NEW! In 2021

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.

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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. Bienvenidos, Panchito!

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purple flowers of 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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South African Buddleia that we are not concerned about escape, We’ve had this plant on our propagation hill for 15+ years, and there is even a rich stock bed right beside NEVER had a single seedling. Kind of wish I would. Thin tapered gray leaves are pure white underneath and along the stems. This downy appearance reads as light gray from a distance. Forms a rounded shrub to about 6′ tall x 4′ wide in 4 years. Blooms on wood from the previous year (important)- restrict pruning to directly after you are sick of the flowers. Large clusters of off white faintly fragrant flowers appear in late spring and remain in bloom to August, sometimes longer. Moderately fast growing evergreen for excellently drained soils to rich soils in full sun. I would err on the side of poor soil, its a tough shrub with great drought tolerance. Two ideal companions to our stock plant are Bupleurum fruticosum and Grevillea australis. Not only does it look good this 1/2 gravel 1/2 clay substrate is kind of rough and all three thrive. You may cut back very hard to refresh/resize- May skip a year of bloom but its a fantastic evergreen gray foliage plant on those merits. High deer resistance. Drought adapted and cold hardy. We’ve never irrigated ours. Pretty shrub for texture. Nice transitional shrub with Ozothamnus or Grevilleas and even Manzanitas.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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Camellia sasanqua 'Double Rainbow'

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.

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Camellia sasanqua 'Otome Sazanka'

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.

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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.

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Ceanothus impressus 'Vandenburg'

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.

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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Oregon Blue'

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 

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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

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Columbia Coreopsis or Columbia tickseed is a locally native annual but more often biennial that is found along the Columbia River and into the gorge. Also, native throughout eastern North America. Its first season is spent as a rosette of curly, finely divided leaves that have a glossy sheen. The following early summer it erupts into groups of gold flowers, slightly reflexed petals and a red dot that surround a brown protruding cone. Loved by pollinators and they come en masse. To 22″ tall on average in bloom. For rich to average soil in full sun. The sun part is non-negotiable. Mix with native Oregon perennials and annuals such as Sidalcea virgata or Clarkia amoena var. lindleyi as well as Madia elegans for a summer long show. Very good butterfly plant. It has a scattered population in the Willamette Valley but should be grown here much more often. Self sows in open disturbed sites. Very prolific in bloom with clouds of golden flowers unobscured by pesky foliage. Nice cut flower. One stem can be an entire bouquet. light consistent summer water improves the show but this is a tough, climate adapted biennial. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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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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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.

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Dodecatheon hendersonii flowers

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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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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Erica mammosa 'Orange'

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.

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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

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Billions of blue daisies with a brilliant yellow center adorn profuse long stems.  Bloom occurs unabated May-October. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. A more compact form of this shrubby tender perennial to 16″ x 36″ in a single season. Excellent performance in container plantings. This is a real work horse of a daisy whose airy sprays of daisies mix harmoniously with a number of schemes. In the ground this tender perennial can over winter in a mild year (above 20ºF). Excellent pollinator plant and a real hit in my garden with butterflies. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil. Light, consistent summer water. If it over winters cut it back hard after all threat of frost has past. Containerized plants can be moved to an unheated garage to over winter. Brilliant blue daisies are exciting. This plant will perform as a hardy perennial at the Oregon coast.

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Broadleaved strawberry or mountain strawberry is a widespread native species with large white flowers in spring that turn to small delicious red fruits in June. A low spreading perennial that also spreads liberally by runners. This tendency ramps up in richer conditions. This tough native form was found by our employee Brandon at Mt. St. Helens. This clone shows impressive vigor and is useful in a  number of ways. A tough species that naturally thrives in clay soils (and clay strawberry pots). It competes admirably with grass and is best between native clumpers. Associated plants in the Willamette Valley are Dichelostemma congestum, Carex tumulicola , Lathyrus nevadensis, and Calochortus tolmiei. Mostly evergreen with many bright red leaves in winter but leaves remain present in all but the coldest situations. In the garden give it rich to average soil and regular irrigation to establish. This variety has enough summer drought adaptation that it will grow sufficiently with little summer water. Cold hardy, tough little plants. Bears one crop of fruit per year. Rescue them from snails and ants. Widespread throughout the region. On the west side it is found everywhere from oak savannas to alpine meadows. In the eastern part of the state it is primarily in the mountains in partly shaded zones where there is adequate moisture. Each plant spreads to about 6″ across and runners expand out more than a foot from that. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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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 very large 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. 

