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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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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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

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 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 flower

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 nickel sized magenta/blue 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.  Very good performance in rain gardens. Oregon native plant. 

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white flowers of Tritelia 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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Dodecatheon hendersonii flowers

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

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 where I grew up. We randomly harvested the branches for cute 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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