Sidalcea campestris

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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4b -20º to -25ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Silene laciniata

This is a showy perennial of pine woods in interior northern California. It comes within 10′ miles of the Oregon border. This gaudy little perennial is seen in full sun to the margins of Ponderosa woods. It forms a rosette of rough moss green basal set of leaves. In late spring to early summer 1′ tall wiry spikes hold shocking vermillion orange/red flowers that have a shredded edge to the petals. It blooms for an extended period and often if the first set of defunct flowers is removed it will set another round. Water to establish the wild flower and then none in subsequent years. Established plants are supremely drought adapted and any superfluous water can lead to rot. This is also a great resident of rock gardens where its smaller dimensions and shocking flower color will  be welcome. An obvious draw to hummingbirds and pollinators. Very good in gravel gardens. A slope is an added plus. Somewhat deer resistant. Adapted to coastal gardens as well.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome:  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Sisyrinchium idahoense var. idahoense

Idaho blue eyed grass is a widespread perennial that forms colonies in full sun, in many soil types, including vernally wet sites. To 18″ tall dark purple flowers open in bright light and close with cloudiness or dark. The blue green foliage is distinctively flat and the plant produces a procession of flowers for 2-3 weeks.  Deep purple with a yellow eye and about 1/2″ wide. An integral part of a Willamette valley meadow and only adaptable to full all day sun. Spreads by seed and  colonies that increase to form a slender clump.  Excellent pollinator perennial and is visited by a wide variety of insects.  Found in field that have not been invaded by invasives. Typically its found between native clumping grasses such as June Grass (Koeleria macrantha) Roemer’s Fescue (Festuca roemeri).and with other perennials of the meadow. It can be found from riparian to upland sites. Common associated plants are Carex tumulicola, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis, Dichelostemma congesta, Clarkia amoena, Camassia, ( C. quamash, leichtlinii ). Full sun, no shade. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent year. Goes summer dormant and will awaken the following February. Oregon native plant

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4b -20º to -25ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Stachys coccinea ‘Coral’

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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Stachys lavandulifolia

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. Flowers when spent turn to light brown wands of fuzz- this extends this plants season of interest.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5a -15º to -20ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Symphoricarpos albus

Common snowberry is very widespread in our state and is found in a host of biomes This small, deciduous, suckering shrub begins spring with leaves of the freshest green, so fresh they flutter on the late spring early summer breeze. After several weeks of foliage the small white tinted pink flowers are shaped like small bowls and line the stem at every leaf axil. These morph into plush, plump pure white berries that are quite a bit larger than the relatively insignificant flowers. The berries (drupes) are perched in groups on the stems. Their pure white hue is easy to spot for humans and especially birds.They relish the berries while they are toxic for humans.  To 32″ tall forming a dome shaped suckering shrub twice as wide. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Mulch heavily.  The berries last well into winter before becoming animal snacks. The gray thin arching stems create a haze on the forest floor that becomes acid green as leaves appear. Spreads by stolons underground to expand its territory. Its adaptable to both upland quite dry situations as well as vernally wet spots in floodplains and fields. In the Willamette Valley its common associates are with Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)  Quercus garryana  ( Oregon White Oak) and Fraxinus latifolia ( Oregon Ash) as an understory component. Its tolerant of dense shade as long as its deciduous to full hot sun, Very well adapted to the driest summers. In summer the acid green leaves change to a dark blue green and are often afflicted by a strain of powdery mildew- my whole life I’ve known this shrub and I’ve never seen powdery mildew cause any permanent damage- mostly its just a poor aesthetic look for late summer to autumn. Fall color is soft yellow and brief. Branches may be carefully cut in berry and will hold them in arrangements for quite a few days. An excellent forage and cover plant for native fauna.  A great native shrub for beginners. This is the taller form of the two species that we grow. Native to the Portland city limits. Moderate deer resistance. One of our best shrubs for seasonally dry shade.  Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5a -15º to -20ºF
Foliage color: ,  |  Foliage season:


Teucridium parviflorum

A stylish shrub/subshrub that is native to the drier parts of New Zealand, and offers great fine texture. The stems which are the only thing that differentiates this from the genus Coprosma- they are square. are golden orange woody stems that  rise up to about 4′ tall by 3′ wide.  Tiny round green leaves decorate these stems and in late spring and early summer small white flowers appear in the leaf axils. This plant can quickly return from the roots if chopped back severely or frozen to the ground. Established plants can regain their stature in several months. Average to enriched soil that is never boggy in summer. The fine foliage  common adaptation in New Zealand, most likely the fine texture of the shrub was to foil grazing giant moa birds and other predators. Very good in containers ( it will be less hardy in a container as with  everything) and it can be crowded heavily and still thrive. In the ground give it enriched soil and regular summer water for its first season. Let it grow as much as possible and develop a resilient root system- in the case of an arctic event it will be well prepared to regrow.. Mulch in fall for the first year. The luminous stems and see through appearance make it combine well with bolder textured plants. Regiar water in summer speeds growth and establishment the first year, in subsequent years it only requires irrigation once every two weeks. Freezes the ground at about 20ºF, returns quickly in spring when the soil warms. Not bothered by deer, not sure about rabbits. Excellent architectural plant. We took a break from growing this plant for years, we’re happy that its back.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8a 15º to 10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Thalictrum occidentale

Smaller growing western meadow rue is a resident of deep moist woods as well as the margins of streams. Many divided leaves are delicate and flutter in the slightest breeze. Each indented leaflet is perched in the arrangement of an arrow. In mid to late spring wiry stems extend above the 1′ tall foliage another 10″ and displays flowers that are comprised of raspberry and brown downward pointed flowers. They make an evenly distributed display that is not so much showy as it is incredibly graceful. Loved by pollinators who swing by for the suspended pollen. Best in enriched soil with consistent irrigation in summer. It spreads to form large colonies and is exceptionally pretty crawling up a low bank or hill. Winter deciduous perennial. This species which is more of an upland species requires a little less water than the similar but taller Thalictrum fendleri but it still requires irrigation in summer, even when well established. Benefits greatly from a top dressing of mulch. Companion plants in habitat are Tellima grandiflora, Mitella, Heuchera and Delphinium . Prefers protection from mid day sun and will burn and/ or die in hot dry situations. ‘Forms expanding colonies. Very good woodland pollinator perennial with a wonderful texture. Moderately deer resistant. Oregon native plant.

f

 

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4b -20º to -25ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Tigrida x pavonia

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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Tolmiea menziesii ‘Taff’s Gold’

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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6a -5º to -10ºF
Foliage color: , ,  |  Foliage season: