A great perennial all around, with handsome pinnate foliage and 30″ spikes that hold furry upright magenta catkin-like flowers. Beautiful. Blooms June-August in rich soil with regular irrigation. Not a fussy perennial by any means but it hails from Japan a summer rainfall climate and if you mimic that watering regime in your garden its simple. Completely herbaceous (deciduous). Seems to respond to rich conditions very well. Match with other perennials of similar culture such as Echinacea, Agastache, Erigeron. Forms tight but expanding clumps.  Wonderful  cut flower. Excellent pollinator perennial as well as visitations from Butterflies. Long lived perennial. Full sun to very light shade. If you remove spent flowers you may get a second round of flowers Tolerates heavy soil, with irrigation.

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Mountain balm, snowbrush,  tobacco brush and var. laevigatus is the western Oregon form of this widespread aromatic evergreen species. Fast growing and not terribly long  lived this shrub has widely dispersed seed that germinates upon disturbance, especially fire. Large glossy aromatic foliage gives away its common names as it emits a sweet balsam some say tobacco fragrance. The heavily veined leaves are large and round and seem to be varnished with this sweet perfume.  Rapid growth to 12′ x 12′ in 10 years. The more fertile the soil the larger and shorter lived this pretty shrub will be. Give it average conditions and no supplemental summer water. In May to early June cones of frothy fragrant white flowers protrude from the glossy foliage. Black seeds follow and they are dispersed explosively as well as eaten by birds. These black seeds can remain dormant for generations until they wake. It is found locally in the northern Willamette valley especially around the Tonquin scablands a kolk remnant of the Bretz flood just south of Portland. Expect a lifespan of about 15 years, more with neglect. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune if needed after blooming in June. This is a large shrub and it will reach its ultimate size very quickly, Give it room. Ultra cold hardy to -5ºF on the west side of the Cascades. This fast growing shrub does not appreciate pot culture, plant from the smallest size possible  Oregon native plant.

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This treasured evergreen to semi evergreen asian dogwood is a wonderful tree for a protected location. New growth is copper colored and retains this hue for quite some time . To 26′ with a strongly pyramidal habit. In early summer true flowers with erupting chartreuse then light yellow very showy bracts.  These are followed by red edible berries that appeal to some and a lot to birds. The bloom period is exceptionally long for a dogwood and it blooms con currently with Korean Dogwood (Cornus kousa) to which it is closely related. Mostly evergreen expect leaves to drop below about 20ºF twig damage does not occur until 10ºF. Definitely site well out of subfreezing east wind. A south or western exposure. Very regal and elegant tree The more protected the location the more evergreen.  This fast growing tree would make an elegant espalier – flowers appear on wood from the previous season. Light, consistent irrigation in average to enriched soil. Himalayan dogwood. Thrives at the cool Oregon coast . Avoid  hot and dry locations..

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Bluff  Checkermallow. One of the very rarest Checkermallows native to Oregon. This bright pink flowering perennial can be found along the northern Oregon coast and up the Columbia to near Portland. The lush, glossy maple shaped leaves surround a turret of bright, light pink flowers. Often seen on bluffs overlooking the ocean this is a perennial that excels on slopes and in clay soils. Easy to grow checker mallow that can be watered to establish then set it free. To 2′ x 3′ forming large patches. The blunt spires of flowers appear anytime from May to October, with the largest show in early summer. Loved by pollinators as well as hummingbirds. Lovely mid border plant, though it does seek slightly drier conditions in late summer. Full sun to very light shade. Amend the soil with a little bit of compost and that is all. Nice cut flower. Occurs natively with Rubus ursinus, Ranunculus occidentalis, Polystichum minutum. Long lived.  Oregon native plant.

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Harford’s onion grass isn’t really an onion, its a true grass and is widespread in Western Oregon.  A handsome blue green clumping  grass on average to 2′ tall- bigger in rich soil with irrigation. smaller in natural rainfall only plants. The blue green blades which are up to 4.5 mm wide arch on a vase shaped plant. In mid spring to early summer infloresences that soar up and out with  the stems lined in larger seeds.  Superfically, they resemble.rice plants thought this is a drylands grass. Wonderful meadow component. Summer drought adapted, competes well with foreign invaders as well. Currently its most stable populations occur on the upper dry banks of rivers. This native grass goes summer dormant with drought. Self sows, best in an environment where this is not a problem. Handsome, graceful, useful native grass.  Combine with Sidalcea virgata and  Iris tenax. Oregon native plant.

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Western Wallflower is a very widespread biennial or short lived perennial. It occurs from Alaska to nearly Mexico and throughout the west coast. The first season is spent as a rosette of thin undulating leaves. In the second year it extends, forms branches and achieves multiple flower spikes. The species is best described as yellow/orange with some slight variation in these seed grown plants. In Oregon its is widespread but it has all but disappeared from some biomes, the Willamette Valley for instance, a victim of non native invasives. To 22″ tall in bloom. You  may get a third season but it is much less of a show.Best to let this plant set seed and die ensuring a new generation of plants. Leave open disturbed sites for re-sowing.  A gravel mulch will encourage this as well and it appreciates average to enriched soil and light consistent water to establish. The following year it can rely on only what fall from the  sky. Blooms appear for several weeks in late spring. Loved by pollinators with a special draw to butterflies. Common associates in the wild are Dodecatheon hendersonii,  Mitella , Ranunculus occidentalis, Nemophila. Oregon native plant

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This is the true Varnished leaf Spiraea that is  native in the Portland area. The large fluffy inflorescences – almost furry and true  tiny petals.   This too is a wonderful shrub that is tolerant of a host of situations. It is native in the Portland, city limits and knowing where it grows will lead to success with this easy going native. To about 3′ x 3′ and increasing laterally by stolons. This low deciduous shrub is primarily  a resident of high douglas fir overstory, but it can alsmost make appearance at the wetter end of oak savanna. The flowers appear from late spring to early summer. They are natural landing pads for butterflies even hummingbirds appear.  Best in an open north exposure with regular H20 then the following year less to none. Its naturally one of the most drought adapted of this genus. Give this plant room to spread, interweave its way around Holodiscus and Symphoricarpos, Gaulthria shallon. in rich soil ( to begin its life and establish)  Fall color can be yellow to peach and can also not really happen. Wonderful plant. Oregon native plant.

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Broad leaved Penstemon is one of the few species that is actually native in the Portland city limits. In fact it can still be located in its pristine feral state on the  bluff very near the University of Portland.  Its a steep slope on clay and loam with lots of rocks. The patches of this semi-evergreen perennial  are nestled underneath native Ponderosa and Madrone- don’t even try to go down there as the understory is pure poison oak. The broad rosettes produce tall flower trusses that are arranged in whorls on a 30″ stem.  Beautiful luminous blue with lavender mother of pearl tints. Full sun to high overhead shade in average to slightly amended soil. Water  for the first summer to establish , let the soil dry between irrigation.  Soil should never be soggy. Not really that difficult.  Its literally from here so if I ever fail with this perennial god help me. LOVED by all flying things  and an excellent back of the border plant for native beds. Combine with Adelinia , Pectinatia,  Iris tenax for a similar biome and culture. To 30″ tall in bloom the rosettes of broad leaves  expand to several feet wide. Seed grown.  Oregon native plant.

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Birds foot buttercup is one of the more common varieties in  Oregon. Larger (taller) than Ranunculus occidentalis it also has a darker almost maroon gray coloring on the back of each petal. Birds foot buttercup thrives in areas that are often submerged in winter Though it favors wet sites in will easily accommodate dry conditions as well and is happy in upland situations.  Short lived perennial (3-5 years). Blooms about three weeks after western buttercup.  in April to June. The whole plant goes quickly summer dormant after setting seed in conspicuous spiked capsules. Easy to grow in gardens as this species is used to regular moist soil. To 14″ x 18″wide. Very forgiving native that will happily reseed if given room. Excellent applications in a rain garden.   It makes a pleasant cut flower too with the same reflective inner petals. Not bothered by deer or rabbits. Rich to average soils and especially heavy clay soils. Good native pollinator plant.  Oregon native plant.

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Elk Horn Cedar is originally from Japan but is grown around the globe This layered and refreshing glossy green conifer grows very slowly and looks fantastic year round. Slow growing to 3′ x 3′ in 10 years. Excellent in mixed borders or shrub borders. Water well to establish the first summer then occasional deep soaks in summer. Unlike any other comfier the name elk horn refers to the flat leaflets that look to me like a form of giant moss. Works well in winter containers. The flattened scales are glossy on the surface and dull beneath. This is the darker green of two varieties in the nursery trade. It would make a challenging bonsai. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil .  Not often deer food, very worth trying. Cold hardy below 0ºF for short periods. Excellent performance in the Columbia Gorge.

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Red Maids. A lovely native hardy annual for the sunniest spots. Rosettes of semi-succulent  paddle shaped leaves are about 5″ wide.  Found primarily in poor soils in hot sunny locations. Thats where you find it in habitat, the sides of gravel roads, rocky hillsides and good drainage. Beginning in May a constant procession of 1/3″ hot magenta flower are showy when they open in full sun. Native primarily to western Oregon its found through out the west. Resows reliably especially in gravelly soil. Calandrinia should be watered when they  are planted from containers just to get it established. Self sown plant are incredibly drought adapted in our climate. This plant literally grows from desert to the mountains. Loved by a lot of pollinator its especially attractive to butterflies.  Great in containers as well. Shocking magenta pink. Oregon native plant.

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Timber sedge is an evergreen somewhat floppy Carex that is found extensively in western Oregon. It blooms in spring with  thin green spikes and upward facing catkin like flowers. The rich green smooth foliage is distinctively pleated and about 4mm wide. Forms a sprawling clump and will seed around, especially in moist locations. It is ideal under native oaks and firs where it is found in the wild. Often in clear cuts in the Coast range there is a distinct period when this sedge dominates before being succeeded out. Tolerant of full sun to high overhead shade. Best at the edge of a forest with half day sun Light consistent water to establish then you can set it free. Tolerates heavy clay soils well. To 1′ tall in bloom to 18″ wide and never tidy. Fairly good winter appearance but it can be cut back in early spring to refresh. Plant with Carex lepidota and Aster chilense. Oregon native plant.

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Fantastically  graceful Camellia of complex parentage. Large spreading and arching Camellia with small glossy leaves and from 1″ distinctly pointed flower buds open masses of 2″ wide yawning flowers. The interior of the pure white flower is decorated with the yellow stamens. Most of the flowers point downward in a dainty pose that adds to this Camellias grace. To 8′ tall x 8′ wide and branching in large divided boughs that give the impression of wings. The intensity of the white flower color is amplified in the darkness of winter. Blooms late January through March. Immensely graceful and floriferous this has none of the strict formal look of most other species. (C. tsaiiC. cuspidata) x C. fraterna )  Luckily this Camellia includes the ultra hardy C. cuspidata and is not tender in the slightest. Flowers are hardy into the upper 20’s and masses of incipient buds means that the show starts again post freeze. The small fluted flowers fall cleanly from the shrub and collect in a pure white carpet. Rich soil with regular irrigation. Takes less water as it gains establishment. Part shade to full sun. A protected location helps the flowers deal with the vagaries of winter weather. Wonderful Camellia that we love at Xera.

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This is a wonderful compact and shorter growing golden rod that we found from seed. To just 1′ tall  and spreading to form a colony this smaller version fits in tighter places. The large conical flowers are erect at the top of the plant. An excellent version of one of the best pollinator perennials for late summer and early autumn. Average soil with light water to establish. Occasional water after that speeds growth. Mix with other late season native perennials such as Douglas and Halls aster. Winter deciduous and the stems become semi woody and can be left to supply seeds for birds throughout winter. The woody stems can be removed in early spring. This well sized and showy perennial is not only climate adapted its a very long lived perennial. Adaptable to heavy clay soils and drought. Adorable native perennial. To 3′ wide in time. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants introduction

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Most of us associate Camellias with large shrubs to small trees but this is a true dwarf and it fits in very small sites.  Dwarf (slow growing) shrub with glossy green foliage and in autumn to mid-winter a constant supply of semi double rosy red flowers. To 4′ x 4′ in 10 years. Nice looking shrub that is an exceptionally heavy bloomer. This sport of  ‘Shi Shi Gashira’ which is a dark pink and very popular fall blooming Camellia. ‘Dwarf Shi shi’s ‘ flowers are closer to red than its sport parent. Full sun to very light shade. Occasional deep soaks in summer aids flower bud set.  Takes dry conditions when very established. Water regularly to establish and mulch. Sasanqua Camellias are hardier and bloom more heavily in full hot sun. Good performance at the Oregon coast where most Sasanqua Camellias languish. Not often bothered by deer. The entire floral tube detaches and falls never clinging and turning brown. Limited quantities.

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Restios are ancient plants native to South Africa their closest relative is conifers but they look like grass/reeds. None is perfectly hardy in our climate and you should only plant this spectacular evergreen perennial in a protected location. The 9′ stems are clad in curtains of soft fine leaves that hang down. The affect is brilliant. Green/ochre foliage looks good year round or until we drop to 16ºF which is fatal. That being said this spectacular plant can live in gardens for 10 years or more. Its fantastic at the milder Oregon coast. This clumping perennial gains width and height with every year. It prefers average to slightly enriched soil and mulch is beneficial- especially in autumn. Let the plant dry between watering. This bold plant also makes an exemplary container plant.  Definitely plan for it to double in size in a year. Not bothered by deer. Wonderful with other perennials or shrubs that are drought adapted. Inland locate this plant in the most protected spot in your garden preferably against a south or west facing wall. Not permanent but worth it as a risk. Able to freeze to the ground and return.

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This seedling Mock Orange appeared in our nursery rooted right into our gravel substrate. It was either a seedling of a few Philadelphus from eastern Oregon that we raised  a several years ago or it is a seedling of a naturally occurring plant about 50 meters away on the forest margin of our wholesale nursery. Either way its an astonishing shrub in full bloom. Rather than small clusters of white flowers with a yellow center this shrub creates 6″ long stems with clusters of up to 10 on each. The effect is a billowing cloud of white flowers for many weeks in June to July. No other native Philadelphus we have seen compares in number of flowers. The foliage is literally obscured by the lightly orange blossom scented white flowers. Fast growing even in less than perfect conditions to 9′ tall by 4′ wide in 7 years. The parent plant gets no supplemental water whatsoever relying on only what falls from the sky. The handsome mid green leaves take on yellow tints in autumn but is not a show stopper. In bloom, however, it is. Loved by pollinators. Full sun to very light shade in average to enriched soil. Water consistently for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Wonderful specimen or hedgerow member . Extraordinary in full bloom. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed AFTER blooming . This form has a  nice sweet scent that becomes most apparent several years after being in the ground. Associated plants in the wild are Corylus cornuta californica and Oemleria cerasiformis in the Willamette Valley. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Arctostaphylos viscida ‘Sweet Adinah’

White leaved Manzanita is endemic to southern  Oregon into northern California. The leaves are large, round, and very pale blue/gray. This species which also grows on serpentine soil. is incredibly tough and requires special treatment. Adinah found this very pale selection just outside of Ashland, OR.. Extremely drought adapted this species is best in VERY WELL drained soil with light water to establish, Once up and going it will do best with NO SUMMER WATER. This is one of the most striking Manzanitas that we grow.Its also a little bit tough to cultivate, and can up and go away for no real reason, so keep that in the back of your mind- absolute neglect is its best friend. Having said that is easily one of the most striking shrubs native to Oregon. To on average 4′ x 4′ it should be planted in poor to average soil. Avoid all fertilizer,  and rich conditions. New growth emerges striking orange/red following clusters of white tinted pink flowers from January to March. Very cold hardy enduring temperatures near 0ºF with no issues. Rock gardens, dry shrub borders, drought adapted screen or specimen.  A mature shrub kind of gives me the impression of a big white bubble.  Extremely heat and drought adapted native shrub. Limited quantities  Some deer resistance.  Full sun to very light shade. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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South African Honey Bush that we grow from seed. This bold sub-shrub/perennial entrances people with the large blue symmetrical, pinnate, serrated  leaves. Large plant to 6′ x 6′ in 5 years. Semi-evergreen it can freeze to the ground below about 20ºF and will vigorously regrow from the base in spring. Its important that Melianthus be very well established the first season going into its first winter. A large root mass ensures re-sprouting from the coldest winters. If the winter is mild 1′ tall inflorescences of black and red are odd, spectacular, and an ode to goth gardening in early summer. Rich soil that is never boggy in a warm, protected location with regular water to establish. Even if winter is only semi-cruel and the stems stand but with tattered leaves the whole plant can be cut to the ground AFTER ALL THREAT OF FROST HAS PASSED. Mulch for the first autumn w/ dry leaves and compost. Excellent at the base of a warm wall or a south facing aspect. Appreciates good care and water.. Mix with other large, bold perennials- Aralia californica (Elk clover) and Lobelia tupa (Devil’s tobacco) .  Very dramatic in containers.  Container grown plants should be protected from arctic cold (below 20ºF). The large leaves have the odor of peanut butter when disturbed/bruised. Its pungent and spot on. Not often bothered by deer. Might be somewhat rabbit resistant. Nice bold, tropical affect.We offer two other named cultivars, to be honest any one of these seedlings could be as good or exceed those cultivars.

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Elegant, sturdy mahonia that has wands of small red and yellow flowers in late summer. To 5′ tall give it full sun to part shade. Avoid the reflected heat of walls. The somewhat concave pinnate leaves are frosted on the underside with very light gray blue. The wind, however must really howl to reveal this secret. Stiff  and upright, it flails toward the sun in shade. It is at its best in very high overhead shade or morning sun with afternoon shade (an eastern aspect). Occasional deep soaks in summer ensures the display of fall flowers. The tiny flowers are replaced by oblong small fruits that begin pink and arrive at purple/black upon ripening. Most of these fruits will b consumed by birds. The subtle flowers are a beacon to both hummingbird and Bush tits. Good shrub where heavy snow/ice occur. Cold hardy to slightly below 0ºF. Grows fairly slowly. Mix in shrub borders or low water high shade. Pretty shrub native to China. Not bothered by deer or rabbits. Raised from seed. Limited quantities. Red flowered Mahonia.

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A wonderful sister to our  variegated selection of Osmanthus armatus ‘Zipline’. This all gold form emerges tinted in red before the leaves turn to an illuminating lemon, lacquer yellow.  The symmetrically spined leaves add to the display. Full sun to part shade. Variegation is brightest in full sun. Moderately fast growing and glowing evergreen shrub for average to enriched soils. Ligjht consistent summer water to establish, then occaisionally depending on aridity. To 4′ x 4′ in 6 years and then progressive larger. Shares the same toughness as the species enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF. Tiny white flowers are adorable in fall but add little. Not fragrant that I can detect, but the glory of this shrub is in how vivid the foliage shines. Not perfectly drought tolerant, check it before heat waves. Other than that its handsome year round and gets better with age. Tolerates some subfreezing wind. Not the first shrub/tree on a deers list but you never know. Mine is home to the deep blue flowered Clematis ‘Rhapsody’ for a brilliant contrast.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Chilean Hazlenut is not a hazelnut at all its a protea. Glossy pinnate leaves are handsome all the time on this evergreen tree. The huge leaves hug the curly ivory colored flowers that stick out perpendicular to the stems. They are about 3″ long. After fertilization these flowers morph into tasty mellow nut like fruits that resemble red/ochre berries.. They are somewhat like Hazelnuts hence the name. Moderately fast growing to 25′ in our climate. It requires a protected location away from subfreezing wind. Excellent on the Oregon coast. The bark is mellow brown and handsome. It can freeze back substantially at 10ºF but recovery in spring is rapid.  This means that this forest tree is almost always a shrub in our climate. Excellent espaliered against a south or west facing wall. Takes some shade but is happier in full sun. Fairly closely related to Macadamias but the nuts aren’t quite as sophisticated. Establish this plant well going into the first winter. Water once a week deeply for the first year. Good container plant that can be moved to a protected location when arctic air threatens. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering has ended.Prefers acidic soil and do not fertilize with phosphorous or potassium. Proteaceae. Chile/Peru/Argentina

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This is a delightfully airy evergreen whose variegation definitely enhances the over all look.  A moderately fast growing shrub to 6′ x 3′ in 7  years. Very hardy to cold enduring temperatures near 0ºF with little issues. In spring spidery star shaped cream flowers appear in every branch end. Part shade to high overhead shade but it also does not burn in full sun in our climate, Just make sure that you water it regularly. Established shrubs get by with very little. Aromatic foliage is not palatable to animals and this is a very good bet where deer are a problem. Great shrub for brightening garden corners or lightening up dark shade. Rich to average soil. aka Chinese anise shrub. The flowers have a light odd scent. Not worth repeating and its only pungent up close. Seed pods that form become woody and star shaped,- aka Star Anise. Distinctive upright dense habit. Prune if needed AFTER flowring has ended.

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Bog deer vetch is a beautiful native perennial found in wet to seasonally wet sites throughout Oregon, but primarily Western Oregon. This rhizomatous perennial erupts from the ground in early spring with pinnate leaves that are deep purple. As the plant extends it changes to dark green and begins to bloom in crowns of pea flowers that are yellow and white. Very pretty. The symmetry of the flowers is especially attractive. To 2′ tall x 3′ wide.  Blooms April to June. Lovely native perennial for boggy sites. Amenable to average culture in  rich soil with regular H20 in summer. Easy to grow long lived perennial for meadows,  swales, vernally wet sites.  Excellent perennial for a rain garden. Takes dry conditions when established and goes deciduous with summer heat.  Competes well with invasive grasses. Possibly deer resistant. Often seen along streams in NW Oregon. Riparian perennial. Oregon native plant.

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Catalina perfume is the common name for this lovely, tough evergreen currant from Southern California. The round evergreen leaves which do remind one of a Viburnum are resinous and spicily fragrant, especially on warm days. To 3′ tall and spreading about 6′ -this low shrub is best adapted to part shade and little to no summer water. It is incredibly drought adapted. In late winter to mid spring panicle of rose red flowers are light and airy- followed by green fruit. This is an ideal groundcover shrub under native Oaks.  It also makes an almost formal ground cover in landscapes . Found specifically on Santa Catalina in the Channel Islands off of southern CA. There it grows with other Channel island endemics. Tolerates full sun in our climate but its home is beneath the canopy. Water for the first year to establish then none in subsequent years. Not bothered by deer- unsure of rabbits. Prune it if needed after blooming. Blooms on wood from the previous year.  Excellent combined with Vancouveria chrysantha and Camas liechtlinii. for a culture and climate adapted grouping.  Grows very fast when happy.

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This has become a famous  favorite floribunda rose of gardeners all over. It does especially well in our climate and even endures and blooms in considerable shade. The very full  double flowers are 4.5″ across. They begin as buds that are colored distinctly brown, as the flower unfurls it changes to more of a parchment color then to lavender and finally silver white. It has a  moderate sweet fragrance and it re-blooms continuously and heavily until frost. Full sun to quite a bit of high overhead shade. Disease resistant foliage on an upright vase shaped shrub to  3” x 3′ wide. Rapid and heavy re-bloom provides cut material all summer into autumn. This old fashioned faded flower color is brilliant with other more solidly colored double roses of pink or orange. The pointed buds are formed on long stems. Rich soil with regular summer water for the fastest re-bloom.  Prune hard AFTER PRESIDENTS DAY ( about FEB 20th). Prune off  everything with a diameter smaller than a pencil. Very easy forgiving rose that makes all others look fantastic. I would never be with out this charming, bloomy excellent rose. A floribunda rose that is prolific but whose flowers are much more like a  hybrid tea. Appreciates three applications of a handful of organic rose food + a handful of Alfalfa meal around the base per season. On its own roots. Wonderful multicolor morphing magic rose.

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Not all Sasanqua Camellias are created equally and though they all bloom in autumn to winter some have much studier flowers that are beautiful as well. ‘Kanjiro’ is an ancient Japanese cultivar and to this day it is still one of the finest. The large double dark pink flowers are exceptionally weather tolerant and will even survive freezes into the upper 20’s. Even if flowers are spoiled by frost a seemingly never ending supply of buds replaces the flowers quickly, in fact a this is a natural phenomenon for this shrub. You often get  your best displays right after a freeze when the thaw begins. Otherwise its a non stop procession of flowers from October to December. Large growing evergreen shrub with very handsome dark foliage that is good looking year round. To 10′ tall x 10′ wide in 12 years, it  may be pruned to a much smaller size or espaliered on a wall which will  protect the flowers from the vagaries of weather. Moderately fast growing with regular summer water in full hot sun. Established shrubs are very tolerant of summer drought. Long lived. There is a light earthy fragrance to the flowers. Long long season of bloom. Very nice with Grevillea x ‘Leanne’ for a prolific blooming winter display.

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This exceptional form of hairy manzanita we discovered on the north side of Mount Hood. The large foliage is distinctively blue and is held perpendicular to the stems. In very late winter to early spring pearl pink/white flowers decorate the branch tips and appeal to both hummingbirds and native bees. A large rounded shrub to 6′ x 8′ forming a wide dome. Its best attribute is its distinctive deep mahogany glossy bark which  contrasts with the blue foliage. Russet berries follow the flowers and are consumed by wildlife. Full sun to very high overhead shade in average to poor unimproved soil. Water once a week to establish, when new growth begins taper off then drought adaptation is exceptional. Its also exceptionally hardy to cold to at least -15ºF and is as happy in the Willamette Valley as Central Oregon. Moderately fast growing. Disease resistant, Best to grow Arctostaphylos columbiana as lean as possible. Give it just enough water to establish and then only bark/chip mulch.  A very pretty cultivar that is one of our favorite manzanitas. Oregon native plant

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We’re intent on expanding our offerings of our cold hardy native Hairy Manzanita. This form we found in the Hood River Valley and it was conspicuous to us for several reasons. The plant which has long pointed blue leaves was exceptionally disease resistant. It also was tolerant of quite a bit of shade as well. Hairy Manzanita from this part of the state is exceptionally cold tolerant. It will happily live on both sides of the Cascades. The long blue/gray foliage is perpendicular to large stems. The bark becomes deep mahogany and glossy with age. Best in unimproved native soils. To establish water it regularly once a week until you see good new growth then set it free. Drought adapted. To 5′ x 6′ a large shrub that grows quickly to its ultimate size. Full sun to quite a bit of high overhead shade. Always good air circulation. The very early spring flowers are pure white and large on this cultivar. Russet berries that follow attract wildlife. Wonderful shrub, easier to grow than ‘Wolf Creek’.  Cold hardy well below 0ºF.  Oregon native plant.

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Pieris japonica ‘Cavatine’

This is a very pretty and very useful plant that is tough as nails when established.  To just 3′ tall by as wide in 10 years.  In late winter the whole shrub is a garland of white urn shaped flowers on fine filaments. Bloom begins in February and remains effective for months. Medium green evergreen foliage with great year round appearance. Fits in small places  in full sun to quite a bit of shade. Regular water to establish then light water to eventually none on well established shrubs. Rich soil with high organice/wood content that is acidic. Very easy to grow in our climate and one of the best Pieris. Flowers buds are set the previous summer and are attractive for months until they open. New growth is tinted red. Very cold hardy enduring subfreezing wind and temperatures below 0ºF. Not bothered by deer- for the most part. Wonderful small hedge or specimen. Long lived.

