Silene laciniata

This is a showy perennial of pine woods in interior northern California. It comes within 10′ miles of the Oregon border. This gaudy little perennial is seen in full sun to the margins of Ponderosa woods. It forms a rosette of rough moss green basal set of leaves. In late spring to early summer 1′ tall wiry spikes hold shocking vermillion orange/red flowers that have a shredded edge to the petals. It blooms for an extended period and often if the first set of defunct flowers is removed it will set another round. Water to establish the wild flower and then none in subsequent years. Established plants are supremely drought adapted and any superfluous water can lead to rot. This is also a great resident of rock gardens where its smaller dimensions and shocking flower color will  be welcome. An obvious draw to hummingbirds and pollinators. Very good in gravel gardens. A slope is an added plus. Somewhat deer resistant. Adapted to coastal gardens as well.

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Silene hookeri

Hooker’s Catchfly is a great Oregon native perennial that is one of the showiest in this genus. Native to dry woods and plains but never common this low spreading perennial produces large pink flowers in late spring to early summer. The nearly 1″ wide frilly flowers are produces on a diminutive plant that spreads. To 4″ tall and forming a mat about 1.5′ wide. Full sun to very light shade (deciduous shade) in average to slightly enriched soils that drain. Adaptable to clay soils on a slope. Water weekly after planting for the first season then none is necessary in subsequent years. Excellent small perennial that is ideal in a trough where you can view the beautiful large flowers up close. Best in rock garden conditions or in a meadow habitat in the ground.  Naturally adapted to life between clumping grasses. The slightly cupped leaves are large and encrusted in fine hairs. Native from just south of Portland to northern California. It was once much more widespread in the Willamette Valley. This range has been greatly diminished.  Beautiful native perennial. Often left alone by deer. Oregon native plant.

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Silene alpestris ‘Flore Pleno’

I love the crisp detailed pure white flowers that float like little pieces of perfect oragami on 6″ stems. Forms continuous evergreen patches in well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Full sun to very light shade. Incredibly long bloom season, March to November. And sometimes longer. Excellent in rock gardens, as a trough plant, or container plant in general. Hardy and easy to grow. Makes a precious delicate cut flower. So white. So, crisp and white. Not tolerant of shade. Excellent long blooming small scale ground cover to line paths, create a pool of crisp white flowers. Europe.

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