We can’t all have ordinary blue flowered Rosemary. Not when there are options. This upright growing very aromatic selection has surprised us with its hardiness to cold. To 3′ x 3′ in 5 years in average to poor, well drained sites. Full sun. This happy shrub displays small but profuse red/pink flowers from September to March and often later than that. Excellent culinary use. Extremely drought tolerant. Little water once established. Great form for topiary. Very pretty in bloom. Foliage is smaller and a distinctive gray green. Moderate deer resistance. Salvia rosmarinus
Hard to believe that Rosemary has been officially lumped into the genus Salvia. (Sigh). Its still a wonderful shrub and this variety delights us with the MOST luminous blue flowers that we’ve seen on a hardy variety. The effect is similar to the slightly tender cultivar ‘Tuscan Blue’. Each flower is luminous and they obscure the leaves for most of winter into spring. Upright growing cultivar that spreads with time. To 4′ tall x 4′ wide in short order. Full sun and soil that drains with little summer water once established. It will take moderate irrigation as well but we like to rely on the iron clad drought resistance of this culinary herb. Mix with Arctostaphylos, Grevilleas for a shrubby winter blooming party. Very easy to grow. Nice informal or even clipped dense hedge. Develops a handsome gnarled trunk with time. Moderate deer resistance. Salvia rosmarinus.
This golden leaved form of our native Salmon Berry is an exciting variation for wild areas. The brilliantly colored foliage sparkles with deep pink flowers in spring. In summer it produces salmon colored sweet, edible berries. To 7′ tall and spreading as wide as it would like. Full sun (with irrigation) to quite a bit of high overhead shade. Give this colonizing plant room to spread. It appreciates moist soil but is very tough when established. Deciduous- though it is a short period and the brilliant new leaves begin emerging in late winter. Stream banks, the back area of woodlands, wild areas. Moderate deer resistance. Increases by suckering stolons. Easy native to brighten wild woods. Oregon native plant.
Rosemary willow from Europe is a fantastic fine textured shrub or small tree. The willowy (har!) thin silver tinged leaves create a haze and when the wind blows it sends flecks of white when you see the underside of the leaves. To 12′ tall and spreading to 8′ wide with a rounded crown. Full sun and rich, moist soil with ample summer moisture. Fast growing and reaches its ultimate size in just several years. In autumn the leaves turn into gold ribbons and barely hit the ground before they decompose. They leave bare twigs of vibrant red. Casts very light shade. Excellent next to natural waterways, damp swales,
Our locally native blue elderberry makes a good very large shrub or small garden tree. It has beautiful pinnate foliage, large fragrant umbels of white flowers followed by large clumps of edible blue fruit.These appear in May/June quite a bit later than the red druped species S. racemosa. Incredibly fast growing in youth it responds in a robust way to extra water in summer. Adaptable to nearly any soil type. And very drought tolerant as it matures. Fall color is often yellow but also lacking. Birds feast on the berries through winter. Otherwise they hang ornamentally on the bare twigs- also very showy. To 14′-18′ tall and naturally forming a vase shape. Lifespan is typically less than 30 years. Give it room to spread. Edible real fruit set occurs in more well established plants. Widespread throughout the west. Spreads liberally by bird droppings. Oregon native plant.
A superior Christmas box – purple stem Sarcococca is a slight improvement on this useful, fragrant, and durable evergreen shrub. Fine white flowers emit a strong sweet fragrance from late December to March. Slow spreading shrub that travels locally by suckers to form patches. To 2′ tall and up to 4′ wide if soil is rich, well drained and summer irrigation is reliable. Tolerates dense dry shade well. Black/red berries can follow the flowers into spring. Cold hardy to 0ºF. May burn in full sun- best with shade or at least protection from reflected heat- like an open north exposure. A member of the boxwood family that gives it high deer resistance. It can be slow to establish without regular irrigation in the first season. Water well and apply mulch. Though tough it pays to treat this shrub well from the beginning. Cut twigs that are blooming can perfume a room in winter. First and second year stems are deeply blushed purple- very pretty in contrast with the deep green simple leaves. Combines well with native ferns and perennials like Vancouveria and Epimedium. Native to S. central china.
We think this is the best Sarcococca or Christmas box. A nice little 2′ x 2′ slow growing evergreen shrub with a formal air. In January to March relatively large white petal free flowers emit a sweet perfume. Best in part shade and rich, well drained soil. Light summer water when established. Always looks good. Can turn yellowish in full sun. Long lived trouble free shrub that delights in winter. Mass for a great perfume effect during the coldest days of the year. Moderate deer resistance.
Graceful and formal at the same time. This low arching form of winter box is wonderful with curly thin, deep green pointed foliage on arching stems. In mid-winter to early spring the undersides of the stems are clad in fine powerfully FRAGRANT white flowers at every leaf axil. The fragrance spreads for quite a distance on mild winter days. Following the flowers are berries that turn black and arrive at red. Handsome low shrub to 2′ tall and 3′ wide suckering to form patches with time. Fast growing and easy to establish shrub in the BUXACEAE which means that this boxwood relative is also deer resistant. Excellent performance in part shade to shade but not low dense shade. Massed it performs as a large scale ground cover. Light consistent summer H20 for the best looks. Takes dry conditions in shade once established- especially if you apply mulch liberally. Unlike the species it does not lose leaves in bloom which is an important difference. Finds a home under dark stairwells and foundation plantings. Nice plant. China.
Big bold evergreen shrub that deserves a place in every garden. Tall growing cold hardy shrub with leaves that can be up to 18″ across- all three leaflets. New growth in spring emerges slowly clad in a showy taupe indumentum that clings to the new leaves for quite some time. The ultimate leaf color is deep green with a matte surface. To 12′ tall and branching. Moderately fast growth in rich soil that is well drained with consistent summer moisture- to speed growth. Otherwise established plants are remarkably drought adapted in part shade to shade. Takes full sun but leaves are smaller and the plant grows more slowly. An open north exposure is ideal with cool roots and the tops in the bright sun but not reflected heat. In autumn 3′ long pale yellow flower spikes appear and persist until frost. Excellent, refined shrub that has been perfectly hardy to cold for us for the past decade.
Underused native Spiraea from the western United States and native in Oregon including the immediate Portland area. Low mounding deciduous shrub to 2′ x 3′. This is the locally native form. Often the straight species is for sale- its from Asia and is 4 times the size of ours. Pink buds open to foamy white flat clusters of flowers appear in late spring. In autumn it turns amazingly vivid colors of red/orange/gold and it holds its color for weeks. One of the most drought tolerant of the genus requiring light summer water to very little. Full sun and rich soil. Spreads to form patches. Locally native and plentiful near the Columbia Gorge and throughout the mountains whose diminutive habit means that pruning is seldom necessary. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Long lived and an excellent landscape shrub. Birch Leaf Spiraea or glossy leaved Spiraea. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.