Solidagos and Solidasters

on Sunday, 12 September 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant

Goldenrods

Fall Colors editHow can you not love Goldenrods? They provide glorious splashes of sunny yellow in the fall garden that make me smile every time I see them.

There are around 150 species of Goldenrod worldwide – most of them native to North America. These sturdy members of the Asteraceae have a lot to offer in the garden.

They’re easy to grow; are popular with a wide variety of pollinators - especially butterflies and tiny native bees; are deer resistant; and combine beautifully with native grasses like Andropogon and Schizachyrium and other fall-blooming perennials to provide a blaze of color in the fall garden. We generally carry three varieties here at Shooting Star Nursery.

 

Solidago FireworksSolidago ‘Fireworks’ (right): A truly striking variety, with dense plume-like flowerheads of bright golden flowers that really do look like exploding fireworks! Solidago ‘Fireworks’ gets about 3-4’ tall by 2-3’ wide, prefers average water, and also tolerates clay soils.

 

Solidago Little Lemon editSolidago ‘Little Lemon’ (left): ‘Little Lemon’ is a great choice for gardeners who love the look of Goldenrods, but don’t have the room for a full-sized plant. Plants get about 12” tall by 12-18” wide, and the stalks of lemon-yellow flowers make a lovely choice as a cut flower.

 

Solidaster edit smSolidaster ‘Lemore’ (right): As the name suggests, Solidaster is a cross between a Solidago and an Aster. ‘Lemore’ has all the great attributes of Solidagos, but has slightly larger pale yellow flowers and is also relatively drought tolerant. Plants get to be about 2-2.5’ tall and wide.

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

on Monday, 06 September 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Dwarf Plumbago

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

By September, many of the summer-blooming perennials that have brightened our gardens for the past few months are beginning to look a little tired and worn, so it’s really nice to find a something that looks bright and fresh, and is just getting started up as summer winds down.

It’s especially nice if the plant in question is covered with vivid blue flowers that contrast beautifully against the dark green foliage, like our Plant of the Week – Dwarf Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides). Even better, those lovely dark green leaves turn a dark, burgundy-red in fall; providing brilliant show of fall color.

Dwarf Plumbago is just a delight in the garden. It’s an herbaceous groundcover (meaning it dies to the ground in the winter and comes back up again the following spring) that grows well in a variety of situations from full sun to part shade, is extremely easy to care for, is relatively drought tolerant, attracts butterflies and other pollinators, and is even deer resistant! Plants grow to about 6 to 8” tall by 18” wide, and spread slowly via undergrounds stems. It begins flowering around mid-summer, and here in the Rogue Valley it will generally remain in bloom up until the first frost of fall.

Dwarf Plumbago combines beautifully with plants like Coreopsis, Echinacea, Anemone, and Croscosmia. It’s also a great companion plant for spring-flowering bulbs. The bulbs appear and flower before the Dwarf Plumbago leafs out, but by the time your bulbs have finished blooming, the Dwarf Plumbago is filling in your bed with its lovely deep green leaves; giving your flower bed a smooth transition into late spring/early summer.

Pistachia chinensis

on Tuesday, 31 August 2021. Posted in Fall Color, Trees, Drought Tolerant

Chinese Pistache Tree

Pistache2smPistache trees deserve more use in the Rogue Valley - they thrive in our hot, dry summers, provide long lasting fall color, and have interesting leaf texture.

Chinese Pistache are used a lot as street trees in the hot valleys of northern California, giving us a clue to how they well they would work here,especially in urban situations.  Being a Zone 7 tree, the Rogue Valley usually doesn't get cold enough to cause any problems for the Pistache. Placing it in full sun, in well draining soil will help it survive any cold snaps.

pistacheThese trees provide a spectacular fall color show of reds, oranges, crimsons, and yellows. Chinese Pistache will tolerate regular irrigation but are also relatively drought-tolerant and require no summer watering once established. The form of Pistache is not very uniform when young but they get a nice, dense canopy with age.

Being a slow growing tree - on average they will be about 25-30' tall and wide - but much older specimens can reach 50' tall.  Pistache are prone to verticillum wilt if you have it in your soil (not overwatering will help avoid this problem) but are resistant to oak root fungus. This is one of our best choices for a drought tolerant shade tree that can be used in many situations. 'Keith Davey' is a named variety that is a fruitless male and has red-orange fall color. The straight species, if it is a female tree, will form blue to black berries. 

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'

on Wednesday, 25 August 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Karley Rose Oriental Fountain Grass

Karley Rose edAn easy to grow, soft textured fountain grass, Pennisetum 'Karley Rose' will give you months of light pink blooms that are great for floral arrangements and beautiful accents in the garden, but aren't attractive to deer.

This Pennisetum is more cold hardy than the straight species (Pennisetum orientale) and blooms earlier than other varieties like 'Hamelyn'. The rose-pink blooms appear in early summer and continue on until frost. Once the blades and blooms dry out to an autumnal tan, the silhouette remains pretty in the frost of winter. Cut this grass back in early spring, as new growth begins to emerge. Aside from that, there is no special care for this drought tolerant, deer resistant grass.

When in bloom, 'Karley Rose' tops out at about 3' tall and 24-30" wide. ‘Karley Rose’ is easy to divide, to create a graceful, massed effect in your garden. It looks great backlit by early morning or late afternoon sun and pairs nicely with Sedums, Echinaceas and other large-flowered perennials. Full sun or light shade and well-draining soil is best – the one thing ‘Karley Rose’ doesn't like is wet, boggy soil.

Salvia greggii 'Mirage' cultivars

on Monday, 16 August 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Salvia Mirage Soft Pink smIf you are a fan of Salvia greggii (Autumn Sage/Texas Sage) you’ll definitely want to check out the new Mirage series of Salvias: Mirage Cherry Red, Mirage Cream, Mirage Pink, Mirage Violet, and Mirage Soft Pink.

Honestly, we can’t say enough good things about this colorful and sturdy perennial!

 Salvia Mirage Cherry RedThe Mirage Salvias share all the best features of Salvia greggii – great sun and heat tolerance, a long bloom season, drought tolerance, and being a wonderful addition to the pollinator garden – but feature a more compact growth habit than the straight species (12-14” tall by 14-16” wide), with better branching, a nice, loosely mounded shape, and a really lovely variety of colors. 

Salvia Mirage CreamTheir strongly aromatic leaves keep the deer away, and they are a delight for gardeners to brush up against and have their sharp, fresh fragrance released into the summer air. And talk about hummingbird magnets! I have seen hummingbirds bypass feeders to nectar from their flowers. 

Salvia Mirage Pink edMirage Salvias prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They’ll also do nicely as colorful, long-blooming container plants, although they are mostly deciduous during the winter months.

To keep them looking full, deadhead them occasionally during the growing season and give them a harder trim in early spring (when you see new leaves beginning to emerge. 

Salvia Mirage VioletWe grow all of our Mirage Salvias (and lots of other plants!) right here onsite here at Shooting Star Nursery, so they are already pre-adapted to our climate. They’re blooming now, and will continue to flower into late fall. Come on in and see them for yourself!