived elegant perennial. Nothing like the brash bicolor flowers of the old fashioned K. uvaria- the standard old poker. Excellent and dramatic cut flower. Removing spent flowers encourages more. Give the clumps room to expand with little competition from other plants. Moderate deer resistance.
Little known but spectacular poker that we love for its HUGE late summer flowers of shocking acid green. Each flower spike includes up to 1′ long spike of tubular flowers. Forms a large tropical looking grassy evergreen clump. Full sun and rich well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Apply an annual application of compost to increase vigor. To 4′ tall in bloom the clump of grassy foliage expands to 3′ wide. Give it the room that it needs. Depending on the weather flower spikes can occur any time from June on but mostly cluster in Aug-Oct. Semi-evergreen. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy.
Obscure and exceptional tree type crape myrtle that was one of supreme breeder Donald Egolf’s favorite introductions from the National Arboretum. He introduced 30 Crape myrtles so thats saying a lot. Fast growing upright tree with phenomenal bark. Cinnamon red/mahogany/cream all are present on this 25′ tall arching tree. From late July to October a fantastic display of luminous soft pink flowers born on huge trusses. Fall color is vivid orange/yellow/red. In time it develops a spreading crown and makes a wonderful garden tree. Average to enriched soil with REGULAR summer water for the first few years. Deep soaks on established trees enhances bloom as well. Full, all day sun in a hot position. Excellent tree to garden with- roots are not intrusive and it happily accepts regular irrigation. Grows about 3′-5′ a year when young- slows down to its ultimate height. This is essentially an improved pink flowered form of ‘Natchez’. Limited quantities.
For our climate this is one of the very finest summer blooming small trees. Forming a perfectly round dome in time to 12′ tall and nearly as wide this free blooming tree also requires the least amount of water to sustain it and bloom. Beginning in mid-July large trusses of bubble gum pink flowers appear and they completely obscure the foliage of the crown re-blooming non-stop until the end of September. In fall reliable and incredibly showy orange to red and yellow fall color is stunning for an extended period of time. The bark sloughs off of older trees to reveal a glossy gray surface. Moderately fast growing this should be a standard landscape plant in our climate. Exceptional cold hardiness and no fear of disease.
Extraordinary tree that displays HUGE trusses of almost double flowered glowing lavender blue flowers for nearly two months. Open spreading habit on a compact tree to 14′ tall and 8′ wide. The branching structure favors the huge opulent flower clusters which protrude in every direction and which always begin in my garden in early August and continues well into September. Fall color is a vivid orange and yellow combination and is reliable. The sinuous trunk displays pink/tan coloration Smooth and very pretty. Its consistently one of the youngest to show bark coloration. Another less renowned trait is its almost fluid, undulating branching pattern. In a nursery pot you seldom see the true glory of a crape myrtle- trust me, this is a first rate tree. Full hot sun and regular summer irrigation to bloom and thrive. Very cold hardy and disease resistant. An easy and spectacular tree that should be planted everywhere. Beautiful. Excellent small tree for small urban gardens. Mixes well with Japanese Maples and Stewartias. Best to begin irrigation in May if we’ve had an exceptionally dry spring. Wonderful tree year round and an exceptionally heavy and reliable bloomer. One of Paul’s favorite crape myrtle cultivars. Its amazing, Trust me. Combine with late blooming, white flowered Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ for a repeat of luscious, late cone shaped blooms. National Arboretum introduction.
BABY STARS! Cute hardy annual that is actually a west coast native. Also known as Stardust this little plant produces adorable stars in pink, orange, yellow, and white. All together a tapestry of color on just 3″ tall plants. Reseeds prolifically in open disturbed sites. Just one potted plant will yield hundreds of seedlings for the following year. Blooms May- July then dies, goes to seed, is no longer there. Great bulb cover. Little to no summer water for self sown seedlings. Primarily composed of Leptosiphon parviflorus which is native to central California. Our own locally native Leptosiphon bicolor is similar and In the wild the flowers are primarily pink with a yellow eye- occasionally other colors. Adorable. Baby stars. Leave cleared space in your garden near these plants to allow these plants room to re-sow. Competition from other plants is the main reason that this plant loses its grip in the garden. Simply scratch a bare area near each patch and do not remove the spent plants until they are properly straw and dropping their fine seed. Delightful lining paths. Creates the most honest looking wildflower vignettes possible in our gardens. Full sun.
Meadow foam is a native hardy annual that occupies the flood zones in the valleys in most of Central and northern California up through the Willamette Valley to Portland. To 4″ tall and up to a foot wide the grass green finely divided leaves are a great backdrop to the yellow flowers which are cleanly tipped white at the edge of the petals. Vigorously reseeds in any soil in full sun to part shade. Leave the dead straw to disperse the seeds or simply shake it where you would like next years display to be. And it WILL RESEED PROLIFICALLY- by early autumn you will achieve an enormous patch. Don’t worry if they are crowded the seedlings seem to work it out. This is a fantastic method for inhibiting winter weeds- YOU get to chose your weeds and this is an easy to deal with plant. A great annual to eclipse the fading foliage of bulbs. No supplemental water required. Completes its life cycle by the heat of summer and has already set hundreds of seeds for the following years crop. This from just one 4″ pot. Winter weeds are the worst cause we aren’t out there on patrol so this is greatly helpful. And the cycle begins again each year. Meadowfoam honey is wonderful btw. Very sweet with a sharp clover tang. Oregon native plant
Big huge perennial Lobelia from Chile that is one of the most exotic perennials that we can grow. Spires of 5′ blood red flowers appear for weeks in the middle of summer. Hummingbirds delight. Large pale green leaves provide added contrast. Spreads to form large colonies (does not run). Full sun and rich, well drained soil. Great on hillsides. Light summer water. Completely deciduous in winter. Returns from the base in mid-spring. Give it room to stretch out- new plants are deceptively small. Water regularly for the first summer to establish. Spectacular perennial.
