Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'

on Wednesday, 04 April 2018. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Fall Color, Edible, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

amelanchier_closeup

We are in love with this serviceberry.  It is a great small tree or large shrub; we like it multi stem but we have single stem available as well.  It is interesting in all four seasons starting with leaves that emerge bronze, then become a lovely blue-green in summer and turn fiery orange and red in fall.  The white flowers start out as a fuzzy, peach color and seem to last longer than the flowering cherries, at least 3 weeks and then form blue-black fruit that the birds enjoy.  They also are not prone to damage from late spring frosts.   Provide full to half day sun.  Well draining soil and our dry summers should help prevent some of the humidity based diseases it can get.  Can be drought tolerant once established and grows 15-25 feet tall.  Good replacement in sun for multi trunked Japanese Maple.  Looks great with dark green pines or other evergreen as backdrop.

Asian Persimmons

on Thursday, 01 March 2018. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Edible, Trees, Drought Tolerant

Persimmon trees

hachiya persimmon 1Persimmons are the fruit you didn't know you needed.  So decorative!  So versatile! And fall color as a bonus in an edible tree.  Asian Persimmons are the main type for home gardeners to grow, even though there are American Persimmons (just not as edible).   There are astringent types (used for cooking and eaten soft and fruits have a pointed bottom), and the non-astringent types (can be eaten fresh when firm or soft and fruits have a flat bottom).  See below for the main types we carry.  The non-astringent varieties can keep for 3 weeks at room temperature while the astringent varieties need to be used right away.  Dried Persimmon is a delectable treat that can add vitamin A and C and beta ceratine to your winter days.  Persimmons can be used in baked goods and there are lots of recipes out there showing ways to use this gorgeous fruit.

 

persimmonPersimmons are self fertile so you can get away with one tree and offer vibrant orange fall color.  They are one of the last fruits to harvest in the late fall, usually October even into November.   Trees can typically get 20-25' tall and wide and are not super fast growing.  They appreciate a well draining soil and full sun.   Most Asian Persimmons are hardy to zone 7.  Plase them so you can enjoy the glowing orange pumpkin like fruit hanging from bare branches in late fall.  

 

Edible Figs

on Wednesday, 31 January 2018. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

If you’re thinking of adding some new fruiting trees and shrub to your yard this year to create an edible landscape, figs are a great place to start!

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs also enjoy well-drained soil and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established.  One of their assets is that they are self fertile, being pollinated on the insde of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter.  A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back.  They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs at Shooting Star and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to the Black Mission and other types that perform better in California. Our selection includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Oregon Prolific, Desert King, and Osborne Prolific; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Latturula (Italian Honey Fig- yum!)  See our fruit tree description list for more details on skin color and ripening..

 

 

Figs are one of those fruits that don't keep well at the market, so you are lucky to have your own crop.  What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins! Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

 

FIG VARIETIES FOR THE NW:

Fig 'Black Jack'

large, sweet purple skin w/strawberry flesh, semi-dwarf

 

Fig 'Black Spanish' **

dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf

 

Fig 'Brown Turkey' 

Med-lrg, sweet purplish/brown skin w/lt. pink flesh, big

 

Fig 'Desert King'

large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops

 

Fig 'Lattarula' (Italian Honey Fig) **

large, lt. green skin w/ amber flesh, can bear 2 crops

 

Fig 'Olympian'

Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf

 

Fig 'Oregon Prolific' 

vigorous, yellow skin w/ white flesh, great for Pac. NW

 

Fig 'Osborne Prolific'

Purple brown skin w/sweet amber flesh, hardy & productive, good in PNW

 

Fig 'Peter's Honey' **

deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

 

Fig 'Scott's Black'

Thin purple skin w/red flesh, sweet, closed eye

 

Fig 'Vern's Brown Turkey'  **

Brown skin w/amber flesh, sweet/flavorful, can produce 2 crops a season 

 

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'

on Wednesday, 15 November 2017. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Compact Strawberry tree

arbutus-unedo-plant-of-the-

Compact Strawberry tree is one of our favorites for so many reasons- it can tolerate sun or shade, drought tolerant, provides fall flowers for the hummingbirds, has long lasting, spectacularly colored fruit, and it's evergreen!  You can see how this relative of our native Madrone gets its common name of Strawberry tree- the orange and red fruits resemble strawberries- although edible, they are more for wildlife as they are bland  and mealy in texture.  The honey scented, white, urn-shaped flowers can appear from fall into early spring and the fruits often come on at the same time or not long after.  Some years seem to have heavier fruit set than others, but the fruits are so decorative and long lasting that they don't qualify as messy.  With leathery, dark green, oblong leaves, reddish new stems and shaggy auburn bark it is handsome all year.   It is not the most fast growing evergreen shrub but will grow steadily to 5-7' tall and wide (eventually larger).  With annual pruning it can be kept tighter and smaller.  It is one of those rare plants that is happy in sun or part shade making it a great choice for a hedge with varied conditons.  It is also tolerant of various climates and soils.  We have some planted on the north side of our house that have done wonderfully with no supplemental water after their first year and even survived the 7 degree winter with no damage!  In extreme cold they will show some damage; so best to plant where they are not completely exposed to cold winds.  The winter of 2013 where we got to zero degrees for several nights proved fatal to some Arbutus and some rebounded after suffering damage on top.  They can take little to regular water and are tolerant of many soil types.  We wish they were deer resistant but unfortunately the tips get chewed too much to be reliable.   Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' is great in foundation plantings  or hedges.  You will be hardpressed to find an evergreen shrub with more year round interest, plus the hummingbirds will thank you for providing a much needed winter nectar source.

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Dark Knight'

on Saturday, 30 September 2017. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Dark Knight Bluebeard

caryopteris-closeup-plant-o

This late summer bloomer goes by several common names, Bluebeard, Blue Spirea, or Blue Mist so we usually stick to calling it Caryopteris. It is indispensible for an easy, deer resistant, drought tolerant (but also tolerant of moist soils), and long blooming addition to your garden border. The plant in the photo is 'Dark Knight' which is a darker shade of periwinkle-blue from the common 'Blue Mist' variety. Both varieties put on a show with hundreds of flowers from July to frost, attracting honeybees and butterflies from all around. A low maintenance plant, Caryopteris can be kept at 2-3' tall and wide with a spring pruning but will get larger if left unpruned. We find that our winters do some tip pruning anyways so it is best to clean them up in spring when you see new leaves emerge and pruning right above them, which can sometimes be as low as 6" from the base. They quickly recover into a nice mounded shape, looking dense and uniform. So they are great for the maintenance person that loves to come in and hedge trim everything! With its aromatic, lance shaped leaves, this shrub has proven to be deer resistant. The leaves have a blue/silver tinge that look great with other silvers like Artemesia or contrast with purple foliage like smokebush. We find Caryopteris to be drought tolerant because of its very deep taproot but can look lusher with regular water in well draining soil. Full sun is best and they will tolerate reflected heat.