Prairie June Grass is a widespread cool season grass that was widespread 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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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 and Hosackia gracilis.  Oregon native plant.

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Henderson’s Fawn Lily or Pink Siskiyou Fawn lily is one of our most beautiful species. Native from the Siskiyous in southern Oregon into extreme northern California. Of the eleven Erythroniums that are native in Oregon this is by far our favorite. In late March to late April umbrella shaped luminous pale pink petals reflex on 10″ stems. The interior of the downward pointing flowers shows markings of yellow and deep maroon. Surprisingly FRAGRANT and the perfume is noticeable at quite a distance in mature stands on warm spring days. Wonderful native bulb that must be grown from seed. The tiny bulb which is no bigger than a very small bean sinks lower into the ground each year. By blooming size the bulb may be 1′ below the surface. It takes approximately 3 -4 years to bloom from seed. Forms open colonies and spreads in the wild and garden by seed. As the bulb enlarges multiple scapes will appear from a single clump. In late winter a basal rosette of mottled  leaves appear at ground level. Protect newly planted Erythroniums from slugs. Established plants seem to escape their damage.  Best in unamended average soil on a slight slope. In habitat they are almost always under oaks and madrone. So, light shade to afternoon shade. Very light water after planting then none in subsequent years. Rock gardens, dry woodlands. Exquisite fawn lily. Goes quickly summer dormant.  Oregon native plant

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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 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 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. Associated plants in the wild are Sidalceas, Achillea. Very good performance in rain gardens. Oregon native plant. 

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