Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

May, 2001
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Jupiter's Beard
Jupiter's Beard, also known as keys of heaven or valerian (Centranthus ruber), is perhaps one of the best-performing early-blooming perennials. It's a sun lover, is long lived and very cold hardy (USDA Zone 4), and has amazing resilience in poor soil and drought conditions. The tiny white, pink, or red blossoms, depending on the variety, are formed in large clusters and give the plant a feathery appearance. If the spent flower clusters are removed, blossoming will continue into late summer. The plants take about two years to fully develop a dense, 18-inch-tall, informal hedge appearance. They are excellent along garden paths and sidewalks.

Local Buzz

Ivy Considered Noxious Weed
Oregon's Weed Board has declared English ivy (Hedra helix) a noxious weed. English ivy is especially well suited for growing on erosion-prone slopes, but this popular ground cover has escaped cultivation and is displacing native plants. Oregon's mild climate and heavy rainfall make it an ideal breeding ground for ivy, allowing it to creep along, crawl over, and cling to anything in its path.

The decision to add English ivy to the state's noxious weed list is the result of a seven-year campaign initiated by the Forest Park Ivy Removal Project. The organization is a joint effort between Portland Parks and Recreation and the community group Friends of Forest Park. Volunteers visit parks every weekend to dig up the plants and sever vines that have grown up trees.

Classifying ivy as a noxious weed allows the Oregon Department of Agriculture to consider adding it to the quarantine list, making it illegal to import, sell, or propagate it. Local nurseries are anticipating this possibility and are standing ready to offer kinnikinick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri), and St. John's wort (Hypericum) as replacement plants.


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