AKA Guitar Plant from Tasmania. Still can’t tell why its called that. Perhaps the shape of the finely divided leaves? I dunno. Awesome shrub though that only reaches about 4′ high and 3′ wide in 7 years. In mid-late spring amazing 1′ long spikes rise and unfurl a multitude of curly ivory colored flowers. The effect is pure Monet. Compact evergreen for poor to average well drained soil. Little to no summer water when established. Does not do shade, of any kind. Do not try. Best sited in a protected location- against a south or west facing wall for instance. Elegant thing. Thanks, Tasmania.
Photo credit: Loree Bohl (Danger Garden)
Spring Gold or Biscuitroot is a widespread spring perennial from British Columbia south into northern California. In our area it occupies steep slopes and delights in mid-late spring with complex umbels of brilliant gold/yellow flowers. This tap rooted plant requires regular water for the first season- but never boggy, In enriched to average well drained soil. Excellent performance on slopes. Over time the rosette increases in width and spring flowers. Adapted life between native clumping grasses. This is easily replicated in a garden. An important native pollinator plant that was also used by native Americans as a food source. To 6″ tall in bloom a plant will achieve 2′ wide in half a dozen years. Strongly resents disturbance and a happy plant will live for decades. Not bothered by pests. Once native in the Portland area, its original range in W. Oregon has been substantially diminished. Great companion plant with Manzanita. Goes quietly dormant over summer. Moderately deer resistant.
Snowy woodrush is a great woodlander and has many seasons of interest. The thin arching blades on this clump forming plant are softly veiled in white hairs that gives a softness to the clump. To 10″ tall and as wide in a season. In late summer 2′ tall spikes appear and produce snowy white flowers. They sway in the breeze. A mass planting of this in bloom is magical. Rich, moisture retentive soil that drains in part shade to shade. Takes sun with regular water but nothing hot. Excellent long lived perennial. Can self sow when very happy. The hairy seedlings are easy to spot and move- or give away.
First rate, cold hardy and excellently adapted to permanently wet sites in part shade to shade. This larger form of the Ostrich Fern forms a large crown in time. It supports very vertical soft green fronds to 3′ tall. In time the clumps increase in size. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. Creek margins, bogs, the edge of ponds. Completely deciduous in winter. Often turns showy russet orange before dying down. Returns in mid spring. Loathes drought and avoid hot sun. Opulent fern and a great selection. Moderate deer resistance.
Cool Iris relative from South Africa in a genus that is common in warmer climates. This cold hardy high elevation species is peculiar in that it produces just a few very long evergreen leaves that mostly splay out on the ground. At the base of the leaves are fine netting- bulb netting that protects the bottom from damage. In May-July it sends up usually, just one solitary stem. At the top a large Iris flower of the softest yellow opens. The lower petals (the falls) are intricately marked with gray veining around a brighter yellow spot. Its a beautiful flower. But don’t remove it when its done because there are more to come from that very same stem- seemingly from no where a parade of flowers will erupt for weeks. Full sun and well drained rich to average soil. Very easy to grow and long lived. Avoid compacted clay and competition from other plants…it doesn’t like that. Thrives in the baking heat of hellstrips or in rock gardens. A very pretty flower that is an exceptional color. Moderate deer resistance.
Deer grass is native to large areas of the west coast from west central Oregon south through California. Its a tough and wild looking grass that peaks in autumn with a crescendo of dramatic flowers. Dense and fountain forming evergreen grass. Foliage to 2′ x 3′ very quickly. In autumn spikes of light tan thin but feather columns emerge and point out in every direction. The rise to about 5′ tall and remain as stiff skeletons well into winter. Full sun to very light shade in any soil that drains. Excels on slopes and raised beds. Wonderful lining a path or mass planted. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Its fully adapted to our dust dry summers. Very wild looking grass which can be tamed somewhat by planting in rows or symmetrical pattern. Otherwise it fits in perfectly between drought tolerant native shrubs like Manzanita and Ceanothus. Oregon native plant.
Five spot is a showy and adorable west coast native true hardy annual that delights under oaks with 1″ wide white and blue flowers. One deep blue dot at the tip of each of the five petals. To 4″ tall and sprawling to 8″ wide the cheery flowers appear from late March to June before the plant completes its life cycle and dies and goes to seed. Reseeds reliably in open disturbed sites. Fine leaves on small rosettes tell the story in autumn. Self sown plants require no supplemental water. One potted plant will yield hundreds of seedlings for the following spring. West coast annuals are cool. Found in a small part of Josephine and Jackson counties in southern Oregon. Oregon native plant.
