Baptisia australis

on Sunday, 30 April 2017. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Blue False Indigo

baptisia-australis--plant-o

Baptisia or Blue False Indigo may not be all that familiar but it should be for it's striking purple flower stalks and refreshing blue-green foliage.  It has what we always look for- drought tolerant (has deep roots), deer resistant in some areas (poisonous), good cut flowers (blooms in May- June), long lived (so can require some age to bloom and is slower growing), North American prairie native (can tolerate clay or sandy soils), and butterfly attractor.  The easy to care for Baptisia can get 3-4' tall and 2'-3' wide and is rather vase shaped, so low growing perennials at it's base might be nice. Looks great with chartreuse Euphorbias, round headed Alliums, or silver Artemesia nearby. The sweet pea-like flowers make a great contrast with grasses as well. 'Solar Flare' is a newer yellow variety.

Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward'

on Sunday, 16 April 2017. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Shade Plants, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

King Edward Red Flowering Currant

ribes-sanguineum

Flowering currants are at their best in late April with their cascades of flowers and scalloped leaves, but late fall and early spring is the best time to plant natives to get them established before the summer heat. 'King Edward' has darker pink flowers than the species but both attract hummingbirds, and then songbirds with the dark blue berries that follow the flowers. They are a great native that can take dry shade under an oak or other large tree.  Morning sun or dappled shade is best and don't overdo the summer water, they are used to summer drought and winter wet.  Flowering currants grow quickly and have a lovely open habit that mixes well with other plants.  They can get at least 4-5' tall and wide.  We also have the yellow blooming species- Ribes aureum, whose flowers seem even more scented and has vibrant red/orange fall color.  Flowering currants are great as part of a mixed screen or hedge in dappled light.

Prunus dulcis

on Tuesday, 07 March 2017. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Edible, Trees, Flowering Plants

Almond Trees

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There are many varieties of late blooming almonds if you were thinking our springs are too cold to grow these wonderful nuts.  Nuts are a beneficial addition to the home orchard because they have so many uses- in baking, butters, and roasting, and are easy to store.  Besides the crunchy and nutritious nuts, Almonds have beautiful and fragrant white to light pink flowers, usually coinciding with the ornamental plum and cherry blooms of early spring.  Like peaches, they will perform best in a protected spot; ideally away from cold winds or cold air sinks.  Hope for a fairly frost free spring for best flower and nut production!  However, almonds perform wonderfully in our summer heat.  Once established they require moderate water, a deep soak every couple of weeks is best; as all fruit trees like good drainage and no standing water.  The late blooming Almonds are cold hardy to negative 20 degrees once established, with 'All in One' being a little less cold hardy-  Zone 8 is best.  They will produce nuts typically 2-3 years after planting and are naturally semi-dwarf (typically 15-20' in height but can be pruned smaller), perfect for smaller yards.  Come early for the best selection!

The varieties we like are:

Blackberry 'Triple Crown'

on Saturday, 11 February 2017. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Edible, Perennial

'Triple Crown' Blackberry

Blackberries2'Triple Crown' Blackberry will surprise you with its vigor, the size of its berries, and how long you harvest. Blackberries may be one of the easier berrries to grow if you are just starting out in the edible world, they aren't as picky about soil type as blueberries and raspberries, and don't need refreshed as often as strawberries.  They thrive in the heat and can tolerate clay soils better than other edibles.  The main thing they require is a sturdy trellis or structure to be trained against.  Most blackberries will spread to at least 5-6' wide and 4-6' tall depending on how you train them.   A well draining soil is best and we mulch well with straw to keep moisture in.  Make mounds or grow them on a berm if your drainage is not ideal.  'Triple Crown' is a thornless variety so it is easier to train and harvest. The berries are at least thumb sized and ripen over at least 6 weeks in mid to late summer.  Be sure to attract pollinators to your garden with other blooming perennials and shrubs so that the bees will find your blackberry flowers.  Bareroot plants are typically available in Feb-March and that is the best time to get them in the ground and established before summer heat.  A weekly deep soak is usually enough to keep these berries happy. Here is a post on how to prune them in the late winter.

See our Fruiting Plant list for other varieties we carry.

Agave neomexicana

on Friday, 13 January 2017. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant

Hardy Agave

agave neomexicana in snow

Hardy Agaves capture us like no other plant.  Their almost mathematical geometry is mesmerizing and they are tough as nails.  One of the true survivors on our property- managing the dips in temp to 0 degrees Fahrenheit in 2013 and the foot of snow in 2017 with not a speck of damage.  The two main hardy Agaves that we enjoy growing are Agave parryi which is a bit more pinecone shaped and Agave neomexicana which is a bit more open.  They both are blue in tone and have decorative, but nasty thorns.  They require sharp drainage and seem to do best planted in a mound.  We amend the soil with 1/4" gravel or larger decomposed granite and use it for a mulch as well to keep soil away from the crown of the plant.  Agaves do best in full sun and can look striking in a container.  They require little water once established, their fleshy roots are good at growing deeply into the soil.  One sharp poke to the nose and deer will know to leave these desert plants alone.  These two species are hardy to at least zone 7, if not zone 6.  Once they get into the 2' wide range there is the possibility of them making a flower spike and then dying, but they have usually made pups by then which will carry on the Agave torch.  You'll want to make room for these gems in your drought tolerant garden.