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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Ceanothus impressus ‘Dark Star’

Easily one of the showiest wild lilacs commonly grown in our climate. Tiny almost black/green foliage is completely covered by masses of foamy deep cobalt blue flowers for several weeks in April into May. One of the showiest cultivars. The depth of blue is amazing. Very few plants can match the intensity of the hue blue.  Fast growing evergreen shrub to 6′ x 8′ in three years. Full sun and average, well drained soil. Light consistent water to establish then none. Site out of subfreezing east wind which will not kill it but can burn it badly. Easy, spectacular, fast, west coast native shrub.

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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 autumn and over winter as small plants. 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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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. Locally native in the city of Portland. Oregon native plant.

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Cuphea cyanea var. subhirtella

This plant has been a real surprise. Most Cupheas are decidedly tender to cold in our climate, however, this variety soars above the rest. Its been a long term reliable perennial for us. Perhaps just a smidge hardier than the species. This charming little bat flower delights with multicolor flowers- tubular and shades of pink and yellow. The petals that serve as the bats ears are maroon. Wonderful long blooming plant- flowers continuously all summer to autumn. To 1′ tall and as wide. As a perennial it excels in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water in full sun. Just when you think it won’t return in spring it quickly arrives with warm weather and commences blooming almost straight away. Loved by hummingbirds, butterflies and pollinators in general. Treat it well – water and establish and mulch for the first winter. As an annual it is wonderful as a continuous flowering container subject. Native to Mexico.

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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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Cuphea micropetala

Groovy Cuphea that we grow as an annual. In mild winters and with good drainage this rainbow of a plant may over winter. Either way its a long, long blooming plant from June to frost. Spikes appear continuously holding tubular shaped flowers- they begin yellow and age to orange for a multicolor effect that yields a dramatic show. To 10″ x 1′ forming an expanding clump. Full sun and rich well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Best on the edge of a container where the spikes which protrude nearly horizontally will showcase the flowers. Loved by hummingbirds, bumble bees and just about any pollinator. Remove spent flower spikes to encourage more. Very easy to grow. Mexico.

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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 6′ tall the second year and is a tower of red/purple borage flowers. Pollinators lose their little collecting minds and even hummers show up. Not entirely hardy but we think its such an incredible foliage plant in its first year that is is definitely worth the risk.  Following bloom it sets seed- man does it set seed and seedling will appear all over the garden. They are easy to identify- rosettes of thin leaves with a sandpapery texture. You can move them or mass them for a cool effect. Rich to average, well drained soil with light summer water. Full sun and position out of high winds which can topple the plant in its blooming stage. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Native to the Canary Islands.

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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  and move when they are very young if you desire a new spot.  Makes a groovy large cut flower. This is the flower on our logo. High deer resistance. Drought adapted.

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Eschscholtzia californica ‘Cream’

A very favorite annual or short lived perennial. This excellent California poppy sports ivory to cream large flowers for an extended period in summer. Fine blue foliage is wonderful with the softly colored flowers. Blooms from April to August if you give it a little water- but never soggy. Full sun to the very lightest shade in average to enriched, well drained soil. Un irrigated plants will bloom for a shorter period and set seed. The seed comes true about 90% of the time. Cull orange or other colors that don’t please you. It may become a short lived perennial if treated well. New plants germinate en masse with the first autumn rains. Don’t be afraid to thin your patch a bit then. Rough areas, along gravel paths. Easy to grow. Containers, Hellstrips. Etc. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Spectacular mix of double flowered California Poppy in shades of pink, yellow, apricot, rose, red, orange, and yellow- and more colors than that. Easy to grow plants that can even be perennial if happily sited and cared for. Otherwise an incredibly showy annual that also makes a great cutflower- cut in bud and they will last several days. Sophisticated selection of our own native poppy and they will most likely reseed in open disturbed sites. Blooms May-August and sometimes longer. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Leave the final round of blooms to set seed for the following season. To 1′ x 1′ with beautiful lacy glaucous foliage. Rough areas in full sun with light summer H20. Highly deer resistant.  Oregon native plant.

