Laurus nobilis ‘Crispa’

Wavy Bay tree. Good, cold hardy form of this shrub/tree that is prized for culinary use. Fast growing pyramidal shaped dense shrub to 15′ tall and 8′ wide in 10 years. Full sun and rich, to average well drained soil. Little summer water when established- but tolerates regular water in gardens. Very easy and long lived in containers where you can observe the undulate, wavy edges of the leaves. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 12ºF.  Avoid subfreezing wind. Otherwise a hardy easy to grow evergreen. Give this shrub room- it has greedy roots and is not a good neighbor. Aromatic foliage is also useful for holiday garlands and wreaths. Small yellow flowers are not conspicuous in spring. Moderate deer resistance. Mediterranean.

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Luma apiculata

Chilean Myrtle is a very good looking dense evergreen shrub/tree in our climate. It requires a slightly protected location as it can be tender when young. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF. With age and establishment it gains much, much more cold hardiness enduring 5ºF with just light leaf burn. The leaves are deep, dark green and rounded with a sharp tip. Almost formal looking. In protected gardens it can attain tree like status in about 8 years. Most often in our region its a shrub of about 12′. And perhaps the most impressive thing about this Chilean/Argentinian tree is the exfoliating orange to tan bark it achieves with age. In mid-summer masses of small white fragrant myrtle flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens smother the whole plant. These turn into sweetly edible if not a little mentholated black berries. They can be messy so locate away from paths, pavement. Birds almost always make off with the berries so that is helpful. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing gorge winds. In gardens subject to that locate on a south or west facing wall. Very drought adapted when established, but consistent water and average soil will yield the best growth. Grows about 1′-3′ per year. Moderate deer resistance. Not a good plant for cold rural gardens. Tree size specimens are phenomenal and worth the effort to protect when young. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.

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Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. Asplenifolius

Catalina Ironwood is a tree locally native to the Channel Islands off of Southern California. Surprisingly hardy once established and older this spectacular evergreen tree in the rose family boasts amazing divided foliage with symmetrical scalloped serrations along each margin. Very pretty. The glossy aromatic leaves are seen to great advantage against the straight, red exfoliating trunk. In spring flat umbels of white flowers appear all over the tree. Fast growing in youth to its ultimate size here 25’+ tall in 15 years. Requires a protected location- such as against the wall of a large building. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing wind. Little water once established. Wonderful tree for courtyards- protected areas. Fantastic performance at the Oregon Coast. Protect young trees from temperatures below 15ºF- wrap or swaddle in burlap or remay until arctic weather has passed. Reaches its full hardiness several years in the ground. There is a wonderful mature specimen of this tree at the McMennamens in St. John in PDX and scattered large specimens occur around the city. Nice, nice urban tree.

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This tree is wonderful in many ways. Its staunchly evergreen, but rather than the somber glossy leaves of Magnolia grandiflora these simple leaves are  grass green and matte. Moderately fast growing shrub/tree, on average 1′ to 2′ per year if sited correctly In mid April to mid May the most exquisite miniature magnolia flowers erupt directly from the stems. These adorable ivory pinwheels have a sweet sophisticated fragrance. Well behaved plant that is moderately dense and always healthy looking. Best in a protected courtyard or agains a west facing wall, do not expose it directly to arctic east winds.  To 14′ tall by 6′ wide in 10 years. Full sun but not reflected heat and adaptable to the dappled light of woodlands. In our experience it was unharmed at a brief dip to 7ºF.. This would make a fantastic and adorable espalier subject. The way the perfect flowers are arranged on the stem would lend itself well to that method. Rich to average soil, including heavy clay soils, Best with intermittent deep irrigation in summer. A deep soak once every two weeks on established plants. This rare smaller evergreen Magnolia deserves wider use in our climate.

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Metapanax (Nothopanax) delavayi

Such a cool tree for small gardens. Upright growing and then branches that also turn vertical fairly quickly- kind of like an upside down candelabra. The lush evergreen foliage is composed of palmate divided leaves which droop gracefully and give the plant a lighter mein. In summer masses of orbicular off white aralia flowers appear en masse at the branch tips. They are pollinator heaven. And they turn into clusters of black berries consumed by birds. To 16′ tall and half as wide. Perfectly hardy to cold, but can become semi-deciduous below 10ºF. New leaves come quickly in spring. Fast growing tree for rich soil and regular summer water in full sun to high overhead shade in woodland conditions. This pretty tree has a promising future.

