Huge, stately, bold biennial that we kind of consider the king of all biennials. The first season it forms a huge rosette of thin silver foliage. Showy in its own right. If we have a mild winter (above 15ºF) the whole plant soars to 6′ tall the second year and is a tower of red/purple borage flowers. Pollinators lose their little collecting minds and even hummers show up. Not entirely hardy but we think its such an incredible foliage plant in its first year that is is definitely worth the risk. Following bloom it sets seed- man does it set seed and seedling will appear all over the garden. They are easy to identify- rosettes of thin leaves with a sandpapery texture. You can move them or mass them for a cool effect. Rich to average, well drained soil with light summer water. Full sun and position out of high winds which can topple the plant in its blooming stage. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Native to the Canary Islands.
Not the hardiest Fuchsia but by all means one of the showiest. This improved form of ‘Gartenmeister’ is taller with longer brilliant orange red flowers. Tubular pendant flowers in groups to 3″ long. They appear in a massive and continuous display for months petering out around frost. To 30″ tall and very upright- just half as wide. The foliage is a distinct maroon/burgundy which sets off the hot colored flowers nicely. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Part shade to full sun (but not against a hot wall) with water. Incorporate a handful of all organic fertilizer at planting. To over winter this more tender than normal beauty plant deeply, mulch in autumn heavily, and even pile some dry leaves around the crown. It may return from the base if we have a mild winter (above 20ºF). Otherwise its a stellar container constituent. Hummingbirds.
Bird’s Eye Gilia is a showy and delicate appearing but tough hardy annual from the central valley of California into the Coast Ranges as well as Sierra Nevada foothills. To 6″ tall each stalk bears multiple gorgeous purple to white flowers with a distinct dark eye. Give your pollinators a treat this diminutive plant will bloom for 4-6 weeks in late spring to summer in our climate. Give it open disturbed soil without competition form invasive grasses to complete its life cycle, where it will reseed with abandon. Lovely little west coast native annual for sunny, wild sites. Good in containers for a brief but brilliant wildflower display. Excellent in parking strips where it will love the reflected heat. Light consistent water until its time to go quietly to sleep. Good drainage helps.
A very beautiful and obscure shrub that I obtained from Heronswood in the 90’s. Difficult to photograph this is one of the most spectacular False Indigos. Not entirely cold hardy it requires a warm location but is worth it. Soaring to 12′ tall in a single season in rich soil with regular water the tall wand-like stems support pendulous strings of rose pink flowers that extends to 2′ long or longer. Blooming all the way to the tips. As this shrub grows it continually produces these amazing flowers which are both graceful and somewhat modern. Loved by butterflies and bees. Seldom sets seed in our climate. Full all day sun. Excellent in large summer containers. Locate in a warm, protected location- against a south facing wall for instance. Prune back hard in spring after new growth commences. Often loses about 1/2 its wood during a normal winter. Cutting it back also results in more stems to display the fascinating and groovy flowers. Native to SW China. We grew this great plant years ago and have decided to bring it back into production. Cold hardy to 15ºF. Very difficult to photograph as the pendulous flowers are so long. VERY FUN to grow.
Honey swamp myrtle hails from wet locations in Tasmania. Its a tender shrub inland but it thrives in zone 9 on the Oregon coast. A fur clad fine leaved shrub that is a true myrtle. In April-May the whole plant is home to stamen dominated purple bottlebrush flowers. Exquisite. Very easy container subject that can be moved to a protected place if severe cold (below 20ºF) threatens. Excellent shrub for sandy substrates though it takes well to heavy clay too. Light consistent summer water. To 5′ tall by 2′ wide in 7 years. Great plant for hummingbirds and butterflies. Inland we have yet to test the cold hardiness in the ground. It should easily take 15ºF but probably not lower. Evergreen foliage is fragrant when disturbed. Good deer and rabbit resistance. Absolutely titillating in bloom. Native to mid and high elevations of Tasmania. Seed grown.
This is a relatively hardy selection of Oleander with profuse pale pink flowers at the end of summer. Not quite as cold hardy as ‘Hardy Red’- ‘Hardy Pink’ will show foliage damage at about 16ºF. Therefore, it should be placed in the most protected sites as possible. A south or west facing wall is ideal. Not recommended for gardens outside of the urban heat island – the city of Portland. To 5′ x 5′ and recovering quickly in spring if frozen over winter. Blooms from deep pink buds open to paler pink in August to September. High deer resistance. Thrives in the hottest sites possible. The more established the shrub the cold hardier it will be
Marlborough Rock Daisy is a shrub that is a wonderful piece of architecture. This compact slow growing plant has large round leaves that are concave and steel gray on the upper surface and pure white underneath. In spring 6″ pure white stems elongate to pure white buds that open the most crisp white daisies you’ve ever seen. Each flower has a double set of white petals around a yellow center. Clean and wonderful plant that we find to be tender below 15ºF so it requires a very protected spot or makes a great, easy, long lived container subject. A beach plant in its native New Zealand it is excellently adapted to life on the milder coast. It is even somewhat tolerant of salt spray and will seldom be bothered by cold. Slow growing and dense to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years. Protect containerized plants form temperatures in the teens. Drought tolerant, low water requirements.
Perhaps there is no more blue flower than desert blue bells. An excellent and long blooming hardy annual that is at home in container as well as the ground. Often it will reseed prolifically from just one pot. To 6″ tall and as wide. Full sun and rich to average well drained soil. Light, consistent summer water keeps it going. Otherwise it will go away but not before setting seed for the following season. The vivid blue bell shaped flowers attract pollinators. Good western wildflower.
Sticky Phacelia is a hardy annual native to southern California chaparral into northern Baja. It bears intense blue flowers in late spring to early summer. It will often reseed in open disturbed sites if we have a mild winter. Incredibly attractive to bees and pollinators as all blue flowers seem to be. Full sun and well drained soil. Mixes well with summer perennials and if you give it a light shear and a drink when the first round of flowers are spent often more will erupt. To 11″ tall and spreading a bit. Fantastic wildflower effect. Native west coast annuals deserve a respected place in our gardens. Blue- scintillating blue. Works well in containers also. Light, consistent water to bloom.