Acanthus syriacus

Acanthus syriacus

Outrageous Bear’s Breeches for hot and sunny aspects. Forms large rosettes of spiked intricate leaves that almost lay flat on the ground. In summer, enormous chalice-like soft purple blooms rise to 2′ tall. Each flower opens to reveal yellow petals. A beautiful combination. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Give this plant room and air circulation. It does not like to be crowded. Fully cold hardy and completely winter deciduous. Established plants can get by on less water. Moderate deer resistance. To 2′ wide in several seasons. Spectacular cut flower.

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Acer circinatum

Acer circinatum

Vine Maple is perhaps our most beautiful native maple. Found from SW British Columbia to Northern California in the Shasta area. Its a pervasive understory tree throughout the western part of the state. It derives its name from its almost vine like habit in shade. This winding and sun seeking component leads to the most graceful natural forms. In full sun it is a compact, multi-trunked shrub. In autumn in both habitats it turns to shades of fiery orange and yellow and red. Vivid against the pure green trunks and stems.  One of the most dramatic places you will see this shrub is at 4500′ on Belknap crater on McKenzie Pass where it lives among the lava. In early fall the brilliant colors of the maples contrasts wonderfully with the black lava. Its very hot and very dry but  its also very high in elevation. The symmetrically serrated round leaves rival any Japanse maple. In shade established trees get by with little summer water. In the sun irrigation is welcome. Rich to average soil with regular applications of mulch. To 16′ tall in shade and again quite a bit shorter in full sun- very wide in shade. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. This shrub/tree belongs on the north side or under substantial shade. Some deer resistance. Excellent underplanted with native ferns and Gaultheria. A common native that should be a more common ornamental. Tiny red flowers turn into sunny orange samaras by autumn and persist past the leaves.  Avoid very dry shade of un-irrigated over hangs. This is a semi-mesic maple.  Oregon native plant

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Acorus gramineus ‘Golden Lion’

Is this the best form of golden sweet flag or what? We love the vivid yellow leaves on a dense and arching evergold perennial. Clumps densely but the foliage is born in fans and spreads out. To only 6″ tall but spreading to 1′ wide. Best in part shade and either permanently wet sites or regular consistent water. Mine makes a happy home on the north side of my house at the base of the rain gutter. Plenty of water in winter- and I don’t forget to water it in summer. Good appearance year round. In spring little off-white spikes serve as flowers. Native to permanently wet sites. Give it a bit of shade. Moderately deer resistant.

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Adelinia grande

Great Hounds Tongue or Giant Pacific Forget-me-Not is one of our most remarkable native perennials. On the property where I grew up near Eugene it was native. There was a clump of this majestic perennial that was there for nearly my whole life. Unfortunately, we sold the property but this plant was still there last I checked. In the Willamette Valley and out into the Columbia Gorge you see these luminous blue flowers on a sturdy spikes in the dry areas under oaks. Often seen with Wyethia -Mules ears which blooms later. Large fleshy leaves form a substantial clump. In early to mid spring 2′ spikes reveal outrageously large versions of Forget-me-nots. Established plants will then go dormant with summer drought. Adapted to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. Not only does it not require water established plants can resent it and rot. Place in a wild, shady, unwatered part of your garden. Amend the soil lightly with compost and water in well. Pairs with other native perennials such as Sidalceas. In the wild it is accompanied by Erythronium oreganum , Lathyrus nevadensis, Fritillaria affinis, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Ranunculus occidentalis. That is what grew with our patch, under white and black native oaks, with a madrone here and there. Impressive native perennial whose intense blue flowers are hard to convey in a photograph. It takes an extended time from seed to a growable plant. Patience because of limited quantities. SLOW  Oregon native plant.

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Agave parryi 'Flagstaff'

Agave parryi ‘Flagstaff’

From the very far north end of this variable species range in Northern Arizona near—‘Flagstaff’. High elevation form that is found above 7000′ in the wild. Very cold hardy moderately large Agave. Full sun and very well drained soil. You must amend the soil with pumice and gravel to avoid wet accumulating around the crown in winter. This is made all the more easy by placing on a slope. The rosettes should be tilted to shed winter wet. Very stiff and sharply tipped steel blue leaves form a rosette that is at first upright then spreads out a little. Remove leaves from deciduous plants that collect in the rosette in autumn- they blow in from god knows where and leaving them can encourage rot. Excellent in containers. Move containerized plants under an eave or overhang to keep it dry in winter. No water required after initial establishment. Beautiful form of this cold hardy species. High deer resistance.

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Anchusa azurea 'Dropmore'

Anchusa azurea ‘Dropmore’

Alkanet, Italian Bugloss- neither name is very appealing but I’m here to testify that if you are a connoisseur of the color blue this big showy perennial is for you. To 4′ tall multiple spikes bear rich, deep, true blue flowers in one bodacious cloud. This form is not only a superior blue, but its a more reliable perennial. Most live 2-3 years but this often persists for longer. This borage forms a basal rosette of rough leaves- this is important to identify the inevitable seedlings- they are dark, dark green and spiny. Blooms first year from seed. A Spectacular plant for a young garden, a dry garden, wild border or in its most classic home the cottage garden. Full sun and average to enriched soil that drains quickly. Light consistent water to establish then drought adapted. Long, long blooming plant that often has bumble bees fast asleep in the cup shaped flowers. Very cool. Obvious pollinator gem. Very climate adapted plant.

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Arisaema ringens

Cobra lily or Jack in the Pulpit from Japan with exotic striped flowers in mid-spring but the bold and glossy foliage steals the show. Forming large patches in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with regular summer irrigation. Shade- protect the amazing leaves from blasting sun. They will stand prominently up to 2′ tall- triple lobed, glossy and good looking. One of the more reliable of the genus in fact we think this is the best adapted Jack in the Pulpit for our climate.  Mix with other bold shade perennials. Mulch with compost annually. Disappears entirely in winter. A Xera favorite perennial.

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Asphodeline lutea

Asphodeline lutea

You don’t see this perennial from the middle east very often in our gardens. Its a great, low water long lived plant with dramatic, showy flowers. Spikes to 4′ tall are clouds of large starry yellow fragrant flowers. Blooms appear in May and June and are showy for weeks. Grassy blue green leaves form a clump at the base. Rich, well drained soil with little to no summer water once established. Mass for a very showy effect. Remove spent flowers and you are left with relatively good looking low arching blue green leaves. Must have full sun and a bit of patience to bloom. We try to sell them in bloom to avoid the wait. Moderate deer resistance. Winter deciduous. Long lived.

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Beesia deltophylla

Beesia deltophylla

Still relatively new this extraordinary perennial has so many fantastic attributes it will become indispensable in our gardens. Glossy concave heart shaped leaves emerge tinted black before settling to a deep forest green. The dense foliage is seldom bothered by pests and appears to be slug/snail resistant. Throughout the growing season 2′ spikes emerge over the dome of dense foilage with small white flowers. The over effect is cool sophistication in the shade garden. Slowly expanding to 2′ wide. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. Mix with Hosta, Hakenochloa, Epimedium. Semi-evergreen.

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Flowers are always at a premium in shade, and late season bloomers for shade are not profuse. This wonderful white flowered form of this hardy Begonia is a sparkling white treat. Masses of snow white flowers on white pendant stems decorate the top of the plant from August to October. The foliage with leaves shaped like large deep green wings are an excellent back drop to feature the contrasting pure flowers. This is a wonderful and very different effect than the the much more common pink flowered selections. The purity of the flowers is divine and they seems to appear from nowhere often in the hottest days of summer. At our wholesale nursery I found myself stopping to look at this beautiful perennial every time I passed it. It is exceptionally pretty Part shade to high overhead shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Though it will arrive smaller with less flowers without water. Not bothered by slugs or snails it rises with the opulent green foliage to about 2′ tall before  flowering commences. Very easy and long lived perennial. It persists with quite a bit of neglect. Mulch after planting to even out soil moisture. Avoid blasting reflected heat and drought.  Often self sows and also propagates by small bulbils. This is never out of control and is usually welcome. Forms expanding patches to several feet wide. Disappears entirely in winter, nada and it arrives late in spring (be patient) it is more than hardy to cold. Wonderful plant Thank you Peter for this plant.

