Carex tumicola

Foothill Sedge is commonly found from the central Willamette Valley south into California. A tightly clumping sedge with medium green foliage and 8″ wiry stems with attending flowers that are tan in spring/summer. In our region this plant can be found in upland situations where it is moist for at least half the year. Its also diminutive and almost hard to find in the wild. Under cultivation its an entirely different beast. Clumps are dense but expand with a pronounced weeping habit. To 8″ tall x 18″ wide for each individual plant. Good massed or as a lawn substitute. Takes mowing if its limited to once a year. Regular irrigation keeps it green and happy. Summer drought sees blades of tan as well as green and not so verdant. It does not run nor become a seeding pest- sticking surprisingly to itself. Plant on 1′ centers for a modern, mounding effect. Takes clay soils well. Water regularly to establish the first summer then taper off (continue watering if you want it to stay staunchly green).  Combines well with perennials including native perennials such as  Checkermallow (Sidalcea) and, Ranunculus occidentalis (Western Buttercup), as well as Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon) are found in closely related communities with this plant. Full sun to light shade, or high overhead shade. In California it is also known as Berkeley Sedge.  Oregon native plant.

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This form of Blueblossom we found on the southern Oregon coast in the far northern part of Curry County. There seems to be two forms of Ceanothus thyrsiflorus in Oregon. The immediate coastal species up to Lane county has broader leaves. Inland you find a much taller form with smaller juvenile leaves. An example of this is our large selection ‘Oregon Mist’. This is the standard broad leaved form  you find adjacent to the beach. Glossy rounded leaves are lustrous and deep green year round. In late April to early June an extended period of profuse sky blue flowers. Adored by pollinators and rolling in grateful bees.  A large native shrub with a rounded outline. To 8′ tall and possibly a little wider in AVERAGE soil in 5 years. Amended soil leads to prodigious growth and lack of hardiness.  Fast growing low water shrub for full sun to very light shade. This plant that we collected in the wild is actually very similar to the cultivar ‘Victoria’- the primary difference is earlier bloom by several weeks. And a slightly lighter blue flower. This is a good standard form of the beach species as found in our state. Its been cold hardy to 5ºF with good pest free foliage. Ceanothus fix nitrogen with their roots and improve the soil. Also, years of detritus from the shrub collects to form wonderful enriched soil as well. Average life span increases the less this plant is watered once established but expect 9-15 years. Durable shrub for urban to rural places. Extraordinarily drought adapted as well as tolerant of dry clay. Pretty and utilitarian. Available, autumn 2020. Oregon native plant.

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Hard to believe that Rosemary has been officially lumped into the genus Salvia. (Sigh). Its still a wonderful shrub and this variety delights us with the MOST luminous blue flowers that we’ve seen on a hardy variety. The effect is similar to the slightly tender cultivar ‘Tuscan Blue’. Each flower is luminous and they obscure the leaves for most of winter into spring. Upright growing cultivar that spreads with time. To 4′ tall x 4′ wide in short order. Full sun and soil that drains with little summer water once established. It will take moderate irrigation as well but we like to rely on the iron clad drought resistance of this culinary herb. Mix with Arctostaphylos, Grevilleas for a shrubby winter blooming party. Very easy to grow. Nice informal or even clipped dense hedge. Develops a handsome gnarled trunk with time. Moderate deer resistance.

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One of our very wonderful customers gave this plant to us. She’s been a loyal customer for years and in that time I’ve known her to be keen with observation and details. Which is why I immediately accepted this plant. It was seedling in her garden and it had thrived for many years with nary a scratch from cold or disease. The uniform deep green foliage has an underside of madder red and the stems share that hue as well. In August-November a prolonged show of scintillating purple flowers appear all along the tips. These cones of flowers are vibrant and are set perfectly against the deeply colored foliage. To 30″ x 30″ in 5 years. Full sun and soil that drains. Light consistent summer water ensures health. It has survived temperatures slightly below 10ºF so far with no incident. Handsome, showy Hebe for our gardens with a proven track record. Remarkable local Hebe selection.

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Grevillea victorae ‘Murray Queen’

A vibrant form of Royal Grevillea that is slightly less hardy to cold than the species and requires a protected spot. Why grow this variety? It blooms, and blooms, and blooms. Rusty orange buds decorate pendant clusters that open to fresh orange. This plant sets tons of buds in summer and then releases them to the public through all the months of winter. Slightly smaller leaves are dusted in brown indumentum when young. To 8′ x 8′ very fast in average, unamended soil where water does not linger. Best in urban gardens with extra heat. It does not abort as many, if any flower buds in the summer drought. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Rounded upright and spreading evergreen shrub that remains handsome year round. Prune if needed after the last flush of flowers in spring. Winter flowers are a beacon to Anna’s Hummingbirds. Native to Australia where it was discovered near the Capital of Canberra. Nice cut flower. Water to establish then taper to once a month in summer. In colder gardens locate under the canopy of tall trees or near a warm wall. Full sun to light shade.

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MINIMARGE! This is a dwarf form of Banksia marginata that has been cold hardy in the Portland area. The key to cold hardiness is to establish the plant well. Unlike other members of the Proteaceae this small shrub likes the soil a bit richer, but that drains well. You can even add a small amount of compost when planting but nothing other than that. Water it until you see good new growth then taper off to once every two weeks. Full sun, in a warm, protected location. A south facing slope w/ protection from East wind is ideal. To 3′ x 3′ in 7 years. On older wood 4″ tall yellow cones are produced as flowers from spring to autumn. Protect young plants from severe cold. Very good performance on the Oregon coast. In time it will form a small lignotuber. A swollen woody base with dormant buds. It may then be cut back fairly hard and re-growth will commence. Avoid crowding this plant with others. Open and happy is how it likes to be. Great plant for a large rock garden Hummingbirds adore the spectacular long lasting flowers. Foliage is deep green with an underside of silver and forms winding stems- never tidy. A plant for collectors primarily. This is not a plant for beginners. Heh. Avoid all fertilizers. Limited supply.

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Holboellia angustifolia (Heronswood)

We got this form of Holboellia from Heronswood eons ago. It has much larger leaves than those being sold as angustifolia, And it bears larger flowers too. A vigorous, hardy, evergreen vine applicable to a large pergola, fence, or sturdy arbor. Twining vine to 20′ or more over time. On wood from the previous year large clusters of pendant white flowers have a soft sweet fragrance in close proximity. We have yet to see fruit set on this particular cultivar. Good year round appearance, not roughed up by winter in most years. The large palmate leaves are held on sturdy petioles that separates the whole leaf. Full sun to shade in rich to average soil w/ regular summer irrigation. Takes very dry conditions when established. Provide STRONG support- established plants can put on many feet of growth per year. Elegant layered appearance of the leaves gives this plant a graceful mein. Prune AFTER flowering if needed. You can prune it hard in late winter – this will sacrifice many flowers but re-growth is vigorous, if not instant.  SW China.

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Our selection of the tough and adaptable evergreen Yeddo Hawthorne. Each glossy, thick rounded leaf on this cultivar is wavy (undulate) and gives this smaller shrub extra substance. In spring large clusters of pure white flowers cover the whole plant. Often showy blue berries follow. Great resistance to black spot- the best of any we’ve grown. Full sun to very light shade in average to enriched soil. To 3′ x 3′ in 6 years. A long lived shrub that tolerates a great amount of summer drought but greets regular irrigation with equanimity.  A frequent component of Japanese style gardens for its simple and clean habit. Takes blasting heat very well, including blazing western exposures that are shady for most of the day. Cold hardy to 5ºF or briefly lower. Great low water landscape plant. Rose family- not deer resistant. Japan.

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Callistemon (formerly sieberi) pityoides ‘Moonlight’

We’ve grown this plant for almost 20 years. In fact i got my original plant in the 1990’s from a rare plant dealer in Vancouver, BC. This fine textured shrub has needles posing as leaves that densely line the lithe arching stems. In early summer the whole plant is alight in 2″ moonlight yellow colored brushes. A hummingbirds dream. Following hot summers it may repeat bloom in autumn. To 3′ tall by 4′ wide with a somewhat twisted habit. Following the bottlebrush flowers small woody seed capsules line the former blooms and persist sometimes for years- it adds interest to this already interesting shrub. Very deer resistant and accepting of quite dry conditions once established. Foliage takes on bronze tints in very cold weather.  Grows moderately fast to its ultimate size. Well sized for smaller gardens. Requires full sun- at least 6 hours per day for best bloom. Prune AFTER blooming if necessary. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Alpine Australia.

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Dianthus ‘Pink Pyrenees’

We received this as a gift from the O’Byrnes who aside from breeding the very best Hellebores on the planet have a  garden that is to die for. Drifts of Erythroniums, Trilliums, Epimediums, Pacific Coast Iris wash around dry rock areas. Thats where you will find this compact growing but wildly floriferous species pink. The O’Byrnes collected the seed of this fragrant soft pink wildflower in the Pyrenees. And after years of attempting to find the exact species we have given up. So ‘Pink Pyrenees’ is the name. Beginning in late April and blooming solidly until mid june the 8″ wiry stems support subtle clove scented flowers. Excellent in small bouquets, you can cut a bunch and not even notice- so prolific are the blooms. Full sun and lean to gritty soil with light consistent summer water. Takes dry conditions when established. The blue green leaves form a tight bun less than 1′ wide in several years. Deer leave the foliage alone but will nosh on the flowers.

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Eriophyllum lanatum

Oregon Sunshine is the cheery common name that greets this widespread native perennial. Silvery gray intricate foliate forms a spreading mat. In late spring and early summer brilliant golden yellow daisy flowers spangle 10″ stems. Loved by pollinators and we’ve been impressed with its draw to butterflies as well. To 2′ across and excellent on slopes where water never lingers. In the wild its a frequent of road cuts and other disturbed sites. It also competes admirably with exotic invasive weeds and will persist where other natives are swamped. Rock gardens, dry borders. Water to establish- the first season- but never boggy. The following year it will rely only on what falls from the sky. Full sun to light shade. Adapts to poor soils. Moderate deer resistance. Semi-evergreen. Native to the Portland city limits.

Oregon native plant. 

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We love this cold hardy species also known as mountain bottlebrush. This is our selection of a dwarf form and it achieves a very dense, compact habit at just 2′ tall by 3′ wide in 7 years. In May/June 1″ acid green bottlebrush flowers illuminate the tips of the branches. Pollinated by birds in nature it is a beacon to our local hummingbirds as well. Following the flowers rows of button shaped seed pods become woody and add to the shrubs interest. Full sun and rich to average soil with light consistent summer water for the first few years. It can tolerate regular irrigation but is summer drought tolerant when established. A great plant for foundations, rock gardens, hell strips. The pointed forest green foliage takes on maroon tints in the coldest weather. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Moderately deer resistant.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Multiplicity’

One of the most striking pacific coast cultivars. Large somewhat flat flowers are a saturated orange/ rust color with contrasting purple nectary guides. Excellent plant that is not only extraordinarily heavy in bloom it blooms the LONGEST of any PCI that we grow. Often repeat blooming 1-3 times following the grand first display.  Grassy evergreen leaves form spreading clumps to several feet wide. The large flowers rise on 10″ stems. Loved by pollinators. This intense flower color and propensity for heavy bloom endears this wonderful cultivar to gardeners and its often on the list of favorites. Full sun to light shade- ideally it may be grown best in an open north exposure. Such as the north side of a house with no overhead shade. Blooms late April-early June. Very deer resistant. Water consistently through the first summer than none in subsequent years. And once established it resents disturbance.

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Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata

When you’ve given up all hope, When you think nothing will grow there enter this rugged, pioneering native to the rescue. Infamous for its weedy introduction have you ever had a close look at our own NATIVE populations? They yield truly showy flowers that are large cones with relatively large velvet purple flowers protruding. They make a great cut flower too. Found from the arctic to the tropics on North America. This form is genetically native stock. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in virtually any soil. Not as rambunctious as you would think but not a shrinking plant either. Very wild appearance and we like it. One of the first wildflowers that I recognized as a child, and when I was introduced much later to the weedy type I was sorely disappointed. Responds to regular water by blooming continuously. Reacts to withering drought by becoming limp and sometimes crisps. It always comes back. Mostly evergreen in our climate. To 6″ tall in bloom otherwise prostrate. Bees adore this plant. Aka Lanceleaf Selfheal. A good native weed. Oregon Native Plant.

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This beautiful, deep sky blue flowered rosemary we found planted at a 100 year old farmhouse in Milwauke, OR. The flowers are scintillating and this plant- installed in the early 1980’s, has proven longevity as well. To 3′ tall by 5′ wide eventually. Blooms appear unabated from autumn to summer. Vigorous evergreen shrub with an upright and then spreading habit. Full sun and no water necessary once established. It can take light, regular water in summer as well. Otherwise, it thrives on only what fall from the sky. A very showy winter blooming shrub for hot locations, south facing hillsides, adjacent to walls, asphalt anywhere another less heat durable plant would fry. Moderate deer resistance. Pungently aromatic and great for culinary use. Prune- if needed, in late spring following bloom. Blooms on wood from the previous season. This variety would make an admirable upright, clipped hedge. Named by and for our friend Carol. Thanks Carol.

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Erodium ‘Pickering Pink’

‘Pickering Pink’ Cranesbill. The name sounds like it will have an all pink flower. Not really. The simple five petalled flowers have two petals that are pink on top with a distinct black blotch. The two lower petals are soft pink almost white. This contrast of colors gives this small plant extra impact as well as a fun wild flower appeal. It forms a tight mound of soft, divided foliage to 3″ tall by 10″ wide. The cheery flowers are born on 6″ wiry stems. Blooms appear continuously from mid-spring to frost. Erodiums bloom and bloom with little intervention from the gardener. They also excel in the rough life of hellstrips. In borders, rock gardens, containers, even small meadow gardens this European native is excellently adapted to our climate. Light summer water increases the flower display and spent flowers can be snipped to not only spur more but to achieve a tidier look. Evergreen foliage and low stature also make it appropriate between pavers. Some deer resistance as well as rabbit resistance.  Very easy to grow.  Full sun.

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One of the very finest Pelargoniums or (Geranium- annual) with stupendous jagged foliage and vivid flowers. Each palmate leaf has a center of dramatic bronze and is outlined in bright chartreuse green. The star shaped hot orange flower is a bright and elegant contrast with this foliage. Compact growing habit. Excellent seasonal container subject or even bedded out. To 20″ x 20″ by the end of the summer. Rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer moisture. Remove spent flower spikes to tidy, encourage more. Moderately deer resistant. Avoid over watering. Easy, striking plant and our favorite Pelargonium.

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Aloe striatula

We’ve grown a lot of Aloes with purported cold and wet hardiness and this is the one that has been the most successful. A large succulent shrubby plant with rosettes of deep green succulent foliage. In late summer to autumn a showy display of large yellow flower spikes can occur. Very pretty and loved by all nectar seeking folks. Give this South African perennial VERY GOOD DRAINAGE in full sun and a warm position.  A slope is always helpful. Amend the soil with plenty of gravel and sand as well as compost- these guys do need to eat- so a little handful of organic fertilizer is recommended. Capable of freezing to the ground (below 15ºF) and resprouting from the base when truly warm weather arrives. Plant on a south or west facing slope preferably against a warm wall or boulder for added reflected heat. Easy, if large, container plant that you should protect from temperatures in the teens. To 3′ x 3′ on average in our climate. Mostly evergreen here. Combine with Agave, Cactus which will also increase their growth rate if you provide light, consistent water during hot weather.

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Achillea millefolium ‘Salmon Beauty’

Yarrow is an unbeatable native perennial that blooms for a LONG time with a minimum amount of effort from the gardener. Foamy, ferny gray green leaves creates a low carpet of evergreen foliage. Rising up on 2′ spikes flat umbels of soft salmon flower create landing pads for pollinators. The flowers fade lightly after opening for a wonderful multicolor effect. Remove spent flowers, apply a little water and it will repeat bloom until frost. Best in lighter soils that are enriched but drain quickly. Best floral displays occur with light consistent summer water though it is very drought tolerant when established. Tolerates the toughest, hottest sites. Admirable if a little pungent cut flower. LOVED by pollinators. Creates a growing patch to several feet wide quickly. Blooms spring- autumn. Moderately deer resistant. Borders, dry borders, hell strips, etc. Oregon native plant.

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Carpenteria californica ‘Elizabeth’

A wonderful selection of Bush Anemone that was chosen because it produces more flowers (though they are a tad smaller than the species) born in multiple sprays. And this form is slightly more compact as well. An evergreen shrub with lanceolate leaves w/ a rolled margin (revolute).  The deep green leaves are attached to tan stems and trunks that with age exfoliate to a glossy metallic sheen. To 6′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full hot sun to very light open shade in average, well drained soil. For clay soils its best planted on a slope. Water to establish then none after the first summer- in fact this extremely drought adapted shrub prefers to go with out water. Provide good air circulation. Adaptable to the hottest sites, including western and southern exposures. Moderate deer resistance- they will try young plants so protect them. Long lived, climate, adapted shrub. Cold hardy to about 0ºF. The white  flowers that occur in May/June are sweetly fragrant. Prune, if needed AFTER flowering.

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Leptospermum scoparium ‘Washington Park’

Manuka. This is a wonderful very upright wispy evergreen shrub with tiny leaves that turn maroon in winter and masses of white flowers in early summer. Flowers are born on wood from the previous season and are much larger than the foliage. The effect in early summer is a shrub clad in snow. To 8′ tall x 4′ wide in 5 years. Full sun and a protected position, such as against a south facing wall. This form is from the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle where it has thrived for many years. A selection made from high elevation inland New Zealand. Grows very fast w/ light summer water. Excellent fine textured plant. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy to a little below 10ºF- it has been damaged but recovered from lower temperatures. Very easy to grow wild looking plant. Drought adapted when established.

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Eschscholzia californica ‘Jelly Beans’

Spectacular mix of double flowered California Poppy in shades of pink, yellow, apricot, rose, red, orange, and yellow- and more colors than that. Easy to grow plants that can even be perennial if happily sited and cared for. Otherwise an incredibly showy annual that also makes a great cutflower- cut in bud and they will last several days. Sophisticated selection of our own native poppy and they will most likely reseed in open disturbed sites. Blooms May-August and sometimes longer. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Leave the final round of blooms to set seed for the following season. To 1′ x 1′ with beautiful lacy glaucous foliage. Rough areas in full sun with light summer H20. Highly deer resistant.  Oregon native plant.

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Fantastic new hybrid Passion vine with impressively huge, spectacular flowers and a more restrained habit. 4″ wide brilliantly colored flowers feature deep blue and purple and white alternating stripes on the row of filaments that encircle the center. The sepals- petal like structure surrounding the flower alternated between white and lavender. To only 8′ tall in a season and remaining compact for all of its life. Happy evergreen vine that climbs by tendrils.- provide support. Small enough to find a long happy life in containers. Rich, well drained soil in full sun and a warm position. Evergreen to about 15ºF- the vast majority of winters. This passion vine has the largest flowers by far of any cold hardy selection. Truly beautiful and impressive. Flowers emit a light sweet scent and we have yet to see fruit produced. Loved by children and adults as well as the occasional butterfly. Blooms on the current seasons growth. Prune whenever you feel like its necessary- rare for this compact and easy vine.

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Passaflora caerulea ‘Becky’s Blue & White’

Blue crown passion vine is an incredibly popular if huge vine in our climate. This form has the typical 3″ intricate flowers with the tinker toy center but the filaments that encircle the middle are deeper blue w/ a contrasting zone of brighter white. The result is bolder coloration and contrast. Rampant evergreen vine- to about 13ºF but much cold hardier than that to 0ºF  Give this big vine room and proper support. To 18′ tall and wide very quickly in average to enriched well drained soil. Evergreen lobed leaves are glossy and this vine blooms profusely on new growth. The more it grows the more it blooms. Winding tendrils assist its climb and will adhere to anything with a diameter smaller than a regular sharpie pen. This includes screen…and if it is too close to a house and they attach to the screen….bad scene getting them off. Otherwise provide a trellis or pergola that can accommodate its size. Flowers appear from May-Frost. It may be cut back very hard in spring to refresh, supply new blooming wood, or just to restrain. Overly rich soil leads to rampant growth and less flowering. So, average soil that drains is ideal. Flowers often transform into golf ball sized orbs that are sweet tasting but not really food. Established passion vines will often sucker quite a way from the parent plant. Plant for this and be vigilant. There is no vine, however so magical in flower form that it transfixes people and is a special joy for children. Little water once established. Deer resistant. Mountains of Brazil.

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Solanum (laxum) jasminoides

White Potato Vine is an incredibly floriferous plant. Large and profuse clusters of stunning star shaped flowers are clear white and appear continuously from May to frost and if winter fails to materialize even longer. Semi-tender in our climate it requires protection for the base and rich, well drained soil. Vigorous climber to 12′ in single season. If it freezes the ground- this happens below about 20ºF it can break from the base and regrow quickly. In Portland this happens about every 3-4 years. Climbs by modified leaf petiole and requires substantial support. Personally, I think the best way to grow this everblooming vine is in containers, even window boxes where the plant will become a trailing cloud of white stars for months. Blooms on new wood, it may be pruned at anytime. Mulch the base in fall with compost or leaves and place against a warm wall or in-between close shrubs that will bolster further protection. Loved by bees and bumbles. Regular deep summer water produces the best results. Full sun to very light shade.  Spectacular performance on the Oregon Coast. Native to Chile/Argentina.

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Dianthus x ‘Eileen Lever’

Eileen is a little bun of fun. A tight mounding Dianthus that forms a dome of prickly blue/green foliage 8″ wide and just 2″ tall. In May-June this foliage is obscured by a solid mass of brilliant pink flowers. They emit the treasured clove fragrance so loved in this genus. A first rate rock garden perennial, or for troughs or even amenable with drainage to the front of borders, dry gardens and even Hellstrips. Gritty soil is what most dianthus buns crave, and you can achieve this by simply amending the soil with a handful of sharp gravel. Otherwise this cuties is adapted to not many nutrients but must have full sun. Light consistent summer irrigation makes the slowly expanding bun speed up. Just a touch. Not difficult and stunning in bloom. Buns, we love the buns of fun. Thanks Eileen. Evergreen. Cut off spent flowers for a clean and neater appearance. Very good to try where bunnies and deer are an issue. They tend to completely overlook this plant. Long lived perennial.

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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.

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Anchusa azurea ‘Dropmore’

Alkanet, Italian Bugloss- neither name is very appealing but I’m here to testify that if you are a connoisseur of the color blue this big showy perennial is for you. To 4′ tall multiple spikes bear rich, deep, true blue flowers in one bodacious cloud. This form is not only a superior blue, but its a more reliable perennial. Most live 2-3 years but this often persists for longer. This borage forms a basal rosette of rough leaves- this is important to identify the inevitable seedlings- they are dark, dark green and spiny. Blooms first year from seed. A Spectacular plant for a young garden, a dry garden, wild border or in its most classic home the cottage garden. Full sun and average to enriched soil that drains quickly. Light consistent water to establish then drought adapted. Long, long blooming plant that often has bumble bees fast asleep in the cup shaped flowers. Very cool. Obvious pollinator gem. Very climate adapted plant.

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This strain of our native Siskiyou Lewisia contains a stunning range of flower colors. Pink to orange to white to yellow and permutations in-between. One of our most cherished wild flowers this plant is found at high elevations in the southern part of the state. A succulent that forms an evergreen rosette it displays its flowers for literally months on end beginning in spring. Excellent, long blooming, easy to grow container plant but not difficult in the ground given rock garden conditions. Drainage is crucial, in average to enriched soil. Drought adapted but it blooms longer with light summer water. Full sun to very light shade. Excellent at the top of walls, spilling out of cliffs as it does in nature. To 6″ tall forming multiplying rosettes up to a foot across. Moderate deer resistance.  Oregon native plant.

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So many lavenders that we’ve decided to go with the very best. This hybrid is a cross between english lavender (L. angustifolia) and wooly lavender (L. lanata) and gives you wonderful almost white wooly foliage with deep purple thick flowers. To 2′ tall and 2′ wide in time this rounded evergreen shrub blooms for an incredibly long time beginning in early summer. Full sun and rich to average soil with light but consistent summer water.  Very easy to grow in our climate. Shear the spent flower spikes and cut into about 1/2″ new growth for a compact and more densely blooming habit. Excellent landscape plant, informal hedge or specimen in a border. This Lavender looks good year round- better winter appearance than most. Lightly deer resistant. Not their first choice but not 100% immune to browse either. Aromatic foliage. Wonderful white foliage contrasts greatly with deep green foliage for depth in plantings.

