Convallaria majalis ‘Fernwood’s Golden Slippers’

Usually this old a fashioned species sends chills up our spines. No mind it has one of the best floral fragrances of all time its a known thug. Enter this MUCH more restrained variety with new foliage in a remarkably soft texture with gorgeous citrus/chartreuse foliage that darkens up a bit in summer. To 8″ tall and blooming in mid spring as it emerges. Fragrant! Glowing! Gorgeous! Part shade to shade with light consistent summer water. Handles clay soils with no problems. Very deer resistant.

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Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Akebono’

Excellent cold hardiness as well as AMAZING  pink to lacquer white new growth. This would make a perfectly stunning hedge. By late summer it settles down to a rich dark green. In October – December tiny white flowers have a sweet perfume. Slow growing to 5′ x 5′ in 6 years. Rounded dense form. Easily clipped. Excellent use as a windbreak or hedge. Good looking at all times. Appreciates any well drained site. Avoid standing water. Very drought tolerant when established. In time the leaves lose their prickles, mature foliage is smooth and glossy.  Easy and long lived. Wonderful plant.

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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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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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Helleborus x ‘Blue Diamond’ Winter Jewels ®

Well, blue may be a stretch but this difficult to photograph hue at least attains hints of the color. More aptly its a luminous pewter shade that seems to reflect light in a metallic way. Strong growing perennial for part shade to shade in rich, well composted soils. Regular summer water- though it takes dry conditions in the shade. In extreme drought the leaves will simply lie on the ground- rising up almost immediately with water. Blooms appear from late January and are effective until April. To 2′ tall and as wide in several years. Excellent in combination with the yellow flowered series ‘Golden Sunrise’. Highly deer resistant and long lived. Remove self sown seedlings which will unlikely come true to the parent. A special color.

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Ribes laurifolium

Curious low, evergreen, winter blooming shrub that erupts in 3″ long pale, ghost green flowers from January to March. To just 2′ tall and spreading twice as wide its large rubbery, dark evergreen leaves are a great backdrop to the flowers. Just as nice the leaf petioles are a dramatic madder red. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture. Part shade to high overhead shade. Excellent combined with Hellebores, Cardamine, Cyclamen coum- which all desire the same cultural requirements. Strongly horizontal habit. Blooms on wood from the previous year prune (very lightly) if needed after flowering has ended. Moderate deer resistance. AKA Laurel Leaf Currant. Wonderful on shady hillsides where it lights the winter months.

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Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Variegatus’

Excellent cold hardy, drought tolerant shrub that reaches tree like proportions with great age. The pretty variegation presents as prickly leaves outlined in white. With age/maturity the leaves lose their prickles and become smooth and entire. The variegation on this plant is incredibly stable. I have yet to see a reversion of any consequence. Ancient specimens that are now 20′ trees can be found in old, old gardens. Its obviously been grown in this climate for eons. Very, very cold hardy evergreen that is not only hardy below 0ºF it makes a great hedge even near the Gorge where it endures subfreezing wind with no ill effects. Tolerates regular irrigation which increases the rate of growth- on average about 2′-3′ per year can be expected. 8′ x 6′ in 7 years is typical. Full sun to shade. Avoid permanently boggy soils- otherwise very adaptable- including heavy dry summertime clay. In October-December tiny fragrant white flowers crowd the stems. Moderate deer resistance. Long lived.

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Illicium floridanum ‘Pink Stars’

This form of the aromatic Florida Anise shrub which is native to the SE United states bears showy 2″, spidery star-like flowers of the palest pink. The entire large shrub displays these outward facing flowers in March to April and again in September to October. The flowers have an odd scent up close- mothballs or fish- but in our climate it blooms when it is cool and the odor does not carry. More importantly its a handsome broadleaf evergreen shrub with sharply pointed long leaves that have a sweet delicious anise flavor when bruised or brushed. Upright and then spreading shrub to 8′ x 6′ in 7 years. Best with light shade to shade for the deepest green foliage. Tolerates full sun as long as there is not the reflected heat of a wall. Flowers are showy from quite a distance. Excellent among rhododendrons, as an understory shrub for interest, joy. Very hardy to cold, enduring subzero readings with no damage. Nice hedge. Moderate deer resistance. Rare, cultivar. Light consistent summer moisture. Established plants are summer drought tolerant.  Easy.

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