Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Variegatus’

Excellent cold hardy, drought tolerant shrub that reaches tree like proportions with great age. The pretty variegation presents as prickly leaves outlined in white. With age/maturity the leaves lose their prickles and become smooth and entire. The variegation on this plant is incredibly stable. I have yet to see a reversion of any consequence. Ancient specimens that are now 20′ trees can be found in old, old gardens. Its obviously been grown in this climate for eons. Very, very cold hardy evergreen that is not only hardy below 0ºF it makes a great hedge even near the Gorge where it endures subfreezing wind with no ill effects. Tolerates regular irrigation which increases the rate of growth- on average about 2′-3′ per year can be expected. 8′ x 6′ in 7 years is typical. Full sun to shade. Avoid permanently boggy soils- otherwise very adaptable- including heavy dry summertime clay. In October-December tiny fragrant white flowers crowd the stems. Moderate deer resistance. Long lived.

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Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’

One of the best variegated Pieris on the market. This plant was brought to the U.S. by Gossler Farms in Springfield, Oregon and has gained great popularity. In our experience the ‘little’ refers not to the overall size of the plant- which is eventually large 5′ x 5′- but to the smaller size of the leaves. And each leaf is outlined in white with a darker green center. In full sun this shrub sets tons of chains of pink buds which open to white flowers in Feb/March. The overall fine texture combined with the white variegation gives this plant a very graceful mein. New growth emerges salmon and ages to light yellow before its final destination of green and white.  Occasionally shows all green reversions. Simply cut these away.  Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained soil. Grows more quickly with regular summer irrigation but established plants sail through summer with a minimum. Very hardy to cold- and tolerates subfreezing wind well.

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Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Marjory Channon’

Surprisingly hardy and spectacular variegated evergreen shrub for protected locations. Each sage green glossy leaf is margined in white and held on contrasting black stems. Very very pretty shrub to 5′ x 4′ in 7 years. In spring small jet black flowers emerge from the leaf axils. Best surrounded by other evergreen shrubs against a wall or with light overhead protection. This cultivar has come through low’s below 10ºF with only light tip damage and recovery was complete in spring. Slightly tender when a young plant it gains cold hardiness with establishment. Takes pruning very well which will increase the plants density. Great in containers that you protect from lows below about 18ºF. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Do not plant this in a location exposed to strong subfreezing east wind- keep it close with friends. New Zealand. Extremely drought tolerant in full sun to part shade.

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Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Variegatum’

One of the cold hardiest selections of this species native to New Zealand. This stunning evergreen shrub of unknown origin shines in the garden with round leaves edged in white with an interior of soft green. And these bright leaves are held on dramatic black stems. In spring small black to maroon flowers decorate the leaf axils. Moderately fast growing pyramidal shrub to 8′ tall x 4 wide in 7 years- and gradually larger. In winter the leaves become even more colorful taking on bright pink tints. Requires a somewhat protected location- avoid exposure to subfreezing winds directly. Best sited with protection from east winds. Full sun to high over head shade. Accepts regular summer water which will increase the rate of growth- but established plants are remarkably summer drought tolerant. Excellent cut foliage for arrangements. A luminous shrub that virtually glows in the landscape. Cold damage begins at about 10ºF- but spring recovery is rapid.  Limited quantities.

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Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’

An old shrub that deserves a new lease on life. Venerable old specimens are found throughout Portland proving its durability over time. The rounded evergreen leaves are edged in cream with an interior of soft sage green. In May/June masses of small white  deliciously citrus-blossom scented flowers perfume a wide area. Not as dense or fast growing as the species- and prone to losing older leaves in colder than normal winters- so it can have an open appearance. Excellent evergreen specimen shrub for a hot location. A south or west facing wall is ideal and it can withstand the most withering afternoon heat. Slow growing to 6′ x 6′ in 10 years. Very drought adapted when established, but it will happily take regular summer water. The foliage is so fetching that it is often seen for sale as cut material in bouquets. It lasts for several weeks in a vase. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Nice foundation shrub. Established shrubs are cold hardy to about 5ºF. Avoid exposure to strong subfreezing winds. Easy and pretty urban plant.

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Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’

Fantastic early spring perennial that possesses arguably the bluest flowers in the genus. Large clusters of reverberating blue appear in late February and are showy until late April. The smaller than normal leaves posess the spots that makes this a classic Pulmonaria. To 2′ x 2′ and arching. Very easy to grow hardy perennial for part shade to full sun in rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. A substantial patch of this perennial is a sea of blue. Not bothered by slugs or other pests in general. Mixes ideally with white or yellow flowered Hellebores or grouped with hardy winter Cyclamen coum. Easy to grow and long lived. If you like blue, this prolific bloomer is the Pulmonaria for you.

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Pyrrosia lingua ‘Variegata’

Variegated tongue fern. So called for the tall oblong shaped evergreen fronds that rise up vertically. This form has new growth marked with chartreuse stripes that fade a bit with maturity. Spreads to form colonies by furry stolons on the surface of the soil. Rich, well drained soil in part shade to dense shade. A great evergreen presence for really dry, dark spots. Avoid hot sun. Regular summer water increases the growth rate which is typically slow. May suffer some damage in the coldest winters (below 10ºF) remove those fronds and more will appear. Mix with other denizens of the dark- Aspidistra, Ophiopogon etc. Moderate deer resistance. Taiwan.

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Rhamnus alaternus ‘Variegata’

One of the finest variegated evergreen shrubs. The finely pointed leaves of this fast growing large drought adapted shrub are boldly edged in cream with a deep green center. Tiny flowers turn into small bright red berries. Often used as cut foliage- especially around the holidays as the leaves remain fresh for many weeks as cut material. Full sun to part shade in average, well drained soil. Very light summer water to none once established. This mediterranean buckthorn is supremely adapted to drought. In rich soil with summer water it will grow insanely fast and large often toppling under these conditions. Accepts any amount of pruning and its best to do this to produce a denser more root stable plant. It thrives in the worst conditions. 12′ tall by 12′ wide but radical and consistent pruning keeps it much smaller and improves density. Excellent summer scaffold for Clematis. Plant on 3′ centers for a fast, dense hedge.  Prune out the very rare green reversions if they appear.  Best with neglect.

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Sisyrinchium x ‘Stripey’

PRECIOUS and showy blue eyed grass. Sometimes variegation really works on a plant and this is one of those cases. Grassy leaves are soft green with prominent ivory stripes. This backdrop virtually glows in combination with the relatively large purple/blue flowers. Blooms April-July and appreciates rich soil with regular water to really get going and colonize. Excellent rain garden subject. Its best position is possibly in containers. Upright leaves have a pointed top to 6″ tall in bloom.  Excellent contrast between the variegation and the flower color. Full sun. Moderate deer resistance. Showy, sweet perennial. Mix with other low perennials. Combine with Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’ and Dianthus ‘Pink Pyrenees’.  Fun to grow. Flowers close tightly at night.

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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.

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