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Artemisia douglasiana

Many learn this plant as Douglas Mugwort but its more official common name is Douglas Sagewort.  This aromatic vigorous perennial is common throughout western Oregon. It happily inhabits everywhere from ditches to the headlands at the beach. The plant has medicinal qualities that were used by native Americans and they also used the pungent smoke to ward off the spirits of the dead. To 3′ tall and spreading underground by rhizomes. This is a very vigorous plant when established, give it room and the respect it requires. In improved situations it can swamp other plants so best to leave your patch of sagewort to its own devices. Mix with other plants of similar vigor- Spiraea x pyramidata or Rosa nutkana. Give it at least 5′  x  5′ feet to roam. In summer plumes of off-white flowers produce a haven for pollinators. This member of the daisy family brings them from long distances. Very long lived deciduous perennial with long indented leaves that are dark green on top with an underside of pure silver. This makes this almost woody perennial very easy to spot in breezy conditions  It appreciates average soil and light water to establish.. If it flags in drought you may give it a deep drink in summer to refresh. Loved by a host of butterflies. Doesn’t need much love to perform. Oregon native plant.

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Arbutus andrachne

The true strawberry tree of the Mediterranean this close relative of our Pacific Madrone is a small  rounded multi-trunked tree.  Evergreen long glossy foliage creates  dark shade. In the spring whitish/green urn shaped flowers transform into small, edible, red berries. These are loved by birds and people too, the dried fruit is reportedly extremely heavy in antioxidants. The bark exfoliates beautifully just like our own and it peels in summer to reveal a green glossy trunk that slowly changes to rusty brown and continues to be glossy. Seed of these trees was collected outside of Jerusalem. This small tree of of the Mediterranean region circles that whole sea and even results in hybrids with Arbutus unedo. Moderately fast growing tree to 30′  in great age. Beautiful tree that is extraordinarily drought adapted. Ideal for hot sunny slopes and perfect accompaniment to Manzanitas and our own Madrone. Avoid subfreezing wind and err on the side of  protected location, a west or south aspect is ideal. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Beautiful evergreen, lovely fruit, and bark. Gains cold hardiness with age.  AKA Greek Strawberry tree.

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This wonderful grape vine was originally found along the Russian River by Roger Raiche and is absolutely stunning in autumn. This very large growing deciduous grape will eventually grow to 20′ and develop a sturdy, gnarled trunk. Grows about 3′-6′ per year. This is a wild hybrid between the European Wine grape and our native  vitis californica. What that yields is one tough plant that handles our climate like a champion. Best used in wild areas and if you are going to plant it to grow up a tree make sure the vine you start with is small and the tree you put it in is big. In September-November a long display of brilliant claret red foliage- the individual leaves can be 10″ across. Simultaneously it will sport dark purple edible fruit in large clumps. The medium green foliage is leathery and is best in part shade to full sun. Especially brilliant draping evergreen oaks as it was found in the wild. Climbs by tendrils but provide very strong support at least #4 copper wire.  Leaves arrive in mid spring. Very drought adapted when established. Water for the first season to establish then set it free. Vitis californica can be found in bot the Rogue and Umpqua river basins in Oregon.

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Willow leaved Podocarpus is a large tree native to Chile. Its defined by thin willowy deep green foliage that is dense and somewhat pendulous and reddish shredding bark. In our climate it mostly takes the form of a large shrub. Its ultimate height of 66′, will take decades and decades in our climate and this dense evergreen takes very well to pruning. The somewhat waxy foliage is pretty and verdant year round. To 15′ all in 10 year in Portland. Excellent trimmed hedge or specimen. Prune directly before new growth begins in Spring.  Small olive green pillar shaped flower morph into small blue fruits. Native between 36º south and 43º south this forest tree in areas of high precipitation has become very endangered in the wild.  Excellent shrub/tree for large container. Rich to average soil that drains with regular water during the summer. In time it gains drought tolerance. Very good year round appearance Very dense and useful as a large screen or hedge. Gains cold hardiness with establishment and we’ve seen no issues down to 5ºF. F. Full sun to very light shade.  Lightly deer resistant.

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Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’

This is one of the very best of all shrub roses. Huge, single white flowers open in trusses . Each flower is 5″ across and open from dainty pointed blush pink buds. The enormous truss of flowers can have as many as 60 individual flowers and n full bloom it will obscure the foliage. Continual blooming after a huge initial late spring display this shrub is recommended as one of the very best of all white roses. Compact, upright habit is always good looking. The large foliage is disease  free and in scale matches the large flowers nicely. Deciduous and the last round of flowers can be left to produce small red hips at the tips. To 5′ x 5′ for full sun to very light shade, in rich soil with regular irrigation  (once per week in summer). Good looking from bloom to deciduous with red hips. This is a Xera favorite endorsed by each one of us. Blooms on new wood. Light fragrance.. Also attracts insects including bees. On its own roots.

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This is a very handsome and dependable hardy Agapanthus bred in Ireland.  It forms a spreading clump and in mid summer 3′ tall stems support multiple pendant midnight blue flowers.. Full sun and rich soil. Add a handful of lime to the planting hole. Our soils are acidic and this perennial likes neutral (7) Alkaline (sweet) soils to perform at its best. You can also plant it next to a concrete sidewalk which will also give it the alkalinity that is craves. The clump of scrappy mid green leaves is shorter than most varieties and maintains a tidy plant both before and AFTER bloom so it makes an exemplary garden and landscape perennial. Regular water is crucial through the bloom period, July /August when flowering ends and you cut away the dead stalks it remains good looking until it totally disappears in mid autumn. Irish and UK Agapanthus appear to have much greater cold tolerance than American selections,  they wait to emerge until all threat of a freeze has passed. Very cold hardy easy to grow wonderful pendant tower of cobalt blue. The truss of flowers is very large and showy. Good cut flower, loved by pollinators too. Limited quantities. One of the finest lily of the niles for our gardens.

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Cyperus alternifolius ‘Zero’

Umbrella palm or a close relative of Papyrus this normally zone 9 (20ºF) perennial is hardier and forms expanding clumps. This selection weathered 0ºF and lived, hence the name. Tall perennial for perpetually moist soils or shallow water in ponds. Also very useful in container water gardens. To 4′ tall the slender green stems sport an umbrella top of leaves. The radial leaves become decorated w/ small brown flowers in midsummer. This indeed has been very hardy for us. We’ve never lost it to cold. Easy to grow wetland plant that demands a lot of irrigation in open ground. The first hard freeze takes it down half way and by the end of winter is is usually completely deciduous. Returns in mid-late spring with real heat.  Full sun- very intolerant of shade. Forms a compact but slowly expanding clumps. Very easy.

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Calycanthus occidentalis

Western Spice bush is native throughout semi shady and shady glens primarily in central and northern California with outliers in Oregon found north of Medford. A large deciduous shrub with a lush quality. The late leaves are medium glossy green and large. In summer double petalled madder red /brown flowers appear. The 2″ wide flowers have the distinct fragrance of a wine cask. Its most noticeable up close, but a large shrub in full bloom is a fruitful fragrant cloud. To 7′ x 7′ and adaptable to full sun to quite a bit of shade. Water to establish in its first year and then only occasional. This very tough drought adapted shrub should be used a lot more in our climate. Fall color is bright yellow but does not stop traffic. Tends to hit its ultimate height and then spreads laterally from there. In habitat its associates are Ceanothus, Aristolochia, Aesculus, Smilax. Very easy and long lived Oregon native shrub. Plant with Frangula, Ceanothus, etc in shrub borders or as an informal hedge. The more flowers you have the more dramatic the perfume. Seed heads that follow the flowers are large round semi woody urns and they are showy as well. Loved by hummingbirds and native insects. Moderately deer resistant  protect when young.   Oregon native plant.

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Fuchsia ‘Debron’s Smokey Blues’

There is a plethora of Fuchsias and many are hardy – while many are not. This spectacular Fuchsia has proven to be ultra hardy for us. An upright compact sub-shrub with masses of elegant deeply hued flowers for months. The sepals are a deep wine color- very dark and it pairs with a semi double corolla of the deepest smokey purple black. Full sun in rich soil with ample water adaptable to quite a bit of shade w/ a little less blooming and a lankier outline. It has even proven to be root hardy in containers. Regular water speeds growth through summer and establishment. Plant it w/ the crown about 2″ below the soils surface- this immediately increases the hardiness of the plant. Blooms prolifically from July to October. Often harassed by hummingbirds in our hoop house. To 2′ x 3′. The foliage is deep green, lustrous and healthy. Give it as much water in the ground as you would give it in a container for the first year and it will soar.

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Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Fragrant Form’

About 30 years ago I was introduced to this form of Asian Star Jasmine in Eugene. It was passed around as a clone that survived the disastrous freezes of 1989 and 1990. Its also sweetly fragrant where most varieties of Asian Star Jasmine are not or faint. This is an actual pleasant aroma, not as heady as the more common Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides,  but pleasantly sweet. The parchment colored flowers appear for an extended period from June to September. A huge flush of flowers in early summer and then sporadically for  months. Rich to average soil with regular summer water to establish and speed growth. Asian Star Jasmine waits to grow until truly warm weather is consistent. Regular water + warmth leads to a spreading ground cover or in wind free places it can self attach to surfaces and climb. To 12′ tall as a vine 18″ tall x 3′ as a ground cover. Full sun to considerable shade but not competition from tree roots. Very cold hardy form tolerating temperatures below 5ºF for short periods. Glossy undulate leaves are handsome year round. Wonderful, durable, ground cover.  Establish this plant well before its first winter and mulch for added protection. One of our favorite forms of Asian Star Jasmine. This performs just as consistently as other clones that have proved their durability. Not bothered by deer. Tolerates dry shade when very well established. Both as a ground cover and as a vine it clothes itself densely in foliage never any bare knees. Roots along the ground as it goes, great on slopes.

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Nevin’s mahonia or barberry is a remarkably tough evergreen shrub for the roughest locations. A moderately fast growing evergreen with somewhat fiercely armed blue green leaves. New growth of divided leaves is conspicuously tinted red. In spring small yellow flowers appear and cover the whole shrub, by late summer these have morphed into translucent red berries relished by birds. Native to southern California and surprisingly cold tolerant – like zone 4b tolerant thats -25ºF. Its kind of funny that we didn’t go for this remarkable durable plant. a long time ago, instead we were saddled with the horror of English holly.  Once established it requires absolutely no further irrigation.  It’s perfectly adapted to our winter wet summer dry climate. Full sun is non-negotiable Excellent shrub for rural areas as it is incredibly resistant to deer and even rabbits, In time it becomes a dense rounded shrub- very handsome. Excellent shrub to deter unwanted folks or animals. I’ve often thought this would be an ideal rural hedge with little care beyond planting and watering to establish- then set it free. Virtually any well drained soil. Avoid standing water at any time of the year. Beautiful, tough west coast native shrub. 8′ by 6′ in 7 years.

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Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’

Echinaceas are irresistible and this pure white flowered seed grown plant even turns it up with a soft, sweet fragrance. Echinaceas in our climate thrive but they need to have the proper beginning and soil to really work their charms. To 30″ tall and forming spreading clumps, regular water – once a week for the first year is critical. Also, I’ve had great luck amending the soil with a little gravel added to the compost that I dig in. It seems they really need a good start to perennialize and expand. In subsequent years only occasional water is necessary. Also necessary is total and complete sunshine. That seems to gird them to establish too. So, no fudging with shade. This single flowered form is pollinator magnet and you’ll find a host of native bees and  bee friends visiting the flowers. It also makes a great container plant and will happily over winter no problem.  ‘White Swan’ has been a Xera favorite for years. Great, long lasting cut flowers (Surprise).  Long lived low care spectacular perennial.  Moderate deer resistance. July to mid September. Remove spent flowers and more will often follow.

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Big in every way this Golden Rod of the west rises on sturdy semi-woody stems to display a chalice of fragrant gold flowers. Better put in latin the broad flowers are pyramidal paniculiform arrays, That about says it. Large growing perennial that is found in specific wetland sites around the state (and the west). It spreads laterally by strong rhizomes with stems that rise to 4′ tall. The PYRAMIDAL PANICULIFORM gold flowers emit a sweet pollen fragrance. This and the fact that it is in the daisy family draws a broad amount of pollinators  from far and wide. It dies down in winter and the previous years stems can be taken away then. Give it at least 5′ x 5′ to roam. Water to establish then a light consistent water in summer for best flowering. Full hot sun not tolerant of shade at all. A large, regal cut flowers for big displays July-September. This form was found in the Columbia River Gorge near the river. It can also be found around wetlands in arid parts of the state as well as river courses along the west side. The underside of the stems flashes silver with green on top. These incredibly sturdy vertical stems will never topple. Mix with Hall and Douglas Asters for similar space, bloom time and vigor and you’ll quadruple your pollinators.   Oregon native plant.

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Silene laciniata

This is a showy perennial of pine woods in interior northern California. It comes within 10′ miles of the Oregon border. This gaudy little perennial is seen in full sun to the margins of Ponderosa woods. It forms a rosette of rough moss green basal set of leaves. In late spring to early summer 1′ tall wiry spikes hold shocking vermillion orange/red flowers that have a shredded edge to the petals. It blooms for an extended period and often if the first set of defunct flowers is removed it will set another round. Water to establish the wild flower and then none in subsequent years. Established plants are supremely drought adapted and any superfluous water can lead to rot. This is also a great resident of rock gardens where its smaller dimensions and shocking flower color will  be welcome. An obvious draw to hummingbirds and pollinators. Very good in gravel gardens. A slope is an added plus. Somewhat deer resistant. Adapted to coastal gardens as well.

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This is one of Andy’s selections and its an excellent Hebe. Arching in growth with canoe shaped bright green symmetrical foliage . In June and July the entire top third is clad in blue racemes that are thin and fade a little with age. The flowers arrive in profusion and are loved by bees and butterflies. To 30″ tall and eventually forming a dense dome to 3′ wide. Rich to average soil that drains, ideal on a slope. Avoid areas with direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. In those areas that are prone place it out of the wind- a west or south facing aspect. Great plant for courtayards or containers. Blooms are effective for a month or more, then its just a bright green dense evergreen shrub. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Light consistent summer irrigation. Mulch after planting. Moderately fast growing.

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Epilobium densiflorum

Spike primrose is a quiet but important long season hardy annual. It rises up to 2′ tall when happy. A dense thick spike of buds rises and the small pink flowers decorate the spike in a circle. Loved by pollinators and especially popular with butterflies. This drought adapted annual blooms from July to October. Mix with other hardy native annuals. Especially nice with Madia elegans as their bloom period are the same. Full sun in virtually any soil. Water in potted plants well and you will likely see seedlings in open disturbed sites in the spring. The seedlings of this Epilobium mimic several more weedy types (they are native but kind of rambunctious). This plant is never showy but its a primary nectar source for late in the summer. Very easy, climate adapted native hardy annual. Native in the Portland city limits. Found primarily in stable meadows on both sides of the Cascades.  Oregon native plant.

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Clematis ‘Rhapsody’

Possibly one of our favorite large flowered Clematis. This delightful 8′-10′ vine has intense sapphire blue flowers that open light and turn to a darker blue as they age. The petals surround a charming boss of creamy stamens. This very showy vine blooms continuously from July-Sept. Its a smaller scale Clematis that can happily climb large shrubs to small trees without smothering them. The flowers which are 5″ across are dramatic and showy from a distance. Easy to grow in our climate, in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Full sun to the very lightest shade, but flowers are more vivid with sun. The petioles wrap around supports and hoists this plant up. May be hard pruned in early spring to just several buds. This vine which blooms on new wood will quickly regrow and produce a parade of flowers in just several months. Excellent climbing gold leaved shrubs for brilliant contrast. The flowers born on long stems also make a decent cut flower. Provide support such as a large trellis or #4 copper wire to send it climbing around a post. Beautiful Clematis.

 

 

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Sedum oregonense ‘McKenzie River’

Creamy stone crop is a common succulent of mid to higher elevations of the  Oregon Cascades – it can also be found in the Siskiyous. This is a common plant on rocky slopes, scree its  even adaptable to heavier soils. Gray white leaves are crowded into rosettes. In spring stems rise to 6″ tall and produce creamy light yellow colored flowers. Absolutely adored by pollinators this very easy to grow perennial adapts very well to gardens. Its useful in rock gardens, troughs, containers in full sun to very light shade. Light summer water to very little, A classic plant of the Oregon Cascades. Primarily above 2000′. Evergreen. 3″ tall out of bloom and spreading to form large clumps several feet across. Not bothered by deer or rabbits. Lovely Oregon native. The cream/ivory flowers are a welcome respite where all other Oregon sedums are bright yellow. .  Oregon native plant. 

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Achillea millefolium ‘Willamette Gray’

Greg got seed of this distinctive form of Yarrow near Oregon City. Unlike most garden varieties that are derived from European stock which very much appreciates rich soil and regular water to perform and those forms are also not pungent. We wanted our locally native yarrow that is incredibly durable, has gray foliage that is pleasantly aromatic with broad white flowers. This is a much more climate adapted perennial. Its found throughout all of the state, and can be found anywhere from meadows to surprisingly deep woods. This is a very thrifty plant and once established it really doesn’t need supplemental summer water. Spreads to form finely divided low gray foliage. The flat umbels of pure white flowers are very large and this is a landing pad for all pollinators as well as butterflies. To 20″ tall in bloom. Excellent meadow component with clumping grasses, annuals, and bulbs. A great plant for hell strips and hot aspects too. Very easy and forgiving perennial. Blooms May-August. Mostly evergreen save for the very harshest winters. Not bothered by deer.  Oregon native plant.

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Silene hookeri

Hooker’s Catchfly is a great Oregon native perennial that is one of the showiest in this genus. Native to dry woods and plains but never common this low spreading perennial produces large pink flowers in late spring to early summer. The nearly 1″ wide frilly flowers are produces on a diminutive plant that spreads. To 4″ tall and forming a mat about 1.5′ wide. Full sun to very light shade (deciduous shade) in average to slightly enriched soils that drain. Adaptable to clay soils on a slope. Water weekly after planting for the first season then none is necessary in subsequent years. Excellent small perennial that is ideal in a trough where you can view the beautiful large flowers up close. Best in rock garden conditions or in a meadow habitat in the ground.  Naturally adapted to life between clumping grasses. The slightly cupped leaves are large and encrusted in fine hairs. Native from just south of Portland to northern California. It was once much more widespread in the Willamette Valley. This range has been greatly diminished.  Beautiful native perennial. Often left alone by deer. Oregon native plant.

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Teucridium parviflorum

A stylish shrub/subshrub that is native to the drier parts of New Zealand, and offers great fine texture. The stems which are the only thing that differentiates this from the genus Coprosma- they are square. are golden orange woody stems that  rise up to about 4′ tall by 3′ wide.  Tiny round green leaves decorate these stems and in late spring and early summer small white flowers appear in the leaf axils. This plant can quickly return from the roots if chopped back severely or frozen to the ground. Established plants can regain their stature in several months. Average to enriched soil that is never boggy in summer. The fine foliage  common adaptation in New Zealand, most likely the fine texture of the shrub was to foil grazing giant moa birds and other predators. Very good in containers ( it will be less hardy in a container as with  everything) and it can be crowded heavily and still thrive. In the ground give it enriched soil and regular summer water for its first season. Let it grow as much as possible and develop a resilient root system- in the case of an arctic event it will be well prepared to regrow.. Mulch in fall for the first year. The luminous stems and see through appearance make it combine well with bolder textured plants. Regiar water in summer speeds growth and establishment the first year, in subsequent years it only requires irrigation once every two weeks. Freezes the ground at about 20ºF, returns quickly in spring when the soil warms. Not bothered by deer, not sure about rabbits. Excellent architectural plant. We took a break from growing this plant for years, we’re happy that its back.

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Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’

This strain of lavender that is grown from seed is remarkably uniform and produces superior compact plants with deep purple buds that open to lighter lavender spikes. Just 20″ x 20″ on average. The flowers are born on 8-10″ straight stems. Aromatic foliage is gray/green and dense. This is my favorite variety of lavender for the garden. Unlike, many larger types ‘Hidcote’ seldom splays or splits when in bloom, instead the compact plants hold their flower spikes vertically and in a tidy way. The flower color is deep and uniform. Lavender has a limited life span. It generally goes south or ages out after 5-7 years. You can extend this lifespan substantially if you take care of the plants. That means infrequent but deep irrigation, soil that is not overly enriched, and diligent hard pruning after bloom has ended. Don’t just cut the spikes off at their base, instead go about an inch lower into the stem. This will cause the plant to branch and retain a dense and compact habit. It will also extend the life of your lavender. Excellent variety for hedges, knot gardens, herb gardens or just a lovely bloomy summer subshrub. Blooms late May-July. Loved by all pollinators- not surprising for a plant in the mint family. Drought adapted when established. Moderate deer resistance. Full all day sun.

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Gaillardia aristata

Blanket flower or Great Gaillardia is a very showy native perennial that is found over a wide area. It has limited appearances in the Willamette Valley and even prairies in Puget Sound. It becomes much more common in the Columbia Gorge and points east. It is adapted to dry slopes with adequate drainage and the 3″ yellow flowers  with a red central cone appear beginning in May with continuous re-bloom until autumn on plants that have had spent flowers removed.  To 10″ tall in bloom a happy clump can measure 2′ across. In the wild, without supplemental summer irrigation the yellow flowers appear for 4-6 weeks before setting seed and going summer dormant. Plants that have irrigation will happily continue blooming. Water should be applied deeply but infrequently and the plant should dry between irrigation. This is the native form of Blanket Flower, it has simple yellow petals that surround a red central cone. A very adaptable American native perennial that has undergone extensive hybridization and solid colors from dusky  solid red to brown are also available. The most commonly cultivated form has yellow petals with a continuous zone of red around the cone- this is not that. Charming native perennial that attracts a vast amount of native pollinators and is not bothered by deer (not sure about rabbits). Full sun and average to enriched soil. Tolerates extreme drought and cold. Thrives in the reflected heat of hell strips, asphalt, and hot walls. May self sow, and this is welcome. Often it will wind up in cracks and crevices- mimicking this plants life between rocks and boulders. Mix with Agastaches, Origanum, Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum) for a long blooming pollinator paradise.  Easy to grow great garden plant. Frequently visited by butterflies.  Native in the Portland city limits.  Oregon native plant.

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Ceanothus parryi

This is a fascinating shrub for several reasons. AKA Ladybush or Parry’s Ceanothus was first described in Oregon in the central Oregon Coast Range in 1982. The last shrub to be discovered in our state. What is more fascinating is that the next closest population of this Ceanothus begins in Sonoma County California – 500 miles to the south. This disjunct appearance of what was thought to be a California species only was a bit of a surprise. Located in the Preacher Creek drainage in the Siuslaw National Forest this formerly logged area holds several populations. A very wild looking shrub that is semi-deciduous to deciduous in our winters- the tiny leaves  (1/2″ long) attach to stems that are bright light green and in fact in the winter the whole shrub has the look of a rush or a broom. Known for its very large trusses of light blue to dark blue flowers each flower cluster can measure 1′ long. Our native form of C. parryi is light blue and covers itself in pollinator loving bloom in May. To 6′ x 6′ in average soil. Water to establish and then none in subsequent years. There is nothing formal about this plant, very wild and it mixes well with other native shrubs in full sun to very light shade. Very easy to grow- avoid overly enriched soil and too much irrigation or this big wild shrub will soar. Average soil with water for just the first summer leads to the best incremental growth and a plant that doesn’t get out of hand. In habitat in Oregon this shrub is associated with Douglas fir, Vine Maple, and Vaccinium.  In bloom this Ceanothus is literally swarmed by pollinators. Easy to grow very pretty native shrub. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Excellent see through shrub for hell strips. Oregon native plant.

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Michelia (Magnolia) skinneriana

This is known as the improved form of banana shrub and it is. A slow growing broad leaved evergreen shrub to 6′ tall in 7 years by 3′ wide. In late spring to early summer the stems lined with glossy leaves have deliciously scented cream/pink flowers. The fragrance reminds most of banana but I think its a little more like a wine cask. As the flowers age they take on decadent stains of pink and yellow. Great shrub for a protected courtyard or a south facing wall. This close magnolia relative from SE China revels in heat with regular water during the summer. Excellent appearance year round the glossy leaves are ever handsome and the shrub itself is tidy and well behaved. Pruning is seldom necessary but if you do make sure to prune directly AFTER blooming. Blooms on twigs from the previous year. Rich soil and full sun to part sun in a warm position. Avoid areas exposed to subfreezing wind- a south or western aspect is best  Cold hardy to about 5ºF and it gains hardiness with age. Wonderful fragrance, wonderful shrub. Mulch in autumn.

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The Iris family is enormous and it features members from every continent except Antarctica. This native of higher elevations in Tasmania is a hardy species in a fairly tender genus. AKA Tasmanian Flag, this evergreen perennial forms 8″ tall  narrow leaves forming a clump 1′ wide with time. In late spring to early summer a fairly long show of the most pristine white flowers. They have three prominent petals and surround a center with three tabs each marked with purple, yellow, and black.like an intricate orchid. Very light shade in average to enriched soil with light consistent summer water. The flowers rise on thin stems to 2′ and a clump with many flowers is sublime. Easy to grow- when  flowering is over it leaves a clump of foliage that remains good looking year round. Good pollinator perennial. Not bothered by deer or slugs/snails or anything in general. Mulch with leaves for the first winter for added protection. This is the high elevation form of this perennial and has not been damaged in my garden down to 10ºF for the past 8 years. Rare and fun to grow. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Protect from subfreezing wind. Wonderful cut flower.

 

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Heliohebe ‘Hagley Park’

The world of Hebes is big, and they are almost all (99%) from New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere. This is a close Hebe relative but it excels at its floral display more than symmetrical foliage. To 2′ tall this  is light airy evergreen with grass green foliage lined in maroon. In late spring to summer branches extend above the plant and yield airy dark purple buds that open to light lavender- these panicles are up to 1′ long. Its an outstanding showy affect that is adored by pollinators. Full sun and rich to average soil with regular irrigation. Best in a spot protected from sub-freezing east wind. A western or southern exposure. Very easy to grow evergreen shrublet that finds a home in shrub borders, perennial borders, even gravel gardens. The airy flowers work great as cuts they will last at least a week. I leave the flowers on mine to bring joy to our big black and yellow fluffy bumble bees that seem to hone in on this plant. Mulch in autumn. Blooms April to June. Very fun to grow. Prune lightly after bloom has ended to increase blooming stems and density.

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Lupinus bicolor

Dwarf Lupine or Pacific Lupine is a widespread small hardy annual that is found all along the west coast from British Columbia to Mexico. In the Willamette Valley its most conspicuous home is along the disturbed soil and gravel of highways/roads. Thats where you see masses of this diminutive lupine that rises to just 1′ tall. The intricate flowers erupt from the top and are mostly blue with purple and the bottom has a white lip. These are displayed above very furry palmate leaves. It forms a small rounded plant. Loved by all pollinators this tough little plant can inhabit the worst, shallow soils and still thrive. If given richer conditions this nitrogen fixer will soar to 1′ tall with a much larger flowers. Excellent in annual containers – it blooms for a long time April-August or until the ground goes completely dry. Horizontal bean pods hold three seeds each. Self sows in open disturbed sites with little competition from other plants. Only water if it is planted from a container otherwise no supplemental irrigation necessary. Very beloved by hummingbirds and butterflies.  Mixes well with other long blooming hardy native annuals such as Madia elegans or Clarkia amoena. Seed that is released in summer germinates in autumn with the first fall rains. Easy to spot the palmate leaves. Oregon native plant.