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I selected this seedling because it is  smaller growing but with relatively large VIVID orange flowers. To 4′ x 4′ in 6 years. Wavy curved leaves are olive green with a white underside. Blooms nearly year round once established. This selection requires a protected location in inland western Oregon but it absolutely thrives and loves the Oregon coast. Full sun and well drained soil with good air circulation. Water to establish then none required, very, very drought tolerant. An absolute magnet for hummingbirds and over wintering Anna’s find it a special treat. Do not amend the soil, native unimproved soils are ideal. For heavier soils plant on a slope. Established plants may have 1/3 of their mass removed following a blooming session. This will not only make a denser plant, it will also spur it to bloom even more. Moderately deer resistant.  All hail DAVID BOWIE!

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California meadow sedge is native to stream banks, and vernally wet places at the beach from British Columbia south in to Baja. A deep green winter growing sedge which each plant reaches about 18″ across and 10″ or so inches high. It flops over gracefully and has a very uniform appearance through the year with light irrigation. This is a winter growing plant that resumes growing and greens up with winter rains. In very cold weather (below 20ºF) it can take on russet tints. A FANTASTIC LAWN SUBSTITUTE where it has been used extensively for that application in California. We should use it here too. Plant on 1′ centers for a lawn (faux lawn) cover from one gallons and water regularly through the first season. No water plantings can go summer dormant but in wetter environs this can be avoided and it will remain green and verdant. Water once a week in summer to remain green.  Fantastic ground cover, slope cover as it will out compete weeds and form a uniform cover. Tolerates clay soils well, but some amending will reap rewards with a faster growing plant. Tolerates mowing very well. Oregon native plant. 

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After almost 30 years of selling plants I can say that usually the first plant to go into a garden is Rosemary. And why not? It loves our climate. Its drought tolerant beyond measure and heck its even edible. And that fragrance. One thing you might not think of is winter flowers. This form from an ancient plant that has unique flowers. From September to June it is alight in clouds of soft violet blue flowers. Flowers all winter! Excellent as a specimen or hedge. This cold hardy variety can inhabit the coldest gardens. And my god there is always pork. To 3′ tall x 5′ wide in 10 years. Full sun and average soil that drains. Light to little summer water required. Moderate deer resistance.

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Camellia sasanqua ‘Li’l Rose’

Obscure and stunning DWARF Sasanqua Camellia. Beginning in October and opening blooms through December and sometimes even later. Smaller stature than a standard Sasanqua. The double glistening pink flowers decorate the shrub in a dense way. To 4′ x 4′ in 8 years- but growing larger. Deep, deep green glossy leaves are pretty on this open and lax evergreen shrub. Full sun to light shade in rich to average well drained soil; light consistent summer water increases fall bloom set. Excellent and dainty espalier subject.  Very pretty blooms.

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Grevillea x ‘The Precious’

Excellent introduction from Desert Northwest Nursery in Sequim, WA. This seedling of ‘Leanne’ exceeds that cultivar in several ways. First, its a decidedly smaller shrub with tiny, needle like deep green foliage. Second, its profuse flowers are a brighter and lighter yellow that is showy from a distance and great contrast with the foliage. This brand new plant is likely to reach 3′ x 4′ in 8 years. Moderately slow growing. Blooms appear YEAR ROUND and are a beacon to hummingbirds as well as gardeners in the dead of winter. Full sun to very light shade in average, un-amended native soils. Good drainage is helpful. Very little to no water once established. Extremely drought adapted. Beautiful, free blooming shrub that has great promise. Thanks, Ian. High deer resistance.

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Callistemon pallidus ‘Eleanor’

More than 25 years ago I raised some Callistemon from seed. This seedling with vivid magenta purple flowers has survived temperatures below 10ºF for all that time but requires a protected spot inland to thrive. Amazing performance at the Oregon Coast where the bright brushes may appear several times a year. To 6′ x 6′ and arching this willowy evergreen accepts light summer water and requires as much sun as possible. Best against a south facing wall in Portland. It may freeze back below about 12ºF, but recovery from the base is rapid. Virtually any soil. Moderate deer resistance. This seedling was planted at our then neighbor Eleanor’s house so it received that name.

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Calamagrostis foliosa

Mendocino Reed grass is a regal plant from the northern California coast. Well scaled for gardens a 1′ x 2′ wide clump eventually forms with stiff, tidy blue green arching leaves that are blue with purple highlights. In spring to mid-summer 1′ tall spikes of flowers that begin russet and age to soft tan appear and are immensely showy and symmetrical. A back lit plant in bloom is a festival of brilliant tones. Best in light shade and average to rich, well drained soil with light summer water to improve vigor and appearance. A cool season grass that looks wonderful in winter as well as summer. Excellent garden plant that has proven to be easy and adaptable. Evergreen.

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Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Famous for its hardiness to cold, this shrub eventually becomes very big with very large double, powerfully fragrant flowers. This fabulous Gardenia gains cold hardiness with age. Rich, moisture retentive soil that drains- see- LOTS OF COMPOST and regular summer water. That will not only speed growth and establishment it will encourage a constant supply of blooms from on average early July to September. To 4′ x 6′ in 7 years. Best in a protected location- especially from east winds. Full sun to full shade. Excellent with some overhead protection- tree branches , eaves, or a pergola. This slight protection provides the plant with less dramatic swings in temperatures which helps it harden off to cold. REGULAR irrigation is crucial for the first few years. Never let a Gardenia dry out entirely- no like. All the leaves from the interior out will turn yellow and drop. Not pretty. But a well grown shrub is gorgeous with large, deep green glossy foliage ensconcing the 3″ wide flowers. The fragrance will waft in warm summer conditions. Lovely.  Excellent in containers – pay attention to irrigation and move the containerized Gardenia to an unheated garage or porch. Lucious and very tropical looking. Resprouts from the base if frozen.

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Polypodium scouleri

Coast Polypody or creeping leather fern is an evergreen colony forming plant that is native from British Columbia south along the coast to even the Guadelupe Island off of Baja. It makes its home as an epiphyte trees, logs, rocks, the ground almost anywhere it finds adequate moisture and shade. During the summer it will take a surprising amount of dryness but we recommend light consistent irrigation for the best appearance and to spur multiplication. Fronds to 10″ long with rounded lobes. Excellent garden plant, grows very well in rich to average soil as well. Good year round appearance. A native fern that should be grown all the time. Great in winter containers- excellent winter appearance with little maintenance. Protect from hot sun. Highly deer resistant.  A natural for the Oregon coast  which is its native home.  Oregon native plant. 

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Eucalyptus dalrympleana

Mountain white gum or just Mountain gum is a wonderful cold hardy Eucalypt that can achieve the largest proportions of any that we grow. In Portland specimens of 60′ occur and it presents as a large spreading tree with sickle shaped leaves of deep green and glossy. Very aromatic when crushed and excellent material for wreaths. In time it develops fantastic powder white bark.  Fast growing in youth to 6′ a year in rich soil with regular irrigation. Once established it is very drought tolerant. In time it forms a large spreading crown on a majestic and easy to grow tree. Requires a large site. Eucalyptus are intolerant of all shade and should be hit from all sides by sunlight. Otherwise they will grow sparsely and lean towards the sun. White flowers occur in late winter and are more curious than showy. Does have some leaf drop- take note near patios. Cold hardy to 5ºF when established. Gains cold hardiness with age. Moderately deer resistant.

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Arctostaphylos pumila ‘Small Leaf Form’

Immensely handsome dense rounded Manzanita that has smaller than average silver foliage and fantastic bark.  Moderately fast  growing shrub to 6′ tall x 8′ wide in 8 years. In late winter each branch tip is bedecked in clusters of small white flowers- they are born in profusion and expand from pink buds. Russet colored berries often follow and are consumed by wildlife. The black/mahogany glossy bark is beyond striking with the silver foliage. It splits, rolls up into ribbons, and exfoliates in late summer. In time it may be pruned to reveal trunks–for most of its youth they are hidden by dense almost formal looking foliage. Adaptable to many soils including clay soils- especially on slopes. Excellent long term landscape plant that looks great year round. Very good cold hardiness enduring 0ºF with no problem. Dig a hole 3x as big as the rootball in the pot to loosen the soil and allow the new roots to penetrate virgin soil. Water regularly through the first summer- then little to none in subsequent years. Combine with green leaved Arctos for great foliage contrast. Perfect on slopes, areas with intense reflected heat such as parking lot planter islands. Great urban shrub. Appreciates good air circulation.

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Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Garnettii’

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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Luma apiculata

Chilean Myrtle is a very good looking dense evergreen shrub/tree in our climate. It requires a slightly protected location as it can be tender when young. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF. With age and establishment it gains much, much more cold hardiness enduring 5ºF with just light leaf burn. The leaves are deep, dark green and rounded with a sharp tip. Almost formal looking. In protected gardens it can attain tree like status in about 8 years. Most often in our region its a shrub of about 12′. And perhaps the most impressive thing about this Chilean/Argentinian tree is the exfoliating orange to tan bark it achieves with age. In mid-summer masses of small white fragrant myrtle flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens smother the whole plant. These turn into sweetly edible if not a little mentholated black berries. They can be messy so locate away from paths, pavement. Birds almost always make off with the berries so that is helpful. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing gorge winds. In gardens subject to that locate on a south or west facing wall. Very drought adapted when established, but consistent water and average soil will yield the best growth. Grows about 1′-3′ per year. Moderate deer resistance. Not a good plant for cold rural gardens. Tree size specimens are phenomenal and worth the effort to protect when young. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.

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Ceanothus ‘Victoria’

This is one of the most popular shrubs in western Oregon of the last two decades. And rightfully so. This wild lilac sports excellent cold hardiness, prolific flowers, and glossy handsome evergreen foliage year round. A strong growing shrub that can literally explode in growth in rich soil but is much more restrained in poorer mediums. Remember this when planting it. It performs the best in average, un-amended soils in full sun with regular summer water for the first season to establish and then none in subsequent years. Sky blue flowers are profuse covering this dense shrub in a haze of color for 3-4 weeks in May to June. Later blooming that most other Ceanothus. This good looking shrub is so durable its made its way as  highway verge mass plantings but it is just as stellar of a garden plant as well. Cold hardy to about 5ºF- it survived -5ºF in the southern Willamette Valley in 2013 by freezing to the snow line and then vigorously re-sprouting. Durable, dependable Ceanothus. Avoid the summer heat + water that it abhors- it leaves it open to root water molds that can do it in and fairly quickly. Excellent shrub for the beginning gardener. Loved by pollinators of all kinds and is virtually rolling in bees during its fabulous bloom. NOT DEER RESISTANT. Most likely a hybrid with C. thyrsiflorus which must be responsible for at least half of its make up. Found in Victoria, Canada- hence the name. Likely it is the old cultivar ‘Skylark’ that was re-named upon its survival there of a hideous winter. The old name was forgotten and the glee of survival and discovery led to the renaming.  To be clear ‘Victoria’ and ‘Skylark’ are exactly the same thing. Very fast growing to on average 8′ x 8′. Excellent with all west coast natives. Blooms simultaneously with yellow Halimiums. A fantastic floral and cultural combination.

below photo credit: Jane Finch-Howell

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Quercus chrysolepis

Canyon live oak is a vastly underused, beautiful evergreen native tree. From Lane county, Oregon south through California, slight parts of Nevada around Lake Tahoe and sporadically in Arizona and even New Mexico. This venerable tree is found on the steepest slopes of canyons and mountain ridges. In Oregon it represents the northern most native Live Oak or evergreen oak in North America. Leaves are glossy army green on the the top with a conspicuous furry gold underside. This is a rugged, tough tree that should be used in both gardens and as a street tree. In the Alameda neighborhood in Portland there is an ancient specimen to 60′ tall and wide with a large trunk. This heritage tree was reportedly brought to the city from southern Oregon via horse and wagon. Slow growing in youth it picks up speed exponentially several years after planting. To 40′ x 20′ in 30 years with a broad spreading crown. In the wild it often forms a gnarled multi-trunked rounded outline. Its very possible to train this tree to a single trunk/leader to extend the crown skyward. Extraordinarily cold hardy enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF with no difficulty. The large acorns are born in a showy golden hued furry cups- and are produced profusely in banner years. Water to establish for the first season then none in subsequent years. Full sun. Beautiful, native Oak that we cherish at Xera. Oregon native plant.

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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Rogue Sky’

A selection of Coast Blue Blossom or Ceanothus thyrsiflorus that we made very far inland from its natural range in SW Oregon. Typically relegated to the coastal strip we found this variety more than 35 miles inland. This improves cold hardiness. A rapidly growing shrub/tree to 16′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Robin’s egg blue flowers smother the whole plant in May. Extremely drought tolerant this fast grower may be either used as a cool, evergreen, native, blue flowered tree or it may be pruned aggressively after blooming to limit the size- increase density create a screen or hedge. Loved by honey bees and all pollinators in general.  No summer water once established. Excellent background tree that delights in bloom but fades to a green screen the rest of the year. Plant with other drought tolerant plants- Arctostaphylos, Cistus, etc. Grows 3′-4′ per year when established. The flowers are a soothing blue- which is hard to capture in photographs. The effect in bloom is a blue cloud. Takes partial shade and the worst soils. Oregon native plant.

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A dazzling female selection of Japanese Aucuba with long, thin, tapered leaves of deep green randomly splashed with yellow spots. Dense and slow growing evergreen to 5′ x 5′ in 7 years. This selection will produce clusters of large red berries of a male is present. Very showy. Tiny brown/green flowers in spring are not conspicuous. Part shade to quite a bit of shade in average to enriched well drained soil. Established plants are incredibly drought tolerant and this striking shrub adds light and texture to dry shade areas. It will take full sun with regular irrigation and the leaves will be not as dark lustrous green. A very handsome shrub year round with great cold hardiness. Regular water through the first season to establish. Then light water. Long lived, easy to grow shrub whose dense habit does not require pruning.

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Melianthus major ‘Purple Haze’

Nice selection of Honey Bush that shares tints of purple predominantly when new leaves are unfurling. The enormous blue/lavender serrated leaves are amazing. Lower growing than either the species or ‘Antonow’s Blue’. To 4′ tall (usually shorter) by at least 6′ wide. Red flowers are produced on the black scape that can follow mild winters. Technically a subshrub as it can freeze to the ground and fully recover from the root in a single season. IF it has been well established in its first season. For that reason we only sell Melianthus in 2 gallon sizes. A larger plant establishes faster and has more mass going into winter. Plant in a protected location- against a wall or with light overstory protection. Mulch for the first winter. Freezes to the ground at prolonged temperatures below about 20ºF. Re-sprouts in mid-late spring. Water and fertilize to speed the recovery. South Africa.

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Helianthemum ‘Annabel’

For several reasons this is a fantastic Helianthemum (Sunrose). Felted green/gray foliage is handsome as a backdrop to the masses of fully double pink flowers that appear for weeks. The single forms of Sunrose have flowers that last just one day but this double flowered form has flowers that individually last for days. It significantly lengthens the bloom time on this charming low plant. Blooms appear from mid May to July. To 10″ tall and spreading to an area 2′ x 2′ in several years. Full sun and well drained soil of rich fertility. Beautiful small scale groundcover for banks, drier borders, rock gardens. Its best to cut Helianthemums back hard when blooming has ended. Remove the blooming stems and part of the current seasons growth. In return you achieve a dense compact plant that will yield more flowers the following year. For pink-o-philes this is a must have plant and one of our favorites at Xera. Light summer water. Some deer resistance.

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Lomatia fraseri

Fascinating small tree that is one of the largest members in this genus. This Proteaceous tree harbors interesting irregularly toothed linear leaves and masses of  sweet anise scented curly, ivory colored flowers in mid summer. Moderately fast growing evergreen tree to 18′ tall and 7′ wide in 10 years in our climate. Full sun to high overstory shade is ideal in average, well drained soil. Light supplemental summer water speeds the growth of this elegant plant. Grows on average about 1′-3′ per year. Sophisticated in all its parts it resents soil that is overly enriched (avoid compost) and fertilizer, instead it relished our own unimproved native soils. Simply double dig a wide area before planting to allow oxygen and ease the travel of new roots into virgin soil. Very drought tolerant when established. Avoid exposure to blasting subfreezing east wind. In those zones locate on a west or south facing aspect. Grown for several decades it has never been common in our area. Native from the mountains to the rain forest verges in SE Australia. Cold hardiness increases substantially with age. In time it forms a handsome somewhat conical shaped tree of delightful texture.

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Grevillea x gaudichaudii

Impressive ground cover Grevillea that can be difficult to locate. To less than one foot tall it spreads out laterally easily 8′ wide in 7 years. The distinctly oak shaped leaves on this shrub emerge deep red before settling to green. All the while it is producing red upward facing “toothbrush” shaped flowers. These appear from February to August primarily but can pop off occasionally year round. All together it forms an amazing ground cover shrub that features fantastic foliage and flowers in a bold tapestry display. Cold hardy to a bit less than 10ºF- it appreciates successively colder frosts to harden off for its ultimate frost resistance. Full sun to part shade in average, well drained soil. Light summer water increases the growth rate- and it can zoom once established. Avoid crowding from other plants- it seems to require good air circulation. Excellent performance on gravel mulch. Large rock garden plant or hot slope cover. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF- it can burn the foliage. Hardiness increases with establishment. The very short trunk emerging from the ground can be surprisingly stout- several inches in diameter. Cover with  frost cloth- held down for wind protection during extreme arctic events. Drought adapted when established. A protected location. One of the coolest shrubs we can grow. A naturally occurring hybrid from the Blue Mountains. Excellent around and over boulders which add radiant heat during extreme cold. Should only be attempted in the mildest gardens.

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Phacelia californica

Scorpion weed is a beautiful native perennial found on rocky slopes/ hillsides/road cuts throughout California and western Oregon. Handsome corrugated trifoliate leaves are silver and have a pointed tip. In May-July curled flower inflorescences arise unfurling as they bloom to reveal rows of mauve/blue flowers. To 2′ tall in bloom it forms a handsome dome of evergreen foliage to 14″ across. The leaves are the most striking and conspicuous feature of this plant. Pollinators adore the flowers and its especially important for native bees. Full sun to very light shade, average, well drained soil. Light summer water.  Excellent in the front of borders. Wonderful bold contrast with other fine leaved silver beauties- it even shines with lavender. As you hike throughout the mountainous parts west of the Cascade Crest the incredibly handsome leaves are sure to catch your eye. Easy to grow and perfectly climate adapted. Oregon native plant.

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Grevillea juniperina ‘Firewoman’

About 15 years ago we planted this tiny seedling at the top of our propagation hill behind our wholesale nursery in Sherwood. After all those years and two trips down to 5ºF, numerous ice, snow, wind events it has remained completely happy and unblemished. This is closer to the species in form. To 4′ tall x 6′ wide in 5 years. Very prickly needles pose as the leaves forming a very formidable shrub. From January to July flaming red/orange flowers are curly and lick the tips of the stems like flames. And LOVED by hummers. Full sun to part shade, the very poorest, most well drained soil with no summer water once established. Takes clay soils on slopes. Completely drought adapted and it likes it that way. Great deer resistance. Long season of bloom on a charming architectural evergreen shrub.

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Dianthus petraeus ssp. noeanus

Adorbs rock garden Dianthus with fine deep green foliage forming rounded mounds. In late spring to summer 8″ stem support feathery intensely fragrant white flowers. They come in a mass and are fragrant of cloves many feet away. It makes a great cut flower for small arrangements. To 8″ across for full sun and sharp drainage and light consistent summer water. Rock gardens, troughs, slopes. Easy to grow rock garden variety.

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Solierolia soleirolii

Baby’s Tears is a useful and surprisingly hardy small scale ground cover. Famous for its role in terrariums its surprisingly hardy to cold as well. Tiny leaves overlap in a perfectly flat deep green ground cover. Part shade to shade but not terrible dry shade or compacted soils. Spreads to several feet wide in several seasons. Rich, moisture retentive soil that drains is ideal. Mist or water once a week to increase humidity which it very much appreciates. Freezes to nothing below 15ºF- resprouts from bits of root vigorously in spring. Do not try to cover the whole planet with this diminuitive plant. Instead isolate it to cool pools of green several feet wide. Excellent in containers or as an easy houseplant.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Big Wheel’

Astonishing flower color is one reason to love this large flowered Pacifica hybrid. Orange/coral/pink all morphed into one hue with a central zone of deep purple near the center. To 1′ tall and forming spreading clumps of evergreen foliage. Blooms April-June. The large flowers are showy from quite a distance. Part shade is ideal but endures full sun and tolerates total shade. Water regularly through the first summer to establish- the clump should increase by twice its size then none in subsequent years. Resents disturbance best left where it is to live. Great deer resistance. A very unusual color for a PCI.

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iris foetidissima ‘Variegata’

Useful, pretty foliage plant in a genus most known for flowers. The 1.5″ wide leaves are striped in white and dark green. Each evergreen leaf rises to 15″ and then arches over. In time it forms large showy clumps. In late spring small not very striking brown flowers appear and are followed by much more showy orange berries that appear in fall and persist. To 2′ wide in time. Part shade and rich soil with regular summer water. Avoid blasting hot locations and dry, compacted soils. Great winter appearance and totally hardy to cold. Limited quantities. Excellent deer resistance.

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What a sweet little version of Holly Tea Olive. Leaves are tiny compared to the species and the whole plant is a diminuitive version of the that plant. To just 4′ x 4′ in 10 years it eventually gets progressively larger. An extremely floriferous form that condenses hundreds of small white fragrant flowers along the stems in October to December. Slow to finish in a container because of its size- be patient.  Grows about 4″ per year. Foundations, rock gardens, hedges, specimen. Great cold hardiness for a broad leaved evergreen. Drought adapted when established otherwise it tolerates regular irrigation which will eventually speed growth. Cute. Really, freaking cute ancient cultivar from Japan.

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Camellia x williamsii ‘Brigadoon’

HUGE. The flowers on this Camellia are HUGE. Semi-double pink flowers are up to 5″ across. Don’t diss pink. No other flower does pink quite like Camellias. ‘Brigadoon’ is a spectacular hybrid that blooms for the last month of winter and the first two months of spring. Clean, glossy, deep green foliage is handsome at all times on a dense growing shrub to 8′ x 4′ in 6 years. Grows about 1′ per year. Full sun to part shade to quite a bit of overhead shade so long as it isn’t oppressive. Huge amounts of buds open to these voluptuous blossom. Excellent cold hardiness enduring temperatures just right below 0ºF with no damage. Excellent resistance to subfreezing gorge wind- it would be a great windbreak to stop that arctic blast. Flowers fall completely off of the shrub never clinging and turning brown. Easy, long lived, climate adapted shrub.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Rio Dorado’

Yellow is a special color for Pacific Coast Iris and this selection does a great job at producing profuse large luminous yellow flowers for an extended period. To 14″ tall and forming spreading clumps. The vivid flowers are showy from a distance and resonate with the candy-like colors of other Pacific Iris. Mix with ‘Blue Moment’ for a classic blue and yellow combination. This Iris also blooms simultaneously with the clouds of blue flowers of Ceanothus. And they appreciate the same cultural conditions- a late spring vignette that gets by on no summer water! Evergreen. Not fussy about soil. Water consistently through the first summer to establish (established Iris will double their clump size in the first summer). Then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Heavy bloomer in April-June. High deer resistance.

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Anthyllis vulneraria var. coccinea

Kidney Vetch is a playful, short-lived perennial with shocking red flowers that come in clusters much like clover. Low, spreading plant that hugs the ground, all the better to see the piercing red flowers on this form. Seeds prolifically, and the seedlings are both easy to identify as well as move or dispatch. To 3″ tall by 18″ wide, when very happy. Loved by pollinators. Forms a vivid patch of color in the most unlikely places. Seeds germinate in autumn and bloom commences in spring. Excellent little nitrogen-fixing temporary plant for new gardens. Enriches soil in a wonderful way. Light to little summer water.  Mediterranean.

