Eriogonums

on Monday, 09 May 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Fall Color, Perennial, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Flowering Buckwheat

Display garden2In our opinion, Eriogonums – also known as Buckwheats – deserve a place in pretty much every sunny garden in the Rogue Valley! Eriogonums are one of those plants that check all of our boxes here at Shooting Star. Drought tolerant? Check. Good pollinator plant? Check. Native plant? Check. Really, really pretty? Check. We are frankly amazed that we haven’t featured it as a plant of the week before this!

In general, Eriogonums prefer full sun and well-drained soils. They’re a perfect plant for that hot spot in your yard that gets blasted by afternoon sun. Despite their toughness and resilience, they are covered with showy displays of delicately beautiful-looking flowers from mid-summer into early fall. They look great in a mixed planting combined with other sun-loving, drought-tolerant plants like Salvias, Agastache, Zauschneria, and Monardella, and Ceanothus.

They’re also one of the best pollinator plants around; providing larval food for butterflies and moths, and abundant nectar for a truly dazzling variety of pollinators: tiny native bees, bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, and beetles. Seriously - one of my favorite things to do with Eriogonums in the garden is just sit next to one on a sunny day and watch who comes to visit!

We regularly carry the following varieties:

E. compositum flower detailEriogonum compositum (Arrowleaf buckwheat): To 2’ tall by 1’ wide. Soft grayish-green, arrow-shaped leaves. Flowers – which are borne in clusters up to 3” across - are white, tinged with a soft pink, and fading to a rusty red. E. compositum is somewhat more tolerant of heavy soils than E. umbellatum – although it would still prefer well drained soil. As an extra bonus, f you leave the seed heads on the plants in the fall, you will be extremely popular with seed-eating birds like goldfinches!

 

Eriogonum ed cropEriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur-flower buckwheat): As the name suggests, these plants feature bright, sulphur-yellow flowers. Their leaves are a darker green than E. compositum, and more rounded. Plant size can be variable: they get between 6-12” tall by 1-3’ wide.

 

Kannah CreekKannah Creek: A cultivar of E. umbellatum, slightly more compact and consistent in size and shape. Kannah Creek gets about 12-15” tall by 15-24” wide. As an extra bonus, they provide outstanding fall color, with foliage turning a bright burgundy color as cold weather moves in.

  

Nepeta 'Junior Walker'

on Monday, 09 May 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Nepeta 'Junior Walker'

Nepeta Junior Walker crop

Nepeta 'Junior Walker' is one of my very favorite drought tolerant perennials - and that's high praise indeed! Its aromatic, blue-gray foliage provides a beautiful contrast for soft-looking, blue-violet flowers. Plants generally begin blooming in early May, and will bloom well into fall if you shear them back after their spring bloom.

'Junior Walker' reaches about 16" tall by 30" tall at maturity. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil, and combines well with other drought tolerant perennials. It makes a nice accent in a summer garden; creating a nice cool place for your eyes to rest amidst the other hot-colored blooms of summer. 

Nepetas are also known as Catmints, and their foliage smells like mint with a warm hint of camphor. This aroma also serves another purpose in the garden: while it's really pleasant to humans, deer don't like the smell and tend to avoid the plants. 

However, the most notable feature of 'Junior Walker' - and of all Nepetas - is that they are absolute magnets for pollinators. Here at the nursery, it's not uncommon to find our Nepetas covered with a combination of butterflies, skippers, honeybees, bumblebees, and tiny solitary native bees. If you have really limited room for pollinator plants in your garden, put 'Junior Walker' at the top of your list! 

We also regularly carry these other varieties of Nepeta:

 N. Purple Haze2Nepeta 'Purple Haze'- 'Purple Haze' is the shortest of the Nepetas we grow. They share the same abundant violet-blue flowers and aromatic foliage of 'Junior Walker', but plants only get about 4" tall at maturity. They're a great addition at the front of a perennial bed - or plant them to spill over a rock wall.  

 Nepeta Walkers Low cropNepeta 'Walker's Low'- 'Walker's Low is the tallest Nepeta of the group. Plants get to 24" to 30" tall, by about 36" wide. Like 'Junior Walker', it has a gentle mounding shape and combines well with other sun-loving, drought tolerant perennials like Salvias, Agastaches, Rudbeckias, and Gauras.

 

 

Ceanothus 'Emily Brown'

on Saturday, 07 May 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Ceanothus 'Emily Brown'

Ceanothus Emily Brown sm

Anyone who has visited Shooting Star's demonstration gardens in spring has likely been stopped in their tracks by one of our favorite native plants - 'Emily Brown' Ceanothus - in full bloom and literally humming and buzzing with pollinators.

One of the common names of Ceanothus is "California Lilac", and it's easy to see why. 'Emily Brown' is covered with deep, blue-violet flowers in early spring, which contrast beautifully with its dark green holly-shaped leaves. Plants are fast-growing, reaching 4' to 6' tall by up to 12' wide. They're also extremely drought-tolerant, and won't need any summer water when established.

This is a showy, sturdy evergreen shrub that is a perfect choice for that place in the yard that doesn't have any irrigation lines running to it. The toothy leaves ‘Emily Brown’ makes it more deer resistant than its smooth-leafed cousins. But it will still benefit being protected from deer when young. 

Choisya arizonica x ternata 'Aztec Pearl'

on Tuesday, 03 May 2022. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

'Aztec Pearl' Cutleaf Mexican Orange Blossom

Choisya Aztec Pearl

Here's a great choice for that elusive 4-5' tall evergreen shrub! Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’ smells great, is deer and drought resistant, pollinator-friendly, insect and disease-resistant, and is also a good firewise shrub.

One of the tricks in creating a drought tolerant garden is to select plants that actually thrive in our summer-dry climate, and this plant definitely fits the bill. Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’ is a hybrid between C. ternata - which is native to Mexico (hence its common name) and C. arizonica – which is native to Arizona.

Choisya Aztec Pearl sm'Aztec Pearl' grows well in exposures ranging from full sun to half a day of sun. It looks handsome all year and especially when it is covered with clusters of fragrant white flowers in the late spring that have a spicy, citrusy fragrance like orange blossoms. Its five-fingered leaves have a wonderful texture that contrast well with rounded leaf forms or purple foliage. Plants generally reach 5’ by 5’ here in the Rogue Valley, but it is easy to tip prune them to keep them around 4' tall and wide.

‘Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’ is hardy to near 0 degrees, under the right conditions. The key is to place it where it gets at least some winter sun, and make sure that the soil is well-draining and doesn't get waterlogged over the winter months.

Achillea 'Little Moonshine'

on Tuesday, 26 April 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

A New Compact Yarrow for your Garden!

Achillea Little Moonshine

Achillea 'Little Moonshine' is the yarrow you didn't know that you needed - but once you see it you'll immediately start thinking about where you can use it in your garden. Because, clearly, you DO need this delightful little plant!

As the name suggests, 'Little Moonshine' is a compact version of 'Moonshine' yarrow. 'Little Moonshine' shares the large, buttery-yellow flowerheads and soft gray-green foliage of its namesake, but only reaches 9" to 12" tall and wide at maturity. Flowering begins in early summer and continues through October if the spent flowers are cut back. Like most yarrows, 'Little Moonshine' prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Plants are sturdy and drought-tolerant when established, and attract a wide variety of pollinators. Their fragrant foliage also helps make them deer and rabbit resistant. 

Here's some fun plant trivia: Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War. He is said to have used yarrow to staunch the bleeding and heal the wounds of his warriors, so the genus is named for him. Achillea continues to be used as a medicinal herb today!