Cornus

on Thursday, 05 March 2020. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Fall Color, Trees

Dogwoods

Better general dogwood cropFew flowering trees are more beloved than the Dogwoods. Seeing one in full bloom - their branches covered with clouds of white (or occasionally, pink) flowers – makes you immediately start thinking about where you might have room for one in your yard!

The tree dogwoods we carry here at Shooting Star Nursery fall into three groups: Cornus florida, which is native to the eastern US; Cornus kousa, which is native to eastern Asia; and Cornus nuttallii, which is native to the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

One of the keys to keeping your dogwoods happy lies in understanding what their native habitat is like. In the wild, most types of dogwoods grow as understory trees; protected from the heat of afternoon sun. They also tend to prefer well-drained soils that are rich in organic materials. In general, Cornus florida and its cultivars prefer afternoon shade and a good layer of mulch to keep the roots cool and moist during the summer. Cornus kousa is more sun and heat tolerant than C. florida, and most of the best cultivars for the Rogue Valley have C. kousa as one of the parent species. While we rarely carry Cornus nuttallii, two of the largest-flowering dogwoods we carry have C. nuttallii as a parent.

Here are a few of the Dogwoods varieties Shooting Star carries regularly:

 

Cornus florida Cultivars:
Cherokee Brave: Flowers feature dark pink to reddish bracts that fade to white in the center. Red foliage in fall. 25’ tall by 20-25’ wide.

 

cornus florida rubra sm crop2Rubra: Another pink-flowered Dogwood, a softer shade of pink than Cherokee Brave. 20’ tall and wide.

 

  

Cornus kousa Cultivars:
Galilean: Creamy white floral bracts come to a point at the tip. Flowers are large, and are followed by bright red fruits in fall, which is much appreciated by birds like Robins and Cedar Waxwings! 20’ tall and wide.

 

Cornus kousa Milkyway 1000x1000Milky Way: Pure white, long-lasting flowers and abundant fall fruit. One of the smaller Dogwoods – generally 15’ by 15’.

 

 

Cornus Hybrids:
Celestial: A C. florida x C. kousa hybrid. Celestial is a sterile variety (no fruit) with white flowers that turn pink as they mature. 20’ by 20’. 

 

Eddies White WonderEddie’s White Wonder: A C. florida x C. nuttallii hybrid. Big white flowers - 3-4” across - on a large tree. To 40’ tall and wide. 

 

 

Starlight: A C. kousa x C. nuttallii hybrid. White flowers. Prefers partial shade. 30’ x 20’. 

 

venus dogwood cropVenus: Another C. kousa x C. nuttalli hybrid. Venus has absolutely huge white flowers - up to 6” across! 25’ x 25’. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese Zelkova

on Friday, 14 February 2020. Posted in Fall Color, Trees

Zelkova - The 'Problem Solver' Tree

Zelkova

Zelkovas are real ‘problem solver’ trees for gardeners and landscapers alike. This super-tough elm relative prefers full sun and is tolerant of a wide variety of soil types – including heavy clay soils. While they prefer regular watering when young, Zelkovas are relatively drought- and wind-tolerant when established. They can be successfully planted in a variety of situations: in lawns, as street trees, even in parking lot islands and buffer strips (aka ‘hellstrips’). In fact, two of the Zelkova varieties listed here are smaller trees (less than 25' tall), which makes them the perfect choice for smaller areas. In addition to all this, Zelkovas also bring great fall color to the landscape - ranging from golden yellows to fiery reds, depending upon variety.

 

Here are a few of the Zelkova varieties Shooting Star carries regularly:

 

Wireless Zelkova editWireless: A smallish tree - just 23’ tall by 36’ wide – with a broad, spreading crown; bright red fall color. Because of its low height and broad spreading shape, this cultivar has an ideal shape for street plantings under utility lines.

 

 

City Sprite ZelkovaCity Sprite’: Roughly the same height as ‘Wireless’ (24’ tall), but only 18’ wide. Compact, dense, and semi-dwarf, this is the perfect little tree for tight urban spaces. Summer foliage appears brighter green than typical Zelkova, and fall foliage is a buttery yellow.

 

 

zelkova serrata greenvase jfssc 01 gpp editGreen Vase: ‘Green Vase’ is one of the taller Zelkovas - 45’ tall by 30’ wide – and has a graceful vase shape, with upright, arching branches. Its medium-sized, dark green leaves turn shades of yellow, orange and rusty red in fall.

 

 

musashino zelkova'Musashino': ‘Musashino’ is another columnar Zelkova, 45’ tall and just 15’ wide, with a lovely orange-yellow color in fall. It’s an ideal tree for street use, with tightly upright branches that allows good vehicle and pedestrian clearance beneath its delicate green canopy.

 

Redbud (Cercis sp.)

on Friday, 14 February 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Deer Resistant, Trees, Drought Tolerant

Redbud editRedbuds are lovely small trees: sturdy and adaptable, with rosy-pink spring flowers. Their size – 20’ tall or less – also makes them an excellent landscape choice when you don’t have the room for a larger tree.

 

Redbud flowers appear in early spring, cloaking the bare branches in small sweet pea-shaped blooms. The flowers are followed by beautiful heart-shaped leaves in a variety of colors, depending upon variety (see below). In general, redbuds prefer full sun and well-drained soil, and are relatively drought tolerant when established. Redbuds are also pollinator friendly and even relatively deer resistant. The one place where they can get a little picky is that they don’t like to have their roots disturbed. When planting a redbud, avoid loosening the roots before transplanting – the less root disturbance they have, the happier they are!