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Excellent cold hardiness as well as AMAZING  pink to lacquer white new growth. This would make a perfectly stunning hedge. By late summer it settles down to a rich dark green. In October – December tiny white flowers have a sweet perfume. Slow growing to 5′ x 5′ in 6 years. Rounded dense form. Easily clipped. Excellent use as a windbreak or hedge. Good looking at all times. Appreciates any well drained site. Avoid standing water. Very drought tolerant when established. In time the leaves lose their prickles, mature foliage is smooth and glossy.  Easy and long lived. Wonderful plant.

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Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’

Its been around for a long time and its an introduction that has stood the test of time. This low mounding evergreen perennial is beyond delightful when it alights in masses of deep blue flowers from late February to late April. Each simple blue flower has a small white eye but the effect from a distance is a pool of blue. To 8″ tall and forming large 2′ x 2′ wide patches in full sun in rich to average well drained soil. It excels on slopes and in rock gardens. The new growth that follows is tinted mahogany before become strong glossy green. Cut back by 1/3rd after blooming to create a much denser and ultimately more floriferous plant. Light, consistent summer water. Excellent bold backdrop to early and mid blooming bulbs. We suggest large white Crocus vernus followed by Narcissus ‘Blushing Lady’. Very easy to grow. Long lived for a speedwell.

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Epimedium x ‘Supernova’

Something about the clean lines of the hot yellow flowers topped with a symmetrical bright red cap recalls a miniature explosion in space. Wiry stems to 14″ support clouds of this starry flowers from late March for and extended period well into summer. New growth is mottled with maroon over an initial hue of amber before settling to soft glossy green. All together this is a great performer for part shade to shade in rich to average well drained soil. Regular summer water not only refreshes these tough shade plants it will spur them to increase. The rewards often are not apparent until the following spring. Cut away the evergreen foliage in late winter to reveal the new years flower as well as highlight the pretty new growth. Good deer resistance. Spreads moderately fast to form a clump 20″ wide in 5 years. Nice cut flower as well. Very easy to grow.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Pinus ponderosa var. benthamiana

Pacific ponderosa pine is a lovely tree native west of the Cascades from about the Portland area (with some outliers farther north) south to Baja Norte, Mexico. Our form is from locally collected seed. Slow growing in youth this pine picks up speed in its teens and grows almost exponentially from there. Pacific ponderosa pine is known for it tall straight crowns of lush green needles in clumps of two. This tree is excellently adapted to our winter wet/summer dry climate and even small trees can endure the very longest, driest, hottest summers with no visible stress. Its adaptable to all types of soil – not fussy and is even found in the most well drained stranded flood cobbles of major rivers. To 125′ in time with ulitimate height of close to 200′ in great age – expect a 3′ tall tree to be about 15′ tall in 10 years. Full sun- not very shade tolerant and when planting with other trees anticipate at least a 25′ wide crown in the future. Needles can drop profusely in September which is a bit of a mess. Take note of this. Underplant with other drought adapted natives. Water to establish for the first summer then none in subsequent years. A regal pine that is among the tallest in the world. Oregon native plant.

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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus ‘Kurt Zadnick’

What a surprise this very dark, dark, dark blue flowered Ceanothus has turned out to have excellent cold hardiness.  In our climate it is a low and spreading evergreen shrub with glossy leaves. To 3′ tall  by 6′ wide in 6 years. In April/May a profuse display of the darkest cobalt blue flowers mass over the whole plant. Its so dark that it can seem like shadows over the plant but closer inspection reveals the intensity of the color blue. Full sun to light shade in average soil. Tolerates clay soil as well as withering summer drought. Prune if needed lightly after blooming has ended. This is a great drought tolerant, heat tolerant low shrub for hell strips. No summer water please. Well scaled for hell strips, low massing or a higher ground cover for hillsides. Fast growing to its ultimate size.

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Grevillea juniperina ‘Lava Cascade’

Low ground cover form of the Juniper Grevillea. Spreading to 6′ wide it rises to just 2′ when happy. Most of the time it is much lower. This selection is the most commonly seen orange form of this species. Spidery orange/red flaming flowers appear in clusters at the branch tips. The most likely bloom period is February-June- but older plants pump out sporadic flowers year round. Excellent on slopes- especially warm south facing slopes in a protected location. Surprisingly cold hardy enduring temperatures down to about 8ºF with no damage. Avoid subfreezing wind as well as boggy conditions and crowding fro other plants. Extremely drought adapted requiring no supplemental water after a year or two. Highly deer resistant. Excellent evergreen- but prickily shrub for Hell strips. Loved by hummingbirds. We have since introduced G. j. ‘Xera Ember’ which is a more compact shrub 2′ x 4′ and has merely deeply hued (bordering on red) flowers for a longer period. Gains hardiness with age. Pictured here with ‘Molonglo’.

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Grevillea x ‘Constance’

This is an important hybrid that is among the best known in the United States of G. victorae x G. juniperina. A wiry rounded shrub with thin twisted green leaves that are rolled at the margins. Throughout the year a constant procession of orange/red flowers decks the whole frame. Loved by hummingbirds. To 7′ x 7′ in 7 years in average, well drained soil in full sun with little water once established. Not the hardiest Grevillea and has been superseded by cold hardier and superior varieties- such as ‘Neil Bell’. It is, however, an excellent evergreen shrub for the milder coastal regions. In Portland it is relegated to the warmest urban areas in protected locations. Easy fast shrub that you should protect from subfreezing wind inland. There are enormous specimens on the northern Oregon coast that adore that climate and it is naturally adapted to sandy soils. High deer resistance. Loved by hummingbirds. Prune to contain and maintain a compact habit. Hardy to about 13ºF- or slightly less hardy than ‘Canberra Gem’. Very floriferous.

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Grevillea australis var. prostrata

Interesting plant for the collector. This is a low and mounding form of the hardiest Grevillea species. The tiny leaves are pointed, not rolled as in the species and they have a uniform tan green hue. In spring- after several years in the ground tiny flossy white flowers swarm the foliage from every leaf axil. They emit a penetrating honey perfume for weeks. VERY VERY slow growing to just 8″ tall and barely 2′ wide after 7 years. Full sun- no shade at all and average to poor well drained soil. It does just fine in native soil that has not been amended and its ultimate preference is for loam. Excellent small evergreen shrub for rock gardens, small spaces. More of a collectors plant. Useful on steep hillsides. Very hardy to cold enduring 5ºF with no issues. Little to no summer water. Moderate deer resistance.  Slow. Tasmania, SE Australian Alps. In the wild it cozies up to boulders to absorb radiant heat. This could be repeated easily in a garden. Rare. Limited quantities.

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Grevillea rivularis

Surprisingly cold hardy and wonderful Grevillea that is threatened in the wild. Crinkly, prickily, finely divided leaves create a haze of a frame to 5′ x 6′ in 6 years. This “cage” of foliage is intermittently decorated with soft purple flowers from spring to early autumn. These are tipped with a bright green style that is released in bloom. The flowers are often described as toothbrush like. Full sun to very light shade in average soil. Light summer water speeds growth but that is the only reason it is necessary. A protected location. Hardy to about 10ºF- and suffering no damage in the wild winter of 2016/17. Protect from subfreezing wind. Easy to grow with neglect and good siting. Same hardiness to cold as ‘Canberra Gem’. Give it room as it will steadily and methodically increase before you know it. Moderate deer resistance. AKA Carrington Falls Grevillea. Avoid fertilizers. If it never bloomed this shrub is fantastic for texture alone. Not for cold gardens- best with some urban protection. Very limited quantities.

Photo credit: Loree Bohl

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Rhaphiolepis umbellata ‘Blueberry Muffin’

Excellent release from the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raliegh, NC. This dense and rounded shrub is useful for its size- 3′ x 3′ in 7 years- or longer. But it has many other fine points. The leaves are thinner than normal with this species which is native to Japan. It is very very black spot resistant and the leathery glossy leaves turn from olive green/gray in summer to amazing stains of maroon and purple with cooler temperatures. New growth is light beige and coated in furry indumentum before becoming glossy.  A fascinating and beautiful display. White flowers appear in May and are followed by fairly showy blue berries. Extremely drought tolerant and tolerant of high heat. Excellent on south facing walls or exposed urban situations with reflected heat. Handsome at all times and very easy to grow. Grows about 4″ per year. Nice measured growth that forms a rounded upright shrub. Excellent companion for other drought adapted shrubs-landscapes. It also accepts regular irrigation in summer- a useful adaptation for an already useful shrub. Full sun to part shade.

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Cunninghamia lanceolata var. glauca

This form of China Fir we love for its bright blue vivid foliage. A tall growing conical tree to 40′ eventually. To about 25′ tall in 10 years. A prickly but beautiful conifer that grows fairly fast when young. The boughs eventually house small, cute, ok, damned adorable little wooden pinecones that persist through spring. In time the trunk becomes gray and fissured. A sky line tree with great age and old specimens dot the Portland Metro area. Very drought adapted when established. Great screen or specimen. Give it plenty of room to grow in FULL sun- no shade and rich to average well drained soil. Very good architectural presence. Cold hardy and easy to grow- long lived tree. Moderately deer resistant.

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Achillea millefolium ‘Calistoga’

A fine form of our native Yarrow that has leaves that are a striking gray with pure, clean white flowers. A great combination. Spreads to form a low wide plant that is evergreen (gray). The flat clusters of flowers appear continuously from May to frost. More consistently if you remove spent flowers. The umbels, unusual for the daisy family, are loved by butterflies. Well, actually all pollinators. They are given a flat landing pad and tons of flowers- what more could you want. Excellent for low care areas where this romping perennial will happily out compete weeds and hold ground with very light amounts of water. Full sun and well drained soil. its best to double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen and de-compact the soil. Does not like compacted soil. Light but consistent summer water speeds growth and vigor. Otherwise very drought tolerant. Excellent on slopes. To 20″ tall in bloom on a low spreading foliage plant to 2′ wide or wider. High deer resistance. Great cut flower. Mix with other low water plants. Pretty with other colors of yarrow. Oregon native plant.

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Hydrangea integrifolia

Very good evergreen climbing Hydrangea that is a tough and reliable vine for shady walls. Large slightly indented leaves are glossy green year round. Self clinging vine that will adhere to virtually any surface- not for the walls of houses or porches- better on fences, rock walls and even as a ground cover. In June large white buds explode into a doily of 6″ wide white flowers. Blooms 2-3 years after planting. To 15′ tall and as wide. Part shade to shade- regular water in full sun. Rich, well drained soil. Excellent cold hardiness to 0ºF. Gains speed as it ages. Avoid blasting hot locations. Woodlands are ideal.

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Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Parkdale East’

This form of our native Hairy Manzanita was found quite far east of the Cascade crest and offers greater hardiness to cold. Unfortunately, it has the same characteristics of the species- it is unpredictable. To 4′ x 7′ with sage gray leaves and white to pink-tinted flowers in spring. Very well-drained soils in an open position with NO summer water when established. Dramatic smooth mahogany bark is an outstanding feature. This is the variety that is best suited to life in the Columbia River Gorge and possibly eastern Oregon. Best with total neglect and full sun. Russet berries follow the flowers into summer and autumn- always consumed by wildlife. Very limited quantities.   Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Cupressus (Hesperocypress) macrocarpa ‘Citriodora’

Fantastic form of the incredibly tough Monterey Cypress. Foliage on this fast growing large evergreen tree is brilliantly hued in chartreuse/gold and acid green. Pinch the foliage and the fragrance of lemons is released. Fast growing tree for poor to average well drained soil. Avoid overly rich soils- which causes rank, unsteady growth. Average un-amended native soils are best. Light summer water to initiate growth and then completely drought tolerant. To 35′ tall x 25′ wide in 15 years. In time it develops a really cool flat spreading crown that this species is so famous for. Great drought and cold tolerance at our nursery. Give it amble room, full all day sun and not much else. Cold hardy to 0ºF. Long lived tree. This species has been placed in the genus Hesperocypress.

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Selaginella braunii

We love this fantastic dense growing acid green moss. It finds its best home in containers- not quite tough enough for life in the ground. Slowly expanding rounded dense clumps are beautiful all the time. Excellent as the understory to potted plants where it inhabits the most constrained roots with no problem. To 3″ x 6″ in a season. Very easy container plant. Regular water in rich, well drained soil. Regular water. Smooth and modern.

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Danae racemosa

Alexandrian Laurel is the common name for this evergreen shrub that is a member of the lily family. Common as a cut foliage component in bouquets- it lasts for weeks in a vase. Arching glossy evergreen plant with handsome foliage year round. To 3′ x 5′ wide forming expanding clumps. Tiny flowers transform to showy orange/ red fruits which hold for months on the plant. Part shade to full shade- including the worst dry shade. Regular summer water or very little when established. Moderately slow growing- about 2 new stems per year. Rich to average well drained soil. Great plant for dust dry entryways or under stairwells. Very cold hardy and long lived. Moderate deer resistance.

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Cupressus glabra ‘Sulphurea’

Remarkable form of the hardy Arizona Cypress. This variety has foliage frosted in chartreuse/cream with interior foliage closer to sea green. A great affect. To 15′ tall but only 4′ wide this is a decidedly fastigiate form of this species. Fast growing tree for screens, specimen. Poor to average soil- avoid rich soil- this causes Cypress to grow to fat and fast in our climate- they get rank and rocky. So plant in average to poor soil with light irrigation until you see appreciable new growth and then none- ever. This produces a more measured growth rate and a sturdier plant. Full sun- from ALL directions- no shade at all. Open exposed sites are best. Very pretty plant that adores our climate. Cold hardy below 0ºF. Rare tree and quantities are limited. Completely drought tolerant.

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Parahebe cattaractae ‘Delight’

Cute little subshrub that is for the most part evergreen in our climate. Slightly toothed glossy deep green foliage is demure but sets a great stage for masses of violet blue small flowers with a more distinct red eye. Blooms continuously from Spring to late summer. To 8″ tall and about 2′ across for rich, well drained soil in full sun to light shade. Cute understory for Roses, mixes well in the front of a border, on sunny hillsides. Creates a haze of violet blue rather than a carpet. Cut back hard after blooming for an emergence of new handsome foliage for autumn/winter. Easy to grow long blooming plant.

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Helleborus x ‘Blue Diamond’ Winter Jewels ®

Well, blue may be a stretch but this difficult to photograph hue at least attains hints of the color. More aptly its a luminous pewter shade that seems to reflect light in a metallic way. Strong growing perennial for part shade to shade in rich, well composted soils. Regular summer water- though it takes dry conditions in the shade. In extreme drought the leaves will simply lie on the ground- rising up almost immediately with water. Blooms appear from late January and are effective until April. To 2′ tall and as wide in several years. Excellent in combination with the yellow flowered series ‘Golden Sunrise’. Highly deer resistant and long lived. Remove self sown seedlings which will unlikely come true to the parent. A special color.

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Ribes laurifolium

Curious low, evergreen, winter blooming shrub that erupts in 3″ long pale, ghost green flowers from January to March. To just 2′ tall and spreading twice as wide its large rubbery, dark evergreen leaves are a great backdrop to the flowers. Just as nice the leaf petioles are a dramatic madder red. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture. Part shade to high overhead shade. Excellent combined with Hellebores, Cardamine, Cyclamen coum- which all desire the same cultural requirements. Strongly horizontal habit. Blooms on wood from the previous year prune (very lightly) if needed after flowering has ended. Moderate deer resistance. AKA Laurel Leaf Currant. Wonderful on shady hillsides where it lights the winter months.

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Helianthemum ‘Stoplight’

This little gray leaved evergreen shrublet becomes a fire of true red flowers for 4-6 weeks in mid to late spring. To 10″ tall and spreading to several feed wide in rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. Better in soil that has been enriched with a bit of compost and light organic fertilizer. Each flower lasts just one day but they come in such profusion that the display is continuous for weeks. Excellent slope cover- rooting where stems touch the ground- ideal erosion control. Cut back hard after flowering has ended. Cut approximately 1/3 of the plant away and new fresh foliage will emerge creating a solid mound of foliage. Very brilliant Sunrose that we love.

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Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Lester Roundtree’

Virtually the same as ‘Warren Roberts’ it is completely interchangeable with that cultivar. Why do we grow ‘Lester’? Aside from having amazing blue foliage and clusters of deep pink flowers from January to March we LOVE Lester Roundtree. She was an amazing, intrepid self-taught botanist who roamed California in the 1930’s in her simple pickup truck camping and botanizing throughout that state. Her seminal book ‘Flowering Shrubs of California’ is a must read for any gardener on the west coast. And its not just about plants- Check it out. This shrub is large in time to about 4′ tall by 8′ wide. The pink flowers born on the blue foliage is a sublime combination. Following bloom new spring growth is a fantastic red/ orange before settling to blue. Bark is a smooth mahogany with time and the trunks are sinuous and winding. This is an excellent shrub in our climate. Once established it requires absolutely no supplemental water- ever. Sailing through temps in the 100’s and bone dry with NO visible signs of stress. Our kind of shrub. It is cold hardy and completely climate adapted. Hell strips, dry borders, informal shrubberies. Mix with Ceanothus, Grevilleas, Halimiums. Very pretty year round.

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Lomatia polymorpha

Wonderful and deliciously fragrant clusters of relatively large white flowers wave above long thin evergreen foliage in early summer on this tough shrub. Proteaceaous plant native to Tasmania where it is unoriginally known as Variable Leaf Lomatia or Mountain Guitar Plant. To 8′ tall in 7 years and about 4′ wide. Full sun and average to poor soil. Regular summer water for the first season to establish and spur growth. Little to no summer water when established. Grows quickly when established. Always handsome- the underside of the 1″-3″ long leaves are covered in rusty fur. Best on a warm south facing slope, mix with Arctostaphylos or Grevileas (which also appreciate NO supplemental fertilizer or compost). Best in unimproved native soils. Double dig a wide area around the hole incorporate oxygen into the soil and allow water and roots to penetrate. Lomatias are classy evergreen shrubs that we are lucky to be able to grow. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF. (Lo-MAY-shuh)

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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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Pittosporum divaricatum

Unless you look REALLY REALLY closely you would never even think this was a Pittosporum, let alone even in that family. But life was tough in alpine New Zealand and this baby would have none of the grazing by huge Moa Birds. So the twiggy, zig zaggy stems evolved (the official term is divarication). The tiny, tiny leaves are serrated if you look closely (you might even take out glass to amplify the details). Tiny white flowers line the stem and mostly go unnoticed in spring. What it does provide is a very architectural compact shrub with stunning black stems in winter that change to ashy grey in summer. Perfectly hardy to cold down to below 5ºF. Full sun and average to enriched soil with little summer water once established. Groovy, somewhat rare shrub for excellent effects. To 6′ x 3′ in 8 years. Moderate deer resistance. Great structural shrub for containers.

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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.

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Illicium floridanum ‘Pink Stars’

This form of the aromatic Florida Anise shrub which is native to the SE United states bears showy 2″, spidery star-like flowers of the palest pink. The entire large shrub displays these outward facing flowers in March to April and again in September to October. The flowers have an odd scent up close- mothballs or fish- but in our climate it blooms when it is cool and the odor does not carry. More importantly its a handsome broadleaf evergreen shrub with sharply pointed long leaves that have a sweet delicious anise flavor when bruised or brushed. Upright and then spreading shrub to 8′ x 6′ in 7 years. Best with light shade to shade for the deepest green foliage. Tolerates full sun as long as there is not the reflected heat of a wall. Flowers are showy from quite a distance. Excellent among rhododendrons, as an understory shrub for interest, joy. Very hardy to cold, enduring subzero readings with no damage. Nice hedge. Moderate deer resistance. Rare, cultivar. Light consistent summer moisture. Established plants are summer drought tolerant.  Easy.

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Arctostaphylos rudis

This little known species of Manzanita from the central California coast has turned out to be a great garden plant. Nearly round leaves cling to the winding upward pointing stems. In a short amount of time it forms a rounded, spreading shrub to 3′ tall by 5′ wide (5 years). Late winter bring profuse white urn shaped flowers- seems not to form berries as frequently in our climate. Full sun and average, well drained soil with good air circulation. No summer water at all when established. This not only gives it the neglect it adores it increases hardiness to cold in winter. Avoid, exposure to subfreezing winds… not a Manzanita for Gresham or Troutdale but in milder parts a great landscape shrub. Group with other drought adapted shrubs. Handsome smaller scale shrub for hot sunny sites. Develops shredded cinnamon red bark with time.

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Camellia sasanqua ‘Hugh Evans’

Rare, obscure, insanely heavy blooming fall and winter blooming Camellia sasanqua. Individual flowers are not formal or stiff, instead the the petals are separated, loose and vivid pink. They appear en masse from October to January and decorate the lithe arching stems in pretty cascades of flowers. Blooms are exceptionally cold tolerant for a sasanqua enduring temperatures into the low 20’s and still remaining fresh. No bother though as a parade of buds exists to replace spoiled blooms. Full sun to quite a bit of shade- without the expense of blooming. Fast growing, vigorous open shrub that takes well to pruning in spring to encourage density- build blooming wood. Rich, to average well drained soil with light consistent summer water.  A very wild and informal appearing Camellia and we love it. Glossy deep green foliage. To 5′ x 7′ and arching. Light flower fragrance.

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Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’

Not a very enchanting cultivar name but a useful and distinct flower color variant of Algerian Iris. This winter blooming species produces large pale lilac/ivory flowers from November-sporadically until March. The 4″ flowers are nestled in the grassy evergreen foliage but are a light enough color to read from quite a distance. This for is perhaps best planted with the species to produces contrasting flower colors for more depth. To 1′ tall and twice as wide in several years. Full sun to very light shade in well drained soil of average fertility. Not quite as cold hardy as the species but it has to get pretty damn cold (below 5ºF) for damage to occur and that just never happens. Long lived perennial. High deer resistance. Low summer water requirements.

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Camellia x williamsii ‘Waterlily’

Extraordinary Camellia hybrid that combines all the great attributes of a Camellia with larger, more dramatic flowers and more of them, and excellent cold hardiness as well as garden adaptation. Large growing glossy evergreen shrub with fetching deep green leaves. In late January to early March- and often longer than that depending on the weather 5″ flat fully formal double clear pink flowers are stunning. You really have to see them up close to get a handle on the size and perfection of each flower. Upright growing shrub to 9′ tall by 7′ wide in 10 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in well drained soil that retains moisture. Light consistent summer moisture aids establishment and also increases the amount of flowers the following season.  Established plants can endure quite a bit of drought. Exceptional cold hardiness. Flowers shed cleanly- they shatter without clinging and discoloring.

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Camellia x williamsii ‘Buttermint’

Unusual, profuse and a great color for a Camellia, ‘Buttermint’ produces fully double, but small flowers that deck all the stems for months in mid-winter to spring. Moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 6′ tall and 4′ wide in full sun- but not reflected heat, part shade to quite a bit of shade. Regular, consistent summer irrigation for the first few years to establish. Older plants can get by without summer irrigation- but bud set and flowering is improved with such. The flower color is aptly described by its name. Pale yellow to buff to off white as they unfurl. Flowers do not turn brown and cling when spent instead they drop cleanly so in bloom there is a uniform fresh appearance. Long lived shrub that grows about 1′ a year when young. Give it room in time. Exquisite winter blooming companion for Hellebores, Grevilleas, Iris lazica, Iris unguicularis. Small glossy deep green foliage is fetching year round. Sets many, many flower buds in autumn.

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Podocarpus macrophyllus

Japanese Yew Pine is an uncommon conifer in our gardens. Its surprisingly hardy and in time forms a handsome, densely clad, deep green tree. Moderately fast growing in youth- to 1′-2′ per year in time its 4″ thin needles are arranged closely around horizontal stems. In summer small green matchstick shaped flowers transform into blue berries in autumn. This adds to the over all sophisticated, very Japanese flavor of this tree. To 20′ tall and 7′ wide in 12 years. Develops gnarled, rustic, deep gray shredding trunks. Excellent performance in urban environs. Laughs at the worst heat and accepts regular irrigation in summer happily which encourages speedier growth. A natural for Asian inspired gardens. Avoid blasting subfreezing wind- not a tree for very cold gardens but is undamaged down to about 5ºF. It has recovered from much lower. Excellent container subject- its roots take YEARS to fill a pot and it takes less than perfect care but maintains good looks. Tolerates quite a bit of shade and was often employed in the mid-20th Century as a closely clipped espalier on shady walls. Very popular in the South, Zone 7 and warmer.  Moderate deer resistance.  Takes any amount of pruning which increases density. Drought adapted when established.

