Blackberry 'Triple Crown'

on Sunday, 06 February 2022. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Edible, Perennial

'Triple Crown' Blackberry

Blackberries2'Triple Crown' Thornless Blackberry will surprise you with its vigor, the size of its berries, and the length of its harvest season.

Blackberries are one of the easier berries 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 to be refreshed as often as strawberries. They thrive in the heat and can tolerate clay soils better than other edible perennial shrubs.

The main thing blackberries 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. They prefer well-drained, 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.

Fruiting Shrubs for the Home Garden - Part 2

on Sunday, 06 February 2022. Posted in Edible, Shrubs

Currants and Gooseberries

Currants and Gooseberries may be less familiar to Rogue Valley gardeners than other kinds of fruiting shrubs, but they’re great additions to your edible landscape – especially if you like to cook! They’re delicious in jams, jellies, and liqueurs, and are also really tasty when included in baked goods like scones and muffins. White currants are the sweetest of this group, followed by black currants; the others are more tart. All are high in Vitamin C, and the red and black varieties are also high in antioxidants and anthocyanins.
 
Shooting Star currently carries the following varieties in bareroot:

Cherry RedCherry Red Currant: Cherry Red bears heavy crops of beautiful, juicy, flavorful red berries. Great for fresh eating, or in tasty jams and jellies. Slightly tart, rich flavor. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

Primus Primus White Currant: Primus is one of the sweetest types of currants. They also bear heavily: one bush can yield 20 pounds of fruit from its long berry clusters. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

CrandallCrandall Black Currant: Wonderful clove-scented yellow flowers in the spring, followed by blue-black fruit in the summer. Crandall has a rich dark flavor, and is sweetest of all black currants. Primarily used in juice, jam, jelly, pies, and liqueurs. 3’-7’ tall by 3’-5’ wide.

 

Captivator‘Captivator’ Gooseberry: Very sweet, 1 inch, teardrop-shaped, red berries in large clusters that can be used in jellies, jams and juice on semi-thornless canes. Can be used fresh or in jam, pies, and desserts. 3’ to 5’ tall and wide. 

All currants and gooseberries are upright woody shrubs, and can take a bit of afternoon shade. They prefer well-drained soil, rich in organic material; and will bear on year-old wood. You’ll get a light crop the year you plant them, and they really hit their stride after two or three years.

To learn more about the different varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs avaliable here at Shooting Star Nursery, be sure to take a look at this list of Fruiting Trees and Plants from our website!

Hamamelis x intermedia

on Sunday, 30 January 2022. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Witch Hazel

witch_hazel

Witch Hazels (Hamamelis) provide delight in the garden year-round. Not only do they brighten these late winter days with their bright, fragrant spidery blooms decorating their bare branches; they turn around and repeat the show all over again in the fall with spectacular leaf color. 

Hamamelis Arnolds PromiseMost Witch Hazels have a nice open form that provide sculptural interest even when these shrubs shed their leaves in winter.

Their vase-shaped growth habit also provides a nice opportunity to use other plants at their base – think Hellebores, Heucheras, or early spring-flowering bulbs. Flowers appear in early February and continue through March, with thick, pleated-looking leaves emerging once flowering is finished. 

Hamamelis JelenaAn exposure with morning sun is best for Witch Hazels. They also look wonderful in a wooded shade garden - just make sure they get some bright light for the best flower production and fall color. 

Witch Hazels aren’t the best choice for a hot spot in your yard, even though you will read that they will tolerate full sun (and you will see them looking spectacular in downtown Ashland in full sun). However, you’ll find that they are prone to leaf burn in the hot summer sun, and you’ll need to mulch them heavily and water more often if you choose to plant them in a hot exposure. Hamamelis

Overall, Witch Hazels are easy, low-maintenance shrubs. They do best with regular watering - including deep soaks throughout the summer months - and prefer a fertile, humus-rich soil. They’re also tolerant of clay soils as long as they are well drained.

Witch Hazels are slow to moderate growers that generally only need pruning to control their size and shape. As with most spring flowering shrubs, they prefer to be pruned in late spring once they have finished blooming. Avoid fall or winter pruning, or you’ll end up cutting off the next seasons flower buds!

Fun Plant Trivia: Witch Hazels are closely related to one of our favorite small shade trees: Parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood). Both plants tend to have outstanding fall color.

Here are some of the varieties we generally carry (check our current retail availability for details):

'Amethyst' - Rounded shrub, 8' to 10' tall. with reddish-purple flowers

'Arnold's Promise'- Vase shaped with fragrant yellow flowers and yellow fall color. 12-15' tall and wide.

'Diane'- Rounded form with red, mildly fragrant flowers and orange-red fall color. 8-12’ tall by 12-15’ wide.

'Jelena'- vase shaped vigorous grower with very fragrant large copper-orange flowers and orange-yellow fall color. 8-12' tall and wide.

