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 divided beautiful 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 umbels 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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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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Collomia grandiflora

Wild Phlox is a native hardy annual that occurs from the prairies of the Willamette Valley to the sage brush country east of the Cascades. Clusters of flowers open sherbet orange and then fade to white for a multi colored effect. Adaptable plant that will occupy any open disturbed site. Reseeds prolifically. To 2′ tall. Cute cut flower. Nice native to let wander your garden. Low water. Oregon Native Plant.

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Cuphea cyanea ‘Strybing Sunset’

We originally grew this wonderful vivid free blooming bat flower as an annual. But after years of growing it in the ground we’ve found that its remarkably root hardy. To 20″ tall forming a semi-woody shrublet it produces sprays of small but vivid flowers from May to frost. Full sun and rich, WELL DRAINED soil in the ground and patience- it takes a while to come back in spring- usually not until truly hot days appear in  May. Once up- with regular supplemental water it zooms and blooms and resumes its previous stature quickly. Good drainage in a hot position seems to be the key as a perennial. Mine has happily lived in the ground in my garden in North Portland for 7 years- returning from the coldest winters. It will freeze to the ground below about 28ºF- but it always returns. Great seasonal plant in containers and it will draw hummingbirds from 5 counties around. Nice plant. Blooms continuously without intervention. My kind of plant.

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Echium wildprettii

Huge, stately, bold biennial that we kind of consider the king of all biennials. The first season it forms a huge rosette of thin silver foliage. Showy in its own right. If we have a mild winter (above 15ºF) the whole plant soars to 9′ tall the second year and is a tower of red/purple borage flowers. Pollinators lose their little collecting minds and even hummers show up. Not entirely hardy but we think its such an incredible foliage plant in its first year that is is definitely worth the risk.  Following bloom it sets seed- man does it set seed and seedling will appear all over the garden. They are easy to identify- rosettes of thin leaves with a sandpapery texture. You can move them or mass them for a cool effect. Rich to average, well drained soil with light summer water. Full sun and position out of high winds which can topple the plant in its blooming stage. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Native to the Canary Islands.

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Eryngium giganteum

Miss Wilmotts Ghost. As the legend goes Miss Wilmott would stealthily drop the seeds of this biennial into the gardens of those she visited. Sneaky girl. The plant would germinate and produce a low inconspicuous rosette of leaves the next year. The following year a tower of ghostly gray collared huge flowers on branched stems would appear- seemingly form nowhere. Freak. But my kind of freak. A really cool looking plant in bloom that photographs amazingly well by the way. To 3′ tall for full sun and open disturbed sites. It will reseed reliably in those conditions. The seedlings are easy to spot (if you know that you planted it on purpose) and move when they are very young. Makes a groovy large cut flower. This is the flower on our log. High deer resistance. Drought adapted.

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Leptosiphon ‘Star Dust’

Cute hardy annual that is actually a west coast native. Also known as baby stars this little plant produces adorable stars in pink, orange, yellow, and white. All together a tapestry of color on just 3″ tall plants. Reseeds prolifically in open disturbed sites. Just one potted plant will yield hundreds of seedlings for the following year. Blooms May- July then dies, goes to seed, is no longer there. Great bulb cover. Little to no summer water for self sown seedlings. Adorable. Baby stars.

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Limnanthes alba

White meadow foam is a prolific native hardy annual that covers the bottom of Oregon valleys in white in mid- late spring. Demure plants are actually a floral power house with tons of pure white flowers creating a foaming ivory carpet in bloom. By the heat of summer this true annual ends its life cycle but not before producing millions of seeds to renew the display for the next year. Takes all kinds of soil including compacted dry clay. No additional water is required once established. Each plant is 4″ tall by 6″ wide and they grow together to form an impenetrable layer. One planted potted plant yields hundreds of seedling. White meadow foam is a stunning native that deserves more use.

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Limnanthes douglasii

Tidy tips meadow foam is a native hardy annual that occupies the flood zones in the valleys in the western third of Oregon. To 4″ tall and up to a foot wide the grass green finely divided leaves are a great backdrop to the yellow flowers which are cleanly tipped white at the edge of the petal. Vigorously reseeds in any soil in full sun to part shade. No supplemental water required. Completes its life cycle by the heat of summer and has already set hundreds of seeds for the following years crop. This from just one 4″ pot. Groovy native we should cherish more.

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