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Ceanothus x ‘Julia Phelps’

Wonderful and extremely showy wild lilac that has shown superior performance in our area. Small deep green warty leaves are glossy and are the ideal back drop to the foaming cobalt blue flowers that erupt from red tinted buds in April. Fast growing  evergreen that is wider than tall. Typically 6′ tall and 8′ wide in 5 years.  This begs for its use on steep unwatered slopes or as a dramatic backdrop to a wildflower garden. Full sun to very light shade in average soil with water to establish then none in subsequent years. Loved by all pollinators and insects will  be rolling on the flowers to collect pollen.  Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. Very good in urban situations where it performs in poor soils, little irrigation and reflected heat. In colder gardens place near a south facing wall or at the top of a hill where cold air drains away. Blooms simultaneously with Pacifica Iris and they match each other well in cultural requirements. Remember Ceanothus do best in average unimproved soil. Rich soil can lead to prodigious growth and quite a bit less hardiness to cold. Wonderful cultivar. This and many cultivars will lose flower color with very heavy rain. It literally washes some of the blue color away. Ceanothus blossoms mixed with water will yield blue soap suds ( there are saponins in the flowers).

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Luzula subsessilis

Prairie wood rush is such poetic name for a sedge that is widespread on the west side of the Cascades from BC to N.California.The common name describes its love of both open conditions as well as woodlands. Its adapted to winter wet summer  dry conditions and is found in a lot of different biomes. Soft green leaves terminate in a blunt tip. The leaves are covered with fine hairs. In spring wiry stems grow to 11″ tall with tawny black flowers followed by seed heads. that are swollen and brown. A component of oak woodlands in part shade to the verge of wetlands where it is found in full sun. Forms a wispy clump that expands slowly. As with most sedges it will respond to better conditions vigorously. Excellent for insect and wildlife. Semi evergreen., especially if drought stressed,  (plants much be established well to do this  and survive). Part shade to full sun with regular irrigation to establish then little to none in subsequent years. Pretty wispy sedge with a poetic name. Oregon native plant. 

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Eschscholzia californica ssp. maritima

Just about every gardener is aware of our west coast native California Poppy. It has a huge range from far southern Washington State to Mexico. There are several subspecies, but this one is exceptional. This PERENNIAL California Poppy is very different than the species. ‘Martima’ or Coastal California Poppy is a low, tidy, mat that erupts in wave after wave of flowers from spring to autumn. The tight congested foliage is handsome blue green and pairs well with the golden flowers that have a central  area of orange. This plant is native to sand/very well drained  soils and if you replicate that in your garden this is a very long lived plant. It also excels in the very well drained soil of containers and will drape over the edge and follow the contours closely. Ideally this plant is adapted to slopes with just light water during the summer. No need to dead head  this plant is naturally remontant- re-blooming without any intervention from the gardener. Loved by all native pollinators and cherished by big black and yellow native bumbles. To 4″ tall as foliage – 8″ in flower its spread on average is about 2′ x 3′ in a year. Detests all shade, do not even try. Eschscholzia californica maritima is native to the northern and central California coast. Avoid compost and enriched soils, average soil is best. Not bothered by deer, rabbits, slugs, snails. So, why isn’t everyone growing this fantastic plant?

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Delphinium menziesii

Menzie’s Larkspur is one of the most widespread species west of the Cascades. That doesn’t mean it easy to grow, and as a crop it can be a pain, That said its one of the ultimate spring flowers and its lost immense amounts of its range in the Willamette Valley to development. This widespread perennial is a  grassland Delphinium that can be found in oak woodlands with Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Plectritis congesta and Romanzoffia californica. The soils that it inhabits run the gamut from sand near the beach to xeric clay in and around the Willamette Valley. This can be a tricky species to establish, my best advice is to double dig a wide area where there is very little competition from other plants. Add a small amount of all organic fertilizer to the hole. Water in well and water again once a week until June. Then you can permanently taper off. That means in subsequent years it will rely on natural rainfall alone. Upright perennial to 20″ tall multiple brilliant blue flowers often with a lighter bee. I’ve also seen them in a deep black/blue velvet purple. Sets seed and goes dormant in mid-summer. Its very very important to protect the emerging plant or seedling from snails and slugs. Bait heavily when you first see growth in late winter.  Though widespread but no longer common this Delphinium seems to adapt best to cultivation with a light gravel mulch. This protects the plant from slugs and provides a perfect medium to germinate the seeds. Very popular pollinator plant visited by all sorts of bees, fly bees, hover flies, butterflies and more. The seedlings are conspicuous and the leaves mimic the parent plant.  Full sun to light shade.  Oregon native plant.

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Perideridia oregana

Eepah or Yampah is a native perennial in the carrot family that was used as an important food source for first nation people. To 20″ tall 1-3 stems emerge from swollen edible roots  and produce pure white umbels of flowers. All parts of this plant are edible and the roots are high in vitamin c, protein, and Potassium. Eaten fresh it has a juicy crispy texture and taste similar to a water chestnut. Cooking Eepah root yields a nutty flavor with a sweet consistency of sweet potato. The large green seeds have a flavor very similar to Caraway and were eaten fresh or dried. Simple looking perennial that is very similar in appearance to introduced wild carrot or Queen Ann’s Lace Daucus carota.  Oregon Eepah is native from extreme southwest Washington, much more common in Oregon and northern California. It has lost large amounts of its lowland population to invasive weeds and development. Where it occurs much more frequently is at higher elevations where there is less weed competition. Full sun to very light shade in average to rich soil. Irrigate for the first season, in subsequent years it can survive on rainfall alone. Winter deciduous. NEVER EAT A WILD PLANT unless you are 100% certain of its identity, if not ask an expert before consuming any unknown plant. Great plant for butterflies and pollinators. Its wild appearance lends it to cottage gardens, serious vegetable gardens.  Blooms May-july. Its a very pretty cut flower and was once a common component of Willamette Valley meadows (mainly on hillsides).      Oregon native plant

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Dudleya brittonii

Giant Chalk Dudleya or Giant Live Forever, this is in our estimation the largest and showiest of this genus native to the West Coast of North America from Oregon to Mexico. This spectacular  succulent is native to the northern coast of Baja where it attaches to volcanic cliffs above the ocean. To 12″-18″ wide in a year or two the softly spiked rosette is covered in fine white powder (bloom) that can be rubbed off- that can result in a less pristine white form. Avoid pawing or poking the foliage. In spring to summer 18″ stems support clusters of orange/pink/yellow downward pointing flowers. Very pretty and it draws hummingbirds and butterflies. A fantastic container plant that can live for years happily in succulent cactus mix. Protect from severe cold (below 26ºF) and put containers in a cool unheated greenhouse in autumn. Or move to a dry under eave position. Water deeply and infrequently and able to tolerate summer water much better than others. Our Oregon native Dudleya farinosa can be kind fussy about that. Very easy to grow. Part shade to full sun. Shockingly beautiful plant.  This and many Dudleyas have been vastly and illegally over collected in the wild. Ours are raised from seed which is not difficult and is even more of a pity that they are stolen in the wild.

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We have been so impressed with the performance of this small evergreen tree species that when we saw this charming narrow leaved form we snagged it. An upright growing but not wide tree to 18′ tall. The thin leaves are 4mm wide but up to 6cm long and are thinly produced so that the tree has a fine texture and is even better to view the late winter and early spring red brushy, flowers. Moderately fast growing it is also very drought tolerant. Water to establish and in summer  or to speed growth otherwise it can get by on natural rainfall. Very neat and tidy and cold hardy to -5ºF.  This tree is a good candidate for areas affected by subfreezing east wind- its exceptionally tolerant of that for a broad leaved evergreen. Full sun to high overhead shade ( with less of the red flowers). In time the cut branches can be brought inside and forced into bloom for arrangements. Not deer food, but i’m not as familiar with this form. Unusual, tough and beautiful. Narrow leaved Sycopsis.  Tolerates many soil types including heavy soils in upland situations. SW China

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Iris bracteata

Siskiyou Iris is native to the southwestern part of Oregon. Though its named after the mountain range it is more often a valley species. You see it sparsely under Oaks, Madrones, and especially Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pine woods. Never at high elevations it grows in a host of soil types but the common component is that they all dry thoroughly in summer. Do not irrigate past the Fourth of July when established OR water only to establish the first year and then set it free. Forms almost caulescent evergreen fans that are red at the base. These rise to about 14″ and are not profuse. The plants which we raise from seed are a range of pale ivory to yellow all with conspicuous darker markings on the falls. Blooms April to May. Full sun to part shade and best with some protection from afternoon sun. In habitat it is found with Sidalcea malvifora var. Asprella , Erythronium hendersonii, and Vancouveria chrysantha with interspersed clumping Fescues. Long lived. This Iris among other Pacifica species do not compete well with invasive weeds and grasses. They are native to a fairly invasive free and less competitive balanced biome. Protect them by  not allowing weeds grasses from getting a foothold around this Iris. Mulch with gravel to assist. Not bothered by deer or rabbits. Not as floriferous as other species but the flowers which are larger are much showier as well. Drought adapted. Oregon native plant.

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Sanicula crassicaulis

Pacific Snakeroot is a fascinating native perennial that is native west of the Cascades from British Columbia south -to the tip of South America.  A summer deciduous perennial whose presence is really from January to July- before slipping into summer/dry dormancy. This unique plant forms handsome palmate leaves that are edged in black when young.  As summer approaches the plant elongates up to 30″ tall and begins to bloom. Tight gold/charteuse inflorescence  that must attract very specific pollinators. I know for a fact that it draws butteries because I vividly remember them visiting this plant in the country. I’ve always found this easy growing plant pleasant and I have to admit that it is present in just about every biome west of the Cascade Crest. At the coast it is nearly evergreen – no need for summer dormancy. The small spiny seeds that perch at the top of plant are carried away by animals. Adapted to a LOT of soil conditions including compacted xeric clay. Forms increasing rosettes to 18″ across. More than likely you will find seedlings. Found in the Willamette Valley with Dodecatheon, Camassia, Rosa, and in shade with Symphoricarpos and Polystichum. Full sun to full shade. Not eaten by deer. Oregon native plant.

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Philadelphus lewisii

Western Mock Orange is a locally native deciduous shrub with masses of showy white flowers in June to July. These are seedlings of a shrub native to our wholesale nursery site. A certain percentage of the seedlings will be fragrant to a varying extent. The fragrance is most conspicuous after several seasons in the ground. Full sun to part shade in rich to rocky soils with regular water to establish and then set it free. Moderately fast growing to 8′ tall by 4′ in several years and then larger.  Tough shrub that accepts a lot of soil types, in habitat it is most often seen on hillsides and even appears in riparian situations. Its most typical on the edges of forests. Associated plants in the wild are Western Hazel, Corylus cornuta californica and Oso Berry Oemleria cerasiformis, and Ocean Spray, Holodiscus discolor.Fall color is most often yellow and not spectacular. The pretty mid green foliage blends in to the landscape before and after its profuse period of bloom. Accepts summer drought when established to regular irrigation . Climate adapted shrub for wild areas to shrub borders. Blooms on OLD wood, prune after blooming if necessary.  Oregon native plant.

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Brodiaea coronaria

Crown Brodiaea is in my opinion the more showy of the two that are common in Western Oregon, the other is Brodiaea elegans Harvest lily. This little naked lily inhabits dry hillsides and meadows from British Columbia to California. Cylindrical leaves emerge in autumn and a clump is green until spring. Then as the leaves go dormant it sends up a chalice of rich blue flowers with  distinct white petals on the interior of the flower The 4-6 flowers measure nearly an inch wide each when open.  To 8″ tall and spreading primarily by seed, this corm will also multiply to form local colonies. Blooms May to July, just as the accompanying grass is going tan summer dormant. Brodiaea has been placed in the Amaryllis family, then the Asparagus family and now it resides, but probably not permanently, in the Lily family. Loved by pollinators and native bumble bees are especially fond of the pretty flowers. Disappears completely after seed set. Full sun and an open aspect. Average soil and tolerant of xeric clay soils that dry to concrete with summer drought. Adored by butterflies. In the Willamette Valley it is common to find this corm among creeping strawberry Fragaria Virginiana platypetala Roemer’s Fescue Festuca roemeri var. roemeri, Prairie stars Lithophragma sp.as well as Ookow Dichelostemma congestum . Once established no supplemental water is required, in fact its best to give this beautiful little flower a dry rest in summer. No summer water zone. Not well adapted to compete with introduced invasive turf grasses.  Oregon native plant.

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Fritillaria affinis

Mission Bells or Western Checker lily. This is a handsome native bulb that is found extensively throughout the west side of the Cascades. It can inhabit Oregon oak savanna or Douglas fir forests. It is a prime Willamette Valley prairie component. This was one of the first native plants that i ever grew. In our backyard in the country under white/black oaks you would see them sporadically. When I put up a fence to  block the voracious deer I inadvertently protected a patch of uncultivated forest floor. Where there was one meager Mission Bell the first year blossomed literally into 25 the next year and 50 the following year. Apparently, the deer had been eating them. So,learn my lesson protect this native plant from deer. To 20″ tall in bloom in April to June. The flowers are large for a Fritillaria and are most often black brown with green checkers and nod dramatically. To  be honest this is a flower to view up close, from a distance this mostly green and brown plant blends right in to the forest floor. Tolerant of many soil types, ours grew in heavy silica based clay that dried to concrete in summer. Once established this tough bulb thrives and each lives many years. Spreads by seeds and bulbils and offset bulbs. Goes completely summer dormant with true heat- no presence in summer. Attracts quite a few pollinators including butterflies.  No supplemental water in summer.Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.

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Viburnum tinus ‘Variegatum’

Spring bouquet viburnum or Laurusitinus is a common shrub in our climate. This form lightens up what can be a very pedestrian plant. The edges of the evergreen leaves are margined in cream with an interior of soft green. This makes a shrub that glows year round and can be used to lighten up dark corners. In autumn clusters of pink buds form and hold until mid winter. Then as the days begin to lengthen it opens these clusters which are lightly fragrant and white. Strong growing shrub that requires  very little water once established. To 8′ tall and 5′ wide in 6 years. Full sun to part shade to high overhead shade. Nice looking, tough shrub native to the Mediterranean very easy to grow and long lived. If a green sport appears simply prune it off to the base to retain the variegated form. Water to establish. Not deer resistant. Excellent backdrop to a mixed border or trimmed into a contained hedge. Nice fast growing screen. Blue berries sometimes follow the flowers.  Buds and flowers put on a show for months. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune after flowering if needed. Naturally dense and rounded.

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Quercus rugosa (SW Form)

This is a remarkable oak whose geographic center is in high elevation Mexico. There are several forms of this evergreen tree with remarkable qualities. Its range extends from the SW U.S. south throughout Mexico into northern Guatemala. This southwest form has shown great cold hardiness and adaptability. These are started from acorns in a garden in Medford. The parent tree was pole straight with a boisterous green rounded crown. It is remarkably tolerant of drought and is cold hardy reliably to 0ºF. Full sun in  average soil for a moderately fast growing tree. The outline of its crown is oblong at first and if you remove the lower limbs it will send the crown skyward. As I said the trunk was pole straight on a tree that was 35′ tall (18′ wide) and very pretty. Doing research on this tree it was found in California that this tree literally collects pollutants from the sky with its rough leaves. Its proposed to be planted along intersections and freeways  and could be a boon to lower the particulate count.  Dark green foliage looks good year round.  Water to establish and then none in subsequent years. Grows fast for an oak and it really adores our climate. The bark is rough with gray striations. It  makes many acorns and this should be taken into account in siting. Good candidate for a street tree or a garden shade tree. Average soil, including clay soils. Full sun from every direction for the straightest tree. Syn. Quercus reticulata. This would also be a good candidate for a formal large screen. Sometimes called net leaf oak or southwestern net leaf oak. Casts moderately dense shade with time.

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Compact hybrid Corokia that has larger leaves that turn from gray to bronze in cold weather. To 4′ x 3′ in 6 years. The upper parts of the stems are more like soft gray rushes before the foliage elongates. In late spring starry bright yellow flowers spangle the older growth. Occasionally its followed by orange berries. Very forgiving shrub that we have actually grown for years. It has good cold hardiness for a Corokia x virgata hybrid and its compact, dense and good looking year round. Avoid the coldest sites, gains cold hardiness with age, protect the smallest plants from temperatures below 20ºF, after several years it will be hardy to the upper single digits. Makes a great sheared hedge and its used for that purpose in its home New Zealand. Great performance at the Oregon coast. Very good in containers. especially winter containers. This shrub has a much more burgundy hue in winter as opposed to the all gray look of Corokia cotoneaster. Easy to grow. This shrub would be good to try where deer are profuse. Its excels in containers in the urban scape of down town.

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Ceanothus cuneatus ssp. cuneatus ‘Mary’s Peak’

This is a different form of our locally native Buckbrush. We found this at approximately 2200′ on Mary’s Peak in the Coast Range in a forest that was comprised primarily of Douglas Fir  and Golden Chinquapin. This shorter shrub with smaller deep green leaves is most conspicuous in its slick gray stems. To 3′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full sun and average to poor soil. Blooms April to May with ivory colored panicles that cover the whole plant on old wood. The sweetly fragrant flowers are always buzzing  with pollinators. A true low water shrub that can easily get by on only what falls from the sky, once established. This is a cold hardy and locally  native evergreen shrub. Often it grows in an arching and then angular kind of way. This form is less upright. Red seedheads follow the flowers. This is a very well known and stable population in the wild that is regenerating nicely.  Extraordinarily tolerant of heat and drought. Traditionally this shrub follows disturbance and was widespread in the Willamette Valley often as a meadow component with Rosa nutkana and  Amelanchier,  Excellent with native clumping grasses, perennials, and annuals.  Oregon native plant.

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Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria

Giant baby blue eyes is kind of a misleading common name. The flowers in our locally native form of Baby blue eyes are a pure white with black dots on the interior. The only blue that appears on this subspecies is on the reverse of the petals which is often blushed with navy blue. This delightful wildflower grew natively in my back yard where I grew up. In early April to early June it would make sheets of cup shaped blooms under the native white and black oaks. There it bloomed simultaneously with Foothill shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii), Prairie stars (Lithophragma parviflora)  and western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis) and  mission bells (Fritillaria affinis) –  a  really cool native vignette. Wonderful annual for many kinds of native pollinators. Native bees favor this plant and if you look diligently they will be visited over and over.  It will resow itself very reliably if foreign invasive plants are kept away. Mixes really well with (Collinsia grandiflora) Giant Blue Eyed Mary and (Plectritis congesta) Rosy plectritis. A truly exquisite west coast and Oregon native that is adapted to life between clumping grasses. Non native turf grasses will quickly over run and out compete this plant. So, invasive weed control is paramount in maintaining consistent years. In my own backyard it grew between (Festuca californica) California fescue and California three awn (Danthonia californica). Water in potted plants.Protect seedlings in spring and fall from slugs. Oregon native plant.

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Pinckneya bracteata ‘Precocious’

Fever tree is an extraordinary rare endemic in Georgia to South Carolina. Its a monotypic species.. And in a family that is decidedly tropical. We’ve carefully tested this cultivar and we are happy to say it performs here beautifully. Conical spreading small tree to 15′. Large tropical looking mid green leaves are opulent. In July to October it blooms. The real flowers are tubular and white and about 1″ long you only notice them as an after thought because you are immediately drawn to the large and colorful pink fading towhite bracts that surround the tiny flower. Its a wonderful effect, a bit like a pink poinsettia. Deciduous with no appreciable fall color. Locate in rich soil in full hot sun to very light shade. Regular water for at least the first two years to establish- then at least once a month. Beautiful rare tree that has been known to take years to commence bloom. This ‘precocious’ cultivar blooms when its barely 1′ tall and from then annually. Cold hardy to near 0ºF. Not for perpetually cold gardens or hot and dusty dry. Average conditions at least. A tree covered in these bracts/flowers is truly spectacular for weeks. Spectacular and something your neighbors WILL NOT HAVE. Thank you too my friend Mike See for sending me this tree to test in our climate. Its a real stunner and not difficult in any way.  Limited qualities.

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Ligusticum apiifolium

Celery leaved Licorice root is a subtle native  perennial that is widespread in the western third of the state. In late spring  umbels of white flowers are symmetrical and beckon to a host of pollinators. Especially attractive to native wasp species that are good and that predate bad caterpillars. The arrow shaped glossy deep green divided leaves provide a handsome collar for the subtle flowers in bloom. The entire plant tastes and smells very strongly of anise and as children on hikes we would eat the green seeds before they ripened for a blasting hit of licorice. To 2′ x 2′ forming long lived clumps in part shade to full sun. Prolific in the Willamette Valley and able to compete somewhat with non-natives. Water to establish plants from containers in rich soil with consistent irrigation until about the Fourth of July. then it can go dry. Self sows moderately. A common component of Oregon oak woodlands. Often found with Phacelia heterophylla and Polysticum minutum (Western Sword Fern). Oregon native plant.

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Trifolium wildenovii

Tomcat clover is one of our showiest native clover species. A tough hardy annual that is found from about Salem to Newport south to California. Its a common component of waste places and dry rocky environs. In poor soil it is a somewhat meager plant with just a little fertility its a completely different animal. To 12″ tall but usually half that this sparse but showy clover beckons pollinators when its pink to red and white delicate looking flowers that  erupt into bloom in May-July. Very easy to grow in containers with other native annuals. This shares the fecund trait of other clovers and it will already have shed seed by the time you see it in bloom. Excellent forage for native bees- and purported to supply a tangy taste to Tomcat Clover Honey. Water plants from containers to establish, self sown plants get by on natural rainfall alone. Leave the plant well past bloom to shed the following years crop. Give it open disturbed spaces to self sow. The leaves are very much like a clover but the leaflets are a lot thinner. Also found on dry stream banks and with native clumping grasses. Full all day sun.  Oregon native plant.

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Podocarpus lawrencei ‘Purple King’

Wonderful dense, arching and low growing conifer for full sun and only occasional water when established. This cold hardy conifer is native to the highest elevations of Tasmania up into eastern Australia. In the summer the fine but substantial needles turn to dusty blue. The arrival of colder weather brings a distinct and beautiful soft purple cast. To 2′ tall and arching to 5′ tall in 7 years. Long lived and carefree conifer for full sun to very light shade. Dense and blocks weeds. Excellent large scale, weed supressing low water shrub. This cultivar originated in New Zealand and was released as a cultivar in 1994. Very good deer and rabbit resistance. Excellent appearance year round. It has been hardy slightly below 0ºF. Easy to grow.

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Acacia spectabilis

Mudgee Wattle or simply showy wattle this is an extremely pretty small tree that requires a very protected location to thrive. Blue/green bipinnate leaves are intricate and pretty. In very late winter to early spring a stunning show of electric yellow puff ball flowers. It covers the whole tree weighing down the limbs in full bloom. To 12′-15′ tall in rich to average soil and it absolutely requires full sun. Excellent against a south facing wall. The flowers truly are showy and glow from quite a distance. Native to New South Wales and southern Queensland on table lands. Cold hardy to at least 18ºF- it should take colder temperatures if sited correctly. As with all Acacias it is extremely fast growing when young. Consistent summer water. Loved by hummingbirds and insects in general. This special small tree can begin its life in a spindly way. Full sun and regular water strengthens this growth. Excellent, and best adapted for the Oregon coast. It adapts to life on sand (with supplemental water) as well as well developed soils. Not bothered by deer. The large delicate leaves are blue/gray and are pretty year round. This Acacia is not as cold hardy as Acacia covenyi and is hardier than Acacia pravissima. Following bloom long dusty purple seed pods contrast against the blue/gray foliate. Bark is black to dark brown. Inland it is considered experimental.  Eastern Australia.

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Passaflora x ‘Betty Myles Young’

Stellar passion vine with distinctly purple tepals and deep black to blue on the interior of the flower. Vigorous vine for a protected location in full sun. To 12′ in a season and blooming continuously from June to October. Attaches itself by winding tendrils. The flowers appear on new wood, as the vine grows it produces new flowers.  Average to rich soil with REGULAR irrigation during the first season and then occasionally. Passafloras must be well established going into their first winter. In half of the winters (below 20ºF) it can freeze to the ground. It will then rapidly break from the base when truly warm weather arrives.  Mulch heavily the first winter, Place on a trellis against  warm, sunny wall for the best performance. The intricate and beautiful flowers are about 4″ across. Sometimes sets inedible fruit. Passion vines are loved by everybody but especially children. The toy-like flowers enchant. Sweetly fragrant flowers up close. Loved by hummingbirds.  One of the best hybrid Pnassafloras for our gardens. Moderate deer resistance

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Gardenia jasminoides ‘Micheal’

A very mysterious Gardenia that I got from the east coast and whose flowers are ENORMOUS and powerfully fragrant. Everything about this hardy Gardenia is big. The leaves are 5″x 3″ and are forest green and delightfully glossy. A moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 6′ x 6′. Full sun but best in dappled shade in a protected location. Regular, consistent water is crucial. Gardenias like heat and water. Poorly irrigated plants will show yellow leaves on the interior of the plant before wilting. This is especially important since we’ve had consecutive dry springs and most likely you will need to water this plant beginning in April. Rich soil with regular water. Protect from subfreezing wind, and plant in rich soil with ample compost. Apply a handful of all organic fertilizer in early summer. The enormous flowers begin i July and continue to October. The only information I can find on this cold hardy cultivar is that it is particularly resistant to pests. Since Gardenias in our climate aren’t really pest magnets this is moot, but good to know. Spectacular flowers are 5″ across and semi-double. Excellent for corsages and even for floating in a bowl, one flower will perfume a wide area. It is crucially important that this shrub be well established going into winter otherwise its hardiness to cold will be compromised.  Limited quantities.

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Ternstroemia gymnanthera

Obscure but exceedingly handsome and reliable shrub for hedges, specimens, eventually a small tree. Rounded leaves are good looking year round and especially when they first emerge brilliant salmon red before settling to dark green. This is the most showy display on this plant and it lasts for weeks. In mid-late summer small pendant white/cream flowers are nestled among the leaves, you really have to look to see them. Clean evergreen whose foliage is never marred by fungus or cold. Full sun to high overhead shade. To 8′-10′ tall and about half as wide. With great age and no pruning it can achieve small tree status and it forms attractive cloud like crowns of foliage. As a hedge  it excels. Plant 2 gallon plants on 3′ centers and mulch. Irrigate about once a week until you see good new growth. Established plants are very tolerant of dry conditions. Theaceae- Camellia family. Excellent cold hardiness to 0ºF, tolerates some subfreezing wind. Excellent companion plant for Rhododendrons, Pieris, Illicium. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Native to Japan.  Good looking tough plant. Light deer resistance.

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Symphoricarpos albus

Common snowberry is very widespread in our state and is found in a host of biomes This small, deciduous, suckering shrub begins spring with leaves of the freshest green, so fresh they flutter on the late spring early summer breeze. After several weeks of foliage the small white tinted pink flowers are shaped like small bowls and line the stem at every leaf axil. These morph into plush, plump pure white berries that are quite a bit larger than the relatively insignificant flowers. The berries (drupes) are perched in groups on the stems. Their pure white hue is easy to spot for humans and especially birds.They relish the berries while they are toxic for humans.  To 32″ tall forming a dome shaped suckering shrub twice as wide. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Mulch heavily.  The berries last well into winter before becoming animal snacks. The gray thin arching stems create a haze on the forest floor that becomes acid green as leaves appear. Spreads by stolons underground to expand its territory. Its adaptable to both upland quite dry situations as well as vernally wet spots in floodplains and fields. In the Willamette Valley its common associates are with Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)  Quercus garryana  ( Oregon White Oak) and Fraxinus latifolia ( Oregon Ash) as an understory component. Its tolerant of dense shade as long as its deciduous to full hot sun, Very well adapted to the driest summers. In summer the acid green leaves change to a dark blue green and are often afflicted by a strain of powdery mildew- my whole life I’ve known this shrub and I’ve never seen powdery mildew cause any permanent damage- mostly its just a poor aesthetic look for late summer to autumn. Fall color is soft yellow and brief. Branches may be carefully cut in berry and will hold them in arrangements for quite a few days. An excellent forage and cover plant for native fauna.  A great native shrub for beginners. This is the taller form of the two species that we grow. Native to the Portland city limits. Moderate deer resistance. One of our best shrubs for seasonally dry shade.  Oregon native plant.

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Podocarpus x ‘Red Tips’

Excellent,  dwarf/very small Mountain Yew Pine hybrid. To just 2′ tall forming a very dense plant to 3′ wide in 10 years. Late in the summer and autumn it pushes beautiful red stained growth that persists through winter. This small formal looking plant has deep green fine, yew like foliage the remainder of the year. Adaptable conifer that takes clay soils as well as sand. Occasional deep watering not only improves appearance it guarantees that the late summer and autumn color change to red is more dramatic. Full sun to very light shade (with a slightly more open habit). Tiny green pillar shaped flowers can turn into red berries. Very easy to grow for a formal, clean or modern aesthetic. The dense growth is a great fine texture that mixes brilliantly with smaller ornamental grasses and other small conifers. Hybrid between two southern hemisphere Podocarpus. Does not require pruning or maintenance of any kind. Tiny needles are but 4mm long. CUTE. Long lived. Light deer resistance.

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Epilobium (Zauschneria) ‘Carmen’s Gray’

California Fuchsia that is an excellent combination of hot orange tubular flowers set agains dusty gray foliage. To 18″ tall in bloom this Epilobium is a spreader especially in light to rich soil. Adapted to life on slopes and often between boulders on cliffs. There its roots penetrate the cool, wet cracks and that provides sustenance. Give this perennial at least 2′ x 3′ feet to roam. Wonderful performance in hell strips.  Add a little compost and organic fertilizer and you’ll be off to the races. Most (Zauschnerias) require irrigation about once a month and no more than once a week to look and bloom their best. Though it is supremely drought adapted this occasional irrigation substantially improves looks. Loved by hummingbirds and bush tits too who play with the flowers and rip them apart- their goal I have no idea. Dies to the ground in winter- the only presence then is spent stems. Cut these away in early spring after a threat of a hard freeze has passed  Companion plants in the wild are Diplaucus, Delphinium cardinalis, Sedum spathulifolium. California Fuchsias range into southern Oregon and technically they are native to our state. This is an excellent perennial with great contrast between the masses of hot flowers and gray foliage. Not bothered by deer. Loved by hummingbirds Oregon native plant.

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Symphyotrichum chilense

Pacific Aster is a Xera favorite late blooming native perennial. Masses of thick soft periwinkle flowers with a yellow center on an upright growing plant to 30″ tall forming an expanding clump. Blooms which are loved by native pollinators – they instantly appear, you don’t even have to be patient- are a soft color and open on the plant first on top and then down the sides eventually filling in. Its a cloud of periwinkle. Sometime afflicted with harmless powdery mildew. This is more of a problem near winter and afflicted material can be cut away and disposed then. Otherwise leave it standing and dead to thrill bush tits or some creatures like that. Rich soil with deep infrequent irrigation during summer. Once established it can perform reliably on rainfall alone (it will happily accept regular irrigation as well). Excellent mid-border late perennial that is fantastic with the green flowered late blooming Kniphofia pumila, and  Golden rod Solidago canadensis elongate. Long lived. It may be divided after several years. This plant is common around the Pacific Rim in temperate to colder regions. Its natural range is enormous- notice the specific epithet refers to its Chilean origin,, it is just as native and prolific on the Oregon coast. Often found at the edge of woods or scrublands in the transition to grassland/ dune lands. Its common associates in habitat are Fragaria chilense (another Pacific Rim resident)- we grow the variety ‘Aulon’, as well as Pacific reed grass ( Calamagrostis nutkaenasis). Long blooming. ( AKA Chilean Aster- but that is confusing as it is native in Oregon as well. Great performance at its native Oregon coast on sand to clay soils.  Oregon native plant.

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Victor’ (Red)

This has been a great performer in my garden and is one of my favorite smaller crape myrtles.  For the past 10 years it has become a slender, graceful shrub with a wavy branch pattern upright to 9′ tall. In early to mid August glossy black buds erupt into frilly saturated red flowers. The upright large trusses feature the flower color very well and its showy from quite a distance. Disease resistant and very cold hardy-it can be grown without fear in Zone 6b (-5ºF). Fall color is red orange and the slender stems exfoliate to patches of dark brown and lighter tan. Full (all day ) hot sun in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Grows about 6″ per year. Works well in larger containers with regular irrigation and annual applications of fertilizer. Slow to produce because of its dwarf stature this fine small tree will always be limited in quantity. LOVE the saturated red flowers. Elegant small tree, the trusses of flowers are very large for the size of the tree. . Limited quantities.

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Velma’s Royal Delight’

We love this smaller growing crape myrtle for its vivid, opulent huge magenta purple flowers  The shocking color of the petals is amplified by being larger individually than normal. The flowers are born in large globose trusses  mid August to early October. 9′  tall in 10 years it is renowned not only for its vivid flower color but for exceptional cold hardiness – it resprouted from an epic -24ºF freeze in Topeka, Kansas, one of the very few to survive. It also possesses very good disease resistance and I’ve never seen a drop of powdery mildew. In the Southern U.S. it is commonly recommended for these attributes.  Upright then rounded habit. Fall color is red/ orange and brief and the slender but older stems exfoliate to a glossy tan. This is an exceptional flower color- excellent against a deep green backdrop. Full (all day) hot sun in rich soil with regular water beginning in May. It appreciates the hottest position you can give it. One tip if you want to maximize growth is to water it when its going to get hot – it should be well hydrated going into a heatwave. Glossy red buds release the vivid flower petals. This small, hardy excellent Crape Myrtle was bred by and then named for Mrs. Velma McDaniels a Wichita KS crape myrtle enthusiast.  She did a phenomenal job.  Crape myrtles are completely intolerant of shade- 6 or more hours of full sun per day. Delightful cultivar. Limited quantities.

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Mandevilla laxa

Chilean Jasmine is not common in our region but it has been grown for many decades and it does well in warmer gardens, protected places. Large entire deep green leaves are 3″ long and  opposite on twining stems. This strongly growing vine requires heavy and reliable support (See #4 copper wire). Blooms on new growth, which is continuous, In rich soil it can achieve 15′ in a season. The 2″ long tubular white flowers have the familiar propeller petal configuration of this family the Apocynaceae . The fragrance to me is delicious on warm days and nights and close to the blossoms which appear in clusters. It is not a sweetly cloying scent but more sophisticated. I once had this vine around my front door. In full bloom on warm summer nights it would be a cloud of perfume. Deciduous and often freezes back either 1/2- 3/4 of the way in colder than normal winters. In horrendous winters (below 12ºF) it can freeze away. Choose a protected site in full sun with rich soil and ample water. The more verdant the growth the more profuse the display and fragrance. Blooms late May- October. Avoid, cold frosty sites, cold gardens. In rural areas place it against  south facing wall. Because it blooms on new wood and grows so prolifically it may be cut nearly to the ground for a fresh start to the year- do this in late March.  In most summers large two chamber connected bean pods are 8″ long and bright green. When they ripen to tan they will twist and release downy clad black seeds that sail on the wind. Several winters in a row and the seeds that germinate may survive. I almost always lose them but the climate is changing and don’t bet on self sowing any way -its rare  Root hardy to about 5ºF- mulch for added protection. Exquisite vine. Native to central southern Chile.

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Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Josephine County’

(California) Coffee Berry. Greg collected the berries/seed from this evergreen shrubby species in southwestern Oregon. In Josephine county it is a common dry shade understory component of both the forest and in open stands in chaparral. A light and gaunt  evergreen with slightly glossy convex leaves that hang on the tips of the gray branches. In spring/ summer tiny green flowers morph into the familiar berries. They start green move to red and arrive at black/brown. To 6′ tall x 6′ wide on average. Growth in rich soil is much more verdant and dense. In dry shade, its natural haunt, it assumes its most common form. Birds will spread this tough shrub that is ideal for wild scaping, xeric landscaping, rural areas. Perhaps its most wonderful characteristic is that it is deer resistant- they will munch but it will cause the plant to return twice as dense and verdant. Leaves are glossy on top and blue/gray on the reverse and persist for 3-5 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Water to establish, or ideally plant in fall then natural rainfall alone. It will tolerate quite a bit of shade as well as root competition but not low shade, high overstay shade is better. . Informal shrub- good year round appearance. Extreme drought adaptation when established. In habitat this shrub is found with Arctostaphylos canescens, viscida, and Rhododendron occidentale and macrophyllum. Overstory is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Pseudotsuga, Pinus attentuata, Umbellularia californica. Quercus sp.  Cold hardy. Great for wildlife. Seed grown., Oregon native plant

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Erigeron speciosus

Showy daisy- though that is far too vague for this tough and graceful wildflower. Native in separate parts of the state this summer blooming perennial inhabits meadows and fields of the Willamette Valley. Rows of very fine soft pink petals surround a green/yellow center on 18″ stems June-August. The pretty daisies come in a group and then appear sporadically until frost. Loved by pollinators this is an authentic component of Willamette Valley meadows. Average to enriched soil with regular water to establish, in subsequent years it can survive on rainfall alone. Plant with  Prunella vulgaris var, lanceolata,  and Erigeron glaucus for a midsummer blooming native vignette. Long lived low maintenance perennial that goes completely deciduous. Widespread in the northwestern states of the US. Our version is from seed native to the Willamette Valley. Loved by butterflies and even good beetles. Clump expands to 2′ wide in time. Not bothered by deer. Simple, tough, wonderful native perennial. Full sun. Oregon native plant.

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Grevillea x ‘Foxy Red’

We selected this seedling long ago for its vigor, it was chosen from a batch of 50 as one of the best and it is. ‘Foxy Red’ is a mounding, low growing shrub that spreads. To 3′ tall x 8′ wide it produces a nearly year round parade of tomato red flowers. The  elongated superior foliage is olive green on the upper surface and gray below and comes to sharp point. Fast growing in full sun to light shade. Average unimproved soils are ideal, dig a large hole and soften the soil on the outer edges.  Water faithfully, once a week until good new growth commences then water less- once every two weeks/month depending on aridity. Nice looking winter blooming shrub that is ideal planted above rock walls where it can cascade down. Loved by hummingbirds, especially wintering Anna’s who see an out of season nectar source as gold. Mulch after planting- coarse bark, chips, gravel…. Established plants take summer drought without supplemental irrigation. Should be deer resistant. At some point we’ll test it for their consumption. Really nice looking shrub both in foliage and bright flower. May be pruned at any time of the year. Avoid strong subfreezing east wind. Protected site- south or west facing.

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Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’

Outstanding form of New England Aster that has the most intense deep purple flowers on a non-splitting compact plant. To 18″ tall by 22″ wide, it arrives in bloom in September and continues through October. Rich soil with regular irrigation in full sun to very light shade. An excellent late border perennial and it would be located in the middle to the front of a border. The dense, compact habit of resists splitting in our first fall rains- not all cultivars do. Loved by pollinators including natives. Spent stems can be left erect through winter as food for birds and insects. A basal rosette of green leaves will just be emerging at the base. Easy, reliable, hardy perennial.  The flower stems last quite a while in a vase. Mix with the pink clouds of that outstanding fall blooming grass Muhlenbergia riverchonii. Very long lived. Mildew resistant. Good deer resistance.

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Grevillea x ‘Citrus Sparklepie’

Grevilleas are interesting in that almost all species will cross and you can end up with some really weird shit. In this instance I selected  this mounding evergreen shrub for the vividness of its orange flowers and superior cold hardiness from about 50 others. This cross between G. victorae and G. juniperina has thicker leaves than most cultivars (and seedlings) and that translates directly to improved cold hardiness and they end in a sharp tip. This variety has weathered 10ºF so far and could be hardier.  Larger, vivid orange flowers with a style stained melon red that quickly matches the orange of the perianth. (Pouch like petals that reflex when open). To 3′ tall x 8′ wide in 5 years. Full sun to very light shade in average to poor soil. Water weekly after planting and then as growth increases limit it to once a month- a deep soak. Blooms almost continually with a crescendo in late winter/early spring. Loved by hummingbirds, European honeybees, and native hover flies. Easy to grow. Mulch after planting. Its important that Grevilleas become well established by their first winter- this immediately increases cold hardiness. Once established its fairly care free except for occasional pruning. Established shrubs can go through summer without any supplemental water. Fun to grow shrub. Excellent at the Oregon coast, tolerates sandy substrates with additional water. Not bothered by deer. Elk? I have no idea- they will at least step on it so protect. Grevilleas all require good air circulation. Avoid plants that flop or lay on them- not only will it block the sun  it can even encourage rot. Site your Grevilleas where they are open and the wind can blow them dry.

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Abutilon (Callianthe) ‘Nectarine’

One of our very finest Flowering Maple selections. Relatively large pendulous flowers are soft citrus yellow/orange with darker red veining. As this variety blooms out the flowers expand and the petals reflex upward, a very charming look. Vigorous and surprisingly cold hardy Abutilon. To 4′ x 4′ in a season. Rich soil that drains with REGULAR H20. During the growing season Flowering maples very much appreciate at least one application of all purpose organic fertilizer to enhance vigor and blooming. Easy to grow in containers where it will likely perform as a tender annual. In the ground it is different. By the end of winter the plant will look absolutely horrible sticks and maybe a few pieces of tattered dead leaves. The secret to the spring resurrection  is to water heavily and consistently until you see new growth. Then you can let the soil dry between irrigation. Loved by Hummingbirds and birds in general.  Grows very fast in the correct conditions. Blooms June to October.

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Teucrium aroanum

Low ground cover Germander that is at home in hot sunny aspects in well drained conditions. The fine gray foliage rises to 5″ tall and forms a spreading plant.  Beginning in early summer and extending to fall soft purple to lavender clusters of flowers cover the surface of the plant. Though small this plant is a huge hit with pollinators. Full, hot sun and light summer water to establish. Not a fan of heavy soils and sodden conditions  In the wild this plant is primarily a resident of rocky sites and hillsides of the Mediterranean. This ever gray perennial is good looking in winter. Foliage is aromatic and has fruity tints to the fragrance. Mix with other smaller rock garden plants or develop a small area that acts as a groundcover. Loathes shade. Good container or trough plant. Grows up to 18″ wide in several years. Pollinator masterpiece. Moderate deer resistance.

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Hosta plantaginea

Fragrant August lily. We don’t grow very many Hostas. For the most part they are water lovers and they require care to really thrive in our climate. This classic species is much tougher than most and makes due with bold, solid  green leaves and 3′ spikes of powerfully fragrant white flowers in late summer.  Fragrant hosta lily forms a clump 2′ tall and spreading to 4′ wide. Adaptable to shade (higher overhead shade) part shade, and full sun. Rich soil with regular water gives verdancy and encourages a large set of blooms. The fragrance of the many flower spikes is detectable many feet away on warm days. Give this large plant room to spread, plan ahead. Also, take note of where you want to smell the wafting perfume- near benches, seating etc. Completely winter deciduous. Plant with other bold perennials in the woodland where rich soil and regular moisture give it a long life. Plant with Bergenia ciliata for a bold duo. Regular summer water if located in full sun. Very long lived. Protect the emerging plant for slugs and snails. Bait regularly.

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Symphyotrichum hallii

Hall’s Aster might as well be known as Willamette Valley Aster as this charming smaller perennial is found primarily there. To 20″ tall and spreading to form a wider clump this native aster begins blooming in August and continues into Autumn. The small daisy flowers have rays that are primarily white, though light pink and lavender are also seen. The reverse of the petals is always a darker color- primarily very light lavender. Excellent native pollinator plant for late in the season. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil. Adaptable to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. In the garden deep infrequent soaks will yield the healthiest and most floriferous plants. Spreads moderately underground by stolons. Not bothered by deer. Nice little cut flower as filler for bolder arrangements. Climate adapted perennial that is a native for a Willamette Valley prairie. Not as vigorous and space consuming as Symphyotrichum subspicatum – Douglas aster. Hall’s aster fits in much smaller spaces. Easy to grow, winter deciduous. Associated plants in the wild are Sidalcea m. ‘Virgata’, Eriophyllum lanatum, Achillea millefolium.  Takes intense dry conditions with establishment. Oregon native plant.

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Rudbeckia hirta ‘Autumn Colors’

This short lived, very showy perennial is tough as nails. This strain enchants with huge flowers that are almost always single but come in tones from black to yellow, brown, orange, and red.. They immediately remind me of a blanket made by native Americans.  To 28″ tall ( compact ) with enormous flowers up to 5″ across. They come in a profusion from mid summer to early autumn. This strain has a natural life span of 3-5 years – but it does re-sow itself in open and opportune places. Open  soil that has been slightly enriched with compost / fertilizer. Full sun and regular water until fall rains take over. Mix with other sunset orange/ brown toned flowers. I pick the searing true red of Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’ as sell as the soft green spikes of Kniphofia pumila both will bloom simultaneously  with the Rudbeckia Excellent in summer containers and beloved for its long bloom time. Remove spent flowers for the first few rounds to encourage more bloom. leave the last round  to be pollinated and set seed. Excellent pollinator perennial. Regular water for the first season , less the following year. Some deer resistance.

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Symphyotrichum chilense ‘Short Sands Purple’

Pacific Aster. Our selection of a widespread beach aster species that circles much of the temperate Pacific Rim. This form tops out at a compact 30″ on an upright plant that forms expanding clumps in rich to average soil ‘Short Sands’ is a purple form from seed of a very dark purple specimen that Greg found.  It is by far the darkest purple that we have encountered in this species. The majority are white to very light lavender. Most often its habitat is adjacent or very near the coastal strand. Its adapted to all kinds of soils from sand to clay and it appreciates deep infrequent water during the summer season. Blooms begin in August and open until mid November. This aster is often seen along the sides of HWY 101. In fleeting glimpse you can capture small periwinkle daisies late in the season. A pollinator master piece. All sorts of natives recognize this showy perennial. Full sun to light shade. It seems to be most vertical in full sun and average soil. Over amended soils, too much water, or too much shade will lead to a splaying flop. The flat upturned daisies come in rows of two for a fuller look and are a natural landing pad for butterflies.  Winter deciduous, very tolerant of dry conditions when established but does better with deep infrequent summer drinks. Cut back hard in spring- a new batch of leaves will just be arriving. This sophisticated  native is at home in pampered borders or wild areas. Associated plants in habitat are Mianthemum dilitatum, Calamagrostis nutkensis, and Vaccinium ovatum. Its habitat is dwindling as Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius) and Ox Eye Daisy (Dendranthema) have crowded this special plant out  Excellent garden plant.  Oregon native plant

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Gladiolus papilio ‘Ruby’

This is an exciting new form of the butterfly glad, which we lovingly refer to as Gladzilla. So far, this cultivar is not nearly as rambunctious but is vigorous. Forming large colonies by bulb offsets as well as seed. Gray/green foliage rises to 16″ in clumps. In  mid summer a large display of Ruby pink flowers appear in staggered stems up to 24″. If left to its on devices and just watered a good clump can yield more than a dozen stems. It makes a fantastic cut flower and unopened buds will be forced open in the vase. Full sun and AVERAGE soil with REGULAR water for the first season then light irrigation in subsequent years.It is vigorous enough that you can rely on water alone to check its growth. Very easy to grow cold hardy perennial Gladiolus. Very long lived. Mixes well with other vigorous perennials for full sun and regular water. Not bothered by deer or pests. To 2′ wide as a clump. Winter deciduous. South Africa.

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Echinacea purpurea ‘Prima Donna Deep Rose’

Echinaceas have been bred, crossed and pretty much turned into mums. There is no doubt that the straight species and those closest to  it are the easiest and longest lived plants. This seed strain of Echinacea purpurea displays all the best traits of the species, Large deep rose reflexed petals around an orange/brown fragrant cone. Echinacea in our climate requires regular irrigation for the first two years to establish. Its critically important in the first year. Full sun and rich soil that drains with regular irrigation. Wonderful border perennial and even cut flower. Blooms late June to late August The spent flowers may be left to feed overwintering birds, the stems turn deep black and are  handsome as well. I’ve had excellent luck adding a handful of all organic fertilizer (dry) to the hole before planting. This helps the plant establish faster and in time it will require much less water. To 3′ tall and forming an enlarging clump. Moderate deer resistance. Native to the plains/midwest US. Fragrant. ( We don’t grow any double Echinacea because they are worthless to pollinators.)

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Erigeron glaucus ‘Bright Lights’

Beach fleabane or beach daisy normally runs in a mauve, to periwinkle vein. This lovely selection turns it up with crystal white daisies and a bold yellow center.  Long lived perennial that is very adaptable. To 6″ tall a happy clump will spread to 2′ wide or more. Low and spreading it displays the flowers upright in a mass. This beckons pollinates and they always find this easy going daisy. Full sun, rich to average soil with regular irrigation through the bloom period. This not only keeps the plant verdant it encourage re-bloom which can occur until September. The initial huge show of flowers begins in late May into July. Excellent perennial for the top of a wall where it will happily creep over the edge and follow the contours on the way down. It may be cut back hard after the initial large flush of flowers, this tidies the plant and sets the stage for another big show. Not bothered by deer and often left alone by rabbits. This daisy is most conspicuous in habitat on the cliffs adjacent to the beach. It also perches on sea stacks. Beach fleabane ranges from the Northern Oregon coast south all along the California coast. Mix with other Erigeron glaucus cultivars for depth of contrast- this is when all the flower colors look the most distinct. Very easy to grow and it also absorbs the heat of parking strips with no issues. Cold hardy. Oregon native plant

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Eccremocarpus scaber ‘Orange’

Chilean glory vine comes in a host of flower colors. We’ve endeavored to sell them by that category. This orange variety is both a vivid color and the most common for this short lived vine. To 8′ in a season- or taller this light textured vine attaches itself by tendrils. Provide fine support such as a mesh or small diameter trellis. Bloom is on new growth and continues all season. After flowering chain of swollen seed pods  appear- leave some on the plant to ripen as this plant will also self sow and the main plant will live for only 3-5 years so you want a replacement. Loved by pollinators but naturally adapted to hummingbirds. Full sun and rich, well drained soil in a protected location. This is a great vine textured, light vine for fence, even chicken coops. Dies back to the ground in normal to colder than normal winters, returns from the base in spring. Lovely vine. Mulch in autumn to protect the base.  Chile

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Dianthus ‘Georgia Peach Pie’

Wonderful new Dianthus that enchants us with large single flowers of intricate coloring. One inch wide flowers have a pinked edge and the interior of the fragrant flower is a ring of darker pink. On either side of the ring a zone of coral on the center with a ring of very light pink on the exterior- see complex. The clove scented flowers appear from April-July and are showy for weeks. Excellent cut flower that produces long stems and is ideal for bouquets. To 1′ x 1′ forming a slowly spreading evergreen clump. Not bothered by pests or disease. If Dianthus are shy to bloom in our climate a handful of lime in winter is all thats needed. Regular water though bloom time then less required. Excellent combined with other smaller perennials. Enchanting with the chalk pink simultaneous flowers of Aethionema Shrubby rock cress. Evergreen. Flowers are edible and are sweet with a hint of the fragrance. Beautiful Dianthus. Long lived perennial.

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Abutilon (Callianthe) ‘Nabob’

Odd name for a wonderful flowering maple. This Abutilon has earned its fame with large deep red/black red pendant flowers for months on end. In one season it will form a substantial sub-shrub and bloom continuously as it grows.  Rounded habit to 4’x 3′. Its best home is in containers where you can inspect the intensity of the flower color up close. Each globe shaped flower is 1 1/2″ wide and they occur in a huge display for months. Loved by hummingbirds and pollinators as well. Rich soil with regular irrigation. In spring if the winter has been normal to mild it will often resprout from the base when warm weather returns. Mulch in autumn to protect the base. The early spring appearance is pretty awful the solution  is to water, water, water, and add a 1/2 cup of all purpose organic fertilizer. Recovery is rapid as the weather warms. If in a mobile container it may be moved into an unheated garage and watered once a month through winter. Bring out, fertilize and water when all threat of frost has passed. Classic flowering maple.

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Apocynum androsaemifolium

Spreading Dogbane is a pretty semi-shrubby native perennial that is found in every biome in our area. David Douglas mentioned this billowing perennial with clouds of light pink/white bells. Mostly he hated tripping over it in the Willamette Valley. This very permanent plant spreads to form big drifts in the wild. Streambanks, prairies, alpine meadows it can appear. The rounded downward pointing leaves emerge on semi-woody stems. In June-August clouds of flowers appear for weeks. Loved by pollinators and birds specifically attractive to native hummingbirds and butterflies. To 2′ tall and spreading by stolons to a wide area. Water to establish then none in subsequent years. Mulch after planting. Virtually any somewhat rich soil type including amended sand. Full sun to part shade. Wonderful plant and floral texture for meadows. I have great childhood memories of this plant in July in full bloom perched with our huge native black bumble bees. Very convenient bloom time- it begins to bloom just as most other natives are finished.  Dogbane is toxic when consumed by humans or animals- hence the common name. When stems are broken a milky sap is exuded. Moderate deer resistance.  Distantly related to milkweed. Once very common in the Willamette Valley its territory has shrunk. Great performance in hellstrips and verges that are lightly or completely non-irrigated. Give this plant room to spread and plan ahead. Limited availability. Oregon native plant

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Hebe ‘Inveray’

Cold hardy and very showy  Hebe that is an excellent small scale ground cover. To just inches high it expands over time to up to 4′ wide. The gray evergreen foliage is handsome year round. In early summer the tips of the plant are ensconced in violet- blue colored flowers. This showy display draws pollinators and butterflies. One of the showiest of the very cold hardy varieties. Takes temperatures below 10ºF with no damage. Excellent on slopes. Expanding branches can root where they touch the ground, making this spreader excellent for erosion control. It also grows with such density to block weeds. Very easy to grow. Mix with perennials and in-between shrubs in full sun to very light shade. Light CONSISTENT summer irrigation. The small gray leaves line the black stems for more exquisite detail. Excellent at the top of a wall where it will trail and follow the contours exactly. Moderate deer resistance.

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Lilium formosanum var. pricei

A really wonderful dwarf Lily that doesn’t have you pulling down pollen covered flowers to get a smell. This lily tops out at about 14″ tall so, you’ll be bending down or even better, in a container where you can observe the intricate coloration and sweet perfume. Very thin leaves are like strings and give the small trunk a fine texture. In June/July relatively huge maroon buds open to reveal an extremely fragrant flower with an ivory interior- each individual blossom is 4″ long- very large for the overall size of the plant. Blooms continuously for 3-4 weeks. Full sun and regular water. Not bothered by lily diseases and very easy to grow. This hardy perennial increases by multiplying bulbs as well as bulbils and seed. The fragrance is not closely like most oriental lilies. Instead its a mild perfume that lingers. Plant with other smaller scale perennials. Diascia ‘Blue Bonnet’, Dianthus ‘Dainty Dame’. In time a clump will sport 3-5 flower spikes.

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Abutilon (Callianthe) megapotamicum (a) ‘Red’

Everything about this form of hardy flowering maple is identical  to the species except the molten red flowers with deeper veins shot through. The 2″ pendant flowers appear from May to October on a large growing sub-shrub. To 6′ in a single season It makes rapid growth as temperature rise above 70ºF. Full sun, in a protected location in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Abutilons look absolutely horrific in spring even after a normal winter. Expect this. The solution is to water, water, water especially as the temperatures rise. It blooms on new wood and flowers are continuous as the shrub grows. Mostly deciduous but it can be evergreen at the coast or in protected places in mild winters. Loved  by hummingbirds who are lured by the lurid red flowers filled with nectar. Cut back by 1/2 after all danger of frost has passed. Supply a handful of all organic fertilizer and water faithfully. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Inland it is best with the protection of a shrub covering its roots so that the soil does not freeze. In this situations it can live even thrive for many many years. Mulch with compost. Native to the mountains of Brazil. Root hardy to about 10ºF. Long lithe stems can be woven through a fence or a lattice.