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Begonia grandis 'Heron's Piroutte'

Begonia grandis ‘Heron’s Piroutte’

Cold hardy Begonia that we love as a dependable and pretty late blooming perennial. Large wing shaped leaves have a reverse of light red. In late summer to early autumn to 30″ tall upright plants produce pendant clusters of pink/off white very showy flowers. Rich moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. Great long lived plant for borders, shady glens. the shadows of ponds. Disappears entirely in winter. On occasion bulbils that appear in the leaf axils will detach and produce new plants. Move easily or share with friends. Not bothered by snails/slugs.

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purple flowers of Brodiaea elegans

Brodiaea elegans

Wonderful native bulb that has several common names. Harvest lily is one as well as cluster lily. This gorgeous inhabitant of dry hillsides from British Columbia to southern California erupts in clusters of blue flowers just as summer drought ensues. To 14″ tall but normally shorter a clump of scrappy green leaves comes out in autumn and persists until bloom time. As the leaves go dormant the bulb sends up its bloom. Easy to grow if you accept its requirements. Bulbs that are potted should be watered after planting but established plants should rely only on what falls from the sky. Best to not irrigate in summer. In time it spreads by both increasing bulblets as well as seed. Excellent planted among Festuca roemeri var. roemeri  as well as Festuca californica where it occurs naturally. Excellent pollinator bulb in the lily family. Leaves are deer resistant but flowers are not reliably deer proof. Full hot, all day sun in soils that dry completely in summer. Native throughout the Willamette Valley and into the gorge locally. Oregon native plant.

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Buxus sempervirens 'Graham Blandy'

Buxus sempervirens ‘Graham Blandy’

Hard to find but so useful columnar boxwood. Graham becomes a 10″ wide pillar up to 6′ tall or taller within a decade. Very easy to keep it much smaller. Prune reliably to retain a tidy demeanor. Deep green foliage is thick and handsome year round. Average soil, light summer water. Full sun to full shade- no difference in performance. Very cold hardy. Grows 6″ a  year.

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Buxus sinica 'Sunburst'

Buxus sinica ‘Sunburst’

Useful and pretty and so tough this is a yellow variegated form of Korean Boxwood and its a fantastic dwarf shrub. To just 2′ x 2′ in 7 years this slow growing evergreen shrub is ideal as a hedge or trim it into a crazy shape and make a focal point. Adaptable to full hot sun to part shade. Great in winter containers. Hardy way below 0ºF. A good shrub or hedge in cold gardens or areas blasted by subfreezing east wind. Very good deer resistance. Light summer water in rich, well drained soil. Avoid crowding/shading from other plants in too close of proximity. Easy to grow- good looks year round. For a hedge plant on 2′ centers.

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Calochortus tolmiei

Cat’s Ear’s or furry mariposa. This bulb is exclusive to the west side of the Cascades from central Puget Sound south to northern California. In Oregon it occupies a host of biomes. Most commonly its seen in grassy places or steep rocky slopes. On our property near Eugene it was primarily a woodland plant with forays out into the sun. We shamelessly picked this delicate flower for short lived bouquets. Picking it snuffs out the plant. To 8″ tall and sporting multiple flowers on a divided stem. The flowers have a peaked sweet fragrance that gives away the species. A fascinating flower for pollinators. Three rounded petals with a sharp tip are layered in purple to white to blue fur. This is imposed over the base color of the petals which is often white shading to purple. When planting from a container water when you plant it and then nature takes its course. It quickly goes summer dormant after setting seeds in downward shaped capsules. Do not disturb once established. Plants can put up leaves for several years before bloom commences. Patience. No summer water. Protect from deer who will snack on the flowers. Native associates are Sanicula crassicaulis, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Lithophragma parvifora, Nemophila menziesii, Iris tenax, and Carex tumulicola. Emerges quickly in spring- does its thing and then goes back to sleep. Charming.A critical bulb for Willamette Valley meadows, excellent under Oregon white oaks..  Oregon native plant.

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Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii

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 wet areas, but it can be found under oaks and firs in woodlands as well. 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. In the wild it is found from full sun to quite a bit of shade on the verge of woodlands.  Oregon native plant.

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Carex conica 'Snowline'

Carex conica ‘Snowline’

Aka ‘Hime kan suge’ Small clumping evergreen sedge that forms adorable fountains of fine green leaves lined in white. To 6″ x 6″ slowly increasing in rich, well drained moisture retentive conditions. Regular summer water. Wonderful massed in a local way or lining a path in a shady woodland. Good year round appearance. Not the fastest sedge so be patient and give it the conditions it wants. Full sun- with regular water to quite a bit of shade. 4″ spikes of tan flowers are cute in spring. Moderate deer resistance.

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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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Ceanothus sanguineus

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 it. 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.

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Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Barry's Silver'

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Barry’s Silver’

Most native Port Orford Cedars that are grown eventually die out of the root pathogen phytophthera so imagine our delight when this small shrub form with gorgeous white foliage has persisted. Not that its totally resistant but it doesn’t just up and die when it gets water on the first 85ºF day. Really at its best as a stunning container subject where one can appreciate the almost white foliage that slowly morphs to aqua green. A nice bicolor effect. Unlike other variegated conifers this one does not get nasty after exposure to an arctic winter and summer sun. Instead it remains fresh. To 5′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years- in the form of a tear drop. No summer water once established. Regular water is safe in containers. Part shade to full sun and average, well drained soil. Slow growing conifer that always looks good. Oregon native plant.

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Cheilanthes tomentosa

Cheilanthes tomentosa

Wooly Lipfern. yeah. This pretty and felty gray fern is widespread over North America. Clump forming gray fern that rises to about 10″ tall. Very elegant plant most often seen in very well drained somewhat dry sites. Full sun to part shade- protection from the most blasting heat. Light, consistent water in summer. Excellent in containers, troughs where it really does its best. Moderately deer resistant.

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Claytonia sibirica

Claytonia sibirica

Lovely ubiquitous woodland flower that brings waves of glorious airy stars for weeks in late spring to mid summer. Occasionally pink the flowers most often are white. Handsome somewhat bold foliage provides a plant that is more than suited to competition on the forest floor. Often self sows and this is welcome. Plant containerized plants in spring and water faithfully through the first summer- but never boggy. Then it is yours. Let it romp among ferns, Hosta, Japanese Forest Grass for a sparkling NATIVE treat. Mix with other natives such as Vancouveria and deer fern. Very easy to grow. Blooms for a very long time and longer if we have a cool beginning to summer. AKA Candy flower. To 10″ x 10″ on average. Summer deciduous and emerges early in spring. Not bothered by pests. Forms spreading colonies in rich, humus enriched soil in part shade to shade. Locally native in the Portland city limits.  Oregon native plant. 

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Collomia grandiflora

Collomia grandiflora

Wild Phlox is a native hardy annual that occurs from the prairies of the Willamette Valley to the sage brush country east of the Cascades. Clusters of flowers open sherbet orange and then fade to white with conspicuous blue pollen for a multi colored effect. Adaptable plant that will occupy any open disturbed site. Reseeds prolifically. To 2′ tall. Cute cut flower. Nice native to let wander your garden. Low water. Locally native in the city of Portland and to our nursery site in Sherwood. A charming plant that should be given average conditions and not pampered- otherwise it will contract powdery mildew which is harmless but kind of ugly. The unique, nearly indescribable color of this flower certainly is not. Oregon native plant.

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Oregon cut leaf gold thread is a widespread but not common evergreen perennial that is found in dry shade on the west side the Cascades. Native primarily to Oregon it extends north into Washington and is rare south into California.  A colony creating perennial that has handsome, intricate deep green foliage. The arrow shaped leaves are arranged in rosettes along the expanding yellow stolons. The effect is a dense cover that expands at a slow rate. In spring sparse thread like flowers are curious followed by swollen seed pods arranged in a circle. Rich to average soil in shade to dappled shade, though if pushed it can tolerate  a little sun. Good year round appearance. It may be cut back at the end of winter, but I haven’t really found this to be necessary. Use its best attributes, adaptation to dry shade and evergreen good looks as a limited groundcover beneath woodland perennials or at its best on the forest floor. Not a wide scale groundcover and clumps expand at a slow/moderate pace. Not adapted to compacted or clay soils. Best in heavy duff on the forest floor. Great in shade containers at the foot of Aspidistra . Not bothered by deer. Limited quantities. It derives its common name from the bright yellow roots and stolons. Water until you see good new growth then set it free.  Oregon native plant.

