Ceanothus x ‘Xera Azul’

Very fortuitous, we planted 5 species/cvs of Ceanothus in our stock beds and they of course got a little frisky. We ended up with one stellar seedling that has impressed us so much that we showed it to Ceanothus Guru  Dave Fross of Native Sons Nursery and he was impressed. In its 3rd year its produced copious blooms that are about the darkest blue that I’ve seen. Only the cultivar ‘Kurt Zadnick’ has deeper tones but this plant displays them differently. Large fluffily black/blue trusses of flowers on a  lower and spreading plant. To 4′ tall by 6′ wide very fast. Glossy undulate leaves look nothing like their prospective parents. It has shown great cold hardiness as well as drought adaptation. Um…..we’ve never done anything to it. It hasn’t ever even had supplemental irrigation. So, extraordinarily climate adapted. Also, most Ceanothus seedlings require 3-4 years to commence bloom. This precocious little seedling bloomed its second year. All of this adds up to a great new cultivar. Full sun to very light shade and average soil. Water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Blooms late March to late April and occasionally on new wood through summer. This would make a great bank cover with Cistus and Helianthemum, Eriogonums. So cool we named it Azul. The beginning of a GREAT Ceanothus.

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Cotula 'Tiffendel Gold'

Cotula ‘Tiffendel Gold’

Low evergreen South African ground cover with 3″ high ferny medium green foliage that densely covers the ground. Beginning in May and repeating heavily through summer wiry stems to 6″ tall are topped by petal free gold rayless disks. Little bobbles. These flowers age to a darker color giving a sea of these curious blossoms extra color depth. Cute little cutlfower that lasts. Vigorous grower that covers ground quickly in rich, well drained soil with consistent summer moisture. Avoid compacted dry soils- it will die out. Excellent weed supresssing ground cover. Good looking year round. Cold hardy to 0ºF. One 4″ pot can cover 2′ x 2′ in a season and beyond. Moderate deer resistance. Not really a whole lot here they can even get to.

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Beach fleabane or beach daisy normally runs in a mauve, to periwinkle vein. This lovely selection turns it up with crystal white daisies and a bold yellow center.  Long lived perennial that is very adaptable. To 6″ tall a happy clump will spread to 2′ wide or more. Low and spreading it displays the flowers upright in a mass. This beckons pollinates and they always find this easy going daisy. Full sun, rich to average soil with regular irrigation through the bloom period. This not only keeps the plant verdant it encourage re-bloom which can occur until September. The initial huge show of flowers begins in late May into July. Excellent perennial for the top of a wall where it will happily creep over the edge and follow the contours on the way down. It may be cut back hard after the initial large flush of flowers, this tidies the plant and sets the stage for another big show. Not bothered by deer and often left alone by rabbits. This daisy is most conspicuous in habitat on the cliffs adjacent to the beach. It also perches on sea stacks. Beach fleabane ranges from the Northern Oregon coast south all along the California coast. Mix with other Erigeron glaucus cultivars for depth of contrast- this is when all the flower colors look the most distinct. Very easy to grow and it also absorbs the heat of parking strips with no issues. Cold hardy. Oregon native plant

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Fatshedera x lizei 'Variegata'

Fatshedera x lizei ‘Variegata’

Bold sprawling shrub or vine that is a hybrid between Hedera and Fatsia. This form has large leaves outlined in cream. Evergreen that seeks shade but is surprisingly sun tolerant too. It may be grown as a free standing shrub, bold ground cover, or trained as a vine. Very nice in winter containers too. Well drained soil  average to rich fertility. Light water. White flowers in autumn never set viable fruit. To 4′ tall and sprawling 8′ wide. Moderate deer resistance.

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Fragaria chiloense 'Aulon'

Fragaria chiloense ‘Aulon’

Pacific coastal strawberry is a beach native- in fact it occurs all around the Pacific Rim and makes an adorable and durable ground cover on sand dunes. Well this version is like the giant hulk of strawberries. Huge in every way and vigorous? Wow, plant and get out of the way. The large glossy evergreen leaves are up to 6″ across and the single white flowers in spring and summer (sometimes in winter) are large also. The paltry fruit that follows is far from edible. It won’t kill you but you really have to like sour and gritty with millions of seeds.  This is an ideal ground cover for rough sites in full sun to part shade. Don’t bother enriching the soil that will just make this trailing monster roar. Instead err on the side of a little neglect and watch what this native plant can do. Be wary of delicate plants in the vicinity. Evergreen, easy and drought tolerant. Oregon native plant.