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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

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A sparkling little groundcover Hebe with emerald green leaves on trailing black stems and clouds of violet blue flowers in early summer. to 8″ tall spreading to 2′ wide. It covers the ground very densely. It may be used as a small scale ground cover but never more than 4′ x 4′ square feet. Rich to average soil with consistent light water though summer. Cold hardy below 10ºF. Very easy to grow and handsome plant. Hummingbird and Butterflies adore the flowers. Excellent rock garden subject. Very good performance at the coast.  Nice trough plant. Good looking year round. Avoid hot wet soils and compacted droughty places. Ideally sited on a slight slope. Stems will eventually root where they touch. Combine with Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’. New Zealand.

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Wonderfully fragrant and early blooming this ravishing plant is one of our favorite perennials. In May towering scapes to 3′ tall are topped by clusters of widely opening citrus yellow flowers. They emit a powerful perfume and the intensity ramps up at night. Blooms 3-4 weeks from a lower clump of grassy leaves.  Full sun and rich soil with regular irrigation in summer. Established plants can get by on water once every two weeks. Spreads to form colonies and this markedly increases the number of blooms. The floral perfume is detectable 10′ away and actually carries on the breeze. Mix with low shrubs or include in the center of a border. Lovely species that is very long lived and low maintenance. Completely winter deciduous. The flowers are edible and taste a little like the way they smell. This species can be hard to locate. (photo credit: Evan Bean).

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We found this vigorous seedling in a batch of Heuchera sanguinea. The leaves are pale green and liberally splashed with white. Unlike, the red flower of 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Lagerstroemia indica is big on flowers but its also susceptible to powdery mildew among other afflictions (the varieties we grow are resistant). In 1956 a botanist named John Creech located a single specimen of what was to become Lagerstroemia fauriei- Japanese crape myrtle. Its famous for its amazing orange, brown, tan mottled bark and mildew resistance. So, it was incorporated into an existing breeding program by Dr. Egolf  at the National Arboretum to eliminate disease and provide crape myrtles in different sizes. It did but also importantly it imparted the wonderful red/ mahogany bark of this species. Lagerstroemia fauriei has a very limited range on the island of Yakushima in Japan. It has larger leaves, smaller, fragrant white flowers- in of itself a fantastic tree. This is where such hybrids as ‘Natchez’, ‘Osage’, ‘Pecos’ among other get their fantastic colorful bark. A little later a second specimen of Lagerstroemia fauriei was located. It was such a beautiful tree that it was named ‘Kiowa’. Pure orange deep mahogany brown trunks are the hallmark of this second specimen. Only one of the National Arboretum hybrids was crossed with ‘Kiowa’ to produce this extraordinary cultivar. It was released in 1986. Unfortunately, nursery people didn’t take to it. Dr. Egolf had previously released a LOT of lavender flowered cultivars and this one got overlooked. So good is this tree and with a different genetic makeup than the first fauriei crosses and it received that deep  brown  and mottled orange bark as well as fragrant strong lavender flowers. The National Arboretum re-released this tree in 2017 in an effort to redevelop popularity for this extraordinary cultivar. ‘Apalachee; has many outstanding qualities. Its bark is phenomenal, deep glossy brown with orange patches- very striking. The mildew free foliage is dark, lustrous green, and the flowers are lightly fragrant. Altogether great qualities in an 18′ tall by 8’ wide upright tree. Fall color is a ravishing orange to deep red. This tree has superior flowers to ‘Natchez’ and personally  in think the bark is much more showy. Blooms heavily beginning in July. Peaks in a crescendo in August into October. We are very happy to offer this extraordinary tree. Full hot sun in rich soil with regular irrigation for the first several year.  Easy and spectacular multi-dimensional tree. Available in 2022.

