Fragrant hardy Abelia is just that- not only is it ultra cold hardy, it possesses as far as we can surmise, the best fragrance of an already fragrant genus and basically a spot on redux of citrus blossom sweetness. A long procession of pink buds that open in clusters to powerfully fragrant white flowers. The fragrance carries for quite a distance on the summer air. Blooms June-Sept. Full sun to very light shade in rich soil with regular summer water. Not entirely drought adapted pair with other summer water cohorts. Forms a vase shaped twiggy deciduous shrub to 4′ x 4′ in time. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune after flowering if needed. Usually pruning is limited to tired non blooming wood which is self evident. Cold hardy to below -20ºF Fall color is often dark red with pink tints and often lacking Beware this shrub if drought stressed goes straight to crispy. Establish well before setting it free. One of the most fantastic floral fragrances. Deciduous shrubs are not a hot category for several reasons but the fragrance of this ultra hardy shrub should be enjoyed everywhere. Delicious flower fragrance.
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
Interesting and very handsome compact Manzanita that retains what appears to be juvenile foliage. Each rounded leaf has small indentations that give the plant a finer mein. Silver/ gray foliage is handsome all the time and the leaves clasp the stems in a symmetrical way. In January to April clusters of pinkish/ white urn shaped flowers appear at the branch tips. Not the heaviest blooming Manzanita. The mature trunks and stems revert to a solid mahogany glossy finish with time. Dense growing to 4′ x 4′ in 6 years- larger in time. Beautiful, architectural shrub for full sun and dry summer conditions. No supplemental water when established. Rounded good looking plant for hillsides, parking strips, dry shrub borders. This species is native to mid to higher elevations of the Bay area and has performed wonderfully in our gardens. A naturally dense growing plant.
This handsome low growing and compact manzanita has great performance in our climate. Glossy mid-green foliage clothes a dense growing plant to 2′ x 4′. Admirable low ground cover as a massed subject but individual plants have glossy mahogany trunks that develop character with age. Masses of small white urn shaped flowers appear in late winter to early spring. Healthy looking at all times and not prone to black spot. Takes reflected heat well and even tolerates a light amount of shade. No water necessary once established, but it will take light water on slopes. Great small scale for small gardens. In time you can lift the plant up by pruning to reveal the small trunks. Long lived. One of the finest smaller varieties. Central CA coast.
Several wonderful attributes makes this a great manzanita for widespread use. Its extremely cold hardy, a naturally occurring hybrid from southern Colorado- it can handle temperatures lower than -20ºF. Its a great size- slow growing to just 3′ x 3′ in 8+ years. The matte green foliage is dense (almost boxwood-esque) and is a great foil for the clusters of pink buds that relax to lighter pink when open. Full sun and average, unimproved soil. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky. This dainty almost formal looking shrub finds a happy home in smaller gardens, rock gardens, and thrives in Central Oregon. In time the trunks exfoliate to glossy maroon- it take quite a few years for this to be an outstanding feature. Mounded and dense for the first part of its life- expect just several inches of growth per year.. Open exposure with good air circulation. Great performance in Gorge outflow. A perfect substitute for ‘Greensphere’ that is both hardier to cold and a little easier to cultivate. Russet red berries that follow are a treat for the birds that get there first. Accepts the hottest aspects, drought, and brutal cold. Beinvenidos, Panchito!
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.
This is a great dwarf form of Alpine bottlebrush and its most useful for its size and shape than for expansive floral displays. However, when in bloom its beyond adorable. Slow growing rounded shrub to 1.5′ x 1.5′ after 7 years. The small needle-like leaves are medium green with a distinct ochre cast. Very tough evergreen for the most challenging sites. Accepts intense reflected heat, summer drought and arctic cold. This is a true alpine plant. No pruning necessary as it naturally assumes a dense rounded habit with no intervention. Good deer resistance. Excellent as in informal unpruned hedge. Accepts almost all soil types from saturated clay to sand. The diminutive flowers are actually small circular balls of light yellow stamens- adorable. Blooms May- June and possibly again in autumn. Native to the very highest elevations of Australia. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Combines well with wild flowers or perennials. Nice looking shrub all the time. This is an introduction from Desert Northwest Nursery. And its an excellent plant. Full sun- not tolerant of shade.