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Ribes roezlii

Sierra gooseberry or sticky gooseberry is a pretty if prickly native deciduous shrub for rough areas. Charming in bloom , the 1/2″ pendant flowers have sepals that are reflexed and red around a pendant white corolla. After opening they both change to light red and remain showy for several weeks. They line zig zagging stems with three thorns at each node. That means  you must site this 7′ tall by 4′ wide arching plant carefully. The flowers are pretty viewed up close and turn into prickly translucent green/red drupes. These are eaten by a huge variety of wildlife and especially smaller birds. Often the shrub will be completely stripped of berries by the time the soft orange fall color appears. Native from the Cascades of Marion county south throughout inland California down to San Diego county CA. Its most often found in dry gravelly areas on slopes in full sun to deep woods where its habit is more restrained and open. Blooms appear in mid spring. Water lightly to establish the first summer then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Adaptable to dry shade if it is not completely dark. Moderate deer resistance. Very similar to another native Gooseberry Ribes lobbii which is discrete in its dull non sticky leaves. Wonderful native shrub.Rarely seen in habitat below 1000′.  Oregon native plant

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Iris tenuis

Clackamas Iris is a rare endemic to only three counties in northern Oregon. Though it appears in scale with Pacific Coast Iris, it is not related and is more closely aligned with bearded Iris. Pale green 15mm wide leaves first emerge vertically before settling to a more horizontal position. Light lavender buds unfurl to white with yellow on the falls in May-July. In its native range this smaller iris is everywhere which  begs the question; Why isn’t its natural range larger? Not bothered by deer or pests this is a supremely climate adapted perennial. To 12″ tall in bloom the arching leaves equal that and spreads out. Light consistent summer water to establish, then only what falls from the sky. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. In habitat it is an understory component with Sword Ferns and shrubs such as Hazel, Oso Berry, and Viburnum. Provide deep rich soil and room to spread. This Iris makes very large colonies quickly- to 3′ wide.  The broad leaves are winter deciduous. Wonderful Iris for gardens and wild areas.  Oregon native plant.

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Dicentra formosa

Oregon bleeding heart is a widespread lush, long blooming perennial wildflower for moist conditions in shade to full sun. A somewhat rambunctious plant that spreads quickly by stolons. Do not plant it near shy or small plants that can become swamped. It tolerates quite a bit of shade and if in full sun it thrives with supplemental water and a massive flower display. Divided soft green foliage is very good looking, in April-July a continuous supply of rose colored downward pointing clumps of flowers on an 18″ spike. The foliage rises on average to half that height. Responds vigorously to amended soils and regular irrigation. In hot dry situations it will go quickly summer dormant. In the shade with water leaves persist to autumn and re-bloom  occurs. Not bothered by pests, including deer and snails and slugs. Frequently found in shady ditches in the Willamette Valley. Winter deciduous, if not already summer drought deciduous. An easy to grow, self sufficient perennial for wild areas. Mix with other vigorous and scaled plants. Very easy to grow.  Oregon native plant

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Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana

AKA Cascara or Cascara sagrada. This is a widespread small tree to shrub in the northwestern part of the United States to SW Canada. West of the Cascades  its found in almost every biome. It can be a wind contorted shrub on blasting headlands at the coast. In the Willamette Valley its common where birds drop the berries/seeds on fence rows and it borders fields with native roses and Oso Berry. Its even found in the Bitteroot mountains in Montana/Idaho. It was frequently used by indigenous people as a laxative. Cascara is a small round crowned tree/shrub. In drier locations it is more shrub like but in deep, rich soil with access to water it can grow to be a thirty five foot tree. Large round alternate leaves turn dark green and glossy in summer. In May and June the tiny greenish flower appear and transform into red fruits by autumn. This is the mechanism that makes this plant so widespread, its dispersal by birds. A lovely little straight trunked shade tree that requires almost no water once established. It functions as an understory component as well. Full sun to quite a bit of shade, including dry shade. Easy to grow and climate adapted. Average life span 35 years. In winter its very symmetrical open branch structure is handsome. Fall color is soft yellow to chartreuse and not especially showy. Oregon native plant

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Allium acuminatum

This delightful onion has a wide range in our state. Primarily you see it in dry, exposed sites a little way up from the bottom of the Willamette Valley. Mid green slightly fragrant grassy leaves give way to an 8″ stems in May-June with a chalice of multiple pink/lavender pink upward facing flowers. Full sun to part shade and adaptable to many soils as long as there is a dry rest in summer. This onion quickly goes summer dormant directly after seed set and disappears entirely by mid summer. Great pollinator bulb for Willamette Valley meadows. Its nearly always on a slope where it is found. Replicate this and give it only the rain that falls from the sky in subsequent years. In time the bulb multiplies and it can also self sow. Leave a disturbed area around the plant and keep it free of weeds and they can mature and bloom in several years. Light deer resistance. aka Slender leaved onion. Very attractive food source for butterflies.  Oregon native plant.

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Geranium tuberosum ‘Slender Silver Leaf Form’

This is a really pretty take on the more common form of Geranium tuberosum.  Rather than brilliant deep purple flowers this very distinct variety makes due with the hues pink and lavender. The foliage on this spreading bulb is what really shines. Deeply incised palmate leaves are brushed with silver hairs. This pairs with the more pastel colors of the flowers in a very good way. Rich soil to average soil in part shade. Once established rely only on what falls from the sky. Bloom is 4-6 weeks April to early June and the flowers wave above 18″ stems. Vigorous and healthy and not bothered by any pests, that includes slugs and snails who will leave it strictly alone. Goes quickly dormant with summer heat- disappears entirely. Very easy and satisfying perennial to grow in Cottage gardens, spring borders, will flower gardens. Combine with spring ephemerals and bulbs. Sophisticated cultivar that improves the species.

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Grevillea x ‘Xera Peach’

We’ve been attempting to hybridize Grevilleas specifically, and that has proven to be difficult. What I rely on then are open pollinated hybrids – all Grevillea species can cross, pollinated by European honeybees in my garden they almost all set seed.  This is seed from a hybrid between Grevillea victorae x  Grevillea juniperina ‘Gold’. I sowed a bunch of seed and this seedling stands out as superior to the other seedlings and to many other Grevilleas that we grow. This is an upright growing and then spending evergreen shrub with distinctive small grass green wedge shaped leaves. The flowers are very large for a hybrid and the perianth is a soft citrus pastel orange. The style or pollen presenter begins life after opening with a red/melon color as it ages the style changes to light yellow from the tip down. The base of the style nearest the perianth remains dark melon red. Very heavy blooming selection. Flowers appear January-July and on older plants year round. The large clusters of un opened buds are shaded light pink before maturing.  Upright growing then spreading laterally with age. To 4′ tall and 6′ wide. All Grevilleas are a beacon to Hummingbirds and all birds as is this cultivar.  Full sun in average, un-amended soil. Dig a very large hole and water weekly until you see good new growth then taper to once a month. I’m very proud to offer this seedling, it is a vast improvement on other Grevilleas with similar size flowers- this one beats them all. Best in a warm, protected location.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Notholithocarpus densiflorus (Lithocarpus)

Tan bark oak or Tan Oak is native to the SW corner of Oregon south into the mountains of southern Califiornia. The large convex leaves emerge clad in gray fur as this wears off it reveals a mature deep green with an underside of silver. Moderately fast growing evergreen tree to 45′ tall x 25′ wide in 30  years. Grows on average 2′-4′ per year when young. This close relative of Oaks produces acorns that are light tan and born out of an indumentum covered prickly cup. In Oregon this tree mostly of mountains can be found most extensively from Douglas and Coos County south to the coastal border. It is found in the higher elevations of the mountains of northern California where quite a bit of heavy wet snow occurs. This tree will bend in snow and ice and it will not break. Conical and spreading crown. Tan Oak which was harvested in the 19th and early 20th century for the collection of commercial tannins. Full sun, it grows well but is slower and a bit spindly as an understory tree. The furrowed bark is dark brown to black. Its range is almost the same in Oregon as Canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis) and cold hardiness is equivalent too, hardy just below 0ºF. Wonderful, stately, native evergreen shade tree. Ours are raised from acorns collected at the northern extent of its range in Douglas County.  Oregon native plant.

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Hebe pimelioides ‘Quicksilver’

Fascinating New Zealand Hebe that is native to higher montane areas and is therefore very hardy to cold. Many arch black stems cradle rows of symmetrical small gray foliage. The color effect is more machine than plant and this arching shrub gains density by shearing the tips after flowering has ended in June. 2″ spikes support rows of violet blue flowers that fade to white in the oldest blooms. This shrub is best in containers or new gardens. It tends not to age well after 5 or so it begins to look unkempt. You can stave this off with pruning- prune just under the base of the lowest flower spike in July. Excellent new garden or rock garden plant for fine silvery texture and contrast with black stems. It truly shine in winter containers where it looks its best. To 14″ tall x 16″ wide forming somewhat of an anvil shape. Consistent summer water during hot spells. Cold hardy to the single digits.

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Callistemon (Melaleuca) pallidus ‘Blue Leaf Form’

This is a relatively cold hardy and spectacular bottlebrush. Very upright growth on a vertical growing plant with distinctly blue leaves. In late spring soft yellow thick bottle brush flowers appear in a massive display. Hummingbirds and people come running. The glowing flower color set against a blue backdrop is sublime. Full sun (no shade, don’t even try) in a warm, protected location such as a south facing wall or fence. Moderately fast growing in the ground to 12′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. It can suffer considerable damage in our coldest winters, but established plants have recovered from temperatures below 10ºF. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed after blooming has ended. Rows of button shaped woody seed capsule follow and persist for several years. Spectacular and easy at the coast. Aromatic foliage has some deer resistance. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 20ºF. Blooms well in a container. Tasmania. Water to establish then occasionally in summer. Avoid strong subfreezing wind.

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Rosa x ‘Flamingo’

This large hybrid shrub rose was a spontaneous volunteer at the Bellevue Botanical Garden in Washington. Big, soft green pinnate leaves are almost floppy. Beginning in May and repeatedly through summer 4″ wide rosy pink flowers with raspberry red stamens appear. They age slowly to light lavender in a few days. The huge single flowers are  often followed by large orange/then red hips. Each flower is so enormous that it bends the branches considerably when the flower is open. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Wonderful, informal, and showy shrub to 6′ x 6′ in a season. Blooms on wood from the current season. Prune heavily in early spring. Not bothered by most diseases, locate with good air circulation to stymie powdery mildew which it can be afflicted in cool, wet springs. Cool, floppy, cut rose with a slight fragrance. Thorny but not deadly. Regular water in rich soil. Add at least one handful of all purpose organic fertilizer in spring and again in summer. This rose is propagated on its own roots. Give this large, spectacular rose room to spread out.

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Salvia spathacea

Hummingbird Salvia is a Californian Sage. In rich soil it spreads liberally by underground runners to colonize large areas. That is if winter does not knock it back. Large quilted soft green arrow shaped leaves appear in early spring, by late spring 28″ tall chalice’s of rich red/pink (Raspberry) flowers erupt from dramatic and well spaced whorls. Rich to average soil that drains well. Water well in the first season to establish then very light to none in subsequent years. A Salvia of southern and central California  it has a distinctive aroma that is loved by some, despised by others. Mulch with dry leaves for the first winter or two. Doesn’t like wet plus subfreezing cold. Good, and restrained in a container. Protect containerized plants from extreme cold (below 20ºF). Nice and very dramatic cut flowers. Blooms March repeatedly until June. Great for hummingbirds, butterflies, and pollinators. Semi-deciduous in winter.

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Rosmarinus officinale (Salvia) ‘Mozart’

The blue flowers of the common and loved herb rosemary rivals that of Ceanothus and Lithodora. That is on certain varieties. Bloom typically begins in December and peaks in early spring continuing until late spring on the best varieties. This is the best variety for blue flowers. The obvious Salvia flowers on ‘Mozart’ are thick on the stems and are entirely dark blue- no interior dots of white or white splotches. Full sun and water to establish in average soil. Extremely drought adapted when established. This strongly arching shrub goes up to about 30″ and spreads to 4′ wide. Hillsides, the top of rock walls, containers subjected to reflected heat. Pork roast. Very good culinary use/taste for this plant. Hardy to about 5ºF. Good drainage improves cold hardiness. Tolerates the hottest places with no stress. Aromatic waxy resin will attach to your fingers. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Prune or harvest when needed after blooming has ended. Some deer resistance. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Great performance at the Oregon coast.

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Helleborus x sternii ‘Variegata’

The O’Byrnes gave us this strain of the variegated form of Helleborus x sternii. Inheriting cold tolerance from H. corsica and nifty, thick palmate leaves from the more tender H. lividus .The result is a tough plant with green cupped flowers stained rose on the outside of the bell. The flowers remain effective for several months. Not quite as long as the straight H. x sternii, but a relatively long time. A shrubby species with large evergreen leaves. They are heavily speckled with cream dots with an underside to the leaves and the stems tinted pink. The palmate leaves become large and arching. Full sun with more frequent irrigation to full  shade with less. To 2′ x 2′. Deer and possibly rabbit resistant. The rough leaves resist weather. Site as you would for a small shrub. It is elegant with other woodlanders or can be grown with drought tolerant to low water plants even in full sun. Flower bend over enshrouded in a cup shape that protects the pollen from rain and the vagaries of winter weather.  Blooms January with flowers effective for three months. Great, sophisticated but tough plant for rural areas. May be afflicted with aphids in late spring. Hose those off or do not look closely.

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Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Anchor Bay’

A very good looking mounded, evergreen shrub that is best appreciated in milder gardens. In colder gardens provide a warm protected site. The small holly-like leaves are mat green and good looking year round. This moderately fast growing shrub at first spreads out and then with time mounds up. To 30″ tall by 4′ wide in 6 years. Dense growth suppresses weeds. In Apri/May for 3 weeks button shaped flower cluster are pale sky blue and appear on wood from the previous year. Prune, if needed after bloom has ended. This is seldom necessary. Consistent summer water for the first season then none in subsequent years. Excellent adaptation to the Oregon coast.  Cold hardy to 8º-10ºF briefly. Very good performance in hot sunny hell strips. Accepts part shade (at the expense of bloom) and poor soils. Somewhat formal in appearance it avoids the brush pile look with dense, closely layered leaves. Not as palatable to deer. Good appearance year round.

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Heuchera sanguinea ‘Count Dracula’

Pale green leaves are striking and fade to cream, the transition  appears  differently on each leaf and  the gradation of colors give you a cool affect. Pair that- pale leaves with the darkest red flowers we have yet to see on this species and you get a phenomenal plant. Adapted to part shade to full sun – and it doesn’t burn or bleach in sun. A long lived perennial with blood red flowers and foliage the color of Draculas skin that spreads to form colonies 1′ x 2 wide. In bloom the straight dark stems rise to 18″ tall. The deep red but small flowers are full of nectar and call hummingbirds, butterflies and a host of other small pollinators. Blooms for an extended period from late April to early July. Rich soil with regular irrigation to establish for the first season then just light summer irrigation. Long lived pest free perennial. We adore it in light shade paired with Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ for a soothing gray blue back drop. A selection from this native of the south western U.S. into Mexico. Semi-deciduous in winter. Leaves shrink but there is a presence. Very showy in bloom. Avoid crowding by other plants.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Sisyrinchium idahoense var. idahoense

Idaho blue eyed grass is a widespread perennial that forms colonies in full sun, in many soil types, including vernally wet sites. To 18″ tall dark purple flowers open in bright light and close with cloudiness or dark. The blue green foliage is distinctively flat and the plant produces a procession of flowers for 2-3 weeks.  Deep purple with a yellow eye and about 1/2″ wide. An integral part of a Willamette valley meadow and only adaptable to full all day sun. Spreads by seed and  colonies that increase to form a slender clump.  Excellent pollinator perennial and is visited by a wide variety of insects.  Found in field that have not been invaded by invasives. Typically its found between native clumping grasses such as June Grass (Koeleria macrantha) Roemer’s Fescue (Festuca roemeri).and with other perennials of the meadow. It can be found from riparian to upland sites. Common associated plants are Carex tumulicola, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis, Dichelostemma congesta, Clarkia amoena, Camassia, ( C. quamash, leichtlinii ). Full sun, no shade. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent year. Goes summer dormant and will awaken the following February. Oregon native plant

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Rosa x banksiae ‘Purezza’

Large climbing rose that is a wonderful hybrid with the white Lady Banks Rose. This plant has larger flowers sweetly fragrant of violets in a huge display in late spring. Unlike Lady Banks Rose this hybrid bears smalle double white flowersr that continue until autumn. Very fast growing semi-evergreen climbing rose that has little to no thorns. To 15′ tall it is is ideal for a large pergola or even sent to climb a substantial tree. Large plant provide strong support. Not bothered by pests or disease this is a romantic easy to grow large rose. Arches, fences. Hardier to cold than Lady Banks but just as adaptable to hot situations in full sun to very light shade in rich amended soil with regular summer water. Rich soil and water will produce better summer re-bloom. Blooms on wood from the previous season as well as new wood. Prune after the first large flush of flowers. This is a big rose prepare accordingly. Not bothered by blackspot. This rose is on its own roots.

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Ceanothus x ‘Peg’s Pride’

Beautiful ground cover Ceanothus that bears dense sky blue flowers in a vivid carpet in April to May. To 2′ tall and mounding it stretches out to 8′ wide. The dense evergreen growth blocks weeds effectively. Very good on steep slopes. Loved by all pollinators and especially important to native bees. This is one of the cold hardier ground cover hybrids taking 5ºF with no issue. Excellent combined with Cistus and Halimiums. Fast growing to its ultimate size. Best in full sun but will tolerate light shade with sparser bloom. Regular water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Supremely drought adapted. Very good at the Oregon coast and adaptable to sandy substrates.Mid green round leaves are semi gloss and handsome year round. Spectacular in bloom. Plant on 4′ centers for a large evergreen groundcover.

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Rubus nutkanus (parviflorus)

Western Thimble berry is a widespread relative of raspberries that grows in many biomes and is especially abundant west of the Cascades. The 5 petal pure white  flowers that arrive in spring are among the largest of any Rubus. Thimble berry also does not have thorns. YAY.  It forms imposing patches spreading by a creeping rhizome. The large maple shaped leaves can be up to 10 cm wide To 4′ tall and spreading – give it room and plan ahead. The sweet edible red berries appear in mid-late summer. They may be detached from a core on the end of the stem. It leaves a concave hollow berry- shaped like a thimble. Its fairly high in water content which means it does not ship well and its not big as a commercial crop. Nice looking large, opulent shrub for wild areas. Water to establish then none necessary in subsequent years. Thimble berry has a very long lifespan but it is also a seral species populating disturbed sites from fire, logging, roadsides. Full sun to quite a bit of shade with good air circulation- prone to powdery mildew in wet springs. It seldom causes permanent damage to the plant. Fall color is yellow to russet and lingers. Not bothered by deer  but birds will predate the fruit and then poop out a whole new colony. Wild areas, margins of forests.

Oregon native plant

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Erythronium oreganum

Oregon fawn lily is widespread in the western third of the state. In late winter and early spring leaves arrive mottled like a spring fawn. Soon the flowers follow on straight stems and yield a cream colored umbrella of petals. They reflex around a yellow center with protruding stamens. This glorious little plant is perfectly adapted to our climate. By mothers day it has set seed and gone back to sleep. Flowers are single on average plants or in poorer soil. In rich soil it soars to 20″ tall and can have a spike with two flowers. Gorgeous ephemeral plant that requires a dry rest period in summer. Competes well with invasives and in time it will seed itself to form patches. Seedlings of this bulb take approximately 2-3 years to bloom. Water to establish potted plants. Once established, only the rain that falls from the sky. Full sun to full shade in average soils, including clay soils. Do not water in summer or it will rot and die. In the wild its found under Oaks where it competes on the forest floor with Lonicera hispidula and other forbs. Blooms from early April to early May in the Willamette Valley- later at higher elevations. A wonderful native plant that should grace every garden. Found in the wild with Dodecatheon hendersonii, Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria, Carex tumulicola, Festuca roemeri var. roemeri and Festuca californica. Occurs on upland soils, never boggy. Extremely well adapted to our soils and climate. Wonderful woodland bulb. Best in part shade to shade, where the flowers last longer.  Oregon native plant.

 

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Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’

Fantastic early spring perennial that possesses arguably the bluest flowers in the genus. Large clusters of reverberating blue appear in late February and are showy until late April. The smaller than normal leaves posess the spots that makes this a classic Pulmonaria. To 2′ x 2′ and arching. Very easy to grow hardy perennial for part shade to full sun in rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. A substantial patch of this perennial is a sea of blue. Not bothered by slugs or other pests in general. Mixes ideally with white or yellow flowered Hellebores or grouped with hardy winter Cyclamen coum. Easy to grow and long lived. If you like blue, this prolific bloomer is the Pulmonaria for you.

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Symphoricarpos mollis

Creeping snowberry is widespread in western Oregon and indeed throughout the state. Its a low suckering deciduous shrub that can occupy large areas. To 30″ tall spread is indefinite in rich to average soil with regular water for the first year to establish. Mulch is extremely beneficial and will suppress weeds for the first few years which can arrive in the middle of a patch of this spreading plant. Leaves are fresh green in spring turning blue green with the heat of summer. Small pinkish flowers occur in late spring and morph over the summer into plush white squishy berries. They line the bare stems and are showy until birds make off with them or they remain and rot. The berries are toxic for humans. Fall color is light yellow to very little. Common on undisturbed slopes on the edges of the valley and in the eastern foothills of the Coast Range and western Cascades. Snow berry is often afflicted with powdery mildew in the driest parts of summer. No harm will come to the plant. A wonderful habitat plant. Oregon native plant.

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Arctostaphylos standfordiana ‘Sonoma’

Wonderful smaller Manzanita with clusters of vivid pink flowers, grass green foliage, and deep red/mahogany stems and bark. To 5′ x 5′ in several years. In time it makes a mounding form. The large clusters of pink flowers in February and March hang gracefully like clumps of grapes. Easy to grow for a low hedge or focal point. This is a great shrub to begin spring. Full sun and average, un – amended soil with water to establish then absolutely none after that. Great shrub for baking hot locations and even compacted soil. Both the size of the leaves and flowers which are large makes one think that this would be a very large almost arboreal cultivar- but no. Moderately slow growing. Loved by hummingbirds and native bees to which this is a very important plant. The flowers are slightly less hot pink than A. b ‘Louis Edmonds’. A very very pretty shrub. Extraordinarily drought adapted. No summer water.

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Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Pacific Coast’

This is a compact, dense growing form of Hairy Manzanita from the city of Manzanita on the coast. These are Greg’s collections. He chose several forms that had nice foliage, foliage color, habit, and resistance to disease. This form is one of the most compact of the three. Slightly smaller leaves are born densely on a more reserved growing plant. In late winter to spring clusters of white flowers  followed by drupes that turn distinctly red. Inland forms of this Manzanita have maroon to russet berries so this is a distinct difference. Beautiful dark, glossy maroon bark as for the species. To 6′ x 6′ in 7 years. Adapted to average to poor soils which will allow it to grow at a more reserved rate. Arctostaphylos columbiana reacts to richer soils, even clay soils with exuberant growth. Best in our native soils that are unimproved. Dig a large hole and provide regular water until you see good new growth then taper off. In subsequent years only what falls from the sky. Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy Manzanita) is a proto species one of the first and it is the most widespread Manzanita in Oregon and Washington.  Genetically it dominates and most of Calfiornia’s northern species are derived from ancient Hairy Manzanita. Provide full sun and good air circulation. Excellent underplanted with native annuals and Sedums. Good looking siver/ gray foliage year round. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Associated plants with the coastal species are Vaccinium ovatum, Pinus contorta ssp. contorta Garrya elliptica, Baccharis pilularis and Salal (Gaultheria shallon).  Often found with Festuca rubra on stabilized sand dunes.  Oregon native plant

Xera Plants Introduction

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Allium amplectens

Slim leaved onion is very easy to identify in Western Oregon though it occupies more than one biome. Where I grew up it was always found in the same meadow. The meadow was primarily Festuca californica and Festuca roemeri. This onion was found between those grasses and usually intertwined at the base with native mountain strawberriy (Fragaria virginiana var. platyphylla) and rosy plectritis. Its ease of identification comes with a pinch of the leaf or flower- resinous onion odor. This 10″ tall allium supports clear white flowers (occasionally they range to pale pink in these seed grown plants). This is a petite but very ornamental native onion. Its bloom time coincides with onset of summer drought. June into July.  It forms enlarging bulbs and as soon as the starry flowers are spent the seed ripens and bursts casting it all around. Full sun and average to enriched soils. Water to establish potted plants then in subsequent years natural rainfall will suffice. This local native is sold in Europe as a cultivar called ‘Graceful Beauty’- its just the species A. amplectens but graceful is a great description of this wildflower. Excellent planted among Rosa nutkana and a perfect and natural accompaniment with native hardy annuals. Each bulb produces multiple flowers which increase over time. Attractive to a vast group of pollinators- local bees and hover flies make repeated visits. Adaptable to all soils that drain. Avoid standing water. Adaptable to clay soils.  Oregon native plant

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Carex pachystachya

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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Acacia covenyi

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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Eucalyptus gunnii

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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Cornus nuttallii

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 bracts/ true flowers appear. 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  shade in the understory. 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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Monardella villosa ‘Russian River’

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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Agapanthus ‘Bee Bop’

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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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Nana Alba’

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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Agapanthus x ‘Exmoor’

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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Eryngium proteiflorum MX

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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Baccharis pilularis ssp. consanguinea

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 county 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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Ceanothus sanguineus

The most widespread native Ceanothus in our region. Its known by two common names, red stem Ceanothus which is fairly self explanartory and Oregon tea. A large growing shrub to small tree with conspicuous sanguine stems clad in large mid green leaves, this completely deciduous shrub is not known for fall color making due with yellow and off green before abandoning it. Fast growing to 12′ tall in May-July depending on elevation frothy white, fragrant flowers loosely decorate this sparse plant. In full sun and with regular irrigation it achieves tree-like status quickly. In the shade it makes rounded twiggy plant that is much less graceful. A wonderful native for pollinators and birds. Pollinators relish the flowers and birds make off with the black and brown seeds. Very graceful when well grown and that means average soil and water to establish then none in subsequent years. Excellent bordering woods and thickets. Naturally occurring with Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana and Rosa nutkatensis var. nutkatensis. Tolerates more summer water than most Ceanothus but none is necessary. Not deer resistant.  Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.

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Ceanothus integerrimus

Deerbrush is a widespread species in Oregon favoring areas with extensive summer drought. Its found primarily in the southern 1/3 of southwest Oregon  and the north central part of the state into southern Washington. A small population exists on Skinners Butte in Eugene.  Wide spreading semi-deciduous to deciduous shrub with young stems that remain green. Locally it is most common from about Dog mountain in the Gorge to the east and is extensive throughout Hood River and Wasco counties. This is an ideal shrub for revegetation areas, it naturally responds to fire, in fact the seeds must be exposed to boiling water to germinate. This species comes in a very wide range of colors. from clear white to deep blue and occasional shades of lilac pink. It may only be raised from seed so flower color is naturally variable. The plumes of flowers are large and airy displaying the color of the flower vividly. The most common flower color in Oregon is light blue. In late May and June a wonderful wildflower drive is up the Hood River Valley. These frothy blue, to pink to white flowers literally foam out from under native oaks and conifers. Its very conspicuous at that time too on the Rowena plateau. A word of warning not only does this shrub encourage deer browse it is also the unfortunate home of many deer ticks. Photograph carefully. Here it is found with such associates as Holodiscus, Toxicodendron, Symphoricarpos and Arctostaphylos.  This brushy plant derives its name from the familiar sight of black tail deer breast height chomping away in extensive groves. Not a long lived shrub 10-15 years but it fixes nitrogen efficiently and improves the soil for successors. Full sun to very light shade, best on a dry slope. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Very hardy to cold enduring subzero temperatures. Beautiful pollinator heaven in bloom. To 3-7′ tall and as wide in several years. Oregon native plant.