 

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We asked the man who knows lavender the best which white Lavender did he recommend? And he fired this off the top of his head and then brought one for us- Thank you Andy Van Helvingen. A REALLY stunning plant. Compact with many CLEAR WHITE flowers in dense clusters at the end of strong straight stems. The plant is compact and grows that way – much slower. To 16″ x 18″ with bloom spikes above. Flowers early June to August. A charming plant that does not cling to discolored brown flowers instead they just kind of melt away so it does have an extra pristine appearance at all time. Shear spent blooms to their base to encourage a more dense and floriferous shrublet in the future. Wonderfully aromatic hybrid with english Lavender. Moderate deer resistance. This would combine in a perfect way with pink and blue flowered varieties- ‘Hidcote’. Avoid planting closely with L. x intermedia, cause those will flop and smother this little gem.  Great for small hedges, rock gardens, and herb knots. Pungent for drying, potpourri. Full sun and rich to average soil with reasonable drainage. Not good in shade.  Lavenders also require very good air circulation- plant accordingly. Average life span 5-7 years, Light summer water.

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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

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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.

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Pine leaved Penstemons are great, long lived evergreen perennials in our climate. They decorate rock gardens and rock walls in the most common color which is orange. This is a striking departure. Lemon yellow tubular flowers appear in late May and continue to July. The foliage is what you might expect small needle like leaves cover winding stems. You may remove the spent flowers from the first round, give it a soak and you might get more flowers. Either way you have saved yourself a chore in the future. Full sun to the very lightest shade (at the expense of blooming). Rich, well amended soil and regular summer water through its bloom cycle- then you may back off. Evergreen small trailing shrublet. To 6″ x 12″ wide and 9″ tall in bloom. The flowers on this species will always point in the same direction which is charming. Moderate deer resistance. Combine with Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ and Erigeron x ‘Wayne Roderick’ for similar cultural requirements and simultaneous bloom time. Excellent in troughs, permanent planters. This species is native to the mountains of New Mexico. Sunny yellow flowers.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Subalpine Rose Spiraea is native to the higher elevations of the the Cascades. Above 4500′ in sunny, moist glens it makes carpets of deep rose pink umbels from low rounded shrubs. To 30″ tall by 4′ wide in garden conditions, Rich soil with regular irrigation. Moderately fast growing to this dimension. The emerging soft green leaves take on hints of blue as they mature. Bloom at low elevation is May-July but in its highest native haunts bloom can be delayed to late summer. Deciduous shrub with wonderful orange/ red fall color if brief. Easy to grow native garden plant with regular irrigation. Established plants can take deep watering every two weeks. Remember that this as with all Spiraeas have little tolerance for drought and they don’t necessarily wilt going straight to crispy (a look not as fixable as wilting). Mulch heavily for the first few seasons. Avoid blasting, reflected heat and and hot dry situations. Wonderful combined with Rhododendrons and Azaleas for similar cultural conditions. In its native haunt it can be found with Pacific Rhododendron, Helenium, Delphiniums and Veratrum. I’ve never seen it afflicted by disease. Watch for aphids, hose those off if they appear. Beautiful in bloom. Very cold hardy. Oregon native plant.

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This is our local form of the Pyramid Spiraea an attractive naturally occurring hybrid between two local species. Spiraea douglasii (dark pink flowered) and Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida (white flowered).  Its a larger plant and much more controlled than  its parent S. douglasii and it inherits some of the drought adaptation of Birch leaf Spiraea. To 5′ tall and 4′ wide this upright growing shrub produces pyramid shaped inflorescences of the softest pink- intermediate between the two species. This form was found just east of Portland. Full sun and occasional deep soaks in dry summers. Tolerates part shade at the expense of a tidy, upright habit. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering. Adaptable to wild areas. Deciduous shrub that turns to tones of yellow and flaming orange in mid autumn. This twiggy shrub would make a great hedgerow plant. Blooms late May to early July. Flowers turn to tan seed heads that persist on the plant. Cold hardy and not difficult to grow. Not bothered by pests or disease. Not fussy about soils adaptable from sand to clay. Oregon native plant.

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Tibouchina urvilleana

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.

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Yerba de Selva or whipple vine, a wonderful small scale evergreen native ground cover. Related to Hydrangeas but this trailer is actually very aromatic with a sweet penetrating aroma if you disturb the foliage. 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. Oregon native plant.

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