Salvia 'Autumn Sapphire'

on Thursday, 17 September 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Autumn Sapphire Sage

Salvia reptans COMPACT form 5 683x1024

'Autumn Sapphire' Salvia is another wonderful introduction by one of our favorite garden writers - Lauren Springer Odgen - and the Denver Botanic Garden. This cultivar of a West Texas native Salvia comes into bloom in late summer, when a lot of other flowering perennials are starting to slow down, and continues blooming right up until frost. That trait makes it exceptionally valuable to late-season pollinators (native bees, hummingbirds, honey bees, butterflies, etc.) and other beneficial insects.

As it name suggests, Autumn Sapphire’s flowers are a rich cobalt blue; complemented by narrow, finely-textured green leaves. Plants grow to 18" to 20" tall and wide, and are hardy down to zone 5. Like most other Salvias, they are also deer resistant and do best when planted in well-drained soils that are low in fertility (too much fertilizer and water will make them floppy). For best results, leave all the stems up over the winter to make sure it survives the winter wet, and then prune back in spring when new leaves begin to emerge.

'Autumn Sapphire' performs best in well-drained soil in full, hot sun. Looking for some good companion plants? Consider pairing it with Solidago “Fireworks’, Rudbeckia, Echinacea, or Gaura - or create a mixed planting of 'Autumn Sapphire' and native prairie grasses like Bouteloua, Andropogon, and Schizachyrium.

Edible Figs (Copy)

on Wednesday, 16 September 2020. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs enjoy well-drained soils and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established. They're also self fertile, and are actually pollinated on the inside of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter. A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back. They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs here at Shooting Star Nursery, and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to several better-known types that perform better in California. Our selection generally includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian, Little Ruby, Stella, and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Desert King; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Peter’s Honey.

 blackjack 2012What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins. Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

Here are a few of the varieties we generally have in stock:

Black Spanish - Dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf
Brown Turkey – Medium-large fruit, sweet purplish/brown skin w/light pink flesh
Chicago Hardy – Medium fruit, brown to violet skin w/strawberry pink flesh, excellent flavor
Desert King - Large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops
Little Ruby – Medium fruit, reddish-brown skin w/ruby flesh, prolific bearer, dwarf variety
Olympian - Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf variety
Peter's Honey - Deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

Edible Figs

on Wednesday, 16 September 2020. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs enjoy well-drained soils and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established. They're also self fertile, and are actually pollinated on the inside of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter. A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back. They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs here at Shooting Star Nursery, and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to several better-known types that perform better in California. Our selection generally includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian, Little Ruby, Stella, and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Desert King; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Peter’s Honey.

 blackjack 2012What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins. Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

Here are a few of the varieties we generally have in stock:

Black Spanish - Dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf
Brown Turkey – Medium-large fruit, sweet purplish/brown skin w/light pink flesh
Chicago Hardy – Medium fruit, brown to violet skin w/strawberry pink flesh, excellent flavor
Desert King - Large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops
Little Ruby – Medium fruit, reddish-brown skin w/ruby flesh, prolific bearer, dwarf variety
Olympian - Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf variety
Peter's Honey - Deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

Geranium 'Rozanne'

on Wednesday, 02 September 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Flowering Plants

Cranesbill

Geranium Rozanne editGeranium ‘Rozanne’ is one of our very favorite perennial Geraniums. And honestly, who can blame us?

Most of the other hardy Geraniums we carry (Biokovo, Karmina, Ingerswen’s Variety) have white or pink flowers and prefer part to full shade. ‘Rozanne’, on the other hand, has lovely, large blue-violet flowers with red-violet stamens and ‘bee lines’, and grows happily in full sun.

‘Rozanne’ will get to 12-24” tall and wide and grows in a lovely, loose mounded shape. Plants are easy to grow and not at all fussy about soil – or much of anything else, for that matter. They’re also a good groundcover plant to use when developing a ‘firewise’ landscape. As an added bonus, ‘Rozanne’ has a nice long bloom season (late spring into fall). They’re especially effective in mass plantings, where they can create a soft island of cool blue color in the summer garden.

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.