Helleborus x sternii ‘Variegata’

The O’Byrnes gave us this strain of the variegated form of Helleborus x sternii. Inheriting cold tolerance from H. corsica and nifty, thick palmate leaves from the more tender H. lividus .The result is a tough plant with green cupped flowers stained rose on the outside of the bell. The flowers remain effective for several months. Not quite as long as the straight H. x sternii, but a relatively long time. A shrubby species with large evergreen leaves. They are heavily speckled with cream dots with an underside to the leaves and the stems tinted pink. The palmate leaves become large and arching. Full sun with more frequent irrigation to full  shade with less. To 2′ x 2′. Deer and possibly rabbit resistant. The rough leaves resist weather. Site as you would for a small shrub. It is elegant with other woodlanders or can be grown with drought tolerant to low water plants even in full sun. Flower bend over enshrouded in a cup shape that protects the pollen from rain and the vagaries of winter weather.  Blooms January with flowers effective for three months. Great, sophisticated but tough plant for rural areas. May be afflicted with aphids in late spring. Hose those off or do not look closely.

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Indigofera amblyantha

Cool Indigo shrub that produces erect stems of light pink flowers w/ a touch of white. The flowers appear on new growth and as long as the plant is vigorous the display will be too. Deciduous woody shrub to 8′ tall by 8′ wide in a season. Established plants may be pruned to the ground in early spring and will vigorously rebound and bloom. Loved by pollinators. Not a dense shrub rather a light texture that is almost see-through. Very fun and flowery and easy to grow in full sun to light shade in average soil w/ regular summer water. I’ve never seen this species set seed in our climate. Cold hardy below 0ºF as a subshrub that can freeze to the ground below 10ºF. Pinnate leaves as for the species is a soft light green. Admirable cut flower- a whole branch yields many flower inflorescences. Remarkable shrub that can difficult to locate. Loved by butterflies. We grew this pretty shrub years ago and have brought it back.

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Indigofera decora

Chinese Indigo is one of our favorite perennials/subshrubs. Arising from the ground in late spring the arching stems to 3′ support 6″ long pendant pale rose pink flowers for months and months. No intervention needed from the gardener. In time it suckers to form 4′ wide patches. Regular water to establish in average to rich, well drained soil. Full sun. Freezes completely to the ground in winter- cut back defunct stems from the previous year in early spring. When it does emerge its a very quick trip to up and blooming. Incredibly drought tolerant when established but light consistent watering seems to encourage new flowers- as it grows it blooms so you want to keep it growing. Incredibly elegant but tough plant that asks for so little but gives so much.

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Indigofera pendula

A very beautiful and obscure shrub that I obtained from Heronswood in the 90’s. Difficult to photograph this is one of the most spectacular False Indigos. Not entirely cold hardy it requires a warm location but is worth it. Soaring to 12′ tall in a single season in rich soil with regular water the tall wand-like stems support pendulous strings of rose pink flowers that extends to 2′ long or longer. Blooming all the way to the tips. As this shrub grows it continually produces these amazing flowers which are both graceful and somewhat modern. Loved by butterflies and bees. Seldom sets seed in our climate. Full all day sun. Excellent in large summer containers. Locate in a warm, protected location- against a south facing wall for instance. Prune back hard in spring after new growth commences. Often loses about 1/2 its wood during a normal winter. Cutting it back also results in more stems to display the fascinating and groovy flowers. Native to SW China. We grew this great plant years ago and have decided to bring it back into production. Cold hardy to 15ºF.  Very difficult to photograph as the pendulous flowers are so long. VERY FUN to grow.

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Jovellana violacea

Charming beyond words this Chilean sub-shrub has been given an informal common name of cup flower. Petite, almost succulent foliage is deeply and irregularly serrated along semi-woody stems to 30″ tall and 3′ wide. In July-October on new wood clusters of downward and outward pointing up shaped soft lilac flowers have an interior of conspicuous spots. Gloriously fun plant for a protected location. Mulch for the first winter or two. Once established it has similar hardiness as hardy Fuchsias. Full sun and rich soil that drains. Regular summer water encourages a fast recovery from the base if frozen. Cut back hard in early spring when all danger of frost has past. Flowering commences with the heat of summer. Protect from blazing afternoon sun. Works well on an eastern aspect. Loved by pollinators and even hummingbirds. Long blooming charming sub-shrub. Not  bad in containers, protect containerized plants from temperatures below 15ºF. Wonderful Chilean native. Not a bad cutflower. Related to Calceolaria (Pocket Book Flower). Protected location such as a south or east facing wall is beneficial.The flowers virtually glow.

