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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8a 15º to 10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6b 0º to -5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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 the plant. 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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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. This frothy blue 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 site of black tail deer breast height chomping away in extensive groves. Not a long lived shrub 7-10 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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6a -5º to -10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: ,


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

My Favorites

Plant type: , ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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 

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8a 15º to 10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8b 20º to 15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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 5′ tall in the sun to much taller in shade. Protect young plants from deer. Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: