Our friend garden designer plantswoman extraordinaire Magi Treece spotted this Camellia and observed it over time. I too had noticed it around town- always large and VERY old. Its most conspicuous trait is to produce simple single fluted ivory flowers from pink buds. Up close these 3″ wide flowers have a decadent sweet scent. Its appearance is most like the species Camellia cuspidata which is a very cold hardy species known for its fragrant white flowers. Blooms appear from December (Often as early as November) and open until the end of February. The elegant flowers are tough and it takes some serious weather to impede or even damage the flowers. Deep green leaves are long and thin and very glossy/handsome with a sharp tip. The entire plant is good looking at all times. Ancient varieties around town are upwards of 15′ tall and 3/4 as wide. I’d say it would be an 8′ x 8′ shrub in 10 years. Regular water speeds growth and assists in bud set for the following season, this is only important in summer. Excellent specimen or hedge. This is one tough and beautiful Camellia.  Dig a large hole to disturb the soil around the planting site and set the plant in the hole even with the soil horizon. Backfill, water and mulch. Magi queried Camellia Forest about this plant with no luck. I queried Nuccio’s and their best guess was that it was a form of C. cuspidata or a hybrid close with it. Either way its one of our most favorite Camellias and we have our sweet friend Magi to thank. This Camellia looks and acts very much like an evergreen Magnolia and it could be used as a smaller substitute. The flower fragrance on warm days is a bit like a Gardenia. Moderately fast growing.

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We love Violas, so fresh and pretty during cool/cold weather. This enchanting strain is hard to describe. It comes in a multitude of colors and color combinations, each flower looks like it has been freshly stroked with a wet water color brush. Adorable and whimsical flowers with a light fragrance for full sun to light shade and rich soil. Consistent summer water will often get them through the most torrid times. Otherwise we have found this to be a lovely group to plant in fall for winter to spring color. Nice little cut flowers. Each plant is completely unique. Reminds me a bit of Tye Dye or Batik. Very easy to grow. Lovely in mixed containers.

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Great Hounds Tongue or Giant Pacific Forget-me-Not is one of our most remarkable native perennials. On the property where I grew up near Eugene it was native. There was a clump of this majestic perennial that was there for nearly my whole life. Unfortunately, we sold the property but this plant was still there last I checked. In the Willamette Valley and out into the Columbia Gorge you see these enormous blue flowers on a sturdy spikes in the dry areas under oaks. Often seen with Wyethia -Mules ears. Large fleshy leaves form a substantial clump. In early to mid spring 2′ spikes reveal outrageously large versions of Forget-me-nots. Established plants will then go dormant with summer drought. Adapted to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. Not only does it not require it established plants can resent it and rot. Place in a wild, unwatered part of your garden. Amend the soil lightly with compost and water in well. Pairs well, of course with other native perennials such as Sidalceas. In the wild it is accompanied by Erythronium oreganum , Lathyrus nevadensis, Fritillaria lanceolata, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Ranunculus occidentals. That is what grew with our patch, under white and black native oaks, with a madrone here and there. Impressive native perennial whose intense blue flowers are hard to convey in a photograph. Oregon native plant.

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Springbank Clover. Fascinating perennial clover that was once widespread in wet areas of the Willamette Valley and is now found in restricted sites there but is much more prevalent on the coast and east of the Cascades.  A pretty spreading spring wildflower with heads of brilliant magenta/purple flowers. Blooms in mid spring to early summer and longer with water. To 4″ tall it can be up to 2′ wide in favorable conditions. Though mostly restricted to seeps and wet areas now it once made life under native white oaks and there indigenous people would use it as a food source. The creeping green stems root where they touch the ground. Stems were harvested and steamed as a vegetable and then they replanted the remaining stems ensuring another crop. Not a long lived perennial 3-5 years but it sets copious seed. Wet sites in moisture retentive soil. It can dry considerably in summer and still thrive. But regular water is what it wants. Fun plant to grow that has lost a LOT of its native range. Great pollinator plant. Oregon native plant. 