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Eschscholzia californica ‘Cream’

A very favorite annual or short lived perennial. This excellent California poppy sports ivory to cream large flowers for an extended period in summer. Fine blue foliage is wonderful with the softly colored flowers. Blooms from April to August if you give it a little water- but never soggy. Full sun to the very lightest shade in average to enriched, well drained soil. Un irrigated plants will bloom for a shorter period and set seed. The seed comes true about 90% of the time. Cull orange or other colors that don’t please you. It may become a short lived perennial if treated well. New plants germinate en masse with the first autumn rains. Don’t be afraid to thin your patch a bit then. Rough areas, along gravel paths. Easy to grow. Containers, Hellstrips. Etc. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Chirofu Chirimen’

Cool little Asian Star Jasmine with tiny variegated leaves that forms dense mounds as a ground cover or in time it can reach up as a cute and not strangling vine. Each leaf is margined and splashed with white. New growth has distinct pink tints for a distinct multicolor effect. Forms a fine textured plant but as a small scale ground cover it will block weeds. To 1′ tall x 30″ wide as a ground cover. To 8′ tall or higher as a self clinging vine in wind free places. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Definitely double dig the soil before planting to incorporate oxygen as well as assist in absorption of water. Add organic fertilizer as well. Trachelospermums appreciate good drainage and regular summer irrigation to do their best. Otherwise drought tolerant but slow growing. Nice on fences or screens or up the trunk of a Trachycarpus (Windmill Palm). Good deer resistance. Evergreen.

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Halimium x pauanum

Nice, upright golden rockrose with felted gray foliage and masses of flowers from May-July. To 3′ x 3′ in full sun and well drained soil of average fertility. Little to no summer water once established. The simple, silky, egg yolk yellow flowers shine for most of the day before dropping in late afternoon. They drop all at once- which is kind of cool. A massive new set of buds will be waiting for daily displays for weeks. Good cold hardiness unless soil in too enriched. Grow this baby mean and lean and you get better performance, a longer lifespan, and better cold hardiness. Hell strips, dry borders, gravel gardens. Light deer resistance. Average lifespan 5-7 years- longer with neglect. Prune after flowering has ended if needed. Excellent shrub for a new garden while you wait for focal plants to establish.

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Pimelea prostrata

Wonderful little small scale ground cover that delivers tiny blue/gray leaves and masses of small white flower clusters in summer. Semi-woody shrub that rises to only several inches tall (3″) but spreads densely to several feet wide in a circle. Excellent weed suppressing ground cover for tough sites. Light to average summer water speeds growth. Completely cold hardy. Full sun is ideal but you can hedge a little in part shade. Its worth it to prepare the soil and enrich with organic matter- double dig to de-compact the soil and add oxygen. Deep soaks in summer- to establish. Great in parking strips- not a full scale rampant groudcover- rather one that you use for a small area. Small shrubs and perennials can grow through it when planted at the same time. Evergreen. Mountains of New Zealand. Deer resistant. AKA Creeping Rice Flower.

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Viburnum japonicum ‘Variegatum’

Unusual and actually superior form of this species with large glossy evergreen leaves splashed with yellow. In spring flat corymbs of flowers appear and remind me of lace. Red berries follow but are consumed by birds. This form is not prone to mildew which can afflict the green leaved form. So, we love it for it’s bold leaves that look good year round and easy demeanor. To 8′ x 8′ in 10 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Doesn’t burn in sun. Adaptable. Light summer water once established. Very old specimens get by with no summer water. Excellent year round appearance. Take out  green reversions if they occur. Blooms on wood from the previous season- prune if needed after flowering. Specimen. Nice shrub.

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Mahonia euryobracteata ‘Silver Seedlings’

This form of this wonderful Mahonia has leaves that are more silver and a little bit larger than the more commonly seen and finer textured selections of this species. It has also exhibited excellent cold resistance. To 5′ tall moderately fast the finely divided leaves shine. In spring clusters of fragrant yellow flowers are followed by dusty purple/blue berries. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched, well drained sites. Very easy to grow and gorgeous, long lived shrub that consorts with perennials or adds a light texture massed with bolder evergreens. Light consistent summer water speeds growth but established plants are more than drought adapted. Excellent in containers and wonderful winter appearance. Great deer resistance. Forms multiple stems in time to a width almost as tall as it is. These are seedlings from a particularly gray and cold hardy specimen. Easy.

Xera Plants Introduction

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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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Mahonia aquifolium

Oregon Grape, our ubiquitous state flower. This evergreen shrub can be found almost anywhere aside from the immediate coast to high Cascades west of the mountains. Its native from B.C. to Southern California. Variable shrub to on average 5′ tall and suckering as wide. In rich, happy conditions it will soar to 8′ or more and in more impoverished conditions it makes its life as a spreading low plant. In late February-April the top of the plant erupts in golden yellow incredibly fragrant flowers that are one of the first joys of spring. By late summer this flowers have transformed into clusters of dusty blue incredibly sour fruits. Often employed in the toughest situations where its performance is some what rough. It thrives in cultivation with light, consistent summer moisture. Tolerates heavy clay soils and summer drought. The pinnate leaves often take on purple/maroon tints in winter. Ours are cuttings native to our wholesale nursery site. So its a local plant. Full sun to part shade to quite a bit of shade at the expense of blooming and a lankier outline. Excellent deer resistance when established. Oregon native plant.

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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.

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Zantedeschia aethiopica

Calla Lily- the dream of many gardeners and an heirloom perennial that has been grown in our region for eons. Large clump forming perennial with dramatic pure white flowers with the familiar form. They begin in early spring with a large flush of bloom and then sporadically until frost. The large boisterous foliage is mostly evergreen and rises to 2′ tall with flower spikes twice as tall. Deer resistant. In cold gardens it is traditionally grown agains warm foundations. But I have seen it thrive in the wide open in the coldest parts of the Willamette  Valley. Amenable to saturated soils and can reside as a marginal plant in a pond. Rich, well drained soil is ideal.  Water VERY heavily the first summer to establish- then light consistent water in summer. Full sun to quite a bit of shade but at the expense of flowering. Can be a little tricky to establish and ironically it can be a little hard to get rid of once you have it. Lives for many decades. South Africa.

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Osmanthus armatus Suntime TM

Our own discovery of a variegated form of this fantastic shrub. New growth emerges bronze with a hint of what is to come. Fully unfurled leaves are edged in yellow. The variegation is EXTREMELY stable on a moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 6′ x 6′ in 7 years. Best in full sun- the variegation becomes less distinct in shade. In autumn small white flowers crowd the stems. Cold hardy, drought tolerant shrub for virtually any soil that does not have standing water ever.  Slow growing to its ultimate height but then larger. Excellent year round appearance. Specimen, hedge, Very easy to grow and durable shrub that adores our climate. Light water to establish but completely drought adapted then. Also accepts regular summer irrigation. Adaptable.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Parahebe cattaractae ‘Miss Wilmott’

Long, long, blooming elegant little evergreen perennial that supplies clouds of white flowers with a prominent  plum colored eye. This low growing plant to 10″ tall can spread to 2′ wide in time. Blooms appear from spring to mid summer. The evergreen foliage is handsome for the rest of the year. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. If it gets a bit straggly with time simply cut back 3/4 of the plant in early spring and make sure to water and add a handful of all purpose organic foliage. Very easy to grow in rock garden conditions or the front of a border.

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Elaeagnus pungens ‘Glen St. Mary’

Compact Silverthorn is a pretty, tough and useful evergreen in our climate. This form is compact with dense foliage that begins clad in brown fur and settles to silvery gray. The underside of the leaves are pure metallic gold. In autumn small pendant white flowers emit an intense sweet perfume. Noticeable many feet away. Hedges, specimens, barriers. Full sun to part shade with any soil that is never boggy. To 4′ x 5′ in 7 years. Flowers on old wood, prune AFTER flowering. Very drought tolerant when established. Fast growing and easy. Very cold hardy. Japan.

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Genista aetnensis

Mt. Etna Broom is a remarkable TREE from the slopes of Italy’s tallest active volcano. Unlike Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) this fine, leafless tree will NEVER become a pest in our climate. Rush like pendulous green stems are replete with yellow jasmine scented pea flowers for months in summer. This tree casts no shade but provides an elegant vertical element. The sweet perfume travels many feet on a warm day. Blooms May-August. Fast growing drought adapted tree to 18′ tall and 8′ wide in 10 years. Full, all day sun in a hot position in poor to average very well drained soil. Little summer water once established. Forms a very nice trunk in time. Plant with drought adapted shrubs/perennials. Wonderful small garden tree where you need height but don’t want shade. High deer resistance. Slightly tender when very young- fully hardy as an adult (3-4 years). Spectacular in bloom. No shade, it casts no shade.

Photo credit: Loree Bohl (Danger Garden)

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Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. Asplenifolius

Catalina Ironwood is a tree locally native to the Channel Islands off of Southern California. Surprisingly hardy once established and older this spectacular evergreen tree in the rose family boasts amazing divided foliage with symmetrical scalloped serrations along each margin. Very pretty. The glossy aromatic leaves are seen to great advantage against the straight, red exfoliating trunk. In spring flat umbels of white flowers appear all over the tree. Fast growing in youth to its ultimate size here 25’+ tall in 15 years. Requires a protected location- such as against the wall of a large building. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing wind. Little water once established. Wonderful tree for courtyards- protected areas. Fantastic performance at the Oregon Coast. Protect young trees from temperatures below 15ºF- wrap or swaddle in burlap or remay until arctic weather has passed. Reaches its full hardiness several years in the ground. There is a wonderful mature specimen of this tree at the McMennamens in St. John in PDX and scattered large specimens occur around the city. Nice, nice urban tree.

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Helleborus x ‘Golden Lotus’ Winter Jewels ®

Spectacular strain of hybrids with fully double flowers. They range in color from lime green to vibrant chartreuse/light yellow. Blooms appear in January and remain showy and effective for several months. The flower retaining their form after they have released their pollen. To 2′ x 2′ forming an expanding clump in part shade to shade in well composted garden soil. Light consistent summer water. Highly deer resistant. Evergreen.

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Ribes malvaceum ‘Dancing Tassels’

Really excellent form of Chaparral Currant with 3″ soft pink flowers that appear at any point during winter well into spring. An evergreen shrub to 8′ x 5′ in 7 years. Surprisingly hardy for its origin- California’s Channel Islands.  Full sun to part shade  and well drained average soil. Great on a slope. Loved by overwintering Anna’s hummingbirds. Flowers are surprisingly cold hardy and are undamaged to the upper teens. If those that are open are spoiled by frost more will follow after the thaw. Very very drought tolerant, No supplemental water required when established. Loses most of its leaves in summer drought. Grows fairly quickly and is never a dense shrub- all the better to see the pendant flowers. Dry borders, shrub borders, winter gardens. This shrub loves our climate and is supremely adapted to a winter wet/summer dry regime.  Moderate deer resistance. Excellent winter blooming shrub. A beacon to Anna’s Hummingbirds.

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Eucalyptus archeri

Alpine Cider Gum from high elevations in Tasmania has proven to be one of the reliable species of Eucalyptus for our region. Juvenile (young) growth is perfoliate and very very light gray blue- this is the foliage used as popular cut material. The tree may be cut back nearly to the ground regularly to retain this foliage- The tree must be established at least a year before you do this. Otherwise the adult foliage is totally different. Bright green and elongated leaves with a round tip hang densely on an upright growing nice looking tree. Eventually, the bark becomes amazing with pink and gray striations. Blooms in early spring with white flowers. Extremely fast growing tree to 35′ tall + that is a great evergreen garden tree. Good looking year round. Handles ice and snow like a champ- shedding snow and bending under ice without breaking. Full sun and rich to average soil with regular summer water through the first year. High deer resistance. Hardier to cold with age.

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Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Sasaba’

We adore this wickedly armed evergreen shrub. Its a piece of pure architecture. The sharply pointed leaves jut out like blades and are deep glossy green year round. Excellent, interesting evergreen for screen or specimen. Totally cold hardy- excellent performance in blasting subfreezing winds from the Gorge. Rounded, upright shrub to 9′ tall and 6′ wide in 8 years. In autumn the stems of older wood are crowded with tiny white flowers that emit a sweet perfume. Bloom Sept.-Nov. and sometimes later. The fragrance carries quite a distance on mild days. Light water to establish then completely drought tolerant in average, well drained soil. Also accepts the regular irrigation of borders. Good bet where deer are a menace. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Great barrier hedge.

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Hebe venustula ‘Sky Blue’

Very architectural cold hardy Hebe with a tidy upright habit and masses of pale, sky blue flowers in summer. Deep green, glossy round leaves are congested around vertical stems. Very pretty year round appearance. In time it develops a light tan/gray trunk which contrasts with the deep green foliage. To 3′ tall and usually half as wide for full sun an rich to average- to even poor soil that drains well. Light summer water- though this Hebe can take very dry summer conditions. Cold hardy below 10ºF. Very pretty shrub for tight spaces, rock gardens, borders. New Zealand.

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Hebe ochracea ‘James Stirling’

Ochre colored whipcord Hebe that is delightful year round for its deep hue as well as arching swept look of the shrub. To 3′ x 3′ tall and arching for a cool position in full sun- an open north exposure is ideal or part shade. Dislikes hot soil. Best in rock garden positions with great drainage- use boulders to shade the soil. White flowers appear at the branch tips in summer. A true alpine plant from high elevations in New Zealand. Perfectly hardy to cold. Light summer water- never boggy. Grows moderately fast.

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Laurus nobilis ‘Crispa’

Wavy Bay tree. Good, cold hardy form of this shrub/tree that is prized for culinary use. Fast growing pyramidal shaped dense shrub to 15′ tall and 8′ wide in 10 years. Full sun and rich, to average well drained soil. Little summer water when established- but tolerates regular water in gardens. Very easy and long lived in containers where you can observe the undulate, wavy edges of the leaves. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 12ºF.  Avoid subfreezing wind. Otherwise a hardy easy to grow evergreen. Give this shrub room- it has greedy roots and is not a good neighbor. Aromatic foliage is also useful for holiday garlands and wreaths. Small yellow flowers are not conspicuous in spring. Moderate deer resistance. Mediterranean.

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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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Eucalyptus parvula

Little Leaf Gum is a handsome, graceful, cold hardy, obscure beautiful Eucalypt for our gardens.  Extremely endangered in the wild it survives in just a few locations at high elevations – always above 3500′, in the SE Australian Alps. That alone gives us reason to grow this fantastic little tree.  Fast growing small tree of very fine texture. To 22′ tall and half as wide in our climate. Single or multi-trunked the bark becomes glossy and shedding with time. Remarkably fast growing in youth, easily 3′-6′ in a single season- achieving tree status in just a few years. Wonderful fine textured evergreen that casts the lightest shade. Small groups of white flowers bedeck the stems in late summer and autumn- and sporadically through the year when older. Full sun and an open exposure. Very, very hardy to cold when established. There are two of this species planted along I-5 near the Woodburn Factory Outlets that have been there more than 35 years. They have endured temperatures near 0ºF at least twice in that locale with little to no injury. Takes summer drought but prefers a few good soaks when its really dry.  Good garden tree. Dislikes shade. Open exposed location. The tree pictured is at the the Oregon Garden in Silverton. Excellent small garden tree.

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Eucalyptus perriniana

Spinning wheel gum is one of the prettiest of the cold hardier Eucalyptus. Named for its striking blue/gray perfoliate round foliage as a juvenile. In time as the foliage morphs to adulthood each new leaf becomes longer and more pendulous. A small tree in our climate to 18′ tall with a widely spreading crown. Fast growing tree, especially in youth. It may be damaged in our coldest winters- losing branches or even freezing to the ground if temperatures drop below about 8ºF. Re-growth which will be juvenile is rapid in spring and it can recover its full height in just two or three seasons. Damage occurs about once every 7 years- and slightly more often in rural settings. Best in the warmest possible part of the garden- and not for cold gardens or subfreezing wind prone sites. Excellent, highly aromatic cut foliage. White flowers line the stems like small sea anemones in winter. In time it develops a strongly weeping habit.

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Eucalyptus kybeanensis

Excellent little multi-trunked hardy Eucalyptus that we love for its height, graceful foliage, and handsome bark. To just 15′ tall after many years it grows quickly when young. The 3″ long medium green glossy leaves are thin and slightly curved. In winter the interior twigs are lined with wispy white flowers in clusters of six. Seldom sets seed in our climate.  Excellently adapted and scaled for urban gardens. Very graceful and pretty year round. The leaves are held by vivid red petioles and cut material from this tree is excellent- if somewhat limited from size and slower re-growth. This small tree forms multiple trunks- no single trunk ever happens, and the bark is a soft glossy taupe. Very pretty tree. Related to and included in the category Snow Gum. Hardy without damage to just below 10ºF- and likely much lower.

 

 

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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.

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Dianthus caryophyllus ‘Chomley Ferran’

She’s a strange one this Chomley. Found in a garden in Ireland this amazing carnation is astounding in the color of the flowers. Completely GRAY fully double flowers are streaked throughout with hot pink. I remember several raves in this color realm. Amazing cut flower and easy to grow border perennial. The long stems support the flowers in a vase nicely, but not necessarily when in the ground. Expect some flop. Full sun and average to rich, well drained soil with low/regular summer water. Blooms May-July. To 18″ tall and a little wider. Gray blue foliage is evergreen in our climate. Wowza, Carnations on acid.

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Sedum rubrotinctum

One of our favorite trailing succulents for containers. This is a half hardy Sedum (Zn8b) that will persist in most gardens most winters. Rolly poly emerald green foliage takes on dramatic red tints- especially on the older leaves. To 6″ tall and 20″ wide in a season. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light summer water. Full sun to part shade. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it bloom and I don’t really care. Trails 1′ over the edge of containers. Mix with other succulents or low water perennials such as Erodium or Scutellaria. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.

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Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Majorca Pink’

We can’t all have ordinary blue flowered Rosemary. Not when there are options. This upright growing very aromatic selection has surprised us with its hardiness to cold. To 3′ x 3′ in 5 years in average to poor, well drained sites. Full sun. This happy shrub displays small but profuse red/pink flowers from September to March and often later than that. Excellent culinary use. Extremely drought tolerant. Little water once established. Great form for topiary. Very pretty in bloom. Foliage is smaller and a distinctive gray green. Moderate deer resistance.

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Juniperus ‘Daub’s Frosted’

If you are going to grow a juniper then it better be good. This useful selection has new growth tipped yellow before turning to blue/green. The outside of the plant is always bright and the interior softer and darker- a happy combination. Low and spreading to 18″ high by 4′ across. Excellent drought tolerant easy to grow evergreen for tough sites. Banks, hellstrips, places where you would rather not have the pets potty. Full sun to very light shade. Regular summer water to establish and then none is necessary. Grows faster in better soil- slower where its impoverished. Either way it will grow and thats what you want.

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Lonicera ‘Lemon Beauty’

Dramatic yellow foliage with an interior of deep green on the small evenly spaced evergreen leaves of this low spreading shrub. To 3′ x 4′ and forming something of a mound. Spreads low at first- gains height with age. Rich soil with light summer water in full sun to part shade. Very drought tolerant when established. Lights up borders, is easily clipped- without mangling the small foliage. Flowers are tiny and cream colored often followed by translucent purple berries. Sometimes reverts to all green – just cut those reversions cleanly out. Very easy to grow plant for foundation plantings, tough sites, hedges. There is some confusion over the exact species…if you look it up half say L. nitida and half say L. pileata. I’m going to have to go with L. ??. Shrubby honeysuckle.

 

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Quercus suber

Cork oak. The commercial source for high quality cork comes from this evergreen mediterranean native. A large growing tree with a rounded crown. To 35′ tall and half as wide. As the trunk grows (expands) it develops the corky bark very quickly. Harvest correctly and it does not harm the tree. In mid-spring golden tassels eventually become acorns- loved by wild life. Frequently planted as a street tree in the city of Portland. Very, very drought tolerant, in fact it really should not see any water during the summer. Eventually casts a good amount of dark shade. Beautiful tree that is amazingly adaptable to freezing rain and snow. Grows about 2′- 4′ per year when established. Very climate adapted.

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Halimium lasianthum ssp. formosum

Big spreading Halimium with arching furry gray stems lined with furry gray foliage. In May-July profuse 1″ wide silky yellow flowers with a basal blotch of deep brown appear massively each day. During the heaviest of bloom the foliage is completely obscured. Flowers last until about 4:00 pm and then the petals drop dramatically all at the same time. Full sun and average to poor soil with little summer water once established. One of the hardiest and easiest to grow. To 3′ x 6′ in just a few years. Very drought tolerant. Tolerates clay soils on a slope. Moderate deer resistance.

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Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum’

Nice form of star jasmine with large sage green leaves edged in cream. New growth emerges a very pretty pink. From June to August a continuous supply of clusters of sweetly fragrant ivory flowers. To 12′ tall and twining. Provide sturdy support. A nice attribute of Star Jasmines is their habit of keeping their foliage densely to the ground- never any bare knees. Takes full sun to quite a bit of shade- and still blooms. Slightly more tender than the species it requires a protected location- against a wall is ideal. Regular summer water speeds growth and this intensifies the re-blooming. Evergreen. Moderate deer resistance.

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Cryptomeria japonica ‘Birodo’

Wonderful easy to grow dwarf form of Japanese Cedar. This form has not scales but more like tiny needles. In summer the foliage is deep green. With cooler weather it takes on amazing russet tints. Very slow growing to 3′ x 2′ in 8 years. Incredibly dense growth habit gives the appearance of diligent pruning- but none is required. Extremely drought tolerant. For full sun and little summer water once established.  Rock gardens, containers, gravel gardens. With or without other dwarf conifers. High deer resistance. An excellent truly long term dwarf conifer that retains its good looks.

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Pinus sabiniana

Gray Pine or Foothill Pine native almost exclusively to the mountains of California- but there are several outlying native populations in Jackson, County Oregon so we can claim it as our own as well.  Known as the tree that casts no shade, its almost completely true as the long gray needles allow almost all light through. Large pine tree with gray foliage- usually forks about 1/2 way up into two main trunks, these are buttressed to support the huge cones which can weigh 5lbs or more.  Excellent performance in the Willamette Valley where many are seen around old farm houses and older neighborhoods. Perfectly hardy to cold in our climate and incredibly drought adapted. In fact it shuns all irrigation and is ideal for hot dry locations. Grows very fast in youth, settles down a little with age. Its ultimate height is around 35′-45′ in our climate. A smokey, silvery, shadeless skyline tree. Oregon native plant.

 

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Mahonia nervosa var. mendocinoensis

Rare but excellent form of Cascades Mahonia that is actually found only in the redwoods of N. California to southern Oregon. A TALL upright growing shrub with thick trunks to 9′  eventually. It forms a clump of stems and can increase by suckering closely to the main clump and sending up new stems. Handsome foliage- pinnate dark green leaves to 1′ + long.  In winter the whole shrub takes on great plum purple tones. In mid-spring trailing clusters of yellow flowers are followed by blue berries. Moderately slow growing evergreen shrub for part shade to dense shade. Established plants take dust dry conditions in shade. Accepts regular summer water as well- in well drained soil that is not compacted. Mulch each year with a coarse bark. Easy to grow. Appearance is very much like the M. x media hybrids. New growth emerges red. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Grevillea x ‘Marshall Olbrich’

Pretty and very large Grevillea that deserves the mildest parts of the garden. Small gray leaves are handsome and a great backdrop to the hot orange pendant clusters of flowers. Blooms year round with an especially large flush in spring. Loved by overwintering Anna’s Hummingbirds. Not the hardiest Grevillea- protect from subfreezing east wind- site on a south or west facing aspect. To 9′ x 9′ fast. Plant in UNAMENDED native soil- avoid compost and fertilizer. Supremely drought adapted. Avoid watering in summer. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Our stock plant which has thrived for 15 years in a very cold place is situated on a slope with the overhead protection of Douglas firs. Evergreen. High deer resistance.

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Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Pamela Harper’

AKA ‘Pam Harper’. Nice lily turf that brightens up shady areas with ribbon like evergreen leaves outlined in white. The interior of the leaves is soft green. In early to mid summer 8″ spikes produce lavender flowers. To 10″ x 12″ forming a spreading clump. In time it will spread to form a small scale ground cover. Good appearance year round. Part shade to shade in rich to average soil- including clay soils. Avoid compacted soils and regular summer water speeds up the growth rate. High deer resistance.

