Carex pachystachya

Chamisso Sedge is a wonderful, common and extremely widespread sedge native to the W/NW parts of the US. Upright growing evergreen clumper to 10″ tall x 10″ wide in a season. The complex flowers are brown awns clustered in orbs at the top of very straight 20″ stems. Adaptable to a wide range of conditions from wet riparian zones to drier upland sites. In the wild it accompanies such perennials as Delphinium trollifolium, to Iris tenax. Good looking year round with just a slightly beat up look after the hardest winters. Spreads moderately fast in rich to average soil. Better year round appearance with a light application of compost. Excellent in a Willamette Valley meadow that is wet in winter and bone dry in summer. Each clump is dense enough to inhibit weed competition. Spreads very lightly by seed. Clumps that lose their luster in summer drought can be irrigated. Good garden performance. Great massed plant on 1′ centers.  Oregon native plant. 

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An exciting shrub/small tree with paddle shaped blue evergreen phyllodes for foliage and in late winter to early spring a massive display of luminous yellow flowers. I’ve always loved Australian wattles so it was with great excitement that we decided to grow this striking plant. Moderately fast growing to 16′ tall and 8′ wide forming either multiple or a single trunk. The bark is chocolate brown and smooth. Very few Australian Acacias will thrive in Portland,  its just about 5 degrees too  cold in our coldest years. This one is different, (a few species will live for 4-6 years before they finally succumb to Jack Frost. Acacia pravissima etc.) This, however, is the cold hardiest  that we have grown. It is hardy to just below 10ºF for brief stints- good enough for long term survival. This is a rare limited endemic to the high mountains of New South Wales but is popular as a garden subject the world over.  The small, fluffy,  balls of electric yellow flowers foam among the blue leaves – incredibly pretty. Full sun and a protected location – against a south facing wall is ideal for a very pretty fun to grow tree. Once fully open the flowering stems may be cut for long lasting bouquets. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering has ended. Light consistent water to establish . Not fussy about soils and happiest in full, all day sun. Protect from subfreezing east wind. Bloom time is concurrent with several earlier Ceanothus  (‘Blue Jeans’, ‘Dark Star’, ‘Concha’) and creates a vivid early spring  yellow and blue display not soon to be forgotten. Drought adapted when established. Not bothered by deer/elk- not entirely sure about rabbits- if they are profuse in your neighborhood it wouldn’t hurt to protect the plant with chicken wire when young. Beautiful year round and spectacular in bloom. AKA Blue Bush.

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Eucalyptus gunnii

Cider gum. This is a very successful Eucalyptus in Western Oregon. Native to the high central plateau in Tasmania it forms a handsome tree to 35′ tall and 20′ wide in 10 years. As with many Eucalypts this species begins with very different juvenile foliage that is bright blue/gray with rounded leaves. After several years of vigorous growth foliage morphs to longer, greener leaves with a somewhat weeping habit. In order to retain juvenile foliage for cut material let the tree establish well for a year or two. In March to April 15 the whole tree may be coppiced to the ground. Re-growth is rapid with the arrival of truly warm weather and light applications of water. Left strictly alone Cider Gum becomes large and stately.  One of its most striking features is blue/gray stems which are visible at quite a distance. Mature trees have clumps of foliage at the end of longer stems. A distinct look. Very fast growing in youth- 3′-5’per year. Growth slows with maturity but it achieves tree like stature very fast. Excellent in snow and ice. Cold hardy to about 5ºF – provide a warm microclimate in cold rural gardens. Excellent performance in urban areas. Not as messy of a Eucalyptus as some. As the tree matures the trunk exfoliates to smooth gray/tan with pink mottling. Excellent performance on the Oregon coast. Not bothered by deer or elk. A very pretty tree in a short amount of time. Drought adapted with age.

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Incredibly long blooming native sub-shrub with clouds of fragrant purple flowers for all of summer into autumn. To 2′ x 2′ forming a semi-woody base. The aromatic round leaves cup the flower buds as the stems elongate. Loved by all native pollinators. A wonderful plant in the mint family that is very easy to grow and long lived for this genus. This selection sports slightly darker purple and longer blooming flowers. Found from Douglas County, Oregon south throughout California.  Freezes back in very cold winters but sprouts quickly with warm weather in spring and commences bloom quickly. Great as a mass planting and ideal in a meadow. Also, adaptable to rock gardens and indeed thats where you find it in the wild- among gravel, rocks, and boulders. Mix with other long blooming native perennials such as Erigeron glaucus (sp & cvs) and among California fescue (Festuca californica). A very climate adapted plant. Cut back spent flowers and more will follow.  Nice cut flower. Very long blooming. Light summer water to very little when established. Some deer resistance. AKA Showy coyote mint. Oregon native plant.

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Eryngium proteiflorum MX

This is a spectacular plant and Brandon collected the seed outside of Mexico City- at a very high elevation. Still we are not completely sure of its ultimate hardiness so I’m going to guess. Based on other Mexican and S. American Eryngium and considering this is a widely spread species I’ll say its good in rich amended soil that drains to about 10ºF. That is somewhat irrelevant as the flower on this member of the Apiaceae (Carrot family)is phenomenal. In May-August HUGER 6″ wide flowers with a protruding central cone are metallic silver and sage green Unbelievable. Full sun to light shade in a protected location. Worth protecting in a pot as it makes a stellar container plant. The unearthly flowers are held on vertical stems to 3′-4′. As a cut flower it is a wet dream, lasting weeks and drying too. Kind of prickly a low rosette of serrated evergreen leaves is permanent. Cut away the spent flower stalk when it fades and you  tire of it. Light, consistent water. Fantastic. Thank you to our great employee Brandon for capturing the seed.