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Cyclamen coum

Winter Cyclamen is a fantastic adaptable bulb that will form impressive colonies in time. The fabulous leaves are marked with silver and deep green designs. This form is known as the ‘Christmas Tree’ for its shape on the rounded leaves. From January to March small nodding purple/pink flowers form groups in concert with the foliage. A tonic for winter. To just 4″ tall in bloom and each corm gets bigger and bigger as years pass. Ants spread the seeds far and wide and new plants appear quite a distance a way. If you begin with a fancy leaved variety chances are most of your seedlings will mimic the parent. Part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil. Goes dormant and can tolerate completely dry conditions in summer. Excellent companion for winter Crocus, Hellebores, Snow drops.

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Datura wrightii 'High Altitude Form'

Datura wrightii ‘High Altitude Form’

LOCO WEED. We discovered this native SW perennial growing very high up east of the cost of the Sierra at above 6500′. Damn it gets chilly up there. Herbaceous perennial that emerges with large, bold, silver-blue leaves. Sprawling to several feet wide in a full, hot position with exceptional drainage. All summer huge white goblet like flowers unfurl from curiously colored gray buds. You can literally watch the flowers open in the evening. They glow in the moon light and emit a soft fragrance. By 2:00 the following day the flower has withered. <sad face> but more are in the wings. Begins blooming in late June and repeats to frost. Completely deciduous (gone) in winter. Good drainage in a hot position- where the soil warms early. Spectacular. Toxic- but what garden plants are not? High deer resistance. Native to the american southwest and northwest Mexico. It has become naturalized in arts of the Willamette Valley, Columbia Gorge, and Eastern Oregon. Rarely seeds itself in our climate. The seedpods that develop following the flowers are round and spiney.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Delphinium trolliifolium

Delphinium trolliifolium

Giant Larkspur or Cow Poison, I prefer the first common name for this stunning large growing native Delphinium. In vernally wet sites to moist upland sites  it forms large spectacular colonies. In late spring and early summer stems that soar to nearly 4′ tall are loosely decorated with marine blue flowers with a lighter central bee. In habitat its common associates are Oregon Ash (Fraxinus latifolius) and Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) where it can be found in the shade of these deciduous trees. The one variable with this Delphinium is that it is found in cool places- never hot and dry. These shadowy environs can make this plant hard to spot even in full bloom.  Often they will be in standing water during the winter months and they are adapted to very heavy wet clay soils. In cultivation the need for moist conditions continues and it does appreciate at least an application of all organic fertilizer and compost at planting time. Keep it well watered through its bloom cycle, then it can go drier but never dust dry- in time it can handle much less irrigation. An annual mulch is beneficial. Wonderful, bold cut flower , but its loved by pollinators as well ( what is it about blue flowers? ). Forms spreading colonies in time. Give it room to stretch out. Its often found with our native Cow Parsnip (Hieracleum maximum) and great Camas ( Camassia leichtlinii) in habitat. This could easily be replicated in a garden. Native to the Willamette Valley into the Columbia River Gorge. Once widespread in the Willamette Valley its territory has shrunk precipitously. Long lived perennial. Very good deer resistance. Extremely showy in bloom.   Oregon native plant.

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Dendranthema 'Hillside Sheffield Pink'

Dendranthema ‘Hillside Sheffield Pink’

A wonderful garden perennial and by far our favorite mum for fall. Much more informal and relaxed in habit and flower form it puts on a stellar show for months in autumn. Soft, copper pink single flowers radiate from a soft yellow center. A bushy perennial to 28″ x 28″ in full sun to light shade. Best in enriched soil for a good start in life. Regular summer water propels growth and blooming which begins in September and stretches nearly to Thanksgiving. Cut back hard the previous years remnants in early spring – as per your tidying routine. Very pretty cut flower. Underplant with Ivy leaved hardy Cyclamen for a soft but showy display. Long lived perennial gaining scale each year. Moderate deer resistance. Aromatic curly foliage is classic Chrysanthemum.

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Dianthus caryophyllus 'Chomley Ferran'

Dianthus caryophyllus ‘Chomley Ferran’

She’s a strange one this Chomley. Found in a garden in Ireland this amazing carnation is astounding in the color of the flowers. Completely GRAY fully double flowers are streaked throughout with hot pink. I remember several raves in this color realm. Amazing cut flower and easy to grow border perennial. The long stems support the flowers in a vase nicely, but not necessarily when in the ground. Expect some flop. Full sun and average to rich, well drained soil with low/regular summer water. Blooms May-July. To 18″ tall and a little wider. Gray blue foliage is evergreen in our climate. Wowza, Carnations on acid.

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Dichelostemma congestum

OOKOW. The common name for this wonderful native bulb. A naked lily closely related to Brodiaea. Also, referred to as cluster lily though that isn’t even remotely as fun to say as OOKOW. Stems to 22″ tall support 6 to 15  showy purple flowers clustered at the stem tip. Dry sunny hillsides in clay soils to meadows throughout western Oregon.  Its native range goes a bit to the north into Washington and south to central California. This happy bulb spreads to form colonies in time. It will also spread by seed. An integral part of Willamette Valley meadows. Excellent cut flower that lasts a week in a vase. Water to establish when planting from containers. In subsequent years it will rely only on what falls from the sky. in habitat it can be found with native clumping grasses such as Koeleria and Festuca roemeri var. roemeri. Sisyrinchium idahoense is a frequent associate. The flowers do not nod on the stems as other closely related species  Smalll grassy foliage appears in early spring and disappears cleanly following bloom. Adapted to heavy clay soils that are wet for 6 months of the year that dries in summer. Full sun. Loved by Hummingbirds and butterflies.  Native to the Portland city limits.   Oregon native plant.

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Digitalis x 'Honey Trumpet'

Digitalis x ‘Honey Trumpet’

What great luck. The bees were busy in our nursery years ago and they crossed a shrubby species of Digitalis with a tetraploid herbaceous species. What we got was a fantastic incredibly long blooming and tough perennial with exquisitely honey colored flowers. Remove spent spikes in June and more will likely appear. Sterile and very likely a tetraploid. Each clumping plant creates multiple 3′ spikes of flowers- up to 15 spikes per plant! Blooms April-June and sporadically after that. Forms semi-evergreen clumps in FULL SUN and rich to average well drained soil.  Wonderful in combination with Kniphofias and Tulbaghia ‘Edinburgh’. Excellent cut flower- which will spur it bloom further. Completely deer resistant. Light summer water requirements. Somewhat difficult to propagate so quantities are limited.  But its worth it.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Disporopsis pernyi

Disporopsis pernyi

Handsome and useful evergreen lily relative for woodland gardens. To 20″ tall and arching each stem is lined with large green leaves. In early summer the whole stem is clad in white pendant bell shaped flowers. If you greet them up close they have the surprising fragrance of jasmine. Spreads slowly to form substantial colonies. Staunchly evergreen with great winter presence. Rich, moisture retentive woodland soils suit it. Its adaptable to very dense shade and there it can take remarkably dry conditions. Mix with Danae, Polystichum, Aspidistra. Not sure about deer resistance. Please let us know.

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Dodecatheon hendersonii flowers

Dodecatheon hendersonii

Henderson’s shooting star or more appropriately foothill shooting star. Thats where you see them in meadows and glens usually underneath or near Oregon white oaks. Common composition of the flora seen with this plant are giant baby blue eyes Nemophila m. ‘atomaria’., Ranunculus occidentalis – western buttercup as well as  Lithophragma- Prairie Stars. Rubbery near round leaves emerge in mid winter and persist as rosettes for months until real heat pushes them into sleep. The charming flowers rise up to 14″ on tall straight stems. The nodding flowers gives away its familial association with Cyclamen and Primrose and reflexed magenta purple petals shoot straight up. The interior of the flower is a spike decorated like a single cake with a red brick a brack design  if you look closely. Great cut flower and where ever  you throw the spent flowers they will still ripen and set seed and quickly a new patch will be created. Full sun to part shade in clay soils that dry in summer.  No water once established. They quickly go dormant and disappear to escape summer heat and dry. Relatively easy native wildflower to grow. Deer resistant. Native from northern California north to  SW British Columbia.  Found throughout the western half of the state. This wildflower made extensive colonies around my childhood home near Eugene. It always bloomed around my birthday and over the years I built up huge colonies. It was so charming with Erythronium oreganum- Oregon fawn lily- they grew side by side.  In  our ‘backyard’ there were huge colonies of native Dodecatheon. I would pick bouquets of them from the backyard and when the flowers were spent I would chuck them off the front deck into the woods. Over time I realized they were still setting viable seed as we had a huge population in the front in a few years, .  Blooms late March to early May. Oregon native plant. 