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Juniperus horizontalis ‘Pancake’

So many junipers and so few that are really interesting. This guy caught our attention for its relatively soft growth (to the touch) that is incredibly dense and flat to the ground (prostrate).  In summer the foliage is a soft blue green and in winter it changes to soft lavender buff. Very pretty. Excellent solution for tough dry sites where you need to cover the ground completely. To just inches tall a single plant will spread 3′-4′ wide. Light to little summer water in full sun to very light shade. Easy to grow, useful plant. Nice looking year round. Growth flows around any obstruction- around, up and over. Excellent flowing over rock walls.  Moderate deer resistance.

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Eucryphia milliganii

A great little evergreen tree from Tasmania that grows to 10′ tall but just a few feet wide. This columnar tree is the cold hardiest variety from Tasmania and is found at the highest elevations there. In my own garden it has never been damaged by cold in the 8 years that I’ve grown it. In July/August it is covered in small thimble sized white flowers with a cute central boss of stamens tipped with raspberry pink pollen. Full sun and infrequent but deep summer water. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. Best with some afternoon shade. Excellent tree for small gardens- it fits in the tiniest places and still looks fantastic. Evergreen foliage often starts 1′ from the ground on up. Nice texture. Can be susceptible to Phytophthera in saturated soils. Limited quantities.

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Dierama ‘Xera’s Darkest Shades’

We’ve been saving seed from our darkest flowered babies. Its taken us years but we think we’ve got a good mix. Deep purple to dark magenta bells on moderately sized plants. EVERGREEN leaves are gray green and erect. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with ample water in summer. Blooms May-July. To 3′-4′ and then taller in bloom. Little competition from other plants- kind of a diva that way. AKA Angel’s Fishing Rod or Wandflower. Dierama is native to open high plains in South Africa as well as in mountains. Never cut back a Dierama to the ground. It will shock it horribly and may not recover. Instead cut out old or winter damaged leaves and leave the fresh foliage. Highly deer resistant. Regular summer water through bloom then light. Spectacular perennial.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Buxus sinica ‘Sunburst’

Useful and pretty and so tough this is a yellow variegated form of Korean Boxwood and its a fantastic dwarf shrub. To just 2′ x 2′ in 7 years this slow growing evergreen shrub is ideal as a hedge or trim it into a crazy shape and make a focal point. Adaptable to full hot sun to part shade. Great in winter containers. Hardy way below 0ºF. A good shrub or hedge in cold gardens or areas blasted by subfreezing east wind. Very good deer resistance. Light summer water in rich, well drained soil. Avoid crowding/shading from other plants in too close of proximity. Easy to grow- good looks year round. For a hedge plant on 2′ centers.

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Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’

Wonderful, useful, well scaled variegated hardy Tea Olive that is also incredibly hardy to cold. To 4′ x 4′ in 8 years this slow growing dense shrub has new leaves that emerge tinted pink, mostly cream and then settles to green leaves with splashes of cream. Excellent appearance year round. Great shrub where subfreezing winds are brutal. In October to November the tiny white flowers cluster around the leaf stems and crowd the twigs- they emit a sweet perfume detectable quite far away on mild days. Good deer resistance when established. Average to enriched, well drained soil. Light summer water. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Very drought tolerant when established. Pretty.

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Agave harvardiana

Spikes! A very upright and pokey Agave with steel blue/gray foliage that forms large rosettes. To 3′ across eventually this cold hardy Agave demands excellent drainage but is worth the effort. VERY well drained soil- amend with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. Excellent on a slope. Plant with the rosette tilted to shed winter water. Makes new pups happily and they will often come up quite a distance from the parent plant. To 3′ tall when up and established. Great in containers that you protect from winter wet. Move to a covered place in fall- a south facing eave is sufficient. Cold hardy below 0ºF- when established. Best to plant in March or April so that it has the longest possible season to develop a tap root going into its first winter. Light summer water to none. High deer resistance.

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Selaginella krusseana ‘Aurea’

Shocking bright chartreuse moss that we love for containers and for sheltered moist shady spots in the garden. Easier to grow in containers where it makes a fantastic understory to containerized shrubs or trees. Part shade to shade in rich, moisture retentive soil that is never compacted. Regular summer water in a humid environment. Excellent next to shady ponds. To 3″ deep and spreading as far as it feels like it.

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Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum ‘Pippa’s Red’

Large growing cold hardy shrub/tree that we love for its deep purple/black foliage and masses of true red fringe flowers in spring. Fast growing shrub to 8′ x 6′ in 7 years. The flowers that appear en masse in spring occur sporadically at any time of the year. As far as we can tell this is the darkest foliage on a very cold hardy shrub. Loropetalums are somewhat tender when young but gain complete hardiness in a season or two. Loses some leaves in exposed locations below about 10ºF. Makes a great small tree in (a long) time. Very graceful the way the pointed leaves alternate on the arching stems. Worth growing for foliage alone. Full sun to part shade in a warm position. Regular summer water rapidly increases the growth rate. Otherwise once established requires only light summer irrigation. One of the most popular landscape shrubs in the world if you include China where it is native and has been grown ornamentally for eons. Prune AFTER flowering if needed.

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Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’

Immensely useful, if rambunctious sedum that glows in vivid gold to chartreuse. The needle like leaves are vivid and line trailing stems. The stems root where they hit the ground- good local solution for erosion. Fast growing plant that spreads indefinitely in sun to quite a bit of shade. So easy to grow that I suggest you plant it in AVERAGE well drained soil. No need for amendments because the truth is once you have this plant you will always have it. Evergreen. Easy to remove from unwanted places. Simply pick it up off the ground and dispose. Or move it. I use this plant as a fast low water place holder when I’m deciding what to put in next. To plant simply toss it on the ground and water. You can bury it a little but its really not necessary. Avoid strongly compacted soil. Yellow flowers in early spring. Nice ground cover under trees. Hardy. Oh, so hardy.

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Camellia x ‘Black Magic’

If you’ve never been to the Camellia festival at the Portland Japanese Garden in Feb/March you really wouldn’t know that there are fantastic Camellias out there (not just the raw hamburger colored doubles that you see in front of every house). We got this amazing cultivar there and we are always on the lookout for the very true reddest Camellia. This is one of those. Glossy bright green serrated leaves make a wonderful upright growing shrub to 8′ x 4′ in 7 years. In February-April semi double huge true deep red/black flowers appear- they are profuse over the whole plant. Full sun to shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular summer water to establish then a bona fide low water plant. Woodlands, Ann Amato’s garden. Wonderful color early in the season.

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Rhaphiolepis x delacourii

Unusual hybrid India hawthorn that you rarely see anymore in our area. Its a great, tough, extremely drought tolerant evergreen shrub. To 4′ x 4′ in 7 years. Waxy deep green leaves emerge a soft pink/amber. In early to mid spring upright clusters of pink flowers are very pretty. They can then occur sporadically all year. Slow growing shrub for full sun and good air circulation. Excellent shrub to combat Rhododendron fatigue in spring. Good looking year round. Accepts regular summer water but thrives on none when established. Useful for blasting hot locations. Easy to grow long lived hardy broad leaved evergreen. Rhaphiolepis indica x Rhaphiolepis umbellata. Nice plant.

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Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’

Interesting small yellow Sedum from Japan that is from a summer rainfall climate. That means that it likes consistent water in the summer. Good drainage is key and this plant performs a valuable role as the glowing understory to woodland perennials and shrubs. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation in part shade to shade. Bleaches to almost white in full sun. Early spring flowers are yellow and brief. Excellent as the lower level of a summer planting. Evergreen and easy. Aerate the soil well by double digging and incorporating oxygen into the soil before planting. To 3″ high and spreading to more than a foot wide in a season.

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Camellia sasanqua ‘French Vanilla’

A really cool winter blooming Camellia that has several surprises. The pure white single flowers that open from December to February are HUGE- up to 5″ across in full bloom. They have a boss of yellow stamens in the center that emit a light sweet scent. When blooming is over the new growth is the next surprise. Glossy deep black leaves emerge and fade slowly to deep green. Its a great foliage transition and gives the shrub extra depth. Large growing upright sasanqua to 8′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. Much wider with time. Great espalier subject with vigorous lithe growth. Sets tons of flower buds and if flowers are ruined by frost more will open in sequence. Full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil. Light but consistent summer moisture. Very easy to grow shrub with spectacular flowers at a good time of the year. Fast growing to 1′-3′ per year when young. Evergreen.

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Sedum confusum

Useful and pretty evergreen Sedum that thrives in diverse biomes but always looks good. In dry dappled shade it will create a dense spreading deep green colony. To 5″ tall by several feet wide. In full sun it will grow a little slower but regular water will speed things up. The bright green rosettes of leaves are perched atop stems. In early spring the whole plant is awash in gold flowers and attending pollinators. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. The more shade the less water is required. Nice ground cover for small areas. Dense and evergreen. Surprisingly cold hardy and amenable to life in our climate. Mexico.

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Erodium x ‘Natasha’

A blooming marvel is this perennial. I’ve had it in bloom in every month of the year. Beginning in early spring a truly phenomenal constant show of soft lavender flowers with a deeper purple blotch on the upper two petals. Very wildflower looking and it forms a contained clump about the size of an apple pie. The flowers born on 6″ stems should be lifted away when spent to encourage more. Not that much encouragement is needed. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, well drained soil. Little summer water once established. A little water in the heat of summer will promote bloom. Evergreen low finely divided foliage is gray green and pretty with the flowers. No cutting back, easy, everblooming. Low water. What more could you want?

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Agave parryi ssp. couesii

A really pretty pale blue Agave with sharp angular leaves in a remarkably symmetrical rosette with age. Cold hardy and it requires very well drained soil in a hot position. A south facing slope is ideal in soil that has been amended with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. And you should tilt the rosette so that water does not collect in winter. This variety is a little slower than others. Aside from perfect drainage it requires a little bit of heat and patience. To 20″ tall by 30″ wide in time. Great container subject- make sure the container is sturdy and large enough to accommodate both a spreading primary rosette and prolific pups which crowd the base. In time it can form bold colonies. Move containerized plants to a dry location in winter. Remove deciduous tree leaves that collect in the rosette in autumn to stave off rot. SW U.S. High deer resistance.

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Sempervivum ‘Saturn’

Probably the best standard red Sempervivum. Its been around forever and its a good cultivar. Given rich soil that drains well but is enriched with fertilizer a single rosette can swell to 6″ wide. its impressive. So fertilize your Hens and Chicks and turn up the scale. Forms prodigious offsets quickly. These can be stuck in the soil wherever you can’t get enough  of Sempervivum ‘Saturn’. Full sun give the best color red as well as a bit of stress. Red persists through winter which is useful for winter containers. Makes a good small scale ground cover that is dense enough to suppress weeds. Don’t try to cover an area more than a few square feet. This plant doesn’t do that. Living walls, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls. Hot slopes. Drought stressed plants don’t die they shrink and plump back up quickly with irrigation. Pink flowers in summer.

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Sempervivum ‘Reinhard’

A really fun and rightfully famous cultivar. Celery green leaves are tipped in black. Very dramatic and the kind of contrast that makes a plant stand out. Rosettes are 4″ across and offsets are produced constantly. Very pretty dense small scale ground cover. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Deals with drought by shrinking. They rehydrate with the first rains. They look better and grow faster with water. Excellent in containers, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls, troughs. I’ve never seen this variety bloom but I assume the flowers would be red or white…doesn’t matter thats not the point. Detach babies and give to neighbors with the official name. Increases its specialness, impresses the neighbor. This would be a good variety for a living wall.

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Sempervivum ‘Maria Laach’

Pretty Maria. Bloody Maria. We have no idea why they named this stunning blood red Semp after her but I’ll bet its quite a story. As this is quite an extraordinary Hens and Chicks. Blood red tipped leaves often fade to green near the center of the rosette. Redder in summer in full sun in average, well drained soil. Each 3″ wide plant is in a continuous color change so its a varied pattern. Forms expanding colonies quickly. Full sun to part shade. Light summer water. Very good for contrast in rock gardens, rock walls, crevice gardens. In summer 4″ stems display red flowers. Easy to detach and move babies. Tolerates drought by shrinking, puffs back up with the first rains.

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Sempervivum arachnoides var. pittonii

Cob webs cover this adorable and fast multiplying Hens and chicks. The hairy webbing is a successful strategy to stop transpiration of liquid from the leaves and cool the surface as well. 2″ wide rosettes create many offsets in a short amount of time. It makes a good small scale ground cover  From spring to autumn it may produce a 5″ stem directly from the center of the rosette and bear rows of rosy pink flowers. That rosette then dies but it produces prodigious amounts of babies. Full sun to part shade in enriched, well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Without irrigation it will survive but shrink. Containers, rock gardens, gravel gardens. Good appearance year round.

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Cylindropuntia whipplei ‘White Spine’

Love this small growing Cholla that has the most amazing luminescent white spines. Densely branching low plant to 2′ tall by 3′ wide in time. Not terribly fast growing. Fast draining soils that have been amended heavily with gravel and pumice and ideally on a slope will make this a focal point in the dry garden. Light summer water will speed growth. Extremely cold hardy and not terribly fussy. Give it an open position with sun all day long. Wonderful in rock gardens. Flowers we have not seen but we assume with this species that they will be pink/purple in summer. Highly deer resistant. Great container plant. Move to a dry position in winter just for extra protection from wet.

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Sedum sediforme ‘Spanish Selection’

A really good Sedum that I got from a friend who collected it on the Iberian Peninsula in the Spanish mountains. Very soft blue gray foliage is shaped like pine needles lining trailing stems. Forms a good ground cover very fast. In summer 10″ vertical stems support clouds of soft off white flowers. Very different from so many other Sedums that bloom yellow. This soft color is very effective in the garden and of course draws pollinators from miles around. When spent the stems remain erect and turn gray- they may easily be collected by simply giving each a soft tug- or a whole a handful and they will break cleanly. Full sun to very light shade. Average to enriched soil that is not compacted. Good looking year round appearance. Not quite as dense or prolific as Sedum reflexum but still good. Slopes, between shrubs, as competition for weeds. Roots along the ground as it grows. Moves with ease and may be used as a temporary place holder while you think of what to plant next. Simply scoop up the foliage and move it to another place. Actual planting is not necessary. Share with friends. Great in seasonal as well as winter containers. To several feet wide. Light summer water or none when established. Easy plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Agave parryi ‘Flagstaff’

From the very far north end of this variable species range in Northern Arizona near—‘Flagstaff’. High elevation form that is found above 7000′ in the wild. Very cold hardy moderately large Agave. Full sun and very well drained soil. You must amend the soil with pumice and gravel to avoid wet accumulating around the crown in winter. This is made all the more easy by placing on a slope. The rosettes should be tilted to shed winter wet. Very stiff and sharply tipped steel blue leaves form a rosette that is at first upright then spreads out a little. Remove leaves from deciduous plants that collect in the rosette in autumn- they blow in from god knows where and leaving them can encourage rot. Excellent in containers. Move containerized plants under an eave or overhang to keep it dry in winter. No water required after initial establishment. Beautiful form of this cold hardy species. High deer resistance.

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Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Shimmering Stars’

Nice semi-scandant growing spreading Rosemary that has pink flower buds that open to blue flowers. Continuously blooms from September to June. Excellent winter display that appeals to cool loving pollinators. Arching stems to 2′ tall and spreading to form a 3′ wide shrub in just a few years. Best on a slope or any well drained site in full sun. Water to establish then none in subsequent years. Trails densely to inhibit weeds. Match with other drought adapted evergreens- Cistus, Ceanothus, Arctostaphylos. Great for culinary use with very concentrated oils in the smaller congested leaves. Evergreen. Great bank cover that will root into the ground where stems connect. Easy to grow shrub in our climate. Moderate deer resistant.

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Opuntia ellisiana

The thornless hardy Prickly Pear. Well, it still has fine glaucids on the pads that can painfully stab into your hands. They are fine like slivers or hairs and are a pain to remove. (Try duct tape- thats what I do and its successful). Large big round pads pile onto each other to 4′ tall and quickly forming multiplying patches up to 8′ across. In summer it displays large single yellow flowers. Smooth and good looking Cactus year round. It has some of the best ability to deal with our winter wet. However, I’d still amend the soil heavily with gravel and pumice- sharp drainage is key. Sharp drainage on sunny slopes is ideal. Excellent under the south facing eaves of a house. Works well in containers too that are protected from extreme winter wet. (Move under cover in winter). Cold hardy below 10ºF but the combination of wet and then arctic cold can shrivel some pads. Recovery in spring is rapid. Anticipate that it will spread quickly and allocate room. Moderate deer resistance.

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Opuntia cycloides

Tall growing hardy Cactus native to cold New Mexico. The pads are armed with 2″ orange thorns that will make you think twice about messing around. To 5′ tall and 4′ wide in 5 years in our climate. Multiplies quickly and large erect pads build up to probably the tallest Opuntia in our climate. In early to mid summer 5″ brilliant yellow flowers are a show stopper. They open just when its hot and sunny enough- closing in any dim conditions. Full, hot, all day sun and very well drained appropriately amended soil. On a slope, double dig the soil to oxygenate it and incorporate hefty amounts of pumice and gravel in the soil. Water regularly through the first summer to establish growth and then none in subsequent years. Extremely cold hardy. Locate away from paths, anywhere you might get too close. Remove deciduous leaves that become ensconced in the pads in autumn. Otherwise it can lead to rot. Long lived. High deer resistance.

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Opuntia macrocentra

Spectacular in bloom this is one of the easiest Opuntia (Prickily Pear Cactus) for our climate. Pads are fiercely armed and are blue/gray. The 2″ needles are formidable and begs that this plant be place away from paths. Spreading to 2′ tall x 4′ wide in very well drained poor soil with light summer water to establish. Avoid all shade- bright open conditions suite this native of the SW U.S. Avoid placing near deciduous trees where dropped leaves can collect on the plant- they are not only a pain in the ass to remove they must be to avoid rot in winter. Grows relatively fast- increasing before you know it. Amazing in large rock gardens as well as large containers. Amend the soil with pumice and gravel so that winter wet does not collect around the base. It will root through this deep into the ground. Once established it can get by with all that falls fro the sky. Huge yellow flowers with an orange center are 6″ wide an amazing when they appear in late spring to early summer. Highly deer resistant. Long lived.

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Ruschia pulvinaris

More of a shrub this branched ice plant species is one of the easiest to grow in our climate. To 10″ tall and as wide in a circular ball. The succulent gray foliage is densely attached to and obscures the stems. In early summer for several weeks hot pink feather daisy like flowers cover the plant. They open in full sun and close when its dim- including cloudy days. Loved by pollinators. Very pretty evergreen succulent shrublet for rock gardens, gravel gardens, slopes. Light summer water but completely drought adapted when established and growing. Very showy in containers, troughs. Double dig the soil and incorporate oxygen before planting. Avoid compacted soils. Very pretty.

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Sedum spathulifolium ‘Carnea’

Interesting form of Stone crop that has foliage that takes on brilliant red/purple tints in cold weather or with drought stress. Powdery blue foliage is arranged in rosettes at the end of 3″ stems. Starting with the outer most leaves the vivid tints become most apparent in mid-late summer through winter. Red stems support clusters of gold/yellow flowers in early summer. Excellent pollinator plant as are all Sedums. Easy to grow in any soil that drains reasonably well. In regular ground double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen into the soil and avoid compaction. It will spread to multiple feet across in short order. In rock gardens it can be a little rambunctious around delicate plantings. Give it room and plan for it to spread. Great in seasonal containers, troughs, rock walls. Light summer water speeds the growth rate- it also inhibits the bright color. Oregon Native Plant.

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Sedum stenopetalum var. douglasii

Pine Sedum is common in the rocky outcrops of foothills and mid-elevation mountains throughout the state. You’ll find it clustered around crevices and on scree at the base of cliffs. Fine stems support clusters of deep green pine needle-like foliage. In summer its crowned by clusters of deep yellow flowers. Not as showy as other native Stone crops but pretty none-the-less. To just 3″ tall and forming clumps to 1′ wide. In the garden give it enriched, fast draining soil with light, consistent summer water- this improves the overall appearance. An interesting native Sedum for containers, rock gardens, borders, dry gardens. Evergreen. Very cold hardy. Oregon Native Plant.

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Sesleria autumnalis ‘Campo de Azul’

An autumn moor grass with distinctive differences. Very blue upright, stiff foliage forms a large expanding clump. In mid summer through autumn (and beyond) 18″ straight vertical stems support gray/black flowers frosted with light yellow pollen. Excellent appearance year round for an evergreen grass to 1′ tall and 2′ wide in several seasons. Well drained average to enriched soil. Light, consistent summer water in full sun. Excellent massed, plant on 2′ centers. Flowers slowly decay over winter and spent stems may be cut away. Refrain from cutting this plant back to the ground. Winter damage will be covered quickly by new growth in late winter to early spring. Establishes quickly. Cold hardy below 0ºF. Native to Italy/Croatia- its adapted well to a summer dry climate. Nice looking grass.

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Sedum oreganum

Not hard to tell where this stone crop is endemic. It resides mostly in the middle elevations of the western Cascades. Rocky slopes, cliffs, and road cuts is where you find the clusters of small green rosettes that makes large colonies. In summer 4″ stems arrive topped with bright gold/yellow flowers- a pollinators dream. Little spreading plant to just inches high but expanding to several feet wide in well drained, somewhat enriched soil with light summer water. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Forms a dense mat and may be used as a small scale weed blocking ground cover. Easy to grow plant. Roots into the ground as it spreads- evergreen. Oregon Native Plant.

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Sedum divergens

Oregon native Sedum that is found at mid and high elevations of the Cascades. It makes its home on recent road cuts and rocky, gravelly cliffs. Small rolly polely green succulent leaves line trailing stems. Very juicy. Forms a thick evergreen mat in full sun to part shade in well drained soil. Excels in enriched soil that also drains. Light to regular summer water to retain luster otherwise completely adapted to summer drought. Rock walls, containers, rock gardens. Easy to grow native that is one of our most attractive stone crops. In late spring 4″ stems rise with clusters of bright yellow/gold star shaped flowers. As with all Sedums they are coveted by pollinators. Takes on red tints in cold weather. Evergreen. Oregon Native Plant.

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Viola odorata (Parma) ‘Duchess du Parme’

There’s nothing like the smell of sweet violets in late winter and early spring. But the regular species in our climate is nothing less than a thug. It seeds and grows where you really would rather not have it. Well, forget that. Enter this exquisite fully double flowering Parma Violet. The rich violet blue flowers appear on long stems from January to April. Parma violets are the Mediterranean form of V. odorata and they are less hardy to cold and not so rampant. This form we have never seen set seed- but there are always exceptions. Very glossy green foliage frames the flowers well. Excellent in containers in an unheated greenhouse, conservatory. In the garden choose a protected spot (under evergreen shrubs for example) and give this violet rich soil with regular summer moisture. Tolerates full sun but looks better with some shade. Flowers tend to lean horizontally, they are great for cutting and making little fragrant winter posies. Spreads by runners to form a nice patch in time. Tolerates summer drought when established.

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Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’

Pretty form of the normally deep green small leaved Azara. Tiny round, evergreen leaves are mostly cream with a light splash of dark green. Very pretty fine texture effect. Moderately fast growing tree to 12′ tall in 7 years. Part shade in a protected site. Protect from subfreezing east winds by siting on a south or west aspect.  Nice semi-weeping tree for woodland margins, urban courtyards. In March it is smothered in tiny yellow flowers with the powerful perfume of cocoa. Loses some leaves below 15ºF but recovers them quickly in spring. Light summer water. Takes dry shade very well.

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Juniperus deppeana

Alligator Juniper. So called for the rough pattern that develops on the trunk. A remarkable upright growing juniper that stuns with ghostly white foliage. Finely branching open habit on an 14′ tall by 6′ wide structure. Fast growing. POOR soil that has NOT been amended is ideal. In fact it thrives in heavy clay soils if on slopes.  Enriched soil causes this shrub to grow prodigiously fast leaving it vulnerable to wind toss. Mixes well with other shrubs, makes a great light textured nearly white focal point. Good looking year round and ultra cold hardy. Little to no summer water once established. (Just makes it grow too fast) This is one elegant but tough shrub. Moderate deer resistance. This selection has extraordinarily blue foliage for the species.

