Japanese Yew Pine is an uncommon conifer in our gardens. Its surprisingly hardy and in time forms a handsome, densely clad, deep green tree. Moderately fast growing in youth- to 1′-2′ per year in time its 4″ thin needles are arranged closely around horizontal stems. In summer small green matchstick shaped flowers transform into blue berries in autumn. This adds to the over all sophisticated, very Japanese flavor of this tree. To 20′ tall and 7′ wide in 12 years. Develops gnarled, rustic, deep gray shredding trunks. Excellent performance in urban environs. Laughs at the worst heat and accepts regular irrigation in summer happily which encourages speedier growth. A natural for Asian inspired gardens. Avoid blasting subfreezing wind- not a tree for very cold gardens but is undamaged down to about 5ºF. It has recovered from much lower. Excellent container subject- its roots take YEARS to fill a pot and it takes less than perfect care but maintains good looks. Tolerates quite a bit of shade and was often employed in the mid-20th Century as a closely clipped espalier on shady walls. Very popular in the South, Zone 7 and warmer. Moderate deer resistance. Takes any amount of pruning which increases density. Drought adapted when established.
Sophisticated winter blooming tree that we love for its incredibly sweet spicy scented flowers. Double pink flowers are conspicuous and perched perfectly on the green twigs of this asian flowering apricot. Flowers appear in December in mild years as late as February in the coldest. Flowers last forever in the cool winter air. Each spicily scented flower has a prominent boss of white stamens. Its the details man. Flowers are hardy to around 20ºF- closed buds are substantially hardier and will unfurl when the weather warms. Moderately fast growing tree to 18′ x12′ in 10 years. Appreciates deep, rich soil and definitely weekly summer water in its first few years. Fall color is pale yellow. Inedible ornamental fruits often follow the blossoms. Japan.
Canyon live oak is a vastly underused, beautiful evergreen native tree. Found from Lane county, Oregon south through California, slight parts of Nevada around Lake Tahoe and sporadically in Arizona and even New Mexico. This venerable tree is found on the steepest slopes of canyons and mountain ridges. In Oregon it represents the northern most native Live Oak or evergreen oak in North America. Leaves are glossy army green on the the top with a conspicuous furry gold underside. This is a rugged, tough tree that should be used in both gardens and as a street tree. In the Alameda neighborhood in Portland there is an ancient specimen to 60′ tall and wide with a large trunk. This heritage tree was reportedly brought to the city from southern Oregon via horse and wagon. Slow growing in youth it picks up speed exponentially several years after planting. To 40′ x 20′ in 30 years with a broad spreading crown. In the wild it often forms a gnarled multi-trunked rounded outline. Its very possible to train this tree to a single trunk/leader to extend the crown skyward. Extraordinarily cold hardy enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF with no difficulty. The large acorns are born in a showy golden hued furry cups- and are produced profusely in banner years. Water to establish for the first season then none in subsequent years. Full sun. Beautiful, native Oak that we cherish at Xera. Oregon native plant.
Oregon white oak. A monarch of a tree locally native and forming Qak Savanna communities in the Willamette Valley that preceded european development. Slow growing tree of great age and grace. Deep green foliage forms dappled domes in the high rounded canopy. Birds and wildlife adore this completely summer drought adapted tree. To 130′ but not in your lifetime. Our acorn source is local. Whitish bark in patches and it will often develop pure white patches at the base- an outlet for sodium from the constantly saturated Oregon winter soils. Tolerates the most impenetrable clay and shuns summer irrigation. Fall color is russet orange. Grows just 2′-3′ a year in youth -if really happy. This as all oaks has what are referred to as banner years. In certain years huge amounts of acorns are produced. This is thought to overwhelm predators and at least a fair amount can germinate. Famous for its moss covered enormous branches which have been likened to the perfect depiction of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale. Oregon native plant.
