Lagerstroemia indica & hybrids

on Monday, 12 September 2011. Posted in Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Trees, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Crepe Myrtle

lagerstroemia_dynamite

Late summer is the season of Crepe Myrtles.  When many perennials have petered out; and blooming shrubs and trees are few and far between, Crepe Myrtles are just getting started.  From July through September, their lively show of crinkly crepe paper-like flower clusters in an array of whites, pinks, reds and purples are the perfect anecdote to a drab border.  Not only do they deliver in bloom, but most varieties also boast fantastic fall color with fiery oranges and reds, in addition to tints of yellow and purple.  Even though we are on the northern edge of their hardiness range, Crape Myrtles are ideal for our hot summer climate.  They prefer full, hot sun and well draining soil, and do best with deep, but infrequent soaks once established.  Crepe Myrtles bloom on new wood, so late winter or early spring is the best time to prune.  Ranging in size from dwarf shrubs around 3-5 feet tall and wide, to 20 foot tall trees, there are endless possibilities for fitting Crepe Myrtles into a landscape.  Although naturally occurring as large shrubs, they are often pruned as trees or multi-stemmed specimens, which are the ideal forms for exposing their exquisite bark.  With some age, their peeling cinnamon colored outer bark reveals a smooth and burnished surface, adding sophistication to their winter silhouette.  This feature is truly the Crepe Myrtle's saving grace due to the fact that they are notoriously late to leaf out in the spring.  So be patient, because they are well worth the wait come the dregs of summer.  Without a doubt, the Crepe Myrtles is a superior solution to the small tree challenge, offering three seasons of interest in a vibrant,  heat and drought tolerant package.

Some of the varieties we usually carry are:

Creeping Thymes

on Tuesday, 14 June 2011. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Edible, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Creeping Thyme

thyme-with-euphorbia

Creeping Thyme may seem too simple or common of a plant to feature but it is so useful and tough that we find ourselves using it all the time!   What other plant has evergreen leaves, spreads rapidly but not aggressively, has lovely bee-attracting flowers, and suppresses weeds without needing much water or care?  The creeping Thymes are not used for edible purposes but they still have a strong smell so the deer will leave them alone.  They will tolerate part shade but prefer full sun and a deep soak only when the soil is dry.  We use them to drape over a wall, or pot; as groundcover between pavers or at the edge of paths, anywhere you need a soft edge.  They are also great as filler- keeping weeds out while other shrubs are growing in and then they can either be lifted and divided or just let them remain under the existing shrubs.  The thyme pictured is Thymus pseudolanuginosus or Wooly Thyme- it is a bit slower to get established but that could be good in certain areas.  Thymus serphyllum 'Coccineus' or Red Creeping Thyme, and Thymus ser. 'Minus' or 'Elfin' grow more quickly and make great mass groundcovers that spread about 18".  Thymus 'Lemon Frost' is  a very handsome white flowering variety with lemon scented leaves that is well behaved, not spreading as fast to 12" or so.

Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'

on Monday, 09 May 2011. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Howard McMinn Manzanita

Arctostaphylos_Howard-McMin

This named form of Manzanita made it through the 2009 winter that seemed to kill off most Escallonias and Phormiums.  At lows of seven degrees, this Manzanita didn't even discolor or lose leaves.  We have a few planted in the ground at the nursery and they have done beautifully without much irrigation or care. 

'Howard McMinn' will tolerate more irrigation than other manzanitas but all are very drought tolerant in well draining soil.  It will take full to half a day of sun and grows quickly to 4-5' tall and at least 4-5' wide.  The hummingbirds love the light pink flowers that appear in early spring and smell like honey.  It looks good all year and has dense growth unlike some leggier forms of manzanita.  The red stems contrast nicely with the apple green leaves.  The deer should leave it alone but we have gotten reports of deer chewing some tips.  It may depend on the time of year and the deer population. Arctostaphylos Howard McMinn sm

 

Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea'

on Monday, 04 April 2011. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Purple Wood Spurge

euphorbia_purpurea-_plant_of_the_week

Seems as if we are always singing the praises of Euphorbias but what else has such bright, ever-changing color, is deer resistant and drought tolerant, and provides contrast with other shrubs and perennials?  Euphorbia purpurea is one of the shorter growing species and in the hot valley is best in part shade, morning sun, or dappled light; although increased sun will bring out more of the burgundy/purple tones.  Once established it is drought tolerant as long as it has well draining soil and the white sap in the stems make it poisonous and resistant to deer.  This Euphobia is always going through interesting color changes- the leaves go from fresh green/lime to wine-colored reds and purples as the season progresses.  The red stems and purple rosettes of leaves contrast beautifully with the chartreuse/lime colored blooms that perch atop the plant.   The blooms last for months and when they finally fade is the best time to prune the stems back to the base to keep it tidy.  This Euphorbia is at it's prime it's first few years and then may get a little tired looking, but it reseeds quite a bit so you will always have fresh plants.  It looks great as a mass groundcover in part shade, combined with yellow daffodils, black mondo grass, Mahonia repens or compacta, yellow toned ornamental grasses, Veronica 'Georgia Blue', Hellebores, I could go on and on.  The colors and form of the Euphorbia purpurea just complement so many other leaf shapes and colors.  They do well in containers as well and are a great choice for winter color and multi season interest in a shade/part shade pot.  Euphorbia purpurea will typically get about 12-18" tall and spread about as wide with seedlings popping up nearby.  They are easy to identify and remove or transplant.

Punica granatum

on Monday, 24 January 2011. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Edible, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Pomegranates

punica-angel-red-plant-of-w

pomegranate-angel-red-plantThe Rogue Valley climate allows us to get away with growing Pomegranates; with the possibility of getting fruit!  Unlike the Pacific Northwest, which generally doesn't get enough heat to ripen Pomegranates, Pomegranates will thrive in our longer, hot summers. We also usually don't get cold enough to damage them so give this Persian fruit a try!  They thrive in a hot, dry, and ideally protected spot (to make sure the fruit ripens) and the tropical looking bright orange flowers add an unusual element to any garden.   Against a south facing wall is best. We have seen some old specimens in Ashland and Central Point so we know once established they will make it through most any winter.  The key is to protect them if it gets below 20 degrees the first couple of winters.  Once established, a severe cold snap can kill them to the ground - however they regrow quickly from the roots.  Pomegranates have narrow, bright green leaves turning golden in the fall and frilly, saturated orange/red blooms.  Pomegranates make a great landscape plant even if you don't get fruit.  The fruit usually ripens in September or October.  You can grow them as a large shrub or small multi or single trunk tree; maybe getting to 15' at maturity.  They can be quite drought tolerant once established.  They are self-fertile and the nutritional benefits of pomegranates are well known.  Ask Scott if you want to know more- he is obsessed!