Perovskia atriplicifolia

on Wednesday, 06 July 2016. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Russian Sage

perovskia

Perovskia or Russian Sage may seem ubiquitous but it is for a reason.  IT IS TOUGH.  And beautiful, adding long lasting color and texture to your garden.   Russian Sage is not a salvia or sage but has a pungent smell to the silvery, dissected leaves that may remind one of sage leaf.  This smell keeps the deer away so it is yet even more useful.  It is incredibly drought and heat tolerant and even looks pretty in the winter when the dried out sillouette and open branching catches the frost.  We like to wait to prune it back until spring arrives so that the crown stays protected from the winter wet.  When you see new growth emerge in mid spring that is the best to time to prune it back hard and freshen it up.  Perovskia is a woody stemmed perennial and does go winter dormant.   It requires good drainage and full sun and make sure to not keep it too wet.  The lavender blooms pair wonderfully with other heat lovers like yarrow, Rosemary and Salvia, as well as ornamental grasses or Yuccas.    Butterflies are attracted to the late summer flowers.  The straight species get quite large, as much as 4' tall and wide. But there are several newer varieties that stay more compact.  We like 'Little Spire' at 2-3' tall wide  and 'Peek a Blue' at 2' tall and wide.   We are also starting to grow Perovskia in 2 gallon pots as well as 1 gallons. They make quite a statement at the larger size and hold up better through the summer.

Penstemon pinifolius

on Wednesday, 11 May 2016. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Pineleaf Penstemon

Penstemon pinufoliusPineleaf Penstemon makes me happy every time I see it.  So many benefits in such a compact package.  Penstemon have a reputation of not being very long lived, and many are not.  But this western native perennial is evergreen and one of the best for long term success in the garden.  It makes a great rock garden plant or edger at the front of a border.  The delicate tubular flowers should be appreciated up close if the hummingbirds will let you.  Pineleaf Penstemon do best in a well draining soil, especially on a slope and will be drought tolerant once established.  The needled foliage is evergreen and looks best when you can shear the spent flowers back.  In the same style as you would shear an Erica or Calluna after blooming.  In most areas, we have found them to be deer resistant.  They typically bloom in late spring, May and June here in southern Oregon and are great compliments to the other sun lovers like spring and summer blooming sages, sedums, lavenders, or even dwarf conifers.  They will stretch to about 2' wide and 12-18" tall and look comfortable among rocks and boulders.
The colors we usually carry are 'Mersea Yellow'- a nice soft yellow, 'Nearly Red'- you can figure that one out, and the straight species which is orange. 

Viburnum trilobum and V. plicatum var. tomentosum

on Tuesday, 19 April 2016. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Edible, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Cranberry and Doublefile Viburnum

photoViburnumPlicatumTomentosum-DoublefileViburnum250x166

There are a lot of Viburnum species out there and these are two of our favorites.  Simply elegant and easy, the Cranberry Viburnum (trilobum, photo at bottom) and Doublefile Viburnum (plicatum tomentosum, photo at top) sport a flower more similar to a lacecap hydrangea than the more common snowball Viburnum.  They are much easier and less fussy than the moisture-loving Hydrangeas.  The flower clusters are interesting to watch unfold over the late spring weeks adding a long term interest for a flowering shrub.  The flowers of both varieties turn to red fruit but the Cranberry Viburnum's fruit is technically edible and more profuse.  These deciduous Viburnums also get nice fall color, a wine red.  The Cranberry bush Viburnum has a lovely tiered, layered habit that fits nicely in a woodland or more naturalistic garden.  The horizontal branching of the Doublefile Viburnum gives it a nice form even through the bare days of winter.   We have a Cranberry Viburnum on the NW corner of our house and seems to take the afternoon heat and part shade in stride.  Their preference is probably not the hottest location you have but dappled light, part shade, or protection from all day sun, although once acclimated seem to tolerate it. 

Ribes odoratum 'Crandall'

on Monday, 28 March 2016. Posted in Plant of the Week, Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shade Plants, Edible, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Crandall' Black Currant

ribes crandall

Here is a stellar plant that is beautiful, as well as edible and good for the birds.  This Black Currant is woefully under utilized, perhaps people haven't eaten a currant before or not visited the nursery when they are in bloom.  But come visit in April and you will see a drift of them planted in part shade in our drought tolerant display garden.    Ideally close enough to the rock pile for little hands to pick the fruit when they ripen in summer.  And beckoning you for a closer look with their clove scented, yellow blooms.  Appealing to hummingbirds and butterflies, the flowers develop into black, round fruit that are tart/sweet with a more mild currant flavor and especially high in Vitamin C.  My daughter loves to pick them fresh but they can be made into preserves or baked goods or dried.   Then the fall brings out gorgeous red fall color.  Most currants would appreciate a spot out of extreme heat but will tolerate full sun with good water.  Part shade or morning sun is ideal.  They will get 4-5' tall and wide.  Currants can be drought tolerant once established and do best in a well-draining but compost-rich soil.  They can be a great addition to a mixed use garden- full of edible and ornamental power!

Helleborus orientalis

on Monday, 04 January 2016. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Lenten Rose

helleborus_orientalis

Hellebores are another plant to make us smile in winter as well as being a valuable dry shade perennial.  The Lenten Rose comes in shades of pink, purple, cream, white, and chartreuse or splashed with darker spots; with more variety being available every year.  If a plant is not labeled as a certain color than it will be a surprise when it starts blooming in late winter; so if you want a certain shade- buy it when they are in bloom.  The long-lasting blooms rise 12"-18"above large, dark green foliage and have a nodding habit that is best appreciated in the foreground of a garden or from below.  They make great cut flowers and will bloom for several months.  When these evergreen perennials aren't blooming the dramatic, divided leaves provide nice contrast to daintier ferns and ornamental grasses.  Like most evergreens, once some leaves become older and ratty it is best to cut them back completely and let new ones flush out.   They will tolerate dry conditions once established and do best in partial shade- an east exposure or under the dappled light of larger trees and shrubs. They look especially good as a mass groundcover under a specimen tree.  Give them good organic soil with new mulch added each year and they will reward you with easy care flowers and sculptural leaves.  They should also be deer resistant.  Hellebores do well in a container and make a great addition to a shady porch potted arrangement with black mondo grass, Compact Mahonia, Heucheras, Ferns, and other shade lovers.  Hellebores are poisonous to humans and animals so be careful when placing them near children's activity areas.

There are many different species and hybrids that have desirable qualities.  Come visit to see the latest selections.