Baby Blue Eyes is a hardy annual wildflower native to the southern coast in the blue form. In the Willamette Valley up to about Portland the variety Nemophila menziesii ssp. Atomaria is the native form. It has large cup shaped flowers that are white on the inside w/ fine intricate black spotting and blue on the reverse of the petals. That is the form that I grew up with in the country near Eugene. This is a fascinating annual that is adapted to just about any soil that is not boggy. Finely divided foliage forms sprawling rosettes that support the nickel sized sky blue to pale blue flowers. Blooms April to June. Reliably reseeds in open disturbed sites and with a little protection from slugs and lack of competition. The whole plant is dead and chucking seed by the heat of summer and ultimately disappears on its own. Adaptable to full sun to light shade. Self sown plants get by with no supplemental irrigation- plants from containers seem to like regular water. In habitat it occupies slopes usually under the canopy of Oaks. To 4″ tall and 1′ wide. Excellent, long, showy display in reconstructed Willamette Valley meadows. and laugh at summer drought by finishing their life cycle and simply spreading anew by seed. We are actively searching for the ssp. atomaria but the seed is hard to obtain. Occurs natively with Erythronium oreganum, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis as well as Plectritis congesta. Oregon native plant.
Cool shrub in the rose family that is native to the state of Alabama. To 5′ x 5′ light green serrated leaves are pretty. In April/May the entire shrub is smothered in white flowers made up entirely of stamens. No petals here. Graceful and durable deciduous shrub for part shade to high overhead shade. Regular soil including heavy clay soils. Light, consistent summer water. Soak once every 2 weeks. Fall color is yellow to light orange. Long lived and easy to grow unusual shrub of great grace. Avoid blasting sun and extreme drought.
From the middle East (Syria, Lebanon) this hop flowered species of Origanum has been a stalwart performer in our climate. Low and spreading stems create hop shaped structures that house the little protruding hot pink flowers. The hops are mostly light green but can take on pink tints. They are fully pendulous and the best way to display this plant is to site it on the edge of a precipice or wall or from the side of a container. To 8″ tall and 2′ wide when happy. Rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Begins blooming in May and continues unabated to September. One of the parents of several popular hybrids but we like the straight species quite a bit- it seems tougher. Graceful. Dies to a very low mound of foliage in winter. Cut back the previous seasons dead stems in early spring. Cold hardy and very showy.
WE LOVE minoan white lace flower with its beautiful pristine white umbels held high above ferny green foliage. A true hardy annual native to the mediterranean. It makes a wonderful swath of lacey white to 18″-20″ tall. Long stems are ideal for cutting and this flowers lasts in vases wonderfully. Blooms repeatedly from late spring to mid summer.. Cut spent flowers and they re-bloom. Open disturbed soil that has been well dug- and a little organic fertilizer to spur vigor. Full sun. Borders, cutting gardens, cottage gardens- virtually anywhere. Re-seeds in open disturbed soils (no competition). Light summer water.
I’d swear this is just a species pelargonium and probably there is at least some pure species in the parentage. Its a remarkable tender plant that blooms its brains out for months non-stop. These pale pink and dark purple studded flowers decorate a hazy, wiry frame of very slight foliage. Its pretty and it gives the constant bloom a very wild flower mein. Forming a rounded shrub to 20″ x 20″ in a season. It grows fairly rapidly in rich soil enriched with all purpose granular organic fertilizer. Excellent in mixed containers and unflinching in the most blazing conditions. Full sun. Also, cheerful by itself in a large terra cotta pot. The blooms begin in May for months it is never without flowers. Regular water. Mixes well with tender (and hardy) succulents. One of my favorite containers is this plant in the center surrounded by trailing Sedum palmeri. Hardy to about 27ºF- and worth overwintering as a houseplant in a very bright window. Give it good air circulation. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast.
Pine leaved Penstemons are great, long lived evergreen perennials in our climate. They decorate rock gardens and rock walls in the most common color which is orange. This is a striking departure. Lemon yellow tubular flowers appear in late May and continue to July. The foliage is what you might expect small needle like leaves cover winding stems. You may remove the spent flowers from the first round, give it a soak and you might get more flowers. Either way you have saved yourself a chore in the future. Full sun to the very lightest shade (at the expense of blooming). Rich, well amended soil and regular summer water through its bloom cycle- then you may back off. Evergreen small trailing shrublet. To 6″ x 12″ wide and 9″ tall in bloom. The flowers on this species will always point in the same direction which is charming. Moderate deer resistance. Combine with Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ and Erigeron x ‘Wayne Roderick’ for similar cultural requirements and simultaneous bloom time. Excellent in troughs, permanent planters. This species is native to the mountains of New Mexico. Sunny yellow flowers.