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Agave americana ‘Medio Picta Alba’

Tender <sigh> but perhaps the most spectacular variegated Agave. It makes a great container plant for LARGE containers. To 5′ x 5′, it grows a little slower in containers. Make sure it’s sturdy and well built too because this puppy has been known to grow so vigorously as to shatter its own home. Use well drained cactus mix and add a handful of all organic fertilizer. Move to a freeze free environment such as an unheated garage if temperatures threaten to drop below 20ºF. Otherwise move it to a dry place for winter- under a south facing eave is ideal. Move it back out in the open when rain dwindles.  Light summer water will speed growth. Leaves on this form are blue on the edges with a dramatic pure white stripe down the center. Wow.

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Schefflera delavayi

Big bold evergreen shrub that deserves a place in every garden. Tall growing cold hardy shrub with leaves that can be up to 18″ across- all three leaflets. New growth in spring emerges slowly clad in a showy taupe indumentum that clings to the new leaves for quite some time. The ultimate leaf color is deep green with a matte surface. To 12′ tall and branching. Moderately fast growth in rich soil that is well drained with consistent summer moisture- to speed growth. Otherwise established plants are remarkably drought adapted in part shade to shade. Takes full sun but leaves are smaller and the plant grows more slowly. An open north exposure is ideal with cool roots and the tops in the bright sun but not reflected heat. In autumn 3′ long pale yellow flower spikes appear and persist until frost. Excellent, refined shrub that has been perfectly hardy to cold for us for the past decade.

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Agave parryi ssp. neomexicana

New Mexico Agave is a spike wonder. Much more upright-growing than the species with sharp-tipped leaves that terminate in a blood red thorn. OW. Forms a very symmetrical plant with many leaves of steel blue. Full sun and VERY WELL-DRAINED soil. Excellent on hot slopes where it will tilt the rosette to avoid winter wet. Pups, heh, freely and you will soon have many rosettes. Amend the soil with pumice and gravel. Make sure there is plenty of air in the soil and no place where water could collect. Fantastic specimen plant for a dry garden/gravel garden. Water through the first summer to establish then none in subsequent years. Clean out the rosette when deciduous leaves collect in there- a shop vac works great. The leaves will cause rot when they decompose….so they must go. Great in containers- large, sturdy containers. Cold hardy. High deer resistance.

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Fargesia robusta

Excellent CLUMPING bamboo that is adaptable to a wide range of situations. Ultimately 15′ tall the 3/4″ culms rise up green with dramatic white culm sheaths before changing to a golden yellow. The foliage is dense and clusters around the top 3/4th of the canes. Easy to grow bamboo for redistricted sites in high overhead shade to full sun (but avoid the reflected heat of walls). Spreads moderately fast by a steadily increasing clump- each new culm is just inches from the other. Forming a grove to 4′ wide at the base in 6 years. Very upright growth makes it ideal for the thin space between houses, or for shading a courtyard. Regular summer water in rich, moisture retentive soil that drains. Drought adapted when established. Good performance in ice and snow. Hardy.

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Sedum oregonense ‘McKenzie River’

There are so many great native Sedums that it can be hard to choose? But why choose when you can have them all. This little succulent creeper is most often seen on rocky slopes in the western Cascades. It occupies the hottest regions but sends its roots between the cracks in the rocks to absorb moisture. In summer 4″ spikes hold boisterous gold flowers- adored by pollinators. Spreads very slowly to about 3″ tall and 1′ wide. Adapts to rich, well drained sites with light to little summer moisture. Excellent in rock gardens, slopes, among small drought adapted shrubs. Very easy to grow. This form is from the central Oregon Cascades. Oregon native plant.

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Sempervivum ‘Pacific Zofic’

Fast multiplying Hens and Chicks that is covered in white fur. The silvery white fur covers new foliage in the center that is aqua changing to pink on the external rosette. In spring to autumn it can produce 5″ spikes of pink flowers. The rosette where the flower spike originates then dies but there are so many offsets you barely notice. Excellent in containers, rock walls, as a small scale ground cover. Good appearance in winter. Rich to average soil with regular summer irrigation to speed growth. Otherwise very tolerant of dry conditions – the rosettes shrink a bit in this phase. Sempervivums LOVE fertilizer. Enrich the soil with all purpose organic fertilizer before you plant and enjoy much LARGER plants. Rosettes to 3″ across.

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Juniperus conferta ‘All Gold’

Nice, nice creeping juniper for lighting up hillsides or Hellstrips. The needles on this low spreading plant are actually closer to chartreuse/lime green than gold. But its a vivid color and the 1′ tall x 5′ wide plant shines. Full sun and well drained soil. Light to little summer water when established. Excellent ground cover for a steep dry bank. Endures extreme cold as well as heat. Tiny flowers turn into blue fruits that contrast nicely with the foliage. Very easy to grow and good looking year round. Moderate deer resistance. Great performance at the Oregon Coast. Tolerates dense clay on slopes.

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Agave parryi ssp. truncata

Consistently one of the most successful Agaves for gardens in our region. Soft gray rosettes have leaves with a distinct upright habit. At the tips of the wide leaves is a single (deadly) black thorn. Very nice. Full sun and very well drained soil with little to no summer water when established. This Agave requires soil that is never soggy- amend heavily with pumice and gravel to create air pockets. Plant this (and all) hardy Agaves in our climate on a tilt. The tilted rosette sheds rainwater and it keeps it much drier in winter. Ideally, this Agave should be sited on a hot, south facing slope. In autumn deciduous leaves from (everywhere) seem to blow into the rosette and collect. You must remove these immediately so that they do not rot the center of the plant. A shop vac works wonders…so do bar-B-Q tongs. Excellent in containers. Its best to plant hardy Agaves in early spring to early summer. They require a long season to develop a tap root which in turn ensures that they are cold hardy. No tap root and not so hardy. Hardy below 0ºF when dry. Highly deer resistant.

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Echium wildprettii

Huge, stately, bold biennial that we kind of consider the king of all biennials. The first season it forms a huge rosette of thin silver foliage. Showy in its own right. If we have a mild winter (above 15ºF) the whole plant soars to 6′ tall the second year and is a tower of red/purple borage flowers. Pollinators lose their little collecting minds and even hummers show up. Not entirely hardy but we think its such an incredible foliage plant in its first year that is is definitely worth the risk.  Following bloom it sets seed- man does it set seed and seedling will appear all over the garden. They are easy to identify- rosettes of thin leaves with a sandpapery texture. You can move them or mass them for a cool effect. Rich to average, well drained soil with light summer water. Full sun and position out of high winds which can topple the plant in its blooming stage. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Native to the Canary Islands.

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Aucuba japonica ‘Longifolia’

Tough and useful evergreen that is always at its shiny green best. Large growing for an Aucuba exceeding 6′ tall and as wide in 7 years. Moderate growth rate. Long glossy green leaves are slightly serrated and very pretty. Endures the deepest, densest dry shade conditions with no issues. Adaptable to full sun but not reflected heat. Tiny brown flowers are not conspicuous but this is a male and makes a great pollinator for female Aucuba (see A. ‘Rozannie). Established shrubs can get by with little to no summer water and not suffer. Pretty foliage shape is a great medium for contrast. Plant with Japanese Forest Grass or Dicentra formosa ‘Langtrees’. Incredibly cold tolerant- slightly below 0ºF. A good candidate for windy, cold gardens.

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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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Callistemon subulatus ‘Dark Red’

There are several hardy red flowered bottlebrushes on the market but if you really like red this is the one. Small gray thin leaves densely clothe the arching stems of this clumping multi branched low shrub. In spring and then sporadically all summer deep red 2″ long and wide bottlebrush flowers appear. Happiness and hummingbirds ensue. To 3′ x 3′ in 5 years and strongly arching. Full sun and a protected location- against a south or west facing wall is ideal. Light summer water. Excellent performance in containers- hardy Callistemon often are shy to bloom in containers but this girl is not shy at all. Brilliant, Brilliant red. Freezes to the ground below about 10ºF- returns vigorously from the base in spring. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Moderately deer resistant.

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Callistemon viridiflorus ‘Shamrock’

Our selection of a very compact, dense and tidy growing Mountain Bottlebrush. Moderately slow growing shrub to 5′ x 3′ in 7 years. In May-July 3″ acid green bottlebrush flowers decorate all the branch tips. A thrill for hummingbirds. In winter the small pointed deep green leaves take on dramatic maroon tints- great contrast with the white, cork-like bark. Very tidy compared to the species which can be somewhat wild and unkempt. If you don’t want that try ‘Shamrock’. It fits in small sites well and is adaptable to all types of soil, including heavy clay. Great cold hardiness- suffering no injury at 5ºF. Excellent landscape shrub or foundation plant. Tidy and dense. Moderate deer resistance.  Low water requirements.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Tawny Meadow’

Our first deliberate cross of two Pacifica species has yielded a real looker. Half Iris innominata and half Iris tenax. It inherits the incredible amount of flowers from the first parent which is yellow and more intricate markings and purple hues of the latter. Fun to grow colony producing grassy iris for full sun to part shade. Begins blooming in late April and continues for 3 to 4 weeks. Adaptable to many types of soil, including clay soils. Water regularly through the first summer to establish then none in subsequent years. This little iris ( to 8″ tall) is very wild looking and reminds us of natural hybrids that occur in the wild. In time when you have many flowers per clump it makes a charming cut flower. Two Oregon native perennials. Heh. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Leptospermum lanigerum ‘Silver Form’

Beautiful form of wooly tea tree with tiny leaves of pure silver. Great fine textured shrub for a dry and protected area. To 6′ x 5′ in 5 years one of the most silver evergreen shrubs in our climate. Blooms prolifically in June covering the whole shrub in white stars. Easy to grow in full sun and average, well drained soil. Light, consistent summer water. Will often have random flowers year round as well. Fast growing. Avoid the coldest sites- best in warm, sunny, gardens. Mix with other shrubs- especially yellow or chartreuse foliage which really makes this shrub pop. Listed as tender in some fairly famous publications…which don’t know what they are talking about. We’ve had this shrub planted at our very cold nursery in Wilsonville for more than 15 years….and there it still happily thrives. Moderate deer resistance.

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Chondropetalum tectorum ‘Dwarf’

A very nice person from a climate far colder than ours gifted us this cute dwarf Restio. And I have to say it has performed wonderfully in my garden. It froze to the ground at 9ºF- but returned in spring right away. Seems to be one of the hardiest and easiest to grow that we have encountered. Really shines in containers where you can see the sheaths on the blue green segmented stems. Rises to about 20″ tall with many stems. In summer they are topped by clustered brown flower structures. Very nice. Well drained somewhat enriched soil (for a Restio thats odd). Full sun to very light shade. Grows fairly quickly given the conditions stated above. Light summer water. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below about 20ºF. Evergreen most winters including the bummer winter of 16/17.  We’ll make as much as we possibly can. South Africa.

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Phormium tenax ‘Atropurpureum’

The most commonly seen New Zealand Flax in our climate and arguably one of the most hardy to cold. Deep maroon/purple evergreen foliage in a large clump to 5′ x 5′ ultimately in a hot position and full sun in rich, well drained soil. Regular summer water increases the growth rate which in turn establishes the plant more thoroughly. The more established the Flax the more vigorously it returns if it gets hit by cold. If it does, try not to cut the whole thing to the ground but leave as many viable leaves as possible for food to aid in the recovery. Great plant for hot hellstrips and containers. Borders. etc. Following mild winters (above 20ºF) it may send up 6′ spikes with duckbill shaped yellow flowers in summer. Thrives at the Oregon Coast where it seldom is ever bothered by cold and where it absorbs blasting salt laden winds happily. High deer resistance.

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Sempervivum ‘Lotus’

OOOMMMMM. Large growing Hens and Chicks with pale lavender gray rosettes to 5″ across. Very showy and multiplies moderately fast. Full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular water speeds growth and size of the plants. Otherwise extremely drought tolerant..in really dry conditions the rosette will shrink and go to sleep- awakened by autumn rains. Nice small scale, dense ground cover. Striking in living walls and a natural for containers. 5″ spikes send up pink flowers spring – autumn. Good looking year round. This one is the size of a small Echeveria and would make a good replacement that is actually permanent. Easy.

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Sempervivum arachnoides ‘Robin’

RED Robin! Thats how we remember the name of this snappy Hens and Chicks. Tightly growing leaves in a medium sized rosette to 3″ across. The interior of the leaves are bright red with green leaf tips. Multiplies quickly. Retains these bright colors well throughout the year- where as some can become rather dull in winter. Spring – Autumn it may shoot up a 5″ spike bearing pink/red flowers. The rosette then dies but there are so many offsets that you would never know. Move them around the garden like furniture. Easy. Give them to friends, knock squirrels out of the tree with them. Fun to grow. Interact with your sempervivums and all will be good. Full sun and regular summer water to remain vigorous and bright and showy.

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Sempervivum ‘Virgil Ford’

Collectively this handsome Hens and chicks is one of our favorites. Soft pink to lavender and tipped with purple in cold weather. Nice. Large rosettes to 5″ across when happy. Boisterous multiplier and forming large colonies quickly. Rich, well drained soil with regular water to keep up appearances. Containers, rock walls, rock gardens, as a small scale weed smothering ground cover. Full sun to light shade. Even dry shade when established. Detach the babies and give them to a friend. Or chuck them at a Trump voter. Pretty plant. High deer resistance.

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Sempervivum ‘Soft Line’

I’m the one doing the descriptions so I get to choose which is my favorite. And this is my favorite ‘Hens and Chick’. Soft and downy with fine hairs that cover the entire rosette. Dove gray to pink coloration changes little throughout the years. To 3″ across it quickly multiplies to form colonies in rich to average soil in full sun to part shade. Regular summer water enhances the appearance as well as initiates faster growth. Rock walls, slopes, containers. Very easy to grow. Light pink flowers appear at the tips of 6″ stems spring-autumn. Soft and cuddly.

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Telopea x ‘Braidwood Seedlings’

Waratah of Australia, this extraordinary shrub produces some of the most alluring flowers in the flower kingdom. A tall growing evergreen shrub with handsome leaves. In spring and often again in late summer crown shaped flowers emerge purple and open to circular red flowers at the branch tips. These are seedlings of Telopea x ‘Braidwood Brilliant’ which is a hybrid selected for excellent cold hardiness for the cut flower trade. Protea- which means you should avoid fertilizer and too much compost. Rich to average soils- pure loam is ideal in a protected location in full sun to part shade. Avoid reflected heat. Light summer water. Not the easiest shrub to establish but the care and patience are worth it in the end. Cold hardy to approximately 5ºF. Protect from subfreezing wind. Amazing cut flower that lasts for weeks in a vase- if you can spare a stem. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast.  To 12′ x 8′.

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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.

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Phygelius x ‘Native Sons’

There are so many Cape Fuchsia cultivars on the market and to be honest a lot of them are dogs. Winning flower colors but losing in vigor and hardiness. Or they flop hopelessly. Enter this remarkable form with beautiful dusty magenta red tubular flowers. A strong growing and blooming selection that provides spikes of the pendant vibrantly colored flowers continuously from June to frost. To 4′ tall and 4′ wide for rich to average soil. Regular summer water spurs repeat bloom but it can lead to a rather rambunctious plant. Give this big guy room to spread. It will happen quickly. Full sun to light shade. May be cut to the ground in early spring to resize and supply new wood for flowers. Recovery is rapid. Cold hardy and loved by hummingbirds. Easy

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Eriobotrya japonica

Loquat is much hardier than most people think. Enormous specimens are ancient and scattered around Portland. In my previous garden I had a huge specimen that sailed through the worst winters (below 10ºF) and epic ice and snow with NO damage. Bold, broadleaved evergreen tree. The leaves are huge and look very tropical. In winter buds clad in brown fur support many very fragrant white flowers. Loved by overwintering Anna’s Hummingbirds. If the winter fizzles out and temperature fail to drop below 20ºF you may see the small, sweet fruits ripen in summer to early autumn. Primarily it is grown for its great foliage and convenient size. To 18′ tall and 10′ wide forming a rounded crown in 10 years. Full sun and rich to average soil. Completely drought adapted but summer water will increase the growth rate. Hardy to 5ºF and does not suffer foliage damage until that point is reached. Avoid growing this tree in the windy eastern exposed suburbs of Portland. Excellent tree for a small garden. Japan.

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Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘White Pygmy’

Always on the lookout for dwarf conifers that really are dwarf and that are easy to grow with a minimum amount of water. This little gem does just that. Forming a spreading and arching shape- much like an anvil, the new growth on this slow grower is tipped in white. It remains showy throughout the year. To 2′ x 3′ in 10 years. Full sun to light shade in any soil. Light summer water to none when established. Adaptable to dry shade conditions as long as the shade is not too deep. Excellent, easy to grow small evergreen. Fits in the smallest gardens. Great in containers, especially winter containers.

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Watsonia pillansii

This is one of the hardiest species of Watsonia Lily. It forms large evergreen clumps of spikey foliage to 3′ tall. In early summer 4′ spikes lines with brilliant orange flowers are stunning. They bloom for weeks. A protected location such as close to a south or west facing wall. Capable of freezing to the ground in extreme cold (below 20ºF) but regrowing vigorously and still blooming in late spring to early summer. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture. If allowed to go completely dry in summer this as with other Watsonias will go dry dormant. It returns with the first rains in autumn. Amazing cut flower. Mulch your clump in autumn. Wonderful South African perennial that is glorious at the Oregon Coast. To 3′ wide eventually.

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Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Gorizia’

A really good and kind of rare form of Rosemary that was selected for much broader and larger leaves. Which makes it ideal for culinary use. The intense pine scent that pervades the whole evergreen shrub is delightful. Makes me think of pork. Heh. Upright growing cultivar that easily achieves 4′ x 4′ in 5 years. Pale blue flowers are prolific from September to May- peaking in midwinter. Full sun and average, well drained soil. Light summer water then none when established. Takes very well to pruning. This form is especially cold hardy and survives temperatures down to 0ºF easily. Excellent specimen, winter blooming component to a dry border, or an herb garden. Incredibly tough long lived cultivar. Moderate deer resistance.

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Cupressus sempervirens ‘Glauca’

The most common form of Italian Cypress with a strongly fastigiate (skinny upright habit) and blue green foliage. Fast growing tree that demands average to poor soil and little to no summer moisture. Soil that is too rich and too much water in our climate leads to prodigious rank growth and instability. Dry, poor soils and no summer water leads to steady measured growth and no tipping. Full all day sun from every direction. This will ensure thick foliage from the base to the top. Established plants can easily put on 3′-5′ of growth per year. To 22′ tall and about 18″ wide. Extremely drought tolerant. Does not succumb to spider mites or other diseases as Arborvitae frequently can.  If it is too tall you may top it and it will re-grow a new terminal leader quickly. Great in containers. Protect containers from temperatures below 10ºF. Takes intense reflected heat with no problem. Great urban tree.

 

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Heteromeles arbutifolia

Toyon. One of the most widespread shrubs in California this plant also known as Christmas berry ranges right up to the Oregon State line and appears just inside our border. Large evergreen shrub with finely serrated large green leaves. In late spring flat clusters of white flowers appear- they are pretty but nothing compared to the brilliant red berries that follow and ripen in early autumn- remaining showy through winter. Most often they are eaten by birds. AKA Hollywood this shrub is where that city got its name. heh. Fast growing to 13′ tall by 10′ wide in 10 years in our climate if left strictly unpruned. Slightly tender it requires a protected location. Most large established specimens I’ve seen around Portland are placed on the west or south side of large trees. They get the protection of the overstory and it shields them from the coldest winds. No water or regular water- either way, very adaptable shrub that really likes cultivation. Small tree in time. West coast native evergreen shrub for the mildest gardens. Oregon native plant.

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Leptospermum rupestre (Low Form)

Creeping form of Alpine tea tree from the highest mountains of Australia and Tasmania. Low evergreen shrub with deep green tiny leaves set densely on the stems. Forms a complete ground cover in time with the ability to inhibit weeds. The new stems are an attractive cinnamon red before switching to gray. In early summer tiny pink buds open to starry white flowers. For several weeks they obscure the foliage. To 1′ tall but usually much lower and spreading to 3′ x 3′ in several years. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer irrigation. Drought adapted when established. Best on warm south or west facing aspects. Avoid exposure to intense subfreezing east wind- in those areas plant it in a protected location. Always handsome ground cover shrub. Amazing at the edge of containers or near boulders as this plant will faithfully follow every contour. Cool.

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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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Azara microphylla (Upright form)

We’ve chosen this distinct form of Azara microphylla which has a much more upright habit and is also hardier to cold. Fast growing light textured evergreen tree. The tiny leaves are deep forest green and glossy and good looking year round. In March on old wood from the previous year and beyond alights with tiny yellow filament flowers. They have the intense and penetrating perfume of hot candy. Well, thats my take, others frequently chime in that it smells like Cocoa or Vanilla. Its an odd sweet fragrance that carries for many feet on mild early spring days. Explosively fast growing tree for any well drained site with regular deep watering. This speeds up early growth to 3′- 4′ a year. The dark, fine foliage provides a great contrast with the light taupe/tan colored bark. In time it exfoliates to reveal bright orange and tan patterns. Excellent urban tree that is incredibly drought tolerant when established. Locate out of the path of the most violent subfreezing east wind. Ultimate height in 10 years is about 22′ tall and less than half as wide. Easy, satisfying tree native to southern Chile. Great performance at the Oregon Coast as well. Casts very light shade.

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Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Ogon Nishiki’

This poor plant though spectacular has a bunch of silly marketing names attached to it. We stick with the original Japanese cultivar name- seems appropriate. No other evergreen vine/groundcover has a foliage display that matches this plant. New leaves emerge bright orange and then morph slowly to patches of light yellow surrounded by dark green. Delightful. We’ve never seen flowers on this cultivar and we don’t need to. Great small scale and vivid ground cover. Mounds and trails to 8″ tall and several feet wide in a single season. It has been surprisingly hardy to cold enduring temps below 10ºF with no harm. Best in part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. This vine grows when its warm therefore you water it when its warm. Twins around thin objects and will eventually hoist itself skyward. Solidly evergreen. Excellent container plant. Moderate deer resistance.

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Teucrium aroanum

A small spreading rock garden perennial germander that we love for its profuse and long display of purple flowers over soft gray foliage. The small leaves have a fruity smell when pinched on this dome shaped spreading plant. To just inches high a single plant will expand to more than a foot square in a season. A plant for very well drained sites in full hot sun. Or a ground cover where soil is light, aerated with plenty of double digging and never becomes compacted. Where is that? Steep slopes and rock gardens where this plant excels. Avoid soggy winter conditions and site in the hottest place possible. Blooms appear from May to August. Little to no summer water once established. Grows on the steepest sites you can imagine. Nice plant for troughs, well drained containers. Do not cut back. Evergreen.

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Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’

An old standard form of our native and widespread Stonecrop. This form is unique for its very pale gray almost white rosettes of leaves. It spreads vigorously in rich to average well drained soil with light summer water. Soil should be light and not compacted. It makes a very good small scale ground cover. Also excellent in rock gardens and even winter containers. Great long lived and easy container subject. To just inches high a single plant can reproduce to several feet wide. In late spring 6″ stems grow upright to display masses of brilliant yellow flowers. Adored by all pollinators. When cold wet weather arrives the entire plant takes on red/raspberry tones. Very pretty. Easy to grow native perennial. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.

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Sedum spathulifolium ‘Rogue River’

Would it surprise you that I found this form of native stonecrop on cliffs above the Rogue River? It fascinated me how tightly to the ground this spreading succulent occurred. Gray green foliage appears to be almost rubbery and it grows in a dense pile. Very nice. To just inches high it eventually makes large colonies in rich, to average well drained soil. Light to little summer water. In late spring 4″ stems support hot yellow sunny flowers for weeks. Loved by pollinators of all types. Evergreen and ever lovely form. Perennial borders, rock gardens, containers. Easy and climate adapted native succulent that loves to be in gardens. Oregon native plant.

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Sphaeralcea ‘Newleaze Coral’

An American western native wildflower that was selected for its unique flower color in the UK. Well, welcome home my pretty globe mallow.  A tall growing semi-woody perennial with soft gray/green foliage. From June to September and longer cupped vivid coral flowers line the 3′ stems. It blooms non-stop for up to two months. Very pretty. Full, hot sun and rich, to average WELL DRAINED soil. A natural for a slope or included in a border where you water just on occasion. Very drought adapted for full hot sun. Do not cut this big wavy perennial back in autumn- leave the top growth as added winter protection. Cut back by 2/3 when you see new growth pushing in spring. Good drainage is key for the combination of wet + arctic air. Dry its hardy way below 0ºF- moist- well, a lot warmer. Excellent long blooming tall plant for seasonal containers as well. Does not like shade. Don’t even try. To 2′ wide.