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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 resists competition from other 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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Erica cinerea 'Velvet Night'

Erica cinerea ‘Velvet Night’

Heathers and Heaths are fun to grow, but the tales of failure are epic. The easiest Heaths are Ericas and they all like some sort of regular summer water to thrive, bloom and adapt. This is a favorite shrub aside from being the darkest flowered Heath that we’ve seen. Beginning in June with a summer crescendo that bleeds into autumn with deep beetroot purple flowers on deep black green needle like foliage. To 2′ x 2′ in 3 years and fairly upright for an Erica cinerea. Outstanding long season of summer bloom that is a thrill to hummingbirds as well. Great aesthetic and cultural companion for Grevilleas. This Heath will bloom while most Grevilleas are having a summer bloom rest. Shear after blooming (fall) this will increase density as well as blooming wood. Full sun and rich to regular soil with regular irrigation for the first 3 years- then much less. This is a dark shadow of a shrub. We love it. Moderate deer resistance. Mulch heavily with bark after planting and annually. The secret to Heaths and Heathers in our climate is mulch, mulch, mulch. Excellent performance at the coast.

 

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Erodium x 'Stephanie'

Erodium x ‘Stephanie’

One of the most outstanding cultivars of the floriferous Cranesbills. Fine, dense, frilly aromatic grass green foliage makes a tight pie sized low clump. From spring and continuously to fall 6″ stems produce multiple pure white flowers. The upper two petals have a central blotch of inky black. Very cool effect. This is an easy to grow low maintenance perennial for full sun, well drained soil and light to little summer water. The front of borders, rock gardens even troughs. Seldom without flowers. Evergreen. A really pretty, floriferous perennial. Mass closely for a small scale ground cover. Dense growth will compete with weeds.

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Eryngium bourgotii

Eryngium bourgotii

Very blue, oh so blue shorter Sea Holly that has pretty unusual leaves as well as stunning flowers. Crinkly sage green leaves are prickly and outlined in fine white. From this batch of foliage the flowering spike attains about 20″ inches before producing the metallic sky blue star shaped flowers. Very pretty and it will instantly draw pollinators. Remains in bloom for 4-6 weeks from early to mid summer. Full sun, rich, well drained soil and little summer water when established. Tough but pretty perennial that is very long lived. Increases in width each year to 2′ wide. Excellent candidate for the hellstrip, the front of the border or gravel gardens. High deer resistance. Completely deciduous in winter.

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Eryngium x tripartitum

Eryngium x tripartitum

Easy to grow, though short lived (2-3 years) this prolific seeder will never really disappear from your garden. A hybrid by two UNKNOWN species one from South America and the other one is anyones guess. First year its a rosette of spoon shaped green leaves. The following year it dramatically rises to 3′ in spring/summer and produces clouds of rounded steel blue flowers. Very pretty and airy and you must mix it with a nice tall ornamental grass for the ultimate effect. As I mentioned it then seeds around. Interesting cut flower.  Drought tolerant and best in full sun. High deer resistance.

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Eryngium yuccafolium

Eryngium yuccafolium

Rattlesnake MASTER! Great common name for a wonderful perennial that fits the modern aesthetic perfectly. Low rosettes of silvery serrated pointed leaves are subtle. In summer 30″ branched spikes produce rounded clover-like white balls- these are the flowers and they remain showy for weeks and weeks before finally turning brown in late summer- that the time to remove them. This robust member of the carrot family is sure draw for pollinators and even works well as a huge architectural cut flowers ( the flowers up close kind of smell bad- never smell an Eryngium you’ll regret it) but the fragrance is only detectable up close. Amazing with ornamental grasses. A flower with great presence that makes everybody else look better. Photographs well. Full sun to very light shade in any well drained site. Light to little summer water. Completely winter deciduous. High deer resistance. Rosettes increase with time and so do blooms spikes. Long lived.

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Erythronium oreganum

Oregon fawn lily is widespread in the western third of the state. In late winter and early spring leaves arrive mottled like a spring fawn. Soon the flowers follow on straight stems and yield a cream colored umbrella of petals. They reflex around a yellow center with protruding stamens. This glorious little plant is perfectly adapted to our climate. By mothers day it has set seed and gone back to sleep. Flowers are single on average plants or in poorer soil. In rich soil it soars to 20″ tall and can have a spike with two flowers. Gorgeous ephemeral plant that requires a dry rest period in summer. Competes well with invasives and in time it will seed itself to form patches. Seedlings of this bulb take approximately 2-3 years to bloom. Water to establish potted plants. Once established, only the rain that falls from the sky. Full sun to full shade in average soils, including clay soils. Do not water in summer or it will rot and die. In the wild its found under Oaks where it competes on the forest floor with Lonicera hispidula and other forbs. Blooms from early April to early May in the Willamette Valley- later at higher elevations. A wonderful native plant that should grace every garden. Found in the wild with Dodecatheon hendersonii, Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria, Carex tumulicola, Festuca roemeri var. roemeri and Festuca californica. Occurs on upland soils, never boggy. Extremely well adapted to our soils and climate. Wonderful woodland bulb. Best in part shade to shade, where the flowers last longer.  Oregon native plant.

 

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Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy'

Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’

Bold cold hardy bulb that we cherish for its rosettes of huge wide deep purple foliage as it emerges in spring/early summer. By the middle of the season stems extend from the middle of the plant with unique columns of dense pink/white flowers. On top is a hat of leaves. Reminds me of a garden form of Carmen Miranda. The resemblance is where we get the common name of Pineapple lily.  Give this big spreading perennial space. Following the flowers the wide, heavy leaves will turn more greenish and lay down. That means they will swamp any delicate neighbors nearby. At least 2′ of clearance on each side. Multiplies happily in rich, deep soil in full sun. Regular summer water restricts stress and keeps the leaves happily vertical. Long lived and hardy. South Africa.

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Festuca rubra var. juncea 'Patrick's Point'

Festuca rubra var. juncea ‘Patrick’s Point’

A west coast native grass that ranges from British Columbia to Southern California- usually near the beach. This form is exceptionally blue and so pretty as a year round evergreen presence. To 9″ tall and spreading at a measured rate by stolons slowly expanding the plant to several feet wide. Forms an incredibly dense cover and weeds will seldom compete with this climate adapted grass. In late summer and not profuse 8″ stems hold gray floral spikes. This is along lived, easy to grow grass that does not die out in the center or poop out after a few years. In fact it would make an admirable lawn substitute. This form is from Humboldt, County in CA and was named for the small town where Greg lived as a child- so we had to grow it. And damn it turned out to be a fine, evergreen, native grass. Full sun to light shade and little to no summer water once established. Not fussy about soil and not a rambunctious thug unless soil is overly enriched- instead give it oxygenated average soil.  Excellent among drought adapted shrubs and especially nice interplanted with Pacific Coast Iris. Fine dense foliage is bright blue in summer turning to more of a greenish hue during the cooler months. Excellent winter appearance. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Gaura (Oenothera) lindheimeri

So so many new cultivars of this easy to grow free flowering perennial. And you know what? Some of them don’t even bloom that well and the color pink….a little nauseating. WE love the straight species and grow it from seed each year. Spreading rambunctious perennial with 3′ wands of five petalled white flowers. Full sun and virtually any soil- it can get really wild in rich soil, beware. Native to sand dunes on the barrier islands in Alabama/gulf coast but it loves it here. Begins blooming for us in late May and goes non-stop for months. If it gets tired or ratty simply cut the mother all the way to the ground, water it and wah lah there you go. Light summer water. Pollinator friendly perennial that has great drought adaptation when established. To 3′ wide.

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Geum ‘Herterton Primrose’

Elegant spring blooming perennial that is very graceful, understated but beautiful. From rosette of lush leaves it sends up branched stems at the end of each is a soft primrose colored nodding flower from a madder red calyx. Wonderful. It remains in bloom and actually re-blooms from early April to early June. To 18″ tall in bloom and forming a patch several feet across. Full sun to part shade in rich, moisture retentive soil. Regular summer water is beneficial. Excellent and fun cut flower. Adapted to clay soils as many Geums are and a great reason to grow them in Western Oregon. Winter deciduous.

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Helleborus x sternii ‘Pewter Leaf’

There are so many Hellebores flooding the market these days that this really good variety has been sidestepped. Bad move. It has so many great attributes that we can’t help but offer it. Large divided evergreen thick leaves are a scintillating metallic pewter. The undersides of the leaves are soft red. Great combination. In winter simple cupped celadon green flowers pop out of the top and remain fresh and showy for many weeks. To 2′ x 2′ and completely evergreen. Produces multiple stems as the years pass on. Excellently adapted to our climate and dry shade specifically. Light summer water in average to rich soil. Full sun to part shade to shade. High deer resistance. Long lived sturdy and pretty.