Varied leaf Phacelia. For anyone who has hiked and camped in Oregon you are likely already familiar with this silvery plant. The divided and rounded laves are clad in silver fur and the leaves are the highlight of this widespread perennial. The flower which shows great promise as it rises from the cool leaves. It opens and then unfurls and you expect a purple or even red flower but no disappointly- dingy off white is what unfurls. Either way its a pollinator paradise. Size is dependent on the fertility of the soil. Often you see this plant in its early rosette forms along just about any path in the state. Western Oregon to Eastern Oregon this widespread plant is specific to our native pollinators. To 18″-3′ (in really rich soil). Short lived Oregon native perennial. About 3-5 years. Reliably reseeds. Seedlings are easy to spot as they mimic the parent plant. Full sun to a considerable amount of woodland shade. Associated plants in habitat are Sword ferns (Polystichum minutum) and Vancouveria hexandra. Moderately deer resistant. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
This charming true poppy relative is also known as Cream Cups. Easy to see when the cup shaped flowers open during the sunniest time of the day. The petals are various shades of yellow with cream veining. Or is it the other way around? Either way its adorable beyond measure as this little thread leaf clump forming true annual pops into bloom in our climate from late April to early June. Not a prolific self seeder but I’ve heard once you get it where it likes it then its yours. To 5″ tall when the flowers top out. Full sun and average to rich well drained soil. Not difficult. West coast annuals are wonderful not only for their color, texture, and forms but of their endearing nature. They are tough little plants with a delicate appearance. Light summer water extends the bloom before high heat finally ends the show and seeds go flying. No shade. Rock gardens, spring borders. High deer resistance. This little beauty though mainly found in California comes just into Oregon in Curry and Josephine counties. Oregon native plant.
I can’t imagine my garden in autumn now without this crazy late blooming blue, blue blue perennial. To 6 ‘x 6’ long stems terminate in clouds of bright blue guppy shaped flowers beginning in mid-October and continuing usually until the first hard freeze- often mid-December in the city. Part shade in deep rich moisture retentive soil. Kind of a quiet plant until autumn and then holy shit. Clouds of blue guppies people. Clouds of blue guppies. Often it gets yellow fall color simultaneously with this display. Incredible cut flower at a weird time of the year. Regular water all through summer. This plant gets big, big, big. Perfectly hardy to cold way below zero. So happy I found you Rabdosia now Isodon which sounds more like a freaking Dinosaur than a groovy late fall blooming perennial. Give this plant room, it will get much larger than it looks in a nursery pot. It can be nearly tucked behind shrubs or taller late season perennials. It often turns a soft straw color in concert with the blue flowers. Foliage out of flower is somewhat dull but the fall display makes it worth it. Native to Hokkaido, Japan. Formerly known as both isodon and before that Rhabdosia. Seems to have settled into the mostly tender genus Plectranthus. Fabulous late season perennial.
Sea Blush, or more commonly Rosy Plectritis is a locally native hardy annual in the Valerian family. In April-June it swarms meadows and glens with orbicular globes of dense fragrant pink flowers. They rise on average to about 10″ tall. Rich soil will yield larger plants. Excellent bulb cover for late narcissus, tulips etc. Fun to grow heavily reseeding annual that also makes a sweet cut flower. It can be found in the western third of the state. Also wonderful with Pacific Coast Iris as they bloom concurrently. Sets seed and dies by mid summer when the spent carcasses may be removed- when doing that give them a shake where you want next years display to occur. Make sure not to cover the seed, native annual seed requires light to germinate and it will very quickly sprout with the first cool fall rains. Traditionally, Rosy Plectritis can be found in a mix of perennial and annual communities. In its many habitats it can be found with Oregon Iris (Iris tenax) and often Giant Blue Eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora). Water to establish as plants- then none. Full sun to very light shade. New seedlings have paddle shaped true leaves with a rubbery texture. High deer resistance. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Our native Licorice Fern that has a backwards season. It emerges all fresh and happy with the first cool weather and rains in autumn and persists that way until hot weather takes hold, then it quietly (and cleanly) disappears. Forms spreading colonies on any light surface including the vertical slopes of rocks and trees. The base of the plant forms an interconnected series of rhizomes that cling to anything. It escapes all drought and heat by summer dormancy. Neat trick. If you detach the fronds and bite into the base of the petiole it delivers a strong anise/licorice flavor. This remarkable plant should be common in living walls and green roofs that would require no supplemental irrigation- and actually thrive and look healthy. Excellent performance in the ground in rich, well drained soil. Water as they say is irrelevant. Highly deer resistant. Oregon native plant.
My personal favorite primrose. This sieboldii selection blooms later than others but the flowers which are soft blue on the back of the flower and have a pure clean white face on the front. Heavily frilled petals are elegant on 8″ stems. Blooms May to early June in cooler years. No other cv of P. sieboldii comes as close to true blue. Forms a clump in time in rich, moisture retentive soil in part shade. Goes quickly summer dormant with true heat. Still water the roots of the dormant plant- they like that and will reward you with a greater show the following spring. Mix with Lamium maculatum ‘Aureum’ and Tiarella ‘Steam Punk’ for the same cultural conditions and a long spring to summer show. Great around the base of hardy Fuchsias as well. The leaves of the Primula disappear just as the Fuchsia is gaining steam. Excellent selection of this long lived spectacular Primula.