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 and Iris tenax. Emerges quickly in spring- does its thing and then goes back to sleep. Charming. Oregon native plant.
Great Camas is the larger and some say showier cousin to common Camas (Cammasia quamash ssp. maxima). Its found throughout the western valleys of the state. Rising to 2′ tall in mid spring the petals of great Camas are not only larger they are stiffer as well. The large star shaped flowers open from the base to the top. They range greatly in color from pale blue to the most common dark blue. Its a luminous color that beckons pollinators. Small black hover flies gather on the flowers to collect pollen. Forms increasing colonies in rich soil that retains moisture. Its often seen in winter submerged areas and is common in drainage ditches and vernally wet meadows along streams. It grows and blooms simultaneously with its common associates, Sidalcea malviflora ssp. virgata and occasionally even with Iris tenax (Oregon Iris). Its most striking neighbors in the wild are wild Parsnip (Hieracleum maximum) as well as Ranunculus occidentalis (Western Buttercup). Leaves precede the flowers and the whole plant goes cleanly summer dormant after seed set. Very adapted to heavy soils. No supplemental irrigation is required once established. Oregon native plant.
Common Camas one of the wests great wild flowers. ‘Maxima’ is the form that is most common in the Willamette Valley. In April to June meadows, glens, and floodplains turn sky blue. Occurs natively in vernally wet sites, that means that part of the winter it is submerged or very saturated. However, it does thrive in upland situations in heavy clay soils that are sodden for at least half the year. Prior to European development first nation people relied on this starchy bulb as a food source. They managed it by low intensity fires which cleared away the competition but did not injure the deep bulb. In turn the Camas thrived. They ate it baked or steamed like a small potato. An important pollinator plant that also attracts some critically endangered Willamette Valley butterflies. Nice cut flower. The spike of flowers opens at the base and moves to the top. To 20″ tall in bloom. The whole plant goes quickly dormant with summer heat. Leaves emerge in early spring and precede the flowers. Full sun. Common associated plants are Ranunculus occidentalis and Hosackia gracilis. Oregon native plant.
Extraordinary Higo Camellia that is wildly showy and fun to grow. Higo Camellias are a form where the stamens rather than being clustered together in the center are instead splayed out in the shape of a star against smaller flat petals. They are surprisingly rare in the United States. Its a different look for a japonica and we love it. Moderately fast growing handsome glossy evergreen shrub for full sun to shade. To 8′ x 5′ in 7 years. Regular summer water speeds growth and increases flower bud set. Mid-season bloomer with flowers opening from February on. Rich to average soil, definitely apply ample mulch when planting. Good looking shrub at all times- w/ a somewhat formal appearance until the blooms open. 4″ wide flowers have flat petals that are white striped and stippled in peppermint red. Takes low water conditions when established. Long lived.
This is an extraordinary fall blooming sasanqua Camellia with very showy flowers and a nice upright habit. Large double cupped flowers emerge from a pink bud and unfurls to a pink edge with a white center. As the bloom ages it turns mostly to white with pink tinted flowers. Bloom appears from late September to late November. Glossy, very dark green leaves are formal in appearance and a great backdrop to the profuse 4″ wide flowers. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. This improves fall bloom. Otherwise very established shrubs can get through summer with just a few drinks. As with most sasanquas the flowers have an earthy, light, sweet scent. Long lived, hardy, easy to grow evergreen with a great season of bloom. Prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Wonderful as a stiff upright espalier which will protect the flowers from the vagaries of weather. Stunning in bloom. Tolerates hot aspects.. To 7′ x 6′ in 8 years.
