Acanthus mollis 'Hollard's Gold'

Acanthus mollis ‘Hollard’s Gold’

Bear’s Breeches is a standard perennial in our region for dry shady environs. And though the bold foliage is amazing we’ve been drawn to this form which turns it up a notch. Nearly 3′ long bold leaves are imbued with gold changing to acid green as the season continues. In early summer the fantastic white/mauve/grey chalice-like flower spikes rise to 4′ tall. Forms imposing clumps quickly in rich to average, well drained soil with light, consistent summer water. Takes dry conditions well and will actually resort to summer dormancy in extreme conditions. Evergreen to about 20ºF. Low deer resistance. Shines in the deepest shade. A very permanent plant that will live for decades.

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Achillea millefolium 'Pretty Woman'

Achillea millefolium ‘Pretty Woman’

Of all the selections of our native yarrow this stands out for many reasons. The ‘umbels’ of flowers are a rich red which holds the color for an extended period. It fades only slightly to a rust red with time. Its vigorous and easy to grow. And it re-blooms reliably if spent flowers are removed. All the way until frost and sometimes longer. A very, very good long-lasting cut flower. To 18″ tall forming spreading colonies. Semi-evergreen. Low water when established in well-drained soils. Excellent to moderate deer resistance. Appreciates an annual application of compost.  Oregon native plant.

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Camellia x ‘Yume’

This exceptional hybrid between C. yuhsienensis x C. hiemlis ‘Kan tsubaki’ truly does bridge the winter gap blooming heavily from November to February. Each single flower is composed of alternating light pink and white petals and is imbued with a sweet rich fragrance. Low spreading evergreen for full sun to full shade. To 5′ x 5′ in 7 years. Excellent espalier subject which can protect the blossoms from the vagaries of weather. Rich, moisture retentive, but fast draining soils. Very heavy blooming, including in shade. In full sun it can set so many flower buds that blooms obscure the foliage. Deep almost black green leaves. The open flowers are cold hardy to about 26ºF but more will open if those are frozen. Very easy and carefree shrub. Drought tolerant when established.

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Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Spring Mist’

Exceptional C. lutchuensis hybrid that imparts sweet fragrance to the profuse semi double blush flowers in late winter to early spring. Extremely heavy bloomer the smaller flower cluster in groups along the boughs- quite unlike other Camellias with a massive display . These sprays of fragrant flowers weigh down the boughs and the whole shrub is covered in blooms.  Grass green matte foliage is a handsome backdrop to the small (3″) but profuse bloom. Part shade to shade in rich, moisture retentive soil with adequate drainage. Not as tolerant of full sun as other Camellias.  Consistent summer irrigation ensures a larger flower set. To 6′ x 4′ in 6 years. Tough and elegant. Takes dry shade very well and still blooms profusely.

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Camellia 'Nuccio's Pearl' xera plants

Camellia japonica ‘Nuccio’s Pearl’

One of the finest Camellias ever created. ‘Nuccio’s Pearl’ thrills us with perfectly symmetrical flowers that are technically a formal double. The outside petals are blushed with pink and as the center of the flower unfurls it becomes pearly white. The perfectly formed flowers appear in March and politely drop before discoloring. To 8′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years in full sun to quite a bit of shade. Rich to average well drained soil that retains moisture. Moderately fast growing formal looking evergreen that is naturally dense with deep green glossy leaves. Light, consistent summer water. Late blooming. Excellent, long lived shrub.

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Camellia x williamsii ‘Night Rider’

One of the very best of all Camellias. This remarkable hybrid bears small semi double black/red flowers with petals that have a glossy rubbery quality. The thin foliage is deep green black as well and new growth is brilliant red before settling down. Slow growing shrub for shade to full sun to 6′ tall by 4′ wide in 8 years. Regular summer water speeds up the growth rate. Otherwise light consistent summer water is recommended. There is so much of the chemical that makes up the hue red that even the roots are brilliant blood red. Handsome at all times and cold hardy. Not an easy Camellia to produce in a container- easy and adaptable in the ground. Blooms late for a Camellia- March to April.

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Camellia x lutchuensis 'Minato no Akebono'

Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Minato no Akebono’

This lovely winter blooming Camellia hybrid includes the fragrant species C. lutchuensis and has simple HIGHLY perfumed pink flowers. The 4″ open single flowers have fluted petals that are medium pink with darker pink stains at the petal tips. Fast growing shrub that shows excellent hybrid vigor. Glossy evergreen leaves are perfect year round. Open branching pattern features the clusters of cinnamon scented flowers from December to March. To 9′ tall and 4′ wide in 8 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained soil. Consistent summer moisture ensures superior flower bud set. Elegant Camellia that will perfume a wide part of the garden. Mine is visited by happy hummingbirds in winter. Open growing shrub. Flower fragrance is spicy, sweet cinnamon and wafts on the winter breeze. Very heavy blooming cultivar.

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Fatsia japonica 'Variegata'

Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’

Not easy to find this is a most regal evergreen shrub. The large palmate leaves are emargined in splashes of white. In autumn the large candleabra like flowers structures are themselves variegated white. White orbs of flowers at the tips. To 8′ x 8′ in 7 years. Full shade to part shade in average to rich well drained soil.  Adapted to dry shade. Drought adapted but tolerates regular irrigation. Fast growing. Variegation becomes more conspicuous as this shrub ages. Moderate deer resistance.

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Choisya x 'Goldfingers'

Choisya x ‘Goldfingers’

Excellent hybrid Mexican Orange selected for glowing golden foliage. The finely divided palmate leaves have the fine texture of bamboo. Tolerates full sun and becomes deeper green and less dense in more shade. In March and again in November fragrant clusters of pure white flowers appear. Drought tolerant when established but summer irrigation tolerant as well. Nice clipped hedge (not sheared but thoughtfully clipped) to let the patterns of the leaves layer and reveal themselves. Moderately deer resistant. To 4′ x 5′ in 5 years.

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Carpenteria californica

Carpenteria californica

Bush Anemone is a locally rare native of the Sierra Nevada foothills in Fresno County in central California. This tough evergreen shrub with thin deep green leaves set against pale exfoliating glossy bark is perfectly hardy to cold and drought. In May/June 3″ wide pure white flowers with a central yellow boss of stamens are sweetly fragrant. Full sun to almost full shade in any soil with adequate drainage. Adaptable to dry clay soils and able to endure extreme drought.  Extraordinarily  climate adapted- enduring summer drought and winter rain. Appreciates good air circulation. No crowding. To 8′ tall and 5′ wide in 6 years. Often left alone by deer- but they will definitely try newly installed plants.  One of our most treasured west coast native shrubs. Very long lived sited correctly and denied summer water. Accepts blasting reflected heat. In time you can limb up the shrub to reveal the white/taupe exfoliating bark which appears glossy with age- this also assists in the air flow that this shrub craves.  A monotypic genus. There’s just one species. Limited quantities.

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