The most vividly colored flowers of the three cv of P. sieboldii. Hot pink on the reverse of the heavily frilled petals with an open front of white with distinctive hot pink striations shot right through. Blooms in-between the other two selections. First ‘Late Snow’ then ‘Lacy Lady’ and finally ‘Ice Princess’ Plant them all together and you get an extended show of one of the prettiest and most sophisticated species of Primula. Goes quickly summer dormant with heat. Continue to occasionally water through the dry summer. To 8″ high in bloom.
Excellent, selection of this easy and graceful perennial Primrose. Grass green round leaves form a rosette from the middle 8″ spikes support masses of flat, heavily frilled pure white flowers from April to late May. This is the most vigorous selection that we grow and will quickly increase in size in rich, moisture retentive soil in part shade. Blooms heavily for 6 weeks then goes quickly but quietly summer dormant. Though it has disappeared its important to at least occasionally water the plants roots through summer. To 1 1/2′ wide in several years. Apply a handful of all organic fertilizer in early spring. Excellent planted among Hosta. The Primula will emerge, bloom, and go to sleep just as the Hosta expand.
As a child in the country near Eugene this was one of the first wildflowers I learned to identify. And its a beautiful and fascinating native perennial. This ‘weed’ circles the world but our locally native form is an exceptional improvement. Lance shaped basal leaves (the trick for identifying our local sub-species) forms stout upright stems. They are crowned with ‘cones’ that have whorls of showy deep purple tubular flowers- they appear continuously for up to 6’weeks into August decorating the tops of a 1′ tall plant. Spreads to form a clump as wide and appreciates average to enriched soil in full sun. Regular summer water increases vigor and lengthens the bloom time. A very charming native cut flower that produces new blooms continuously after its picked. This is a very important plant for native pollinators. Also, it differs from the pan-weedy form in larger cones and much showier flowers. Its a larger plant as well. Adapts to clay soils with regular irrigation to establish. A natural magnet for butterflies. Blooms May-August. In our region it is now found primarily away from the valley in upland valleys to alpine meadows and scree. A good native weed that is a great garden plant as well. Oregon native plant.
Very showy ornamental Pomegranate that we love for the insanely double hot orange congested flowers. They are like you are on acid. Far out man. No other shrub that we grow has a flower color this intense. It blooms beginning in June and continue to September. Most years one or two or more ornamental pomegranate form. They rarely ripen in our climate but are very ornamental and can be detached and brought inside. Where they last for months in arrangements Full hot all day sun in rich, well drained soil. Water the first year regularly to establish then only once a month in summer from then on. To 9′ tall forming a multitrunked vase shaped outline. Glossy green leaves turn electric yellow in autumn before dropping. In spring it tends to break dormancy late, not until late April. Patience. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed AFTER flowering. Best in the warmest possible position. Very long lived shrub in the city of Portland.
If ever there was the chance to ripen a Pomegrante in our climate this cultivar is the best bet. Large growing deciduous shrub for full hot sun and any well drained soil. Light to little summer water is necessary once established. Amenable to regular water as well. Beginning in June a continuous supply of red/vermillion/orange single flowers appear. If pollinated they will form fruit which would ordinarily (in a hot fall climate) ripen by October. In our much cooler climate it requires the hottest spot possible. Against a south facing wall would be ideal- for fruit to possibly ripen. Otherwise the large pomes with a blushed red outside are very ornamental. They can be left on the shrub or brought inside to dry where they will last for months in a dish. Very pretty. In autumn ‘Grenada’ turns a clear and luminous yellow before the small glossy leaves drop. Breaks dormancy late in spring- usually late April- be patient. Blooms on wood from the previous year- prune directly after flowering if needed. Avoid all shade. High deer resistance.
Excellent ornamental Pomegranate for our climate. This heat loving (and tolerating) deciduous shrub is also incredibly tolerant of summer drought. To 5′ tall by 3′ wide it greets the heat of summer with electric orange small crape petalled flowers. Each is held in a thick calyx that is to become a small blushed ornamental fruit. Full, hot sun in a hot position with summer water to speed growth and establishment. Well drained soils of average fertility. Fall brings brilliant yellow foliage before it drops. Late to break dormancy in spring- waits until the first truly warm days. Be patient Cold hardy to near 0ºF. Blooms heaviest on wood from the previous season and sporadically on new growth. Tolerates extreme reflected heat. Gains drought tolerance with age and then it is great. Good compact shrub for small gardens, hot locations, and often shunned by deer. Though this is listed as a dwarf with smaller over all dimensions it will reach the full dimension that I’ve listed. Plan ahead.
Three fingered felt fern. This clump forming evergreen fern has been a fantastic performer in the ground in the Portland area. The large sage green leaves have three finger like lobes and are held horizontally at the ends of 6″ stems. Forms a dense clump that expands slowly in rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. Part shade to dense shade and it will tolerate quite dry shade when established. An excellent fern for planters and containers in hopelessly dark dry places (usually with a few dead or dwindling plants) this won’t do that. Excellent in containers with great winter appearance. Its been hardy in the coldest winters in my garden- below 10ºF. (Sometimes rated as zone 6…um no). Slow to increase- be diligent with water. Makes an admirable houseplant. Moderate deer resistance. Taiwan.
