Mahonia spp.

on Monday, 30 November 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Oregon Grape


Oregon grape may seem too common to mention but it has so many merits that it is a go to plant for many situations in the Rogue Valley.  Being a native plant, Mahonias can take our winter wet and summer dry and can be very drought tolerant once established.  Their thick leathery leaves and spiny edges also make them unpalatable to deer.  Most species of Oregon Grape are evergreen but still turn a rainbow of colors in the fall and winter giving them more interest than the average evergreen shrub.  The spikes of cheerful yellow flowers emerge early in spring and turn to blue-black fruit that are edible but more appealing to birds than humans.  Most varieties grow by underground runners and make a nice colony so best to give them room to shine. 

The ones we use the most in the Rogue Valley are:

Mahonia x media 'Charity'

on Wednesday, 11 November 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Charity Mahonia

Mahonia 'Charity'

Looking for a dramatic addition to your drought tolerant shade garden that is plagued by deer?  Mahonia 'Charity' is a large, upright, evergreen shrub for shade to morning sun and provides extra large spikes of yellow flowers in early spring making it stand out from other Oregon Grape.  This Mahonia is very drought tolerant once established and it's toothed, coarse leaves make it very deer resistant. Best in protected spot- hardy to Zone 7. Would look great in a red container or tucked in a shady corner that needs a large filler.  This gets large- 6-10' tall and 5' wide.  We saw this Mahonia used in front of a more modern looking series of townhomes in Portland and it really made a statement from a distance.  Very striking and sculptural and clean.

More reading about it here:

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'

on Wednesday, 16 September 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Fall Color, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant

'Blonde Ambition' Blue Grama Grass

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'


This little North American native prairie grass is a true performer.  Many ornamental grasses don't start blooming until late summer, but this variety of Blue Grama Grass, produces it's blonde, eyebrow-like blooms in the early summer and persist into winter.   It also performs well in various garden locations, from clay to a more well draining or sandy soil.  At a super useful size of 2-1/2'-3' tall to 3' wide, you can use it on masse or as a single specimen to contrast with flowering perennials.   Everyone who comes into the nursery notices it, because of it's unusual horizontal bloom and that it always looks good.    It is very cold hardy, to Zone 4. and is drought tolerant but can also handle regular watering.  Like most ornamtental grasses it's fine textured, gray-green foliage is deer resistant.  We like to leave it up all winter as the stiff stems can hold up to snow and provide interest and texture in the winter garden.  In mid spring, when you see new growth emerging you can cut back the old stems to about 3" above the soil line and scratch out any old growth.   Bouteloua is also reported to tolerate being near Walnut trees, where most plants cannot thrive.


Salvia x 'Ultra Violet'

on Wednesday, 09 September 2015. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Ultra Violet Sage

Salvia 'Ultra Violet'

It's always nice to find plants that come on strong when everything else has tired out. This Sage starts up the last half of summer and continues into fall with it's vibrant purple flowers. Frost is the only thing that stops it and then it only goes to sleep and comes back again next spring. Most Salvias that look similar, like the Autumns Sages or Salvia greggii aren't all that cold hardy but this one is reputed to be hardy to Zone 5! It is still best to leave all the stems up until spring to make sure it survives the winter wet, and then prune back when new leaves begin to emerge. 'Ultra Violet' performs best in well draining soil in full, hot sun. It looks great in a pot, combined with Mediterranean herbs or the front of a border. The spicy scented, dark green, foliage keeps deer and rabbits away, adding to our choices for deer resistant perennials. This Salvia gets about 20" tall and 24-28" wide. The long bloom time keeps the hummingbirds happy as fall begins to limit their choices. Thanks to one of our favorite garden writers- Lauren Springer Odgen, for this selection.

Salvia x 'Heatwave'

on Thursday, 04 June 2015. Posted in Plant of the Week, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Heatwave' Series of Autumn Sage Hybrids

salvia heatwave blaze

So many compliments to give this autumn sage hybrid.   We planted the 'Blaze' variety because I like all flowers that get close to true red.  No pinks.  Bonni may beg to differ on if this is true red but most days it is.  One of the reported benefits of the 'Heatwave' series, that was bred in Australia, is that they hold their color through the summer and don't fade out.  We have certainly found this to be true, the blooms start vibrant red in May and will continue unti frost.  It is extremely heat and drought tolerant but takes regular water as well if given good drainage.  The hummingbirds visit it every morning and evening.  The foliage is like most varieties of Autumn Sage- spicy fragrance so the deer should leave it alone.  It was also mostly evergreen this past mild winter.  I only cut it back to clean it up in mid March.  The first summer it was planted it quickly filled out to 2' tall by 2-1/2' wide.   This perennial should be in every garden!  We carry several varieties- 'Glimmer'- a creamy white with dark stems, 'Brilliance'- a deep  magenta,  'Glitter' a cheery medium pink.  We also carry other varieties of Autumn Sage and their relatives- like 'Ultra Violet' so come get your Sage fix!