The most widespread native Ceanothus in our region. Its known by two common names, red stem Ceanothus which is fairly self explanartory and Oregon tea. A large growing shrub to small tree with conspicuous sanguine stems clad in large mid green leaves, this completely deciduous shrub is not known for fall color making due with yellow and off green before abandoning the plant. Fast growing to 12′ tall in May-July depending on elevation frothy white, fragrant flowers loosely decorate this sparse plant. In full sun and with regular irrigation it achieves tree-like status quickly. In the shade it makes rounded twiggy plant that is much less graceful. A wonderful native for pollinators and birds. Pollinators relish the flowers and birds make off with the black and brown seeds. Very graceful when well grown and that means average soil and water to establish then none in subsequent years. Excellent bordering woods and thickets. Naturally occurring with Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana and Rosa nutkatensis var. nutkatensis. Tolerates more summer water than most Ceanothus but none is necessary. Not deer resistant. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Deerbrush is a widespread species in Oregon favoring areas with extensive summer drought. Its found primarily in the southern 1/3 of southwest Oregon and the north central part of the state into southern Washington. A wide spreading semi-deciduous to deciduous shrub with young stems that remain green. Locally it is most common from about Dog mountain in the Gorge to the east and is extensive throughout Hood River and Wasco counties. This is an ideal shrub for revegetation areas, it naturally responds to fire, in fact the seeds must be exposed to boiling water to germinate. This species comes in a very wide range of colors. from clear white to deep blue and occasional shades of lilac pink. It may only be raised from seed so flower color is naturally variable. The plumes of flowers are large and airy displaying the color of the flower vividly. The most common flower color in Oregon is light blue. In late May and June a wonderful wildflower drive is up the Hood River Valley. This frothy blue to white flowers literally foam out from under native oaks and conifers. Its very conspicuous at that time too on the Rowena plateau. A word of warning not only does this shrub encourage deer browse it is also the unfortunate home of many deer ticks. Photograph carefully. Here it is found with such associates as Holodiscus, Toxicodendron, Symphoricarpos and Arctostaphylos. This brushy plant derives its name from the familiar site of black tail deer breast height chomping away in extensive groves. Not a long lived shrub 7-10 years but it fixes nitrogen efficiently and improves the soil for successors. Full sun to very light shade, best on a dry slope. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Very hardy to cold enduring subzero temperatures. Beautiful pollinator heaven in bloom. To 3-7′ tall and as wide in several years. Oregon native plant.
Years ago, a long time ago our friend and intrepid gardener Bruce Wakefield gave us a piece of this sumptuous, tropical appearing Lobelia. Turns out that Bruce got it from ANOTHER friend of mine. Jackson Muldoon of the now defunct Transpacific nursery found this “lobelia” in central Mexico. Its a cold hardy, vigorous, and long blooming large perennial that displays tubular flowers with an interior of yellow and orange and an exterior of red. To 4′ tall in bloom it spreads stoloniferously underground to form big patches. Give this spreading plant room in full sun and rich soil with regular consistent irrigation. Bloom begins in June and continues sporadically until frost. Loved by hummingbirds and flower arrangers. This is likely no longer a Lobelia and there are several options to choose from, until I am certain we will continue to refer to this as lobelia. Completely winter deciduous with the first hard freeze. Emerges in spring when truly warm weather arrives- Mother’s day. Mulch for the first winter to aid establishment. Once its yours expect a long lived plant. Thank you to our friends Jackson and Bruce. Photo credit: Bob Hyland.
This is a brilliantly colored dahlia with large single deep pink flowers that contrast wonderfully with midnight black foliage. To 34″ tall and increasing by tubers. Excellent cut flower but it makes a better garden subject where the contrast in foliage and flower color shine. Blooms late June to frost. This is a vigorous and hardy dahlia that is very easy to grow. Amend the soil heavily with compost and add all purpose organic fertilizer to the planting hole. Wonderful with the brilliant orange flowers of Epilobium (Zauschneria). Mulch in fall or lift after frost and store in shredded paper in a cool dry place. Replant after all threat of frost has passed and the soil is sufficiently warm. Regular summer water in full sun.
Xera Plants Introduction
Oregon Viburnum or Western Way Faring tree is a moderate to large native deciduous shrub. It stretches a little bit into W. Washington where it is rare but its primary populations are in western Oregon and south into N. California. Its found in moist to dry woods often on the margin where its can get at least half a day sun. It also thrives only much larger and lankier in outline in the shade. It easily tolerates winter inundation but is found on well developed soils in upland situations as well. Its common associates in the wild are Oregon white oak/Quercus garryana, Oregon Ash/Fraxinus latifolius, Cornus stolonifera. Leaves are round, glossy and scalloped and are very handsome on a well proportioned fountain shaped shrub. Shorter in full sun, taller in shade. This plant needs just a modicum of light watering for its first year and once it is thoroughly established you can set it free. In late spring off white cymes of flowers have the fragrance to me of raw potatoes. We had a large specimen of this shrub in our back 40 where I grew up near Eugene. In certain years it can produce quite a fall show with orange/red tinted leaves and translucent blue fruits. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed AFTER blooming has ended. June. To 5′ tall in the sun to much taller in shade. Protect young plants from deer. Oregon native plant.