'Sunburst'- upright, with lemon yellow blooms up to 1 inch long, early bloomer and yellow-orange fall color. 9-12' tall by 6-8' wide.

Osmanthus 'Rotundifolius'

on Monday, 24 January 2022.

Round-leafed Tree Olive

osmanthus_rotundifolia

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

As a group, Osmanthus are very easy to grow and seem to be happy in any location. We have them planted on the east, west, and north sides of buildings and all seem to be thriving. A hot spot against a south-facing wall wouldn't necessarily be our first choice, but they do seem to acclimate to where they are placed and will even tolerate clay soil, as long as it doesn’t stay boggy.

Osmanthus flowerOsmanthus 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, sweetly fragrant flowers; typically in late fall/winter.

Osmanthus ‘Rotundifolius’ will eventually get about 8'x8', but can be pruned a bit tighter. It is not fast growing but puts on steady growth each year and won't overrun its location. Flowers are borne on last year’s growth, so for best flowering prune it back in late winter once it is done blooming. This is a great foundation plant or background for showier perennials. Unlike many other varieties of Osmanthus, ‘Rotundifolius’ has rounded leaves with only slight spines - nothing to cause damage to the pruning gardener. 

O. ‘Rotundifolius’ 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. Other varieties of Osmanthus (see below) have much pricklier leaves and tend to be more deer resistant. To be on the safe side, plan on caging your Osmanthus for the first few years if you have a heavy deer population.

As you can probably tell right now, we really like Osmanthus here at Shooting Star Nursery. Here are a few other varieties that we carry regularly:

 

Osmanthus delavayi: Deep blue-green leaves with graceful, arching branches. Tends to bloom later than other Osmanthus varieties (April). Fast growing, 6-8’ tall and wide. 

Osmanthus GoshikiOsmanthus ‘Goshiki’ (photo left): Gorgeous cultivar! New leaves are cream-colored tinged with rose pink, maturing to dark green with creamy-yellow splashes. Slow growing and poky-edged, about 4’ by 4’. Fun fact: ‘Goshiki’ means five-colored in Japanese, a reference to the variegated leaf coloring. 

Osmanthus ‘Gulftide’: A fast-growing, columnar Osmanthus – a nice alternative for a hedge or privacy screen. About 15’ by 10’ at maturity. 

OsmanthusPurpureusOsmanthus ‘Purpureus’ (photo right): As the name suggests, this Osmanthus features lovely purple-black new leaves that change to deep green as they mature. About 6-10’ tall and wide; color best in full sun. 

OsmanthusVariegatusOsmanthus ‘Variegatus’ (photo left): Dark green holly-shaped leaves that are edged n white – a really striking plant! Fast growing, about 8’ by 8’. 

Dwarf Fruit Trees for Small Spaces

on Sunday, 16 January 2022. Posted in Edible, Trees

peaches editThere are few pleasures that compare to picking a sun-warmed homegrown peach, biting into it, and letting the sweet rich juice trickle down your chin. Sadly, that’s an experience that those of us with small yards don’t get to indulge in: full-sized fruit trees just take up too much space!
 
And that’s where dwarf and miniature fruit trees come in. These tiny trees are a great option for space-challenged gardeners who dream of having their own fruit orchard. In fact, many dwarf fruit trees – especially peaches and nectarines – can be grown in large barrels. Best of all, although dwarf fruit trees are small in stature – their fruit (and flavor) are both full-sized. Here are a few of the dwarf fruit trees Shooting Star currently has available in bareroot:
 
garden delicious 2010 1Garden Delicious Dwarf Apple: Self-fertile, 8’ – 10’ tall (smaller with pruning). This mid/late season apple has a superb flavor – sweet and crisp – and is a good keeper.
 
North StarNorth Star Dwarf Cherry: Sour cherry, self-fertile, 8’ – 10’ tall (smaller with pruning). Very productive, with large red fruits; great for pies and cobblers. North Star will often begin to bear in its second year.
 
NectazeeNecta Zee Miniature Nectarine: Self-fertile. A sweet, yellow-fleshed freestone. Heavy bearing and a frequent taste test winner - often referred to as ‘exquisitely flavored’.
 
garden goldGarden Gold Miniature Peach: Self-fertile and late blooming, so a good choice for colder areas. Garden Gold is a freestone peach with a great flavor, and ripens mid/late season.
 
pix zeePix Zee Miniature Peach: Self-fertile, yellow-fleshed freestone. Pix Zee is vigorous to about 6’ tall (smaller with pruning), and bears large, delicious, firm-fleshed fruit.
 
Dwarf fruit trees have the same general requirements as full-sized fruit trees: well-drained soil, and a minimum of 6 hours sun a day during the growing season. If you opt to grow yours in a large container, you’ll need to make sure to keep them watered regularly – especially during summer months.