Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Rotundifolius'

on Wednesday, 28 April 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus (False Holly)

osmanthus_rotundifolia

This is one evergreen shrub that looks great all year round. No leaf spot, no diseases or weird pests, no old brown leaves - just glossy, thick leaves that start out light green and darken to a beautiful holly-like blue green.

The Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus is very easy to grow and seems to be happy in any location. We have one planted on the east, west, and north sides of buildings and all seem to be thriving. It wouldn't necessarily be our first choice for a hot spot against a south wall, but they do seem to acclimate to where they are placed and will even tolerate clay soil.

Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus will be more drought tolerant in a shadier location, but our established ones are rudely ignored and haven't complained. A thick mulch layer will help any evergreen shrub - or any plant for that matter - retain moisture and withstand the changes in temperature. This variety of Osmanthus is hardy to Zone 6 and has shown no winter damage through Rogue Valley winters. Like most Osmanthus it produces small, white, fragrant flowers, typically in the fall.

Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus will get about 4'x4', but can be pruned a bit tighter. It is not fast growing but puts on steady growth each year and won't overrun it's location. It is a great foundation plant or background for showier perennials. If the spines of Hollies are not your favorite this could be a good substitute since the rounded leaves only have slight spines - nothing to cause damage to the pruning gardener.

It can be deer resistant once established since it has thick, leathery leaves. But in heavy deer country it can have a hard time getting settled if the deer constantly eat the new growth. So cage it until it can get big enough to withstand the occasional deer browsing or test it out first - it seems to depend on the deer population on this one. 

Cornus

on Monday, 19 April 2021. 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’. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erigerons

on Monday, 12 April 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Fleabane

Erigeron speciosusErigerons – also known as Fleabanes – are a group of perennials that manage to pack a whole lot of wonderful into a sweet little plant. They’re also absolutely charming. Their bright, cheery, abundant, daisy-like flowers bring a smile every time you see them.

To begin with, Erigerons are both long-blooming and evergreen. With a bit of deadheading between blooms, you can expect them to flower from Spring well into Fall. They’re also easy to care for. Most Erigeron varieties like full to partial sun, prefer well-drained, lean soil and are fairly drought tolerant and deer resistant once established. Erigerons also combine well with other perennials – softening edges, filling in empty spaces, or spilling over rock walls. Try planting them with other drought tolerant plants like Eriogonums, Penstemon, Verbena ‘De La Mina’, Scutellaria, and ornamental grasses.

The place where Erigerons really stand out, though, is their ability to attract a wide variety of pollinators – especially butterflies and smaller native bees. Butterflies love their platform-type flowers, which give butterflies a place to sit while nectaring. Bees really appreciate the long bloom season, as Erigeron’s flowers generally appear before most other perennials begin blooming here in the Rogue Valley, and will last up until late-blooming favorite like Asters and Goldenrods begin flowering.

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

Erigeron Lynnhaven CarpetErigeron ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’: Both the leaves and stems of ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ are covered with fine, silvery hairs – giving it a soft, furry look. Plants begin blooming in early spring, and are covered with pale purple daisy-like flowers featuring a bright yellow eye. Plants reach 6-12” tall by 12-18” wide, and will spread slowly via runners; forming a tidy colony.

 

Erigeron Wayne RoderickErigeron ‘Wayne Roderick’: ‘Wayne Roderick’ begins blooming in mid-spring, and features large purple flowers, up to 1 ½” across with gold centers. Plants reach 12” tall by about 18” wide. ‘Wayne Roderick’ will tolerate a bit of afternoon shade, but will also be fine with full sun if you can provide them with deep, weekly waterings during the summer months.

 

Erigeron ProfusionErigeron ‘Profusion’: Erigeron ‘Profusion’ is aptly named – this plant is generally covered with flowers from early summer into fall! The flowers are smaller than ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ and ‘Wayne Roderick’, but they more than make up for it with their sheer exuberance. Flowers range from white to pale pink, with both colors appearing at the same time on the plant. ‘Profusion’ is lower growing than the two varieties listed above, generally reaching between 6-8" tall, making it a great choice for border edges, spilling over rock walls, or even growing in containers.

Veronica 'Georgia Blue'

on Friday, 02 April 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Georgia Blue Speedwell

Veronica Georgia BlueThis modest little groundcover happens to be one of our most popular perennials! Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’ adds a generous splash of rich cobalt blue to the edge of any garden or container planting.  