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Gaultheria shallon

Salal. An iconic native shrub that occupies the understory of the forests from the coast to the Cascades- in the Willamette Valley its restricted to the shadiest, mesic environs. A mounding evergreen that forms large colonies in time. Ranges in height from 2′ to 6′ depending upon its situation. Spread is indefinite when happy. In spring chains of white urn shaped flowers transform into edible berries. Very handsome foliage is used as long lasting cut material and is sometimes marketed as ‘lemon leaf’.  Can be tricky to establish. Shade to part shade is best in rich, humus rich soil with regular water. To establish water, water, water. And apply a liberal deep mulch.  Avoid hot sun and compacted dry soils. Once it gets going, its yours forever. Occurs naturally in mesic/shady environs around Portland.  Mulch annually to accumulate a layer of organic material that this spreading shrub craves. Oregon native plant.

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Globularia cordifolia var. nana

Low growing globe daisy that makes a great small scale evergreen ground cover. In mid-spring rising up from the small paddle shaped leaves spikes are topped with spheres of fluffy steel blue flowers. Spreads moderately fast on  well drained sites with light summer water. Full sun to part shade. To 4″ tall- foliage prostrate and spreading to 18″ wide in several seasons. Great in rock gardens. Cold hardy, drought adapted and easy small scale plant. Very dense growth pattern inhibits weeds on a small scale and the glossy deep green foliage is presentable year round. Not a widespread ground cover. Excellent between pavers and rocks. It handles compacted soils with aplomb. Light summer water but completely drought resistant when established. Charming plant.

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Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’

Juniper leaved Grevillea that is a low spreading ground cover. Grass green needle like foliage plays host and is often obscured by masses of curly apricot yellow flowers. They peak in late spring but occur almost any time of year. Poor, well drained soil in full sun with no supplemental water ever. To 2′ tall by 6′ wide in 5 years. Supremely adapted to the heat and drought of parking strips. Prickly foliage deters animals- and even people. Incredibly floriferous shrub that gains cold hardiness with establishment.  Loved by hummingbirds. Protect from subfreezing wind. No fertilizer.  Dense enough growth to smother weeds Best with total neglect. Loved by hummingbirds. Little water when established. Amazing in bloom.

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Grevilleas are interesting in that almost all species will cross. And you can end up with some really weird shit. In this instance I selected  this mounding evergreen shrub for the vividness of its orange flowers and superior cold hardiness from about 50 others. This cross between G. victorae and G. juniperina has thicker leaves than most cultivars (and seedlings) and that translates directly to improved cold hardiness and they end in a sharp tip. This variety has weathered 10ºF so far and could be hardier.  Larger, vivid orange flowers with a style stained melon red that quickly matches the orange of the perianth. (Pouch like petals that reflex when open). To 3′ tall x 8′ wide in 5 years. Full sun to very light shade in average to poor soil. Water weekly after planting and then as growth increases limit it to once a month- a deep soak. Blooms almost continually with a crescendo in late winter/early spring. Loved by hummingbirds, European honeybees, and native hover flies. Easy to grow. Mulch after planting. Its important that Grevilleas become well established by their first winter- this immediately increases cold hardiness. Once established its fairly care free except for occasional pruning. Established shrubs can go through summer without any supplemental water. Fun to grow shrub. Excellent at the Oregon coast, tolerates sandy substrates with additional water. Not bothered by deer. Elk? I have no idea- they will at least step on it so protect. Grevilleas all require good air circulation. Avoid plants that flop or lay on them- not only will it block the sun  it can even encourage rot. Site your Grevilleas where they are open and the wind can blow them dry.

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We selected this seedling long ago for its vigor, it was culled from a batch of 50 as one of the best and it is. ‘Foxy Red’ is a mounding, low growing shrub that spreads. To 3′ tall x 8′ wide it produces a nearly year round parade of tomato red flowers. The  elongated superior foliage is olive green on the upper surface and gray below and comes to sharp point. Fast growing in full sun to light shade. Average unimproved soils are ideal, dig a large hole and soften the soil on the outer edges.  Water faithfully, once a week until good new growth commences then water less- once every two weeks/month depending on aridity. Nice looking winter blooming shrub that is ideal planted above rock walls where it can cascade down. Loved by hummingbirds, especially wintering Anna’s who see an out of season nectar source as gold. Mulch after planting- coarse bark, chips, gravel…. Established plants take summer drought without supplemental irrigation. Should be deer resistant. At some point we’ll test it for their consumption. Really nice looking shrub both in foliage and bright flower. May be pruned at any time of the year. Avoid strong subfreezing east wind. Protected site- south or west facing.

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