Pyrossia lingua

Tongue fern from Asia is also known as a leather fern in reference to the robust thickness and texture of the leaves. These evergreen ferns creep stoloniferously to create patches. Not rocket fast, but you can enhance growth in rich, well drained soil with regular SUMMER water. This semi-subtropical-ish fern grows fastest during summer so thats when you supply water. Otherwise it is tolerant of very dry conditions and will make due with one spring moisture burst of growth. Very good appearance year round. Part shade to shade- reasonable shade, not a dark planter under the Brady Bunch stairway but bright shade. Mixes well with Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) and Asarum splendens a green and textural combination that looks good year round. And sometimes in dry shade thats the best you can ask. HEH. To 18″ tall and spreading several feet wide with care. Long lived and cold hardy to about 5ºF. Avoid strong subfreezing east wind which can scorch the edges. Great in shady containers. Even successful as a houseplant. Moderate deer resistance.

 

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Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Type Form’

This is the species that is an important parent in some of the most popular hybrid Manzanitas. From a very restricted range in Sonoma County CA this lovely Manzanita sports gray green sharp tipped foliage and wonderful glossy mahogany bark. Moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 7′ x 7′ but not as fast as most cultivars. In winter white tinted pink urn shaped flowers occur in conspicuous clusters. Very pretty. Orange tinted glossy berries follow but are quickly consumed by wildlife. Easy shrub for full sun to very light shade and everage, un-amended native soil. Avoid anywhere that there is standing water in winter. Excellent on slopes and somewhat formal in appearance as opposed to many species. Very rare in commerce. Excellent shrub that is beautiful year round. No summer water when established.

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This is one of my favorite fall blooming sasanquas. Beginning in November and continuing to about the first of the year it produces copious double flowers of a soft, antique pink. The shading of the petals give the impression of an aged flower. VERY pretty. Very dark green foliage is glossy on an upright and then distinctively arching shrub to 3′ x 5′ in 6 years. Give this elegant shrub room to spread, it will grow faster than you think. Full sun to part shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Established plants can survive on just several drinks per summer. This sasanqua does not have the sweet earthy fragrance that many do. The soft pink 3″ wide flowers are born in profusion. Very easily trained as an espalier. Open flowers are cold hardy to about 27ºF. Incipient flower buds are much hardier. Good looking shrub year round. Very elegant late blooming sasanqua that is welcome late in autumn. A very old Japanese selection where this species is native.

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We found this vigorous seedling in a batch of Heuchera sanguinea. The leaves are pale green and liberally splashed with white. Unlike, the species straight spikes of HOT PINK flowers rise in a cloud above the playful foliage. This is just a seedling and unlike many variegated plants it shows excellent vigor and longevity. Evergreen clumps of foliage. Loved by hummingbirds in bloom from April to mid-July. Tolerates full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of blooming Excellent paired with ferns Hosta, Tiarella. To 14″ tall in bloom and spreading to about 2′ wide when happy. Rich, moisture retentive soil high in organic matter. Established plants are surprisingly drought adapted. Do not let other plants crowed or over top this perennial. The lack of light and competition will take it out. Instead match it with a similar sized perennial. See above. Easy, forgiving perennial.

Xera Plants Introduction

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This is an extraordinary fall blooming sasanqua Camellia with very showy flowers and a nice upright habit. Large double cupped flowers emerge from a pink bud and unfurls to a pink edge with a white center. As the bloom ages it turns mostly to white with pink tinted flowers. Bloom appears from late September to  late November. Glossy, very dark green leaves are formal in appearance and a great backdrop to the profuse 4″ wide flowers. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. This improves fall bloom. Otherwise very established shrubs can get through summer with just a few drinks. As with most sasanquas the flowers have an earthy, light, sweet scent. Long lived, hardy, easy to grow evergreen with a great season of bloom. Prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Wonderful as a stiff upright espalier which will protect the flowers from the vagaries of weather. Stunning in bloom. Tolerates hot aspects.. To 7′ x 6′ in 8 years.