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Gilia achilleafolia

Yarrow Gilly Flower as the 49ers named this sweet little annual California wildflower. Frilly green foliage gives rise to 10″ stems supporting violet to sky blue flowers. Blooms May-July in our climate. Very easy to naturalize in open disturbed sites. A great reblooming pollinator wild flower. Makes sweet little bouquets as well. Full sun and lose un compacted soil- turn the soil to incorporate oxygen before planting. Light summer water keeps things going. Or it will finish with drought setting seed for the next years performance.

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Gilia capitata

Globe Gilia or Bluefields is a widespread wildflower from British Columbia to Baja. To 20″ tall and forming a substantial plant very quickly. From April to July and sometimes longer  these striking sky blue flowers appear and rise on tall stems displaying the orbs of flowers.  If you apply light consistent water and remove the spent flowers they can re-bloom. Otherwise, they persist until hot weather and then set seed and die.  Studies at  OSU on native pollinators ranked this #1 as their source for pollen/nectar. That alone gives you reason to include this re-seeding plant in your garden. Rich, to average disturbed sites are ideal. It often grows and self sows in the disturbed slopes of road cuts, dry hillsides. In the garden it LOVES good conditions and will be much larger, bloom longer, with flowers of a darker hue of blue. A great wildflower for the garden that makes a sweet cut flower. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. Wild areas, hell strips, dry gardens. Easy to naturalize if you contain the competition from other plants. Locally native in the Portland city limits. New plants germinate in autumn and overwinter happily.  Oregon native plant.

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Gilia tricolor

Bird’s Eye Gilia is a showy and delicate appearing but tough hardy annual from the central valley of California into the Coast Ranges as well as Sierra Nevada foothills. To 6″ tall each stalk bears multiple gorgeous purple to white flowers with a distinct dark eye. Give your pollinators a treat this diminutive plant will bloom for 4-6 weeks in late spring to summer in our climate. Give it open disturbed soil without competition form invasive grasses to complete its life cycle, where it will reseed with abandon. Lovely little west coast native annual for sunny, wild sites. Good in containers for a brief but brilliant wildflower display. Excellent in parking strips where it will love the reflected heat. Light consistent water until its time to go quietly to sleep. Good drainage helps.

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Serpentine Sunflower or Bolander’s Sunflower. Who doesn’t like sunflowers? I don’t know about you but they make me smile. There are several native sunflowers but this one is the cream of the crop. Native east of the Cascades in S. Oregon and extreme N. California this wonderful plant shines on the most difficult soils. Known as Serpentine Sunflower – Serpentine soil is a special substrate full of heavy metals- zinc, iron, copper. It prevents many plants from growing. Widespread especially in Southern Oregon into California, where this soil reaches the surface it produces zones of very specialized plants- they LOVE the harsh conditions and poor nutrients and tolerate the toxic elements. It can be quite a transition in plant communities from normal soil to serpentine- in just a few steps. This lovely annual sunflower though is EASY to grow in average to enriched soil- It handles just about everything so long as there is full sun. To 3′ tall and forming multiple spikes of 3″ electric yellow flowers with a contrasting black center. Amazing cut flower and if you remove flowers it will encourage more . Nice long stems for summer bouquets. And a pollinator madhouse. Blooms June- October- one of our longest blooming native annuals. Forms a mutibranched plant with shining flowers sticking out in all directions.  Light consistent irrigation in summer. Makes a fantastic hedge of flowers in summer. Re-seeds in open disturbed sites. Moderate deer resistance. Easy to grow. Oregon native plant.

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Layia platyglossa

Tidy Tips a SW american desert daisy that puts on massive displays in famous high rainfall years. In our climate this hardy annual continues blooming for months as our cool summer nights seem to trick into an eternal spring. To 10″ tall forming a spreading plant in full sun and rich to average, well drained soil. Good drainage assists it in setting seed and that seed over wintering for germination the following spring. Remove spent flowers to spur more. Light consistent summer water. Otherwise let it go to seed. Nice cut flower. Loved by butterflies. Easy to save seed and toss out in spring in open sites after all threat of frost has passed.