 

Here are some of the redbud varieties Shooting Star generally has available:

 

Oklahoma 2‘Oklahoma’: Oklahoma is one of the most heat tolerant redbuds we carry. Intensely red-pink buds open to a bright magenta pink. New leaves have a coppery tinge that matures into a dark, glossy green. Mature trees can get to be 20’ tall by 25’ wide.

 

Cercis Merlot‘Merlot’: Merlot’s emerging foliage is a stunningly deep purple that contrasts beautifully with their bright rose-colored flowers. Mature leaves retain a bronzy purple coloring that turns bright yellow in fall. Mature trees are 18’ tall by 20’ wide, with a nice rounded canopy.

 

Cercis the Rising Sun'The Rising Sun': This redbud features lovely lavender flowers in spring, but its most striking feature is the color of its leaves. New leaves are a deep apricot color that fades into a soft yellow, followed by lime green. The Rising Sun is less tolerant than most other redbuds, and will benefit from a bit extra afternoon shade. Mature trees are just 8’ to 12’ tall, by 8’ wide.

 

western redbudWestern Redbud (Cercis occidentalis): This is our local native redbud. Anyone who has driven down I-5 into Redding in the early spring has noticed these tough beauties growing on the hillside. Western redbud is extremely drought tolerant and also tolerates heavy soils better than other redbuds. Slow growing; 15’ tall and wide.

Hamamelis x intermedia

on Thursday, 13 February 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Witch Hazel

witch_hazel

Witch Hazels are one of our favorite shrubs at this time of year, as they cheer up these late winter days with their bright fringey blooms, and repeat the show all over again in the fall with spectacular leaf color. 

 

Hamamelis Arnolds PromiseMost Witch Hazels have a nice open form that is sculptural even when bare in winter. Their vase-shaped growth habit also provides a nice opportunity to use other plants at their base. Flowers unfurl in February and continue through March, with the textured leaves emerging afterwards. The thick leaves provide a great contrast with softer leaved plants like ferns, Euphorbias, or Geraniums. 

 

Hamamelis JelenaWitch Hazels are not the first choice for a hot spot in your yard, even though you will read that they will tolerate full sun (and you will see them looking spectacular in downtown Ashland in full sun). However, they will be prone to leaf burn and you will be watering more often if they are placed in full sun. Morning sun or at least half a day of sun is best. They also look wonderful in a wooded shade garden, just make sure they get some bright light for the best flower production and fall color. 

 

HamamelisWitch Hazels do best with regular water; deep soaks throughout the summer months and with a fertile, humus-rich soil. They are also generally deer resistant - we have seen them untouched in Ashland - but try one out first to make sure. 

 

Here are some of the varieties we generally carry (check our current retail availability for details):

'Amethyst' - Rounded shrub, 8' to 10' tall. with reddish-purple flowers

'Arnold's Promise'- Vase shaped with fragrant yellow flowers and yellow fall color

'Diane'- Rounded form with red flowers and orange-red fall color

'Jelena'- vase shaped vigorous grower with very fragrant large copper-orange flowers and orange-yellow fall color

'Sunburst'- upright, with lemon yellow blooms up to 1 inch long, early bloomer and yellow-orange fall color

Fruiting Shrubs for the Home Garden - Part 2

on Wednesday, 05 February 2020. Posted in Edible, Shrubs

Currants and Gooseberries

Currants and Gooseberries may be less familiar to Rogue Valley gardeners than other kinds of fruiting shrubs, but they’re great additions to your edible landscape – especially if you like to cook! They’re delicious in jams, jellies, and liqueurs, and are also really tasty when included in baked goods like scones and muffins. White currants are the sweetest of this group, followed by black currants; the others are more tart. All are high in Vitamin C, and the red and black varieties are also high in antioxidants and anthocyanins.
 
Shooting Star currently carries the following varieties in bareroot:

Cherry RedCherry Red Currant: Cherry Red bears heavy crops of beautiful, juicy, flavorful red berries. Great for fresh eating, or in tasty jams and jellies. Slightly tart, rich flavor. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

Primus Primus White Currant: Primus is one of the sweetest types of currants. They also bear heavily: one bush can yield 20 pounds of fruit from its long berry clusters. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

CrandallCrandall Black Currant: Wonderful clove-scented yellow flowers in the spring, followed by blue-black fruit in the summer. Crandall has a rich dark flavor, and is sweetest of all black currants. Primarily used in juice, jam, jelly, pies, and liqueurs. 3’-7’ tall by 3’-5’ wide.

 

Captivator‘Captivator’ Gooseberry: Very sweet, 1 inch, teardrop-shaped, red berries in large clusters that can be used in jellies, jams and juice on semi-thornless canes. Can be used fresh or in jam, pies, and desserts. 3’ to 5’ tall and wide.

 

Black JostaberryJostaberry: Jostaberries are a cross between a black currant and two types of gooseberries. Their tangy-sweet flavor has been described as a mix of grape, blueberry, and kiwi-fruit. 3’ to 5’ tall by 3’ to 6’ wide.

 

All currants and gooseberries are upright woody shrubs, and can take a bit of afternoon shade. They prefer well-drained soil, rich in organic material; and will bear on year-old wood. You’ll get a light crop the year you plant them, and they really hit their stride after two or three years.

To learn more about the different varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs avaliable here at Shooting Star Nursery, be sure to take a look at this list of Fruiting Trees and Plants from our website!

And if all this talk about fruiting shrubs has gotten you excited about expanding your edible landscape, be sure to register for our class on Creating a Food Forest on March 7th.