Photo Credit: Dii Mazuz, Bruce Hegna

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Carex tumulicola ‘Willamette Gold’

Wow, when nature smiles on you then you need to take advantage. We found this stable variant of our locally native foothill sedge that is pure gold. As for the species a clumper that forms trailing 12″ foliage. The tight clumps keep to themselves and do not seed or run. Brilliant color all season long in average to enriched soil in full sun to light shade. Water consistently through summer for the best, consistent color. Attending flowers are on wiry straight stems with buff flowers in late spring to early summer. Mass for a much more drought adapted and vivid effect as Hakenochloa- Japanese forest grass. Easy to grow climate adapted native sedge. This is from a seedling batch of Willamette Valley native seed. Tough and good looking all the time. Evergreen- ever gold. To 6″ tall and 1′ wide. Plant on 1′ centers for a massed effect. Excellent in concert with other drought adapted natives, Manzanita etc. A great robust plant.  Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Lobelia ‘Bruce Wakefield’

Years ago, a long time ago our friend and intrepid gardener Bruce Wakefield gave us a piece of this sumptuous, tropical appearing Lobelia. Turns out that Bruce got it from ANOTHER friend of mine. Jackson Muldoon of the now defunct Transpacific nursery found this “lobelia” in central Mexico. Its a cold hardy, vigorous, and long blooming large perennial that displays tubular flowers with an interior of yellow and orange and an  exterior of red. To 4′ tall in bloom it spreads stoloniferously underground to form big patches. Give this spreading plant room in full sun and rich soil with regular consistent irrigation. Bloom begins in June and continues sporadically until frost. Loved by hummingbirds and flower arrangers. This is likely no longer a Lobelia and there are several options to choose from, until I am certain we will continue to refer to this as lobelia. Completely winter deciduous with the first hard freeze. Emerges in spring when truly warm weather arrives- Mother’s day. Mulch for the first winter to aid establishment. Once its yours expect a long lived plant. Thank you to our friends Jackson and Bruce. Photo credit: Bob Hyland.

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Dahlia ‘Sangria’

This is a brilliantly colored dahlia with large single  deep pink flowers that contrast wonderfully with midnight black foliage. To 34″ tall and increasing by tubers. Excellent cut flower but it makes a better garden subject where the contrast in foliage and flower color shine. Blooms late June to frost. This is a vigorous and hardy dahlia that is very easy to grow. Amend the soil heavily with compost and add all purpose organic fertilizer to the planting hole. Wonderful with the brilliant orange flowers of Epilobium (Zauschneria).  Mulch in fall or lift after frost and store in shredded paper in a cool dry place. Replant after all threat of frost has passed and the soil is sufficiently warm. Regular summer water in full sun.

Xera Plants Introduction 

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Melaleuca squamea

Honey swamp myrtle hails from wet locations in Tasmania.  Its a tender shrub inland but it thrives in zone 9 on the Oregon coast. A fur clad fine leaved shrub that is a true myrtle. In April-May the whole plant is home to stamen dominated purple bottlebrush flowers.  Exquisite. Very easy container subject that can be moved to a protected place if severe cold (below 20ºF) threatens. Excellent shrub for sandy substrates though it takes well to heavy clay too. Light consistent summer water. To 5′ tall by 2′ wide in 7 years. Great plant for hummingbirds and butterflies. Inland we have yet to test the cold hardiness in the ground. It should easily take 15ºF but probably not lower. Evergreen foliage is fragrant when disturbed. Good deer and rabbit resistance. Absolutely titillating in bloom. Native to mid and high elevations of Tasmania. Seed grown.

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Viburnum ellipticum

Oregon Viburnum or Western Way Faring tree is a moderate to large native deciduous shrub. It stretches a little bit into W. Washington where it is rare but its primary populations are in western Oregon and south into N. California. Its found in moist to dry woods often on the margin where its can get at least half a day sun. It also thrives only much larger and lankier in outline in the shade. It easily tolerates winter inundation but is found on well developed soils in upland situations as well. Its common associates in the wild are Oregon white oak/Quercus garryana, Oregon Ash/Fraxinus latifolius, Cornus stolonifera. Leaves are round, glossy and scalloped and are very handsome on a well proportioned fountain shaped shrub. Shorter in full sun, taller in shade. This plant needs just a modicum of light watering for its first year and once it is thoroughly established you can set it free. In late spring off white cymes of flowers have the fragrance to me of raw potatoes. We had a large specimen of this shrub in our back 40 where I grew up near Eugene. In certain years it can produce quite a fall show with orange/red tinted leaves and translucent blue fruits. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed AFTER blooming has ended. June. To 7′ tall in the sun to much taller in shade. Protect young plants from deer. Oregon native plant.

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Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’

An old and venerable cultivar of this species. This small tree achieves 12′-15′ with great age forming a showy and jaw dropping evergreen. Pale sea foam green/ grayish foliage is large and very circular giving this tree a billowing appearance. In winter white tinted pink flowers erupt from all the branch tips. These morph into large russet berries consumed by birds. The mahogany twisting, muscular bark is the most outstanding feature. Fast growing in youth (2′-5′) per year when excited. Give this dry loving shrub EXCELLENT air circulation in an open exposure. It can be afflicted by black spot in wetter than normal springs. ‘Austin Griffiths’ which is 1/2 this cultivar is more resistant to black spot. In time you can remove the lower shaded branches to show the trunk and improve air circulation as well as general good looks. Tall and often half as wide. Locate in a hot sunny place and water to establish then set it free. Very striking tree that is best planted as a smaller plant. Large specimens will NOT live as long and will be more difficult to establish.

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Indigofera pendula

A very beautiful and obscure shrub that I obtained from Heronswood in the 90’s. Difficult to photograph this is one of the most spectacular False Indigos. Not entirely cold hardy it requires a warm location but is worth it. Soaring to 12′ tall in a single season in rich soil with regular water the tall wand-like stems support pendulous strings of rose pink flowers that extends to 2′ long or longer. Blooming all the way to the tips. As this shrub grows it continually produces these amazing flowers which are both graceful and somewhat modern. Loved by butterflies and bees. Seldom sets seed in our climate. Full all day sun. Excellent in large summer containers. Locate in a warm, protected location- against a south facing wall for instance. Prune back hard in spring after new growth commences. Often loses about 1/2 its wood during a normal winter. Cutting it back also results in more stems to display the fascinating and groovy flowers. Native to SW China. We grew this great plant years ago and have decided to bring it back into production. Cold hardy to 15ºF.  Very difficult to photograph as the pendulous flowers are so long. VERY FUN to grow.

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Lonicera hispidula

Hairy Honeysuckle or wild pink honeysuckle is a common vine in the western part of our state. Ranging rom S. British Columbia to California. This sprawling and twining plant is most associated with the cover under white oak woodlands. This vine can crawl to impressive heights into trees. As a child near Eugene this grew extensively on our property. It would climb pole sized trees and I would strip the winding canes off the trees and use them as a trellis for annual vines. The strong wood lasted 10 years or more. It derives its name from the conspicuous hairs on the leaves. At terminal ends of the branches soft pink curly flowers appear in cymes from June to September. These are followed by brilliant red berries that are food for birds. It has no fragrance. Excellent plant for stabilizing banks and hillsides where its incredible tenacity and drought tolerance is an advantage. Never a tidy plant this vine can be sent up a trellis or large tree. Water to establish then set it free. This honeysuckle can be afflicted with aphids early in the season but I’ve never seen it actually inhibit the plant. Just make sure not to look to closely at the foliage in May-June. Evergreen to semi-evergreen with round leaves that surrounding the stem at the ends just before the flowers appear. Best in wild areas.- for some it can lack the sophistication of our other native honeysuckle Lonicera ciliosa. and is not as immediately beautiful. In habitat it consorts with Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana) Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversifolia) and Creeping snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). Often found clambering up steep rocky slopes in dry woods. Oregon native plant.

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Polystichum minutum

Western sword fern is one of the most ubiquitous plants on the west side of the Cascades. In many forests in the Coast Range and Cascade foothills it is the sole understory plant. Western sword  fern is a large species with long arching fronds. Adaptable to a host of situations. Often self sown spore will show up in the oddest places. I’ve seen it as an epiphyte and even self sown into hot concrete steps. In rich, acidic soil this evergreen fern soar- provided soils rich in humus, organic matter and protected from direct sun with consistent access to water. Very well adapted to our winter wet/ summer dry climate- it will cruise through dry summers unscathed. In the garden it does useful duty in the toughest, dry, shadiest sites. Along with Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) and Ophiopogon (Lily turf) it is one of the best dry shade inhabitants. As an understory component it is often accompanied by Cascades Mahonia (Mahonia nervosa), Inside-out-flower, (Vancouveria hexandra), and Pacific Blackberry (Rubus ursinus). To 4′ x 4′ in ideal situations. Though it is evergreen western sword fern does go through a transitional period before new croziers unfurl in spring. The 3′ long fronds begin to lie flat on the ground by winter. This is the time to remove tired, old leaves. and make way for fresh, new, unfurling foliage. Though very tough western sword fern does look its best with consistent light water.  Supremely deer and rabbit resistant. Long lived and not a slow grower.  Oregon native plant.

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Hebe ‘Pink Paradise’

Excellent symmetrical evergreen foliage on a dense dome shaped shrub. The sea green/blue cupped foliage surrounds deep mahogany stems. To 2′ tall by 3′ wide forming a moderately fast spreading plant. In spring and often again in late summer a parade of sparkling pink flowers. They look wonderful agains the foliage. Easy to grow lovely shrub with a year round handsome interest. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.  Good cold hardiness into the lower teens or lower for brief periods. Light consistent summer water in full sun to very light shade. Protect from subfreezing wind which won’t kill it but can make this Hebe unhappy. Good long term performance in gardens and a welcome flower color in a genus replete with purple, blue, and white. Nice looking shrub at all times. Best in enriched soil. Remove the first round of flowers to better view the second late summer display.

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Clinopodium (Satureja) douglasii

Yerba buena is a fine trailing herb native to southeast Alaska south into northern California. Its a common scrambling component of  woods and forest margins. The round slightly scalloped leaves emit a sweet herb/mint fragrance that reminds me of childhood and they line trailing stems. This 4″ tall by 2′ wide perennial is commonly found among shrubs and clumping grasses as well as perennials. It can be found in the wild with such plants as Vancouveria hexandra (Inside out flower) and Whipplea modesta (Whipple Vine). In late spring to early summer barely conspicuous tiny white snapdragon flowers appear in the leaf axils. Evergreen. Often the  leaves turn maroon red in cold weather. The sturdy semi-woody stems root where they attach to the ground and it may be used as a deer resistant small scale ground cover for stabilizing smaller scale slopes. This member of the mint family can be used to flavor iced tea or any cold drink. Shade to part shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Combines well with clumping grasses and smaller scale shrubs such as Symphoricarpos (Snow Berry). Good in containers as well. Yerba buena (the good herb). Excellent native pollinator perennial in the mint family.  Oregon native plant.

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Aquilegia chaplinii

Native to the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and extreme west Texas this adorable columbine enchants us with its whimsical soft yellow flowers and fine blue foliage. To 18″ tall in bloom the petite flowers have long fantastic tails. They appear from April-June, and occasionally again if you remove spent flowers and prevent seed set. This smaller plant has wonderful finely divided blue green foliage that forms a fountain before and after bloom. Often self sows in open sites. The original plants live about 5 years but the distinctive leaves will give away the seedlings. They seem to favor cracks in pavement, stones. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. Mix with our native Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) for a color echo on the yellow perianth of both. Very popular with pollinators including native pollinators. Winter deciduous.  Moderate deer resistance. Charming and easy to grow wild flower.

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Hebe x ‘Thunderpaws’

One of Andy’s excellent seedlings this dapper shrub is ensconced in violet blue flowers fading to white on a raceme. He and his son Graham agreed on this great name. In full, massive bloom this is one impressive small evergreen shrub. To 2′ x 3′ in 5 years in enhanced soil with drainage. Avoid frost pockets. Locate in the warm part of your garden, Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Blooms heavily from late spring to mid summer. Then it is a clean symmetrical evergreen shrub Locate out of the path of subfreezing wind. Light, consistent summer water. Good landscape/garden shrub. Loved by butterflies and several different bees. Mulch after planting. Very heavy bloom is showy and is great massed in odd numbers. Mix with Carex pansa ‘Chisai’.New growth that follows bloom is tinted red before settling to deep green. Impressive new Hebe introduction. The spectacular show of flowers begins in June and lasts six weeks. Exceptional.

Xera Plants Introduction via Andy Stockton.

 

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Apalachee’

Lagerstroemia indica is big on flowers but its also susceptible to powdery mildew among other afflictions (the varieties we grow are resistant). In 1956 a botanist named John Creech located a single specimen of what was to become Lagerstroemia fauriei- Japanese crape myrtle. Its famous for its amazing orange, brown, tan mottled bark and mildew resistance. So, it was incorporated into an existing breeding program by Dr. Egolf  at the National Arboretum to eliminate disease and provide crape myrtles in different sizes. It did but also importantly it imparted the wonderful red/ mahogany bark of this species. Lagerstroemia fauriei has a very limited range on the island of Yakushima in Japan. It has larger leaves, smaller, fragrant white flowers- in of itself a fantastic tree. This is where such hybrids as ‘Natchez’, ‘Osage’, ‘Pecos’ among other get their fantastic colorful bark. A little later a second specimen of Lagerstroemia fauriei was located. It was such a beautiful tree that it was named ‘Kiowa’. Pure orange deep mahogany brown trunks are the hallmark of this second specimen. Only one cultivar was the result of  crossing Lagerstroemia indica with  Lagerstroemia fauriei ‘Kiowa’ to produce this extraordinary cultivar. It was released in 1986. Unfortunately, nursery people didn’t take to it. Dr. Egolf had previously released a LOT of lavender flowered cultivars and this one got overlooked. So good is this tree and with a different genetic makeup than the first fauriei crosses.  Importantly it received that deep  brown  and mottled orange bark as well as fragrant strong lavender flowers. The National Arboretum re-released this tree in 2017 in an effort to redevelop popularity for this extraordinary cultivar. ‘Apalachee; has many outstanding qualities. Its bark is phenomenal, deep glossy brown with orange patches- very striking. The mildew free foliage is dark, lustrous green, and the flowers are sweetly fragrant. Altogether great qualities in an 18′ tall by 8’ wide upright tree. Fall color is a remarkable orange to deep red. This tree has superior flowers to ‘Natchez’  and personally I think the bark is much more showy. Blooms heavily beginning in July. Peaks in a crescendo in August into October. We are very happy to offer this extraordinary tree. Full hot sun in rich soil with regular irrigation for the first several year.  Easy and spectacular multi-dimensional tree. Available in 2022.

 

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Coreopsis tinctoria var. atkinsoniana

Columbia Coreopsis or Columbia tickseed is a locally native annual but more often biennial that is found along the Columbia River and into the gorge. Also, native throughout eastern North America. Its first season is spent as a rosette of curly, finely divided leaves that have a glossy sheen. The following early summer it erupts into groups of gold flowers, slightly reflexed petals and a red dot that surround a brown protruding cone. Loved by pollinators and they come en masse. To 22″ tall on average in bloom. For rich to average soil in full sun. The sun part is non-negotiable. Mix with native Oregon perennials and annuals such as Sidalcea virgata or Clarkia amoena var. lindleyi as well as Madia elegans for a summer long show. Very good butterfly plant. It has a scattered population in the Willamette Valley but should be grown here much more often. Self sows in open disturbed sites. Very prolific in bloom with clouds of golden flowers unobscured by pesky foliage. Nice cut flower. One stem can be an entire bouquet. light consistent summer water improves the show but this is a tough, climate adapted biennial. Reseeds itself prolifically, Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Calamagrostis nutkaensis

Pacific Reed grass is a large and stately grass that is found close to the coast/ beach. A tall growing species with large flat green foliage and tall flowers that are at first green and then age to straw in summer. To 3′ tall on average, this plant can even perform as an epiphyte as is sometimes seen in forests adjacent to the beach. Spreads to form large clumps that are staunchly evergreen. Native from S. Alaska to N. California. This makes a wonderful casual plant with stiffly upright flower spikes. To  3′ wide  and clumping.  Average to amended soil, adaptable to clay soils. This is a great first line grass at the beach. It endures salt spray and poor soils. Easy to grow native grass for rough areas, meadows, forest verges. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. It may be cut back hard in the early spring,  but appearance is very stable throughout the year. Deer resistant. Very easy to grow. Light consistent water  inland, but drought adapted at the coast. Associated plants in the wild are Polypodium scopulorum, Picea sitchensis, Gaultheria shallon (Salal). One of our best native evergreen grasses for our gardens. Oregon native plant.

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Hebe youngii ‘Carl Teschner’

A sparkling little groundcover Hebe with emerald green leaves on trailing black stems and clouds of violet blue flowers in early summer. to 8″ tall spreading to 4′ wide. It covers the ground very densely. It may be used as a small scale ground cover but never more than 4′ x 4′ square feet. Rich to average soil with consistent light water though summer. Cold hardy below 10ºF. Very easy to grow and handsome plant. Hummingbird and Butterflies adore the flowers. Excellent rock garden subject. Very good performance at the coast.  Nice trough plant. Good looking year round. Avoid hot wet soils and compacted droughty places. Ideally sited on a slight slope. Stems will eventually root where they touch. Combine with Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’. New Zealand.

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Plagiobothrys figuratus var. figuratus

Fragrant Popcorn flower is a wildflower limited to western Oregon with its largest populations in the Willamette Valley. This hardy annual is an inhabitant of wet meadows and vernally wet fields. Closely related to forget me nots (Myosotis) this plant erupts into waves of pure white flowers with a tiny yellow eye. The flowers foam between grasses and shrubs for several weeks in late May to July. To 10″ tall unfurling flowers on a plant of small stature. Excellent performance in rain gardens and a very reliable re-seeding plant. Full sun and water potted plants to establish. Self sown seedlings get by with no supplemental irrigation. Excellent with Rosa nutkana, Camas, Ranunculus occidentale. Moderately deer resistant. On warm summer days a field in full bloom emits a sweet perfume.Very good performance in containers and is often superseded in its habitat by Downingia. Excellent native pollinator flower. Especially important to native bumbles.  Oregon native plant. 

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Fragaria virginiana var. platypetala ‘Mt. St. Helens’

Broadleaved strawberry or mountain strawberry is a widespread native species with large white flowers in spring that turn to small delicious red fruits in June. A low spreading perennial that also spreads liberally by runners. This tendency ramps up in richer conditions. This tough native form was found by our employee Brandon at Mt. St. Helens. This clone shows impressive vigor and is useful in a  number of ways. A tough species that naturally thrives in clay soils (and clay strawberry pots). It competes admirably with grass and is best between native clumpers. Associated plants in the Willamette Valley are Dichelostemma congestum, Carex tumulicola , Lathyrus nevadensis, and Calochortus tolmiei. Mostly evergreen with many bright red leaves in winter but leaves remain present in all but the coldest situations. In the garden give it rich to average soil and regular irrigation to establish. This variety has enough summer drought adaptation that it will grow sufficiently with little summer water. Cold hardy, tough little plants. Bears one crop of fruit per year. Rescue them from snails and ants. Widespread throughout the region. On the west side it is found everywhere from oak savannas to alpine meadows. In the eastern part of the state it is primarily in the mountains in partly shaded zones where there is adequate moisture. Each plant spreads to about 6″ across and runners expand out more than a foot from that. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Phacelia heterophylla ssp. virgata

The most sought after plant for native bees is varied leaf Phacelia. For anyone who has hiked and camped in Oregon you are likely already familiar with this silvery plant. The divided and rounded leaves are clad in silver fur and are the highlight of this widespread perennial. The flower which shows great promise as it rises from the cool leaves. It opens and then unfurls and you expect a purple or even red flower but no disappointly- dingy off white is what unfurls. Either way its a pollinator paradise. Size is dependent on the fertility of the soil. Often you see this plant in its early rosette forms along just about any path in the state. Western Oregon to Eastern Oregon this widespread plant is specific to our native pollinators. To 18″-3′ (in really rich soil). Short lived Oregon native perennial. About 3-5 years. Reliably reseeds. Seedlings are easy to spot as they mimic the parent plant. Full sun to a considerable amount of woodland shade. Associated plants in habitat are Sword ferns (Polystichum minutum) and Vancouveria hexandra. Moderately deer resistant. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant. 

 

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Hebe ‘Blue Mist’

This genus may soon be changed to Veronica. We still list it as Hebe because that is how it is distinctly known in the PNW. This is a good, reliable Hebe (yeah, those exist) with profuse flowers, a dense, layered habit and good looks year round. To 30″ tall and as wide and progressively wider in fat conditions. Plan for this. In May-July a long display of many spikes of flowers they protrude through the waxy forest green foliage. Profuse. The flower buds and initially open flowers are blue and proceed to light blue then white – the mist. This multicolored effect is delightful. Attractive to bees and bumbles and especially butterflies. Full sun to very light shade – successful under a very high tree canopy with bright conditions. Excellent specimen plant with reliable cold hardiness to 10ºF. Very well adapted to the beach. Regular irrigation and a layer of mulch annually. Combine with Bupleurum fruticosum and Lavandula x angustifolia ‘Purity’. We grew this many years ago and have brought it back. Welcome back. An old favorite.

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Buddleia loricata

South African Buddleia that we are not concerned about escape, We’ve had this plant on our propagation hill for 15+ years, and there is even a rich stock bed right beside NEVER had a single seedling. Kind of wish I would. Thin tapered gray leaves are pure white underneath and along the stems. This downy appearance reads as light gray from a distance. Forms a rounded shrub to about 6′ tall x 4′ wide in 4 years. Blooms on wood from the previous year (important)- restrict pruning to directly after you are sick of the flowers. Large clusters of off white faintly fragrant flowers appear in late spring and remain in bloom to August, sometimes longer. Moderately fast growing evergreen for excellently drained soils to rich soils in full sun. I would err on the side of poor soil, its a tough shrub with great drought tolerance. Two ideal companions to our stock plant are Bupleurum fruticosum and Grevillea australis. Not only does it look good this 1/2 gravel 1/2 clay substrate is kind of rough and all three thrive. You may cut back very hard to refresh/resize- May skip a year of bloom but its a fantastic evergreen gray foliage plant on those merits. High deer resistance. Drought adapted and cold hardy. We’ve never irrigated ours. Pretty shrub for texture. Nice transitional shrub with Ozothamnus or Grevilleas and even Manzanitas.

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Lavandula x angustifolia ‘Purity’

We asked the man who knows lavender the best which white Lavender did he recommend? And he fired this off the top of his head and then brought one for us- Thank you Andy Van Helvingen. A REALLY stunning plant. Compact with many CLEAR WHITE flowers in dense clusters at the end of strong straight stems. The plant is compact and grows that way – much slower. To 16″ x 18″ with bloom spikes above. Flowers early June to August. A charming plant that does not cling to discolored brown flowers instead they just kind of melt away so it does have an extra pristine appearance at all time. Shear spent blooms to their base to encourage a more dense and floriferous shrublet in the future. Wonderfully aromatic hybrid with english Lavender. Moderate deer resistance. This would combine in a perfect way with pink and blue flowered varieties- ‘Hidcote’. Avoid planting closely with L. x intermedia, cause those will flop and smother this little gem.  Great for small hedges, rock gardens, and herb knots. Pungent for drying, potpourri. Full sun and rich to average soil with reasonable drainage. Not good in shade.  Lavenders also require very good air circulation- plant accordingly. Average life span 5-7 years, Light summer water.

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Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’

Pine leaved Penstemons are great, long lived evergreen perennials in our climate. They decorate rock gardens and rock walls in the most common color which is orange. This is a striking departure. Lemon yellow tubular flowers appear in late May and continue to July. The foliage is what you might expect small needle like leaves cover winding stems. You may remove the spent flowers from the first round, give it a soak and you might get more flowers. Either way you have saved yourself a chore in the future. Full sun to the very lightest shade (at the expense of blooming). Rich, well amended soil and regular summer water through its bloom cycle- then you may back off. Evergreen small trailing shrublet. To 6″ x 12″ wide and 9″ tall in bloom. The flowers on this species will always point in the same direction which is charming. Moderate deer resistance. Combine with Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ and Erigeron x ‘Wayne Roderick’ for similar cultural requirements and simultaneous bloom time. Excellent in troughs, permanent planters. This species is native to the mountains of New Mexico. Sunny yellow flowers.

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Whipplea modesta

Yerba de Selva or whipple vine, a wonderful small scale evergreen native ground cover. Related to Hydrangeas but this trailer is actually very droughtadapted.e In late spring clouds of small white flowers , Scrambling plant to about 8″ tall and 2′ wide. Full sun to considerable shade. From Portland south this is a common understory component of the herb field. It grew happily in our back 40 where I grew up. There it made pretty scrambling patches between Vancouveria, snow berry and hairy honeysuckle. Often you would see our native columbine ( Aquilegia formosa) as an associate. Its very drought adapted when established but it improves with a few soaks over summer- never perpetually wet and never hot and wet. Otherwise an easy native that should be grown a lot more. For use as a small scale ground cover plant on 10″ centers. It will also gracefully trail over rockeries and walls. Butterflies adore the flowers. Competes well with invasives. Some deer resistance. It may be cut back in early spring to refresh. Once native in the Portland city limits. This is a great native understory for Arctostaphylos, which is frequently seen in the wild.    Oregon native plant.

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Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus (syn. flava)

Wonderfully fragrant and early blooming this ravishing plant is one of our favorite perennials. In May towering scapes to 3′ tall are topped by clusters of widely opening citrus yellow flowers. They emit a powerful perfume and the intensity ramps up at night. Blooms 3-4 weeks from a lower clump of grassy leaves.  Full sun and rich soil with regular irrigation in summer. Established plants can get by on water once every two weeks. Spreads to form colonies and this markedly increases the number of blooms. The floral perfume is detectable 10′ away and actually carries on the breeze. Mix with low shrubs or include in the center of a border. Lovely species that is very long lived and low maintenance. Completely winter deciduous. The flowers are edible and taste a little like the way they smell. This species can be hard to locate. (photo credit: Evan Bean).

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Spiraea x pyramidata

This is our local form of the Pyramid Spiraea an attractive naturally occurring hybrid between two local species. Spiraea douglasii (dark pink flowered) and Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida (white flowered).  Its a larger plant and much more controlled than  its parent S. douglasii and it inherits some of the drought adaptation of Birch leaf Spiraea. To 5′ tall and 4′ wide this upright growing shrub produces pyramid shaped inflorescences of the softest pink- intermediate between the two species. This form was found just east of Portland. Full sun and occasional deep soaks in dry summers. Tolerates part shade at the expense of a tidy, upright habit. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering. Adaptable to wild areas. Deciduous shrub that turns to tones of yellow and flaming orange in mid autumn. This twiggy shrub would make a great hedgerow plant. Blooms late May to early July. Flowers turn to tan seed heads that persist on the plant. Cold hardy and not difficult to grow. Not bothered by pests or disease. Not fussy about soils adaptable from sand to clay. Oregon native plant.