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Heuchera sanguinea ‘Count Dracula’

Pale green leaves are striking and fade to cream, the transition  appears  differently on each leaf and  the gradation of colors give you a cool affect. Pair that- pale leaves with the darkest red flowers we have yet to see on this species and you get a phenomenal plant. Adapted to part shade to full sun – and it doesn’t burn or bleach in sun. A long lived perennial with blood red flowers and foliage the color of Draculas skin that spreads to form colonies 1′ x 2 wide. In bloom the straight dark stems rise to 18″ tall. The deep red but small flowers are full of nectar and call hummingbirds, butterflies and a host of other small pollinators. Blooms for an extended period from late April to early July. Rich soil with regular irrigation to establish for the first season then just light summer irrigation. Long lived pest free perennial. We adore it in light shade paired with Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ for a soothing gray blue back drop. A selection from this native of the south western U.S. into Mexico. Semi-deciduous in winter. Leaves shrink but there is a presence. Very showy in bloom. Avoid crowding by other plants.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Iris tenax

Oregon iris or Tough leaved iris is the most northerly species of Pacifica Iris- extending its native zone as far as SW Washington. Its common throughout the western part of our state where it decorates grassy hillsides in full sun to quite a bit of shade with jolly purple flowers April-June. That was the most common color where I grew up SW of Eugene. Turns out this Iris comes in quite a few colors. Pink, blue, white, golden yellow, red- all hues that have been recorded for this species. Conspicuous also, among the 11 Pacifica species this is a winter deciduous perennial and its the hardiest of the lot. Forms grassy clumps in fan shaped displays to about 10″ tall.  A large clump can be 30″ across and filled with nearly 20 flowers- these rise on cantilevered stems to 14″ tall. Not very tolerant of disturbance and to be honest it has stymied us quite a few times. They HATE division. Therefore, we feature seed grown plants- local seed. These plants feature extra vigor and usually bloom with in 3 years. They also establish better.  Best in light shade, dappled shade on slopes. Average, clay soil is what it wants and you can increase vigor by double digging the hole very wide to incorporate oxygen in the soil and water lightly and consistently through the first summer. Then none to light in subsequent years. An admirable competitor with introduced invasives and as per all Iris it is supremely deer and even rabbit resistant.  Winter deciduous- also, it may go drought deciduous in extremely dry summers. Mixes well with native annuals. Established clumps live for decades. The flowers have the light fragrance of root beer (at least to me) and are the only fragrant Pacifica species that I can detect.  First nation people used the incredibly tough leaves to braid into ropes, traps. Which is cool.   Oregon native plant.

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Iris tenuis

Clackamas Iris is a rare endemic to only three counties in northern Oregon. Though it appears in scale with Pacific Coast Iris, it is not related and is more closely aligned with bearded Iris. Pale green 15mm wide leaves first emerge vertically before settling to a more horizontal position. Light lavender buds unfurl to white with yellow on the falls in May-July. In its native range this smaller iris is everywhere which  begs the question; Why isn’t its natural range larger? Not bothered by deer or pests this is a supremely climate adapted perennial. To 12″ tall in bloom the arching leaves equal that and spreads out. Light consistent summer water to establish, then only what falls from the sky. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. In habitat it is an understory component with Sword Ferns and shrubs such as Hazel, Oso Berry, and Viburnum. Provide deep rich soil and room to spread. This Iris makes very large colonies quickly- to 3′ wide.  The broad leaves are winter deciduous. Wonderful Iris for gardens and wild areas.  Oregon native plant.

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Celery leaved Licorice root is a subtle native  perennial that is widespread in the western third of the state. In late spring  umbels of white flowers are symmetrical and beckon to a host of pollinators. Especially attractive to native wasp species that are good and that predate bad caterpillars. The arrow shaped glossy deep green divided leaves provide a handsome collar for the subtle flowers in bloom. The entire plant tastes and smells very strongly of anise and as children on hikes we would eat the green seeds before they ripened for a blasting hit of licorice. To 2′ x 2′ forming long lived clumps in part shade to full sun. Prolific in the Willamette Valley and able to compete somewhat with non-natives. Water to establish plants from containers in rich soil with consistent irrigation until about the Fourth of July. then it can go dry. Self sows moderately. A common component of Oregon oak woodlands. Often found with Phacelia heterophylla and Polysticum minutum (Western Sword Fern). Oregon native plant.

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Lomatium nudicaule

Bare stem biscuit root is a locally native perennial that is found in rocky dry areas among clumping native grasses. The stemless rosette bears upright trifoliate glabrous blue leaves. 20″ stems rise up in late spring to earl summer with umbels of sulphur yellow flowers (sometimes purple). To establish, water thoroughly through the first month in the ground. Winter deciduous it emerges very early in spring. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. In the Willamette Valley this biscuit root grows in various biomes but is most common on dry hillsides. Festuca californica and Festuca roemeri are two native grasses seen with this plant in the wild. Full sun to light deciduous shade. Avoid standing water in winter. Long lived perennial once established. Excellent in gravel gardens.  Leaves remain handsome after blooming. Spreads slowly to form colonies. Locally native in the Portland city limits. Drought adapted when established. Moderate deer resistance. Resents disturbance once established. Widespread in the west. Important pollinator plant. Common associates in the wild are Potentilla gracilis ssp. gracilis Slender Cinquefoil, and Sidalcea m. virgata Pictured below. Oregon native plant. 

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Lonicera ciliosa

PNW Orange Honeysuckle is one of our most showy native vines. Our region is sparse on native vines so this pretty plant is welcome. In late spring to summer clusters of brilliant orange tubular flowers decorate the branch tips. Loved by hummingbirds as well as other birds which is obvious, its also important for all native pollinators. The flowers change to brilliant red fruit which is consumed  by wildlife and seldom lingers.  Deciduous mid green foliage is verdant all through the season. As with the vast majority of Honeysuckle vines this plant nearly always goes leafless at the base. Expect this and plan for it. Strongly twining plant to 12′ tall and almost as wide. Provide strong support. Light consistent summer water to establish then very little necessary once established. (Also accepts regular summer H20). Excellent vine for country fences, decorating mailboxes etc. Protect from deer, otherwise it is pest and disease resistant- occasional mildew in the autumn is virtually harmless – great news for a honeysuckle. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering. This vine can be very hard to find. We grow it from seed and quantities are limited.  Oregon native plant

Not available 2022/23

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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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Lonicera x standishii

Winter Honeysuckle is an often forgotten shrub. Its large and in our climate it doesn’t usually lose all of its leaves until mid-winter. But that is the time when this big girl shines. Small but powerfully fragrant off white honeysuckle flowers stud all of the stems. And remain sweet for weeks. To 9′ x 9′ as a free standing shrub. Flowers are born on wood from the previous year. Prune after flowering in spring. May be trained as a vine with diligence. The flower stems are also easy to force into bloom indoors. A great shrub for hedgerows and even hedges. In the garden it often does duty in the back 40- where it will thrive in anything from full sun to almost dense shade and little extra water once established. Loved by over wintering Anna’s hummingbirds. Don’t forget winter flowers. Underplant with winter flowering Cyclamen coum and Crocus tommasinianus.  Very tough. Not bothered by disease or bugs. Consistent water to establish then VERY drought adapted.

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Nemophila menziesii

Baby Blue Eyes is a hardy annual wildflower native to the southern coast in the blue form. In the Willamette Valley up to about Portland the variety Nemophila menziesii ssp. Atomaria is the native form.  It has large cup shaped flowers that are white on the inside w/ fine intricate black spotting and blue on the reverse of the petals. That is the form that I grew up with in the country near Eugene. This is a fascinating annual that is adapted to just about any soil that is not boggy. Finely divided foliage forms sprawling rosettes that support the nickel sized sky blue to pale blue flowers. Blooms April to June. Reliably reseeds in open disturbed sites and with a little protection from slugs and lack of competition.  The whole plant is dead and chucking seed by the heat of summer and ultimately disappears on its own. Adaptable to full sun to light shade. Self sown plants get by with no supplemental irrigation- plants from containers seem to like regular water. In habitat it occupies slopes usually under the canopy of Oaks.  To 4″ tall and 1′ wide. Excellent, long, showy display in reconstructed Willamette Valley meadows. and laugh at summer drought by finishing their life cycle and simply spreading anew by seed. We are actively searching for the ssp. atomaria but the seed is hard to obtain. Occurs natively with  Erythronium oreganum, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis as well as Plectritis congesta.  Oregon native plant.

