Angelica pachycarpa

A short-lived perennial that has definitely caught our attention. Impossibly glossy green foliage appears as if someone applied a layer of lacquer. The first season, it forms a rosette of these beautiful divided leaves. The following season the whole plant rises up to bloom to 3′ tall. Giant umbels of shocking acid green are produced. A beacon to pollinators, flower arrangers, garden designers and everyone who has impeccable taste. Remains in bloom for up to two months. Average lifespan 3-4 years. Full sun to part shade in rich soil with regular summer water. Sets a LOT of seed.

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Anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’

Deeply colored foliage and clusters of white umbel flowers combine to give this easy to grow biennial an important place in the garden. The finely divided leaves are almost black but have a bluish hue on the surface that reflects the light in opalescent waves. The first year it produces only this gorgeous foliage. Combine with chartreuse/gold leaved perennials and/or shrubs for excellent contrast. In the second season the foliage extends and masses of pure white umbels wave to 3′ tall above the plant. Light and airy which is cool for a plant with deep, brooding foliage. Self sows prolifically and the seedlings are easy to spot, move, thin, dispatch. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, moisture-retentive soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Excellent in woodlands or sunny borders. It makes a surprisingly good cut flower as well. Umbels…these days its all about umbels. Winter deciduous.

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Anthyllis vulneraria var. coccinea

Kidney Vetch is a playful, short-lived perennial with shocking red flowers that come in clusters much like clover. Low, spreading plant that hugs the ground, all the better to see the piercing red flowers on this form. Seeds prolifically, and the seedlings are both easy to identify as well as move or dispatch. To 3″ tall by 18″ wide, when very happy. Loved by pollinators. Forms a vivid patch of color in the most unlikely places. Seeds germinate in autumn and bloom commences in spring. Excellent little nitrogen-fixing temporary plant for new gardens. Enriches soil in a wonderful way. Light to little summer water.  Mediterranean.

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Cerinthe major var. purpurescens

Cool mediterranean annual that we love for its complex combination of bract and flower colors. To 14″ tall the nodding bell shaped flowers are blue with a white ring around the lip. The base of these flowers is yellow. Large bracts protect the flowers and turn from blue green to shades of indigo as they mature. A cool season annual that often self sows. These seedlings cruise through winter without much of a hitch and are up and blooming by mid spring. By the heat of july they quickly die setting profuse seed and disappearing. Light additional water besides rainfall will lengthen the show. Seedlings appear where they are happy- this can even be the cracks in the sidewalk. Seedlings are easy to spot and move or dispatch if unwanted. Nice in spring containers. Plant with early blooming Euphorbias for a real picture of yellow and blue contrast.

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Circium occidentale

Western Thistle or Ghost Thistle is native to the mountainous regions of southern Oregon into California. Its frequently seen lining road cuts in recently disturbed very well drained soils. To 3′ tall and all white and cobwebby it produces deep magenta flowers on large candelabra type structures. Flowers appear in June and remain until August. Loved by pollinators as well as birds. Leave the structure to over winter and go to seed and you’ll get even more birds. Forms a rosette the first year and blooms the second. No summer water once established. Loves sharp drainage in average to slightly enriched soils. If you have clay amend the soil with pumice or plant on a steep slope. Avoid competition from other plants. Not a weed. Oregon native plant.

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Clarkia amoena ‘Dwarf Pink’

Farewell-to-spring is a common wildflower of meadows and glens in Western Oregon. It gets its name because it is often the last wildflower to bloom before the summer drought ends the show. This form differs by its pure pink profuse flowers on a dwarf plant. (The wild form is lavender with a red blotch in the center of each petal.). An amazing display of bloom that appears as if someone dropped a bouquet on the ground. You see no evidence of leaves when its in full fettle. Blooms June to October in a garden setting with regular summer water and rich soil and the gardeners diligence removing spent flowers. Reseeds in open disturbed soil.  to 10″ tall and a little wider forming a dome. Nice cut flower. Fun variation on a native. Very attractive to native pollinators. True hardy annual. Oregon native plant.

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Clarkia amoena ‘Dwarf White’

Excellent little selection of our locally native wildflower ‘Farewell to Spring’. To just 10″ tall this plant(s) become a solid dome of white flowers from May-August. Cute little cut flower. Full sun in rich, to average well drained soil with just light competition from other plants. Re-seeds reliably in open disturbed sites. A great native derivative for hell strips and even containers. Regular summer water – or it will shut down go dormant and think its time to set seed and then make its melon. Rough areas, cut flower. Oregon native plant.

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Farewell to Spring is so called because it is one of the last conspicuous native wildflowers to bloom before the onset of summer drought. Often seen in mass populations waving above the already cere grass. Blooms May-July normally, but a little supplemental water and removing spent flowers will continue the show. Otherwise it will die upon setting seed. The 2′ tall stems support multiple pink cup shaped flowers. Most often with a darker pink/red blotch in the center of each petal. These assist in guiding pollinators and this plant is a prime source for all native bees and butterflies. Excellent cut flower that lasts for quite a while in a vase. This is the sources species of all the fancy cultivars that are raised in the cut flower trade. Reseeds happily in open disturbed sites. Locally native in the city of Portland. Excellent plant for wild areas and is often employed on road cuts and freeway embankments in deliberately sown wild flower mixtures. Oregon native plant.

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Mountain garland is a hardy annual native to the mountains of southern Oregon south into the Sierra Nevada in California. Sparkling white crape-like flowers line tall upright stems on this plant that can be small in poor soil and soar in rich conditions.  Size can be difficult to determine based on this…an average of 1′ tall is probably safe. Blooms continuously from May to as late as August if supplemental light water is supplied. Excellent among perennials such as Penstemons, Erodiums, Salvias, Cupheas. Sets copious seed for the following season and these will be white as well. Leave open disturbed sites in your garden to supply next years crop. Excellent cut flower as well and loved by Butterflies. Very easy to grow.

Oregon native plant 

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Native annuals often get over looked in our gardens. They occupied vast stretches of the Willamette Valley and civilization has caused those displays to suffer. In our gardens they are precious reminders that we should include every category of native plant. Giant Blue Eyed Mary is one of our most delicate looking and stunning in floral detail,  It makes a hazy cloud of beautiful blue and white small snapdragon flowers from late April to Mid June. A true annual that dies once the floral display is done. But leave the skeletons of the plant for several weeks longer to form and shed seeds for next years display. This 20″ tall grassy plant occupies open sunny sites as well as the margins of forests. In our gardens it appreciates open slightly disturbed soil. Seedlings germinate in early spring. Excellent plant to succeed mid and late spring bulbs. Water lightly after planting and  to establish then none required. Native to the Portland city limits as well. Fantastic displays of this plant can be seen at Camassia in West Linn all through late spring.  Oregon native plant.

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