Richie Steffen

Great Plant Pick: Clematis chiisanensis ‘Lemon Bells’

This vine features bright lemon-yellow nodding blooms that hang from dark purple stems.

Great Plant Pick: Primula veris aka cowslip

Cowslip is an European primrose with clusters of drooping fragrant yellow flowers.

Great Plant Pick: Spiraea japonica ‘Walbuma’ Magic Carpet

This Japanese spirea bursts out in color in spring, revealing brilliant orange-yellow new growth.

Great Plant Pick: Osmanthus x burkwoodii, Burkwood’s sweet olive

This hybrid Asian shrub is tougher and more beautiful than its parents.

Great Plant Pick: Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Queen Esta,’ fairy wings

This epimedium gets its common names fairy wings and bishop’s hat for its dainty spring flowers.

Great Plant Pick: Smilacina racemosa, false Solomon’s seal

A native of the Pacific Northwest, this clump-forming perennial looks great in the garden.

Great Plant Pick: Erythronium revolutum, coast fawn lily

This lily-like pink flower, with mottling reminiscent of a fawn’s coloring, is a native plant.

Great Plant Pick: Abies balsamea ‘Nana,’ dwarf balsam fir

The needles of this dwarf conifer emerge bright green in spring and turn dark green over the summer.

Great Plant Pick: Corylopsis pauciflora, buttercup winterhazel

Winterhazels pair wonderfully with early spring perennials such as snowdrops or hellebores.

Great Plant Pick: Narcissus ‘Tete-a-tete,’ miniature daffodil

These delightful golden-yellow flowers positively glow in the late-winter garden.

Great Plant Pick: Helleborus foetidus, stinking hellebore

The plant gets its nickname from the stinky smell you get when the leaves are crushed.

Great Plant Pick: Cryptomeria japonica ‘Spiralis,’ granny’s ringlets

This semi-dwarf Japanese cedar, bright apple green in color, is especially attractive in the winter.

Great Plant Pick: Pieris japonica ‘Brookside Miniature’

This dwarf columnar lily-of-the-valley shrub has clusters of urn-shaped white flowers.

Great Plant Pick: Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’

Varigated kamtschaticum stonecrop is well suited for the rock garden or edging in a dry border.

Great Plant Pick: Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Variegatus’

Variegated false holly produces tiny — but powerfully fragrant — flowers in the fall.

Great Plant Pick: Thujopsis dolobrata, hiba cedar

With its bold foliage, this refined evergreen warrants more plantings in the Northwest.

Great Plant Pick: Mahonia x media ‘Arthur Menzies,’ hybrid mahonia

The shrub is named for the late Arthur Menzies, who was assistant director of the Seattle arboretum.

Great Plant Pick: Rhodiola pachyclados, Afghani sedum

This sedum is an excellent groundcover that forms a flat, dense mound of glossy blue-green leaves.

Great Plant Pick: Pinus contorta ‘Chief Joseph,’ golden lodgepole pine

This golden lodgepole pine sports intense golden-yellow foliage in the winter.

Great Plant Pick: Abelia x grandiflora ‘Kaleidoscope’

This gold-variegated abelia is transformed by a kaleidoscope of colors over the course of the year.