This is one of my favorite fall blooming sasanquas. Beginning in November and continuing to about the first of the year it produces copious double flowers of a soft, antique pink. The shading of the petals give the impression of an aged flower. VERY pretty. Very dark green foliage is glossy on an upright and then distinctively arching shrub to 3′ x 5′ in 6 years. Give this elegant shrub room to spread, it will grow faster than you think. Full sun to part shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Established plants can survive on just several drinks per summer. This sasanqua does not have the sweet earthy fragrance that many do. The soft pink 3″ wide flowers are born in profusion. Very easily trained as an espalier. Open flowers are cold hardy to about 27ºF. Incipient flower buds are much hardier. Good looking shrub year round. Very elegant late blooming sasanqua that is welcome late in autumn. A very old Japanese selection where this species is native.
Our friend garden designer plantswoman extraordinaire Magi Treece spotted this Camellia and observed it over time. I too had noticed it around town- always large and VERY old. Its most conspicuous trait is to produce simple single fluted ivory flowers from pink buds. Up close these 3″ wide flowers have a decadent sweet scent. Its appearance is most like the species Camellia cuspidata which is a very cold hardy species known for its fragrant white flowers. Blooms appear from December (Often as early as November) and open until the end of February. The elegant flowers are tough and it takes some serious weather to impede or even damage the flowers. Deep green leaves are long and thin and very glossy/handsome with a sharp tip. The entire plant is good looking at all times. Ancient varieties around town are upwards of 15′ tall and 3/4 as wide. I’d say it would be an 8′ x 8′ shrub in 10 years. Regular water speeds growth and assists in bud set for the following season, this is only important in summer. Excellent specimen or hedge. This is one tough and beautiful Camellia. Dig a large hole to disturb the soil around the planting site and set the plant in the hole even with the soil horizon. Backfill, water and mulch. Magi queried Camellia Forest about this plant with no luck. I queried Nuccio’s and their best guess was that it was a form of C. cuspidata or a hybrid close with it. Either way its one of our most favorite Camellias and we have our sweet friend Magi to thank. This Camellia looks and acts very much like an evergreen Magnolia and it could be used as a smaller substitute. The flower fragrance on warm days is a bit like a Gardenia. Moderately fast growing.
Xera Plants Introduction
Excellent dwarf form of our native meadow sedge. To just 6″ tall it forms dense spreading evergreen patches. In spring to summer both male and female flower spikes rise to just a few inches above the foliage. Nice looking compact plant that retains its verdancy through the winter. An admirable substitute for lawn and mowing is not necessary. This species is most widespread east of the Cascades. Its native throughout the west and this form was identified in California. Plant on 10″ centers for a modern massed ground cover. The mid green to ochre green leaves are dense and smother competition. This creates less of a hummock affect and more of a small dome. Very easy to grow. Excels in containers. Full sun to light shade, also very high overhead shade (a tall tree canopy). Amending the soil with compost and fertilizer will increase vigor and green appearance and quicken establishment. Spreads by slowly expanding rhizomes. Excellent between stones or pavers. Tolerates light foot traffic. Not really large enough to be bothered by deer once established. Hardy below 0ºF. This useful plant has great smaller scale, ease of culture, and consistent good looks. This would be an excellent smaller grassy component of a meadow. Established plants can take quite a bit of summer drought. Carex praegracilis is an Oregon native plant.
Most Ceanothus are famous for their intense blue and profuse flowers, this interesting shrub has the typical masses of sky blue flowers which obscures the tiny warty foliage. To 5′ x 8′ and spreading wider than tall it becomes a cloud of blue in April and pollinators take notice. Rolling in bees and every other awake pollinator a shrub in full bloom is a buzzing fountain of activity. Fast growing, wiry, dense shrub with extraordinarily dark green tiny leaves. This gives the shrub the distinct appearance of a cloud. Full sun and average to poor soil including heavy clay soils that dry in summer. No summer water once established. Remarkably drought adapted west coast native shrub. Very easy to grow large, showy, shrub for wild areas, blasting hot urban hell scapes. Not totally deer resistant but better than most other species. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Endures sandy substrates and even a bit of salt wind. Attracts some of the first butterflies to emerge. Cold hardy to slightly below 10ºF for brief periods. Recovers from cold damage completely by bloom time.