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Leptosiphon ‘Star Dust’

BABY STARS!  Cute hardy annual that is actually a west coast native. Also known as Stardust 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. Primarily composed of Leptosiphon bicolor which is native to the Portland city limits. In the wild the flowers are primarily pink with a yellow eye- occasionally other colors. Adorable. Baby stars. Oregon native plant.

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Limnanthes douglasii

Meadow foam is a native hardy annual that occupies the flood zones in the valleys in most of Central and northern California up through the Willamette Valley to Portland.  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. Leave the dead straw to disperse the seeds or simply shake it where you would like next years display to be. A great annual to eclipse the fading foliage of bulbs.  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 west native that is one of the most reliable reseeding annuals. Oregon Native Plant

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Limnanthes douglasii var. nivea

White meadow foam is a prolific native hardy annual that covers the bottom of inland west coast 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 western native that deserves more use. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.

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Locally native annual that occupies (or occupied) sunny dry hillsides in selected regions of the western part of the state. Elegant tarweed is the common name, referencing both the light tar like fragrance of the sticky 2′ stems and the elegance of the 1″ wide flowers that are the most showy of the genus. Daisy-like flowers range from pure yellow to yellow with a ring of maroon, white, or red around the center. One our longest blooming annuals flowers appear from April to November. Remove spent flowers apply light irrigation and it will happily continue its show. Nice cut flower. The dried seeds of this species were a very important food source for native people. They would grind the oily seeds to make a kind of flour or press them to extract oil. To 2′ tall forming multi branched clumps. Re-seeds in places that it likes, mostly sunny, open places with good drainage. Native to the city limits of Portland, though no longer likely present. Fix that. An ebullient pretty native. Moderate deer resistance.  Oregon native plant.

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Nemophila maculata

Five spot is a showy and adorable west coast native true hardy annual that delights under oaks with 1″ wide white and blue flowers. One deep blue dot at the tip of each of the five petals. To 4″ tall and sprawling to 8″ wide the cheery flowers appear from late March to June before the plant completes its life cycle and dies and goes to seed. Reseeds reliably in open disturbed sites. Fine leaves on small rosettes tell the story in autumn. Self sown plants require no supplemental water. One potted plant will yield hundreds of seedlings for the following spring. West coast annuals are cool. Found in a small part of Josephine and Jackson counties in southern Oregon. Oregon native plant.

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Nemophila menziesii

Baby Blue Eyes a hardy annual wildflower native to the bottom third of Oregon is a beautiful shade of blue in spring gardens. Finely divided foliage forms sprawling rosettes that support the nickel sized sky blue to pale blue flowers. Blooms April to June. Reliably reseeds in open disturbed sites. The whole plant is dead and chucking seed by the heat of summer and ultimately disappears on its own. Adaptable to any soil type in full sun to light shade. Self sown plants get by with no supplemental irrigation- plants from containers seem to like regular water. To 4″ tall and 1′ wide. Oregon gardeners should discover the advantages of our own hardy native annuals. They occupy space between shrubs happily and laugh at summer drought by finishing their life cycle and simply spreading anew by seed. Oregon native plant.

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Nemophila menziesii ‘Frosty Blue’

Impressive selection of this wonderful native annual. Leaves are brightly frosted in white and make a great backdrop to the sky blue nickel sized flowers. Blooms April-June in part shade to full sun. AKA Frosty Blue Baby Blue Eyes. To 4″ x 6″ forming a spreading plant. Very attractive and it will reseed in the autumn or early spring- the seedlings are immediately identifiable by the silver foliage. Likes to germinate among other small plants/grasses for overwintering protection. Water to establish then only lightly until bloom has ceased and seed is set. The whole plant dies and decomposes almost instantly in the real heat of summer. Excellent in early season containers. This form was found in California but this is also an Oregon native plant.

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Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’

A hardy annual with exciting lime green flowers that are fragrant at night. Full sun to part shade in rich soil with regular water. Blooms May until frost.
Remove spent flower heads to encourage more. To 30″ tall. EXCELLENT container plant. Combines very nicely with light blue flowers such as Salvia patens ‘Cambridge Blue’. Reseeds somewhat in disturbed soil. Great en masse. May behave as a perennial in mild winters- above 20°F. Moderately deer resistant.

