Tilia 'Summer Sprite'

on Monday, 01 November 2021. Posted in Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Trees

Little-leaf Linden

LindenLinden trees are, literally, a sweet addition to the home landscape. Their fragrant, nectar-rich flowers are a delight for humans and pollinators alike. But full-sized lindens, which reach 35’ to 50’ tall at maturity, can overwhelm a small yard. And that’s one of the many wonderful things about ‘Summer Sprite’.

 

Tilia Summer Sprite‘Summer Sprite’ is a natural semi-dwarf tree that reaches just 15’ tall by 10’ wide at maturity. It has a lovely rounded pyramidal shape with dark green, heart-shaped leaves. The fragrant, creamy-yellow flowers appear in early summer, and foliage turns a rich golden-yellow in fall.

 

Linden BlossomLinden trees are beloved by beekeepers (if you get a chance, try some linden flower honey!). In fact, when these trees are in full bloom, you can often hear the happy buzzing of bees from several feet away. The flowers, when picked and dried, can also be brewed as a delicious honey-scented tea – just make sure to leave enough blossoms for our pollinator friends!

 

“Summer Sprite’ thrives in average, well-drained soils and can be grown in full sun to part shade. 

Parrotia persica

on Monday, 25 October 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Showy Bark/Stems, Fall Color, Trees

Persian Ironwood

ParrotiaParrotia persica – or Persian Ironwood – is one of the fall foliage season’s best-kept secrets – and that’s a real shame. If you’d like to broaden your yard’s fall color palette beyond the usual flaming red maples, we’d highly recommend this tree!

Parrotia flowerIn fact, Parrotia provides true four-season interest in the landscape. In late winter, tiny red flowers – similar to witch hazel flowers – appear, followed by bronzy-colored new leaves. As the leaves unfurl, they turn a rich green, providing a nice dense canopy of shade during the summer months.

parrotia persica ras 04 2012 01 gpp barkFall, though, is when Parrotias really begin to shine; putting a great show of color, with foliage turning shades of yellow, orange, and red. Even when the leaves drop, there’s still plenty to look at. As Parrotias mature, their bark begins to exfoliate; leaving dappled patches of color along the trunk.

A small to medium-sized shade tree, Parrotia will get between 20-30’ tall, and about 20’ wide. They’re generally unfussy trees and are tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, including clay soil and air pollution. Their compact size also makes them great street trees.

Looking for something narrower to fit into a small space? There are two varieties of Parrotia that will do the trick! Persian Spire gets about 25’ tall, and just 10’ wide; growing in a lovely upright, columnar shape. Vanessa is a bit larger: about 28’ by 14’, and was given an Award of Garden Excellence by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society in 2020.

Acer circinatum

on Sunday, 24 October 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Native, Fall Color, Trees

Vine Maple

Acer circinatum2Graceful beauty, versatility, durability, great fall color: these are just a few of the reasons that Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) is widely considered to be one of the very best native trees for the home landscape here in Oregon.

If you’ve ever hiked along one of the many creeks or rivers in southwest Oregon, chances are you’re already familiar with Vine Maple. They generally grow as an understory tree, but are also able to grow in sunny areas – although they do best with a bit of afternoon shade.

The shape and size of a Vine Maple is frequently dependent upon where it is grown - they can range in height from about 6’ to 20’. Trees grown in sunny areas tend to be upright and fairly compact, while shade-grown trees develop the gorgeous horizontal branching form that gives this tree its common name.

Acer circinatum flowersIn the spring, branch tips are covered with clusters of dangling, delicate-looking red and white flowers that are extremely popular with a wide variety of bees (both native bees and honeybees); followed by slightly rounded, bright green leaves. These leaves are not only lovely to look at – they’re also an important food source for the larvae of the beautiful Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

Acer circinatum1 cropVine Maple colors up nicely in the fall, with leaf color ranging from golden-yellow to orange to red. Even after the leaves have fallen, the branching structure of Vine Maple provides some nice visual interest in the winter garden. If you’re thinking of incorporating more native trees into your landscape, Vine Maples are a delightful place to start!

Polystichum munitum

on Thursday, 21 October 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Western Sword Fern

Western Sword FernThe sculptural fronds of ferns provide lots of winter interest, and Western Sword Fern is one of the toughest, most drought tolerant, and easiest ferns to grow in the Rogue Valley. 

This native fern can tolerate our dry summers and wet winters and even take a little sun. It prefers to be an understory plant but established ferns in good, composty soil will tolerate quite a bit of sun. The key is to get them well established with deep waterings the first few summers and applications of yearly leaf mulch or compost mulch. Western Sword Fern has a courser texture than some more delicate ferns but that makes their fronds last longer, allowing them to be used in cut flower arrangements. The leathery, dark green fronds can be 2-4' tall depending where they are grown and can be used alone or look especially good in clumps or drifts. 

Polystichum detailWe like to use Western Sword Ferns under large trees - like oaks, combined with Euphorbia purpurea, Heuchera sanguinea or the purple leafed varieties of Coral bells, Mahonia repens, and other dry shade perennials and shrubs. All ferns are deer resistant and the Western Sword Fern is no exception. They are evergreen but will look their best with an annual shearing of the oldest fronds in spring to allow the new fronds to uncurl. Leave the old, pruned fronds as a natural mulch.  Ferns are always interesting to watch throughout the seasons and Western Sword Fern makes an especially nice evergreen specimen in the shade garden.

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'

on Sunday, 03 October 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant

'Lemon Queen' Perennial Sunflower

Helianthus Lemon Queen2Sometimes, you just need a large, sunny statement plant in a flower bed. If that’s the case in your garden, Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ might just be the one you’re looking for.

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ is one of my very favorite large perennials. This plant has so many wonderful qualities, it’s surprising that it isn’t better known. ‘Lemon Queen’ is easy to grow, pollinator friendly, deer resistant, clay tolerant, works well as a cut flower, and generally just makes you happy every time you see it.

‘Lemon Queen’ gets 6-7’ tall and about 3’ wide, making it a perfect choice for the back of a garden bed. It thrives in full sun with average water, and provides a glorious explosion of 2” wide sunny, lemon-yellow flowers from mid-summer on up to frost.

Pollinator1Pollinators like bees and butterflies aren’t the only ones who love this plant; overwintering songbirds will thank you for leaving the plant standing through the cold weather so they can snack on the seeds. The old top growth can then be cut to about 2” tall in early spring, once the new shoots start to emerge from the warming soil.

Coupon3‘Lemon Queen’ is a cultivar of a native prairie sunflower, and it looks great when combined with other prairie natives like ‘Autumn Sapphire’ Salvia or grasses like Andropogon (Big Bluestem), Schizachyrium (Little Bluestem), and Panicum (Switch Grass).

See if you can find some room to bring this ‘Queen’ home to your garden!