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Moraea alticola

Cool Iris relative from South Africa in a genus that is common in warmer climates. This cold hardy high elevation species is peculiar in that it produces just a few very long evergreen leaves that mostly splay out on the ground. At the base of the leaves are fine netting- bulb netting that protects the bottom from damage. In May-July it sends up usually, just one solitary stem. At the top a large Iris flower of the softest yellow opens. The lower petals (the falls) are intricately marked with gray veining around a brighter yellow spot. Its a beautiful flower. But don’t remove it when its done because there are more to come from that very same stem- seemingly from no where a parade of flowers will erupt for weeks. Full sun and well drained rich to average soil. Very easy to grow and long lived. Avoid compacted clay and competition from other plants…it doesn’t like that. Thrives in the baking heat of hellstrips or in rock gardens. A very pretty flower that is an exceptional color. Moderate deer resistance.

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Oxalis oregana ‘Select Pink’

Not the most original cultivar name but its aptly descriptive. Vigorous evergreen ground cover with dramatic hot pink flowers for weeks in spring. Spreads by underground stolen in rich, fertile, woodland conditions with regular summer water. To 4″ high and spreading many feet across shortly (in ideal conditions) . Part shade to shade. Very easy native perennial to grow. This is the second most vigorous Oxalis o. clone that we have behind ‘Klamath Ruby’. Simple pink flowers are pretty and rise up just above the foliage. AKS Redwood Sorrel or Oregon Sorrel. Long lived. Edible. Oregon native plant.

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Festuca roemeri

Roemers Fescue is a native bunchgrass found on upland prairies and slopes throughout the PNW. In the Willamette Valley it survives on the upward margins of woods, often under Oaks and accompanying California fescue. Roemer’s Fescue has much finer leaves and a tighter clumps than Festuca californica. Its immediately identifiable by this thin blue green foliage. A cool season grower it spends the winter in its freshest and lushest state by the onset of summer drought it has already gone cere (dry dormant). To 8″ tall and spreading. 1′ spikes with tan flowers appear in late spring and remain erect until the entire plant goes summer dormant. With regular water and good drainage this grass will avoid summer sleep and remain green and lush. Excellent underplanting for drought adapted shrubs, or for the garden/wild lands interface. It spreads quickly by seed- its from here, you should expect that so keep it away from highly manicured areas. Its habitat in the Willamette Valley has shrunk to almost nothing. Bring this pretty native bunchgrass back to our gardens. Admirable lawn substitute. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.

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Sempervivum ‘Koko Flanel’

There are so many good Sempervivums (Hens and Chicks) but it seems that you only see the same 3 kinds over and over. We dug a little deeper and found a collection of exceptional cultivars. This girl/guy forms a very dense rosette with closely spaced leaves in a spiral arrangement. The older the leaves the more red as an under color with soft white hairs all throughout. New leaves have an aquamarine glow. Nice little symmetrical multicolor effect. Things go more towards green in the heat of summer. Pink flowers rise up on 6″ spikes spring to autumn- whenever it feels like it. Great container plant or small scale ground cover- this one multiplies very fast by offsets. Baby you’ve come a long way. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Rock walls, troughs, winter containers.

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Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius ‘Silver Jubilee’

Wonderful ever-silver plant for texture and low water environments. Fine silver/steel blue foliage lines very upright wand like stems. Dense shrub to 4′ x 4′ in 4 years. In early summer the tips of the plant is crowned with flat clusters of pink buds that open to tiny white flowers. In time the flowers go to seed and turn a tan hue. Fast growing shrub for full sun and any well drained soil of average to poor fertility. Avoid over amended soils- average native unimproved soils are ideal. Excellent on dry slopes, among other drought adapted plants. Light to little summer water. May be pruned back hard after blooming to resize, refresh the plant. High deer resistance. New Zealand.

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Acaena ‘Blue Haze’

The blue form of New Zealand Burr with finely divided pinnate evergreen foliage that forms a vigorous creeping ground cover. In summer 3″ stems support round white flowers that appear for several weeks. Easy to grow dense-growing plant to 3″ tall and covering up to 3 square feet in a year. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture to speed growth and keep the appearance fresh. Best in part shade to shade- seems to resent hot sun and permanently dry positions. Excellent for a fast cover that blocks weeds and roots as it grows- perfect erosion control for steep shady slopes. Plant on 1′ centers for a fast cover. Adaptable to dry conditions when established.

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Muhlenbergia rigens

Deer grass is native to large areas of the west coast from west central Oregon south through California. Its a tough and wild looking grass that peaks in autumn with a crescendo of dramatic flowers. Dense and fountain forming evergreen grass. Foliage to 2′ x 3′ very quickly. In autumn spikes of light tan thin but feather columns emerge and point out in every direction. The rise to about 5′ tall and remain as stiff skeletons well into winter. Full sun to very light shade in any soil that drains. Excels on slopes and raised beds. Wonderful lining a path or mass planted. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Its fully adapted to our dust dry summers. Very wild looking grass which can be tamed somewhat by planting in rows or symmetrical pattern. Otherwise it fits in perfectly between drought tolerant native shrubs like Manzanita and Ceanothus. Oregon native plant.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Meadow Pastels’

This is our own seed strain of Pacific Coast Iris. We save from specific plants and aim to include as many unusual colors as possible. Typically 1/3 are deep purple, 1/3 are amber/yellow and 1/3 are combinations of the two- whats left is the odd deep blue. Full sun to part shade in any reasonably well drained soil. Adaptable to clay. Regular summer water for the first year to establish then none in subsequent years. Blooms appear from late April through May. Height is variable but all make large clumps of grassy foliage over time. Do not disturb once established and remember that Pacific Coast Iris thrive on neglect. Excellent and wild looking cut flowers. Highly deer resistant. Xera Plants Introduction. The plant pictured is an example of an Amber seedling. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Saxafraga x geum ‘Dentata’

Really cool evergreen Saxafrage that has deep green spoon shaped leaves that are strongly serrated. The serrations are remarkably symmetrical and give the plant a very architectural appeal. In late spring wiry stems to 10″ supply clouds of small white flowers. If you look closely each flower is adorned with yellow and red polka dots. Spreads moderately fast to form large, dense colonies in part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil with regular moisture in summer. Avoid blasting sun and dust dry soil. Not hard to grow in a cool position. Very hardy with a great year round appearance. Excellent lining woodland paths or as a pool of cool leaves beneath established shrub. Very good in winter containers. Easy to pick up and move if you need a new patch. Lovely.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Native Warrior’

Pacific Coast Iris can be dodgy to divide. You have to do it at the exact correct time in the fall just before they grow roots for the new year. Even then it takes a careful and gentle hand to produce viable divisions that will grow on and bloom. ‘Little Survivor’ must get its name from its ease of division. Either way its a fantastic PCI that begins blooming in late April and continues almost to June. Red and raspberry colored flowers are dramatic on a very compact plant to just 10″ tall. Grassy evergreen clumps of foliage do not obscure these precious flowers. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in any soil with reasonable drainage, including clay soils. Water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Highly deer resistant. Long lived. Do not disturb once established. Neglect is its friend.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Blue Moment’

How can you not fall in love with a blue iris? Its so classic. This vigorous and easy to grow Pacific Coast Iris does blue very well. The large sky blue flowers are marked in the center of the fall with more intricate yellow and black hatch marks. Large growing PCI to 16″ tall and forming imposing clumps of tall evergreen foliage. Blooms late April through May. Full sun to part shade in any soil that drains. Not fussy but dislikes standing water. Water though the first summer to establish then none in subsequent years. Evergreen foliage is nice looking- dies down a bit in winter and returns in spring. Highly deer resistant.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Geoff’s’

Our good friend Geoff Beasley gave us this very easy to grow, pretty and floriferous selection of Pacific Coast Iris. The broad flowers are a combination of amber, maroon and even black hatch marks. To 14″ tall and produced from grassy spreading evergreen clumps. Full sun to part shade in virtually any soil with a modicum of drainage. Long lived perennial that is best left undisturbed once established. Blooms appear from late April through May. Highly deer resistant. Water for the first year to establish then none in subsequent years.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Watercolor’

Of the 11 species of Pacifica species on the west coast the species I. munzii from the central Sierra Foothills imparts the best blue flower color. Typically a tall growing species to 16″ this cultivar creates amazing large flowers of soft washed blue with ivory edges. A very pleasant color that shows up well in gardens. Full sun  to part shade in rich to average soil. This cultivar likes a bit more drainage than others- a product of its I. munzii parentage. Blooms late April through May. Upright grassy deep green foliage is evergreen and forms large clumps over time. Best with a good amount of neglect as all Pacific Coast Iris demand. High deer resistance.

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Stipa barbata

Silver Feather Grass- our favorite ornamental grass. From humble blue leaves that form an upright grassy clump stems rise to 4′. As the flower open they unfurl- curling 18″ long horizontally and covered in soft downy hairs. The slightest wind puts these streamers into graceful motion. Blooms June-July. When the flowers ripen and begin to detach they can be gathered and made into a bouquet and the tails will curl up and form a soft tan haze. An arrangement lasts forever. Often self sows in open conditions- and this is good because it is not an easy grass to germinate and does not work from division. Easy to move when small. Give it an open position where you can observe the streaming flowers unobstructed. Very hardy and little summer water once established. Full sun. Semi-evergreen foliage in winter. High deer resistance. Spectacular grass.

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Yucca rostrata

Beaked Yucca does fantastically well in our climate and is one of the Yucca species that will form a dramatic trunk. Blue thin leaves radiate out in a perfectly round orb. Slowly rises to 8′ tall in our climate. Full hot all day sun in a warm position. Very well drained soil with light summer water during the hottest stretches to encourage growth. Occasionally, with age 4′ spikes appear holding large trusses of ivory flowers. Perfectly hardy to cold, way below 0ºF. Avoid cold wet sites- to really do well it needs heat and exposure. Not prone to bacterial leaf blight that affects other Yucca species. Good air circulation. Lives happily in large containers for eons. Focal point in many of the best gardens in our region. High deer resistance. Evergreen.

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Dasylirion wheeleri

Sotol or Desert spoon is an excellent Yucca relative that does amazingly well in our climate given the correct conditions. Native to the northern Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico into Arizona and stretching to the east through New Mexico into Texas is where you will find this handsome desert dweller. Rosettes of serrated blue green leaves radiate out in a circular orb. The ends of each leaf become frizzy and add an overall hazy texture to the plant. In time, when happy 9′ spikes erupt from the center and display columns of small white flowers. Very well drained soil in a full, hot position. Excellent on hot, south facing slopes but perfectly at home in the dry gravel garden. Foliage to 3′ x 3′ slowly. Evergreen. Light summer water to establish then none in subsequent years. Great in containers. High deer resistance.

 

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Hesperaloe parviflora

Red Yucca. Who would have thought that this remarkably adaptable plant would grow perfectly in such places as Phoenix, AZ AND Portland? We’re amazed and this excellent semi-succulent plant is one of our favorites for hot dry landscapes. The evergreen leaves form rosettes that spike up to about 2.5′ tall- blue green turning purple in colder weather. They are lined with little white hair filaments that add to the appeal. in summer flower spikes rise to 4′- many of them and hold tubular flowers that are succulent and red on the outside, when each yawns open it reveals a yellow center. Very cool. Full sun and average to poor well drained soil- though it does fine in any soil type that drains well. Excellently adapted to life in the blasting hot hellstrips. It can take any kind of reflected heat with no summer water and still perform beautifully. Clumps increase slowly in our climate. Excellent in containers as well. Loved by hummingbirds. Little to no supplemental water ever. Cold hardy below 0ºF. High deer resistance.

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Phormium tenax ‘Portland Night’

We selected this incredibly dark foliaged New Zealand Flax from a huge seed batch. It was the darkest maroon/black and exhibited great vigor. To 3′ x 3′ in rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Soak once every two weeks once established. Full sun to light shade in a somewhat protected location. When established it is capable of freezing back in extreme winters and recovering fully by early summer. Following mild winters (above 20ºF) 6′ spikes may appear with tubular yellow flowers on a much branched inflorescence. If in containers move to a freeze free location in the event of an arctic blast (about once every four years). Arching stems are graceful. High deer resistance. Great performance on the Oregon Coast. Evergreen.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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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.

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Phlomis fruticosa ‘Quilted Leaf’

A really handsome and unique form of Jerusalem Sage. The large gray leaves are spongy and quilted and good looking all the time. This woody perennial forms a large spreading plant to 4′ tall and 5′ wide in full sun and rich to average well drained soil. Regular light summer water- to establish then drought adapted. Very drought adapted when established. Blooms June to August in our climate and makes a great paring with smaller low water full sun woody shrubs such as Cistus or Ceanothus. The whorls of soft yellow flowers born on upright stems have the sweet fragrance of cloves in close proximity. A very cool cut flower that lasts for more than a week in a vase. Loses some leaves in winter- gets them back quickly in spring. Wonderful on sunny hillsides. Moderate deer resistance. This form will often have a re-bloom with the return of fall rain. Give it room to spread out horizontally.

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Phlomis (anitolica) ‘Lloyd’s Variety’

Aka Jerusalem Sage. This is a very compact but floriferous form of this evergreen perennial/subshrub. To 3′ x 5′ and forming a dome of thick gray/green foliage. In summer spikes extend and display yellow flowers in whorls around the stem. Very symmetrical and loved by pollinators. Surprisingly up close it is very fragrant reminding me somewhat of the sweet clovey scent of Dianthus. Long, blooming for 4-6 weeks. Full hot sun and rich to average well drained soil. Ideal on hot slopes. Light summer water aids vigor but it can take very dry conditions once established. Easy to grow, long lived plant. Mix with other hot sun dwellers and other mediterranean natives. Moderate deer resistance.  Evergreen.

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Phormium cookianum

Aka Phormium colensoi, Mountain Flax has a different habit than the more commonly seen and very upright Phormium tenax. This large clump forming plant has wide and DROOPING sea green foliage. It rises to about 4′ tall but spreads at least 7′ in time. Evergreen perennial for borders, containers, This inland species is said to be hardier to cold than P. tenax or its hybrids.. So far we have not observed that. It seems to be the same hardiness about 12ºF but will regrow if frozen to the ground. Rich, well drained, moisture retentive soil is ideal with regular summer irrigation- which spurs establishment and luster. Following mild winters (above 20ºF) 8′ spikes deliver yellow duck beak flowers on a stately and angular inflorescence. If frozen back by temperatures below 17ºF established plants are capable of recovering quickly and entirely by early summer. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast where it tolerates gale force salty winds and will never be injured by severe cold. Give it a protected spot in the Willamette Valley and shield it from subfreezing wind during arctic events. Very pretty evergreen perennial. High deer resistance. New Zealand mountains. Picture taken on the Oregon Coast.

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Penstemon pinifolius ‘Nearly Red’

A really cool color switch for this normally bright orange species. The dusty red tubular flowers rise taller on this cultivar than others to 18″ and it forms a less dense clump of pine leaved low evergreen foliage. Found and named by David Salman of High Country  Gardens we’ve found this to be an excellent performer in our climate. Full sun and enriched, well drained soil with light consistent summer water. The flower appear for weeks from May to July. Very forgiving perennial that thrives in rock gardens or dry slopes. Long lived. Hummingbirds.

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Penstemon pinifolius

Pine leaved Penstemon is a native of the southern Rocky Mountains and its a long lived, easy to grow evergreen perennial for rock gardens, hot aspects and slopes. Well drained soil in full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil. Light but consistent summer moisture increases vigor which in turn increases the amount of flowers. Incredibly heavy blooming wildflower with masses of 7″ spikes holding tubular hot orange flowers. Very showy and irresistible to Hummingbirds. Blooms May to July. Cut back spent flowers to tidy. Low mat forming plant with grass green pine like foliage. Easy to grow perennial with a wonderful wildflower display. Very adapted to our climate. Photo credit: Bob Hyland. Hyland Garden Design.

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Penstemon pinifolius ‘Melon’

Excellent and very heavy blooming color form of Pine leaved Penstemon. Forming a spreading evergreen mat of bright green needle like foliage it erupts in a multitude of 8″ spikes with soft melon orange tubular flowers suspended on the wiry stems. Blooms begin in May and extend to July. Full sun and well drained sites in average to enriched soils. In clay soils add a handful of pumice to the planting hole. Full sun and light but consistent summer moisture. A wonderful flower color with a fantastic floral display on this easy to grow long lived perennial. Spreads eventually to about 18″ wide (foliage is low- goes no higher than 4″). Excellent hummingbird plant. Native to the southern Rocky mountains- it loves our climate as well.

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Chionochloa rubra

Snow Tussock from alpine New Zealand is a clump forming grass of great grace and texture. The fine upright growing blades are a soft taupe color that shines in the sunlight. Most often the tips of this grass become cere and it gives it a wilder look. To 2′ x 2′ and a tightly clumping evergreen that increases very slowly. In summer stems clad in tan oat like flowers dangle in a pretty way from the plants top. Full sun to part shade in Well drained, rich soil with light consistent summer moisture. Appreciates an open exposure- avoid neighbors that are too rambunctious or close. Stunning in a mass planting. A great grass for our climate. Do not divide,  or move once established.

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Luzula sylvatica ‘Aurea’

This! This is one of the coolest sedges for winter displays. It virtually glows in yellow/chartreuse and spreads to form large patches. Adaptable to both full sun (with water) to dense shade. it holds its gold coloring in shade but is more conspicuous in the cold months. In summer it turns lime green and can be site where it fades into the background. In early spring 1′ chartreuse stems display excellently contrasting warm, metallic brown flowers- they are quite showy and come in great quantity. Excellent in rich to average soil with regular summer water. Full sun (but not reflected heat) to dense shade. Very adaptable to dry shade conditions. We love this evergreen workhorse of a sedge that virtually glows. Great en masse or as  a simple single glowing patch.  This species of woodland sedge is native to Europe. Excellent plant.

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Luzula sylvatica ‘Marginata’

This is the most common form of this tough and good looking woodland sedge. The wide curving leaves are finely lined in yellow on the margins. It give this useful plant extra dimension. To 18″ across and forming multiple rosettes. In spring 1′ spikes carrying showy tan flowers create a haze. Rich to average well drained soil with consistent summer moisture. Full sun (with regular summer water) to quite dense shade. Useful evergreen for winter containers. Excellent winter appearance. Long lived, easy to grow. Takes very dry shade when established.

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Luzula sylvatica

Sylvatica- of the woodland and this woodland evergreen workhorse of a sedge is both easy to grow and always good looking. Forms bold rosettes of 1/2 wide deep green stems to about 2′ across. In early spring 1′ spikes hold metallic tan flowers. Very pretty. Full sun to dense shade in rich to average well drained soil with light summer water. More water will be needed the more sun it gets to remain deep green. Easy to grow and excellent massed for a uniform if somewhat wild look. Remove spent flower spikes to prevent seeding which will occur in open disturbed sites that you irrigate. These seedlings are easy to spot and move and it never becomes a pest. Long lived. Adaptable to very dry conditions in shade.

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Festuca rubra ‘Patrick’s Point’

A west coast native grass that ranges from British Columbia to Southern California- usually near the beach. This form is exceptionally blue and so pretty as a year round evergreen presence. To 9″ tall and spreading at a measured rate by stolons slowly expanding the plant to several feet wide. Forms an incredibly dense cover and weeds will seldom compete with this climate adapted grass. In late summer and not profuse 8″ stems hold gray floral spikes. This is along lived, easy to grow grass that does not die out in the center or poop out after a few years. In fact it would make an admirable lawn substitute. This form is from Humboldt, County in CA and was named for the small town where Greg lived as a child- so we had to grow it. And damn it turned out to be a fine, evergreen, native grass. Full sun to light shade and little to no summer water once established. Not fussy about soil and not a rambunctious thug unless soil is overly enriched- instead give it oxygenated average soil.  Excellent among drought adapted shrubs and especially nice interplanted with Pacific Coast Iris. Fine dense foliage is bright blue in summer turning to more of a greenish hue during the cooler months. Excellent winter appearance. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Festuca californica

Native to the Willamette Valley from Clackamas country south and once widespread before being pushed to the margins by exotics and development. The best place to find this clump forming cool season  evergreen grass now is on slopes, almost always underneath Oaks. As you go farther south it becomes more widespread. Our seed grown plants come from exceptionally blue foliaged plants. Grows during the winter and looks clean and fresh then. In spring 3′ tall inflorescences arrive and are straight and airy. Following bloom in summer the stems of these blooms take on raspberry tints and remain standing. Totally summer drought adapted  but a little irrigation will improve summer looks. To 1′ x 2′ as a clump of evergreen foliage. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched, well drained soil. Light summer water. Best in wild areas and margins. Looks a tad too wild for some. Check it out in person and see how you feel.  Excels around Manzanitas, Cistus, Ceanothus and in dry shade in woodlands. Oregon native plant.

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Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Most grasses in this genus native to North America really do prefer a hotter, longer summer than we have. But this one has surprised us and we are in love with it. Strongly clump forming evergreen grass with thin blue/green blades that rise to about 1′ tall. In late summer spikes erupt and as they unfurl they reveal a long feather like inflorescence that is up to 2′ long. The sun shining through this taupe/white group of flowers is purely luminescent. To 4′ tall and 4′ wide for full sun and average, well drained soil full sun. Excels on slopes- especially hot slopes. It requires just light summer irrigation but established clumps get by with none and still perform. Wonderful grass to plant among such things as Arctostaphylos and Grevilleas. Cut back to the foliage in spring. Really good looking dryland grass from the Texas Big Bend country.

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Luzula pilosa ‘Igel’

We’ve been impressed with this evergreen, ever lovely, ever symmetrical sedge from Europe. Tightly clumping deep green plant to 6″ tall x 11″ wide in time. Rich, moist, well drained soil is ideal. Protect from blasting sun and reflected heat. Excellent performance in woodlands, sunny, irrigated borders. Imparts both a natural look but its habit is so symmetrically round that it also gives a modern feel. May be massed for a profound soft effect. Regular summer water- especially during heatwaves. Excellent performance in containers. Easy to grow. Evergreen- but it can look a little burned if we have extreme cold- not to worry new growth quickly hides any tatty leaves in spring. Avoid dense, dry shade, dappled overhead shade is ideal. Deep green appearance year round.

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Carex testacea

Wonderful orange Carex that is a great (if temporary] garden plant. Clumping and upright then broadly arching. Leaves take on intense copper tints for most of the year. Excellent plant for containers, winter containers. Evergreen and for full sun to light shade. Regular to rich, well drained soil- average summer water. Not drought tolerant over the long haul, so at least a soak once a week in summer. To 10″ tall x 20″ wide. Give it room to reach its full dimension. Containerized plants will drape gracefully over the edge. Do not cut back hard in spring- limit your tidying to removing dead/ratty leaves. If you do have to cut it back hard then make sure you apply some all organic fertilizer and water consistently to speed recovery. Average lifespan 3-5 years. Avoid full exposure to subfreezing wind. New Zealand.

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Eucryphia x ‘Nymansay’

Columnar evergreen tree that is ideally sized for small urban gardens and blooms in mid to late summer. Large white flowers are profuse on every stem. There is a central boss of long stamens tipped with pink pollen. Blooms July-August. Full sun to light overstory shade and rich soil with regular summer water to establish. To 18′ + in  10 years and less than half as wide. The evergreen divided leaves are glossy and pretty year round. Grows about 2′- 3′ a year when established. Young trees are somewhat sparse but they  fill in significantly with age becoming very dense upright rounded trees with time. Locate out of the path of subfreezing east wind. If you are in a wind zone place the tree on the west or south side of a structure. In central Portland this is less of an issue. Gains tremendous cold hardiness with age. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF- established plants can take brief drops to 0ºF. Amazing in bloom and wild life thinks so too. Cold damaged foliage recovers very quickly in spring- by May you would have no idea. Injury happens in cold gardens about once every 5 years. Majestic tree in age. South America.