Western Buttercup is our own wonderful wildflower. This is the real thing and NOT the invasive Ranunculus ficaria or repens. Traditionally it occupies open Oregon Oak woodlands and meadows including vernally wet meadows. Though it handles winter inundation it is also adapted to upland situations and in every biome it goes quickly summer dormant. Rosettes of pretty pinked leaves elongate in bloom to an airy spray of bright yellow flowers. Intimately, the petals have a glossy sheen. And growing up in the country it was traditional to put a picked flower under your chin and the reflected color yellow revealed that indeed you did like butter. Great cut flower that peaks on May Day and has made many a wild flower bouquet with purple Oregon Iris and purple Dodecatheon hendersonii- Shooting stars. Pictured here with Common Camas Camassia quamash at the Camassia reserve in West Linn, Oregon. Blooms from mid-April to early June. Vast meadows of western Oregon still harbor this sweet short lived perennial. Adapted to heavy clay soils- reseeds when happy. Suitable for mowed meadows as long as it has gone to seed by the time you mow. Wait until June. Good competitor with invasives and absolutely integral to a Willamette Valley meadow. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant
The biggest black eyed susan daisy of them all. Towering to 7’+ the sturdy straight stems of this hardy American plains native perennial displays very large yellow flowers with drooping petals reflexed away from a prominent black central cone. The thick stems rise up from a low mound of foliage. Blooms all summer long and often into October. Loved by pollinators of all kinds it also makes a really cool and surprisingly long lasting cut flower. Put this beauty in the back of a border where its sunny yellow flowers can wave to the sky. Light summer water in any well drained soil. Full sun to avoid flopping.
Really excellent form of Chaparral Currant with 3″ soft pink flowers that appear at any point during winter well into spring. A summer deciduous shrub to 8′ x 5′ in 7 years. Leaves drop completely by September and then re leaf as fall rains progress. Surprisingly hardy for its origin- California’s Channel Islands. Full sun to part shade and well drained average soil. Great on a slope. Loved by overwintering Anna’s hummingbirds. Flowers are surprisingly cold hardy and are undamaged to the upper teens. If those that are open are spoiled by frost more will follow after the thaw. Very very drought tolerant, No supplemental water required when established. Loses most of its leaves in summer drought. Grows fairly quickly and is never a dense shrub- all the better to see the pendant flowers. Dry borders, shrub borders, winter gardens. This shrub loves our climate and is supremely adapted to a winter wet/summer dry regime. Moderate deer resistance. Excellent winter blooming shrub. A beacon to Anna’s Hummingbirds.
This form of the famous eastern U.S. clove currant is fabulous not only because it is resistant to White Pine Blister Rust – and won’t transmit it to those trees- it bears large black, sweet edible fruit in summer. The chains of yellow flowers in March/April emit the adored fragrance of powerful cloves. Detectable quite a way away. To 4′ x 3′ in 5 years. Full sun to shade in rich to average well drained soil. Light summer water. Very adaptable and extremely hardy to cold. Fall color in our climate is yellow to orange. Self fertile. Protect fruit from birds. They really are a good quality black currant. Native to the summer rainfall eastern U.S. and appreciates water and good care. Provide good air circulation. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed AFTER flowering. Limited quantities.
One of the most spectacular of the flowering currants. This hybrid between the yellow eastern Ribes odoratum and our locally native pink flowered western Ribes sanguineum splits the good looks with chains of coral orange flowers with a faint yellow center. Salmon up close the color reads as orange from farther away. Blooms March/April for weeks on a large spreading shrub for part shade and rich, well drained soil. Consistent summer moisture- do not let it dry completely nor should it ever be soggy. Extremely cold hardy with orange/yellow fall color. To 8′ x 8′ in 8 years. Blooms on wood from the previous year- prune AFTER flowering if needed.
Blood thorn rose. Justifiably famous for the sanguine glowing red hue of the thorns on new growth. Back lit by the sun it would make a vampire very very hungry. Large growing species rose that also features 1″ fragrant single white flowers en masse on wood from the previous season. Established plants (1-2 years in the ground) may be coppiced in early spring to emphasize and create new wood clad in thorns. If allowed to mature a year or two the thorns fade to gray but then you are rewarded with scintillating flowers in May/June. Full sun and virtually any soil, including heavy clay. But avoid standing water in winter. Average, regular irrigation in summer keeps it looking fresh. Old specimens can make do with little water. If you do coppice this plant for thorns make sure you follow up with a bit of fertilizer (a handful of all organic fertilizer 9.3.4) and regular water to ensure regrowth is robust. Winter deciduous- fall color is orange red and brief. Bright red, shiny hips follow a profuse blooming season. Long lived. To 8′ x 8′ if left unpruned. Regrowth on hard pruned shrubs in a season can be almost as big. Disease resistant, virus free and produced on its own roots. Light deer resistance.
You might be surprised to find that some Rosemaries are tender to cold. In general the clones of prostrate forms are less hardy. This is cuttings from a low growing plant that has weathered the coldest winters of the past 10 years- so we’re confident its reliable. Mounding evergreen shrub to 2′ tall x 6 wide in time. The branches closely follow the contours of anything in its path and is fetching as it trails over rock walls, boulders, anything that gets in the way. Soft blue flowers almost year round but peaking in the winter. Little water needed once established in soil that drains. Water to establish or to speed growth. Wonderful herb for cooking. Takes the hottest, most blasting sites with no stress. Moderate deer resistance. Excellent on steep slopes as it will root where stems touch the ground- important for erosion control. Very pretty planted with yellow flowered Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’. Similar cultural conditions and concurrent bloom. Syn Salvia rosmarinus). Full hot sun.