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This is the Willamette Valley form of coyote brush (bush)- also known as chaparral broom. A relatively short lived evergreen shrub in the aster family. Indeed this form blooms in autumn through winter with small brushes of white plumed flowers on female plants. Smaller yellow flowers on males. Typical of the steepest cliffs abutting the ocean and in the Willamette Valley it populates recent road cuts and fire zones. Often it will be seen all alone in the center of a Willamette Valley field. Native inland from northern Marion country to Douglas county. Very fast growing and drought adapted daisy bush for rough sites and poor soil. Improved soil will yield an enormous shrub so its difficult to pin point an exact size but everything from 4′ tall in poor soil with no summer water to 12′ x 12′ in rich soil with irrigation. I suggest no irrigation after planting. Excellent fodder for insects and birds. It may be pruned heavily in spring and will quickly regenerate. Foliage is deep glossy green but fine textured. Not bothered by deer. Excellent native companion for Manzanita, Grevilleas. VERY EASY to grow. average life span 10 years. Good instant plant for a native garden, but not long term. Native from N. Oregon coast south to Baja California. A prominent component of the California beach chaparral and on the Oregon coast as well. Common associated plants on the coast are Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and Mahonia nervosa. In the Willamette Valley its primary role has been ursurped by Scot’s Broom. Too bad.  Oregon native plant.

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Carex tumulicola ‘Willamette Gold’

Wow, when nature smiles on you then you need to take advantage. We found this stable variant of our locally native foothill sedge that is pure gold. As for the species a clumper that forms trailing 12″ foliage. The tight clumps keep to themselves and do not seed or run. Brilliant color all season long in average to enriched soil in full sun to light shade. Water consistently through summer for the best, consistent color. Attending flowers are on wiry straight stems with buff flowers in late spring to early summer. Mass for a much more drought adapted and vivid effect as Hakenochloa- Japanese forest grass. Easy to grow climate adapted native sedge. This is from a seedling batch of Willamette Valley native seed. Tough and good looking all the time. Evergreen- ever gold. To 6″ tall and 1′ wide. Plant on 1′ centers for a massed effect. Excellent in concert with other drought adapted natives, Manzanita etc. A great robust plant.  Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Melaleuca squamea

Honey swamp myrtle hails from wet locations in Tasmania.  Its a tender shrub inland but it thrives in zone 9 on the Oregon coast. A fur clad fine leaved shrub that is a true myrtle. In April-May the whole plant is home to stamen dominated purple bottlebrush flowers.  Exquisite. Very easy container subject that can be moved to a protected place if severe cold (below 20ºF) threatens. Excellent shrub for sandy substrates though it takes well to heavy clay too. Light consistent summer water. To 5′ tall by 2′ wide in 7 years. Great plant for hummingbirds and butterflies. Inland we have yet to test the cold hardiness in the ground. It should easily take 15ºF but probably not lower. Evergreen foliage is fragrant when disturbed. Good deer and rabbit resistance. Absolutely titillating in bloom. Native to mid and high elevations of Tasmania. Seed grown.

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Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’

An old and venerable cultivar of this species. This small tree achieves 12′-15′ with great age forming a showy and jaw dropping evergreen. Pale sea foam green/ grayish foliage is large and very circular giving this tree a billowing appearance. In winter white tinted pink flowers erupt from all the branch tips. These morph into large russet berries consumed by birds. The mahogany twisting, muscular bark is the most outstanding feature. Fast growing in youth (2′-5′) per year when excited. Give this dry loving shrub EXCELLENT air circulation in an open exposure. It can be afflicted by black spot in wetter than normal springs. ‘Austin Griffiths’ which is 1/2 this cultivar is more resistant to black spot. In time you can remove the lower shaded branches to show the trunk and improve air circulation as well as general good looks. Tall and often half as wide. Locate in a hot sunny place and water to establish then set it free. Very striking tree that is best planted as a smaller plant. Large specimens will NOT live as long and will be more difficult to establish.

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Lonicera hispidula

Hairy Honeysuckle or wild pink honeysuckle is a common vine in the western part of our state. Ranging rom S. British Columbia to California. This sprawling and twining plant is most associated with the cover under white oak woodlands. This vine can crawl to impressive heights into trees. As a child near Eugene this grew extensively on our property. It would climb pole sized trees and I would strip the winding canes off the trees and use them as a trellis for annual vines. The strong wood lasted 10 years or more. It derives its name from the conspicuous hairs on the leaves. At terminal ends of the branches soft pink curly flowers appear in cymes from June to September. These are followed by brilliant red berries that are food for birds. It has no fragrance. Excellent plant for stabilizing banks and hillsides where its incredible tenacity and drought tolerance is an advantage. Never a tidy plant this vine can be sent up a trellis or large tree. Water to establish then set it free. This honeysuckle can be afflicted with aphids early in the season but I’ve never seen it actually inhibit the plant. Just make sure not to look to closely at the plant in May-June. Evergreen to semi-evergreen with round leaves that surrounding the stem nearest the ends just before the flowers appear. Best in wild areas.- for some it can lack the sophistication of our other native honeysuckle Lonicera ciliosa. and is not as immediately beautiful. In habitat it consorts with Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana) Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversifolia) and Creeping snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). Often found clambering up steep rocky slopes in dry woods. Oregon native plant.

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