Crocosmia

on Wednesday, 08 July 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Lucifer crop edit

Generally, summer-flowering perennials fall into two groups: those whose flowers fall into the cool tones (blues, purples, soft pinks) and those with warm-toned flowers (reds, oranges, and bright yellows). Crocosmia flowers aren’t just warm-toned, they’re hot!

These fiery-colored flowers make a bold statement in the summer garden, at a time when most spring-blooming perennials are starting to fade in the heat.

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora George Davison 2Crocosmia (also known as Montbretia) is a member of the Iris family and is native to South Africa – an area with a climate similar to our climate here in the Rogue Valley. They look a bit like a refined Gladiola, only with flowers held in graceful, arching sprays rather than on stiff, upright spikes. Plants are deer resistant, drought tolerant when established, and grow well both in the ground or in containers. For a really dramatic effect, consider planting Crocosmia in large drifts to bring a splash of vibrant color to your garden. Hummingbirds find these plants irresistible, and you’ll often see several of them working a large planting of Crocosmia.

If you are a fan of bringing fresh flowers into your home, you’ll be happy to learn that Crocosmia are also a great addition to the cutting garden. Not only do the flowers hold up beautifully, but their seed pods and long, narrow leaf blades can be used with striking effect in flower arrangements!

 

We carry three different varieties, ranging in color from a rich yellow to a brilliant red:

Lucifer’: Big and bold; ‘Lucifer’ gets from 3’ to 3 ½’ tall with vivid, scarlet flowers. Photo top left.

EmilyM edit‘Emily McKenzie’: ‘Emily McKenzie’ is a mid-sized Crocosmia, reaching between 2’ and 2 ½’ tall. Bright orange flowers darken to red near the throat, with a yellow center.

 

‘George Davidson’: This is the shortest of the varieties we carry. Plants tend to top out at around 1 ½’ tall. Orange buds open up to lovely, golden-yellow flowers. Photo top right.

Chilopsis linearis 'Bubba'

on Thursday, 18 June 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Trees, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearisThinking of creating a small, shady oasis in the middle of your drought-tolerant garden? Chilopsis ‘Bubba’ might just be the tree you are looking for!

Desert Willows are native to desert washes throughout the southwestern US and northern Mexico. Despite its common name, Desert Willow is not actually a willow (its closely related to Trumpet Vine and Jacaranda), but its long, narrow, dark green leaves are reminiscent of willow leaves. ‘Bubba’ has large, fragrant pinkish-purple flowers that begin blooming in early summer (ours are blooming now) and last well into fall. These plants really come into their own during our summer heat, when other plants start to slow down.

Chilopsis Bubba crop ed‘Bubba’ is a small (15’ by 15’), fast growing tree with an open growth habit and attractively textured bark. It prefers a hot, sunny location and is hardy to at least Zone 7. We have seen it growing at the Denver Botanic Garden though, so we’re assuming that mature trees can withstand even colder temperatures. Plants are quite drought-tolerant once established, but will also tolerate deep, infrequent summer watering. They do need well-drained soil. If you have clay soil in your yard, consider planting it on a mound or a berm.

‘Bubba’ combines beautifully with other drought-tolerant, heat loving plants like Oenothera, the Salvia ‘Mirage’ series, Callirhoe, Penstemon pinifolius, Zauschneria, Monardella, Hesperaloe, and Perovskia to create a vibrant, colorful garden that really shines during the heat of summer. Even better, think about placing a bench under your Desert Willow, so you can enjoy its dappled shade and watch the hummingbirds and other native pollinators that flock to your mini-oasis!

Zauschneria cana

on Tuesday, 16 June 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Perennial, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

California Fuchsia

zauschneria everetts choice small

Zauschneria - aka California Fuchsia - is one of the most drought tolerant, heat tolerant, pollinator-friendly, beautiful perennials you can grow. We're not sure why this western native is not used more: the hard to pronounce name, or that fact that you can kill it with kindness, perhaps? In any case, this lovely plant deserves a place of honor in more gardens here in the Rogue Valley! Ours begin blooming in early to mid-July and keeps going strong until we get a hard frost in late fall; putting on quite a show for us and the hummingbirds!

