Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Album’

The white flowered form of culvers root- but seldom called that in the PNW. Slender perennial with multiple vertical stems clad in symmetrically space pointed foliage surrounding the stem. At the tips in early summer multiple spires of pure white flowers give a really cool ethereal effect. Massed it is simply one of the coolest plants. Our form rises to just 4′ tall and forms slowly increasing clumps. In autumn the foliage that lines the stems often turns bright yellow and remains for a while- a second season of interest. Full sun to the very lightest shade in any soil of good fertility. Does well even in unamended clay as long as summer water is dependable. Long lived perennial that never requires division or fussing. Cool cut flower for big wild arrangements. Bees love it.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome:  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
Foliage color:  | 


Viburnum atrocyaneum var. harryanum

Unique and we think very pretty evergreen Viburnum. Small perfectly round leaves are placed in threes around the stems. In summer the terminal branches host clouds, or cymes I should say of tiny white flowers. They have no fragrance but are pretty  to look at.. Moderately growing rounded shrub of great symmetry to 4′ x 6′ in 7 years. Full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Takes very dry conditions when established. At first glance this does not look like a Viburnum- which is charming. Its a very pretty dense growing first rate evergreen.

My Favorites

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


Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’

We think this is the best form of this winter blooming shrub/tree. Large clusters of pink flowers change to white upon opening. Flowers begin in December and continue to open until March. A very long season of bloom at an important time of the year. The tubular flowers are sweetly fragrant. Tall growing vase shaped shrub to 12′ tall and half as wide. Fall color is soft peach and red and showy for quite a while. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained soil with regular summer water. Great scaffold for summer blooming Clematis. Make this the star of your winter garden. Cut flowers last for a long time in a vase.

My Favorites

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


Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’

Really there is nothing like the clove/carnation/sweet fragrance of this shrub in late winter to early spring. The large clusters of flowers begin as pink buds and open to white. Nice bicolor effect along the way. Blooms 3-4 weeks. Evergreen to semi-evergreen to deciduous in arctic places. Large growing shrub that can attain tree like proportions with great age. To 8′ x 4′ in 7 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained sites. Light consistent summer water speeds growth and increases spring flowering. Otherwise relatively drought adapted, especially in shade. Tolerate the most obnoxious sticky clay soils- especially on slopes. Plant where you can pass by the flowers and take a big ol whiff. Very easy to grow. Prune AFTER flowering.

My Favorites

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


Viola ‘Tiger Eye’

We grew this just for fun last year and not only was it one of our most talked about plants it became one of our favorites as well. Each yellow/gold/burnt umber flower is intricately and completely marked in black lines. On very close inspection they almost look like a drawing of flowers. And its the most FRAGRANT viola we’ve ever smelled with a sweet perfume that carries quite a distance. Compact hardy annual to 6″ x 6″ for full sun to light shade. Excellent tolerance of cold (down to zone 7) as well as heat. All around its a winner of a viola, for containers, borders etc. Blooms non-stop, removing spent flowers does encourage more. Stop and smell the Violas and then stare at the patterns. Its a trip man.

My Favorites

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


Viola corsica

One of the parents of modern violas this perennial is short lived but while its around its never out of bloom- year round. Slender indigo blue flowers are small but profuse on a compact plant to just 6″ tall and barely wider than that. Seeds itself around prolifically…how the seeds find their way so far from the parent plant is natures mystery. It will germinate anywhere – cracks, beneath rocks. Sun, Shade. Very hardy to way, way below 0ºF. Light summer water during the hottest weather. Part shade in nearly any texture soil. Mediterranean wild flower.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Viola odorata (Parma) ‘Alba Plena’

This cool cultivar of Parma violet can be difficult to stumble upon. We love the plush double white flowers that sends its sweet perfume on the breeze in late winter to mid-spring. Parma violets are basically the Sicilian version of the common sweet violet (Viola odorata). They are not nearly as cold hardy or pernicious as the species and they tend to have much larger more opulent and fragrant flowers. Also, their leaves are distinctively glossy as opposed to matte. This little sweetie forms spreading patches and the long stems are a bit weak for the large double white flowers- they tend to bend. Excellent for small bouquets that you can sniff and sniff. In the garden they need a sheltered position away from the freeze and thaw and harsh conditions in the open. Instead coset them under large shrubs and among ephemeral early perennials such as Anemones, and small bulbs like species Crocus. Part shade- they bloom best with a bit of sun. Regular summer water encourages them to spread. This form seldom sets seed- I don’t think I’ve ever seen seed in fact. Pity. Rare plant.

My Favorites

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


Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa

Canary violet or upland Violet has many subspecies in the PNW and west in general. This is our own Willamette Valley form of this intriguing handsome perennial. Large spoon shaped leaves have an underside with conspicuous hairs. The top of the leaf is glossier. In April-May bright yellow flowers appear. The bottom petal has conspicuous black whiskers. In our region this violet is local in the most undisturbed sites but it shows very good persistence in competition with non-native introduced grasses. My experience is that it favors rocky and scree sites that remain somewhat cool- for instance the north side of a steep slope. To 6″ tall and forming expanding plants. Winter deciduous. Arrives early in spring and can go summer dormant with high heat. Excellent planted in fall or winter and left to its own devices. Average to enriched soil yields the best results. This is one of the showiest violets native to the Willamette Valley. Fairly long lived. Little deer resistance. Some associated plants are Olysinium douglasii, Sedum spathulifolium, Dodecatheon hendersonii. Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

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


Viola x cornuta ‘Xera’s Mix’

We’ve had a really good time selecting the most distinct flower colors of this mix of Violas. Brown, taupe, blue, gray, purple, are  among the colors in this vigorous strain. These reseed with abandon and will occupy all kinds of niches in a garden. Containerized plants seem to cast seed when you are least aware. They generally germinate in winter and bloom in spring before setting seed and going to sleep for summer heat. Fragrance is another aspect in our selection. You can’t have Violas without fragrance.  In autumn our winter mix has been chosen to handle the very worst cold and snow. Full sun to very light shade. Very easy and satisfying spring and autumn/winter extravaganza. They make sweetly scented, delightful bouquets.  Xera Plants Introduction.

My Favorites

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


Vitex agnus-castus ‘Sensational’

Excellent California selection of Chaste tree with thicker, bluer flowers. Large growing shrub with aromatic finely divided leaves in mid-July in PDX spires of blue flowers erupt from each branch tip. It remains in bloom for 3-4 weeks. And if you remove spent flowers more will appear. Full sun and poor to average well drained soil. No summer water when established. Attains tree-like status with great age. May be pruned back hard in spring to contain the ultimate size. Blooms on new wood. Long lived and hardy below 0ºF. Leaves appear late in spring- often not until mid-May. Be patient. Loved by pollinators and bumble bees specifically. A shrub in full bloom will be a haze of drunken bumbles who after a day of working will often fall asleep in the flowers of this shrub. Tolerates the hottest sites and is very long lived.

My Favorites

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