Madia elegans

Elegant tar weed or Hayfield tar weed is a locally native annual that occupies (or occupied) sunny dry hillsides in selected regions of the western part of the state. Elegant tarweed references 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 of 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- but remember flowers take an afternoon nap and revive with darkness- kind of cool. 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 is a hardy annual wildflower native to the southern coast in the blue form. In the Willamette Valley up to about Portland the variety Nemophila menziesii ssp. Atomaria is the native form.  It has large cup shaped flowers that are white on the inside w/ fine intricate black spotting and blue on the reverse of the petals. That is the form that I grew up with in the country near Eugene. This is a fascinating annual that is adapted to just about any soil that is not boggy. 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 and with a little protection from slugs and lack of competition.  The whole plant is dead and chucking seed by the heat of summer and ultimately disappears on its own. Adaptable to full sun to light shade. Self sown plants get by with no supplemental irrigation- plants from containers seem to like regular water. In habitat it occupies slopes usually under the canopy of Oaks.  To 4″ tall and 1′ wide. Excellent, long, showy display in reconstructed Willamette Valley meadows. and laugh at summer drought by finishing their life cycle and simply spreading anew by seed. We are actively searching for the ssp. atomaria but the seed is hard to obtain. Occurs natively with  Erythronium oreganum, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis as well as Plectritis congesta.  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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Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria

Giant baby blue eyes is kind of a misleading common name. The flowers in our locally native form of Baby blue eyes are a pure white with black dots on the interior. The only blue that appears on this subspecies is on the reverse of the petals which is often blushed with navy blue. This delightful wildflower grew natively in my back yard where I grew up. In early April to early June it would make sheets of cup shaped blooms under the native white and black oaks. There it bloomed simultaneously with Foothill shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii), Prairie stars (Lithophragma parviflora)  and western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis) and  mission bells (Fritillaria affinis) –  a  really cool native vignette. Wonderful annual for many kinds of native pollinators. Native bees favor this plant and if you look diligently they will be visited over and over.  It will resow itself very reliably if foreign invasive plants are kept away. Mixes really well with (Collinsia grandiflora) Giant Blue Eyed Mary and (Plectritis congesta) Rosy plectritis. A truly exquisite west coast and Oregon native that is adapted to life between clumping grasses. Non native turf grasses will quickly over run and out compete this plant. So, invasive weed control is paramount in maintaining consistent years. In my own backyard it grew between (Festuca californica) California fescue and California three awn (Danthonia californica). Water in potted plants.Protect seedlings in spring and fall from slugs. 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 minoan 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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Pelargonium ‘Black Boar’

Sumptuous zonal geranium with deep black and green foliage and vibrant coral pink flowers non-stop for months. To 20″ tall and as wide. Seems to go up for a while but always ends up with horizontal stems. Blooms heavily and constantly- Very pretty delicate appearing flowers. This is a fantastic zonal for containers, its thrives in rich soil with regular irrigation. Rich, soil that drains. Add a table spoon of all organic fertilizer at planting. This guy loves food. Tender to cold. Over winter in an unheated but not arctic garage or try something new next year. This plant has become a real favorite of ours. Its also a fantastic conservatory plant and might work as a houseplant in a very sunny window. Full sun to very light shade.

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Pelargonium ‘Garden Bouquet’

I’d swear this is just a species pelargonium and probably there is at least some pure species in the parentage. Its a remarkable tender plant that blooms its brains out for months non-stop. These pale pink and dark purple studded flowers decorate a hazy, wiry frame of very slight foliage. Its pretty and it gives the constant bloom a very wild flower mein. Forming a rounded shrub to 20″ x 20″ in a season. It grows fairly rapidly in rich soil enriched with all purpose granular organic fertilizer. Excellent in mixed containers and unflinching in the most blazing conditions. Full sun. Also, cheerful by itself in a large terra cotta pot. The blooms begin in May for months it is never without flowers. Regular water. Mixes well with tender (and hardy) succulents. One of my favorite containers is this plant in the center surrounded by trailing Sedum palmeri. Hardy to about 27ºF- and worth overwintering as a houseplant in a very bright window. Give it good air circulation. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast.

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