Brilliant and tall and hardy (!) Salvia that blooms continuously from late June usually up until frost. Large spikes of large tubular flowers are a curious hue. We’ve decided on Melon Red. How’s that for marketing? Other people say orange and still others scream red. The picture we have is the true color. To 30″ tall from a woody base. Not a real dense plant- kind of airy actually and benefits by having a more handsome plant in front. Hummingbirds die for this plant. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil in full sun with regular summer water. If it gets tired looking in mid summer simply give it a hair cut and water it and boom! Back at ’em. Do not cut back the plant in fall or winter- that will make it much less hardy to cold. Instead remove dead top growth when new growth emerges- usually around mid-April. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast.
Useful and pretty evergreen Sedum that thrives in diverse biomes but always looks good. In dry dappled shade it will create a dense spreading deep green colony. To 5″ tall by several feet wide. In full sun it will grow a little slower but regular water will speed things up. The bright green rosettes of leaves are perched atop stems. In early spring the whole plant is awash in gold flowers and attending pollinators. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. The more shade the less water is required. Nice ground cover for small areas. Dense and evergreen. Surprisingly cold hardy and amenable to life in our climate. Mexico.
Not hard to tell where this stone crop is endemic. It resides mostly in the middle elevations of the western Cascades. Rocky slopes, cliffs, and road cuts is where you find the clusters of small green rosettes that makes large colonies. In summer 4″ stems arrive topped with bright gold/yellow flowers- a pollinators dream. Little spreading plant to just inches high but expanding to several feet wide in well drained, somewhat enriched soil with light summer water. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Forms a dense mat and may be used as a small scale weed blocking ground cover. Easy to grow plant. Roots into the ground as it spreads- evergreen. Oregon Native Plant.
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.
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″.
A really fun and rightfully famous cultivar. Celery green leaves are tipped in black. Very dramatic and the kind of contrast that makes a plant stand out. Rosettes are 4″ across and offsets are produced constantly. Very pretty dense small scale ground cover. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Deals with drought by shrinking. They rehydrate with the first rains. They look better and grow faster with water. Excellent in containers, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls, troughs. I’ve never seen this variety bloom but I assume the flowers would be red or white…doesn’t matter thats not the point. Detach babies and give to neighbors with the official name. Increases its specialness, impresses the neighbor. This would be a good variety for a living wall.
The Willamette Valley is the center of the Sidalcea universe. Willamette Checker Mallow is a fantastic long lived native perennial that thrives in gardens. In May-July and sporadically later stems rise up from low foliage to 14″-36″ and support many soft pink flowers. Loved by pollinators and very easy to grow. This perennial inhabits slopes around the Willamette Valley in very heavy clay soil that dries out to concrete in summer. Adaptable to richer conditions, it also encourages a longer bloom season. Full sun to part shade. Native in Oregon Oak woodlands with Oregon Iris, Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon hendersonii). Pretty meadow flower that combines well with native grasses and the aforementioned perennials. Established plants can get by with very little water. Forms a spreading clump to 2′ wide. This species and several others have a natural range that is defined by the Willamette Valley. Its a special member of the Valley biome. Common associates in the wild are Rosa nutkana var, nutkana as well as Lupinus of various kinds. Good cut flower. Winter deciduous Long lived perennial. Very important for native butterflies. Its a host plant for gray hairstreaks and a nectar source for Fendler’s Blue butterfly. Oregon native plant.
For flowers in this genus this is THE plant. Upright growing plant from a clump that rises to 2′ and produces multiple spikes of bright coral colored flowers. They are arranged in symmetrical whorls up the stem. Loved by hummingbirds who constantly seek nectar from the flowers that appear from late spring to late summer. When flower spikes are spent simply cut them away and water and more will arrive. Very easy to grow long blooming perennial for full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. Very drought adapted when established. Works well in borders and even seasonal containers. The leaves have a very familiar lemon lime aroma. Dies to a low clump of foliage in winter.
Curious and pretty small perennial that has lovely leaves that have symmetrical black veins. As the plant expands it sends up spikes clad in frosty hairs around violet purple flowers. The don’t exactly go straight up but wind around a little bit. This gives the whole plant an overall haze that is truly fantastic. Appreciate sunny dry environs with sharp drainage but as rich of soil as you can muster. Ideally it finds a home in a dry border or rock garden. Winter deciduous perennial to 18″ x 18″ in a season. Blooms repeatedly all summer. Light summer H20 and drought adapted when very established. Mixes well with Cranesbill (Erodium) and Scutellaria suffrutescens. Pretty little cut flower that acts as a boa in a small arrangements. Very good butterfly and pollinator perennial. Absorbs blasting hot locations.
