Locally Grown

on Sunday, 27 March 2016. Posted in Drought tolerant

Plants are one area where it makes sense to 'Buy Local'

Locally Grown

Locally Grown

by Christie Mackison, co-owner and designer at Shooting Star Nursery

(this article is originally published in Southern Oregon Magazine)

One of the things I like best about gardening and plants is what a localized pursuit it is and at the same time enhanced by global influences.  You need to truly understand your garden’s microclimate for plant success.    It also helps to have a sense of what local or native plants do well in your area.  But at the same time we have the entire globe at our disposal when it comes time to choose what we put in our garden. Many of our favorite common garden plants come from Asia (Rhodies, Hydrangeas), the Mediterranean (Cistus, Rosemary), or even the Himalayas (Deodar Cedar).  So where to begin?

First, observe and understand your area’s climate and then on a smaller scale your garden’s microclimate (that includes sun/wind exposure and soil type).  Most of the Rogue Valley is USDA Zone 8a, I like to verge towards Zone 7b to be on the safe side.  We have a long dry season with temps reaching into the 100’s.  We have a shorter rainy season than the typical Pacific Northwest but it is still concentrated in late fall-spring.  So our goal is finding plants that can withstand winter wet/summer dry cycles and occasional extreme temps of single digits to triple digits. 

That tag on the Hydrangea that you just bought from the box store says it will take full sun.  But now you know- not in our drier/hotter climate.  Even though Oregon is a huge producer of nursery plants, most plant tags and most plants coming straight off a delivery truck are produced for an east coast market.  So put your filters on and make sure you are buying for your climate- not just the pretty new plant that is being marketed across the country. 

So here is where you can get local. Start with your local nursery that is ideally growing plants themselves- the plants are acclimated to the climate and the nursery makes choices on what to grow based on what will do well here.

We still have the world to choose plant species from but we choose from areas that have a similar climate- like the Mediterranean, and we can choose native plants from our unique area.   Keep in mind we are more similar to northern California for natives than the Pacific Northwest.  Plants are one area where it especially makes sense to ‘shop local’.

Pruning Blackberries

on Monday, 11 January 2016. Posted in Edibles, Fruit trees, Classes

Get those canes ready for spring growth

Blackberries2

This is what we are looking forward to correct?  Luscious berries all summer long.  To achieve that it is best to get your pruning and cleaning up of your berry patch done now. I love late winter for pruning- most leaves have dropped so you can see what you are doing and nothing is actively growing so no damage is done.  

Garden tour

on Wednesday, 16 September 2015. Posted in Deer resistant, Drought tolerant, Landscape architect, Landscape contractor, New Plants

Checking out our plants in the outside world

garden tour

Shooting Star Garden Tour 2015!  Our friend Tracy suggested we go on a tour of some gardens that she and her company- Sage Hill Landscape had designed and installed using some of our plants.  We thought that sounded like a great idea!  We don't get out much and it would be such a good learning opportunity to see how our plants were doing outside of their little nursery environment. As well as what plants were winning the fight against deer, heavy clay soils, drought, and a hot summer.  First off, we were all stunned by this Chilopsis 'Bubba' pictured behind Erik.  It was huge and covered in burgundy flowers.  In the foreground are Salvia 'Caradonna' and Stachys byzantina (or Lambs Ear). 

IMG 5212IMG 5224

First off, let's say what a great job our designer, Bonni Criswell, did on this landscape design.  We were truly impressed with the beautiful combos and textures she created of silvers, blues, purples, and whites.  This client is nearby the nursery on Old Stage Road and the garden was planted in April of 2014.  So this was it's second summer when we visited and it looked filled in and thriving.   The client needed drought tolerant, deer resistant, and all season interest plants and Bonni delivered.

IMG 5211

Dwarf conifers were requested by this client so this combo includes a Papoose Sitka Spruce, Nepeta 'Walker's Low' and the ornamental grass Panicum 'Northwind'.

More fun combos!  On the left:  Panicum 'Northwind' with Agastache 'Heatwave' and Salvia 'Heatwave Glimmer'.

On the right:  Salvia 'Caradonna' (purple blooms) and Feijoa sellowiana (Pineapple Guava) with Picea Globosa, and Salvia x 'Heatwave Glimmer' (creamy white blooms).  Evergreen textures mingle with early summer and late summer blooming perennials so you'll never be bored.

IMG 5203IMG 5205