Saruma henryi

Lovely, sophisticated woodland perennial that is handsome in all of its parts. Large soft arrow shaped leaves have a thick, quilted quality. In mid spring to early summer simple light yellow flowers have three simple petals and they appear for weeks. A mounding perennial to 20″ tall and in rich soil with regular water twice as wide. Part shade. Excellent aesthetic and cultural companion with Hosta, Tiarella, Heuchera. Completely winter deciduous. Not bothered by pests. Easy, classy, long lived perennial that has a soft but substantial mien. Does not do drought or full sun. Perfectly hardy to cold. Saruma is a monotypic genus from SW China. Light deer resistance.

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Plagiobothrys figuratus var. figuratus

Fragrant Popcorn flower is wildflower limited to western Oregon with its largest populations in the Willamette Valley. This hardy annual is an inhabitant of wet meadows and vernally wet fields. Closely related to forget me nots (Myosotis) this plant erupts into waves of pure white flowers with a tiny yellow eye. The flowers foam between grasses and shrubs for several weeks in late May to July. To 10″ tall unfurling flowers on a plant of small stature. Excellent performance in rain gardens and a very reliable re-seeding plant. Full sun and water potted plants to establish. Self sown seedlings get by with no supplemental irrigation. Excellent with Rosa nutkana, Camas, Ranunculus occidentale. Moderately deer resistant. On warm summer days a field in full bloom emits a sweet perfume.Very good performance in containers and is often superseded in its habitat by Downingia. Excellent native pollinator flower. Especially important to native bumbles.  Oregon native plant. 

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Wonderfully fragrant and early blooming this ravishing plant is one of our favorite perennials. In May towering scapes to 3′ tall are topped by clusters of widely opening citrus yellow flowers. They emit a powerful perfume and the intensity ramps up at night. Blooms 3-4 weeks from a lower clump of grassy leaves.  Full sun and rich soil with regular irrigation in summer. Established plants can get by on water once every two weeks. Spreads to form colonies and this markedly increases the number of blooms. The floral perfume is detectable 10′ away and actually carries on the breeze. Mix with low shrubs or include in the center of a border. Lovely species that is very long lived and low maintenance. Completely winter deciduous. The flowers are edible and taste a little like the way they smell. This species can be hard to locate. (photo credit: Evan Bean).

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This is our local form of the Pyramid Spiraea an attractive naturally occurring hybrid between two local species. Spiraea douglasii (dark pink flowered) and Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida (white flowered).  Its a larger plant and much more controlled than  its parent S. douglasii and it inherits some of the drought adaptation of Birch leaf Spiraea. To 5′ tall and 4′ wide this upright growing shrub produces pyramid shaped inflorescences of the softest pink- intermediate between the two species. This form was found just east of Portland. Full sun and occasional deep soaks in dry summers. Tolerates part shade at the expense of a tidy, upright habit. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering. Adaptable to wild areas. Deciduous shrub that turns to tones of yellow and flaming orange in mid autumn. This twiggy shrub would make a great hedgerow plant. Blooms late May to early July. Flowers turn to tan seed heads that persist on the plant. Cold hardy and not difficult to grow. Not bothered by pests or disease. Not fussy about soils adaptable from sand to clay. Oregon native plant.

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Subalpine Rose Spiraea is native to the higher elevations of the the Cascades. Above 4500′ in sunny, moist glens it makes carpets of deep rose pink umbels from low rounded shrubs. To 30″ tall by 4′ wide in garden conditions, Rich soil with regular irrigation. Moderately fast growing to this dimension. The emerging soft green leaves take on hints of blue as they mature. Bloom at low elevation is May-July but in its highest native haunts bloom can be delayed to late summer. Deciduous shrub with wonderful orange/ red fall color if brief. Easy to grow native garden plant with regular irrigation. Established plants can take deep watering every two weeks. Remember that this as with all Spiraeas have little tolerance for drought and they don’t necessarily wilt going straight to crispy (a look not as fixable as wilting). Mulch heavily for the first few seasons. Avoid blasting, reflected heat and and hot dry situations. Wonderful combined with Rhododendrons and Azaleas for similar cultural conditions. In its native haunt it can be found with Pacific Rhododendron, Helenium, Delphiniums and Veratrum. I’ve never seen it afflicted by disease. Watch for aphids, hose those off if they appear. Beautiful in bloom. Very cold hardy. Oregon native plant.