Is this hardy? Why, yes, yes it is. Mexican Shellflower or just Tigridia is a fun bulb that produces large, immensely showy flowers that last but a day. Three large petals emanate from a wildly speckled center. White, red, orange, yellow, and pink flowers are all represented in this mix. Rich, well drained soil in a warm position- mine are on the south side of my house in average soil and they not only multiply year to year they self sow. The wonderful flowers appear individually for weeks in mid to late summer. Add a handful of all purpose fertilizer when planting and water consistently through bloom. Full sun- no fudging here. Very easy to grow. To 20″ tall in bloom on average. Flowers 3″ wide. -Emerges late in the spring- usually mid-May. Patience.
An exceptional variegated form of our native “pigaback” plant that is excellent as a groundcover in dense to light shade. Vigorous and evergreen it will spread to 4′ wide in 2 years but stay only 1′ tall. Very easy to grow, works well under established Rhododendrons. Pretty, but not conspicuous brown flowers. Regular water but will take drought if in the shade. Easy, indispensible native plant. Forms new plants directly from the center of each leaf. Cool trick. Also grown as a houseplant. Good in containers. Oregon native plant.
Fool’s Onion, though this close relative of Brodiaea is easy to tell apart from Allium as the leaves and stem have no onion odor. A sunny native perennial bulb that forms colonies of white in May-July in meadows, glens, and swales. To 15″ tall in bloom but usually shorter the leaves emerge in mid winter and persist until summer drought. About that time the flowers erupt into clusters of white flowers. Great native bulb for naturalizing, Water if planting from a pot, otherwise it requires only what falls from the sky with a distinct dry period in summer. Associated plants are Ranunculus occidentalis- Western Buttercup, and Brodiaea elegans- Cluster lily, and Plectritis congesta- Sea Blush. Native in clay soils that dry completely in summer. Goes very neatly dormant in summer- nothing is left. Excellent in rock garden conditions. Full sun to very light shade. Moderate deer resistance. Native though out western Oregon. Sweet cutflower Very good for butterflies as well. This plant once occupied large areas of the Willamette Valley, that territory has shrunk considerably. Oregon native plant.
Rare perennial Siskiyou Inside-out-Flower is a much more drought tolerant version of our locally native Vancouveria hexandra (Inside out flower). This yellow flowered species tolerates extreme dry shade and colonizes even compacted dry soils to create a handsome ground cover. The delicate looking interestingly shaped leaves create a soft mound of shapes in cool green and edged slightly in red. In April-June 20″ wiry spikes suspend small downward pointing flowers- they appear to float above the foliage reminding me of a group of fireflies. (Wish we had those). Mostly evergreen if temperatures stay above about 15ºF. Basically this is our version of Epimedium (to which it is related) but with more tolerance for summer drought. To 8″ tall and spreading to several feet wide in richer, moisture retentive soil. Light summer water increases growth. This is an extraordinarily elegant native that should find a happy home in gardens too. Part shade to full shade. Not bothered by pests. Excellent perennial under large shrubs or within tree roots. In the wild it is the understory plant to Arctostaphylos, Rhododendron, Vaccinium, Notholithocarpus densiflorus var. echinoides. Associate perennials were Oxalis oreganus and Mianthemum as well as viola semperivrens- Redwood violet. Easy community to replicate in your garden. Oregon native plant.
We love Watsonias but the most successful climate is truly on the coast. This form is seed from a persistently hardy, well blooming plant that has survived in Portland. The majority of these seedlings will be coral/ orange/ light pink. To 20″ tall forming clumps in RICH, well composted soil in full sun. Regular summer water increases both the growth rate and the cold hardiness. Larger more established clumps are hardier to cold. Amazing cut flower that will produce several dozen spikes off of one good clump. Mostly evergreen. Foliage looks burnt below 20ºF and can freeze to the ground. This winter growing bulb is also immensely drought tolerant with a period of summer drought inducing dormancy. Place in a warm, protected location Near a south facing wall or fence. Mulch for the first few winters with dry leaves. Place in a location where summer dormancy is not an issue. Very fun to grow South African bulb. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Not bothered by deer or elk- well the elk might step on them but they won’t eat them. Fantastic cut flower and clumps become huge there.
Xera Plants Introduction
Relatively new fern with a great future ahead. Large growing evergreen chain fern from Asia with new growth lavishly dyed red- it settles to soft green with time. To 3′ across the fronds are held atop relatively long stems. The rubbery green leaves are finely divided with surprisingly soft lobes. Rich, moisture retentive soil in bright shade to shade. Spectacular plant at all times we have observed it. So far it has not suffered damage in my garden below 10ºF and appearance following a rough winter was good. Highly deer resistant. Spectacular.
Intriguing CLUMPING bamboo that rises to only 6′ tall but arches as wide. Fine, arrow shaped leaves protrude in the same direction giving an airy symmetry. Takes pruning very well and is recommended for small spots. In the open give it room to arch. The 1/3″ wide culms clusteer tightly forming a moderately fast increasing clump. After 10 years the base of culms will be no more than 2′ wide. Full sun to part shade to shade in rich soil with consistent summer irrigation. Established plants can take far less. Wonderful in a woodland or as an asian accent in themed gardens. This is a very hardy bamboo- tolerating temperatures slightly below 0ºF. A great bamboo for those in the line of east winds. Plant on 3′ centers for a dense hedge. Prune in spring if needed or allow it to gently repose with natural grace. Moderate deer resistance. SW China.