Chamisso Sedge is a wonderful, common and extremely widespread sedge native to the W/NW parts of the US. Upright growing evergreen clumper to 10″ tall x 10″ wide in a season. The complex flowers are brown awns clustered in orbs at the top of very straight 20″ stems. Adaptable to a wide range of conditions from wet riparian zones to drier upland sites. In the wild it accompanies such perennials as Delphinium trollifolium, to Iris tenax. Good looking year round with just a slightly beat up look after the hardest winters. Spreads moderately fast in rich to average soil. Better year round appearance with a light application of compost. Excellent in a Willamette Valley meadow that is wet in winter and bone dry in summer. Each clump is dense enough to inhibit weed competition. Spreads very lightly by seed. Clumps that lose their luster in summer drought can be irrigated. Good garden performance. Great massed plant on 1′ centers.  Oregon native plant. 

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An exciting shrub/small tree with paddle shaped blue evergreen phyllodes for foliage and in late winter to early spring a massive display of luminous yellow flowers. I’ve always loved Australian wattles so it was with great excitement that we decided to grow this striking plant. Moderately fast growing to 16′ tall and 8′ wide forming either multiple or a single trunk. The bark is chocolate brown and smooth. Very few Australian Acacias will thrive in Portland,  its just about 5 degrees too  cold in our coldest years. This one is different, (a few species will live for 4-6 years before they finally succumb to Jack Frost. Acacia pravissima etc.) This, however, is the cold hardiest  that we have grown. It is hardy to just below 10ºF for brief stints- good enough for long term survival. This is a rare limited endemic to the high mountains of New South Wales but is popular as a garden subject the world over.  The small, fluffy,  balls of electric yellow flowers foam among the blue leaves – incredibly pretty. Full sun and a protected location – against a south facing wall is ideal for a very pretty fun to grow tree. Once fully open the flowering stems may be cut for long lasting bouquets. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering has ended. Light consistent water to establish . Not fussy about soils and happiest in full, all day sun. Protect from subfreezing east wind. Bloom time is concurrent with several earlier Ceanothus  (‘Blue Jeans’, ‘Dark Star’, ‘Concha’) and creates a vivid early spring  yellow and blue display not soon to be forgotten. Drought adapted when established. Not bothered by deer/elk- not entirely sure about rabbits- if they are profuse in your neighborhood it wouldn’t hurt to protect the plant with chicken wire when young. Beautiful year round and spectacular in bloom. AKA Blue Bush.

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Cider gum. This is a very successful Eucalyptus in Western Oregon. Native to the high central plateau in Tasmania it forms a handsome tree to 35′ tall and 20′ wide in 10 years. As with many Eucalypts this species begins with very different juvenile foliage that is bright blue/gray with rounded leaves. After several years of vigorous growth foliage morphs to longer, greener leaves with a somewhat weeping habit. In order to retain juvenile foliage for cut material let the tree establish well for a year or two. In March to April 15 the whole tree may be coppiced to the ground. Re-growth is rapid with the arrival of truly warm weather and light applications of water. Left strictly alone Cider Gum becomes large and stately.  One of its most striking features is blue/gray stems which are visible at quite a distance. Mature trees have clumps of foliage at the end of longer stems. A distinct look. Very fast growing in youth- 3′-5’per year. Growth slows with maturity but it achieves tree like stature very fast. Excellent in snow and ice. Cold hardy to about 5ºF – provide a warm microclimate in cold rural gardens. Excellent performance in urban areas. Not as messy of a Eucalyptus as some. As the tree matures the trunk exfoliates to smooth gray/tan with pink mottling. Excellent performance on the Oregon coast. Not bothered by deer or elk. A very pretty tree in a short amount of time. Drought adapted with age.

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Pacific Dogwood is one of our most beloved native flowering trees. From BC south to the Sierra  Nevada of California this understory to margin tree alights in April and May in pristine white flowers. They perch on upward arching stems for a perfect display. This large conical shaped tree can achieve 35′ in great age. Water deeply and infrequently during its first summer in the ground, once it is firmly established it can go with natural rainfall. In full hot sun more irrigation may be needed. Native to the Portland city limits and a firm spring decoration on our freeways. Pacific dogwood contrasts wonderfully in bloom with deep green conifers. Average growth when young is 2′-3′ per year. In certain seedlings this spectacular species may re-bloom in August/September.  Its a fairly small percentage but when it occurs its a refreshing display at the end of hot summer. Fall color is pink/red/orange and is conspicuous in the understory. Full sun to overhead understory shade. In autumn red fruits decorate the branch tips and are food for birds. Give this native tree good air circulation and mulch after planting. Oregon native plant.

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Incredibly long blooming native sub-shrub with clouds of fragrant purple flowers for all of summer into autumn. To 2′ x 2′ forming a semi-woody base. The aromatic round leaves cup the flower buds as the stems elongate. Loved by all native pollinators. A wonderful plant in the mint family that is very easy to grow and long lived for this genus. This selection sports slightly darker purple and longer blooming flowers. Found from Douglas County, Oregon south throughout California.  Freezes back in very cold winters but sprouts quickly with warm weather in spring and commences bloom quickly. Great as a mass planting and ideal in a meadow. Also, adaptable to rock gardens and indeed thats where you find it in the wild- among gravel, rocks, and boulders. Mix with other long blooming native perennials such as Erigeron glaucus (sp & cvs) and among California fescue (Festuca californica). A very climate adapted plant. Cut back spent flowers and more will follow.  Nice cut flower. Very long blooming. Light summer water to very little when established. Some deer resistance. AKA Showy coyote mint. Oregon native plant.