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Arbutus menziesii

Pacific Madrone, iconic tree of the Pacific Northwest. Famous for its glossy, russet orange, sinuous, exfoliating bark and round, evergreen foliage. In spring, clusters of white flowers are showy and turn into vivid red berries by autumn. These are loved by birds- especially western tanagers who will quickly strip a tree as flocks move from one to the next. Must be grown from seed and it must be transplanted when small. Just the way it is. Plant it in average, well drained soil. Water lightly through the first summer in subsequent years leave it strictly alone. Full sun is best- tends to wander towards the sun in shade. Underplant with low water natives such as Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Vancouveria. Slow at first it picks up speed after about 4 years- then it can grow 2′-4′ a year. Somewhat messy tree- loses leaves in summer and the bark exfoliates all over the place too. Know this and live with it. Ours are raised from seed of trees native to our wholesale nursery site- so its a local strain. Oregon native plant.

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Crinodendron patagua

Chilean Lily of the Valley Tree or Evergreen Snowbell- both descriptive common names for this unusual tree from South America. Fast growing evergreen tree that looks superficially like a live oak. In mid to late summer relatively large pure white waxy bells appear and line the stems like small bells. The bottom of the waxy bloom is deeply serrated. Cool. To 16′ tall and half as wide. Often forms multi-trunks if you don’t want this then diligently prune it until you get one sturdy trunk. Do not site in the direct path of subfreezing east wind- a south or west exposure will do in windy areas. Easy to grow tree that gets by with a minimum of water in summer once established.

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Pennisetum spatheolatum

Veldt grass from South Africa has easily turned into one of our favorite ornamental grasses. Spreads to form bright green evergreen foliage that rises to 20″ tall and spreads several feet wide. From late spring to early autumn a continuous supply of 3′ – 4′ stems that have a catkin like inflorescence at the tip. It begins white and slowly turns to to tan. They wave gracefully in the wind and point in every direction from the clump. Immensely graceful grass that has an incredibly long season of interest. Rich, well drained soil with little summer water once established. Remains good looking through winter. Cold hardy and easy for full sun. Creates and excellent instant meadow effect. Evergreen. Moderate deer resistance.

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Muehlenbeckia ephedroides

Very cool shrub that we raised from seed that we received from a friend in New Zealand and it has turned out to be a great garden plant. Resembling ephedra or even a rush it bears many many vertical stems that are a soft radiant gray. It spreads slowly underground to expand its range as well as above ground. Not a fast plant. In winter the gray stems take on purple and blue tints. In summer tiny curious white flowers change to tiny star shaped translucent white fruits which spangle the upright stems.  Full sun and well drained average soil. Light summer water – but incredibly drought as well as heat tolerant. Mixes well both culturally and aesthetically with things like Cacti and Agave or other dry appearing southern hemisphere shrubs.  To 30″ x 30″. Moderate deer resistance.

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Thymus vulgaris ‘Peter Davis’

Form of the useful culinary herb that is also a nice looking little evergreen shrublet. To 6″ x 6″ the gray green foliage is aromatic and most useful before it blooms. In early summer it becomes a ball of light pink flowers- very pretty. Wait a bit until the blooms have receded to harvest again. A first rate, semi-woody evergreen garden plant that is good looking for most of the year. Average to rich, well drained soil in full sun. Light summer water. Very easy go grow. Takes quite a bit of drought when established.

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Teucrium fruticans

Silver Germander is a wiry shrub with gray foliage and even lighter gray/white stems. All summer it bears pale blue small flowers with a prominent central lip. Traditionally used in topiary or as a trimmed hedge, it takes amazingly well to heavy shearing. It responds by becoming incredibly dense. Its malleability  leads people to also trim it into any whimsical shape they can dream of. Full sun, average, well drained soil. Little to light summer water when established. Requires full sun and a hot position with protection from subfreezing wind. Classic mediterranean shrub. Grows as well at the cool coast as it does in the hot inland areas. To 4′ x 4′ if left unpruned.

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Polypodium guttatum

Fun little hardy evergreen polypody that has perfectly vertical fronds that rise to just 6″ high. In time it forms dense colonies. Very fun to grow in part shade to shade. A great evergreen texture to repeat in a woodland. Excellent appearance even after the most brutal winter. Surprise. To 2′ wide in rich, hummusy soil and regular summer water. Apply an annual application of mulch right over the top of the leaves each spring to feed and hold moisture . High deer resistance.

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Phlomis aurea

Wow, a species with golden leaves. Not variegation. How cool is that and it is a cool old gold color that the felted thick leaves glow. Rounded evergreen shrub to 30″ tall and 3′ wide forming a dome. In summer whorls of large yellow flowers surround the stems and kind of blend in with the foliage. Wonderful year round appearance. A plant I nominate as #1 Hellstrip plant of the year. It thrives in the heat reflected off the asphalt and it requires absolutely no water whatsoever when established. Plant for foliage and the flowers will follow. Glows in the dead of winter. Moderate deer resistance.

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Myrtus communis compacta ‘variegata’

We love Myrtles they are so drought tolerant and they smell so good and we’re finding more and more cultivars that are hardy in Portland. This one is a real surprise because the green form of ‘Compacta’ is not nearly as hardy as this charming variegated version. A slow growing perfectly round shrub with light green leaves edged in cream- brush them- they smell so good. To 3′ x 3′ in 8 years. In summer small white flowers have a sexy little brush of white stamens. CUTE. Full sun to very light shade in a warm protected position. Mine are against my house on the south side and they’ve grown into a little hedge. They have only had slight tip damage in the coldest winters, but spring recovery is rapid. In fact it can freeze to the ground and resprout and regain its stature in a season.  Don’t go planting this shrub out in the open, exposed to wind. It will fry. Instead keep it close and it will be fine. Extremely drought tolerant.

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Vaccinium nummularia

Himalayan Whortleberry. Cool, compact, slow growing very nice looking evergreen blueberry relative from the Himalayas. Small round leaves are dense on the stem and very symmetrical. New growth arrives bright red before settling to deep green. In spring striking red and white striped pendant flowers arrive in clusters. If pollinated they produce small blue/black tasty berries ( so far this has been rare for us). To 3′ x 3′ in 6 years for full shade to part shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular summer moisture. Excellent performance in a woodland or along a margin. Avoid dry compact soils which it intensely dislikes. An annual application of mulch will keep the roots cool and moist during the heat of summer.

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Podocarpus macrophyllus ‘Maki’

Shrubby Japanese Yew Pine is a dwarf form of what can become a large tree. The deep green needles are much shorter in length and held more densely along the stem. In our climate it is a slow growing conifer of wonderful texture rarely exceeding 7′ and usually just 3′ wide or less. In summer little pointed green flowers protrude from between the needles and turn into round blue fruits by autumn. Extremely drought tolerant shrub for tight spots. Takes very well to pruning. Excellent in containers for year round good looks. Tolerates regular irrigation as well and is not fussy about soil. It thrives in high heat and summer is when most of the growth takes place. An old fashioned plant that we’d like to give a new lease on life. Very pretty focal point in authentic Japanese gardens. This true dwarf form can be difficult to obtain in the trade. This is the true form. Adapted to the hottest reflected heat of walls- parking lot islands. Average water to none, when established. Prune in early spring if required.

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Pachystegia insignis

Marlborough Rock Daisy is a shrub that is a wonderful piece of architecture. This compact slow growing plant has large round leaves that are concave and steel gray on the upper surface and pure white underneath. In spring 6″ pure white stems elongate to pure white buds that open the most crisp white daisies you’ve ever seen. Each flower has a double set of white petals around a yellow center. Clean and wonderful plant that we find to be tender below 15ºF so it requires a very protected spot or makes a great, easy, long lived container subject. A  beach plant in its native New Zealand it is excellently adapted to life on the milder coast. It is even somewhat tolerant of salt spray and will seldom be bothered by cold. Slow growing and dense to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years. Protect containerized plants form temperatures in the teens. Drought tolerant, low water requirements.

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Olearia lineata dartonii

A wisp of a shrub that is very hard to photograph but makes a great hazy gray light texture in the garden. Large see through evergreen shrub with thin gray leaves that are only 1/3″ wide but 2″ long. One of the famed daisy bushes from New Zealand, it is also one of the cold hardiest for us. Fast growing willowy appearance to 8′ x 4′ in 5 years. Full sun and average to poor well drained soil. Incredibly drought tolerant when established. Tiny white daisies appear along the stems below the leaves. Easy to grow. And if it gets too out of control simply cut it back hard in mid-spring- recovery and more dense growth will quickly follow. Plant with ornamental grasses and Arctostaphylos for a scintillating dry landscape look.

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Phillyrea angustifolia

Sometimes you need a large shrub or small tree that is evergreen but not dense and one that does not cast enervating shade. This incredibly drought adapted and cold hardy shrub fits that bill. Native to the Mediterranean region and closely related to Osmanthus this fast growing plant has never been injured by cold for us and sales through intense summer drought with not one ill effect. Always good looking the long thin opposite leaves have a nice symmetry on the stems. In spring tiny white flowers crowd the stems but are not fragrant or significant. It makes a great small tree- limbed up from the base with either one straight trunk or multiple. Grows about 2′-3′ per year. Tolerates summer water as well as dried out clay soils. Unique.

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Sycopsis sinensis

Rare and somewhat obscure evergreen tree that belongs in the Hamamelis family. Graceful medium green tapered leaves fold gracefully over each other in a pendant habit. The branching structure itself is graceful as well. To 18′ tall  with a columnar habit at first and then spreading a bit with time. In winter curious flowers look like little red brushes and occur profusely.  Nice looking cold hardy, shade tolerant and extremely drought adapted small tree. WE love this tree and have been incredibly impressed with how tough but beautiful it is. Accepts regular water in summer as well. Ideal sized tree for small gardens, or the space in-between the new close together construction. Not an oppressive evergreen but rather light. Moderately fast growing.

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Nerium oleander ‘Mathilde Ferrier’

Who would have guessed that one of the hardiest Oleanders would be a double flowering light yellow? Not me, but here she is and yes she is hardy in the city of Portland. Tall growing vigorous evergreen shrub to 8′ x 4′ in 5 years. In summer clusters of FRAGRANT  double soft yellow flowers are profuse and sincerely beautiful. It blooms off and on until September. Full hot sun in a protected location- against a south  or west facing wall is ideal. Injured by cold at about 13ºF and below but it recovers remarkably fast in spring when truly warm weather arrives and it will still bloom (blooms on new wood). It really is a pretty flowering shrub for a protected spot. The more heat it gets in summer the hardier to cold in the winter. Makes sense.

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Amomyrtus meli

Unusual Myrtle from Chile that I’ve grown for many years and though it is difficult to root from cuttings we still offer it. Glossy small leaves have the distinct fragrance of citrus when bruised. A tall rainforest tree in its home, in my garden it is a columnar evergreen shrub to 8′ x 2′ in 7 years. In early summer it produces clusters of pretty off-white flowers that are lightly fragrant too. They often turn into clusters of black berries by autumn. Slow growing in youth it picks up a little with age. Full sun to part shade in a protected location. Mine is against an east facing wall and it’s never been damaged by cold – save for a few burned tips below 10ºF. Surprising. If you are a collector and you’d like something different give this handsome shrub/tree a try. It will thrive at the Oregon Coast and likely grow much, much bigger. A water loving tree that requires regular irrigation during summer- this encourages growth and lustrous foliage. Chile.

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Myrtus communis ssp. tarentina

Dense, dark green and aromatic this form of sweet myrtle is also extraordinarily hardy to cold when established. Small glossy deep green foliage is sweetly fragrant when disturbed. Its held densely on upright stems on a compact growing shrub for full sun, a hot position and average to poor well drained soil. In late summer its decked in white flowers with conspicuous protruding stamens. They are sweetly fragrant and turn into WHITE berries by autumn. This shrub is best in a protected hot spot with as little summer water as possible when established.  Too much summer water leads to rank growth that does not harden in time for winter cold. Grow this shrub lean and mean and its perfectly hardy to cold. It can take any amount of summer drought. Slow growing to on average 3′ x 3′ and rounded in 5 years- larger with time and larger in richer soil. Full hot sun all day and good air circulation. Basically plant your myrtle, water it and then leave it strictly alone. Moderate deer resistance.

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Metapanax (Nothopanax) delavayi

Such a cool tree for small gardens. Upright growing and then branches that also turn vertical fairly quickly- kind of like an upside down candelabra. The lush evergreen foliage is composed of palmate divided leaves which droop gracefully and give the plant a lighter mein. In summer masses of orbicular off white aralia flowers appear en masse at the branch tips. They are pollinator heaven. And they turn into clusters of black berries consumed by birds. To 16′ tall and half as wide. Perfectly hardy to cold, but can become semi-deciduous below 10ºF. New leaves come quickly in spring. Fast growing tree for rich soil and regular summer water in full sun to high overhead shade in woodland conditions. This pretty tree has a promising future.

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Cinnamomum checkiangense

Excellent, sophisticated, graceful and cold hardy evergreen tree that thrives in our climate. Large, green pendant leaves are marked with  three prominent veins. New growth in spring emerges bright coral red before changing to mid green. Horizontal branching structure in tiers displays the handsome foliage very well. In late spring curious little white/green flowers amuse but are hard to spot. Fast growing straight trunked tree to 25′ tall with a spread half as wide. The crown is conical shaped but becomes more spreading in time. Excellent cold hardiness as well as adaptation to ice and snow. We love this unusual member of the Lauraceae. It should be planted often.

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Mathasiella bupleuroides

Wow what an interesting plant. This perennial member of the carrot family from Mexico almost immediately recalls a Hellebore. Nope. Clumps of blue divided leaves are very pretty and surprisingly evergreen even through the coldest temperatures. In spring the stem elongates to carry acid green cupped shaped flowers on a circular arranged inflorescence. Part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil. There is only the male form on the market in the U.S. as far as we can tell so no seed set.  Tends to flop or lean on other plants…just what it does. To 30″ tall and as wide. Rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Looks absolutely nothing like a carrot.

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Lupinus albifrons

Our locally native silver leaved lupine. A wildflower that beckons gardeners with incredible metallic silver foliage and spires of blue and white flowers from late spring into summer. It has some exacting requirements. Its best to know where you find it in the wild. Steep, steep cliffs and steep open road cuts. What do they have in common? Excellent drainage and little summer water. Spreading almost shrubby evergreen plant to 2′- 3′ wide on average. The very pretty fragrant flowers rise up to about 3′. It seems to resent a lot of competition from other plants- give it room, its own space and again, perfect drainage.  Highly deer resistant also not as attractive to rabbits. Oregon native plant.

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Iris douglasiana (Pacifica) ‘Burnt Sugar’

A groovy selection of our coastal native evergreen douglas iris. From spikey grassy clumps rise 2′ tall flower spikes topped with multiple blooms that are amber and maroon, intricately marked on the interior falls. Blooms April to June. Vigorous clump forming perennial for any soil type where there is not standing water. Regular water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Full sun. High deer resistance.  To 2′ wide in a few years. Oregon native plant.

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Grevillea juniperina ‘Xera Ember’

Our improved selection of the Juniper Leaved Grevillea with darker orange to near red profuse flowers and a more compact habit. To 2′ x  4′ wide in time the prickly grass green foliage of this spreading evergreen shrub allows the vivid curly deeply colored flowers to shine. Blooms nearly year round with a peak in mid to late spring. Loved by hummingbirds. Completely drought adapted- never needs supplemental water. Poor to average soil that drains but has never been amended or fertilized. Awesome candidate for a hot hillside or a protected hot south facing wall. Spectacular in bloom. Requests neglect- you should oblige. Hardy to around 7ºF.  Full sun.  High deer resistance.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Epimedium x ‘Aurora’ (Xera)

One of our selections of a hybrid barrenwort with stunning sunset colored flowers for a long period in spring and often into early summer.  Pendant star shaped flowers are orange and red with white tipped spurs. Easy to grow evergreen clumping perennial for part shade to shade. Rich, moisture retentive soil with consistent summer water. Mulch annually with compost to drive vigor, health. New foliage emerges amber with darker red flecks throughout before settling in to medium green in summer. To 14″ x 14″.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Ceanothus cuneatus ‘Blue Sierra’

For cold gardens this is an excellent cultivar and its a version of a species native to the Willamette Valley south into California. Small green wedge shaped evergreen leaves on an arching, somewhat angular shrub. In April and May clouds of soft violet blue flowers swarm the whole shrub. Beautiful. To 7′ x 7′ very quickly in poor to average well drained sites. No summer water once established. Handsome at all times. Excellently adapted to rough urban life where compacted soils, reflected heat and little water is present in summer- thrives in all those conditions. Full sun. Easy. Oregon native plant.

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Arctostaphylos canescens var. sonomensis

Our very, very favorite Manzanita and one of the very rare ones in the wild. Occurs on two ridges in northern California- Horse Mountain was one of them and Greg’s dad just happened to have a cabin there. Not an easy Manzanita to cultivate. Low, dense, spreading, very gray shrub to 3′ x 5′ wide in time. The bark is a great glossy mahogany and the winter/spring flowers are white tinted pink. Russet berries are quickly consumed by wild life.  Spectacular shrub for full sun, average to poor, well-drained soil and absolutely no summer water. Loathes the combination of water and heat. Neglect is its friend and you will reap great rewards with this beautiful shrub by strictly ignoring it once it is established.  Ultra cold hardy- hailing from over 4500′ in elevation  and recommended for cold gardens. This species is native to southern Oregon, and though not technically native to Oregon this is our favorite form of this species. Not the easiest to propagate so quantities are often limited. Absolutely NO summer water. Ever. Forms rounded balls of soft silver. Dynamic on slopes. Easily prone to death from soil pathogens if watered in summer. Absolute neglect.

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Osmanthus fragrans

Long ago I dismissed this tall sweetly scented Tea Olive as hopelessly tender in our climate. Then in a garden in Lake Oswego under towering firs I ran head on into an 18′ tall perfectly happy specimen. Looks like it had never suffered damage. It was just a really nice broadleaved evergreen tree. Copious amounts of small off white flowers crowd the stems beginning in autumn in our climate and then sporadically until spring. The POWERFUL fragrance they emit is that of apricot/freesia/rose and it travels- detectable 20′ away when in full bloom. To 15′-20′ tall apparently. Requires protection as a young plant and it really should not be in an exposed site. Instead locate near a house wall- where you can open the windows and let the perfume flow- and gain added protection. Gains much, much, greater hardiness with age. Summer heat seems to play a role- the more heat in summer the hardier in winter. Full sun to high overhead shade. Grows 2′-3’/yr. when young- aided by consistent summer water. Otherwise established trees need little. Not a plant for cold gardens.

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Osmanthus delavayi

Regal, tough, evergreen shrub that loves our climate and performs beautifully in a host of situations. Small holly like deep blue green leaves are completely obscured by masses of small, white, sweetly fragrant, tubular flowers that crowd the stems in April. Beautiful. To 4′ x 6′ in 6 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade which doesn’t diminish bloom. Rich, to average soil including dry clay soils but never anywhere there is standing water. Extraordinarily drought tolerant when established and will still thrive and bloom with none. Elegant clipped hedge which will become dense and still bloom heavily. The leaves are small enough that shearing does not mangle them. Long lived and cold hardy to 0ºF. Easy, elegant broad leaved evergreen. AKA Delavay Tea Olive.

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Hemerocallis ‘Elizabeth Salter’

Billed as a re-blooming Day lily it really does. Huge, opulent coral pink flowers to 4″ across open for weeks in midsummer. Compact growing cultivar to 30″ tall and forming a clump as wide. Amazingly soft flower color. Very showy in bloom. Huge flowers rise just above the foliage. I’ve had some re-bloom at the end of summer in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Drought adapted though and little water will likely not result in re-bloom. Semi-evergreen variety. Easy, long lived spectacular day lily for borders, general landscapes. The flowers are sweet and edible.

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Helleborus x ‘Amethyst Glow’ Winter Jewels ®

Kind of a nifty color breakthrough for the breeding team Ernie and Marietta O’byrne. We’ve been delighted with this soft pewter purple color on a vigorous group of plants that produce enormous blooms. To 2′ x 2′ for shade to part shade in rich, well composted soil. Light summer water. High deer resistance.

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Grevillea x ‘Octopinky’

This seedling showed up in my garden about 6 years ago. It must have been from ‘Constance’ which froze out but this seedling remained. Curious shrub with congested deep green small leaves lining long arching branches. Shows little interest in branching on its own- you can fix this with a few snips of the terminal ends of the branches. I was amazed to find the peach/pink flowers that arrived one spring. Orange on the outside the perianth reflexes when open to pink and peach.  Its parent plant had flowers of dark orange/red so this was a surprise. It blooms heavily with clusters of small curly flowers, the perianth reflexes and reveals a long style that is actually light brown. Curious shrub for the collector. Its been hardy below 10ºF in 2013 and since then has never shown cold damage . Full sun and average to poor well drained soil. Little to no summer water when established. The arching stems reminded me of an Octopus. Hence the name. To 4′ x 4′ at a moderate clip.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Fremontodendron x ‘San Gabriel’

For people with HUGE gardens that they don’t want to water but still require a floral show there is this west coast native Flannel Bush to occupy beautiful space. Fur covered maple shaped leaves are deep green on top with a reverse of tawny brown. Avoid this fur it causes dermatitis and you don’t need that. Rapid growing evergreen shrub for full sun and poor soils and absolutely NO summer water. That can lead to root molds and death and at the very least rank growth that does not harden for winter cold. Instead neglect and stand back as this 15′ x 15′ monster of the Chaparrel produces a two month parade of 4″ wide cupped gold flowers. A large specimen in full bloom causes the heart to stop. Nice espalier too. Moderate deer resistance. Neglect is the flannel bush’s friend.

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Erica terminalis

Tree heathers fascinate us and this widespread species of southern to northwestern Europe makes a fantastic, drought adapted garden plant. Fine needle like green foliage lines strongly vertical growth. In mid summer the tips of the stems produce many urn shaped pale pink blossoms that are showy for up to 6 weeks. Following the bloom period these remain on the shrub and turn a russet color adding to its charm. To 3′ x 3′ in 4 years. Full sun and well drained average soil with light summer water to establish. Once you have it going it requires no supplemental water. Great for dry areas, gravel borders, hellstrips. Excellent fine textured shrub that develops a shredded gnarled brown trunk with time. Moderate deer resistance.

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Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’

We love Wilma and have found that she’s a great landscape plant and not just relegated to seasonal containers. Fast growing dense, columnar acid green/gold tree to 9′ tall and 2′ wide in 7 years. Average, well drained soil. Do not plant this in rich amended soil, it will grow rapidly and rank and likely tip over in the first windstorm of the autumn. Instead rely on its adaptation to poorer soils to create sturdy, measured growth. You’ll thank yourself in the end. Foliage can be burned by strong subfreezing wind- plant this out of the path of east wind. It recovers quickly in spring and you’d never know there was winter burn by about May. The foliage has an intense lemon fragrance. Great in containers. Little to no summer water. Moderate deer resistance- they won’t eat it but they may rut on it.

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Cistus x ladanifer ‘Blanche’

Very large growing deep green aromatic Cistus with enormous clear white flowers for an extended period in May-July. The flowers are so large they are reminiscent of the Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) and they virtually obscure the foliage in bloom. To 8′ tall x 8′ wide very quickly. The winding and shredding trunks that develop are cinnamon brown and have a wild, gnarly appearance with age. Excellent cold hardiness especially if you avoid rich, amended soils. Native unimproved soils that drain are best. Handles clay soils well especially if on a slope. Completely drought adapted, no summer water is required. The resinous deep green foliage emits a sweet balsam aroma on hot days.

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Ceanothus ‘Italian Skies’

A UK selection of our own west coast native wild lilac. And they did a good job. Large mounding evergreen shrub that puts on a spectacular display of deep blue flowers for nearly all of April into May. Fast growing to 5′ x 7′ very quickly in average well drained soil. Little to NO summer water. This cultivar has HUGE trusses of scintillating blue flowers. The largest of any Ceanothus that we grow- the reason why it is such a brilliant plant in bloom. Loved by pollinators of all kinds and especially tempting to large black and yellow bumble bees. Prune after blooming if you need to re-size the plant. Good cold hardiness. Best in a hot aspect. Good job to our friends in the UK.

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Geranium sessiliflorum ‘Red Select’

Very pretty cocoa brown leaves have fine hairs on them that give them a kind of metallic sheen. Everything about this plant is the same uniform cocoa color save for the dime sized white flowers which appear continuously as long as its warm and provide welcome contrast. Mounding evergreen plant to 6″ tall and 20″ wide. Full sun and rich,well drained soil with regular summer water. Takes less water in richer soil. A very pretty and durable New Zealand native Geranium. Not bothered by slugs and snails.

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