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Spiraea splendens (densiflora)

Subalpine Rose Spiraea is native to the higher elevations of the the Cascades. Above 4500′ in sunny, moist glens it makes carpets of deep rose pink umbels from low rounded shrubs. To 30″ tall by 4′ wide in garden conditions, Rich soil with regular irrigation. Moderately fast growing to this dimension. The emerging soft green leaves take on hints of blue as they mature. Bloom at low elevation is May-July but in its highest native haunts bloom can be delayed to late summer. Deciduous shrub with wonderful orange/ red fall color if brief. Easy to grow native garden plant with regular irrigation. Established plants can take deep watering every two weeks. Remember that this as with all Spiraeas have little tolerance for drought and they don’t necessarily wilt going straight to crispy (a look not as fixable as wilting). Mulch heavily for the first few seasons. Avoid blasting, reflected heat and and hot dry situations. Wonderful combined with Rhododendrons and Azaleas for similar cultural conditions. In its native haunt it can be found with Pacific Rhododendron, Helenium, Delphiniums and Veratrum. I’ve never seen it afflicted by disease. Watch for aphids, hose those off if they appear. Beautiful in bloom. Very cold hardy. Oregon native plant.

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Eriogonum umbellatum

Our native Sulphur Buckwheat that is among the best for general garden culture in our climate. This ubiquitous creeping plant of alpine areas of Oregon celebrates spring with umbels of (sulphur) yellow flowers on long stalks. The low and spreading rosette of leaves are thick green on top with silver indumentum on the reverse. Full sun in fast draining conditions- ideally rock garden conditions because that is where you find it. Crevasses between rocks is where it lives. This is easily reenacted in your garden at the top of a porous rock wall. Blooms May-July for an extended time. The flowers go through a fascinating metamorphosis in color as they open, reach their peak of hot yellow and then turn to russet/red  seed heads. These abandon the spike through autumn and spent flower spikes may be removed in winter. Water until you see the rosettes actively increasing. Then taper to once in a while. This species has a total of 13 (!) subspecies in Oregon alone. We have yet to delve into specific subspecies but if we did I would look for Eriogonum umbellatum var. modocensis and Eriogonum umbellatum var. umbellatum. Both are endemic to Mary’s Peak the tallest point in the Coast Range (4097′). So, I know that those (with immaculate drainage) can easily cope with higher rainfall. Rock garden staple and can also self sow in happy places. Very fun, sunny, satisfying native to grow. Associated plants in habitat are Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata and Achillea millefolium, Sedum oreganum, Castilleja minuta and Penstemon cardwelii. Excellently adapted to gravel, crevice, gardens with an arid aesthetic. Amend the soil as for Agaves and it will thrive. Pronounced  Air-e-OG-oh-num. Rosettes to 3″ tall, blooming stems to 1′ tall. Spreads, give it room. Oregon native plant.

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Lupinus polyphyllus ssp. polyphyllus

Large leaf lupine. This is the form that is native to the western part of the state. There are 5 other subspecies, this is the Willamette Valley form. A large bushy perennial famous for the most showy flowers in the genus. This is the direct descendent that forms the colorful clumps along our freeways. A great large garden plant and not a long lived plant. Generally 3-5 years is antiquity for this species. The large palmate divided deep green leaves are coated in fine fur. This makes raindrops turn to pure mercury as they balance on the leaves. The most commonly seen flower color forms in the Willamette Valley are generally blue and purple and solid colors. The multi-color vastly larger selections are just as adaptable as the species. Large rocket like flower trusses rise to 3′ tall in late spring to early summer. Loved by insects the foliage is often fodder for native fauna. Excellent pollinator perennial or cut flower. Large peapods stick out horizontally from the spent flower stems. Reliably self sows if you contain the competition from foreign exotics and turf grasses. Potted plants should be watered regularly through their first summer. In subsequent years it can rely on natural rainfall. Very deer and rabbit resistant. To 3′ wide when happy.  Protect from slugs/snails. Oregon native plant.

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Eschscholzia caespitosa

Golden poppy is native to the inland valleys of southwest Oregon. This charming annual is much more delicate in habit and color than its more common bolder cousin Eschscholzia californica the ubiquitous California poppy. This little jewel demands a hot sunny location in soil that is average, and not improved. It will self sow locally but nothing like its cousin. This demure little poppy blooms from late April to mid-June. Full sun is vital. Mix this charmer with other similarly adapted annuals. Collinsia grandiflora, Plectritis congesta, Gilia capitata. Very deer and rabbit resistant. Water potted plants to establish, resown babies in the future can get by on natural rainfall alone. Oregon native plant

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Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’

Exquisite hybrid Salvia that forms a semi-woody subshrub and is clad in velvety purple with reddish toned flowers for months. To 2′ x 2′ forming a bush. The opulent flower color pairs well with almost any hue. Its especially commanding near yellow or chartreuse. Full sun to very light shade in rich soil that drains. Add all purpose fertilizer to the hole and keep it very well watered throughout its first summer. Do NOT cut it back until new growth shows in spring. Then you will know what to remove. The woody structure of the previous years growth actually acts as an insulator during the winter- this is why we recommend not trimming it until all danger of frost has passed. Excellent container subject and irresistible to hummingbirds. Aromatic foliage. Harbors some deer resistance. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. This and many Salvias takes a break from blooming when the temperature is above 95ºF. It will quickly resume blooming when cooler weather arrives.

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Viola x cornuta ‘Xera’s Mix’

We’ve had a really good time selecting the most distinct flower colors of this mix of Violas. Brown, taupe, blue, gray, purple, are  among the colors in this vigorous strain. These reseed with abandon and will occupy all kinds of niches in a garden. Containerized plants seem to cast seed when you are least aware. They generally germinate in winter and bloom in spring before setting seed and going to sleep for summer heat. Fragrance is another aspect in our selection. You can’t have Violas without fragrance.  In autumn our winter mix has been chosen to handle the very worst cold and snow. Full sun to very light shade. Very easy and satisfying spring and autumn/winter extravaganza. They make sweetly scented, delightful bouquets.  Xera Plants Introduction.

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Downingia elegans

Calico flower is a widespread showy annual of vernally wet sites throughout our region.  A low spreading plant that rises up in bloom to reveal shovel shaped blue and white flowers. They closely resemble annual Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) to which it is closely related. Blooms appear from Mid May to early August. Rich soil with regular summer water. Downingia is native to areas that are often submerged in winter. And in the garden it appreciates ample water. Full sun and resists competition from other plants. Very good in rain gardens. One potted plant will expand to 2′ with rising showy flowers. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. Excellent container plant. You can simply remove it when it has completed its life cycle- replace with warm season annuals. A food source for the endangered Willamette Valley endemic Fendler’s Blue Butterfly. Leave established plants in place once they have died to distribute seed for the following year in the ground.  Oregon native plant

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Heuchera sanguinea ‘Big Red’

This is a very old selected form of Coral Bells. The brilliant red flowers are much larger than the species. A very long blooming perennial beginning in April and contenting solidly to July. The  soft green maple shaped leaves are handsome year round. Spreads to form expanding colonies. To 2′ tall in bloom above a congested rosette of leaves. Adored by hummingbirds and a very adaptable plant. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil. Established colonies of this showy spring perennial can live for decades. Excellent massed tougher for a bold blast of color or spread out for explanation points of bright red. Light consistent summer water. Though established plants make due with much less. Mix with other similarly designed perennials. Very a good with Wulfenia schwarzii, Saxafrage x geum dentata, or even lower and airy growing Dianthus. Light deer resistance. Native to the southwestern United states mountainous areas.

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Felicia aethiopica ‘Tight and Tidy’

Billions of blue daisies with a brilliant yellow center adorn profuse long stems.  Bloom occurs unabated May-October. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. A more compact form of this shrubby tender perennial to 16″ x 36″ in a single season. Excellent performance in container plantings. This is a real work horse of a daisy whose airy sprays of daisies mix harmoniously with a number of schemes. In the ground this tender perennial can over winter in a mild year (above 20ºF). Excellent pollinator plant and a real hit in my garden with butterflies. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil. Light, consistent summer water. If it over winters cut it back hard after all threat of frost has past. Containerized plants can be moved to an unheated garage to over winter. Brilliant blue daisies are exciting. This plant will perform as a hardy perennial at the Oregon coast.

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Lupinus rivularis

Streambank lupine or Riverbank lupine is widespread shrubby species native to western Oregon. Its full range is from extreme southwest British Columbia (where it is endangered) to northern California. Large growing, spreading plant that can almost achieve a sub shrubby habit. To 3′ tall in bloom forming an evergreen shrublet to 3′ across. From late April to early July spires of blue flowers with a white keel erupt from the plant. Very pretty in bloom and incredibly important to pollinators and insects who feast on the flowers as well as leaves. The true species has flowers that are all blue, its found primarily on sand bars in major rivers on the west side of the state. Most seed that is grown and dispersed is a selected bicolor flower. Short lived plant 3-5 years. Following the flowers conspicuous seed pods turn a dark color, These may be allowed to open and disperse in the OPEN DISTURBED SITES that it craves. Excellent in concert with California poppies where it has become a famous duo on our freeways in the spring. Good cut flower. Not bothered by deer. Water to estalblish then leave it to natural rainfall. Oregon native plant.

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Carex praegracilis ‘Chisai’

Excellent dwarf form of our native meadow sedge. To just 6″ tall it forms dense spreading evergreen patches.  In spring to summer both male and female flower spikes rise to just a few inches above the foliage. Nice looking compact plant that retains its verdancy through the winter. An admirable substitute for lawn and mowing is not necessary. This species is most widespread east of the Cascades. Its native throughout the west and this form was identified in California. Plant on 10″ centers for a modern massed ground cover. The mid green to ochre green leaves are dense and smother competition. This creates less of a hummock affect and more of a small dome. Very easy to grow. Excels in  containers. Full sun to light shade, also very high overhead shade (a tall  tree canopy). Amending the soil with compost and fertilizer will increase vigor and green appearance and quicken establishment. Spreads by slowly expanding rhizomes. Excellent between stones or pavers. Tolerates light foot traffic. Not really large enough to be bothered by deer once established. Hardy below 0ºF. This useful plant has great smaller scale, ease of culture, and consistent good looks. This would be an excellent smaller grassy component of a meadow.  Established plants can take quite a bit of summer drought.  Carex praegracilis is an Oregon native plant.

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Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii

Great Camas is the larger and some say showier cousin to common Camas (Cammasia quamash ssp. maxima). Its found throughout the western valleys of the state. Rising to 2′ tall in mid spring the petals of great Camas are not only larger they are stiffer as well. The large star shaped flowers open from the base to the top. They range greatly in color from pale blue to the most common dark blue. Its a luminous color that beckons pollinators. Small black hover flies gather on the flowers to collect pollen. Forms increasing colonies in rich soil that retains moisture. Its often seen in winter wet areas, but it can be found under oaks and firs in woodlands as well. It grows and blooms simultaneously with its common associates, Sidalcea malviflora ssp. virgata and occasionally even with Iris tenax (Oregon Iris). Its most striking neighbors in the wild are wild Parsnip (Hieracleum maximum) as well as Ranunculus occidentalis (Western Buttercup). Leaves precede the flowers and the whole plant goes cleanly summer dormant after seed set. Very adapted to heavy soils. No supplemental irrigation is required once established. In the wild it is found from full sun to quite a bit of shade on the verge of woodlands.  Oregon native plant.

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Geranium tuberosum

Cheerful perennial Geranium that comes from tubers. This vigorous, undemanding plant spreads liberally, even in difficult sites. April to June a continuous display of frosty purple and blue striped flowers. The mass of flowers wave above 20″ stems and create a haze of purple. The deeply divided leaves are typical Geranium. In summer heat and dry forces the entire plant into dormancy. Therefore, this plant can subsist on only what falls from the sky once established. This plant can increase rapidly in rich soils, err on the side of average to poor fertility. Nice cut flower. Not bothered by slugs or snails. Mix with other mid-spring flowers for a cottage garden effect. Each flower is nearly 1″ across. Mild deer resistance.

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Caulanthus inflatus

DESERT CANDLES. This fascinating annual thrills us. Most often seen in the wild in its native California, and is commonly seen in the wildflower mecca of Carrizo Plain. Poppies, gillias, Brodiaea accompany this relative of brassicas. A small rosette of fleshy leaves gives way to an extending inflated hollow spike. Its colored bright yellow/chartreuse and glows from a distance. The MAROON flower not only cluster at the top they symmetrically line the tall stems. All together a glowing sentinel of a plant that is almost never seen for sale. The period of exceptional showiness is brief – 4-6 weeks but it such a bizarre and showy display that we wouldn’t be without it for early/mid spring containers. Might self sow in open disturbed sites. Better to save your own seed. Such a cool west coast native it needs to be appreciated for its unique and luminous beauty. To 30″ tall. Draws native insects including hover flies. Sets seed and dies in early summer completing its life cycle.

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Salvia x jamensis ‘Elk Blue Note’

This is one of the best flower colors that we’ve encountered in a Salvia in quite a while. Always on the lookout for blue flowered Salvias this beautiful sage fits the bill. Upright growing semi-woody Salvia that produces a non-stop supply of sky/ to periwinkle blue flowers. The spires of flowers rise to about 20″ tall forming a rounded sub-shrub as wide. Flowers begin in May. Long blooming perennial for hot, sunny spots. This Salvia would benefit from the added heat of reflected walls and sidewalks. Great near the curb in rich soil with regular water in summer. Flowers take a break in extreme heat but as soon as a cool down they begin again in earnest. Cut back hard in spring AFTER all danger of frost has past (mid-April) and no sooner. Excellent in containers as well. Easy, bloomy, lovely blue. Hummingbird favorite as well as a butterfly magnet.  A xera favorite. Moderate deer resistance.

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Calochortus tolmiei

Cat’s Ear’s or furry mariposa. This bulb is exclusive to the west side of the Cascades from central Puget Sound south to northern California. In Oregon it occupies a host of biomes. Most commonly its seen in grassy places or steep rocky slopes. On our property near Eugene it was primarily a woodland plant with forays out into the sun. We shamelessly picked this delicate flower for short lived bouquets. Picking it snuffs out the plant. To 8″ tall and sporting multiple flowers on a divided stem. The flowers have a peaked sweet fragrance that gives away the species. A fascinating flower for pollinators. Three rounded petals with a sharp tip are layered in purple to white to blue fur. This is imposed over the base color of the petals which is often white shading to purple. When planting from a container water when you plant it and then nature takes its course. It quickly goes summer dormant after setting seeds in downward shaped capsules. Do not disturb once established. Plants can put up leaves for several years before bloom commences. Patience. No summer water. Protect from deer who will snack on the flowers. Native associates are Sanicula crassicaulis, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Lithophragma parvifora, Nemophila menziesii, Iris tenax, and Carex tumulicola. Emerges quickly in spring- does its thing and then goes back to sleep. Charming.A critical bulb for Willamette Valley meadows, excellent under Oregon white oaks..  Oregon native plant.

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Cistus libanoticum ssp. major

Unique in that the leaves are thin and willow-like they still harbor plenty of waxy perfume. A somewhat gnarled looking shrub over time with plenty of character. In May-July 6″ long stems erupt from the top of the shrub, elongate and produce clusters of large pure white flowers. Blooms for an extended period but each open flower lasts only one day but is replaced by a steady supply. Full sun and average to enriched soil. Water to establish then less to none in subsequent years. In time it develops a shredding, twisted, gray trunk. Moderate deer resistance. Aromatic on warm days. Mixes very well with Arctostaphylos as well as Ceanothus. A really great rock rose. Tp 3′ x 3′ in 5 years.

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Ceanothus x ‘Xera Azul’

Very fortuitous, we planted 5 species/cvs of Ceanothus in our stock beds and they of course got a little frisky. We ended up with one stellar seedling that has impressed us so much that we showed it to Ceanothus Guru  Dave Fross of Native Sons Nursery and he was impressed. In its 3rd year its produced copious blooms that are about the darkest blue that I’ve seen. Only the cultivar ‘Kurt Zadnick’ has deeper tones but this plant displays them differently. Large fluffily black/blue trusses of flowers on a  lower and spreading plant. To 4′ tall by 6′ wide very fast. Glossy undulate leaves look nothing like their prospective parents. It has shown great cold hardiness as well as drought adaptation. Um…..we’ve never done anything to it. It hasn’t ever even had supplemental irrigation. So, extraordinarily climate adapted. Also, most Ceanothus seedlings require 3-4 years to commence bloom. This precocious little seedling bloomed its second year. All of this adds up to a great new cultivar. Full sun to very light shade and average soil. Water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Blooms late March to late April and occasionally on new wood through summer. This would make a great bank cover with Cistus and Helianthemum, Eriogonums. So cool we named it Azul. The beginning of a GREAT Ceanothus.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Yucca (nana) hermmaniae

Adorable and rugged little dwarf Yucca from southern Utah. Tight round quills are decorated with filaments on the leaf edges. Not a friendly guy and very slow growing. Forming spheres of spikes to 1′ across and multiplying to produce colonies with pups. Full sun and very well drained soil of  average to poor fertility. Requires excellent air circulation- no crowding. Plants that are smooshed with little air circulation protest heavily and it then takes a while for recovery. Open and free in rock garden conditions produces the happiest plants. At home nestled with boulders or as a finer texture element with Agaves. In time it produces adorable and conical shaped hoods of flowers- a gnome wedding. Excellent in containers- open, well drained containers. Light summer water during hot weather seems to speed growth. Locate away from paths. Owwie. Strongly deer and rabbit resistant.

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Arctostaphylos x coloradensis ‘Panchito’

Several wonderful attributes makes this a great Manzanita for widespread use. Its extremely cold hardy, a naturally occurring hybrid from southern Colorado- it can handle temperatures lower than -20ºF. Its a great size- slow growing to just 3′ x 3′ in 8+ years. The matte green foliage is dense (almost boxwood-esque) and is a great foil for the clusters of pink buds that relax to lighter pink when open. Full sun and average, unimproved soil. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky. This dainty almost formal looking shrub finds a happy home in smaller gardens, rock gardens, and thrives in Central Oregon. In time the trunks exfoliate to glossy maroon- it take quite a few years for this to be an outstanding feature. Mounded and dense for the first part of its life- expect just several inches of growth per year.. Open exposure with good air circulation. Great performance in Gorge outflow.  A perfect substitute for ‘Greensphere’ that is both hardier to cold and a little easier to cultivate. Russet red berries that follow are a treat for the birds that get there first. Accepts the hottest aspects, drought, and brutal cold. Bienvenidos, Panchito!

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Sisyrinchium x ‘Stripey’

PRECIOUS and showy blue eyed grass. Sometimes variegation really works on a plant and this is one of those cases. Grassy leaves are soft green with prominent ivory stripes. This backdrop virtually glows in combination with the relatively large purple/blue flowers. Blooms April-July and appreciates rich soil with regular water to really get going and colonize. Excellent rain garden subject. Its best position is possibly in containers. Upright leaves have a pointed top to 6″ tall in bloom.  Excellent contrast between the variegation and the flower color. Full sun. Moderate deer resistance. Showy, sweet perennial. Mix with other low perennials. Combine with Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’ and Dianthus ‘Pink Pyrenees’.  Fun to grow. Flowers close tightly at night.

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Koeleria macrantha

Prairie June Grass is a widespread cool season grass that was common in the Willamette Valley. A tight clumping grass with soft blue/green foliage that rises to about 18″ tall forming a clump as wide. In June-August feathery gray/tan plume of flowers erupt and soar above the grassy clump. In bloom it is about 30″ tall. A long lived grass for virtually any soil in full sun. Rich soil results in a very large plant. Average soil that has been double dug to add oxygen is usually all thats necessary. Water the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Mix with other native perennials and annuals. A great companion for Sidalceas as well as Solidago and Douglas aster. Will often self sow. Keep it away from highly manicured areas. Otherwise the clump keeps to itself. Very easy to grow perennial grass that is found throughout the northern hemisphere. An authentic grass for a Willamette Valley prairie. Winter appearance is green and verdant. Summer brings tan drought dormancy.  Oregon native plant.

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Camassia quamash ssp. maxima

Common Camas one of the wests great wild flowers.  ‘Maxima’ is the form that is most common in the Willamette Valley. In April to June meadows, glens, and floodplains turn sky blue. Occurs natively in vernally wet sites, that means that part of the winter it is submerged or very saturated. However, it does thrive in upland situations in heavy clay soils that are sodden for at least half the year. Prior to European development first nation people relied on this starchy bulb as a food source. They managed it by low intensity fires which cleared away the competition but did not injure the deep bulb. In turn the Camas thrived. They ate it baked or steamed like a small potato. An important pollinator plant that also attracts some critically endangered Willamette Valley butterflies. Nice cut flower.  The spike of flowers opens at the base and moves to the top. To 20″ tall in bloom. The whole plant goes quickly dormant with summer heat. Leaves emerge in early spring and precede the flowers. Full sun. Common associated plants are Ranunculus occidentalis, Thalictrum fendleri, and Delphinium trollifolium.. (Photo credit Guy Meacham)  Oregon native plant.

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Dichelostemma congestum

OOKOW. The common name for this wonderful native bulb. A naked lily closely related to Brodiaea. Also, referred to as cluster lily though that isn’t even remotely as fun to say as OOKOW. Stems to 22″ tall support 6 to 15  showy purple flowers clustered at the stem tip. Dry sunny hillsides in clay soils to meadows throughout western Oregon.  Its native range goes a bit to the north into Washington and south to central California. This happy bulb spreads to form colonies in time. It will also spread by seed. An integral part of Willamette Valley meadows. Excellent cut flower that lasts a week in a vase. Water to establish when planting from containers. In subsequent years it will rely only on what falls from the sky. in habitat it can be found with native clumping grasses such as Koeleria and Festuca roemeri var. roemeri. Sisyrinchium idahoense is a frequent associate. The flowers do not nod on the stems as other closely related species  Smalll grassy foliage appears in early spring and disappears cleanly following bloom. Adapted to heavy clay soils that are wet for 6 months of the year that dries in summer. Full sun. Loved by Hummingbirds and butterflies.  Native to the Portland city limits.   Oregon native plant.

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Jovellana violacea

Charming beyond words this Chilean sub-shrub has been given an informal common name of cup flower. Petite, almost succulent foliage is deeply and irregularly serrated along semi-woody stems to 30″ tall and 3′ wide. In July-October on new wood clusters of downward and outward pointing up shaped soft lilac flowers have an interior of conspicuous spots. Gloriously fun plant for a protected location. Mulch for the first winter or two. Once established it has similar hardiness as hardy Fuchsias. Full sun and rich soil that drains. Regular summer water encourages a fast recovery from the base if frozen. Cut back hard in early spring when all danger of frost has past. Flowering commences with the heat of summer. Protect from blazing afternoon sun. Works well on an eastern aspect. Loved by pollinators and even hummingbirds. Long blooming charming sub-shrub. Not  bad in containers, protect containerized plants from temperatures below 15ºF. Wonderful Chilean native. Not a bad cutflower. Related to Calceolaria (Pocket Book Flower). Protected location such as a south or east facing wall is beneficial.The flowers virtually glow.

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Tibouchina urvilleana

Princess flower is a tender shrub that becomes a rapturous cloud of velvet purple flowers  for all of summer. Three inch wide flowers have the wonderful backdrop of velveteen clad deep green leaves. To 4′ x 4′ in a seasonal container. Full sun to very light shade and rich soil with regular water. Appreciates a handful of all organic fertilizer halfway through the season. Over winter containerized plants in an unheated garage. Cut back hard, fertilize and place outside when all danger of a freeze has passed. In very protected gardens near the beach this shrub may be grown in the ground. To 8′ tall x 4′ wide. Freezes back below 27ºF  and is root hardy to the low 20ºs. Mulch in autumn. Princess flower hails from the mountains of Brazil.

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Grevillea juniperina 'Orange Zest'

Grevillea juniperina ‘Orange Zest’

We grew and selected this spiky long blooming juniper Grevillea years ago, After a few years hiatus we’ve brought it back. Upright then spreading evergreen shrub. Incredibly sharp needles pose as the leaves. Curly orange typical spider flowers for the species with profuse flowers. Bloom is year round on established plants but for the first several years it peaks in spring. To 3′ x 5′ in 6 years. Full sun to part shade- Increased bloom and a more compact habit will be achieved in full sun. Tolerates a wide variety of soils but seems to excel with at least moderate drainage. Adaptable to clay soils. This is one of the cold hardiest cultivars of this species enduring 5ºF with no damage. Best in an open exposure with reasonable air circulation. No crowding with other plants. Excellent in the back of a rock garden or in a shrub border with Manzanita and Halimium. Water to establish , once its growing in earnest you can taper off and drought adaptation is exceptional. Avoid enriched soils, best in average unamended soil. Double dig a wide hole to assist the plant in rooting into virgin soil. Extremely deer resistant but adored by hummingbirds and many other birds in general. Very fun shrub to grow.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Osmanthus armatus ‘Zipline’

Sometimes the garden goddess smiles on us. I found this sport (a variegated stem) on my Osmanthus armatus ‘Jim Porter’ and I separated and rooted it. It has become a fantastic extremely showy shrub. This is welcome because Osmanthus armatus is not a particularly conspicuous species. It has serrated deep green leaves and small white flowers in autumn that emit a faint but sweet fragrance. Variegation improves the species markedly. The variegation is very stable, I have yet to see any reversions. Each leaf is symmetrically serrated and the variegation is vivid and adds an incredible amount of depth. Large growing shrub to 9′ x6′ in 10 years. Excellent cold hardiness on a brilliant evergreen. Full sun gives the best variegation and I have yet to see it burn in the hottest conditions. Excellent specimen, hedge, or screen. Cut foliage lasts for about 1 week in a vase. Light consistent summer water to establish then very tolerant of dry summer conditions  Cold hardy slightly below 0ºF and durable and long lived. In time it can make small tree status which makes a very striking tree. A wonderful shrub and a happy discovery, See video below.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Abelia (Linnaea) mosanensis

Fragrant hardy Abelia is just that- not only is it ultra cold hardy, it possesses as far as we can surmise, the best fragrance of an already fragrant genus and basically a spot on redux of citrus blossom sweetness. A long procession of pink buds that open in clusters to powerfully fragrant white flowers. The fragrance carries for quite a distance on the summer air. Blooms June-Sept. Full sun to very light shade in rich soil with regular summer water. Not entirely drought adapted pair with other summer water cohorts. Forms a vase shaped twiggy deciduous shrub to 4′ x 4′ in time. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune after flowering if needed. Usually pruning is limited to tired non blooming wood which is self evident.  Cold hardy to below -20ºF Fall color is often dark red with pink tints and often lacking  Beware this shrub if drought stressed goes straight to crispy. Establish well before  setting it free. One of the most fantastic floral fragrances. Deciduous shrubs are not a hot category for several reasons but the fragrance of this ultra hardy shrub should be enjoyed everywhere. Delicious flower fragrance.

