Grevillea victoriae ‘UBC Form’

Royal Grevillea is one of the most handsome shrubs that we can grow in our climate. Native to the highest elevation in Australia and then down to the middle elevations this species has been grown in our climate successfully for many decades. Large, long gray foliage is handsome year round and a great backdrop to the masses of orange pendulous flowers which are most prolific during winter. Loved by hummingbirds – Anna’s will stake out this shrub as one of the few sources of nectar during winter.  Full sun to light shade in average soil with light, consistent water to establish. Avoid baking hot locations as this plant forms and sets its flower buds in late spring and summer and they hold until the cool of autumn arrives to open. If this plant becomes too hot or stressed it can abort these flower buds diminishing the following seasons display. So, an average position away from reflected heat produces the best blooming. Very good performance in cold rural gardens, enduring 5ºF with no issue. Very large growing to 12′ x 12′ and sometimes larger with time. May be pruned hard in early spring to both limit the overall size but to increase density and blooming wood. Great performance at the Oregon coast and in Puget Sound as well as the coast range and Cascade foothills.  In the Willamette Valley the hybrids ‘Neil Bell’, ‘Octopinky’, ‘Poorinda Queen’ and the species G. Juniperina do not abort their flower buds in the hottest weather- and seem to perform more satisfactorily.  Moderately deer resistant.  Long lived. This form is from the University of British Columbia.

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Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

Wavy Leaf Silk Tassel  is a beautiful winter blooming evergreen shrub native to the Oregon coast from Lincoln county south to Santa Barbara county California. Amazing 1′ long silver gray tassels from late fall last through winter. Large shrubs have the appearance of a chandelier. Tassels dry and abort the plant by late spring, then its just a clean evergreen To 12′ x 12′  for well drained soil in full sun with good air circulation. Some leaf burn in the coldest winters.  Eventually it can become a multi-trunked tree. Extremely drought tolerant when established, never needing supplemental summer water.  Prune AFTER flowering. Excellent espalier. Spectacular in full bloom– which lasts for two months in mid-winter. Oregon native plant.

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Feijoa (Acca) sellowiana

Pineapple Guava is a remarkable evergreen shrub. Its cold hardy in the maritime PNW and is best used as a specimen in a warm position. Slow growing to 7′ tall and 5′ wide in 7 years  it produces small but dramatic flowers in summer with bright red stamens and 4-6 swollen red petals that when eaten taste like fruity cotton-candy- excellent for children, fruit salads.  These edible petals appeal to birds who unwittingly pollinate the flowers when they are noshing on the sweet treats. Handome gray foliage. Full sun, regular soil and water. Occasionally fruits in our climate. The fruits are avacado green and about the size of a fuzzy kiwi. If they ripen by November into December they have a spicy sweet pulp- cherished by many. Becomes much more hardy to cold when established.  Good for hot aspects. Prune after flowering. Dynamic, handsome, and fun shrub to grow. High elevations in Brazil- other S. American countries. Must have full sun- completely intolerant of shade.  Drought tolerant when established but regular summer water speeds growth/establishment. Syn. Acca sellowiana.

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Corokia cotoneaster xera plants

Corokia cotoneaster

Why, its not a Cotoneaster at all, in fact Corokia is a wildly architectural  shrub and evolved its twisted zigzagging stems (the official term is divaricating) and tiny leaves to fend off grazing by giant Moa birds in New Zealand. The birds are now extinct and we are left with this shrub as an evolutionary natural bonsai. To 5′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. Average to enriched soil.  Full sun to part shade. Flowers are more profuse in sun. Regular water. Great container plant. The yellow flowers in May are often followed by red /orange berries that don’t last long. I assume the brilliant color draws birds.  Established plants accept both regular irrigation as well as summer drought. Irrigation encourages growth. Left to contend with summer drought the plant is naturally smaller. Cold hardy to 5ºF or lower for brief periods. Excellent landscape or garden plant that imparts a haze on the landscape from a distance but thrills with up close views of the zig zagging branches and tiny black shovel shaped leaves. Excellent long lived container subject and will thrive even with constricted roots. We love this shrub  for its silvery winter appearance in containers and in container combinations. Mix with Sasanqua Camellias and  Western Blue Fescue (Festuca californica) for months long entertainment. Seldom bothered by deer.

