Camellia x williamsii 'Waterlily'

Camellia x williamsii ‘Waterlily’

Extraordinary hybrid that combines all the great attributes of a Camellia with larger, more dramatic flowers and more of them. It also possesses excellent cold hardiness as well as garden adaptation. Large growing glossy evergreen shrub with fetching deep green leaves. In late January to early March- and often longer than that depending on the weather 5″ flat fully formal double clear pink flowers are stunning. You really have to see them up close to get a handle on the size and perfection of each flower. Upright growing shrub to 9′ tall by 7′ wide in 10 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in well drained soil that retains moisture. Light consistent summer moisture aids establishment and also increases the amount of flowers the following season.  Established plants can endure quite a bit of drought. Exceptional cold hardiness, slightly below 0ºF. . Flowers shed cleanly- they shatter without clinging and discoloring. Excellent candidate for a large espalier. Exquisite large shrub.

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Ceanothus 'Victoria'

Ceanothus ‘Victoria’

This is one of the most popular shrubs in western Oregon of the last two decades. And rightfully so. This wild lilac sports excellent cold hardiness, prolific flowers, and glossy handsome evergreen foliage year round. A strong growing shrub that can literally explode in growth in rich soil but is much more restrained in poorer mediums. Remember this when planting it. It performs the best in average, un-amended soils in full sun with regular summer water for the first season to establish and then none in subsequent years. Sky blue flowers are profuse covering this dense shrub in a haze of color for 3-4 weeks in May to June. Later blooming that most other Ceanothus. This good looking shrub is so durable its made its way as  highway verge mass plantings but it is just as stellar of a garden plant as well. Cold hardy to about 5ºF- it survived -5ºF in the southern Willamette Valley in 2013 by freezing to the snow line and then vigorously re-sprouting. Durable, dependable Ceanothus. Avoid the summer heat + water that it abhors- it leaves it open to root water molds that can do it in and fairly quickly. Excellent shrub for the beginning gardener. Loved by pollinators of all kinds and is virtually rolling in bees during its fabulous bloom. NOT DEER RESISTANT. Most likely a hybrid with C. thyrsiflorus which must be responsible for at least half of its make up. Found in Victoria, Canada- hence the name. Likely it is the old cultivar ‘Skylark’ that was re-named upon its survival there of a hideous winter. The old name was forgotten and the glee of survival and discovery led to the renaming.  To be clear ‘Victoria’ and ‘Skylark’ are exactly the same thing. Very fast growing to on average 8′ x 8′. Excellent with all west coast natives. Blooms simultaneously with yellow Halimiums. A fantastic floral and cultural combination.

below photo credit: Jane Finch-Howell

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Ceanothus 'Blue Jeans'

Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’

One of the cold hardiest blue flowered cultivars and one of the earliest to bloom as well. An open spreading shrub with prickily deep green leaves. In March/April the whole shrub is obscured in violet blue clouds of flowers. Upon first viewing in bloom most people are shocked at how showy this evergreen shrub is.  To 7′ x 5′ in five years in any well drained soil with little to no summer water. Very adaptable to clay soils, especially on slopes- as with all Ceanothus avoid boggy sites. One of the toughest cultivars that also takes very well to pruning which should be done after blooming to increase density if needed. Blooms on wood from the previous year and the button shaped flower clusters are so profuse that they obscure the foliage.  Tolerates blasting reflected heat and is great in hot urban situations. Makes a wonderful informal hedge for wild areas but is just as at home clipped into urban scenes. Full sun. Moderately deer resistant- unusual for a Ceanothus. Cold hardy to 0ºF. The cultivar name might obliquely refer to the flower color but its an apt comparison to this tough , tough, shrub as well. No summer water. See clipped hedge below.

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Ceanothus cuneatus ssp. cuneatus 'Adair Villiage' white flowers

Ceanothus cuneatus ssp. cuneatus ‘Adair Villiage’

This is a Willamette Valley  native form of Buckbrush found in the SW part of the Valley. This species is found historically from the Portland/Oregon City area in the Willamette Valley and  throughout the southern half of the state well into California. It has lost large areas of its northernmost natural range to development and fire suppression. It is a fire adapted species that requires disturbance to distribute. Thats a pity because this is a fantastic native shrub for hot dry sites. It is now employed by ODOT for freeway plantings and we are happy to see that. A large, angular evergreen shrub with small deep green paddle shaped leaves. In April the whole shrub is swarmed with pure white flowers.This is a beacon to all pollinators and the sweetly fragrant flowers will literally be buzzing in bloom.  Fast growing incredibly tough shrub for areas of intense drought and reflected heat. To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in any soil that does not become boggy. Excellent performance in tough urban situations. Irresistible to bees and butterflies. Extremely cold hardy to below 0ºF. No summer water. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Oregon Mist'

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Oregon Mist’

Greg and I found this distinctive form of Coast Blue Blossom in the wild. This species ranges from Lane County, Oregon to Santa Barbara County, California. A fast growing seral species that follows fire and disturbance. Very near the location where we discovered this handsome small tree was to the largest Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ever discovered in 1925- it was nearly 30′ tall. This is a large and fast growing evergreen tree with copious amounts of scintillating flowers.  It has smaller deep green leaves and huge trusses of soft turquoise flowers in late April to early June. A tall growing tree/shrub that attains heights of 15′ very quickly if allowed. This drought tolerant native takes very well to pruning too- which should be done after blooming. Full sun and average well drained soil- including clay soils. Little to no summer water when established. Excellent for use as an instant screen or informal hedgerow. Pretty in the background of dry borders. Loved by bees and butterflies in bloom. Very easy to grow native evergreen shrub that should be used more. Life span 15-20 years. Oregon native plant.

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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Rogue Sky'

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Rogue Sky’

A selection of Coast Blue Blossom or Ceanothus thyrsiflorus that we made very far inland from its natural range in SW Oregon. Typically relegated to the coastal strip we found this variety more than 35 miles inland. This improves cold hardiness. A rapidly growing shrub/tree to 16′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Robin’s egg blue flowers smother the whole plant in May. Extremely drought tolerant this fast grower may be either used as a cool, evergreen, native, blue flowered tree or it may be pruned aggressively after blooming to limit the size- increase density create a screen or hedge. Loved by honey bees and all pollinators in general.  No summer water once established. Excellent background tree that delights in bloom but fades to a green screen the rest of the year. Plant with other drought tolerant plants- Arctostaphylos, Cistus, etc. Grows 3′-4′ per year when established. The flowers are a soothing blue- which is hard to capture in photographs. The effect in bloom is a blue cloud. Takes partial shade and the worst soils. Oregon native plant.

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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Umpqua Sky'

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Umpqua Sky’

A very large growing, vigorous and pretty tree type Ceanothus native to the extreme SW part of the state. This fast growing evergreen tree (3′-4′ per year) puts on a huge display of soft blue flowers in  late April to early June. Full sun to light shade (high overhead shade) and average soil that drains. Adaptable to clay soils, especially on slopes and not watered at all in summer. Completely drought adapted, no water necessary once established. To 18′ tall and half as wide in 7 years. Great screen, blue flowered tree that is beautiful in bloom but fades to a background for the rest of the year. Prodigious pruning can keep it much lower and it makes a great large hedge in no time. Good cold hardiness to 5ºF. We chose this variety in the wild because it was found quite a bit away from the coast which increases cold hardiness and it was immensely heavy in bloom.  Prune AFTER flowering if needed. As a hedge or smaller plant it only requires pruning once a year- especially if strictly unwatered. Extraordinarily heavy bloomer and the trusses of flowers are often divided into six or more sub-branches for a very full look in bloom. Pairs well with Madrone and Arctostaphylos.  Oregon native plant.

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Choisya x 'Goldfingers'

Choisya x ‘Goldfingers’

Excellent hybrid Mexican Orange selected for glowing golden foliage. The finely divided palmate leaves have the fine texture of bamboo. Tolerates full sun and becomes deeper green and less dense in more shade. In March and again in November fragrant clusters of pure white flowers appear. Drought tolerant when established but summer irrigation tolerant as well. Nice clipped hedge (not sheared but thoughtfully clipped) to let the patterns of the leaves layer and reveal themselves. Moderately deer resistant. To 4′ x 5′ in 5 years.

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Cistus x dansereau 'Jenkyn Place'

Cistus x dansereau ‘Jenkyn Place’

After growing a whole bunch of Cistus this variety has risen to the top. Upright growing deep green evergreen shrub to 5′ tall and 5′ wide. The thin deep green leaves have the sweet fragrance of balsam. Beginning in May a constant procession of 3″ white flowers with a red basal blotch on each petal. Each flower lasts a day but there is a constant supply waiting in the wings. Full sun and average well drained soil. Tolerates clay soils well. If you give it a touch of supplemental summer water it will often extend the bloom season all the way until September. Exceptionally cold hardy. One of the finest rock roses.

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Cryptomeria japonica 'Birodo'

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Birodo’

Wonderful easy to grow dwarf form of Japanese Cedar. This form has not scales but more like tiny needles. In summer the foliage is deep green. With cooler weather it takes on amazing russet tints. Very slow growing to 3′ x 2′ in 8 years. Incredibly dense growth habit gives the appearance of diligent pruning- but none is required. Extremely drought tolerant. For full sun and little summer water once established.  Rock gardens, containers, gravel gardens. With or without other dwarf conifers. High deer resistance. An excellent truly long term dwarf conifer that retains its good looks. It would make a great no prune hedge that maxes out at 4′ tall but provides density. Very good resistance to subfreezing wind. This performs very well in the Columbia River Gorge  and eastern suburbs of Portland. Static form but dynamic seasonal color shifts. Cool.

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