Articles in Category: Ground Cover

Zauschneria (Epilobium) cana

on Sunday, 14 August 2016. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Perennial, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

California Fuchsia

zauschneria-plant-of-week

The California Fuchsia is one of the most drought tolerant, heat tolerant, beautiful perennials you can grow.  We're not sure why this California native is not used more- the hard to pronounce name, the two Genus names (we like to use Zauschneria), that fact that you can kill it with kindness, perhaps?  It has been putting on a show for us and the hummingbirds in the garden since mid July and seems to be going strong until we get a severe frost in late October, maybe November.  The trumpet-shaped, hot orange flowers bloom continously and are not ugly as the fade out- they just drop off, no dead brown petals like so many perennials or even annuals.  So there is no deadheading or cleaning up.  The unreal orange color of the blooms is set off by the lovely silvery gray foliage that fits perfectly into a drought tolerant garden. 

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. 

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.

Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'

on Monday, 09 June 2014. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Fall Color, Shade Plants, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Biokovo' Hardy Geranium (Cranesbill)

geranium-biokovo

This versatile and easy hardy geranium is a great choice for an evergreen perennial that is deer resistant, drought tolerant in part shade, and even gets fall color.  When looking for deer resistant plants it's always imortant to seek out scented plants, especially leaves with a strong smell.  'Biokovo' Geranium is one of the rare perennials to have a strong, spicy scent that is not Meditteranean or needing lots of sun. It performs best in a cool location with morning sun or at least protection from the hottest part of the day.  The broad, lobed leaves provide striking contrast to finer leafed perennials and grasses. 'Biokovo' spreads by rhizomes to make a nice spreading mound about 6-10" tall and 2-3' wide and can be a bit aggressive so make sure it's neighbors can hold its own.  Dainty, pale pink to white flowers with pink stamens emerge in late spring through summer, but this perennial remains interesting all year.  The variety 'Cambridge Blue' is similar except with a lavender-blue flower.  We usually have at least 10 or so varieties of hardy Geranium in stock, great tough, long-blooming perennials!

Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue'

on Sunday, 16 March 2014. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Georgia Blue Speedwell

veronica_georgia_blue-_plant_of_the_week

This easy maintenance, perennial groundcover adds a beautiful cobalt blue to the edge of any garden.  We love the dainty deep blue flowers that start blooming as early as February and are heaviest in April, continuing into early summer.  Besides the blooms, the best part about 'Georgia Blue' is that  it remains evergreen, turning lovely shades of burgundy in the colder weather.  It is a great companion to early spring bulbs, especially the yellow of daffodils, and can mask the untidy foliage bulbs leave behind as they fade.  This Veronica is good for spilling over edges, out of containers, or as a mass groundcover.  It may need shearing back after blooming once in a while to refresh it but otherwise it is low maintenance.  You can plan on it getting about 6" tall and spreading 12-24" wide.  It will tolerate full sun to part shade and can even take a little drought; but looks best with moderate water and good mulch.  It has proven deer resistant in some gardens (Jacksonville, Applegate Valley) in the Rogue Valley but not others (Griffin Creek area of Medford), so try it out first.  Butterflies and hummingbirds are known to visit the cheerful flowers.  Georgia Blue Speedwell looks great planted next to purple toned Euphorbia, Black Mondo Grass, Mahonias, and other broader leaved shrubs and perennials.