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Coprosma x ‘Black Cloud’

This is a hardy shrub in a genus that is known for being decidedly tender.  A fantastic black leaved evergreen shrub from New Zealand which is an exciting hybrid. Small, glossy green leaves stained with black on handsomely patterned branches.  Full sun to light shade. Spreading habit is low when young eventually it grows upright to 4′ tall and 5′ wide with a distinctive and beautiful tiered branching pattern.  Insignificant small white flowers- they look like little translucent white worms- way more unobtrusive than it sounds.  This shrub has shocked us with its hardiness to cold. It survived temperatures in the single digits in a container and didn’t flinch. This is a wonderful foliage shrub that should be more popular. Excellent appearance year round. Drought tolerant. ‘Black Cloud’ Mirror Plant. Use as a small scale ground cover or first rate landscape plant. Very easy to grow. 

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Callistemon viridiflorus

One of our very favorite shrubs that combines unusual foliage, beautiful bark, and a great flower color. Upright growing with small diamond shaped forest green leaves that  line the wand-like stems. In cold weather this unusual shrub takes on maroon and purple tones, a great foil to the very light tan stems and trunk. To 8′ x 6′ in 6 years. In May 4” long by 1” wide chartreuse/yellow bottlebrushes protrude from the tips of the branches shoot out at every angle. In Tasmania where it is native it follows cold air drainages, proving that it requires at least some cold for good flower set. This clone is from a specimen that survived 0ºF in 1989. FULL sun and any soil with occasional summer water. My own receives no irrigation and performs beautifully. Hardier to cold in full sun. Unusual shrub that seems to bridge the aesthetic gap between broad-leaved evergreen and conifer. (Syn. Melaleuca virens)

 

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Callistemon pityoides ‘Corvallis’

I found this Callistemon in a garden in Corvallis, OR over 20 years ago. For the previous 30 years it had thrived through the coldest (0ºF or  -18ºc) winters. Upright growing fine textured evergreen shrub to 6′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. 2″ pale yellow fluffy brushes appear in late spring/summer and again in early autumn. Full sun, average soil – especially good in clay soils and regular summer water- though it can live on no supplemental water in summer irrigation improves fall bloom. Completely deer resistant. Perfectly hardy in all of Western Oregon. Long lived shrub that tolerates heavy snow and ice. Easy shrub. Moderately fast growing. Excellent performance on the Oregon coast. Prune if needed after bloom has ended.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Bupleurum fruticosum

A subtle but very sophisticated hardy evergreen shrub that is found in all the best gardens. Shiny sea-green leaves are reminiscent of a Euphorbia and are handsome year round. In summer long stems sport umbels of chartreuse green flowers gives away its familial affinity to Dill. Tough  shrub that is adaptable to all but boggy soils. To 6’ tall and as wide in several years. Blooms on new wood, may be hard pruned in early spring nearly to the ground to refresh and resize. Re-growth is rapid. Equally tolerant of drought and regular irrigation. A great plant that instantly makes a planting look sophisticated. Excellent with Lavenders  and Russian sage. An irresistible pollinator plant that will be covered in multitudes of insects while in bloom. Very easy to grow.

 

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Arctostaphylos silvicola ‘Ghostly’

Ghostly white foliage is almost too pale to believed and ‘Ghostly’ is an apt name. A moderate growing Manzanita to 8’ tall and 4’ wide in 5  years. Fast growing in our climate. Do not be afraid to cut back lanky new growth for a more upright and sturdier plant. Prune in July. In late winter and early spring clusters of white urn shaped flowers appear at the branch tips and delight hummingbirds. There is no more silver/white foliaged Manzania that we have seen. Truly spectacular in well drained soil with good air circulation and little summer water once established. From a species native to the Santa Cruz Mtns. in California and surprisingly cold hardy.

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Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Harmony’

A handsome, easy, and adaptable Manzanita that is a great plant for beginning gardeners. Sharp tipped bright green rounded leaves clothe stems of smooth mahogany/orange. Fast growing evergreen to 7′ x 7′ in 7 years. Average, unimproved soil that has good drainage. Even adaptable to heavy clay soils if strictly unwatered in summer. Urn shaped pink flowers change to white upon opening and draw hummingbirds. The maroon berries that follow are gobbled by birds and seldom spend much time on the shrub. Full sun to light shade and little to NO summer water. Tip prune after blooming to limit size, encourage density. As with all Manzanita it abhors crowding and should be given excellent air circulation. Dependable, hardy and easy to grow.

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