Cistus spp.

on Wednesday, 15 May 2013. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Rockrose

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Rockroses are much more diverse than you would think after seeing what's usually available.  The ratty looking Orchid Rockrose (Cistus purpurea) or some of the old fashioned types don't hold up well.  Yet there are some spectacular forms out there that, with proper care, will fill that niche for an evergreen shrub with showy blooms.  Another bonus is that Cistus are usually deer resistant (the more resinous and pungent the leaves, the better) and they are always drought tolerant.  They must have well draining soil (not too fertile is best) and minimal summer water once established....basically ignore them once they get settled in.  Cistus thrive in their native Meditteranean climate of hot summers, and mild, wet winters and can do well on a fast draining or rocky hillside.  Make sure they are placed in a location that gets winter sun. Rockroses can look great as a mass groundcover (they usually are wider than tall) or mixed in a drought tolerant bed of lavenders, rosemaries, Ceanothus and other Meditteranean plants. Each individual flower doesn't last long but they bloom successively over many weeks. They don't tolerate heavy pruning, just annual tip pruning to keep them compact and.

Here are some of our favorites (we chose the best cold hay varieties from Xeraplants and more info can be found from the Xera Plants website):

Rhamnus alaternus 'Variegata'

on Wednesday, 12 September 2012. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Variegated Italian Buckthorn

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Italian Buckthorn is a bit new to us but we have been impressed with how fast if grows and its attractiveness all year round. This evergreen shrub can get quite large- up to 8-10' tall and 6-8' wide so it can make a nice hedge or specimen. The creamy edged foliage lights up a corner and contrasts well with the red/brown stems. This Rhamnus can tolerate sun or part shade, but being a zone 7 plant, is cold hardier with full sun. It develops small flowers that turn to red fruit in the winter and the foliage is wonderful for cut flower arrangements. Drought and heat tolerant once established make this a good screening choice for the Rogue Valley. Looks wonderful with contrasting reds and purples. Here are some other photos of it from Xera Plants. Would love to know if its deer resistant....

Creeping Thymes

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

Creeping Thyme

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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

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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.