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Giant baby blue eyes is kind of a misleading common name. The flowers in our locally native form of Baby blue eyes are a pure white with black dots on the interior. The only blue that appears on this subspecies is on the reverse of the petals which is often blushed with navy blue. This delightful wildflower grew natively in my back yard where I grew up. In early April to early June it would make sheets of cup shaped blooms under the native white and black oaks. There it bloomed simultaneously with Foothill shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii), Prairie stars (Lithophragma parviflora)  and western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis) and  mission bells (Fritillaria affinis) –  a  really cool native vignette. Wonderful annual for many kinds of native pollinators. Native bees favor this plant and if you look diligently they will be visited over and over.  It will resow itself very reliably if foreign invasive plants are kept away. Mixes really well with (Collinsia grandiflora) Giant Blue Eyed Mary and (Plectritis congesta) Rosy plectritis. A truly exquisite west coast and Oregon native that is adapted to life between clumping grasses. Non native turf grasses will quickly over run and out compete this plant. So, invasive weed control is paramount in maintaining consistent years. In my own backyard it grew between (Festuca californica) California fescue and California three awn (Danthonia californica). Water in potted plants.Protect seedlings in spring and fall from slugs. Oregon native plant.

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Nigella sativa

Wonderful multi-use hardy annual that we love for its flowers, seed heads, and edible seeds. Love-in-a-Mist is the common name in reference to the mostly dark blue flowers that are ensconced in a haze of fine green stems. This is a charming cut flower.  Upon finishing the ovaries transform to a ballon shaped structure full of yummy black seeds. You can then detach that as a cut flower as well. The dried black seeds have a peppery taste and are excellent sprinkled on salads. Be sure to sprinkle them on the ground where next year’s crop will be. Truth is once you plant this it is pretty much as permanent as a perennial, so reliable and prolific a re-seeding plant. The ferny seedlings are easy to spot, move or dispatch. Let them flow through your perennial borders. They make a wonderful addition to a cutting garden. Best in rich, open, disturbed soil with supplemental H20 all the way until seed are produced- though not entirely necessary it produces larger plants- and there fore stems, flowers, and more seeds. Blooms June-July. Full sun to light shade. VERY EASY.

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Opuntia macrocentra

Spectacular in bloom this is one of the easiest Opuntia (Prickily Pear Cactus) for our climate. Pads are fiercely armed and are blue/gray. The 2″ needles are formidable and begs that this plant be place away from paths. Spreading to 2′ tall x 4′ wide in very well drained poor soil with light summer water to establish. Avoid all shade- bright open conditions suite this native of the SW U.S. Avoid placing near deciduous trees where dropped leaves can collect on the plant- they are not only a pain in the ass to remove they must be to avoid rot in winter. Grows relatively fast- increasing before you know it. Amazing in large rock gardens as well as large containers. Amend the soil with pumice and gravel so that winter wet does not collect around the base. It will root through this deep into the ground. Once established it can get by with all that falls fro the sky. Huge yellow flowers with an orange center are 6″ wide an amazing when they appear in late spring to early summer. Highly deer resistant. Long lived.

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Ranunculus occidentalis

Western Buttercup is our own wonderful wildflower. This is the real thing and NOT the invasive Ranunculus ficaria or repens. Traditionally it occupies open Oregon Oak woodlands and meadows including vernally wet meadows. Though it handles winter inundation it is also adapted to upland situations and in every biome it goes quickly summer dormant. Rosettes of pretty pinked leaves elongate in bloom to an airy spray of bright yellow flowers. Intimately, the petals have a glossy sheen. And growing up in the country it was traditional to put a picked flower under your chin and the reflected color yellow revealed that indeed you did like butter. Great cut flower that peaks on May Day and has made many a wild flower bouquet with purple Oregon Iris and purple Dodecatheon hendersonii- Shooting stars. Pictured here with Common Camas Camassia quamash at the Camassia reserve in West Linn, Oregon. Blooms from mid-April to early June. Vast meadows of western Oregon still harbor this sweet short lived perennial. Adapted to heavy clay soils- reseeds when happy. Suitable for mowed meadows as long as it has gone to seed by the time you mow. Wait until June.  Good competitor with invasives and absolutely integral to a Willamette Valley meadow. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant

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Sierra gooseberry or sticky gooseberry is a pretty if prickly native deciduous shrub for rough areas. Charming in bloom , the 1/2″ pendant flowers have sepals that are reflexed and red around a pendant white corolla. After opening they both change to light red and remain showy for several weeks. They line zig zagging stems with three thorns at each node. That means  you must site this 7′ tall by 4′ wide arching plant carefully. The flowers are pretty viewed up close and turn into prickly translucent green/red drupes. These are eaten by a huge variety of wildlife and especially smaller birds. Often the shrub will be completely stripped of berries by the time the soft orange fall color appears. Native from the Cascades of Marion county south throughout inland California down to San Diego county CA. Its most often found in dry gravelly areas on slopes in full sun to deep woods where its habit is more restrained and open. Blooms appear in mid spring. Water lightly to establish the first summer then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Adaptable to dry shade if it is not completely dark. Moderate deer resistance. Very similar to another native Gooseberry Ribes lobbii which is discrete in its dull non sticky leaves. Wonderful native shrub.Rarely seen in habitat below 1000′.  Oregon native plant

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Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’

An old standard form of our native and widespread Stonecrop. This form is unique for its very pale gray almost white rosettes of leaves. It spreads vigorously in rich to average well drained soil with light summer water. Soil should be light and not compacted. It makes a very good small scale ground cover. Also excellent in rock gardens and even winter containers. Great long lived and easy container subject. To just inches high a single plant can reproduce to several feet wide. In late spring 6″ stems grow upright to display masses of brilliant yellow flowers. Adored by all pollinators. When cold wet weather arrives the entire plant takes on red/raspberry tones. Very pretty. Easy to grow native perennial. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.

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Sedum spathulifolium ‘Carnea’

Interesting form of Stone crop that has foliage that takes on brilliant red/purple tints in cold weather or with drought stress. Powdery blue foliage is arranged in rosettes at the end of 3″ stems. Starting with the outer most leaves the vivid tints become most apparent in mid-late summer through winter. Red stems support clusters of gold/yellow flowers in early summer. Excellent pollinator plant as are all Sedums. Easy to grow in any soil that drains reasonably well. In regular ground double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen into the soil and avoid compaction. It will spread to multiple feet across in short order. In rock gardens it can be a little rambunctious around delicate plantings. Give it room and plan for it to spread. Great in seasonal containers, troughs, rock walls. Light summer water speeds the growth rate- it also inhibits the bright color. Oregon native plant.

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Sedum spathulifolium ‘Rogue River’

Would it surprise you that I found this form of native stonecrop on cliffs above the Rogue River? It fascinated me how tightly to the ground this spreading succulent occurred. Gray green foliage appears to be almost rubbery and it grows in a dense pile. Very nice. To just inches high it eventually makes large colonies in rich, to average well drained soil. Light to little summer water. In late spring 4″ stems support hot yellow sunny flowers for weeks. Loved by pollinators of all types. Evergreen and ever lovely form. Perennial borders, rock gardens, containers. Easy and climate adapted native succulent that loves to be in gardens. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Sempervivum ‘Koko Flanel’

There are so many good Sempervivums (Hens and Chicks) but it seems that you only see the same 3 kinds over and over. We dug a little deeper and found a collection of exceptional cultivars. This girl/guy forms a very dense rosette with closely spaced leaves in a spiral arrangement. The older the leaves the more red as an under color with soft white hairs all throughout. New leaves have an aquamarine glow. Nice little symmetrical multicolor effect. Things go more towards green in the heat of summer. Pink flowers rise up on 6″ spikes spring to autumn- whenever it feels like it. Great container plant or small scale ground cover- this one multiplies very fast by offsets. Baby you’ve come a long way. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Rock walls, troughs, winter containers.

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Sempervivum ‘Lotus’

OOOMMMMM. Large growing Hens and Chicks with pale lavender gray rosettes to 5″ across. Very showy and multiplies moderately fast. Full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular water speeds growth and size of the plants. Otherwise extremely drought tolerant..in really dry conditions the rosette will shrink and go to sleep- awakened by autumn rains. Nice small scale, dense ground cover. Striking in living walls and a natural for containers. 5″ spikes send up pink flowers spring – autumn. Good looking year round. This one is the size of a small Echeveria and would make a good replacement that is actually permanent. Easy.

