Sidalcea campestris

The Willamette Valley is the center of the Sidalcea universe. Willamette Checker Mallow is a fantastic long lived native perennial that thrives in gardens. In May-July and sporadically later stems rise up from low foliage to 14″-36″  and support many soft pink flowers. Loved by pollinators and very easy to grow. This perennial inhabits slopes around the Willamette Valley in very heavy clay soil that dries out to concrete in summer. Adaptable to richer conditions, it also encourages a longer bloom season. Full sun to part shade. Native in Oregon Oak woodlands with Oregon Iris, Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon hendersonii). Pretty meadow flower that combines well with native grasses and the aforementioned perennials. Established plants can get by with very little water. Forms a spreading clump to 2′ wide. This species and several others have a natural range that is defined by the Willamette Valley. Its a special member of the Valley biome. Common associates in the wild are Rosa nutkana var, nutkana as well as Lupinus of various kinds.  Good cut flower. Winter deciduous Long lived perennial. Very important for native butterflies. Its a host plant for gray hairstreaks and a nectar source for Fendler’s Blue butterfly.  Oregon native plant.

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Sidalcea hendersonii

Rare native perennial that can be found in wet marginal areas along the coast from Oregon to S. Alaska. Never common it forms large clumps of verdant green scalloped foliage and towers of deep pink hollyhock-like flowers. The flowers are arranged densely on the stem. Blooms repeatedly from June to frost- remove spent flower spikes to encourage more. To 34″ tall in bloom The best Checkermallow for rich, amended borders with regular summer water. Excellent cutflower and a beacon to pollinators-especially natives. Mostly winter deciduous. Combine with other tall spired perennials of similar culture. Very good with border delphiniums or even Penstemons. Tough long lived plant given the correct site. Climate adapted perennial. Rare. Cut back spent stems in winter.  Oregon native plant.  

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Sidalcea malvaflora ssp. virgata

Rose checker mallow is one the showiest summer perennials native to the western part of the state. This ‘wild hollyhock’ decorates meadows and swales from slightly south of Portland to the Rogue Valley in SW Oregon. A low rosette of mallow-esque leaves are glossy. The tall straight 16″ spires of densely arranged hot pink flowers wave in the early summer breeze.(Blooms May-July)  A great cut flower this obvious mallow relative is among our natives that improves under cultivation. And it is rust resistant. Double dig a wide hole to incorporate oxygen in the soil add a handful of all purpose organic fertilizer into the hole and mix with the existing soil. Water regularly and deeply for the first few months. Allow the ground to dry some between irrigation Loved by butterflies and pollinators and actually one of the host plants for the endangered Willamette Valley ‘Fendler’s Blue’ butterfly. Continuously irrigated plants will have successive flushes of bloom. For native rainfall only plants the show is a little shorter. Long lived, resents disturbance. Excellent with Iris tenax, Penstemon kunthii and all Achilleas. Native to clay soils that dry in summer. Oregon native plant. 

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Silene alpestris ‘Flore Pleno’

I love the crisp detailed pure white flowers that float like little pieces of perfect oragami on 6″ stems. Forms continuous evergreen patches in well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Full sun to very light shade. Incredibly long bloom season, March to November. And sometimes longer. Excellent in rock gardens, as a trough plant, or container plant in general. Hardy and easy to grow. Makes a precious delicate cut flower. So white. So, crisp and white. Not tolerant of shade. Excellent long blooming small scale ground cover to line paths, create a pool of crisp white flowers. Europe.

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Hooker’s Catchfly is a great Oregon native perennial that is one of the showiest in this genus. Native to dry woods and plains but never common this low spreading perennial produces large pink flowers in late spring to early summer. The nearly 1″ wide frilly flowers are produces on a diminutive plant that spreads. To 4″ tall and forming a mat about 1.5′ wide. Full sun to very light shade (deciduous shade) in average to slightly enriched soils that drain. Adaptable to clay soils on a slope. Water weekly after planting for the first season then none is necessary in subsequent years. Excellent small perennial that is ideal in a trough where you can view the beautiful large flowers up close. Best in rock garden conditions or in a meadow habitat in the ground.  Naturally adapted to life between clumping grasses. The slightly cupped leaves are large and encrusted in fine hairs. Native from just south of Portland to northern California. It was once much more widespread in the Willamette Valley. This range has been greatly diminished.  Beautiful native perennial. Often left alone by deer. Oregon native plant.

