Viburnum trilobum and V. plicatum var. tomentosum

on Tuesday, 19 April 2016. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Edible, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Cranberry and Doublefile Viburnum

photoViburnumPlicatumTomentosum-DoublefileViburnum250x166

There are a lot of Viburnum species out there and these are two of our favorites.  Simply elegant and easy, the Cranberry Viburnum (trilobum, photo at bottom) and Doublefile Viburnum (plicatum tomentosum, photo at top) sport a flower more similar to a lacecap hydrangea than the more common snowball Viburnum.  They are much easier and less fussy than the moisture-loving Hydrangeas.  The flower clusters are interesting to watch unfold over the late spring weeks adding a long term interest for a flowering shrub.  The flowers of both varieties turn to red fruit but the Cranberry Viburnum's fruit is technically edible and more profuse.  These deciduous Viburnums also get nice fall color, a wine red.  The Cranberry bush Viburnum has a lovely tiered, layered habit that fits nicely in a woodland or more naturalistic garden.  The horizontal branching of the Doublefile Viburnum gives it a nice form even through the bare days of winter.   We have a Cranberry Viburnum on the NW corner of our house and seems to take the afternoon heat and part shade in stride.  Their preference is probably not the hottest location you have but dappled light, part shade, or protection from all day sun, although once acclimated seem to tolerate it. 

Helleborus orientalis

on Monday, 04 January 2016. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Lenten Rose

helleborus_orientalis

Hellebores are another plant to make us smile in winter as well as being a valuable dry shade perennial.  The Lenten Rose comes in shades of pink, purple, cream, white, and chartreuse or splashed with darker spots; with more variety being available every year.  If a plant is not labeled as a certain color than it will be a surprise when it starts blooming in late winter; so if you want a certain shade- buy it when they are in bloom.  The long-lasting blooms rise 12"-18"above large, dark green foliage and have a nodding habit that is best appreciated in the foreground of a garden or from below.  They make great cut flowers and will bloom for several months.  When these evergreen perennials aren't blooming the dramatic, divided leaves provide nice contrast to daintier ferns and ornamental grasses.  Like most evergreens, once some leaves become older and ratty it is best to cut them back completely and let new ones flush out.   They will tolerate dry conditions once established and do best in partial shade- an east exposure or under the dappled light of larger trees and shrubs. They look especially good as a mass groundcover under a specimen tree.  Give them good organic soil with new mulch added each year and they will reward you with easy care flowers and sculptural leaves.  They should also be deer resistant.  Hellebores do well in a container and make a great addition to a shady porch potted arrangement with black mondo grass, Compact Mahonia, Heucheras, Ferns, and other shade lovers.  Hellebores are poisonous to humans and animals so be careful when placing them near children's activity areas.

There are many different species and hybrids that have desirable qualities.  Come visit to see the latest selections.

Mahonia spp.

on Monday, 30 November 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Oregon Grape

mahonia_compacta

Oregon grape may seem too common to mention but it has so many merits that it is a go to plant for many situations in the Rogue Valley.  Being a native plant, Mahonias can take our winter wet and summer dry and can be very drought tolerant once established.  Their thick leathery leaves and spiny edges also make them unpalatable to deer.  Most species of Oregon Grape are evergreen but still turn a rainbow of colors in the fall and winter giving them more interest than the average evergreen shrub.  The spikes of cheerful yellow flowers emerge early in spring and turn to blue-black fruit that are edible but more appealing to birds than humans.  Most varieties grow by underground runners and make a nice colony so best to give them room to shine. 

The ones we use the most in the Rogue Valley are:

Mahonia x media 'Charity'

on Tuesday, 10 November 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Charity Mahonia

Mahonia 'Charity'

Looking for a dramatic addition to your drought tolerant shade garden that is plagued by deer?  Mahonia 'Charity' is a large, upright, evergreen shrub for shade to morning sun and provides extra large spikes of yellow flowers in early spring making it stand out from other Oregon Grape.  This Mahonia is very drought tolerant once established and it's toothed, coarse leaves make it very deer resistant. Best in protected spot- hardy to Zone 7. Would look great in a red container or tucked in a shady corner that needs a large filler.  This gets large- 6-10' tall and 5' wide.  We saw this Mahonia used in front of a more modern looking series of townhomes in Portland and it really made a statement from a distance.  Very striking and sculptural and clean.

More reading about it here:

http://www.greatplantpicks.org/plantlists/view/977




Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'

on Tuesday, 15 September 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Fall Color, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant

'Blonde Ambition' Blue Grama Grass

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'

 

This little North American native prairie grass is a true performer.  Many ornamental grasses don't start blooming until late summer, but this variety of Blue Grama Grass, produces it's blonde, eyebrow-like blooms in the early summer and persist into winter.   It also performs well in various garden locations, from clay to a more well draining or sandy soil.  At a super useful size of 2-1/2'-3' tall to 3' wide, you can use it on masse or as a single specimen to contrast with flowering perennials.   Everyone who comes into the nursery notices it, because of it's unusual horizontal bloom and that it always looks good.    It is very cold hardy, to Zone 4. and is drought tolerant but can also handle regular watering.  Like most ornamtental grasses it's fine textured, gray-green foliage is deer resistant.  We like to leave it up all winter as the stiff stems can hold up to snow and provide interest and texture in the winter garden.  In mid spring, when you see new growth emerging you can cut back the old stems to about 3" above the soil line and scratch out any old growth.   Bouteloua is also reported to tolerate being near Walnut trees, where most plants cannot thrive.