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Sempervivum ‘Maria Laach’

Pretty Maria. Bloody Maria. We have no idea why they named this stunning blood red Semp after her but I’ll bet its quite a story. As this is quite an extraordinary Hens and Chicks. Blood red tipped leaves often fade to green near the center of the rosette. Redder in summer in full sun in average, well drained soil. Each 3″ wide plant is in a continuous color change so its a varied pattern. Forms expanding colonies quickly. Full sun to part shade. Light summer water. Very good for contrast in rock gardens, rock walls, crevice gardens. In summer 4″ stems display red flowers. Easy to detach and move babies. Tolerates drought by shrinking, puffs back up with the first rains.

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Sempervivum ‘Pacific Zofic’

Fast multiplying Hens and Chicks that is covered in white fur. The silvery white fur covers new foliage in the center that is aqua changing to pink on the external rosette. In spring to autumn it can produce 5″ spikes of pink flowers. The rosette where the flower spike originates then dies but there are so many offsets you barely notice. Excellent in containers, rock walls, as a small scale ground cover. Good appearance in winter. Rich to average soil with regular summer irrigation to speed growth. Otherwise very tolerant of dry conditions – the rosettes shrink a bit in this phase. Sempervivums LOVE fertilizer. Enrich the soil with all purpose organic fertilizer before you plant and enjoy much LARGER plants. Rosettes to 3″ across.

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Sempervivum ‘Reinhard’

A really fun and rightfully famous cultivar. Celery green leaves are tipped in black. Very dramatic and the kind of contrast that makes a plant stand out. Rosettes are 4″ across and offsets are produced constantly. Very pretty dense small scale ground cover. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Deals with drought by shrinking. They rehydrate with the first rains. They look better and grow faster with water. Excellent in containers, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls, troughs. I’ve never seen this variety bloom but I assume the flowers would be red or white…doesn’t matter thats not the point. Detach babies and give to neighbors with the official name. Increases its specialness, impresses the neighbor. This would be a good variety for a living wall.

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Sempervivum ‘Saturn’

Probably the best standard red Sempervivum. Its been around forever and its a good cultivar. Given rich soil that drains well but is enriched with fertilizer a single rosette can swell to 6″ wide. its impressive. So fertilize your Hens and Chicks and turn up the scale. Forms prodigious offsets quickly. These can be stuck in the soil wherever you can’t get enough  of Sempervivum ‘Saturn’. Full sun give the best color red as well as a bit of stress. Red persists through winter which is useful for winter containers. Makes a good small scale ground cover that is dense enough to suppress weeds. Don’t try to cover an area more than a few square feet. This plant doesn’t do that. Living walls, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls. Hot slopes. Drought stressed plants don’t die they shrink and plump back up quickly with irrigation. Pink flowers in summer.

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Sempervivum ‘Soft Line’

I’m the one doing the descriptions so I get to choose which is my favorite. And this is my favorite ‘Hens and Chick’. Soft and downy with fine hairs that cover the entire rosette. Dove gray to pink coloration changes little throughout the years. To 3″ across it quickly multiplies to form colonies in rich to average soil in full sun to part shade. Regular summer water enhances the appearance as well as initiates faster growth. Rock walls, slopes, containers. Very easy to grow. Light pink flowers appear at the tips of 6″ stems spring-autumn. Soft and cuddly.

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Sempervivum ‘Virgil Ford’

Collectively this handsome Hens and chicks is one of our favorites. Soft pink to lavender and tipped with purple in cold weather. Nice. Large rosettes to 5″ across when happy. Boisterous multiplier and forming large colonies quickly. Rich, well drained soil with regular water to keep up appearances. Containers, rock walls, rock gardens, as a small scale weed smothering ground cover. Full sun to light shade. Even dry shade when established. Detach the babies and give them to a friend. Or chuck them at a Trump voter. Pretty plant. High deer resistance.

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Sempervivum arachnoides ‘Robin’

RED Robin! Thats how we remember the name of this snappy Hens and Chicks. Tightly growing leaves in a medium sized rosette to 3″ across. The interior of the leaves are bright red with green leaf tips. Multiplies quickly. Retains these bright colors well throughout the year- where as some can become rather dull in winter. Spring – Autumn it may shoot up a 5″ spike bearing pink/red flowers. The rosette then dies but there are so many offsets that you would never know. Move them around the garden like furniture. Easy. Give them to friends, knock squirrels out of the tree with them. Fun to grow. Interact with your sempervivums and all will be good. Full sun and regular summer water to remain vigorous and bright and showy.

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Sempervivum arachnoides var. pittonii

Cob webs cover this adorable and fast multiplying Hens and chicks. The hairy webbing is a successful strategy to stop transpiration of liquid from the leaves and cool the surface as well. 2″ wide rosettes create many offsets in a short amount of time. It makes a good small scale ground cover  From spring to autumn it may produce a 5″ stem directly from the center of the rosette and bear rows of rosy pink flowers. That rosette then dies but it produces prodigious amounts of babies. Full sun to part shade in enriched, well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Without irrigation it will survive but shrink. Containers, rock gardens, gravel gardens. Good appearance year round.

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Sidalcea hendersonii

Rare native perennial that can be found in wet marginal areas along the coast from Oregon to S. Alaska. Never common it forms large clumps of verdant green scalloped foliage and towers of deep pink hollyhock-like flowers. The flowers are arranged densely on the stem. Blooms repeatedly from June to frost- remove spent flower spikes to encourage more. To 34″ tall in bloom The best Checkermallow for rich, amended borders with regular summer water. Excellent cutflower and a beacon to pollinators-especially natives. Mostly winter deciduous. Combine with other tall spired perennials of similar culture. Very good with border delphiniums or even Penstemons. Tough long lived plant given the correct site. Climate adapted perennial. Rare. Cut back spent stems in winter.  Oregon native plant.  

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Sidalcea malvaflora ssp. virgata

Rose checker mallow is one the showiest summer perennials native to the western part of the state. This ‘wild hollyhock’ decorates meadows and swales from slightly south of Portland to the Rogue Valley in SW Oregon. A low rosette of mallow-esque leaves are glossy. The tall straight 16″ spires of densely arranged hot pink flowers wave in the early summer breeze.(Blooms May-July)  A great cut flower this obvious mallow relative is among our natives that improves under cultivation. And it is rust resistant. Double dig a wide hole to incorporate oxygen in the soil add a handful of all purpose organic fertilizer into the hole and mix with the existing soil. Water regularly and deeply for the first few months. Allow the ground to dry some between irrigation Loved by butterflies and pollinators and actually one of the host plants for the endangered Willamette Valley ‘Fendler’s Blue’ butterfly. Continuously irrigated plants will have successive flushes of bloom. For native rainfall only plants the show is a little shorter. Long lived, resents disturbance. Excellent with Iris tenax, Penstemon kunthii and all Achilleas. Native to clay soils that dry in summer. Oregon native plant. 

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Sisyrinchium ‘EK Balls’

Diminutive and flowery little Blue Eyed grass that forms dense colonies of grassy green foliage to just 5″ high and is topped with a non-stop display of single purple flowers. Full sun and rich soil with regular summer moisture. Blooms continuously. Forms spreading colonies quickly when happy. Seldom sets seed. Easy to grow long lived plant for a big floral display. Winter deciduous. This cultivar has been grown in England for more than 100 years. Pretty cool.