This form of Blueblossom we found on the southern Oregon coast in the far northern part of Curry County. There seems to be two forms of Ceanothus thyrsiflorus in Oregon. The immediate coastal species up to Lane county has broader leaves. Inland you find a much taller form with smaller juvenile leaves. An example of this is our large selection ‘Oregon Mist’. This is the standard broad leaved form you find adjacent to the beach. Glossy rounded leaves are lustrous and deep green year round. In late April to early June an extended period of profuse sky blue flowers. Adored by pollinators and rolling in grateful bees. A large native shrub with a rounded outline. To 8′ tall and possibly a little wider in AVERAGE soil in 5 years. Amended soil leads to prodigious growth and lack of hardiness. Fast growing low water shrub for full sun to very light shade. This plant that we collected in the wild is actually very similar to the cultivar ‘Victoria’- the primary difference is earlier bloom by several weeks. And a slightly lighter blue flower. This is a good standard form of the beach species as found in our state. Its been cold hardy to 5ºF with good pest free foliage. Ceanothus fix nitrogen with their roots and improve the soil. Also, years of detritus from the shrub collects to form wonderful enriched soil as well. Average life span increases the less this plant is watered once established but expect 9-15 years. Durable shrub for urban to rural places. Extraordinarily drought adapted as well as tolerant of dry clay. Pretty and utilitarian. Available, autumn 2020. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Very fortuitous, we planted 5 species/cvs of Ceanothus in our stock beds and they of course got a little frisky. We ended up with one stellar seedling that has impressed us so much that we showed it to Ceanothus Guru Dave Fross of Native Sons Nursery and he was impressed. In its 3rd year its produced copious blooms that are about the darkest blue that I’ve seen. Only the cultivar ‘Kurt Zadnick’ has deeper tones but this plant displays them differently. Large fluffily black/blue trusses of flowers on a lower and spreading plant. To 4′ tall by 6′ wide very fast. Glossy undulate leaves look nothing like their prospective parents. It has shown great cold hardiness as well as drought adaptation. Um…..we’ve never done anything to it. It hasn’t ever even had supplemental irrigation. So, extraordinarily climate adapted. Also, most Ceanothus seedlings require 3-4 years to commence bloom. This precocious little seedling bloomed its second year. All of this adds up to a great new cultivar. Full sun to very light shade and average soil. Water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Blooms late March to late April and occasionally on new wood through summer. This would make a great bank cover with Cistus and Helianthemum, Eriogonums. So cool we named it Azul. The beginning of a GREAT Ceanothus.
Xera Plants Introduction
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.
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 California but its primary populations are in our state. 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 nod slightly at the end of the stems. 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. Oregon native plant.
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.
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.
This is a tender Erica inland. It prefers the Oregon coast (Zone 9) and it performs there wonderfully. A large growing S.African heath that displays copious large tubular orange flowers from Aug-Nov. Excellent potted plant if you protect it from temperatures below 20ºF. Move to an unheated garage or bright cool room during times of arctic air. To 3′ x 3′ and mounding. Cut flowering stems last quite a while in water. Full sun and rich, to average soil that drains. Regular summer water. Not a particularly fussy plant. Takes coastal conditions like a champ. Spectacular in bloom. Moderate deer resistance. South Africa.
