Articles in Category: Fragrant Blooms

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!

Sarcococca spp.

on Wednesday, 28 January 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Fragrant Sweetbox

Sarcococca ruscifolia

Dark and shady places such as the north walls of a home can be challenging sites to plant.  Sarcococca is an ideal shrub for lowlight situations like these.  Thriving in everything from part sun to deep shade, Sweetbox is an attractive and glossy broad-leaf evergreen providing a good backdrop for airier ferns and perennials.  There are a handful of different species ranging from upright shrubs to slowly spreading groundcovers.  They all have simple leathery leaves and are for the most part deer resistant, making this genus a problem solver in a myriad of ways.  Not to mention they bloom in late winter when most plants haven't even broken dormancy!  Even though their small fringy flowers are not what you would consider showy, they amply make up for it with a powerfully sweet fragrance that is sure to get attention.  Add red to black berries that lend a festive quality later in the year and you've got a four season plant!  In return this understated plant merely asks for moderately fertile soil with decent drainage and regular water throughout the hotter months.  That is not to say Sweetbox wouldn't prefer rich, humusy and acidic soil, but it is quite adaptable once established. 

Sarcococca ruscifolia or Fragrant Sweetbox is the largest of the more common species reaching 3-6' high and wide with an arching habit and more rounded leaves.  It is known to naturally espalier itself against a house and thus can be useful in tight spots and under windows.   It's growth is slow to moderate and can easily be kept at 3’.  Sarcococca hookeriana v. humilis has narrower, more elongated leaves and spreads slowly by stolons from 4-8' wide with stems reaching 18" tall.  Also called Himalayan Sweetbox, it is a great companion under trees or at the base of more colorful deciduous shrubs due to it's colonizing nature and tolerance of root competition.  There are a few newer hybrids of this Himalayan species that bridge the gap between the two aforementioned Sarcococcas.  'Fragrant Valley' is a compact yet vigorous selection growing to 18-24" tall and 3-4' wide.  'Fragrant Mountain' attains a slightly larger size at 2-3' tall and 3-4' wide, making it a great alternative to Skimmia japonica.  Both cultivars are disease resistant and tolerant of drier soils and less than ideal conditions.  Sarcococca species are great supporting cast members for the shady garden (…we can't all be stars!) - and a must have for lovers of fragrant plants.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'

on Friday, 22 February 2013. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

'Diane' Witch Hazel

witch_hazel

Witch Hazels are one of our favorite plants since they cheer up the dark winter days with their bright fringey blooms and repeat the show again in the fall with spectacular leaf color.  Witch Hazels are also useful because of their vase shape habit, making it easy to use other plants at their base.  They have a nice open form, that is sculptural even when bare in winter, so they are useful as a specimen.  The flowers unfurl in January and continue into March, with the textured leaves emerging afterwards.  The thick leaves provide a great contrast with softer leaved plants such as ferns, Euphorbias, or Geraniums.  'Diane' is one we usually have in stock because it has the darkest coppery-red flowers and gets wonderful fall color of yellow, crimson, and orange, even purple tones.  Witch Hazels are not the first choice for a hot spot, even though you will read that they will tolerate full sun and you will see them looking spectacular in downtown Ashland in full sun.  But they will be prone to leaf burn and you will be watering more often if they are placed in full sun. Morning sun or at least half a day of sun is best, or at least avoid a hot location against a wall.  They also look wonderful in a wooded shade garden, just make sure they get some bright light for the best flower production and fall color.  Witch Hazels do best with regular water; deep soaks throughout the summer months and with a fertile, humus-rich or leaf mold based soil.  'Diane' will get about 8-12' by 8-12' at maturity.  Witch Hazels should be deer resistant; we have seen them untouched in Ashland, but try one out first to make sure. 

Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'

on Monday, 09 May 2011. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Howard McMinn Manzanita

Arctostaphylos_Howard-McMin

So this named form of Manzanita made it through the 2009 winter that seemed to kill off most Escallonias and Phormiums.  At lows of seven degrees, this Manzanita didn't even discolor or lose leaves.  We have a few planted in the ground at the nursery and they have done beautifully without much irrigation or care.  'Howard McMinn' will tolerate more irrigation than other manzanitas but all are very drought tolerant in well draining soil.  It will take full to half a day of sun and grows quickly to 4-5' tall and at least 4-5' wide.  The hummingbirds love the light pink flowers that appear in early spring and smell like honey.  It looks good all year and has dense growth unlike some leggier forms of manzanita.  The red stems contrast nicely with the apple green leaves.  The deer should leave it alone but we have gotten reports of deer chewing some tips.  It may depend on the time of year and the deer population.

The other manzanita varieties we carry have descriptions that can be found at:

http://www.xeraplants.com/Xera/Manzanita_09.html

Rosa rugosa

on Monday, 15 November 2010. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Rugosa Rose

rosa_rugosa_hips-_plant_of_week

The toughest of roses provide intoxicating flowers, long lasting rose hips, interesting leaf texture, as well as drought tolerance and deer resistance.  Why would you plant any other rose?  There are more varieties coming out all the time to add more colors and mature sizes to the rugosa rose palette.  They can vary from 3'-6' tall and 3-5' wide; most varieties will grow to the 5'x5' category and will spread by runners, making them a good barrier or hedge plant.  Rugosa roses also look great in a mixed border, especially because they don't need the extra care of sprays that most other roses need.  The rugosa roses are also called sea tomato roses because of their large orange to red rose hips that last throughout the winter and provide nourishment for the birds.   The flowers come in single or double petaled forms and range in color from deep magenta pink to red to pure white and yellows. Ask about our current stock to find out what the available choices are. The flowers bloom all summer and you can detect their spicy fragrance from across the garden.  You can tell a rugosa from other roses because of their larger, more textured leaf and their lack of black spot.  Once established they only need an occasional soak and prefer full sun.   We have been told that the deer don't eat the roses off the rugosa rose shrubs in Ashland, so we hope that continues!