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I selected this seedling about 8 years ago and its been growing in my garden for all that time. A completely deciduous variety that does not show leaves until all chance of frost has passed. Forms a large clump with strappy arching green leaves – to 2′ across in 5 years. As the clump increases so do the amount of flower stalks. The orbs of flowers are neon to cobalt blue. An arresting, glowing blue. Slightly smaller in diameter than other varieties (about the size of a baseball) this plant packs a LOT of flowers onto a stalk- at least 50 and they reverberate above the clump for weeks in July to August. To 26″ in bloom. The stalks that support the vivid flowers are incredibly strong and they barely bend in a breeze. This is a wonderful perennial for full sun and rich, amended soil. Add a handful of lime at planting time to ensure neutral pH. Disappears cleanly in winter. Regular water though its bloom cycle. Pair with chartreuse foliage for a dynamic contrast. Loved by hummingbirds and bees. Best in the center of an ascending border from low plants to tall. Long lived, cold hardy selection that we love.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Extraordinarily rare and wonderful dwarf/smaller Crape Myrtle. This is one of the first crape myrtles in my garden to bloom each year. By the last week of June spectacular, fluffy, pure white flowers obscure the whole plant. Slow growing  because it shoots into bloom very early. Cutting wood, therefore, is limited and so is the amount we can produce. To 5′ tall in 8 years and 3′ across, it will double that size in 10 more years. Extensive bloom period from June solidly through September. RICH soil that has been amended and a handful or two of all organic fertilizer will spur it to grow and bloom even better. REGULAR summer water and only in full, all day sun in a hot position. Wonderfully called for hell strips and small gardens. In just several years the stems exfoliate to a glossy sheen and though not large in diameter this is a showy feature in fall. Autumn color is bright yellow and brief. Mildew resistant. This L. indica variety is rare but was well known to the supreme crape myrtle breeder Donald Egolf at the National Arboretum. He used it extensively as a parent and in combination with Lagerstroemia fauriei to produce some of the most famous hybrids. Cleaner white than ‘Natchez’ and similar white purity to ‘Acoma’ but much, much smaller. Excellent crape myrtle for our climate with low heat requirements to bloom. Fantastic in bloom. Very limited quantities.

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Fantastic cold hardy lily of the nile cultivar that is easy to grow and spectacular in bloom. This selection made in Scotland forms large clumps of strappy leaves and deep navy blue buds open to lighter sky blue flowers. Tall growing Agapanthus to 3′-4′ in bloom and flowers appear from late June to early August. Loved by hummingbirds and bees this is naturally deciduous variety. The leaves disappear to nothing in winter- a good trick because this UK variety shares a common trait among those from there, it holds off  on sprouting in spring until all threat of a frost has passed. Its very cold hardy too, solidly zone 7. Excellent long blooming dramatic perennial for hell strips, borders. The contrast between the dark buds and lighter open flowers is a joy. Flower heads are about the size of a soft ball or larger. Regular water in rich soil. Apply a handful of horticultural lime in the planting hole. Agapanthus prefer and bloom better in neutral soil (ours are acidic to strongly acidic). A four year old clump will be 2′ across with 10 or more large flower stalks. They increase yearly from there.

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This is a spectacular plant and Brandon collected the seed outside of Mexico City- at a very high elevation. Still we are not completely sure of its ultimate hardiness so I’m going to guess. Based on other Mexican and S. American Eryngium and considering this is a widely spread species I’ll say its good in rich amended soil that drains to about 10ºF. That is somewhat irrelevant as the flower on this member of the Apiaceae (Carrot family)is phenomenal. In May-August HUGER 6″ wide flowers with a protruding central cone are metallic silver and sage green Unbelievable. Full sun to light shade in a protected location. Worth protecting in a pot as it makes a stellar container plant. The unearthly flowers are held on vertical stems to 3′-4′. As a cut flower it is a wet dream, lasting weeks and drying too. Kind of prickly a low rosette of serrated evergreen leaves is permanent. Cut away the spent flower stalk when it fades and you  tire of it. Light, consistent water. Fantastic. Thank you to our great employee Brandon for capturing the seed.

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This is the Willamette Valley form of coyote brush (bush)- also known as chaparral broom. A relatively short lived evergreen shrub in the aster family. Indeed this form blooms in autumn through winter with small brushes of white plumed flowers on female plants. Smaller yellow flowers on males. Typical of the steepest cliffs abutting the ocean and in the Willamette Valley it populates recent road cuts and fire zones. Often it will be seen all alone in the center of a Willamette Valley field. Native inland from northern Marion country to Douglas county. Very fast growing and drought adapted daisy bush for rough sites and poor soil. Improved soil will yield an enormous shrub so its difficult to pin point an exact size but everything from 4′ tall in poor soil with no summer water to 12′ x 12′ in rich soil with irrigation. I suggest no irrigation after planting. Excellent fodder for insects and birds. It may be pruned heavily in spring and will quickly regenerate. Foliage is deep glossy green but fine textured. Not bothered by deer. Excellent native companion for Manzanita, Grevilleas. VERY EASY to grow. average life span 10 years. Good instant plant for a native garden, but not long term. Native from N. Oregon coast south to Baja California. A prominent component of the California beach chaparral and on the Oregon coast as well. Common associated plants on the coast are Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and Mahonia nervosa. In the Willamette Valley its primary role has been ursurped by Scot’s Broom. Too bad.  Oregon native plant.

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