Dahlia ‘Towering Blonde’

We promised this very tall dahlia that it didn’t have to play basketball. And she agreed to produce a constant supply of amber/blonde single flowers that we love. This is a very old variety for us. In the past 20 years we’ve let our original seed and cutting raised plants dwindle as they are taken out by horrible freezes. What we’ve found is that we lose Dahlias by variety which implies two things. One,  Dahlia’s cold hardiness is different for every cultivar let alone species. And  (two) we’ve let nature do the selecting for us. The varieties that are left are the very cold hardiest Dahlias, and we’ve been very impressed with their performance. Rich soil that is never boggy but is moisture retentive with regular summer irrigation. Full sun and this variety also sports dark foliage which is highlighted by the lighter colored flowers. To 5′ tall sporting long flower stems. Dahlias as best planted in a warm full sun position in our climate where the soil seldom freezes. A thick mulch in fall is added insurance. Our varieties have been reliably hardy down to 5ºF with no issues. If you live in a colder zone you can lift and store the tubers over the winter.  Replant when all danger of frost has past.

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Eschscholzia californica ‘Willamette Valley Form’

Plants don’t really stay in the same place, They move according to climate and soils and sometimes with the help of humans. This famous poppy carpets meadows and glens and rocky hillsides in brilliant orange from SW Washington through Western Oregon into California to Baja  but is happily grown throughout the globe. Sunny orange flowers with an edge of lighter yellow in our local form appear from mid spring to late summer. This form was identified in 1846 at the former town of Tonquin. Tonquin is about 500 yards from our nursery and this poppy is everywhere. Blue fine foliage on spreading plants to 14″ tall and up to twice that width. Full sun in any soil where water does not collect. Reseeds itself prolifically and can become your own introduced weed. Seedlings are easy to spot and dispatch if unwanted. Nice cut flower if you pick it in bud. Loved by pollinators. Easy to grow native annual/ sometimes a perennial. Water to establish plants then none necessary. Completely deer and rabbit proof. Oregon native plant.

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Heuchera chlorantha

One of our prettiest native Heucheras that can be found in partly shady locations from the Willamette Valley to the Cascades. A low rosette of handsome maple shaped leaves looks good for most of the year. In late spring very vertical straight stems erupt and cruise to 14″ tall. They terminate in rows of green flowers. As the flowers fade and change to seed the erect stems turn a soft red. Blooms are effective for months. A colony forming plant that spreads in rich to average soil with regular summer irrigation. Best in moist shady locations but is amenable to full sun- which will dramatically increase the number of flowers. Climate adapted perennial that improves under cultivation. Mass for a soft green floral effect. Mix with other woodlanders or even in full sun in rock gardens. Semi-deciduous. To 18″ wide. Moderate deer resistance. Excellent plant for partly shady meadows, which is its native haunt. Native to the city limits of Portland.  Excellent plant. Oregon native plant.

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Gladiolus x dalenii ‘Boone’

Found by a NC extension agent at a very old homestead in Boone, a cold mountain town in the western part of the state.  This very old hybrid cultivar of Gladiolus dalenii and ? Its also listed at the hybrid G. x  gandavensis. A wonderful COLD HARDY perennial Gladiolus that we dearly adore. Pale orange outside simple petals surround a center of intricate coloring. Green, pink, yellow. Very wild compared to the big border babies but a true multiplying perennial that will quickly form a clump with a dozen or more flower spikes. Blooms appear for 4 weeks in the middle of summer. They rise above a healthy bunch of soft green spear shaped leaves. Full sun and rich soil with no standing water in winter. To 22″ tall and spreading to 1′ wide in about 5 years. Not bothered by deer – YAY and a great perennial for rural areas. In urban places the only protection it requires is from your flower arranger friends cause the subtle color combination in this flower can be tastefully echoed in a bouquet. Naturally cold tolerant and very easy to grow. Protect from Cutworms on emergence. Long lived perennial

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Anemopsis californica

Yerba mansa is a water loving perennial herb that is native in south central Oregon south into California.  It comes into our state from the south in Klamath County. There it is found in vernally wet to permanently wet sites. The only member of its genus this plant with large round leathery leaves organized in basal rosettes roams by long runners to colonize large areas. The cheerful flowers appear from late spring into early summer. Excellent perennial for bios wales as it handles inundation and even limited drought. To 5″ tall in the foliage with spikes displaying true flowers on a tall cone surrounded by pure white lower bracts to 14″ tall. This plant performs very well in rich soil with regular summer H20 as well. It has been used as a medicinal herb by both indigenous groups and early settlers. Winter deciduous and cold hardy. Great for sunny stream banks, vernally wet sites, and even containers.  Oregon native plant.

