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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Sisyrinchium x ‘Stripey’

PRECIOUS and showy blue eyed grass. Sometimes variegation really works on a plant and this is one of those cases. Grassy leaves are soft green with prominent ivory stripes. This backdrop virtually glows in combination with the relatively large purple/blue flowers. Blooms April-July and appreciates rich soil with regular water to really get going and colonize. Excellent rain garden subject. Its best position is possibly in containers. Upright leaves have a pointed top to 6″ tall in bloom.  Excellent contrast between the variegation and the flower color. Full sun. Moderate deer resistance. Showy, sweet perennial. Mix with other low perennials. Combine with Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’ and Dianthus ‘Pink Pyrenees’.  Fun to grow. Flowers close tightly at night.

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Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Aurea’

God I hate to pronounce this name. Its unpronounceable but its such a good and useful plant. We’ll just call it Golden Baby’s Tears- much easier. Golden tiny dense leaves on a spreading very very low, completely prostrate, just millimeters high ground cover. The golden hue is welcome in the shady, moist but well drained soil that this little baby likes. Don’t try to cover vast amounts of real estate with this plant. I can tell you now that it won’t work. Instead pick a small reasonable area where it can form a happy solid patch- maybe 2′ x 2′. In the part shade to shade that it seeks it will virtually glow. Freezes to the ground in severe cold- returns in spring from root bits and the recovery speeds along with truly warmer weather. Give it regular irrigation. It takes dry conditions in the shade. Terrariums, shade gardens, under bonsai, the floor level of modern containers. Useful pretty plant that is more commonly known as a houseplant.

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Solidago canadensis var. elongata

Our own west coast form of Golden Rod which can be found in vernally wet locations or even fence rows. Vigorous, strong growing perennial that erupts in plumes of golden flowers from August to October.  Spreading via runners it can take up quite a bit of space in lush environs. Best to grow it in un-amended soil with light summer water. Full sun to very light shade. Handsome mid-green leaves line nearly woody stems to 32″ tall. Spreads as far as you let it. Sleeps the first year- LEAPS the second and you have been warned. That having been said its a wonderful romping native perennial for late season pollinators. Its very easy to grow and long blooming. I wouldn’t plant a Willamette Valley meadow without this plant. And my, do you get good bugs. VERY good bugs. Lightly fragrant flowers are great in late season arrangements. Best to pair it with a companion that is just as rambunctious- we select Symphyotrichum subspicatum our native Douglas Aster. Not only do they match each other they make a splendid floral complement and bloom simultaneously. And it will triple the amount of pollinators. Foliage can take on orange/yellow tints in late fall. Cut back in early spring. – but fairly self sufficient.  Oregon native plant.

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