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Nigella sativa

Wonderful multi-use hardy annual that we love for its flowers, seed heads, and edible seeds. Love-in-a-Mist is the common name in reference to the mostly dark blue flowers that are ensconced in a haze of fine green stems. This is a charming cut flower.  Upon finishing the ovaries transform to a ballon shaped structure full of yummy black seeds. You can then detach that as a cut flower as well. The dried black seeds have a peppery taste and are excellent sprinkled on salads. Be sure to sprinkle them on the ground where next year’s crop will be. Truth is once you plant this it is pretty much as permanent as a perennial, so reliable and prolific a re-seeding plant. The ferny seedlings are easy to spot, move or dispatch. Let them flow through your perennial borders. They make a wonderful addition to a cutting garden. Best in rich, open, disturbed soil with supplemental H20 all the way until seed are produced- though not entirely necessary it produces larger plants- and there fore stems, flowers, and more seeds. Blooms June-July. Full sun to light shade. VERY EASY.

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Orlaya grandiflora

WE LOVE white lace flower with its beautiful pristine white umbels held high above ferny green foliage. A true hardy annual native to the mediterranean. It makes a wonderful swath of lacey white to 18″-20″ tall. Long stems are ideal for cutting and this flowers lasts in vases wonderfully. Blooms repeatedly from late spring to mid summer.. Cut spent flowers and they re-bloom. Open disturbed soil that has been well dug- and a little organic fertilizer to spur vigor. Full sun. Borders, cutting gardens, cottage gardens- virtually anywhere. Re-seeds in open disturbed soils (no competition). Light summer water.

 

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One of the very finest Pelargoniums or (Geranium- annual) with stupendous jagged foliage and vivid flowers. Each palmate leaf has a center of dramatic bronze and is outlined in bright chartreuse green. The star shaped hot orange flower is a bright and elegant contrast with this foliage. Compact growing habit. Excellent seasonal container subject or even bedded out. To 20″ x 20″ by the end of the summer. Rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer moisture. Remove spent flower spikes to tidy, encourage more. Moderately deer resistant. Avoid over watering. Easy, striking plant and our favorite Pelargonium.

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Petunia ‘Rainmaster’

We love this simple species Petunia not for just its prolific white and green flowers but the intense sweet fragrance that they emit. To 18″ tall and somewhat trailing for full sun and rich well drained soil with regular summer water. Ideal in containers where its fragrance, which intensifies at night, can be enjoyed. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Old fashioned plant with a new lease on life.

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 |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn9a 25º to 20ºF
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Phacelia campanularia

Perhaps there is no more blue flower than desert blue bells. An excellent and long blooming hardy annual that is at home in container as well as the ground. Often it will reseed prolifically from just one pot. To 6″ tall and as wide. Full sun and rich to average well drained soil. Light, consistent summer water keeps it going. Otherwise it will go away but not before setting seed for the following season. The vivid blue bell shaped flowers attract pollinators. Good western wildflower.

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Phacelia viscida

Sticky Phacelia is a hardy annual native to southern California chaparral into northern Baja. It bears intense blue flowers in late spring to early summer. It will often reseed in open disturbed sites if we have a mild winter. Incredibly attractive to bees and pollinators as all blue flowers seem to be. Full sun and well drained soil. Mixes well with summer perennials and if you give it a light shear and a drink when the first round of flowers are spent often more will erupt. To 11″ tall and spreading a bit. Fantastic wildflower effect. Native west coast annuals deserve a respected place in our gardens. Blue- scintillating blue. Works well in containers also. Light, consistent water to bloom.

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Platystemon californicus

This charming true poppy relative is also known as Cream Cups. Easy to see when the cup shaped flowers open during the sunniest time of the day. The petals are various shades of yellow with cream veining. Or is it the other way around? Either way its adorable beyond measure as this little thread leaf clump forming true annual pops into bloom in our climate from late April to early June. Not a prolific self seeder but I’ve heard once you get it where it likes it then its yours. To 5″ tall when the flowers top out. Full sun and average to rich well drained soil. Not difficult. West coast annuals are wonderful not only for their color, texture, and forms but of their endearing nature. They are tough little plants with a delicate appearance. Light summer water extends the bloom before high heat finally ends the show and seeds go flying. No shade. Rock gardens, spring borders. High deer resistance. This little beauty though mainly found in California comes just into Oregon in Curry and Josephine counties. Oregon native plant.