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Arctostaphylos pumila ‘Grey Leaf Form’

Surprisingly happy in our climate in its native Monterey Bay area of California its known colloquially as Dune manzanita. Very gray blue leaves are not huge and hug the stems tightly on a compact moderately growing Manzanita. To 5′ tall and as wide over time. In mid winter to early spring white flowers tinted pink appear in clusters at the tips of the plant. The trunk becomes deep mahogany brown over time and contrasts greatly with the light colored foliage. All around fantastic shrub for full sun and average, unimproved soils with little irrigation once established. Not as fast growing as other Manzanitas, usually less than 5″ per year.Very pretty plant that mixes wonderfully in droughty shrub borders, and even as a foundation shrub. Makes a nice life in a containers for years. Long lived. Probably harbors some deer resistance. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Native to a restricted range on the central California coast. Great performance on the Oregon coast.

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Tea, the commercial source of black tea is a fine ornamental shrub in our climate as well. Its more than welcome in autumn when the small cup shaped fragrant white flowers peek from the stems. A rounded, good looking clean shrub with leaves that are deep green with more conspicuous venation on the surface. To 8′ x 8′ in 10 years for light shade to full sun. Great on an eastern exposure. Commercial black tea is produced by the fresh tips of the plant. These then go through a process of fermentation before it is edible. See more research. Easy to grow and somewhat more open than more commonly grown Camellias. And the leaves appear more matte as well. Regular summer water for the most verdant growth. Otherwise it accepts the same conditions as any Camellia. Blooms August to November. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed after flowering.

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Slender Cinquefoil is a common, somewhat quiet but easy to grow long lived native perennial. Palmate leaves are conspicuously serrated on long stems. In early to mid summer 20″ stems support multiple clumps of sunny single yellow flowers. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched soil. Water to establish the first season then let it go with seasonal rainfall. Wild looking perennial that shines in borders, among shrubs and along the urban wild lands interface. Very pretty clustered at the foot of Holodiscus whose bloom is simultaneous. Loved by pollinators and an important food source for  many butterflies. Native from SW. British Columbia south to San Diego County California. Often found in Ponderosa pine forests. Blooms much more heavily in full sun and improves under cultivation. Winter deciduous. Little deer resistance. Rose family. These are seed raised from Willamette Valley populations so it is the local form.  Oregon native plant.

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Sumptuous zonal geranium with deep black and green foliage and vibrant coral pink flowers non-stop for months. To 20″ tall and as wide. Seems to go up for a while but always ends up with horizontal stems. Blooms heavily and constantly- Very pretty delicate appearing flowers. This is a fantastic zonal for containers, its thrives in rich soil with regular irrigation. Rich, soil that drains. Add a table spoon of all organic fertilizer at planting. This guy loves food. Tender to cold. Over winter in an unheated but not arctic garage or try something new next year. This plant has become a real favorite of ours. Its also a fantastic conservatory plant and might work as a houseplant in a very sunny window. Full sun to very light shade.

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Our selection of a superior deep black leaved Dahlia. Finely divided leaves are symmetrical on towering stems to 4′ tall. In mid summer to fall a constant procession of vibrant red single flowers. They harmonize greatly with the leaf color. Full sun and enriched soil with regular summer water. Soil that does not become sodden and frozen in winter will yield the cold hardiest plants. Mulch in fall. Nice cut flower, arrangement material. Multiplies into large clumps in time. This selection has survived the coldest winters of the past 15 years. We’ve kind of let Jack frost do our selecting for us.

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This is a tender Erica inland. It prefers the Oregon coast (Zone 9) and it performs there wonderfully. A large growing S.African heath that displays copious large tubular orange flowers from Aug-Nov. Excellent potted plant if you protect it from temperatures below 20ºF. Move to an unheated garage or bright cool room during times of arctic air. To 3′ x 3′ and mounding. Cut flowering stems last quite a while in water. Full sun and rich, to average soil that drains. Regular summer water. Not a particularly fussy plant. Takes coastal conditions like a champ. Spectacular in bloom. Moderate deer resistance. South Africa.

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