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This is a great dwarf form of Alpine bottlebrush and its most useful for its size and shape than for expansive floral displays. However, when in bloom its beyond adorable. Slow growing rounded shrub to 1.5′ x 1.5′ after 7 years. The small needle-like leaves are medium green with a distinct ochre cast. Very tough evergreen for the most challenging sites. Accepts intense reflected heat, summer drought and arctic cold. This is a true alpine plant. No pruning necessary as it naturally assumes a dense rounded habit with no intervention. Good deer resistance. Excellent as in informal unpruned hedge. Accepts almost all soil types from saturated clay to sand. The diminutive flowers are actually small circular balls of light yellow stamens- adorable. Blooms May- June and possibly again in autumn. Native to the very highest elevations of Australia. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Combines well with wild flowers or perennials. Nice looking shrub all the time.  This is an introduction from  Desert Northwest Nursery. And its an excellent plant. Full sun- not tolerant of shade.

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Bolax (Azorella) gummifera

Incredibly useful and handsome and tough creeping evergreen ground cover. The fine interlaced leaves have a texture very much like plastic or tupperware. It creeps along forming tight rosettes that join. In summer the whole surface of this flush plant is covered in chartreuse yellow flowers. Not showy but conspicuous for a plant that looks uniform and green all year. One of the best ground covers between pavers as it can handle compacted soil better than other small scale ground covers. And this is a small scale ground cover, don’t try to cover acreage. Be reasonable and expect good coverage over a space no larger than 5′ x 5′.  Glossy foliage sparkles when wet. Regular summer water speeds growth though it is tolerant of dry periods  but not complete drought.  Expect each 4″ plant to expand to the size of an apple pie in a season. Completely deer resistant. Top dress with compost every few years- especially if it is between pavers. To 1/4″ tall by 1′ wide. Full sun to the very lightest shade. Carrot family.

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Heuchera sanguinea

Coral Bells. This is the original species that lept into gardens nearly a century ago. Native to the mid and higher elevations of the southwestern U,S. this is a tough, beautiful, long blooming species that will live for decades in a garden. Maple shaped leaves, occasionally decorated with white form rosettes and in time colonies. In April to July a fantastic display of red flowers on 16″ straight stems. They create a pool of color above the plants. We love this species also for its ease of cultivation. Full sun to part shade in rich to average soil with light summer water, or none when a patch is established. Excellent long lasting haze of red color for the front of a border or with in other perennials. Adored by hummingbirds and moderately deer resistant. Very easy to transplant and move around where you need some color. Evergreen to semi evergreen foliage. Rosettes to 1.5′ wide. Indispensable, old fashioned but always beautiful and reliable. Avoid heavily compacted soils.

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This is a seedling myrtle that showed up in our nursery. I moved it to a stock bed and observed it for several years. Its proven to be hardy to lower than 15ºF and its a dense and compact growing form.  Good looking evergreen that has deep forest green foliage with a slight gloss. Dense growth forms a shrub to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years- progressively larger after that. In late summer to early autumn a procession of pure white flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens. This aromatic shrub is adapted to hot dry conditions and light to little water once established. In fact, the more lean the conditions the hardier this myrtle will be to cold. Black elongated drupes follow the flowers. Formal appearance that can be even more formal with pruning. Though, its naturally dense habit makes pruning less likely. Great against baking hot south facing walls. Loves the zone of south facing planters that are asphalt on one side and a hot wall on the other.  Best as a specimen- not a hedge as it can be prone to damage in severe winters ( below 10ºF) which recovers quickly in spring but makes it less useful as a hedge. Great container subject. Moderate deer resistance. Tolerates VERY dry summer conditions.  Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of a dense habit. Very durable urban shrub. Protected location. Locate out of the path of subfreezing east wind.

Xera Plants Intoduction

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Erodium x ‘Merstham’s Pink’

Flowery, easy rewarding perennial that blooms consistently from April to September. This sprawling plant assumes a rounded shape and bears 4″ stems with cup shaped rose pink flowers. Loved by pollinators and if it takes a break from blooming in the heat you can give it a hair cut and and some water and wham! you are back in business. The low, flush leaves are bright green and frilly and mostly evergreen. Great wildflower appeal that does not flail or swamp as most hardy geraniums do. It sticks to its place- about 1′ x 1′. Very good along steep walls or in a cottage garden. Excellent companions are Dianthus ‘Dainty Dame’, Scutellaria suffrutescens, and Penstemon ‘Enor’ for a low water flowery ensemble. Cut back hard in early spring. Light consistent water improves blooming. Great nectar source for Butterflies and bumble bees often nap in the cup shaped flowers. Cold hardy. Some deer resistance. Adaptable. Full sun to very light shade or high overhead shade. Great in containers. Long lived perennial cranesbill.

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