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Pacific Aster. Our selection of a widespread beach aster species that circles much of the temperate Pacific Rim. This form tops out at a compact 30″ on an upright plant that forms expanding clumps in rich to average soil ‘Short Sands’ is a purple form from seed of a very dark purple specimen that Greg found.  It is by far the darkest purple that we have encountered in this species. The majority are white to very light lavender. Most often its habitat is adjacent or very near the coastal strand. Its adapted to all kinds of soils from sand to clay and it appreciates deep infrequent water during the summer season. Blooms begin in August and open until mid November. This aster is often seen along the sides of HWY 101. In fleeting glimpse you can capture small periwinkle daisies late in the season. A pollinator master piece. All sorts of natives recognize this showy perennial. Full sun to light shade. It seems to be most vertical in full sun and average soil. Over amended soils, too much water, or too much shade will lead to a splaying flop. The flat upturned daisies come in rows of two for a fuller look and are a natural landing pad for butterflies.  Winter deciduous, very tolerant of dry conditions when established but does better with deep infrequent summer drinks. Cut back hard in spring- a new batch of leaves will just be arriving. This sophisticated  native is at home in pampered borders or wild areas. Associated plants in habitat are Mianthemum dilitatum, Calamagrostis nutkensis, and Vaccinium ovatum. Its habitat is dwindling as Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius) and Ox Eye Daisy (Dendranthema) have crowded this special plant out  Excellent garden plant.  Oregon native plant

Xera Plants Introduction

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Hall’s Aster might as well be known as Willamette Valley Aster as this charming smaller perennial is found primarily there. To 20″ tall and spreading to form a wider clump this native aster begins blooming in August and continues into Autumn. The small daisy flowers have rays that are primarily white, though light pink and lavender are also seen. The reverse of the petals is always a darker color- primarily very light lavender. Excellent native pollinator plant for late in the season. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil. Adaptable to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. In the garden deep infrequent soaks will yield the healthiest and most floriferous plants. Spreads moderately underground by stolons. Not bothered by deer. Nice little cut flower as filler for bolder arrangements. Climate adapted perennial that is a native for a Willamette Valley prairie. Not as vigorous and space consuming as Symphyotrichum subspicatum – Douglas aster. Hall’s aster fits in much smaller spaces. Easy to grow, winter deciduous. Associated plants in the wild are Sidalcea m. ‘Virgata’, Eriophyllum lanatum, Achillea millefolium.  Takes intense dry conditions with establishment. Oregon native plant.

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Tellima grandiflora

Locally native on our nursery site Fringe Cups or Fairy Bells as they are commonly known are a spreading perennial for moist shady sites. Low mounding maple shaped leaves cover the ground densely and in late spring vertical spikes appear to 18″ tall and sport rows of small green cup shaped flowers which change to white and finish with tints of pink. Closely related to Heuchera and thrives in the same conditions. It will even take full sun in moist conditions. It is a background plant because it often suffers from powdery mildew late in summer which is mostly just ugly and I’ve never seen harm to the plant. The drier the conditions the worse the affliction. Good air circulation helps but its best to just accept that this is how this native perennial rolls. Semi-evergreen in winter. Woodland borders, shady containers. Very easy to grow. Often grows with Claytonia as seen below. Flowers emit a sweet fragrance.  Oregon Native Plant.

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Thymus vulgaris ‘Peter Davis’

Form of the useful culinary herb that is also a nice looking little evergreen shrublet. To 6″ x 6″ the gray green foliage is aromatic and most useful before it blooms. In early summer it becomes a ball of light pink flowers- very pretty. Wait a bit until the blooms have receded to harvest again. A first rate, semi-woody evergreen garden plant that is good looking for most of the year. Average to rich, well drained soil in full sun. Light summer water. Very easy go grow. Takes quite a bit of drought when established.

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Vancouveria hexandra

Inside-Out-Flower is a commonly seen terrestrial component in dry to moderately moist woodlands in our region. The duck foot shaped leaves are conspicuous and pretty and in late spring to mid-summer a continuous supply of dainty downward pointing white flowers. Spreads in gardens very well in enriched soil with regular summer water where it will quickly assume the role of an intertwining ground cover. Winter deciduous- un-like its close and much more drought adapted relative Vancouveria chrysantha (Yellow inside-out-flower, Siskiyou Vancouveria). This perennial is perfect for life among shrubs or mixing with other woodland perennials in part shade to shade. Adapts well to garden culture and thrives on regular summer irrigation. Locally native in the city of Portland. To 10″ tall and spreading. Some deer resistance.  Oregon native plant.

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Viburnum ellipticum

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.

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Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’

We think this is the best form of this winter blooming shrub/tree. Large clusters of pink flowers change to white upon opening. Flowers begin in December and continue to open until March. A very long season of bloom at an important time of the year. The tubular flowers are sweetly fragrant. Tall growing vase shaped shrub to 12′ tall and half as wide. Fall color is soft peach and red and showy for quite a while. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained soil with regular summer water. Great scaffold for summer blooming Clematis. Make this the star of your winter garden. Cut flowers last for a long time in a vase.

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Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’

Really there is nothing like the clove/carnation/sweet fragrance of this shrub in late winter to early spring. The large clusters of flowers begin as pink buds and open to white. Nice bicolor effect along the way. Blooms 3-4 weeks. Evergreen to semi-evergreen to deciduous in arctic places. Large growing shrub that can attain tree like proportions with great age. To 8′ x 4′ in 7 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained sites. Light consistent summer water speeds growth and increases spring flowering. Otherwise relatively drought adapted, especially in shade. Tolerate the most obnoxious sticky clay soils- especially on slopes. Plant where you can pass by the flowers and take a big ol whiff. Very easy to grow. Prune AFTER flowering.

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Whipplea modesta

Yerba de Selva or whipple vine, a wonderful small scale evergreen native ground cover. Related to Hydrangeas but this trailer is actually very droughtadapted.e In late spring clouds of small white flowers have  the same perfume. Scrambling plant to about 8″ tall and 2′ wide. Full sun to considerable shade. From Portland south this is a common understory component of the herb field. It grew happily in our back 40 where I grew up. There it made pretty scrambling patches between Vancouveria, snow berry and hairy honeysuckle. Often you would see our native columbine ( Aquilegia formosa) as an associate. Its very drought adapted when established but it improves with a few soaks over summer- never perpetually wet and never hot and wet. Otherwise an easy native that should be grown a lot more. Just the fragrance of the foliage endears it to me. For use as a small scale ground cover plant on 10″ centers. It will also gracefully trail over rockeries and walls. Butterflies adore the flowers. Competes well with invasives. Some deer resistance. It may be cut back in early spring to refresh. Once native in the Portland city limits. This is a great native understory for Arctostaphylos, which is frequently seen in the wild.    Oregon native plant.

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Wulfenia x schwarzii

Obscure perennial hybrid that has yielded a wonderful perennial. Evergreen rosettes of fleshy scalloped green leaves look good year round. From February to June (yep.) 10″ spikes are covered in violet blue tubular flowers. The display is continuous for months. Part shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Mass for a stunning effect for months. A natural for PNW woodlands. Cold hardy and easy to grow. Not bothered by slugs or snails. Excellent perennial that has amazed us with its long, uninterrupted bloom period which is continuously showy with no intervention from the gardener. Mix with spring blooming perennials. Mine makes its life with regular old wild Primula vulgaris. I love the soft yellow flowers paired with this violet-blue hue. Easy, showy, and carefree perennial. This plant has everything needed for greatness. Too bad its so obscure. We intend to change that.

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Wyethia angustifolia

Mules Ears are rare in cultivation. These cheery bold perennials make the transition of our wild flowers from spring into real summer. So named for its long leaves it forms very permanent spreading colonies in clay soils in habitat. The brilliant yellow sun flower blossoms rise up on sturdy stems directly from the ground. Each ebullient large flower is about 4″ across. Blooms appear from late April to early June. This plant usually finishes blooming just as summer drought commences. Its a memorable sight in wild meadows where it blooms simultaneously with native Rosa nutkana and Farewell to spring (Clarkia amoena var. lindleyi) and Giant blue eyed mary (Collinsia grandiflora). Wonderful cut flower and immediate and popular pollinator perennial. This plant was once very common in the Willamette Valley but civilization has immensely shrunk its native range. Good, long lived garden plant that goes summer dormant quickly after blooming has ended. The leaves turn gray and brittle and can easily be removed then. Give it a summer rest w/ little to no summer water once established. Full sun to very light shade. Water to establish its first season then none in subsequent years. Fun to grow and LONG lived. To 14″ in bloom forming a plant several feet across. Moderate deer resistance. Native to the Portland city limits. Very slow to finish in a salable size. Patience. Limited quantities. Oregon native plant

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Yucca (nana) hermmaniae

Adorable and rugged little dwarf Yucca from southern Utah. Tight round quills are decorated with filaments on the leaf edges. Not a friendly guy and very slow growing. Forming spheres of spikes to 1′ across and multiplying to produce colonies with pups. Full sun and very well drained soil of  average to poor fertility. Requires excellent air circulation- no crowding. Plants that are smooshed with little air circulation protest heavily and it then takes a while for recovery. Open and free in rock garden conditions produces the happiest plants. At home nestled with boulders or as a finer texture element with Agaves. In time it produces adorable and conical shaped hoods of flowers- a gnome wedding. Excellent in containers- open, well drained containers. Light summer water during hot weather seems to speed growth. Locate away from paths. Owwie. Strongly deer and rabbit resistant.

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