Ribes odoratum 'Crandall'

on Wednesday, 27 February 2019. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shade Plants, Edible, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Crandall' Blackcurrant

CrandallHere is a stellar plant that is beautiful, fragrant, and delicious - as well as being good for the birds! 

'Crandall' Blackcurrant is woefully under-utilized, perhaps people haven't eaten a currant before or not visited the nursery when they are in bloom. But come visit in April and you will see a drift of them planted in part shade in our drought tolerant display garden; handily close enough to the rock pile for little hands to pick the fruit when they ripen in summer and beckoning you for a closer look with their clove scented, yellow blooms.

Appealing to hummingbirds and butterflies, the flowers develop into black, round fruit that are tart/sweet with a more mild currant flavor and especially high in Vitamin C. My daughter loves to pick them fresh but they can be made into preserves or baked goods or dried. The cool weather and shorter days of fall bring out gorgeous red foliage color, too.

Most currants would appreciate a spot out of extreme heat but will tolerate full sun with good water. Part shade or morning sun is ideal. They will get 4-5' tall and wide, and bear fruit on second-year growth. Currants can be drought tolerant once established and do best in a well-draining but compost-rich soil. They can be a great addition to a mixed use garden - full of edible and ornamental power!

Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid'

on Wednesday, 14 November 2018. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Conifer, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Trees, Drought Tolerant

Vanderwolf's Pyramid Limber Pine

vanderwolf_pine

The 'Vanderwolf' Pine has proven itself a good conifer choice for a hot, dry spot; one that won't get too large and has soft, two-toned needles. This western North American native Pine can tolerate our dry, hot summers and wet winters.

Well drained soil, including dry, rocky hillsides, will help it tolerate those conditions even better. We have especially been attracted to it because it doesn't have the scratchy quality of most conifers, you can get close to it and enjoy the soft blue and green needles. 'Vanderwolf' has a more open habit than some other sheared looking conifers when young but gets denser with age and can be used as an effective screen, a specimen position, or looks great in groups of three.

It is difficult to pin down a mature size on the 'Vanderwolf' but it is slower growing so it is useful in smaller spaces. It can get 20-25' tall and 10-15' wide but it seems to get taller more quickly than it gets wide. Like most pines, it only needs occasional watering once established and this variety is more disease and pest resistant than some other pine species. Also, like most pines, Vanderwolf's Pine is deer resistant.

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.  

 

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 reason: it can tolerate sun or shade, is drought tolerant, provides fall flowers for the hummingbirds, has long lasting, spectacularly colored fruit, and it's evergreen!

You can easily see how this relative of our native Madrone gets its common name of Strawberry Tree. The orange and red fruits resemble strawberries, and although the fruit is technically edible, they are more for suited 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.

Arbutus medSome 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. Compact Strawberry Tree is not the most fast growing evergreen shrub, but it will grow steadily to 5-7' tall and wide (eventually larger). With annual pruning it can be kept tighter and smaller. This 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.

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!

Baptisia australis

on Sunday, 30 April 2017. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Blue False Indigo

baptisia-australis--plant-o

Baptisia or Blue False Indigo may not be all that familiar but it should be for it's striking purple flower stalks and refreshing blue-green foliage.  It has what we always look for- drought tolerant (has deep roots), deer resistant in some areas (poisonous), good cut flowers (blooms in May- June), long lived (so can require some age to bloom and is slower growing), North American prairie native (can tolerate clay or sandy soils), and butterfly attractor.  The easy to care for Baptisia can get 3-4' tall and 2'-3' wide and is rather vase shaped, so low growing perennials at it's base might be nice. Looks great with chartreuse Euphorbias, round headed Alliums, or silver Artemesia nearby. The sweet pea-like flowers make a great contrast with grasses as well. 'Solar Flare' is a newer yellow variety.