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Pelargonium ‘Garden Bouquet’

I’d swear this is just a species pelargonium and probably there is at least some pure species in the parentage. Its a remarkable tender plant that blooms its brains out for months non-stop. These pale pink and dark purple studded flowers decorate a hazy, wiry frame of very slight foliage. Its pretty and it gives the constant bloom a very wild flower mein. Forming a rounded shrub to 20″ x 20″ in a season. It grows fairly rapidly in rich soil enriched with all purpose granular organic fertilizer. Excellent in mixed containers and unflinching in the most blazing conditions. Full sun. Also, cheerful by itself in a large terra cotta pot. The blooms begin in May for months it is never without flowers. Regular water. Mixes well with tender (and hardy) succulents. One of my favorite containers is this plant in the center surrounded by trailing Sedum palmeri. Hardy to about 27ºF- and worth overwintering as a houseplant in a very bright window. Give it good air circulation. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast.

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Grindelia integrifolia

Willamette Gumweed, Puget Gumweed is an important native late blooming pollinator plant.  A native resident in the Willamette Valley along water courses and marshlands- It seems to excel in areas that are wet in the winter and bone dry in summer. That kind of adaptation begs for its inclusion in bioswales and to stabilize stream banks. In normal garden conditions gumweed – which derives its common name from the gummy exudent on the leaves. It has a  tar-like fragrance and is positioned on the leaves to decrease evaporation. It may also impart some resistance to saline conditions. In June-Sept. this large, spreading plant is decorated with corymbs of bright yellow daisy flowers. Immediately they are attended by pollinators. Its fascinating. The flower bud is densely armed with prickles giving this native daisy kind of a tough look. To 30″ x 30″. Full sun and rich to average conditions. Tolerates clay soils if you water it consistently to get the new roots into the clay soil. Once established it’s a very drought adapted plant. It also improves substantially under cultivation. Combine with Symphyotrichon subspicatum ‘Sauvie Sky’ and Solidago for a native prairie redux. Winter dormant. Seed grown from plants native to the Willamette Valley. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Eucryphia glutinosa

Nirrhe is a handsome shrub/small tree that is native to central and southern Chile in moist woods. A slow growing plant with divided leaves that turn brilliant red in fall before dropping. This is the cold hardiest member of this genus enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF with no damage. Unfortunately, it can be slow to establish and it requires moisture retentive soil that is high in organic matter. Regular deep summer soaks. Best with a cool root run. Roots in the shade tops in the sun. 2″ cupped 4 petalled pure white flowers erupt over the plant in July/August. The interior of the flowers house a boss of showy stamens tipped with purple pollen. Best with protection from hot afternoon sun. Flowers can fry even in short heatwaves so a cool position is suggested. To 14′ in 10 years and 6′ wide. Establishes faster with richly amended soil. Fall color, though late in the season is often spectacular red/ orange. Very slow to finish in a nursery container and not a fast growing plant over all.  Wonderful surprise when it blooms during our hottest time of the year.

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Agapanthus inapertus

Drooping Agapanthus isn’t exactly a romantic moniker but it aptly describes the dramatic blossoms on this large perennial. Strappy leaves form clumps and rise to 30″ tall. In August bold spikes emerge to 4′ tall with sky blue drooping clusters of flowers. Very pretty. Clumps spread to 3′ wide so give this plant room for the future. As the plant increases so does the flower stem count. The tall strong flowers work wonderfully in arrangements. They are also coveted by hummingbirds. Full sun and rich soil with regular summer water- at least until blooms fade. As with all Agapanthus it blooms better in neutral to alkaline soil. Incorporate a handful of lime in the planting hole. Mulch in very cold gardens. Excellent for the middle or back of a border. Lives in large containers for many years. Native to high elevation grasslands in South Africa. Winter deciduous.

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Jasminum officinale ‘Old Portland’

Years ago when I lived in southeast Portland, not far from where our shop is located I noticed a huge, old Poet’s Jasmine that straddled a fence with an 1840’s Bungalow behind it. I’ve always been a big fan of Jasmine so it was in my pervue. Fast forward 20 years and  when we went to check out the lot for our shop that Jasmine was still there. Peeking over the fence. Since then it has become a prime feature in our border and with extra love and water its gotten huge. We’ve grown quite a few cultivars of Poet’s Jasmine and there is one prime difference that makes this an exceptional plant. Unlike most Jasminum officinale which are most fragrant in the evening to morning this selection pumps out perfume 24 hours a day. A hot day at the shop is a wave of sweet jasmine perfume. Vigorous, deciduous hardy vine with a huge flush of bloom beginning in June and extending to August with some spare flowers into autumn. To 15′ tall and spreading. This large twining vine requires space and a strong support. In time the trunk becomes a bare, gnarled corklike texture and is pretty in a rough way. Fall color is a little yellow to very little  Sublime with white fragrant stars raining down for months.Excellent in concert up a pergola with roses. Also, I later found out that our 1840’s bungalow neighbor was the first home owned by Asian Americans on the east side of the Willamette River. I have a strong suspicion that this venerable Jasmine could be VERY old. Classic starry white flowers and fragrance on a tough, long lived vine. Native to central to eastern Asia. Moderate deer resistance.

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