Pelargonium ‘Vancouver Centennial’

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. This Pelargonium is a VERY HEAVY FEEDER. Use ample amounts of all organic fertilizer. It also responds to foliar feeding with liquid fish. But fertilizer is essential. Easy, striking plant and our favorite Pelargonium.

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Pelargonium x ‘Alpha’

There is something so classic and special about this zonal Geranium. Chartreuse leaves are banded with a darker zone on each leaf. This forms a repeating pattern that is very vivid. Long stems with clusters of neon coral/pink flowers appear continuously from May to frost. This zonal geranium does not just grow up. It spreads laterally in time and a single plant in a container will trail gracefully over the edges. Full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil with regular irrigation. This zonal really likes hot conditions and good air circulation. Classic occupying a row of terra cotta pots. Vivid in containers and a very good mixer. Very easy, bright, and satisfying tender perennial.

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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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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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Plagiobothrys figuratus var. figuratus

Fragrant Popcorn flower is a wildflower limited to western Oregon with its largest populations in the Willamette Valley. This hardy annual is an inhabitant of wet meadows and vernally wet fields. Closely related to forget me nots (Myosotis) this plant erupts into waves of pure white flowers with a tiny yellow eye. The flowers foam between grasses and shrubs for several weeks in late May to July. To 10″ tall unfurling flowers on a plant of small stature. Excellent performance in rain gardens and a very reliable re-seeding plant. Full sun and water potted plants to establish. Self sown seedlings get by with no supplemental irrigation. Excellent with Rosa nutkana, Camas, Ranunculus occidentale. Moderately deer resistant. On warm summer days a field in full bloom emits a sweet perfume.Very good performance in containers and is often superseded in its habitat by Downingia. Excellent native pollinator flower. Especially important to native bumbles.  Oregon native plant. 

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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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Plectritis congesta

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. Make sure not to cover the seed, native annual seed requires light to germinate and it will very quickly sprout with the first cool fall rains. Traditionally, Rosy Plectritis can be found in a mix of perennial and annual communities. In its many habitats it can be found with Oregon Iris (Iris tenax) and often Giant Blue Eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora). Water to establish as plants- then none. Full sun to very light shade. New seedlings have paddle shaped true leaves with a rubbery texture. High deer resistance. Native in the Portland city limits.  Photo credit: Matthew Hubbard Oregon native plant.

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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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