Zauschneria’s hot orange to deep red flowers are the quintessential “hummingbird flower”: long, nectar-rich floral tubes just perfectly shaped for a hummingbird’s slender bill. This is one of a handful of flowers I’ve seen actually hummingbirds bypass a feeder for! Plants bloom continuously and don’t seem to need any deadheading; the spent blossoms just neatly drop off the plant. In addition, the vivid orange-red flowers contrast beautifully with soft silvery gray foliage that fits perfectly into a drought tolerant garden. They look great when planted with Salvia, Agastache, Perovskia, Gaura, Eriophyllum, Monardella, and other drought-tolerant perennials.

Zausch editThis western native perennial is happiest in a well-drained soil (you see them naturally growing out of rock outcroppings), with full sun and infrequent water. They do especially well on slopes or at the edge of a rock wall. We like to leave up any dormant stems over the winter, to help them survive our wet winters and clean them up in early spring. The stems can be cut back after all danger of cold weather is past and the plant will grow back quickly to be full and vibrant by summertime.

When you see Zauschneria available in the nursery, grab them fast. We don’t carry them all year long and they sell out quickly! They are best planted in spring and summer, when they can have some time to get settled in before winter hits. Most varieties we carry are cold hardy to at least Zone 7b, about 5 to 10 degrees F.

zauschneria homepageHere’s a short description of a few of the varieties we carry:

Z. c. 'Calistoga'- 1' tall by 2' wide, one of the darkest orange (almost red) varieties with thicker, larger, more silvery leaves than most. Best planted on a slope.


Z. septentrionalis 'Select Mattole' - 10" tall and 24" wide or so. Very silvery, large leaves with a great spreading habit


Z. garrettii 'Orange Carpet' - 6" tall x 18" wide, a green leafed form that can take more afternoon shade and a bit more summer water. It is one of the first to bloom.


Z. ‘Everett’s Choice’ – 6” tall x 2-3’wide, with large vividly red flowers


Z. arizonica – 2-3’ tall, by 2’wide, with gray-green foliage and orange-red flowers¬. Hardy to Zone 5.

Monardella 'Marian Sampson'

on Tuesday, 16 June 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Monardella Marian Sampson crop edIf you walked by Monardella ‘Marian Sampson’ before it was in bloom, you might not even notice it. But once it starts to bloom, this plant will stop you dead in your tracks! Clusters of bright scarlet, tubular flowers – in many cases taller than the plant itself – almost completely obscure the foliage. And thanks to these brilliant flowers, ‘Marian Sampson’ is not only popular with gardeners; it is also beloved by hummingbirds and native bees.

Marian Sampson flower ed‘Marian Sampson’ is a modest little mat-forming perennial; a cultivar of a California native (Monardella macrantha). Plants are just 3-4” tall and about a foot wide, with dark green, shiny leaves and a powerful minty fragrance, if you happen to brush past it. It provides a vivid splash of color in the drought-tolerant garden from early summer into fall.

Plants are drought tolerant and deer resistant, and can also be grown in containers. They do require excellent drainage, though. If you are planting them in clay, make sure you are planting on a mound or a hillside, where the water will drain away from them – especially during our wet winter months. ‘Marian Sampson’ can be grown in full sun, but is also perfectly happy with a bit of light shade in the afternoon.

Looking for more information on pollinator-friendly plants for Rogue Valley gardens? Be sure to check out our Pollinator-Friendly plant list!

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'

on Thursday, 11 June 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Fall Color, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant

'Blonde Ambition' Blue Grama Grass

Bouteloua1 edThis North American native prairie grass cultivar is a true performer. Many ornamental grasses don't start blooming until late summer, but ‘Blonde Ambition’ starts flowering in early summer and its blonde, horizontal, eyelash-like blooms persist well into winter. 

Bouteloua detail edAnyone who has visited Shooting Star Nursery knows that we love our ornamental grasses, and Bouteloua ‘Blonde Ambition’ remains one of our very favorites. Its narrow blue-green leaves would be reason enough to like it, but what really makes this grass stand out is its flowers, which start out chartreuse colored and fade to a lovely blonde shade.

It performs well in various garden locations, from well-drained clay to drier sandy soils. At a super useful size of 2-1/2'-3' tall to 3' wide, you can plant it en masse, or use it as a single specimen to contrast with flowering perennials. We like to plant it with other sturdy perennials like Agastache, Eupatorium, Echinacea, and Nepeta. It also combines well in mass plantings with other native grasses like Sporobolus, Schizachyrium, and Muhlenbergia.

 ‘Blonde Ambition’ is very cold hardy and is quite drought tolerant, but can also handle regular watering. Like most ornamental grasses, it is deer resistant and wintering songbirds enjoy eating the seedheads. 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 early 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.