Henderson’s Fawn Lily or Pink Siskiyou Fawn lily is one of our most beautiful species. Native from the Siskiyous in southern Oregon into extreme northern California. Of the eleven Erythroniums that are native in Oregon this is by far our favorite. In late March to late April umbrella shaped luminous pale pink petals reflex on 10″ stems. The interior of the downward pointing flowers shows markings of yellow and deep maroon. Surprisingly FRAGRANT and the perfume is noticeable at quite a distance in mature stands on warm spring days. Wonderful native bulb that must be grown from seed. The tiny bulb which is no bigger than a very small bean sinks lower into the ground each year. By blooming size the bulb may be 1′ below the surface. It takes approximately 3 -4 years to bloom from seed. Forms open colonies and spreads in the wild and garden by seed. As the bulb enlarges multiple scapes will appear from a single clump. In late winter a basal rosette of mottled leaves appear at ground level. Protect newly planted Erythroniums from slugs. Established plants seem to escape their damage. Best in unamended average soil on a slight slope. In habitat they are almost always under oaks and madrone. So, light shade to afternoon shade. Very light water after planting then none in subsequent years. Rock gardens, dry woodlands. Exquisite fawn lily. Goes quickly summer dormant. Oregon native plant
True pink California poppy. Seed from this exceptional pink flowered selection comes true about 95% of the time. Deep rose pink semi-double flowers appear in late spring and continue sporadically until mid summer. A happy plant can become a short lived perennial but the majority will behave as bloomy annuals. Full sun and rich to average soil with good tilth (crumbly texture). It can even thrive in compacted soils. To 10″ x 10″ forming a compact plant with lacy blue foliage. The strident rose pink flowers are showy from a distance. Leave the last round of flowers to seed for the next several seasons. Excellent wildflower display in rough areas w/ low water. Water plants to establish then taper off. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Wonderful flower color. Mix with Eschscholzia c. ‘Alba’ the white form. Deer resistant and drought adapted native plant. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Not many gardeners are aware that we have our own native hardy Geranium. And its a really good garden plant. Bushy herbaceous perennial that displays nickel sized magenta/blue flowers in late spring to mid summer. It peaks in June and is quite a display. To 2′ x 2′ and completely deciduous in winter. Excellent in manicured borders or areas that receive a bit of extra irrigation in summer. Adapted to clay soils it improves considerably under cultivation. Mix with native Sidalceas for a bonafide native combination. Native throughout western Oregon but also native in the Rocky Mountains. One of our finest natives that should be used more often. Fall color is yellow before going cleanly away. Not bothered by slugs or snails (!) but not entirely deer resistant. Full sun to light shade to very high overhead shade (a tall tree canopy). Best in enriched soil with consistent summer moisture. Associated plants in the wild are Sidalceas, Achillea. Very good performance in rain gardens. Oregon native plant.
Tiny, minute, so small the paddle shaped deep green leaves of this tiny groudcover hug the ground so tight you might over look it. In April/June you won’t miss the masses of relatively large fluffy steel blue globe shaped flowers that float above the plant. Excellent plant for massing in rock gardens, hot dry sites anywhere with full sun and free drainage and protection from marauding invaders. To 2″ tall in bloom a well grown patch can stretch several feet across. Gritty soil that drains quickly. Regular summer irrigation increases the growth rate which is never rapid. Adorable plant that creates a carpet of color and texture. Great plant for alpine troughs where you can keep an eye on it. Fairly spectacular in full bloom. Loved by bumble bees and bees in general. Classic rock garden plant. Native to the mountains of southern Europe.
A very interesting Grevillea. This is a seedling of ‘Marshall Olbrich’ that appeared in my former garden. For the past 13 years its thrived in that garden reaching 5′ x 6′ forming an open spreading shrub. The evergreen leaves are soft gray on the underside and distinctly pointed. True red flowers appear year round and are a beacon to all hummers. Handsome shrub that has shown consistent hardiness and ease of culture. Full sun and average, native, un- amended soil. Plant this shrub and water until you see good new growth then taper off. For rapidly growing shrubs tip pruning controls not only the size but encourages root stability AND promotes flowering. Prune after a large flush of flowers. Full sun to very light shade in a warm position. Avoid subfreezing wind exposure. In those areas of east wind locate on a south or west facing aspect. Best true red flowers as of yet on a hardy hybrid. Mulch after planting with bark or gravel. Drought adapted when established. Limited quantities. Absolute hummingbird dream.
Xera Plants Introduction
We found this vigorous seedling in a batch of Heuchera sanguinea. The leaves are pale green and liberally splashed with white. Unlike, the species straight spikes of HOT PINK flowers rise in a cloud above the playful foliage. This is just a seedling and unlike many variegated plants it shows excellent vigor and longevity. Evergreen clumps of foliage. Loved by hummingbirds in bloom from April to mid-July. Tolerates full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of blooming Excellent paired with ferns Hosta, Tiarella. To 14″ tall in bloom and spreading to about 2′ wide when happy. Rich, moisture retentive soil high in organic matter. Established plants are surprisingly drought adapted. Do not let other plants crowd or over top this perennial. The lack of light and competition will take it out. Instead match it with a similar sized perennial. See above. Easy, forgiving perennial.
Xera Plants Introduction
Years ago when I lived in southeast Portland, not far from where our shop is located I noticed a huge, old Poet’s Jasmine that straddled a fence with an 1840’s Bungalow behind it. I’ve always been a big fan of Jasmine so it was in my pervue. Fast forward 20 years and when we went to check out the lot for our shop that Jasmine was still there. Peeking over the fence. Since then it has become a prime feature in our border and with extra love and water its gotten huge. We’ve grown quite a few cultivars of Poet’s Jasmine and there is one prime difference that makes this an exceptional plant. Unlike most Jasminum officinale which are most fragrant in the evening to morning this selection pumps out perfume 24 hours a day. A hot day at the shop is a wave of sweet jasmine perfume. Vigorous, deciduous hardy vine with a huge flush of bloom beginning in June and extending to August with some spare flowers into autumn. To 15′ tall and spreading. This large twining vine requires space and a strong support. In time the trunk becomes a bare, gnarled corklike texture and is pretty in a rough way. Fall color is a little yellow to very little Sublime with white fragrant stars raining down for months.Excellent in concert up a pergola with roses. Also, I later found out that our 1840’s bungalow neighbor was the first home owned by Asian Americans on the east side of the Willamette River. I have a strong suspicion that this venerable Jasmine could be VERY old. Classic starry white flowers and fragrance on a tough, long lived vine. Native to central to eastern Asia. Moderate deer resistance.
Xera Plants Introduction
Charming beyond words this Chilean sub-shrub has been given an informal common name of cup flower. Petite, almost succulent foliage is deeply and irregularly serrated along semi-woody stems to 30″ tall and 3′ wide. In July-October on new wood clusters of downward and outward pointing up shaped soft lilac flowers have an interior of conspicuous spots. Gloriously fun plant for a protected location. Mulch for the first winter or two. Once established it has similar hardiness as hardy Fuchsias. Full sun and rich soil that drains. Regular summer water encourages a fast recovery from the base if frozen. Cut back hard in early spring when all danger of frost has past. Flowering commences with the heat of summer. Protect from blazing afternoon sun. Works well on an eastern aspect. Loved by pollinators and even hummingbirds. Long blooming charming sub-shrub. Not bad in containers, protect containerized plants from temperatures below 15ºF. Wonderful Chilean native. Not a bad cutflower. Related to Calceolaria (Pocket Book Flower). Protected location such as a south or east facing wall is beneficial.The flowers virtually glow.
Prairie June Grass is a widespread cool season grass that was widespread in the Willamette Valley. A tight clumping grass with soft blue/green foliage that rises to about 18″ tall forming a clump as wide. In June-August feathery gray/tan plume of flowers erupt and soar above the grassy clump. In bloom it is about 30″ tall. A long lived grass for virtually any soil in full sun. Rich soil results in a very large plant. Average soil that has been double dug to add oxygen is usually all thats necessary. Water the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Mix with other native perennials and annuals. A great companion for Sidalceas as well as Solidago and Douglas aster. Will often self sow. Keep it away from highly manicured areas. Otherwise the clump keeps to itself. Very easy to grow perennial grass that is found throughout the northern hemisphere. An authentic grass for a Willamette Valley prairie. Winter appearance is green and verdant. Summer brings tan drought dormancy. Oregon native plant.
