Trachelospermum mandianum

The apricot hued flowers of this Star Jasmine species are not the only difference in this elegant evergreen vine. The fragrance is different too with much more of a balmy citrus scent. Vigorous twining vine for part shade. Provide sturdy support. Very cold hardy and permanent. To 14′ tall and 8′ wide on trellis. Possible to use it as a small scale ground cover. Tolerates full sun but with some leaf discoloration. Regular summer water in well drained soil. Occasionally at the end of the season this species will form twin bean seed pods which are showy as well. Blooms earlier than Star Jasmine and finishes later as well. Evergreen foliage is light yellow green- lighter than other species of Star Jasmine.  Moderate deer resistance.

My Favorites

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


Trachycarpus fortunei

A classic palm in the PNW. Windmill Palm or Trachys as they are also known are extremely popular. And they should be. Moderately fast growing palm to about 18′ tall in 10 years. The trunk is covered in fur and this acts almost like insulation to protect the interior meristem from cold. Very cold hardy to near short dips to 0ºF- many venerable and ancient Windmill Palms can be found in old neighborhoods having gone through the very worst winters of the last 50 or more years. The fronds usually have drooping filifers on the species but that can vary. Male and female and requires one of each for viable fruit set. Following huge aromatic cream colored flower structures pollinated berries drop and will often germinate in open ground. Full sun to full shade. Drought tolerant but regular irrigation in rich soil will speed growth. Excellent performance in tight spaces. Occasionally young palms become nitrogen starved and turn yellowish. To correct simply feed with all organic fertilizer and mulch and water well through summer.

My Favorites

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


Tricyrtis ‘Blu-Shing Toad’

Excellent Toad Lily that delights us with a long long season of orchid-like flowers that glow a smooth blue. To 2′ tall and forming an increasing clump the ends of the stems produce flowers from August well into autumn- often into November if there is not an intervening freeze. The wavy leaves that line the stems hold spots that appear like small drops of dark oil. Very pretty. Part shade to shade in rich, moisture retentive soil. Excellent woodland performer. This variety as the other we grow (‘Spotted Toad’) seem to avoid a scorch that can afflict the leaves of many varieties. Don’t know why. We just got lucky. Pair with Japanese forest grass and Hosta. Easy, long lived perennial. Completely winter deciduous.

My Favorites

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


Tricyrtis ‘Spotted Toad’

Toad lilies are the joy of late summer into autumn in the shade garden. This tall growing selection has leaves that are conspicuously spotted with maroon dots. In August to October 20″ stems support multiple orchid-like flowers. The flowers have three petals heavily marked with purple/blue dots. Very pretty. Surprisingly its a nice cut flower. Forms a spreading clump in time. Rich, moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. It has the nice habit of winding through other plants and the cheery exotic flowers will show up quite far from the source. Very easy long lived perennial. Regular summer water. Avoid hot sun which will scorch the leaves. Completely deciduous in winter. Adapts to dry shade when established.

My Favorites

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


Springbank Clover. Fascinating perennial clover that was once widespread in wet areas of the Willamette Valley and is now found in restricted sites there but is much more prevalent on the coast and east of the Cascades.  A pretty spreading spring wildflower with heads of brilliant magenta/purple flowers. Blooms in mid spring to early summer and longer with water. To 4″ tall it can be up to 2′ wide in favorable conditions. Though mostly restricted to seeps and wet areas now it once made life under native white oaks and there indigenous people would use it as a food source. The creeping green stems root where they touch the ground. Stems were harvested and steamed as a vegetable and they replanted as they harvested the remaining stems ensuring another crop. Not a long lived perennial 3-5 years but it sets copious seed. Wet sites in moisture retentive soil. Mainly riparian in habitat.  It can dry considerably in summer and still thrive. But regular water is what it wants. Fun plant to grow that has lost a LOT of its native range. Great pollinator plant. Oregon native plant. 

My Favorites

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


Trillium kurabayashii

One of Oregon’s greatest wildflowers. This native of the Siskiyous and the SW part of the state makes an outstanding garden plant. Ours are divisions from well marked leaves and flowers with a deep maroon/black hue. To 18″ tall in bloom it responds readily to rich, humus filled soil with regular summer water. In very dry conditions it will go happily summer dormant. And it usually does anyway by the end of the hot season. The black and green leaves are dramatic but a  great collar to the tall upright dark flowers. Blooms appear in Portland in April/May and last for weeks. Part shade to shade- avoid blasting hot sun- it will grow in sun but go dormant very quickly. Roots very deep into the ground- difficult to move once established so pick its home carefully. Multiplies into a substantial patch with good care. One of our favorite native wildflowers. Limited quantities. Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

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


Cute little perennial Society garlic with wonderfully sweet fragrant flowers, Best described as intense violets. To 10″ tall and forming expanding but diminutive clumps that are deciduous in hard freezes. Blooms May-August. Excellent for warm rock gardens or containers. Protect containers from temperatures below 20ºF. In the ground it has survived slightly below 10ºF in rich, well drained soil and full sun. Best in a warm position where you can catch a whiff of the wonderful soft lilac colored flowers. Wonderful and sweet cut flower. The foliage on this species lacks the pungency of the more common T. violacea. Moderate deer resistance. Light, consistent summer water. Mulch with leaves if extreme cold threatens. South Africa.

My Favorites

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


Verbascum ‘Clementine’

OH MY DARLING, OH MY DARLING, OH MY DARLING Clementine you are lost ….Not lost at all this wonderful Verbascum is delightful and blooms repeatedly from spring to late summer. To 3′ tall or taller in ideal conditions, spires of soft orange to pale yellow depending on the temperature have a central bee of lavender feathers. Adorable and conspicuous as when observed as a cut flower of which this flower is great. The spires of flowers erupt directly from the center of a basal rosette of flat green leaves. Full sun, average to enriched soil that drains with light, consistent summer water. Remove spent blooms and another round will begin. Does not seed around. Mix with other sun-loving perennials with similar cultural requirements. Agastache, Digitalis lanata, Penstemon ‘Enor’ for a LONG LONG flowering spectacle. Winter dormant. Cold hardy and easy to grow. Great flower color for mixing or for tone on tone continuity- for that try it combined with Digitalis x ‘Honey Trumpet’.

My Favorites

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


Verbena rigida

Vigorous and floriferous perennial Verbena for tough areas. Spreading by underground stolons in rich to average well drained soil this deep purple flowering perennial covers ground in short order. Full sun and light summer water when established to lengthen bloom time. Even then it begins flowering in June and continue unabated for two months. To 2′ tall and 4′ wide. Give it room to spread and do not pair with delicate neighbors. Hellstrips, Insanely hot and dry south facing hillsides. Freezes to the ground in winter- returns from the ground when truly warm weather arrives. Moderately deer resistant.

My Favorites

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


Veronica liawanensis

Turkish speedwell is an excellent low water creeping ground cover that performs wonderfully in our climate. Flush with the ground this evergreen creeps in well drained average to enriched soil to several feet wide in several seasons. In April to May carpets of sky blue flowers obscure the entire plant. Very pretty. Roots as it grows, excellent for erosion control on a small scale on steep slopes. Regular summer water speeds growth but once established it takes summer drought very well. Full sun to the very lightest shade. Dies out in compacted soils- make sure to double dig the area around where it is to go to incorporate oxygen in the soil. For tired plantings simple overspread compost on top of it and let it settle between the leaves in early spring. Easy to grow hardy little ground cover. Moderate deer resistance.

My Favorites

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