Dainty deep blue flowers with white eyes begin blooming as early as February and are heaviest in April. If you deadhead plants once the first flush of bloom is finished, you can easily extend their flowering season into early summer. The flowers are also attractive to a variety of pollinators including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Besides the blooms, the best part about 'Georgia Blue' is that it remains evergreen; with leaves turning lovely shades of burgundy in the colder weather. 'Georgia Blue' is a great companion to early spring bulbs - especially daffodils and species tulips - and can mask the untidy foliage bulbs leave behind as they fade.

Georgia Blue smThis Veronica is a great choice for spilling over the edges of walls or out of containers, or as a densely massed groundcover. Plants will get about 6" tall and spread between 12-24" wide. 'Georgia Blue' will tolerate full sun to part shade and can even take a little drought; but looks best with moderate water and good mulch.

'Georgia Blue' has proven deer resistant in some gardens (Jacksonville, Applegate Valley) in the Rogue Valley but not others (Griffin Creek area of Medford), so try it out first. It looks great planted next to purple toned Euphorbia, Black Mondo Grass, Mahonias, and other broader leaved shrubs and perennials, or as a fill between stepping stones – as you can see in Shooting Star’s Demonstration garden.

Shooting Star also regularly carries these other Veronicas:

Veronica WhitewaterVeronica ‘Waterperry’ and Veronica ‘Whitewater’ both have similar growth habits to ‘Georgia Blue’. ‘Waterperry’ is a softer, lighter blue than ‘Georgia Blue’ and ‘Whitewater’, as the name suggests, is a lovely clear white.

veronica pectinataVeronica pectinata: Also known as Woolly Veronica, this Veronica is more drought-tolerant than the others and is also lower growing (to about 2”).

Native Iris

on Friday, 26 March 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Native Iris species

Iris innominata resizeHere in southern Oregon, we’re fortunate to have a nice selection of native Iris available for our gardens. While our native Iris lack the in-your-face showiness of their Bearded Iris relatives, they do have a lovely, refined look to them that many gardeners prefer. They’re also tough, sturdy plants that are both deer-resistant and relatively drought tolerant.

Native Iris do best in sunny to light-shade areas, and work beautifully in borders, or as part of a woodland garden. They bloom from March into late June (depending upon species) and only require occasional water during the summer months – because these plants are already adapted to our summer-dry Mediterranean climate. In addition, most species feature colorful ‘veins’ on the flowers that serve as nectar guides for bees and other pollinators.

The one requirement these plants do have is that they require well-drained soil. If your soil tends toward clay, plant them on a slight mound so excess water can drain away from their crowns quickly – or plant them in pots!

Here are a few species of native Iris that Shooting Star carries regularly:

 

Iris bracteata2Iris bracteata: Also known as Siskiyou Iris, this lovely plant is endemic to the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon and northern California. Flowers are generally creamy white to pale yellow, with contrasting veins of a rich brownish-purple. Plants feature slender leaves, and grow between 6-12” tall. 

 

Iris chrysophylla2Iris chrysophylla: Another Iris from southern Oregon and Del Norte County, California. Iris chrysophylla is generally a pale yellow with contrasting purple veins. Plants range from 6”-2’ tall, and are easily distinguished from I. bracteata by their extremely long floral tube.  

Douglas Iris2Iris douglasiana: Named after Scottish botanist David Douglas, Iris douglasiana can vary widely in color – from nearly white with blue accents to a rich deep purple. They also prefer part-sun to full shade in the garden, and like water every 2 to 4 weeks during the summer months. If you have encountered a blue Iris while hiking along the coast, it was probably Douglas Iris! 

 

Iris tenax: Also known as Tough-Leafed Iris, ranging from southwest Washington to northern Oregon. In the wild, it is usually found along roadsides and in grasslands and forest openings. Flowers are generally lavender-blue in color, and plants grow in tight clumps – about 1-1/5’ tall. Unlike most other Iris, Tough-leafed Iris does not like to be divided.

 

Pac CoasrPacific Coast Hybrids: Pacific Coast Iris hybrids are the real showstoppers of the group. Flowers come in an incredible range of colors – blues, purples, reds, oranges, browns, and multicolors; often with showy ruffled petals. They’re also the fussiest of the bunch (but well worth the effort!): they don’t tolerate clay soils or watering during the heat of the day, and prefer not to be divided every year.

 

If you’d like to try creating your own native Iris hybrids, it’s easy to do – and a lot of fun. Since most of the Iris described above have similar cultural requirements, you can create mixed plantings of several species. Iris hybridize freely – just collect the seeds when they are ripe, grow them out, and see what exciting color variations you come up with!