Clarkia amoena ‘Dwarf White’

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.

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Collinsia grandiflora

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. 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.

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Cuphea cyanea ‘Strybing Sunset’

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.

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Cypella herbertii

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. 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.

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Deschampsia caespitosa

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.  Oregon native plant.

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Disporum sessile ‘Variegatum’

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.

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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.

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Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Nanjing Gold’

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.

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Epimedium grandiflorum var. higoense ‘Bandit’

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.

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Epimedium wushanense ‘Spiny Leaved Form’

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.

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