Anemone hupehensis var. japonica (x hybrida)

on Thursday, 27 August 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

Japanese Anemone

Honorine JobertOne of the standout flowering perennials of fall, Japanese Anemone is a refreshing addition to a part shade garden. They begin flowering when most of our summer-blooming perennials are starting to fade – usually in mid-September - and will bloom continually until frost.

Japanese Anemones are truly elegant plants; rising gracefully above shorter perennials. They tend to look best in the middle or back of a border. Most varieties are 2-4' tall and will spread to at least 2-3' wide. We love to pair them with ferns - especially the bronzy Autumn Fern, with dark-leafed varieties of Heuchera like ‘Obsidian’ and ‘Palace Purple’, and with Hostas and Astilbes.

Shooting Star Nursery regularly carries the following varieties of Japanese Anemones:

 

 Wild Swans2 edWild Swan – Wild Swan is the smallest of this group – just 1-2’ tall and wide – but it makes up for its lack of height with huge 3” flowers that feature white petals with a lovely purple reverse. These plants have a longer bloom season than most anemones, beginning in mid-summer and extending until frost. Wild Swan was the 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year.

 

 September CharmSeptember Charm – September Charm has masses of soft pink, slightly cupped flowers on plants that reach 2-3” tall by about 2’ wide. Like most Anemones, September Charm makes a great cut flower; extending your fresh floral bouquets well into the fall! This Anemone was given an Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.

 

 Honorine Jobert – Honorine Jobert was the 2016 Perennial Plant of the year, and it’s easy to see why! These stately beauties grow up to 4’ tall and feature snowy white flowers with golden centers (see photo at top of the article).

Anemones do best with morning sun or dappled light, and love soil with lots of organic material incorporated into it. They only seem to need a deep soak once a week or so, but can also tolerate regular watering and clay soils. Unlike many taller shade plants, Anemones require no staking and just need to be pruned back after the flowers have faded. They’re quite popular with pollinators – lots of our Anemone photos end up featuring a wide variety of honeybees and native bees! Deer typically leave them alone, but try one out first: deer have been known to just eat the flowers and leave the foliage in certain locations.

Muhlenbergia 'Fast Forward'

on Friday, 21 August 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Flowering Plants

Pink Muhly Grass

FFSome ornamental grasses – Miscanthus ‘Adagio’, Andropogon ‘Red October’, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Forester’, Panicum ‘Northwind’ – are known for their big, bold, structural presence in the garden. These grasses practically beg to be put front and center, and used as a focal point. Other grasses are more subtle and delicate-looking in their appearance. Muhlenbergia ‘Fast Forward’ falls in the latter category.

Muhlenbergia ed‘Fast Forward’ is a truly graceful ornamental grass. It’s finely textured, with bluish-green foliage that grows in a tidy clump; about 2-4” tall by up to 3’ wide. As attractive as the leaves are, though, the inflorescences are what makes this a stunning addition to a garden or border. Plants begin blooming in late August, and the lovely pink inflorescences create a soft haze of color that seems to float in the air. This grass is really effective as a backdrop for other shorter perennials, or massed in a clump. If you can put it somewhere where it will be backlit by the late afternoon sun, that’s even better!

Muhlenbergia ‘Fast Forward’ provides you with both color and texture in the garden, as well as an element most gardeners rarely think of: motion. Fine blades of grass and inflorescences dance slowly in an afternoon breeze; adding a soft vitality to your garden bed or border. These plants are also deer resistant, and do well in full sun.

Like most ornamental grasses ‘Fast Forward’ browns out during the winter. We like to leave the grass blades and flower heads standing all winter: their silhouette provides some lovely visual interest in the winter landscape, and the foliage will help protect the grass from heavy rains and unexpected cold snaps. Cut it back in early spring (late February through early March), when you start to see new growth push through last year’s faded vegetation.

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'

on Friday, 14 August 2020. 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.

Perovskia atriplicifolia

on Friday, 14 August 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Russian Sage

Perovskia edPerovskia or Russian Sage is one TOUGH plant. It's also quite beautiful, with fuzzy silvery-blue buds that open to blue-violet flowers; adding long lasting color and texture to your garden.

Perovskia’s gray-green, finely dissected leaves have a clean, pungent smell – reminiscent of sage and mint. And while humans find the fragrance enjoyable, deer do not – which helps make this plant quite reliably deer resistant.

This plant is incredibly drought and heat tolerant, and even looks pretty in the winter when the dried-out silhouette and open branching catches the frost. Perovskia is a woody stemmed perennial and does go winter dormant. It requires good drainage and full sun and make sure to not keep it too wet. We like to wait to prune it back until spring arrives so that the crown stays protected from the winter wet. When you see new growth emerge in mid spring that is the best to time to prune it back hard and freshen it up.

Perovskia’s soft-looking lavender-blue blooms pair wonderfully with other heat lovers like Yarrow, Rosemary, and Salvia, as well as ornamental grasses or Yuccas. Butterflies and many types of bees are attracted to the late summer flowers. The straight species (Perovskia atriplicifolia) gets quite large, as much as 4' tall and wide. But there are several newer varieties that stay more compact. We like 'Little Spire' at 2-3' tall wide and ‘Blue Steel’ at 1-3’ tall and 18-24” wide.

Penstemon pinifolius

on Wednesday, 12 August 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Pineleaf Penstemon

Penstemon Mersea YellowPineleaf Penstemon makes me happy every time I see it. So many benefits in such a compact package! 

 Penstemon, as a group, have a reputation of being fussy about watering, and not being very long lived. But this western native perennial is evergreen, and one of the very best Penstemons for long term success in the garden. It makes a great rock garden plant or edger at the front of a border, in fact, we have a bank of it planted in our display garden. The delicate tubular flowers should be appreciated up close - that is if the hummingbirds will let you get close enough!  

PPinifolius crop ed

Pineleaf Penstemon requires well drained soil, especially on a slope, and will be drought tolerant once established. The needle-like foliage is evergreen and looks best when you can shear the spent flowers back in the same style as you would shear an Erica or Calluna after blooming. In most areas, we have found them to be deer resistant.

 Sunset Steppe Penstemon edThese Penstemons typically begin blooming in late spring - May and June here in southern Oregon - and are great compliments to the other sun lovers like spring and summer blooming sages, sedums, lavenders, or even dwarf conifers. They will stretch to about 2' wide and 12-18" tall and look comfortable among rocks and boulders.

 The varieties we usually carry are 'Mersea Yellow'- a nice soft yellow (shown top left), Penstemon pinifolius - the straight species - which is a reddish-orange (above right), 'Steppe Suns Sunset Glow' - an apricot orange veriety.