Plectranthus (Isodon) longituba

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.

 

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Plectritis congesta

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.  Photo credit: Matthew Hubbard Oregon native plant.

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Podophyllum x ‘Red Panda’

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

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Polypodium glyceryrrhiza

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.

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Primula sieboldii ‘Ice Princess’

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.

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Primula sieboldii ‘Lacy Lady’

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.

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Primula sieboldii ‘Late Snow’

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.

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Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata

As a child in the country near Eugene western self heal 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.

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Punica granatum ‘Double Orange’

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.

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Punica granatum ‘Grenada’

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.

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