Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Dark Knight'

on Wednesday, 11 August 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Dark Knight Bluebeard

caryopteris-closeup-plant-o

This late summer bloomer goes by several common names - Bluebeard, Blue Spirea, Blue Mist - so we usually stick to calling it Caryopteris! Caryopteris is an easy, deer resistant, drought tolerant (but also tolerant of moist soils), and long blooming addition to your garden border. The plant in the photo is 'Dark Knight' which is a darker shade of periwinkle-blue from the common 'Blue Mist' variety. Both varieties put on a show with hundreds of flowers from July to frost, attracting honeybees and butterflies from all around.

Dark Knight2A low maintenance plant, Caryopteris can be kept at 2-3' tall and wide with a spring pruning but will get larger if left unpruned. We find that our winters do some tip pruning anyways so it is best to clean them up in spring when you see new leaves emerge and pruning right above them, which can sometimes be as low as 6" from the base. They quickly recover into a nice mounded shape, looking dense and uniform. So they are great for the maintenance person that loves to come in and hedge trim everything!

With its aromatic, lance shaped leaves, this shrub has proven to be quite deer resistant. The leaves have a blue/silver tinge that look great with other silvers like Artemesia or contrast with purple foliage like smokebush. We find Caryopteris to be drought tolerant because of its very deep taproot but can look lusher with regular water in well draining soil. Full sun is best and they will tolerate reflected heat.

Eupatorium 'Little Joe'

on Wednesday, 04 August 2021. Posted in Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

Eupatorium Little Joe edit

A diminutive (if 3-4’ tall can be considered diminutive) cultivar of a prairie native perennial, ‘Little Joe’ Eupatorium might just steal your heart!

This uncommon garden perennial features rosy-lavender puffs of flowers held atop tall, strong stalks. The flowers are absolutely beloved by butterflies and bees, as are most members of the Asteraceae. In addition, ‘Little Joe’ is fragrant, and holds up well as a cut flower.

Eupatorium flower detail smWe really love ‘Little Joe’ for the texture it brings to the perennial garden. The plants bring a light, airy feel to the garden and are particularly effective when used as a backdrop for shorter perennials and in combination with ornamental grasses.

‘Little Joe’ thrives in full sun with average water, and blooms from midsummer into fall. It’s also deer resistant and tolerant of clay soils (a real plus here in the Rogue Valley!). Cut plants back to the ground in late winter/early spring, before the new growth begins to emerge.

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'

on Monday, 02 August 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Fall Color, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant

'Blonde Ambition' Blue Grama Grass

Bouteloua1 edThis North American native prairie grass cultivar is a true performer. Many ornamental grasses don't start blooming until late summer, but ‘Blonde Ambition’ starts flowering in early summer and its blonde, horizontal, eyelash-like blooms persist well into winter. 

Bouteloua detail edAnyone who has visited Shooting Star Nursery knows that we love our ornamental grasses, and Bouteloua ‘Blonde Ambition’ remains one of our very favorites. Its narrow blue-green leaves would be reason enough to like it, but what really makes this grass stand out is its flowers, which start out chartreuse colored and fade to a lovely blonde shade.

It performs well in various garden locations, from well-drained clay to drier sandy soils. At a super useful size of 2-1/2'-3' tall to 3' wide, you can plant it en masse, or use it as a single specimen to contrast with flowering perennials. We like to plant it with other sturdy perennials like Agastache, Eupatorium, Echinacea, and Nepeta. It also combines well in mass plantings with other native grasses like Sporobolus, Schizachyrium, and Muhlenbergia.

 ‘Blonde Ambition’ is very cold hardy and is quite drought tolerant, but can also handle regular watering. Like most ornamental grasses, it is deer resistant and wintering songbirds enjoy eating the seedheads. We like to leave it up all winter as the stiff stems can hold up to snow and provide interest and texture in the winter garden. In early spring, when you see new growth emerging, you can cut back the old stems to about 3" above the soil line and scratch out any old growth. Bouteloua is also reported to tolerate being near Walnut trees, where most plants cannot thrive.

Helianthemum nummularium 'Henfield Brilliant'

on Monday, 02 August 2021. Posted in Evergreen, Ground Cover, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Henfield Brilliant' Sunrose

helianthemum nummularium henfield brilliant blooming nursery 2 st gpp

There are so many wonderful things about Sunroses - where to start?

Sunroses are drought tolerant, evergreen, low maintenance, cold hardy, spring blooming groundcovers that work well in the Rogue Valley. We use them all the time to cascade over rock walls, as an edging in a drought tolerant garden, or an evergreen groundcover at the base of taller plants.

While there are quite a few varieties of Sunroses, one of the best – in terms of growth habit and form – is ‘Henfield Brilliant’. In fact, this charming little plant even received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

‘Henfield Brilliant’ has bright, coppery flowers that really stand out against its soft gray-green foliage. Each individual flower is about 1” across, and plants bloom profusely from about May through July. Even when it’s not blooming, ‘Henfield Brilliant’ is a just a lovely plant with a soft mounding shape – about 6” tall and 18-24” wide at maturity. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil (plant them on a mound or atop a rock wall if you are gardening in clay soil), and should be sheared back hard once it is done blooming, to help maintain a good shape and stimulate next year’s bloom.

Rudbeckia

on Tuesday, 27 July 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

Black-Eyed Susans

Goldsturm edit

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia sp.) may not be one of those "fancy" plants, but they are so easy to grow and provide such cheerful, long-lasting color that we believe they should have a place in every garden!

This charming and versatile group of perennials is native to North America and includes two species that can be found right here in the wilds of southern Oregon. The three varieties we carry here at the nursery all have deep golden petals that surround a (generally) brown central “cone” – hence their other common name: Coneflowers.

Rudbeckia are largely unfussy about soil, and even tolerate clay soils well. They make great cut flowers, are generally deer resistant, have a long bloom season, and can be fairly drought tolerant (although they also don’t mind getting regular watering). Flowers bloom steadily from mid-summer to frost, and even when the petals are gone the cones make a pretty silhouette in the winter. Rudbeckias look great when planted in a large mass, or combined with other jewel- toned perennials or ornamental grasses.

One of the most fun things about Rudbeckia is that they do double-duty in the wildlife garden. The flowers are popular with butterflies and a variety of bees, while the seed heads attract goldfinches, pine siskins and chickadees during the fall and winter months.

We carry the following varieties here at Shooting Star Nursery:

'Goldsturm' – This is the traditional ‘Black-eyed Susan’ most gardeners are familiar with (see photo above). Plants get about 3' tall and will spread to at least 2' wide; more after a couple of years unless you divide it.

Little Henry editLittle Henry’ (left) has butter-yellow flowers with delicate-looking quilled petals. Flowers are a bit smaller than ‘Goldsturm’, but make up in abundance what they lack in size. Plants are generally well-branched and reach about 2 ½’ to 3’ tall at maturity.

Irish EyesIrish Eyes’ (right) has huge 5” wide, orange-yellow flowers that feature a bright green central cone (does that make them a Green-eyed Susan?). Plants are a bit smaller than ‘Goldsturm’ and ‘Little Henry’ – about 2’ to 2 ½’ tall and about 15” wide.