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Eschscholzia caespitosa

Golden poppy is native to the inland valleys of southwest Oregon. This charming annual is much more delicate in habit and color than its more common bolder cousin Eschscholzia californica the ubiquitous California poppy. This little jewel demands a hot sunny location in soil that is average, and not improved. It will self sow locally but nothing like its cousin. This demure little poppy blooms from late April to mid-June. Full sun is vital. Mix this charmer with other similarly adapted annuals. Collinsia grandiflora, Plectritis congesta, Gilia capitata. Very deer and rabbit resistant. Water potted plants to establish, resown babies in the future can get by on natural rainfall alone. Oregon native plant

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Exquisite hybrid Salvia that forms a semi-woody subshrub and is clad in velvety purple with reddish toned flowers for months. To 2′ x 2′ forming a bush. The opulent flower color pairs well with almost any hue. Its especially commanding near yellow or chartreuse. Full sun to very light shade in rich soil that drains. Add all purpose fertilizer to the hole and keep it very well watered throughout its first summer. Do NOT cut it back until new growth shows in spring. Then you will know what to remove. The woody structure of the previous years growth actually acts as an insulator during the winter- this is why we recommend not trimming it until all danger of frost has passed. Excellent container subject and irresistible to hummingbirds. Aromatic foliage. Harbors some deer resistance. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. This and many Salvias takes a break from blooming when the temperature is above 95ºF. It will quickly resume blooming when cooler weather arrives.

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Downingia elegans

Calico flower is a widespread showy annual of vernally wet sites throughout our region.  A low spreading plant that rises up in bloom to reveal shovel shaped blue and white flowers. They closely resemble annual Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) to which it is closely related. Blooms appear from Mid May to early August. Rich soil with regular summer water. Downingia is native to areas that are often submerged in winter. And in the garden it appreciates ample water. Full sun and resist competition from there plants. Very good in rain gardens. One potted plant will expand to 2′ with rising showy flowers. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. Excellent container plant. You can simply remove it when it has completed its life cycle- replace with warm season annuals. A food source for the endangered Willamette Valley endemic Fendler’s Blue Butterfly. Leave established plants in place once they have died to distribute seed for the following year in the ground.  Oregon native plant

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Billions of blue daisies with a brilliant yellow center adorn profuse long stems.  Bloom occurs unabated May-October. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. A more compact form of this shrubby tender perennial to 16″ x 36″ in a single season. Excellent performance in container plantings. This is a real work horse of a daisy whose airy sprays of daisies mix harmoniously with a number of schemes. In the ground this tender perennial can over winter in a mild year (above 20ºF). Excellent pollinator plant and a real hit in my garden with butterflies. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil. Light, consistent summer water. If it over winters cut it back hard after all threat of frost has past. Containerized plants can be moved to an unheated garage to over winter. Brilliant blue daisies are exciting. This plant will perform as a hardy perennial at the Oregon coast.

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Great Camas is the larger and some say showier cousin to common Camas (Cammasia quamash ssp. maxima). Its found throughout the western valleys of the state. Rising to 2′ tall in mid spring the petals of great Camas are not only larger they are stiffer as well. The large star shaped flowers open from the base to the top. They range greatly in color from pale blue to the most common dark blue. Its a luminous color that beckons pollinators. Small black hover flies gather on the flowers to collect pollen. Forms increasing colonies in rich soil that retains moisture. Its often seen in winter submerged areas and is common in drainage ditches and vernally wet meadows along streams. It grows and blooms simultaneously with its common associates, Sidalcea malviflora ssp. virgata and occasionally even with Iris tenax (Oregon Iris). Its most striking neighbors in the wild are wild Parsnip (Hieracleum maximum) as well as Ranunculus occidentalis (Western Buttercup). Leaves precede the flowers and the whole plant goes cleanly summer dormant after seed set. Very adapted to heavy soils. No supplemental irrigation is required once established. Oregon native plant.

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