An incredibly widespread North American wildflower that is known by many different common names. In our region the preferred common moniker is Low False Solomons Seal. This rhizomatous perennial forms expansive colonies when happy. It appears as strongly arching stems clad in alternate wide green leaves. In late spring to early summer and dependent upon altitude small, white, starry flowers appear at the tips. After bloom they slowly morph into black berries. These can easily be dispersed by birds. Part shade in naturally mesic sites, that means woods on the north side of a slope in the Willamette Valley in shade beneath Douglas Firs and often consorting with sword ferns. To 10″ tall and forming expanding colonies. Winter deciduous, fall color is often a lingering gold before the whole plant disappears. Tellima grandiflora (fringe cups) and Claytonia sibirica ( candy flower) are also common associates. Part shade to shade in humus enriched soil with regular summer water. VERY established clumps can get by with natural rainfall. Avoid, hot dry sites, and stubborn dry clay. Mulch heavily after planting. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
This is a seedling myrtle that showed up in our nursery. I moved it to a stock bed and observed it for several years. Its proven to be hardy to lower than 15ºF and its a dense and compact growing form. Good looking evergreen that has deep forest green foliage with a slight gloss. Dense growth forms a shrub to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years- progressively larger after that. In late summer to early autumn a procession of pure white flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens. This aromatic shrub is adapted to hot dry conditions and light to little water once established. In fact, the more lean the conditions the hardier this myrtle will be to cold. Black elongated drupes follow the flowers. Formal appearance that can be even more formal with pruning. Though, its naturally dense habit makes pruning less likely. Great against baking hot south facing walls. Loves the zone of south facing planters that are asphalt on one side and a hot wall on the other. Best as a specimen- not a hedge as it can be prone to damage in severe winters ( below 10ºF) which recovers quickly in spring but makes it less useful as a hedge. Great container subject. Moderate deer resistance. Tolerates VERY dry summer conditions. Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of a dense habit. Very durable urban shrub. Protected location. Locate out of the path of subfreezing east wind.
Xera Plants Intoduction
Sometimes the garden goddess smiles on us. I found this sport (a variegated stem) on my Osmanthus armatus ‘Jim Porter’ and I separated and rooted it. It has become a fantastic extremely showy shrub. This is welcome because Osmanthus armatus is not a particularly conspicuous species. It has serrated deep green leaves and small white flowers in autumn that emit a faint but sweet fragrance. Variegation improves the species markedly. The variegation is very stable, I have yet to see any reversions. Each leaf is symmetrically serrated and the variegation is vivid and adds an incredible amount of depth. Large growing shrub to 9′ x6′ in 10 years. Excellent cold hardiness on a brilliant evergreen. Full sun gives the best variegation and I have yet to see it burn in the hottest conditions. Excellent specimen, hedge, or screen. Cut foliage lasts for about 1 week in a vase. Light consistent summer water to establish then very tolerant of dry summer conditions Cold hardy slightly below 0ºF and durable and long lived. In time it can make small tree status which makes a very striking tree. A wonderful shrub and a happy discovery, See video below.
Xera Plants Introduction
Flowering Currant. One of the most conspicuous flowering shrubs over the western half of Oregon. From extreme Southwest BC to northern California. .This v shaped and arching shrub protrudes from highway plantings like a chandelier of pink flowers. Each chain of flowers is a slightly different shade of pink to white on this batch of seedlings. To 9′ x 9′ forming somewhat open shade. Blooms on old wood, prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended in late spring. Fall color ranges from pink to orange and quite often yellow. We had several shrubs of this plant where I grew up. We randomly harvested the branches for cute flowers for almost two generations and none of the plants suffered. They were wild plants and as good as any named variety. Blooms March to April and then maple shaped leaves unfurl and are a quilted nice texture. Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of flowering. Dusty blue fruits cascade in chains as the leaves drop in fall. These are immensely sour fruits. Best on hillsides poking through the rest of the underbrush. Flowers which have a slight skunk funk force easily if brought inside. One of Oregons greatest native flowering shrubs. Moderate deer resistance. Water to establish then only occasionally. Oregon native plant.
