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.

  

Asters

on Thursday, 13 October 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial

Aster Raydons Favorite smFall is Aster season and here at Shooting Star Nursery we love these bright, cheery perennials!

As a group, Asters (which have now mostly been categorized as the genus Symphyotrichon, for all you plant nerds out there) are sturdy, long-lived, and unfussy about soil type - they even tolerate clay soils well.

Planting Asters is also a great way to extend the flowering season in your perennial garden. They generally come into bloom in mid to late summer – just as most perennials are finishing up their flowering season – and continue blooming right up until frost.

Aster cropOne of the things Asters are best known for, though, is their ability to attract butterflies and other pollinators. Their simple, daisy-like flowers provide a great platform for butterflies to land on while they nectar from the plants. In fact, if you’d really like to roll out the red carpet for butterflies, consider planting both Asters and Erigerons. Erigerons begin blooming in early spring and continue flowering into summer, at which point Asters come into bloom.

Most of the Asters we carry here at Shooting Star Nursery fall into two groups: dwarf Asters that about 12-18” tall (October Skies, Purple Dome, Wood’s Pink, Wood’s Purple) and standard Asters that get between 2-3’ tall (Avondale, Moench, Raydon’s Favorite). Snow Flurry is a prostrate Aster that only gets 4-6” tall, and our native Douglas Aster can range in height from 1-3’ tall.

Aster and Solidago cropAsters prefer average water, and will do well in full sun to part shade, depending upon variety. For a great show of fall color, consider planting them with a mix of goldenrods and ornamental grasses. We like to leave their dried flower stalks standing throughout the winter months (their seeds are really popular with wintering songbirds), and cut plants back in early spring as new growth begins to emerge.

Zauschneria cana

on Monday, 05 September 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Perennial, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

California Fuchsia

zauschneria everetts choice small

Zauschneria - aka California Fuchsia - is one of the most drought tolerant, heat tolerant, pollinator-friendly, beautiful perennials you can grow. We're not sure why this western native is not used more: the hard to pronounce name, or that fact that you can kill it with kindness, perhaps? In any case, this lovely plant deserves a place of honor in more gardens here in the Rogue Valley! Ours begin blooming in early to mid-July and keeps going strong until we get a hard frost in late fall; putting on quite a show for us and the hummingbirds!

Zauschneria’s hot orange to deep red flowers are the quintessential “hummingbird flower”: long, nectar-rich floral tubes just perfectly shaped for a hummingbird’s slender bill. This is one of a handful of flowers I’ve seen actually hummingbirds bypass a feeder for! Plants bloom continuously and don’t seem to need any deadheading; the spent blossoms just neatly drop off the plant. In addition, the vivid orange-red flowers contrast beautifully with soft silvery gray foliage that fits perfectly into a drought tolerant garden. They look great when planted with Salvia, Agastache, Perovskia, Gaura, Eriophyllum, Monardella, and other drought-tolerant perennials.

Zausch editThis western native perennial is happiest in a well-drained soil (you see them naturally growing out of rock outcroppings), with full sun and infrequent water. They do especially well on slopes or at the edge of a rock wall. We like to leave up any dormant stems over the winter, to help them survive our wet winters and clean them up in early spring. The stems can be cut back after all danger of cold weather is past and the plant will grow back quickly to be full and vibrant by summertime.

When you see Zauschneria available in the nursery, grab them fast. We don’t carry them all year long and they sell out quickly! They are best planted in spring and summer, when they can have some time to get settled in before winter hits. Most varieties we carry are cold hardy to at least Zone 7b, about 5 to 10 degrees F.

zauschneria homepageHere’s a short description of a few of the varieties we carry:

Z. c. 'Calistoga'- 1' tall by 2' wide, one of the darkest orange (almost red) varieties with thicker, larger, more silvery leaves than most. Best planted on a slope.


Z. septentrionalis 'Select Mattole' - 10" tall and 24" wide or so. Very silvery, large leaves with a great spreading habit


Z. garrettii 'Orange Carpet' - 6" tall x 18" wide, a green leafed form that can take more afternoon shade and a bit more summer water. It is one of the first to bloom.


Z. ‘Everett’s Choice’ – 6” tall x 2-3’wide, with large vividly red flowers


Z. arizonica – 2-3’ tall, by 2’wide, with gray-green foliage and orange-red flowers¬. Hardy to Zone 5.

Vitex agnus-castus

on Thursday, 01 September 2022. Posted in Good for Screening, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Chaste Tree

Vitex edThis drought tolerant Mediterranean native absolutely thrives here in the Rogue Valley! Vitex needs consistent heat in order to bloom profusely, and our long hot summers give them exactly what they like. From mid-summer into early fall, Vitex is covered with long spikes of flowers ranging in color from soft lavender to dark blue. The blooms slowly open from the base to the tips, eventually reaching up to 12 inches long and lasting at least 4 to 5 weeks; attracting bees and hummingbirds from far and wide.

VitexFlipSide editVitex’s fragrant leaves are very attractive in their own right. Their shape is similar to a lace leaf Japanese Maple; and are a lovely shade of soft blue-green. Most varieties are gray-green underneath, but Flip Side features a dark purple reverse – making them truly stunning in a breeze. As an extra bonus, the fragrance helps make this plant quite deer resistant.

One of the fun things about Vitex is that you can grow it into whatever form you like, multi-trunk or single trunk tree, or a large, broad shrub. The straight species, and varieties like Shoal Creek get about 10-15’ tall and wide. Varieties like Flip Side and Delta Blues are smaller – maybe 8-10’ tall and wide at maturity. Vitex bloom on new wood, so they take very well to a severe pruning, even all the way back to the ground if needed. We have also seen them be used successfully in large containers against hot walls and parking lots.

Vitex grow slower with drought conditions and grow fairly rapidly with regular water and richer soil, but will tolerate both conditions well. We have been very impressed with the cold hardiness and drought tolerance of these shrubs as well as their many uses. Vitex are one of the few choices for a small tree or large shrub that thrives in the heat and has lovely blooms late in the season!

Stipa gigantea

on Friday, 22 July 2022. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Giant Feather Grass

stipa-gigantea

In the quest for evergreen ornamental grasses, the Giant Feather Grass provides the evergreen green blades, but the thing that makes this grass a standout is its 6' tall blooms that shimmer in the evening light and last much longer than most ornamental grasses.

The 2-3' tall clump of foliage can be cut back in the winter to refresh it or left alone to have a permanent presence in the garden. Blooms start emerging in May and retain their good looks until frost starts to beat them up and need cut back. Besides that, there is no maintenance needed for this grass and the inflorescences rise dramatically above other perennials or shrubs.

Stipa gigantea is drought tolerant in well drained soil, deer resistant, heat tolerant and has interest all year long. They look wonderful as a single accent or could be massed for a naturalistic garden. By the way, it doesn't seed around like its cousin- Stipa tenuissima or Mexican Feather Grass. It's difficult to photograph the quality of the light as it shines through the blooms, but come visit and we'll show you!