Oso berry is a classic west coast shrub. Its one of the earliest shrubs to burst into leaf and flower long before anyone else- often as early as early February. Exceptionally fresh green leaves emerge vertically and for a time appear as rabbit ears lining the stems. On female plants fragrant chains of white flowers are showy in a very spring like way. Following pollination chains of charming fruit (the berries or plums)first turn yellow then red/orange and arrive at deep purple. They are reputed to be good. And even though I’ve known this plant my entire life i’ve never tasted a ripe berry. Seems like they disappear to wildlife very fast. There was a thicket of this early spring shrub near the bottom of our long driveway and it would leaf out and bloom in February and March. When I spotted those acid green leaves I knew that winter was over. To 8′ x 8′ quickly from a massively suckering central shrub. Branches soar up and arch out. All the better to observe the colorful fruit. Native, often under Oregon white oaks and in dry woods with Holodiscus discolor/ Ocean spray, Corylus cornuta californica /Western Hazel. By late spring this shrub has all but faded into the background. Often it will lose many or all leaves in a very dry summer, but its drought tolerance is phenomenal. Fall color is soft yellow and shows up nicely on the dark forest floor. Its natural range is from the N. Bay area in CA north to extreme SW British Columbia. Always on the west side of the mountains. Stems force well when brought inside in December- January. Deer resistant and possibly rabbit resistant. This is a very wild looking shrub, goes well with other plants of that mein. Stirs early pollinators and even Anna’s Hummers. These are unsexed seedlings. Best in part shade to shade though it will tolerate full sun with a less refined overall look. Water lightly but consistently for the first summer then none in subsequent years. Virtually any soil type including heavy clay. Simultaneous bloom with flowering currants (Ribes sanguineum). A great garden pairing. Oregon native plant.
A very beautiful and obscure shrub that I obtained from Heronswood in the 90’s. Difficult to photograph this is one of the most spectacular False Indigos. Not entirely cold hardy it requires a warm location but is worth it. Soaring to 12′ tall in a single season in rich soil with regular water the tall wand-like stems support pendulous strings of rose pink flowers that extends to 2′ long or longer. Blooming all the way to the tips. As this shrub grows it continually produces these amazing flowers which are both graceful and somewhat modern. Loved by butterflies and bees. Seldom sets seed in our climate. Full all day sun. Excellent in large summer containers. Locate in a warm, protected location- against a south facing wall for instance. Prune back hard in spring after new growth commences. Often loses about 1/2 its wood during a normal winter. Cutting it back also results in more stems to display the fascinating and groovy flowers. Native to SW China. We grew this great plant years ago and have decided to bring it back into production. Cold hardy to 15ºF. Very difficult to photograph as the pendulous flowers are so long. VERY FUN to grow.
Native to the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and extreme west Texas this adorable columbine enchants us with its whimsical soft yellow flowers and fine blue foliage. To 18″ tall in bloom the petite flowers have long fantastic tails. They appear from April-June, and occasionally again if you remove spent flowers and prevent seed set. This smaller plant has wonderful finely divided blue green foliage that forms a fountain before and after bloom. Often self sows in open sites. The original plants live about 5 years but the distinctive leaves will give away the seedlings. They seem to favor cracks in pavement, stones. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. Mix with our native Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) for a color echo on the yellow perianth of both. Very popular with pollinators including native pollinators. Winter deciduous. Moderate deer resistance. Charming and easy to grow wild flower.
Lagerstroemia indica is big on flowers but its also susceptible to powdery mildew among other afflictions (the varieties we grow are resistant). In 1956 a botanist named John Creech located a single specimen of what was to become Lagerstroemia fauriei- Japanese crape myrtle. Its famous for its amazing orange, brown, tan mottled bark and mildew resistance. So, it was incorporated into an existing breeding program by Dr. Egolf at the National Arboretum to eliminate disease and provide crape myrtles in different sizes. It did but also importantly it imparted the wonderful red/ mahogany bark of this species. Lagerstroemia fauriei has a very limited range on the island of Yakushima in Japan. It has larger leaves, smaller, fragrant white flowers- in of itself a fantastic tree. This is where such hybrids as ‘Natchez’, ‘Osage’, ‘Pecos’ among other get their fantastic colorful bark. A little later a second specimen of Lagerstroemia fauriei was located. It was such a beautiful tree that it was named ‘Kiowa’. Pure orange deep mahogany brown trunks are the hallmark of this second specimen. Only one cultivar was the result of crossing Lagerstroemia indica with Lagerstroemia fauriei ‘Kiowa’ to produce this extraordinary cultivar. It was released in 1986. Unfortunately, nursery people didn’t take to it. Dr. Egolf had previously released a LOT of lavender flowered cultivars and this one got overlooked. So good is this tree and with a different genetic makeup than the first fauriei crosses. Importantly it received that deep brown and mottled orange bark as well as fragrant strong lavender flowers. The National Arboretum re-released this tree in 2017 in an effort to redevelop popularity for this extraordinary cultivar. ‘Apalachee; has many outstanding qualities. Its bark is phenomenal, deep glossy brown with orange patches- very striking. The mildew free foliage is dark, lustrous green, and the flowers are sweetly fragrant. Altogether great qualities in an 18′ tall by 8’ wide upright tree. Fall color is a remarkable orange to deep red. This tree has superior flowers to ‘Natchez’ and personally I think the bark is much more showy. Blooms heavily beginning in July. Peaks in a crescendo in August into October. We are very happy to offer this extraordinary tree. Full hot sun in rich soil with regular irrigation for the first several year. Easy and spectacular multi-dimensional tree. Available in 2022.
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.