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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Himalayan Forget Me Not is a perennial for rich soil in woodlands and produces tall stems with clusters of cobalt blue flowers.  A rosette of large leaves forms colonies. In late spring it rises up and blooms. A great and showy pollinator perennial for part shade to high overhead shade. Easy to grow plant that loves rich soil with regular irrigation in summer. This verdant plant begins blooming in May and continues to July. It also makes a lovely long lasting cut flower. Disappears completely in winter- no presence. To 2′ tall in bloom and spreading to form multiple rosettes.Protect from deer. Mix with other part shade and rich soil loving perennials as Tricyrtis, Clinopodium, and Hosta. Visited by hummingbirds as well. Native to northern India and China. Nice perennial that is seldom seen.

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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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Heuchera micrantha

Crevice alum root is one of the most widespread of our native Heucheras. This rosette and colony forming perennial is almost always found on near seeps on wet slopes and cliff faces. The handsome green foliage is typically maple shaped and evergreen. In late spring to early summer clouds of very fine white flowers erupt on 2′ stems. Its a wonderful wispy effect. Rich to average soil with regular summer water. Established plants can handle much drier situations. The rosette colonies can be quite large. Lush and verdant evergreen for shady borders, hillsides, rock walls. Very easy and adaptable. Loved by pollinators and a great native pollinator perennial for part shade to shade. It will also accept full sun, but you have to pay closer attention to irrigation. Not bothered pests. In habitat it is often left alone by deer as it can grow on the most vertical cliffs. It makes a great but limited ground cover and the more plants you have the more flower spikes and the more showy and ethereal the affect. Combine with Struthiopteris spicant (Deer fern) and Oxalis oregana, Tiarella. A good container plant as well. A perennial for the north side of the house.  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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Thalictrum occidentale

Smaller growing western meadow rue is a resident of deep moist woods as well as the margins of streams. Many divided leaves are delicate and flutter in the slightest breeze. Each indented leaflet is perched in the arrangement of an arrow. In mid to late spring wiry stems extend above the 1′ tall foliage another 10″ and displays flowers that are comprised of raspberry and brown downward pointed flowers. They make an evenly distributed display that is not so much showy as it is incredibly graceful. Loved by pollinators who swing by for the suspended pollen. Best in enriched soil with consistent irrigation in summer. It spreads to form large colonies and is exceptionally pretty crawling up a low bank or hill. Winter deciduous perennial. This species which is more of an upland species requires a little less water than the similar but taller Thalictrum fendleri but it still requires irrigation in summer, even when well established. Benefits greatly from a top dressing of mulch. Companion plants in habitat are Tellima grandiflora, Mitella, Heuchera and Delphinium . Prefers protection from mid day sun and will burn and/ or die in hot dry situations. ‘Forms expanding colonies. Very good woodland pollinator perennial with a wonderful texture. Moderately deer resistant. Oregon native plant.

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Tall Thalictrum or Many fruited Rue. A wonderful native perennial that will win you over with its great grace and tenacity. Many divided blue green leaves are composed like shelves along a tall blooming stem. The effect is that of a pastry tray with multiple levels. In early spring a group of these pretty and delicate looking leaves are arranged in a circle. As the spring advances so does the bloom stalk up to 4′ tall in rich soil with regular water. Best with an occasional deep soak in summer, native primarily to wet  areas. Its very common companion is Giant Larkspur Delphinium trolliifolium and both species of Camas. The flower that erupts from a  many branched scape holds mostly downward pointing stamens with very small modest petals. It perches on the end of the stem like a small chandelier. Winter deciduous. Found primarily in the moist areas west of the Cascades in the inland valleys. Very easy to grow native perennial that improves under cultivation but retains its feral tough habit. Long lived perennial for part shade to high over head shade. Not bothered by deer. Oregon native plant.

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