No it probably isn't hardy, but Pseudopanax saber is worth growing as an annual. It's just one of many cool plants, including a gorgeous Itoh peony (the soft yellow, semi-double, spicily scented 'Going Bananas') I brought home from a visit to Dragonfly Farms Nursery in Kingston last Friday. Not far from the old Heronswood, Heidi Kaster has built up an amazing stock of tempting plants....more to follow in a Pacific Northwest column in the Seattle Times.
But I wanted to share the pot I put together with the dark-leafed pseudopanax as centerpiece, surrounded by the bright blades of Libertia 'Gold Finger', Erysimum 'Apricot Twist', purple pansies, and a begonia you can't see in the photo. Just planted yesterday, it has some growing in to do, but you get the idea. When the weather warms up a bit, I'll replace the pansies with heliotrope for fragrance, and a ruff of Coleus 'Rustic Orange' to play off the color of the wallflower and the brown pot....aren't you grateful that's it's finally almost warm enough to plant summer containers?