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Sea Blush, or more commonly Rosy Plectritis is a locally native hardy annual in the Valerian family. In April-June it swarms meadows and glens with orbicular globes of dense fragrant pink flowers. They rise on average to about 10″ tall.  Rich soil will yield larger plants. Excellent bulb cover for late narcissus, tulips etc. Fun to grow heavily reseeding annual that also makes  a sweet cut flower. It can be found in the western third of the state. Also wonderful with Pacific Coast Iris as they bloom concurrently.  Sets seed and dies by mid summer when the spent carcasses may be removed- when doing that give them a shake where you want next years display to occur. Water to establish then none. Full sun to very light shade. New seedlings have diamond shaped true leaves with a rubbery texture. High deer resistance. Native in the Portland city limits.  Oregon native plant.

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Selaginella braunii

We love this fantastic dense growing acid green moss. It finds its best home in containers- not quite tough enough for life in the ground. Slowly expanding rounded dense clumps are beautiful all the time. Excellent as the understory to potted plants where it inhabits the most constrained roots with no problem. To 3″ x 6″ in a season. Very easy container plant. Regular water in rich, well drained soil. Regular water. Smooth and modern.

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Seseli gummiferum

Moon carrot Moon carrot. Trendy, cool, avant garde and of course its an UMBEL! Umbels are in, Umbels are in! Full sun and well drained soil of average to rich fertility. The second season a crazy number of tall flowers yield groups of umbels. Umbels upon umbels. Can you dig it?  To 30″ tall and as wide. Moderate deer resistance Great cut flower. Blooms for up to two months. Easy to grow. Dislikes shade intensely. Biennial or short lived perennial.

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Solanum pyracanthum

My half hardy perennial can kick your perennials ass. And this spiky creature is a damned fine plant. Large lobed leaves are fiercely armed with bright orange spikes down the midrib. Violent orange spikes also cover every stem and virtually glow when backlit. All summer long this large tender plant (to 3′ x 2′) bears large solanaceous 5 petalled purple flowers with a central orange beak. The overall effect is beyond charming, its a fierce plant with attitude and we adore it. Great in containers but mind that this sucker does have a bite, locate away from traffic.  Very fun to grow in the ground as well. Hardy to the low 20’s and sometimes makes it through a mild winter. Orange fruits follow the flowers but are not assured. One of the amazing plants native to Madagascar. Full sun and rich soil with regular water. Basically grow it just like a tomato. Highly deer resistant.

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Verbascum bombyciferum ‘Arctic Summer’

Big ol magical biennial and we couldn’t imagine a garden without it. The first year it produces a large (2′ wide) rosette of huge furry white leaves. They lie flush with the ground. The following year total transformation occurs. A spike from the center of the rosette and soars to 6′ or taller. Its lined densely with furry white buds that pop open to reveal electric yellow soft looking flowers. The inflorescence will often wind this way and that. Even after bloom is through this tower remains spreading quantities of seed all over. Germinates best in open disturbed soil and they will germinate. Move them or thin them in spring. Snow white perennial with oodles of architecture. Full sun and rich, well drained soil. It makes due with less than perfect conditions but this way is the most impressive. Loved by pollinators. Light summer water if it looks like it needs it. Established plants get by with no water.

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Viola ‘Tiger Eye’

We grew this just for fun last year and not only was it one of our most talked about plants it became one of our favorites as well. Each yellow/gold/burnt umber flower is intricately and completely marked in black lines. On very close inspection they almost look like a drawing of flowers. And its the most FRAGRANT viola we’ve ever smelled with a sweet perfume that carries quite a distance. Compact hardy annual to 6″ x 6″ for full sun to light shade. Excellent tolerance of cold (down to zone 7) as well as heat. All around its a winner of a viola, for containers, borders etc. Blooms non-stop, removing spent flowers does encourage more. Stop and smell the Violas and then stare at the patterns. Its a trip man.

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