Articles in Category: Evergreen

Agave neomexicana

on Friday, 13 January 2017. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant

Hardy Agave

agave neomexicana in snow

Hardy Agaves capture us like no other plant.  Their almost mathematical geometry is mesmerizing and they are tough as nails.  One of the true survivors on our property- managing the dips in temp to 0 degrees Fahrenheit in 2013 and the foot of snow in 2017 with not a speck of damage.  The two main hardy Agaves that we enjoy growing are Agave parryi which is a bit more pinecone shaped and Agave neomexicana which is a bit more open.  They both are blue in tone and have decorative, but nasty thorns.  They require sharp drainage and seem to do best planted in a mound.  We amend the soil with 1/4" gravel or larger decomposed granite and use it for a mulch as well to keep soil away from the crown of the plant.  Agaves do best in full sun and can look striking in a container.  They require little water once established, their fleshy roots are good at growing deeply into the soil.  One sharp poke to the nose and deer will know to leave these desert plants alone.  These two species are hardy to at least zone 7, if not zone 6.  Once they get into the 2' wide range there is the possibility of them making a flower spike and then dying, but they have usually made pups by then which will carry on the Agave torch.  You'll want to make room for these gems in your drought tolerant garden.

Ilex meserveae 'Blue Girl'

on Monday, 05 December 2016. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Blue Girl Holly

photoIlexBlueGirl250x376

Holly may seem a bit pedestrian of a choice for a plant of the week, but it fits the season and the red berries brighten up these gray fall days.  Plus 'Blue Girl' Holly is deer resistant (although in Ashland, the deer are ignoring this advice), drought tolerant, tough, and can tolerate sun or shade.  The glossy dark green leaves do have spines but they are not as sharp as many other holly types or even barberry.  The leaves look fresh and clean and are complimented by purple stems and bright clusters of red berries.  You can keep this holly around 3'-4' if you like with occasional pruning or let it get 5-6' tall and 3-6' wide for a dense hedge.  You do need a  'Blue Boy' to keep the berry production up, but it seems that there is usually a holly bush in the neighborhood to assist with pollination.   This species is especially cold hardy and can handle clay soils, appreciating the typically acidic ph of clay soils.  Keep watering to the drier side of the spectrum, and prune back if needed in the winter.   'Blue Girl' Holly is not a fast grower so it is suitable in a container paired with other festive-colored plants, like Heuchera, Nandina, and ornamental grasses.

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. 

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.

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

mahonia_compacta

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: