Articles in Category: Berries Attract Wildlife

Mahonia species

on Monday, 04 April 2022. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Oregon Grape

mahonia_compacta

Being a local native plant, Mahonias can take both 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 your average evergreen shrub. Spikes of cheerful, fragrant yellow flowers emerge early in spring and turn to blue-black fruit that are edible but more appealing to birds than humans. Most varieties spread via underground runners and make a nice colony, so best to give them room to shine and do their thing! 

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

Mahonia flowerMahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape) - This is the taller species of our native Oregon Grape, getting to 6' or more and spreading by underground runners. They look best as a mass planting in a native woodland situation and perform best in shade, but will take some sun. Can be pruned hard if getting too leggy and will quickly fill in. Mahonia aquifolium is resistant to oak root fungus - it's a great plant to grow under native oaks, as it also doesn't need much water. 

Mahonia aquifolium 'Compacta' (Compact Oregon Grape) - Pictured above left. This variety will stay about 2' tall  and makes a nice, broad colony. New foliage is glossy and becomes matte with age. This plant always looks good, staying full to the ground and cheering up the dark days of winter with its bronzy red winter color.

Mahonia repensMahonia repens (Creeping Mahonia) - This native has a spreading habit and will get about 2-3' tall. It tolerates more sun the the taller Oregon Grape, as well as growing well in part shade, and is very drought tolerant. Its leaves are usually more matte than the upright Mahonia but get the same yellow flowers and blue fruit. Great choice for mass groundcover or under oaks.

Mahonia nervosaMahonia nervosa (Longleaf Mahonia) - This Mahonia is a little more particular than the other native species; requiring more shade. But it's every bit as drought tolerant as M. aquifolium and M. repens.  The leaves are more stiffly upright and bit longer. Makes a nice low shrub or groundcover - around 2' tall - for a shady, woodland garden.

Cornus

on Thursday, 17 March 2022. 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’. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward'

on Tuesday, 22 February 2022. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Native, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'King Edward' Red Flowering Currant

Ribes King EdwardFlowering currants are one of the glories of the early Spring garden, with their cascades of brightly-colored flowers and soft green, scalloped leaves. And one of our very favorite flowering currants is Ribes sanguineum ‘King Edward’.

A cultivar of our native Ribes sanguineum, 'King Edward' has darker pink flowers than the native species, followed by dark blue berries in the summer. Both ‘King Edward’ and the native species are absolute magnets for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Later in the seasons, berry-loving songbirds like robins, thrushes, grosbeaks, cedar waxwings, etc., flock to the berries (which taste better to them than they do to humans, so we’re happy to share!).

Flowering currants will bloom heaviest when in full sun, but in hotter areas like the Rogue Valley, they also appreciate a bit of afternoon shade. In fact, they’re also a great choice for dry shade gardens or for planting under an oak or other large tree. ‘King Edward’ will grow in a variety of soils but does require good drainage; if you plant in clay, place it on a mound or along a slope. Being a native plant, they are used to dry summers and wet winters, and will do best if you can mimic those conditions in your garden.

'King Edward' grows quickly and has a lovely open habit that mixes well with other plants. They can get at least 4-5' tall and wide, and are also relatively drought tolerant once established.

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.

Lycium barbarum

on Monday, 27 December 2021. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Edible, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Goji Berry

gojiBerry2Also known as 'Wolfberry', the Goji Berry is widely recognized as a superfood - with high nutrient and anti-oxidant properties - makes a great addition to your edible landscape. Both the bright orange-red berries and shiny, oval green leaves are edible with an appealing spicy, nutty flavor. The leaves are traditionally enjoyed as a tea, and the berries can be used as a tea or for snacking, baking, or preserving.

Goji berry is self-fruitful, producing small, purple-pink flowers in late spring/early summer that are highly attractive to the bees. It can take up to two years to bear fruit which will be loved by the birds and other browsing animals. Harvest the small, oval, bright orange-red fruit from summer through fall by shaking each branch so the ripe berries fall onto a large basket or bowl. Avoid touching them to avoid oxidizing the skin which turns them black. It's best to enjoy them fresh, frozen, or dried after washing, or refrigerate the berries unwashed for up to two weeks.

gojiBerryThis is a vigorously growing, thorny bush with woody stems and should be seasonally maintained to keep suckers that grow from the base in check. Luckily, they are well adapted for growing in containers. Deer will be attracted to the edible leaves and berries, but this might be one situation where they could be a welcome helper.

Once established, goji berries are heat tolerant and drought tolerant. They perform best when planted in full sun, (with mid-afternoon shade during the high heat of summer), out of the wind, and in well-draining, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. They can grow 8-12 feet tall and wide at full maturity and can be easily pruned to any desired size.