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Lavandula x angustifolia ‘Purity’

We asked the man who knows lavender the best which white Lavender did he recommend? And he fired this off the top of his head and then brought one for us- Thank you Andy Van Helvingen. A REALLY stunning plant. Compact with many CLEAR WHITE flowers in dense clusters at the end of strong straight stems. The plant is compact and grows that way – much slower. To 16″ x 18″ with bloom spikes above. Flowers early June to August. A charming plant that does not cling to discolored brown flowers instead they just kind of melt away so it does have an extra pristine appearance at all time. Shear spent blooms to their base to encourage a more dense and floriferous shrublet in the future. Wonderfully aromatic hybrid with english Lavender. Moderate deer resistance. This would combine in a perfect way with pink and blue flowered varieties- ‘Hidcote’. Avoid planting closely with L. x intermedia, cause those will flop and smother this little gem.  Great for small hedges, rock gardens, and herb knots. Pungent for drying, potpourri. Full sun and rich to average soil with reasonable drainage. Not good in shade.  Lavenders also require very good air circulation- plant accordingly. Average life span 5-7 years, Light summer water.

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Lupinus rivularis

Streambank lupine or Riverbank lupine is widespread shrubby species native to western Oregon. Its full range is from extreme southwest British Columbia (where it is endangered) to northern California. Large growing, spreading plant that can almost achieve a sub shrubby habit. To 3′ tall in bloom forming an evergreen shrublet to 3′ across. From late April to early July spires of blue flowers with a white keel erupt from the plant. Very pretty in bloom and incredibly important to pollinators and insects who feast on the flowers as well as leaves. The true species has flowers that are all blue, its found primarily on sand bars in major rivers on the west side of the state. Most seed that is grown and dispersed is a selected bicolor flower. Short lived plant 3-5 years. Following the flowers conspicuous seed pods turn a dark color, These may be allowed to open and disperse in the OPEN DISTURBED SITES that it craves. Excellent in concert with California poppies where it has become a famous duo on our freeways in the spring. Good cut flower. Not bothered by deer. Water to estalblish then leave it to natural rainfall. Oregon native plant.

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Matthoila fruticulosa

Stock, the common early spring cut flower with that is wonderfully fragrant of cloves. The sweet perfume can be detected at quite a distance. This is a cold hardy, PERENNIAL version of that beloved flower. Forming a semi-woody dome like shrub multiple spikes to 10″ long eminate from the crown and bear pristine cleanly white flowers with that dazzling perfume. Great fragrant filler in bouquets. Native to mountainous areas around the mediterranean. To 2′ x 2′ and becoming a multi branched shrublet. Full sun and rich to average soil with light consistent summer water for the first season. Good drainage is important and its a natural plant for a slope. Established plants can get through summer without irrigation. The long strappy leaves are gray/green and add to the overall appeal especially when decked with white flowers. Average life span 5-7 years. Do not coddle. Combines well with Cistus, Halimiums, Helianthemums. Dianthus where it will compete for perfume. Very reminiscent of a Wallflower (Cheiranthus) and accepts the same cultural requirements. Blooms May-August. Pronounced muh-TOY-luh

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South African Honey Bush that we grow from seed. This bold sub-shrub/perennial entrances people with the large blue symmetrical, pinnate, serrated  leaves. Large plant to 6′ x 6′ in 5 years. Semi-evergreen it can freeze to the ground below about 20ºF and will vigorously regrow from the base in spring. Its important that Melianthus be very well established the first season going into its first winter. A large root mass ensures re-sprouting from the coldest winters. If the winter is mild 1′ tall inflorescences of black and red are odd, spectacular, and an ode to goth gardening in early summer. Rich soil that is never boggy in a warm, protected location with regular water to establish. Even if winter is only semi-cruel and the stems stand but with tattered leaves the whole plant can be cut to the ground AFTER ALL THREAT OF FROST HAS PASSED. Mulch for the first autumn w/ dry leaves and compost. Excellent at the base of a warm wall or a south facing aspect. Appreciates good care and water.. Mix with other large, bold perennials- Aralia californica (Elk clover) and Lobelia tupa (Devil’s tobacco) .  Very dramatic in containers.  Container grown plants should be protected from arctic cold (below 20ºF). The large leaves have the odor of peanut butter when disturbed/bruised. Its pungent and spot on. Not often bothered by deer. Might be somewhat rabbit resistant. Nice bold, tropical affect.We offer two other named cultivars, to be honest any one of these seedlings could be as good or exceed those cultivars.

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Melianthus major ‘Antonow’s Blue’

Big and bold and blue this remarkable plant known for its enormous pinnate foliage makes a statement. To 7′ tall and as wide in time. Following mild years madder red rubbery flower spikes bear black flowers. yep. Its very important to establish your Melianthus happily before its first winter. That means you give it rich, well drained soil in full sun with REGULAR summer water. The bigger the root system the more vigorous the plant will return if frozen to the ground (below 20ºF). Luckily in the city this usually happens every four years or so. In colder outlying areas plant it next to a hot south facing wall and nurture the hell out of it. Mulch before arctic episodes is a good thing. Moderate deer resistance.  South Africa.

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