Artemesia versicolor ‘Seafoam’

Lovely, soft gray curls make up the foliage of this low spreading perennial. Easy to grow and long lived plant for full sun and well drained soil. Little summer water when established. Takes the hottest aspects with aplomb and remains good looking all season. At the end of summer stems extend to produce small white flowers. Not really showy but it expands the overall texture of the plant. Completely winter deciduous. Cut back hard in early spring. Forms woody stems at the base and is a quite permanent plant. Flows in and around other plants gracefully. Moderate deer resistance. To 1′ x 3′ in a season.

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Asclepias speciosa

This widespread species is native to selected spots in the Willamette Valley and occupies dry rocky hillsides in full sun. Huge spreading perennial that requires pre-planning and some real estate. Gray green stalks and leaves rise up to about 4’tall and bear deliciously fragrant pink orbicular flowers. These are irresistible to butterflies, including Monarchs, and if you want one to visit your garden this plant is good insurance. However, all butterflies find it irresistible. Spreads underground vigorously by stolons and can come up quite a way from the initial clump. Full sun and well drained soil. Completely winter deciduous and emerges relatively late in spring. Be patient. Oregon native plant.

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Astelia chathamica

Silver Spear. Dramatic silver green monocot spikey plant that we adore for container culture. To 3′ tall and dense the rosettes produce long silvery spiky leaves at a moderate pace. Full sun to light shade in rich, well drained soil. Not completely hardy in Portland, it freezes out at about 18ºF- and containers should be protected over the winter- move into an unheated place. Rich, soil, regular irrigation which speeds growth. In the ground you must choose the most protected urban site possible. Then mulch and cover with an opaque sheeting when temperatures threaten to dip below 20ºF. In town that is about once every four years. It can freeze back quite a way but recovery is dubious and slow at best. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast where it is a permanent landscape plant.

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Astelia nivicola ‘Westland’

Much hardier to cold but quite a bit smaller this Astelia has thrived in Portland gardens for years. Part shade and rich, moisture retentive soil that drains well is ideal. It seems to adore unamended loam as well. Rosette forming monocot with silver leaves that have a distinct red tint. Avoid blasting hot dry situations- this species hates that. Spreads slowly to form showy evergreen patches. Mix in borders, among shrubs- which adds winter protection or in containers. Protect containers from temperatures below 20ºF. In the ground it is hardy in to the low teens. With a little added extra protection- remay, leaves, even a dry towel during arctic events and it it will take lower. Little spikes of green flowers occasionally transfer into bright orange fruits. To 1′ x 1′ slowly. Regular summer water.

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Brachyglottis greyi

Excellent grey leaved evergreen low shrub for hot and sunny sites. To 3′ x 4′. Foliage is grey on the top of the rounded leaves with a distinct white undersides. In summer clusters of brilliant yellow daisies are showy and provide excellent contrast. Best in poor to average well drained soils – accepts clay soils with little summer water. Very drought tolerant. Best in the mildest gardens. Dry hillsides, shrub borders, hot aspects. Little to light summer water. Good deer resistance. Cold hardy to about 10ºF or a little lower if soil is strictly un-amended and summer water is sparse- neglect leads to a hardier plant in the long run. New Zealand. Excellent performance at the oregon coast.

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Brachyglottis monroi

Fun small shrub that we love for its wavy (undulate) gray foliage and compact habit. Evergreen shrub to 3′ x 3′ moderately fast. In summer it is topped by clusters of electric yellow daisies- nice contrast with the gray foliage. Full sun and well drained soil with light to little summer water once established. Avoid exposure to subfreezing east winds- site on a south or west facing aspect if you are in the wind zone. Excellent performance on hot dry slopes. Moderate deer resistance. Great at the Oregon Coast. Evergreen. New Zealand.

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Centaurea simplicicaulis

This is a really good perennial that combines pretty evergreen foliage and wiry stems that rise to 8″ and open pale pink fluffy Bachelors Button flowers in late spring and early summer. The low mounding foliage is dense and remains good looking through most seasons. It requires full sun and rich, fast draining soils to establish and spread. Line paths, rock gardens, gravel gardens, hellstrips. Light consistent summer water- not at all shade tolerant. Spreads to 2′ wide in time. Perennial containers. Native to Turkey.

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Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Barry’s Silver’

Most native Port Orford Cedars that are grown eventually die out of the root pathogen phytophthera so imagine our delight when this small shrub form with gorgeous white foliage has persisted. Not that its totally resistant but it doesn’t just up and die when it gets water on the first 85ºF day. Really at its best as a stunning container subject where one can appreciate the almost white foliage that slowly morphs to aqua green. A nice bicolor effect. Unlike other variegated conifers this one does not get nasty after exposure to an arctic winter and summer sun. Instead it remains fresh. To 5′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years- in the form of a tear drop. No summer water once established. Regular water is safe in containers. Part shade to full sun and average, well drained soil. Slow growing conifer that always looks good. Oregon native plant.

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Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Iceberg’

We are so pleased with this useful and striking dwarf conifer. New growth is strongly tied in white before settling to a sea green. Slow growth to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Soft mein and compact habit make it a great versatile plant. Light summer water though tolerant of regular irrigation. Average soils with reasonable drainage.Good looking year round.

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Cheilanthes sinuata

Cliff and rock dwelling elegant evergreen silver fern. Forms a tight clump and the silver gray fronds are slender and rise to about 8″ tall. It is capable of going summer or dry dormant when established. At its best in well drained rock gardens with some protection from blasting sun. In the wild the cliffs they occupy often shade them for half the day. Its a great container fern where it thrives and always looks nice. Best with consistent light moisture. Deer resistant.

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