Silver Leaf Oak from Arizona is a favorite tree at Xera. Tall, rounded evergreen tree with skinny but thick leaves that are sage green on top and silver white on the underside. Its handsome all the time and even prettier when the gold catkins protrude from the foliage in spring. Naturally develops a straight trunk. Fast growing tree in our climate to 35′ in 12 years. Casts dense shade but tolerates limited summer water. Extraordinarily cold hardy. It has endured subzero readings in Eugene without injury and I even encountered one in a garden in Denver. The leaves were kind of toasted from the previous winters -17ºF(!) but it was obviously thriving. Native to the mountains of SE Arizona at very high elevations and that translates to LOVE for our climate. Exceptional leaf form and shape.
Cork oak. The commercial source for high quality cork comes from this evergreen mediterranean native. A large growing tree with a rounded crown. To 35′ tall and half as wide. As the trunk grows (expands) it develops the corky bark very quickly. Harvest correctly and it does not harm the tree. In mid-spring golden tassels eventually become acorns- loved by wild life. Frequently planted as a street tree in the city of Portland. Very, very drought tolerant, in fact it really should not see any water during the summer. Eventually casts a good amount of dark shade. Beautiful tree that is amazingly adaptable to freezing rain and snow. Grows about 2′- 4′ per year when established. Very climate adapted.
I collected the acorns of this tree near Lake Isabella, CA in the southern Sierra Nevada. It was a particularly handsome form of what can be a less than majestic species. Densely foliaged with a straight upright trunk about 25′ tall with a rounded crown. Wow. We hope the progeny are as cool. Interior Live Oak of California. Evergreen tree to 25′-35′ tall with a spreading crown. Was native in Oregon in the past as hybrids known as Mohr Oaks (Quercus kelloggii x Quercus wislezenii) still can be found. Hardy to short shots to 0ºF. Grows about 2′-3′ a year in youth. Water to establish the first year then none in subsequent years.
Rare and somewhat obscure evergreen tree that belongs in the Hamamelis family. Graceful medium green tapered leaves fold gracefully over each other in a pendant habit. The branching structure itself is graceful as well. To 18′ tall with a columnar habit at first and then spreading a bit with time. In winter curious flowers look like little red brushes and occur profusely. Nice looking cold hardy, shade tolerant and extremely drought adapted small tree. WE love this tree and have been incredibly impressed with how tough but beautiful it is. Accepts regular water in summer as well. Ideal sized tree for small gardens, or the space in-between the new close together construction. Not an oppressive evergreen but rather light. Moderately fast growing.
A classic palm in the PNW. Windmill Palm or Trachys as they are also known are extremely popular. And they should be. Moderately fast growing palm to about 18′ tall in 10 years. The trunk is covered in fur and this acts almost like insulation to protect the interior meristem from cold. Very cold hardy to near short dips to 0ºF- many venerable and ancient Windmill Palms can be found in old neighborhoods having gone through the very worst winters of the last 50 or more years. The fronds usually have drooping filifers on the species but that can vary. Male and female and requires one of each for viable fruit set. Following huge aromatic cream colored flower structures pollinated berries drop and will often germinate in open ground. Full sun to full shade. Drought tolerant but regular irrigation in rich soil will speed growth. Excellent performance in tight spaces. Occasionally young palms become nitrogen starved and turn yellowish. To correct simply feed with all organic fertilizer and mulch and water well through summer.
Waggies! Our fave hardy palm at Xera. The fronds on this slower growing tree are stiff and tidy and have none of the drooping filaments on the branch tips that the species T. fortunei possesses. To 12′ tall in 7 years. A very clean and tidy looking palm with a distinct asian look. The fronds are even finely outlined in white hairs…more definition for this stately plant. Grows about 2′-3′ a year if well watered. You really can’t water Trachycarpus too much in the ground, it just makes them grow faster. Same wooly trunk as the species. Waggies are recommended for windy cold areas as they are not affected by those conditions. Fantastic cold hardiness not suffering damage until temps dip below about 5ºF. This is a great palm for colder gardens and tolerates quite a bit of shade. Always looks it’s clean best.