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Acer circinatum

Acer circinatum

Vine Maple is perhaps our most beautiful native maple. Found from SW British Columbia to Northern California in the Shasta area. Its a pervasive understory tree throughout the western part of the state. It derives its name from its almost vine like habit in shade. This winding and sun seeking component leads to the most graceful natural forms. In full sun it is a compact, multi-trunked shrub. In autumn in both habitats it turns to shades of fiery orange and yellow and red. Vivid against the pure green trunks and stems.  One of the most dramatic places you will see this shrub is at 4500′ on Belknap crater on McKenzie Pass where it lives among the lava. In early fall the brilliant colors of the maples contrasts wonderfully with the black lava. Its very hot and very dry but  its also very high in elevation. The symmetrically serrated round leaves rival any Japanse maple. In shade established trees get by with little summer water. In the sun irrigation is welcome. Rich to average soil with regular applications of mulch. To 16′ tall in shade and again quite a bit shorter in full sun- very wide in shade. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. This shrub/tree belongs on the north side or under substantial shade. Some deer resistance. Excellent underplanted with native ferns and Gaultheria. A common native that should be a more common ornamental. Tiny red flowers turn into sunny orange samaras by autumn and persist past the leaves.  Avoid very dry shade of un-irrigated over hangs. This is a semi-mesic maple.  Oregon native plant

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Geranium oreganum

Not many gardeners are aware that we have our own native hardy Geranium. And its a really good garden plant. Bushy herbaceous perennial that displays very large magenta-pink flowers in late spring to mid summer. It peaks in June and is quite a display. To 2′ x 2′ and completely deciduous in winter. Excellent in manicured borders or areas that receive a bit of extra irrigation in summer. Adapted to clay soils it improves considerably under cultivation. Mix with native Sidalceas for a bonafide native combination. Native throughout western Oregon but also native in the Rocky Mountains. One of our finest natives that should be used more often. Fall color is yellow before going cleanly away. Not bothered by slugs or snails (!) but not entirely deer resistant. Full sun to light shade to very high overhead shade (a tall tree canopy). Best in enriched soil with consistent summer moisture. Associated plants in the wild are Sidalceas, Achillea. Very good performance in rain gardens. Oregon native plant. 

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white flowers of Tritelia hyacinthina

Triteleia hyacinthina

Fool’s Onion, though this close relative of Brodiaea is easy to tell apart from Allium as the leaves and stem have no onion odor. A sunny native perennial bulb that forms colonies of white in May-July in meadows, glens, and swales. To 15″ tall in bloom but usually shorter the leaves emerge in mid winter and persist until summer drought. About that time the flowers erupt into clusters of white flowers. Great native bulb for naturalizing, Water if planting from a pot, otherwise it requires only what falls from the sky with a distinct dry period in summer. Associated  plants are Ranunculus occidentalis- Western Buttercup, and Brodiaea elegans- Cluster lily, and Plectritis congesta- Sea Blush.  Native in clay soils that dry completely in summer. Goes very  neatly dormant in summer- nothing is left. Excellent in rock garden conditions. Full sun to very light shade. Moderate deer resistance. Native though out western Oregon. Sweet cutflower Very good for butterflies as well. This plant once occupied large areas of the Willamette Valley, that territory has shrunk considerably.  Oregon native plant.

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Brodiaea elegans

Wonderful native bulb that has several common names. Harvest lily is one as well as cluster lily. This gorgeous inhabitant of dry hillsides from British Columbia to southern California erupts in clusters of blue flowers just as summer drought ensues. To 14″ tall but normally shorter a clump of scrappy green leaves comes out in autumn and persists until bloom time. As the leaves go dormant the bulb sends up its bloom. Easy to grow if you accept its requirements. Bulbs that are potted should be watered after planting but established plants should rely only on what falls from the sky. Best to not irrigate in summer. In time it spreads by both increasing bulblets as well as seed. Excellent planted among Festuca roemeri var. roemeri  as well as Festuca californica where it occurs naturally. Excellent pollinator bulb in the lily family. Leaves are deer resistant but flowers are not reliably deer proof. Full hot, all day sun in soils that dry completely in summer. Native throughout the Willamette Valley and into the gorge locally. Oregon native plant.

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Erica cinerea 'Velvet Night'

Erica cinerea ‘Velvet Night’

Heathers and Heaths are fun to grow, but the tales of failure are epic. The easiest Heaths are Ericas and they all like some sort of regular summer water to thrive, bloom and adapt. This is a favorite shrub aside from being the darkest flowered Heath that we’ve seen. Beginning in June with a summer crescendo that bleeds into autumn with deep beetroot purple flowers on deep black green needle like foliage. To 2′ x 2′ in 3 years and fairly upright for an Erica cinerea. Outstanding long season of summer bloom that is a thrill to hummingbirds as well. Great aesthetic and cultural companion for Grevilleas. This Heath will bloom while most Grevilleas are having a summer bloom rest. Shear after blooming (fall) this will increase density as well as blooming wood. Full sun and rich to regular soil with regular irrigation for the first 3 years- then much less. This is a dark shadow of a shrub. We love it. Moderate deer resistance. Mulch heavily with bark after planting and annually. The secret to Heaths and Heathers in our climate is mulch, mulch, mulch. Excellent performance at the coast.

 

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Dodecatheon hendersonii flowers

Dodecatheon hendersonii

Henderson’s shooting star or more appropriately foothill shooting star. Thats where you see them in meadows and glens usually underneath or near Oregon white oaks. Common composition of the flora seen with this plant are giant baby blue eyes Nemophila m. ‘atomaria’., Ranunculus occidentalis – western buttercup as well as  Lithophragma- Prairie Stars. Rubbery near round leaves emerge in mid winter and persist as rosettes for months until real heat pushes them into sleep. The charming flowers rise up to 14″ on tall straight stems. The nodding flowers gives away its familial association with Cyclamen and Primrose and reflexed magenta purple petals shoot straight up. The interior of the flower is a spike decorated like a single cake with a red brick a brack design  if you look closely. Great cut flower and where ever  you throw the spent flowers they will still ripen and set seed and quickly a new patch will be created. Full sun to part shade in clay soils that dry in summer.  No water once established. They quickly go dormant and disappear to escape summer heat and dry. Relatively easy native wildflower to grow. Deer resistant. Native from northern California north to  SW British Columbia.  Found throughout the western half of the state. This wildflower made extensive colonies around my childhood home near Eugene. It always bloomed around my birthday and over the years I built up huge colonies. It was so charming with Erythronium oreganum- Oregon fawn lily- they grew side by side.  In  our ‘backyard’ there were huge colonies of native Dodecatheon. I would pick bouquets of them from the backyard and when the flowers were spent I would chuck them off the front deck into the woods. Over time I realized they were still setting viable seed as we had a huge population in the front in a few years, .  Blooms late March to early May. Oregon native plant. 

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flowers and foliage of Ribes sanguineum

Ribes sanguineum ssp. sanguineum

Flowering Currant. One of the most conspicuous flowering shrubs over the western half of Oregon. From extreme Southwest BC to northern California. .This v shaped and arching shrub protrudes from highway plantings like a chandelier of pink flowers. Each chain of flowers is a slightly different shade of pink to white on this batch of seedlings. To 9′ x 9′ forming  somewhat open shade. Blooms on old wood, prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended in late spring. Fall color ranges from pink to orange and quite often yellow. We had several shrubs of this plant on the property where I grew up. We randomly harvested the branches for cut flowers for almost two generations and none of the plants suffered. They were wild plants and as good as any named variety. Blooms March to April and then maple shaped leaves unfurl and are a quilted nice texture. Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of flowering. Dusty blue fruits cascade in chains as the leaves drop in fall. These are immensely sour fruits.  Best on hillsides poking through the rest of the underbrush. Flowers which have a  slight skunk funk force easily if brought inside. One of Oregons greatest native flowering shrubs. Moderate deer resistance. Water to establish then only occasionally. Oregon native plant.

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Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa

Canary violet or upland Violet has many subspecies in the PNW and west in general. This is our own Willamette Valley form of this intriguing handsome perennial. Large spoon shaped leaves have an underside with conspicuous hairs. The top of the leaf is glossier. In April-May bright yellow flowers appear. The bottom petal has conspicuous black whiskers. In our region this violet is local in the most undisturbed sites but it shows very good persistence in competition with non-native introduced grasses. My experience is that it favors rocky and scree sites that remain somewhat cool- for instance the north side of a steep slope. To 6″ tall and forming expanding plants. Winter deciduous. Arrives early in spring and can go summer dormant with high heat. Excellent planted in fall or winter and left to its own devices. Average to enriched soil yields the best results. This is one of the showiest violets native to the Willamette Valley. Fairly long lived. Little deer resistance. Some associated plants are Olysinium douglasii, Sedum spathulifolium, Dodecatheon hendersonii. Oregon native plant.

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Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Type Form'

Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Type Form’

This is the species that is an important parent in some of the most popular hybrid Manzanitas. From a very restricted range in Sonoma County CA this lovely Manzanita sports gray green sharp tipped foliage and wonderful glossy mahogany bark. Moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 7′ x 7′. In winter white tinted pink urn shaped flowers occur in conspicuous clusters. Very pretty. Orange tinted glossy berries follow but are quickly consumed by wildlife. Easy shrub for full sun to very light shade and everage, un-amended native soil. Avoid anywhere that there is standing water in winter. Excellent on slopes and somewhat formal in appearance as opposed to many species. Very rare in commerce. Excellent shrub that is beautiful year round. No summer water when established. This species is critically endangered in Sonoma County, CA. In fact it is possible due to extensive fires recently that this plant is functionally extinct in the wild. Handsome shrub.

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Camellia sasanqua 'Otome Sazanka'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Otome Sazanka’

This is one of my favorite fall blooming sasanquas. Beginning in November and continuing to about the first of the year it produces copious double flowers of a soft, antique pink. The shading of the petals give the impression of an aged flower. VERY pretty. Very dark green foliage is glossy on an upright and then distinctively arching shrub to 3′ x 5′ in 6 years. Give this elegant shrub room to spread, it will grow faster than you think. Full sun to part shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Established plants can survive on just several drinks per summer. This sasanqua does not have the sweet earthy fragrance that many do. The soft pink 3″ wide flowers are born in profusion. Very easily trained as an espalier. Open flowers are cold hardy to about 27ºF. Incipient flower buds are much hardier. Good looking shrub year round. Very elegant late blooming sasanqua that is welcome late in autumn. A very old Japanese selection where this species is native.

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Heuchera sanguinea ‘Hot Mess’

We found this vigorous seedling in a batch of Heuchera sanguinea. The leaves are pale green and liberally splashed with white. Unlike, the red flower of the species straight spikes of HOT PINK flowers rise in a cloud above the playful foliage. This is just a seedling and unlike many variegated plants it shows excellent vigor and longevity. Evergreen clumps of foliage. Loved by hummingbirds in bloom from April to mid-July. Tolerates full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of blooming Excellent paired with ferns Hosta, Tiarella. To 14″ tall in bloom and spreading to about 2′ wide when happy. Rich, moisture retentive soil high in organic matter. Established plants are surprisingly drought adapted. Do not let other plants crowd or over top this perennial. The lack of light and competition will take it out. Instead match it with a similar sized perennial. See above. Easy, forgiving perennial.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Digitalis ambigua (grandiflora)

Digitalis ambigua (grandiflora)

If you are a victim of deer and rabbits let me introduce you to the vast world of Foxgloves beyond the weedy bi-ennial purpurea. They are all supremely deer and pest resistant in general. This relatively long lived perennial sends up 20″ spike of the softest yellow tubular flowers. They appear in late May- July. If you remove the spent spike often more flowers will occur. This soft color – staunchly in the realm of pastel goes so well with other colors. Its a harmonious hue and this is an adaptable plant. Rich to average soil- go for rich, with regular summer water. Requires FULL SUN to bloom its best. Excellent cut flower. Winter deciduous but it returns very early in spring. Plant with Euphorbia ‘Dean’s Hybrid’ for a close tone on tone color scheme. Very pretty with Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’. and purple/blue Salvia cohuilensis ‘Nuevo Leon’. Very cold hardy and easy to grow.

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Camellia sasanqua 'Double Rainbow'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Double Rainbow’

This is an extraordinary fall blooming sasanqua Camellia with very showy flowers and a nice upright habit. Large double cupped flowers emerge from a pink bud and unfurls to a pink edge with a white center. As the bloom ages it turns mostly to white with pink tinted flowers. Bloom appears from late September to  late November. Glossy, very dark green leaves are formal in appearance and a great backdrop to the profuse 4″ wide flowers. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. This improves fall bloom. Otherwise very established shrubs can get through summer with just a few drinks. As with most sasanquas the flowers have an earthy, light, sweet scent. Long lived, hardy, easy to grow evergreen with a great season of bloom. Prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Wonderful as a stiff upright espalier which will protect the flowers from the vagaries of weather. Stunning in bloom. Tolerates hot aspects.. To 7′ x 6′ in 8 years.

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Sollya (Billardiera) heterophylla

Australian blue bell creeper is a tender evergreen vine that we adore for seasonal containers and its long season of bloom. Oblong mid green foliage lines woody twining stems. On wood from the previous season and new wood a continuous display of pendant small sky blue flowers. The clusters are both nestled in the foliage and on the exterior of the plant for a very complete show. Blooms continuously from May to as late as early August. Lozenged shaped blue drupes follow the flowers. A reserved growing vine to 6′ in a single season and branching well. Best in a container with a sturdy support such as a metal obelisk. Cold hardy to about 22ºF – and has great performance on the Oregon coast. Move containerized plants to an unseated garage to protect from temperatures below 20ºF. Most winters it is semi-deciduous no matter the weather, quickly gaining new foliage in spring. The dainty, profuse flowers give this member of the Pittosporum family charm. Very easy to grow. You may cut it almost to the ground in Spring to refresh and definitely apply a handful of all organic fertilizer. This vine can expend the nutrients from a container in a season. Regular H20 speeds new growth which in turn produces new flowers. Native to South Australia where it has escaped as an invasive in other parts of that continent. No problems here. Very pretty.

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Callistemon (Melaleuca) pityoides ‘Harry’

This is a great dwarf form of Alpine bottlebrush and its most useful for its size and shape than for expansive floral displays. However, when in bloom its beyond adorable. Slow growing rounded shrub to 1.5′ x 1.5′ after 7 years. The small needle-like leaves are medium green with a distinct ochre cast. Very tough evergreen for the most challenging sites. Accepts intense reflected heat, summer drought and arctic cold. This is a true alpine plant. No pruning necessary as it naturally assumes a dense rounded habit with no intervention. Good deer resistance. Excellent as in informal unpruned hedge. Accepts almost all soil types from saturated clay to sand. The diminutive flowers are actually small circular balls of light yellow stamens- adorable. Blooms May- June and possibly again in autumn. Native to the very highest elevations of Australia. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Combines well with wild flowers or perennials. Nice looking shrub all the time.  This is an introduction from  Desert Northwest Nursery. And its an excellent plant. Full sun- not tolerant of shade.

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Bolax (Azorella) gummifera

Bolax (Azorella) gummifera

Incredibly useful and handsome and tough creeping evergreen ground cover. The fine interlaced leaves have a texture very much like plastic or tupperware. It creeps along forming tight rosettes that join. In summer the whole surface of this flush plant is covered in chartreuse yellow flowers. Not showy but conspicuous for a plant that looks uniform and green all year. One of the best ground covers between pavers as it can handle compacted soil better than other small scale ground covers. And this is a small scale ground cover, don’t try to cover acreage. Be reasonable and expect good coverage over a space no larger than 5′ x 5′.  Glossy foliage sparkles when wet. Regular summer water speeds growth though it is tolerant of dry periods  but not complete drought.  Expect each 4″ plant to expand to the size of an apple pie in a season. Completely deer resistant. Top dress with compost every few years- especially if it is between pavers. To 1/4″ tall by 1′ wide. Full sun to the very lightest shade. Carrot family.

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Heuchera sanguinea

Coral Bells. This is the original species that lept into gardens nearly a century ago. Native to the mid and higher elevations of the southwestern U,S. this is a tough, beautiful, long blooming species that will live for decades in a garden. Maple shaped leaves, occasionally decorated with white form rosettes and in time colonies. In April to July a fantastic display of red flowers on 16″ straight stems. They create a pool of color above the plants. We love this species also for its ease of cultivation. Full sun to part shade in rich to average soil with light summer water, or none when a patch is established. Excellent long lasting haze of red color for the front of a border or with in other perennials. Adored by hummingbirds and moderately deer resistant. Very easy to transplant and move around where you need some color. Evergreen to semi evergreen foliage. Rosettes to 1.5′ wide. Indispensable, old fashioned but always beautiful and reliable. Avoid heavily compacted soils.

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Myrtus communis ‘Emerald Compact’

This is a seedling myrtle that showed up in our nursery. I moved it to a stock bed and observed it for several years. Its proven to be hardy to lower than 15ºF and its a dense and compact growing form.  Good looking evergreen that has deep forest green foliage with a slight gloss. Dense growth forms a shrub to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years- progressively larger after that. In late summer to early autumn a procession of pure white flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens. This aromatic shrub is adapted to hot dry conditions and light to little water once established. In fact, the more lean the conditions the hardier this myrtle will be to cold. Black elongated drupes follow the flowers. Formal appearance that can be even more formal with pruning. Though, its naturally dense habit makes pruning less likely. Great against baking hot south facing walls. Loves the zone of south facing planters that are asphalt on one side and a hot wall on the other.  Best as a specimen- not a hedge as it can be prone to damage in severe winters ( below 10ºF) which recovers quickly in spring but makes it less useful as a hedge. Great container subject. Moderate deer resistance. Tolerates VERY dry summer conditions.  Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of a dense habit. Very durable urban shrub. Protected location. Locate out of the path of subfreezing east wind.

Xera Plants Intoduction

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Ceratostigma minus

Ceratostigma minus

A very unusual plumbago species that we love for its clouds of sky blue flowers on long wand-like stems in autumn. A rounded bushy plant that usually starts from the base each spring. Over summer it develops into a rounded plant. By late summer long thread like wands push up to 14″ long and erupt in clusters of sky blue flowers. The display is light and flowery and it makes a fantastic compatriot with fall asters and and mums. Very easy to grow late blooming perennial from SW China. This does not spread like the much more common Ceratostigma plumbaginoides… instead it forms a distinct shrublike plant unto its own. The luminous flowers have intricately patterned petals which are conspicuous. To 22″ tall and about 1/2 as wide. Rich to average soil that is never boggy. Mulch in November in very cold gardens. Otherwise we’ve not lost it to cold. Great in autumn bouquets. The long stemmed flowers last well in a vase. A welcome color, texture, and height for the autumn garden. Even visited by hummingbirds. Leaves often turn bright red in winter following bloom. Full sun to very light shade. Light summer water- tolerates heat and drought when established. Blooms better in the autumn with deep infrequent soaks if fall rains stall.

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Dichelostemma ida-maia

Firecracker flower. This bulb is native from southern Lane County in west central Oregon south into California. Its an easy to grow showy bulb that performs very well in gardens. It should be grown more often. I first saw this plant in the wild near Elkton, Oregon. I was driving by not very slowly and I saw a flash of red in front of a fence. i went back to investigate and found this plant in full bloom. In its habitat it occupies dry sunny slopes that face south. Soil is loam to clay but all of them dry completely in summer. Blooms mid- to late spring for an extended length of time for a bulb. A handful of scrappy leaves forms a rosette . And the blooms extend to about 18″ tall. They are not always straight and can wind, vinelike around and through other plants. The red buds reflex when open to reveal a yellow interior. I’ve had many hummingbirds visit mine. Let it go completely dry in summer- in fact it excels in wild environments and competes very well with weeds. Leaves disappear quickly after bloom. Increases over time. Deer resistant. Oregon native plant.

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Stachys lavandulifolia

Curious and pretty small perennial that has lovely leaves that have symmetrical black veins. As the plant expands it sends up spikes clad in frosty hairs around violet purple flowers. The don’t exactly go straight up but wind around a little bit. This gives the whole plant an overall haze that is truly fantastic. Appreciate sunny dry environs with sharp drainage but  as rich of soil as you can muster. Ideally it finds a home in a dry border or rock garden. Winter deciduous perennial to 18″ x 18″ in a season. Blooms repeatedly all summer. Light summer H20 and drought adapted when very established. Mixes well with Cranesbill (Erodium) and Scutellaria suffrutescens. Pretty little cut flower that acts as a boa in a small arrangements. Very good butterfly and pollinator perennial. Absorbs blasting hot locations. Flowers when spent turn to light brown wands of fuzz- this extends this plants season of interest.

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Spiraea thunbergii ‘Fujino Pinky’

This is a charming hardy, deciduous shrub with quite a few fine attributes. In late winter to early spring red flower buds line the arching fine stems and open to white/light pink. The effect is a classic apple blossom scheme. The fine leaves are thin and and a pleasant fresh green in summer. I think its finest hour is autumn when the whole shrub becomes a glowing ball of red/ orange/ pink. The chemical that causes the the pink in the flowers is most evident in the fall color. Tough rounded and then arching shrub of fine texture. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune directly AFTER blooming if necessary. Size is somewhat dependent on irrigation. To 4′ x  4′ in 5 years in rich to average soil with regular summer water to establish. Then just avoid severe aridity. Long lived, cold hardy plant that is best with a hard pruning every 6 or so years to refresh. Good for wild areas, not deer resistant but admirably adapted to dryness. Excellent performance in the Columbia Gorge and east of the Cascades. Mix with Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida for summer bloom but a simultaneous spectacular long show in fall. Native to Japan.

 

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Fuchsia 'Alison Patricia'

Fuchsia ‘Alison Patricia’

We adore this incredibly floriferous and compact Fuchsia with masses of flowers that point out and up. The sepals are coral pink with a corolla approaching light violet. This little 2′ x 2′ subshrub begins blooming straight away in June and continues like a powerhouse until frost. Almost always freezes to the ground but recovers its full stature by summer. Best in full sun or even better an open north exposure or easterly aspect with protection from late afternoon heat/sun. Very showy little plant that is a ball of color. Fits well in the borders or containers. Hardy Fuchsias are easily tucked into partly shady corners, though this plant is happier with more sun. Loved by hummingbirds and gardeners a like. Fun to grow Fuchsia that puts out in a big way. Amend the soil to enrich and plant slightly deep for added winter protection. Mulch in fall if you are in a colder garden. Excellent performance in full sun at the Oregon coast.

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Fuchsia ‘Whiteknight’s Pearl’

Big, huge hardy Fuchsia with much larger and more conspicuous flowers than the similar F. m. ‘Molinae’. To 4′ x 4′ in a season. Continuously blooms from June to frost in rich soil with REGULAR irrigation. This is a thirsty Fuchsia and pairs wonderfully with other thirsty plants as Hydrangeas and Weigela. Large flowers have a sepal and corolla of the same chalk pink. The wood is hardy to about 24ºF and it will freeze to the ground below that. Vigorous regrowth in spring shoots up from the semi-woody framework. Very hardy and recommended for the coldest gardens. Excellent performance on the Oregon coast. Purportedly has some resistance to rabbits but I would not bank on that. Makes a great hedge in full sun to part shade. Excellent on an eastern exposure with afternoon shade. Amend the soil well to enrich for the most vigorous establishment. Excellent in concert with all white flowered Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’. Hardy in containers. A large plant in full bloom is spectacular.

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Erodium x 'Merstham's Pink'

Erodium x ‘Merstham’s Pink’

Flowery, easy rewarding perennial that blooms consistently from April to September. This sprawling plant assumes a rounded shape and bears 4″ stems with cup shaped rose pink flowers. Loved by pollinators and if it takes a break from blooming in the heat you can give it a hair cut and and some water and wham! you are back in business. The low, flush leaves are bright green and frilly and mostly evergreen. Great wildflower appeal that does not flail or swamp as most hardy geraniums do. It sticks to its place- about 1′ x 1′. Very good along steep walls or in a cottage garden. Excellent companions are Dianthus ‘Dainty Dame’, Scutellaria suffrutescens, and Penstemon ‘Enor’ for a low water flowery ensemble. Cut back hard in early spring. Light consistent water improves blooming. Great nectar source for Butterflies and bumble bees often nap in the cup shaped flowers. Cold hardy. Some deer resistance. Adaptable. Full sun to very light shade or high overhead shade. Great in containers. Long lived perennial cranesbill.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Joey’

Kind of an obscure Pacific Coast Iris that Greg claims is a little more orange with brown striations than this picture depicts. Grassy leaves are evergreen and in May/June a continual parade of multi-colored flowers on 14″ cantilevered stems. Very easy to grow west coast native Iris hybrid that increases its bloom as the clump increases. The orange/ and maroon/cranberry flowers are visible from a distance and are particularly fetching when back lit. Completely deer and rabbit resistant perennial for part shade to full sun. Rich to average soil. Water diligently for the first summer, in subsequent years leave it strictly alone. Wonderful between and near Manzanitas, other west coast drought adapted shrubs.

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Arctostaphylos x 'Gunmetal'

Arctostaphylos x canescens ‘Gunmetal’

This is a mysterious Manzanita and one of the finest. We’ve driven by it for years on the highway to N. California and for years it captured our attention. A smaller rounded shrub of metallic silver gray with white flowers. So far it does not key out to any specific species so we’re pretty sure its a naturally occurring hybrid. And the silver gray foliage could be a result of a little bit of A. canescens. But the area where it lives has about 8 species and god knows how many hybrids in close vicinity. Either way its a stellar garden Manzanita with pointed metallic silver foliage and clusters of showy white flowers in winter/spring. The bark is a wonderful contrasting smooth deep mahogany- a great foil to the foliage. To 4′ x 4′ in 8 years. Moderately slow growing for an Arctostaphylos. In habitat it perches on a  nearly vertical cliff of basalt. So, its adaptable. Not prone to black spot and it hails from an area with a naturally high rainfall. Avoid all supplemental water when established. It literally thrives on neglect. Silver foliage shines year round. Limited quantities. A Xera Plants favorite. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Arctostaphylos auriculata 'Knobcone Point'

Arctostaphylos auriculata ‘Knobcone Point’

Interesting and very handsome compact Manzanita that retains what appears to be juvenile foliage. Each rounded leaf has small indentations that give the plant a finer mein. Silver/ gray foliage is handsome all the time and the leaves clasp the stems in a symmetrical way. In January to April clusters of pinkish/ white urn shaped flowers appear at the branch tips. Not the heaviest blooming Manzanita. The mature trunks and stems revert to a solid mahogany glossy finish with time. Dense growing to 4′ x 4′ in 6 years- larger in time. Beautiful, architectural shrub for full sun and dry summer conditions. No supplemental water when established. Rounded good looking plant for hillsides, parking strips, dry shrub borders. This species is native to mid to higher elevations of the Bay area and has performed wonderfully in our gardens. A naturally dense growing plant.

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bee on flowers

Hyacinthoides (Scilla) lingulata

We adore this little fall blooming bulb. In September to November it bears clusters of small off blue flowers. They emit a powerful fragrance that is detectable many feet away. Small to only 4″ tall but multiple spikes add substance. The rounded longer leaves emerge simultaneously with the flowers and persist over winter. Best in a summer dry environment. Which means that once established its best with just the rain that falls from the sky. Hellstrips, rock gardens, the front of borders. Average to enriched soil in full sun. These multiply surprisingly fast and in time you get expanding colonies. Dormant in the heat of summer. Delightful fall blooming bulb we wouldn’t be with out. Moderate deer resistance and not bothered by rabbits. Photo by Andy Stockton.

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Arctostaphylos edmundsii ‘Witches Broom’

A very compact and slow growing form of this species.. Round glossy leaves add to the the overall dome shape. In winter into spring a continual procession of whitish-pink flowers. They come in groups and decorate this small shrub evenly. To about 1′ tall by 3′ wide not very quickly. Dense and smothers weeds effectively. Grows about 3″ per year, faster in more fertile soil. Great in year round containers where its restrained growth and ability to adhere to contours makes it perfect for life on the edge. Not quite as vigorous as kinnnick kinnick and actually a better specimen than ground cover. Great in rock gardens. Little summer water when established. Nice resistance to black spot. Appreciates a warm location. Moderately deer resistant. We have yet to see it produce berries. Or they were snagged by birds before we could notice. Demure little shrub. Looks glossy and fresh year round.

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Dahlia 'Towering Blonde'

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 with 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. Mulch annually with compost.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Eschscholzia californica 'Willamette Valley Form'

Eschscholzia californica ‘Willamette Valley Form’

Plants don’t really stay in the same place, They move according to climate and soils and 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

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 coating 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

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

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 con