Exquisite hybrid Salvia that forms a semi-woody subshrub and is clad in velvety purple with reddish toned flowers for months. To 2′ x 2′ forming a bush. The opulent flower color pairs well with almost any hue. Its especially commanding near yellow or chartreuse. Full sun to very light shade in rich soil that drains. Add all purpose fertilizer to the hole and keep it very well watered throughout its first summer. Do NOT cut it back until new growth shows in spring. Then you will know what to remove. The woody structure of the previous years growth actually acts as an insulator during the winter- this is why we recommend not trimming it until all danger of frost has passed. Excellent container subject and irresistible to hummingbirds. Aromatic foliage. Harbors some deer resistance. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. This and many Salvias takes a break from blooming when the temperature is above 95ºF. It will quickly resume blooming when cooler weather arrives.
This is one of the best flower colors that we’ve encountered in a Salvia in quite a while. Always on the lookout for blue flowered Salvias this beautiful sage fits the bill. Upright growing semi-woody Salvia that produces a non-stop supply of sky/ to periwinkle blue flowers. The spires of flowers rise to about 20″ tall forming a rounded sub-shrub as wide. Flowers begin in May. Long blooming perennial for hot, sunny spots. This Salvia would benefit from the added heat of reflected walls and sidewalks. Great near the curb in rich soil with regular water in summer. Flowers take a break in extreme heat but as soon as a cool down they begin again in earnest. Cut back hard in spring AFTER all danger of frost has past (mid-April) and no sooner. Excellent in containers as well. Easy, bloomy, lovely blue. Hummingbird favorite as well as a butterfly magnet. A xera favorite. Moderate deer resistance.
Graceful and formal at the same time. This low arching form of winter box is wonderful with uniform thin, deep green pointed foliage on arching stems. In mid-winter to early spring the undersides of the stems are clad in fine powerfully FRAGRANT white flowers at every leaf axil. The fragrance spreads for quite a distance on mild winter days. Following the flowers are berries that turn black and arrive at red. Handsome low shrub to 2′ tall and 3′ wide suckering to form patches with time. Moderately fast growing and easy to establish shrub in the BUXACEAE which means that this boxwood relative is also deer resistant. Excellent performance in part shade to shade but not low dense shade. Massed it performs as a large scale ground cover. Light consistent summer H20 for the best looks. Takes dry conditions in shade once established- especially if you apply mulch liberally. Unlike the species it does not lose leaves in bloom which is an important difference. Finds a home under dark stairwells and foundation plantings. Impressive relatively new selection. China.
PRECIOUS and showy blue eyed grass. Sometimes variegation really works on a plant and this is one of those cases. Grassy leaves are soft green with prominent ivory stripes. This backdrop virtually glows in combination with the relatively large purple/blue flowers. Blooms April-July and appreciates rich soil with regular water to really get going and colonize. Excellent rain garden subject. Its best position is possibly in containers. Upright leaves have a pointed top to 6″ tall in bloom. Excellent contrast between the variegation and the flower color. Full sun. Moderate deer resistance. Showy, sweet perennial. Mix with other low perennials. Combine with Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’ and Dianthus ‘Pink Pyrenees’. Fun to grow. Flowers close tightly at night.
Princess flower is a tender shrub that becomes a rapturous cloud of velvet purple flowers for all of summer. Three inch wide flowers have the wonderful backdrop of velveteen clad deep green leaves. To 4′ x 4′ in a seasonal container. Full sun to very light shade and rich soil with regular water. Appreciates a handful of all organic fertilizer halfway through the season. Over winter containerized plants in an unheated garage. Cut back hard, fertilize and place outside when all danger of a freeze has passed. In very protected gardens near the beach this shrub may be grown in the ground. To 8′ tall x 4′ wide. Freezes back below 27ºF and is root hardy to the low 20ºs. Mulch in autumn. Princess flower hails from the mountains of Brazil.