Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’

Its been around for a long time and its an introduction that has stood the test of time. This low mounding evergreen perennial is beyond delightful when it alights in masses of deep blue flowers from late February to late April. Each simple blue flower has a small white eye but the effect from a distance is a pool of blue. To 8″ tall and forming large 2′ x 2′ wide patches in full sun in rich to average well drained soil. It excels on slopes and in rock gardens. The new growth that follows is tinted mahogany before become strong glossy green. Cut back by 1/3rd after blooming to create a much denser and ultimately more floriferous plant. Light, consistent summer water. Excellent bold backdrop to early and mid blooming bulbs. We suggest large white Crocus vernus followed by Narcissus ‘Blushing Lady’. Very easy to grow. Long lived for a speedwell.

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Epimedium x ‘Supernova’

Something about the clean lines of the hot yellow flowers topped with a symmetrical bright red cap recalls a miniature explosion in space. Wiry stems to 14″ support clouds of this starry flowers from late March for and extended period well into summer. New growth is mottled with maroon over an initial hue of amber before settling to soft glossy green. All together this is a great performer for part shade to shade in rich to average well drained soil. Regular summer water not only refreshes these tough shade plants it will spur them to increase. The rewards often are not apparent until the following spring. Cut away the evergreen foliage in late winter to reveal the new years flower as well as highlight the pretty new growth. Good deer resistance. Spreads moderately fast to form a clump 20″ wide in 5 years. Nice cut flower as well. Very easy to grow.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus ‘Kurt Zadnick’

What a surprise this very dark, dark, dark blue flowered Ceanothus has turned out to have excellent cold hardiness as well. In our climate it is a low and spreading evergreen shrub with glossy leaves. To 3′ tall  by 6′ wide in 6 years. In April/May a profuse display of the darkest cobalt blue flowers mass over the whole plant. Its so dark that it can seem like shadows over the plant but closer inspection reveals the intensity of the color blue. Full sun to light shade in average soil. Tolerates clay soil as well as withering summer drought. Prune if needed lightly after blooming has ended. This is a great drought tolerant, heat tolerant low shrub for hell strips. No summer water.

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Grevillea rivularis

Surprisingly cold hardy and wonderful Grevillea that is threatened in the wild. Crinkly, prickily, finely divided leaves create a haze of a frame to 5′ x 6′ in 6 years. This “cage” of foliage is intermittently decorated with soft purple flowers from spring to early autumn. These are tipped with a bright green style that is released in bloom. The flowers are often described as toothbrush like. Full sun to very light shade in average soil. Light summer water speeds growth but that is the only reason it is necessary. A protected location. Hardy to about 10ºF- and suffering no damage in the wild winter of 2016/17. Protect from subfreezing wind. Easy to grow with neglect and good siting. Same hardiness to cold as ‘Canberra Gem’. Give it room as it will steadily and methodically increase before you know it. Moderate deer resistance. AKA Carrington Falls Grevillea. Avoid fertilizers. If it never bloomed this shrub is fantastic for texture alone. Not for cold gardens- best with some urban protection. Very limited quantities.

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Rhaphiolepis umbellata ‘Blueberry Muffin’

Excellent release from the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raliegh, NC. This dense and rounded shrub is useful for its size- 3′ x 3′ in 7 years- or longer. But it has many other fine points. The leaves are thinner than normal with this species which is native to Japan. It is very very black spot resistant and the leathery glossy leaves turn from olive green/gray in summer to amazing stains of maroon and purple with cooler temperatures. New growth is light beige and coated in furry indumentum before becoming glossy.  A fascinating and beautiful display. White flowers appear in May and are followed by fairly showy blue berries. Extremely drought tolerant and tolerant of high heat. Excellent on south facing walls or exposed urban situations with reflected heat. Handsome at all times and very easy to grow. Grows about 4″ per year. Nice measured growth that forms a rounded upright shrub. Excellent companion for other drought adapted shrubs-landscapes. It also accepts regular irrigation in summer- a useful adaptation for an already useful shrub. Full sun to part shade.

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Achillea millefolium ‘Calistoga’

A fine form of our native Yarrow that has leaves that are a striking gray with pure, clean white flowers. A great combination. Spreads to form a low wide plant that is evergreen (gray). The flat clusters of flowers appear continuously from May to frost. More consistently if you remove spent flowers. The umbels- unusual for the daisy family are loved by butterflies, well, actually all pollinators. They are given a flat landing pad and tons of flowers- what more could you want. Excellent for low care areas where this romping perennial will happily out compete weeds and hold ground with very light amounts of water. Full sun and well drained soil. its best to double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen and de-compact the soil. Does not like compacted soil. Light but consistent summer water speeds growth and vigor. Otherwise very drought tolerant. Excellent on slopes. To 20″ tall in bloom on a low spreading foliage plant to 2′ wide or wider. High deer resistance. Great cut flower. Mix with other low water plants. Pretty with other colors of yarrow. Oregon native plant.

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Hydrangea integrifolia

Very good evergreen climbing Hydrangea that is a tough and reliable vine for shady walls. Large slightly indented leaves are glossy green year round. Self clinging vine that will adhere to virtually any surface- not for the walls of houses or porches- better on fences, rock walls and even as a ground cover. In June large white buds explode into a doily of 6″ wide white flowers. Blooms 2-3 years after planting. To 15′ tall and as wide. Part shade to shade- regular water in full sun. Rich, well drained soil. Excellent cold hardiness to 0ºF. Gains speed as it ages. Avoid blasting hot locations. Woodlands are ideal.

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Selaginella braunii

We love this fantastic dense growing acid green moss. It finds its best home in containers- not quite tough enough for life in the ground. Slowly expanding rounded dense clumps are beautiful all the time. Excellent as the understory to potted plants where it inhabits the most constrained roots with no problem. To 3″ x 6″ in a season. Very easy container plant. Regular water in rich, well drained soil. Regular water. Smooth and modern.

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Arisaema ringens

Cobra lily or Jack in the Pulpit from Japan with exotic striped flowers in mid-spring but the bold and glossy foliage steals the show. Forming large patches in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with regular summer irrigation. Shade- protect the amazing leaves from blasting sun. They will stand prominently up to 2′ tall- triple lobed, glossy and good looking. One of the more reliable of the genus. Mix with other bold shade perennials. Mulch with compost annually. Disappears entirely in winter. A Xera favorite perennial.

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Parahebe cattaractae ‘Delight’

Cute little subshrub that is for the most part evergreen in our climate. Slightly toothed glossy deep green foliage is demure but sets a great stage for masses of violet blue small flowers with a more distinct red eye. Blooms continuously from Spring to late summer. To 8″ tall and about 2′ across for rich, well drained soil in full sun to light shade. Cute understory for Roses, mixes well in the front of a border, on sunny hillsides. Creates a haze of violet blue rather than a carpet. Cut back hard after blooming for an emergence of new handsome foliage for autumn/winter. Easy to grow long blooming plant.

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