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

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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!

 

Eryngium planum 'Jade Frost'

on Monday, 03 January 2011. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Jade Frost Variegated Sea Holly

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This drought tolerant variegated Sea Holly is putting on quite a show this winter.  Almost like sparkling snowflakes, it boasts shades of cream, powdery blue, and pink as the blooms mature.  This particular Eryngium has variegated leaves at the base as well as the bracts surrounding the flowers adding to its long term interest and contrast with other plants.  Eryngiums are grown for their 'everlasting'  spiky flowers- they can be used fresh or dried in arrangements.  They even keep their charm when left up to catch frost or snow during our winter.  In the spring they can be cut to the base to clean them up.  The leaf base should remain evergreen and in general they are very cold hardy plants if given good drainage.  Performing best in full sun with sharp drainage and little water.  A layer of gravel mulch will keep the base from rotting out during the wetter winter months.  This sea holly can reach 24-30" tall and spread 15-20".  A great choice for a hot, dry spot where the spiky texture and upright form can contrast with softer leafed plants like sage, artemesia or phlomis.

 

Polystichum munitum

on Monday, 20 December 2010. Posted in Winter Interest, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Western Sword Fern

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The sculptural fronds of ferns provide winter interest and Western Sword Fern is one of the toughest, most drought tolerant, and easiest ferns to grow in the Rogue Valley.  This native fern can tolerate our dry summers and wet winters and even take a little sun.  It prefers to be an understory plant but established ferns in good, composty soil will tolerate quite a bit of sun.  The key is to get them well established with deep waterings the first few summers and applications of yearly leaf mulch or compost mulch.   Western Sword Fern has a courser texture than some more delicate ferns but that makes their fronds last longer, allowing them to be used in cut flower arrangements.  The leathery, dark green fronds can be 2-4' tall depending where they are grown and can be used alone or look especially good in clumps or drifts.  We like to use Western Sword Ferns under large trees, like oaks, combined with Euphorbia purpurea, Heuchera sanguinea or the purple leafed varieties of Coral bells, Mahonia repens, and other dry shade perennials and shrubs.  All ferns are deer resistant and the Western Sword Fern is no exception.  They are evergreen but will look their best with an annual shearing of the oldest fronds in spring to allow the new fronds to uncurl.  Leave the old, pruned fronds as a natural mulch.  Ferns are always interesting to watch throughout the seasons and Western Sword Fern make an especially nice evergreen specimen in the shade garden.