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Olea europea ‘Frantoio’

We’ve grown this extraordinarily cold hardy european olive selection for years. And its performance in the city of Portland is stellar. Fast growing somewhat wild looking, ever-silver tree to 20′ tall and 15′ wide in 10 years. In time it develops a gnarled trunk adding to the trees character. This is a self fertile selection and sets fruit very heavily even on singular trees. The fleshy moderately sized fruits are most prized for oil. They may be brined. (Follow any recipe on the internet). Be aware of autumn and winter fruit drop- not for patios, instead plant a large ground cover at the base for the unwanted fruit to drop and hide. Birds will eat the olives too- especially larger birds.  Overall, its a pretty tree when the thin blue gray leaves are tossed by the wind revealing their silvery undersides. Fast growing especially if watering is frequent and diligent during youth. Water like crazy for the first summer to spur growth and establishment. Olive trees gain cold hardiness with age/size. Small plants are tender to dead below 15ºF but a three year old, well watered of the same variety will be undamaged at much colder temperatures than that. Excellent performance in ice and snow (see picture below)- bends but does not break. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 15ºF. Drought adapted when established. A warm position.

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Osmanthus fragrans

Long ago I dismissed this tall sweetly scented Tea Olive as hopelessly tender in our climate. Then in a garden in Lake Oswego under towering firs I ran head on into an 18′ tall perfectly happy specimen. Looks like it had never suffered damage. It was just a really nice broadleaved evergreen tree. Copious amounts of small off white flowers crowd the stems beginning in autumn in our climate and then sporadically until spring. The POWERFUL fragrance they emit is that of apricot/freesia/rose and it travels- detectable 20′ away when in full bloom. To 15′-20′ tall apparently. Requires protection as a young plant and it really should not be in an exposed site. Instead locate near a house wall- where you can open the windows and let the perfume flow- and gain added protection. Gains much, much, greater hardiness with age. Summer heat seems to play a role- the more heat in summer the hardier in winter. Full sun to high overhead shade. Grows 2′-3’/yr. when young- aided by consistent summer water. Otherwise established trees need little. Not a plant for cold gardens.

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Osmanthus x fortunei ‘San Jose’

Amazing hybrid Tea olive that inherits the insane perfume of O. fragrans and the cold hardiness of O. heterophyllus. Fast growing columnar broad leaved evergreen shrub to 16′ tall x 5′ wide in 7 years. In time it can make tree like status to 20’+ tall. Otherwise pruning easily keeps it much smaller. In Oct-Dec. tiny parchment colored flowers crowd the stems and emit the sweet penetrating perfume of Freesia and apricots. On mild days its detectable up to 20′ away. Juvenile foliage is prickly but as the shrub matures it develops entire leaves with a smooth margin. Young plants grow about 2′-5′ per year depending upon summer irrigation and soil fertility. This shrub is always at its most lustrous and healthy appearance. Average well drained soil with light but consistent summer irrigation. Totally summer drought tolerant when established. Excellent screen, hedge, or just as a large specimen if you love perfume. Bark/stems are a handsome pale tan- good contrast with the deep green leaves. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. Long lived.

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Pinus ponderosa var. benthamiana

Pacific ponderosa pine is a lovely tree native west of the Cascades from about the Portland area (with some outliers farther north) south to Baja Norte, Mexico. Our form is from locally collected seed. Slow growing in youth this pine picks up speed in its teens and grows almost exponentially from there. Pacific ponderosa pine is known for it tall straight crowns of lush green needles in clumps of two. This tree is excellently adapted to our winter wet/summer dry climate and even small trees can endure the very longest, driest, hottest summers with no visible stress. Its adaptable to all types of soil – not fussy and is even found in the most well drained stranded flood cobbles of major rivers. To 125′ in time with ulitimate height of close to 200′ in great age – expect a 3′ tall tree to be about 15′ tall in 10 years. Full sun- not very shade tolerant and when planting with other trees anticipate at least a 25′ wide crown in the future. Needles can drop profusely in September which is a bit of a mess. Take note of this. Underplant with other drought adapted natives. Water to establish for the first summer then none in subsequent years. A regal pine that is among the tallest in the world. Oregon native plant.

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Pinus sabiniana

Gray Pine or Foothill Pine native almost exclusively to the mountains of California- but there are several outlying native populations in Jackson, County Oregon so we can claim it as our own as well.  Known as the tree that casts no shade, its almost completely true as the long gray needles allow almost all light through. Large pine tree with gray foliage- usually forks about 1/2 way up into two main trunks, these are buttressed to support the huge cones which can weigh 5lbs or more.  Excellent performance in the Willamette Valley where many are seen around old farm houses and older neighborhoods. Perfectly hardy to cold in our climate and incredibly drought adapted. In fact it shuns all irrigation and is ideal for hot dry locations. Grows very fast in youth, settles down a little with age. Its ultimate height is around 35′-45′ in our climate. A smokey, silvery, shadeless skyline tree. Oregon native plant.

 

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