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This is a showy perennial of pine woods in interior northern California. It comes within 10′ miles of the Oregon border. This gaudy little perennial is seen in full sun to the margins of Ponderosa woods. It forms a rosette of rough moss green basal set of leaves. In late spring to early summer 1′ tall wiry spikes hold shocking vermillion orange/red flowers that have a shredded edge to the petals. It blooms for an extended period and often if the first set of defunct flowers is removed it will set another round. Water to establish the wild flower and then none in subsequent years. Established plants are supremely drought adapted and any superfluous water can lead to rot. This is also a great resident of rock gardens where its smaller dimensions and shocking flower color will  be welcome. An obvious draw to hummingbirds and pollinators. Very good in gravel gardens. A slope is an added plus. Somewhat deer resistant. Adapted to coastal gardens as well.

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Sisyrinchium ‘EK Balls’

Diminutive and flowery little Blue Eyed grass that forms dense colonies of grassy green foliage to just 5″ high and is topped with a non-stop display of single purple flowers. Full sun and rich soil with regular summer moisture. Blooms continuously. Forms spreading colonies quickly when happy. Seldom sets seed. Easy to grow long lived plant for a big floral display. Winter deciduous. This cultivar has been grown in England for more than 100 years. Pretty cool.

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Sisyrinchium ‘Quaint and Queer’

Sweet little blue eyed grass with a penchant for being different. Eschewing the purple and yellow and blue flowers commonly assigned to this genus this little freak puts out simple flowers with petals that alternate soft tan and purple. Its a groovy combination and adds a wild flower flare on long thin stalks to 18″ tall. Forms increasing clumps of grassy blue/green foliage. Deciduous in winter. Full sun and rich to average well drained soil with light but consistent summer water when established. A good sized clump can measure about 10″ across after several years. A charming perennial that we have found is excellently adapted to the open mindedness of the west coast as well as climate. Easy. Gay Iris relatives are few and far between. Treasure them. Moderate deer resistance.

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Sisyrinchium bellum ‘Rocky Point’

Remarkable and improved variety of this west coast blue eyed grass. Much larger flowers than the species are deep purple with a distinct yellow eye. Flowers appear continuously from spring into mid-summer. Rich, moist soil with regular irrigation in full sun prolongs the very showy flower display. To just 6″ tall and multiplying quickly to form colonies. This Blue Eyed Grass does NOT set seed and never becomes weedy Full sun. Good butterfly plant. Winter deciduous. The front of borders, rock gardens, hellstrips. Improves with regular irrigation. Oregon native plant.

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Sisyrinchium idahoense var. idahoense

Idaho blue eyed grass is a widespread perennial that forms colonies in full sun, in many soil types, including vernally wet sites. To 18″ tall dark purple flowers open in bright light and close with cloudiness or dark. The blue green foliage is distinctively flat and the plant produces a procession of flowers for 2-3 weeks.  Deep purple with a yellow eye and about 1/2″ wide. An integral part of a Willamette valley meadow and only adaptable to full all day sun. Spreads by seed and  colonies that increase to form a slender clump.  Excellent pollinator perennial and is visited by a wide variety of insects.  Found in field that have not been invaded by invasives. Typically its found between native clumping grasses such as June Grass (Koeleria macrantha) Roemer’s Fescue (Festuca roemeri).and with other perennials of the meadow. It can be found from riparian to upland sites. Common associated plants are Carex tumulicola, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis, Dichelostemma congesta, Clarkia amoena, Camassia, ( C. quamash, leichtlinii ). Full sun, no shade. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent year. Goes summer dormant and will awaken the following February. Oregon native plant

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