Articles in Category: Berries Attract Wildlife

Amelanchier

on Wednesday, 16 June 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Fall Color, Edible, Trees, Shrubs

Serviceberry or Juneberry

Amelanchier Autumn Brilliance flower

For those of you who are not already familiar with Amelanchiers - aka: Serviceberry, Juneberry, Saskatoon (they have a LOT of common names), let this serve as an introduction to what might well become your new favorite shrub/small tree!

Serviceberries are one of those rare plants that provide year-round interest here in the Rogue Valley. In the spring, this charming member of the Rose family is covered by clouds of white flowers that are a big favorite with pollinators.

Summer brings truly delicious blue-black berries (hence the name Juneberry) that taste like a cross between a blueberry and an apple, and are as popular with birds as they are with humans.

The fall color of Serviceberries – especially ‘Autumn Brilliance’ – rivals maples for color and intensity. And even when they drop their leaves, the branching pattern of Serviceberries provides nice visual interest in the winter garden.

They’re also relatively carefree and easy to grow, and do well in full sun to light shade with average water. Most Serviceberries are somewhat drought-tolerant at maturity, and will only need deep watering once or twice a month during the summer.

Shooting Star Nursery regularly carries three varieties of Amelanchier:

 Autumn Brilliance plant crop edit'Autumn Brilliance': We are absolutely in love with this plant! It works well as either a small single-trunked tree or large multi-trunk shrub, reaching about 15’ to 20’ tall and wide at maturity. As the name suggests, ‘Autumn Brilliance’ puts on a truly spectacular show of color in the fall. 

Spring Flurry edit‘Spring Flurry’ has more of an upright tree form (28’ tall by about 20’ wide) than Autumn Brilliance’. It has a strong, dominant central leader and is a great choice for a small street tree: low maintenance, abundant spring flowers, and nice fall color too.  is generally available in tree form. 

Our native western serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) is a bit smaller than the two cultivars listed above - generally reaching about 12' by 6' at maturity - and can be found growing right here in the Rogue Valley and surrounding areas. They bloom and fruit about a month later, are easy to care for, and are excellent wildlife-friendly plants: the berries are heavily visited by a variety of pollinators, birds love the berries, and the plants also provide nice nesting sites for songbirds.

Elaeagnus

on Tuesday, 18 May 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

A Deer-Resistant, Evergreen Shrub!

elaeagnus fruitlandii leavesElaeagnus (pronounced “ellie agnus”) are a group of sturdy, fast-growing evergreen shrubs that are drought-tolerant once established, make a good addition to a firewise garden, and work beautifully as a screen or a hedge. Some species even fix nitrogen in the soil!

These qualities alone would make Elaeagnus a ‘must have’ plant in your garden. But what we really love about them is that they’re one of the very few evergreen shrubs we’ve found that seems able to resist the depredations of deer here in the Rogue Valley. Maybe it’s the tough leaves; maybe it’s the small thorns on the stems. But so far (knocking wood, fingers crossed…) deer mostly seem to leave them alone. 

E Fruitlandii flowerElaeagnus grow well in full sun or with a little light shade, but sun-grown plants will be fuller and denser. In fall, small cream-colored intensely fragrant flowers appear – followed by small reddish berries. The berries are generally too small for humans to bother with, but birds enjoy them. In fact, they’re a nice source of food that helps migrating and overwintering birds lay on a fat store to survive the winter months.

Shooting Star Nursery generally carries the following varieties of Elaeagnus:

‘Fruitlandii’ Rich olive-green leaves covered with small silver scales (shown above). Plants reach 6’ to 10’ tall and wide at maturity, but may be kept a bit smaller with careful pruning.

 

E. Clemson Variegated crop‘Clemson Variegated’ Lovely gold-centered leaves with dark green margins. About 10’ by 10’ at maturity.

 

 

E. Gilt Edge‘Gilt Edge’ Coloring is the reverse of ‘Clemson Variegated’; dark green leaves with rich gold edges. Smaller than the two varieties above – roughly 5’ tall and wide at maturity.

 

Elaegnus‘Hosoba Fukurin’ Similar to ‘Gilt Edge’, but the leaves have cream-colored margins rather than golden yellow ones. 4-'5 tall and wide, with extremely fragrant autumn flowers.

Cornus

on Monday, 19 April 2021. 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’. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taxus media, 'Hick's Yew'

on Tuesday, 26 January 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

1/26/21

taxusHicksiiHicksYew

Hick's Yew is a distinctive shrub with a lot of character. When compared to other evergreen trees or shrubs used for privacy screening, its long, graceful, upright branches covered with lush, petite, glossy, dark evergreen foliage make it an easy maintenance plant for narrow spaces

Its resilience as a popular choice for a privacy screen is because of its dense, columnar growth that responds exceptionally well to heavy shearing or pruning by becoming denser. It is a slow grower at about 12” per year in ideal conditions, reaching a moderate height of about 10-20 taxusHicksYewBerries2feet tall and 3-6 feet wide. 

For added interest, Hick’s Yew produces red berries in the fall that can be toxic if ingested. If you are in need of seedless variety, then the male ‘H.M. Eddie’ is a good alternate. It grows a little slower reaching 10-15 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.

'Hick’s' and 'H.M. Eddie' yews are equally happy in full sun or full shade. So whether you live in hot and bright, or cool and shady climates and locations, you are bound to have success. Yews can tolerate a wide range of soils but do best in a well-draining area. To help encourage robust and healthy root growth, make sure it is adequately watered for at least the first few months after planting.

Adding a few inches of leaf or wood chip mulch will help insulate the roots from extreme winter and summer temperatures, and retain moisture throughout the year. Once established, they are drought tolerant but will grow best when it is watered after the soil has been allowed to dry out.

Rhamnus californica

on Friday, 18 September 2020. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

California Coffeeberry

Coffeeberry

Coffeeberry is a great candidate for that hard-to-fill niche of an evergreen native shrub that also attracts birds and pollinators; is drought tolerant, deer resistant, and fire resistant; and even makes a good hedge or screen. In fact, it may well be the only plant that fills that niche!

Coffeeberry is a west coast native; occurring from southern Oregon all the way south into Baja California. It gets its common name from its fruit: berries that change from green to red to almost black over the course of the year. The flowers are inconspicuous (although pollinators notice them just fine) but the birds definitely notice the colorful berries.

Rhamnus makes a great hedge, usually growing at a medium rate to 6-8' tall and wide, with the potential to get larger in more wooded areas. The named variety 'Eve Case’ has broader and brighter, green foliage and will stay a bit more compact at 4-8' wide and tall. Its leaves are long and pointed and are a matte green with a paler underside.

Coffeeberry prefers full sun but can also be happy in part shade or a more wooded garden. In the Rogue Valley, it can tolerate the heat and most soils, although it prefers a sandy, well-draining soil. This is truly a drought-tolerant plant - once established, it can survive on no irrigation. To keep it more fire resistant, though, we recommend giving it a deep soak every two weeks during the summer months. We have found Coffeeberry to be deer resistant in most situations, especially once established. Deer may have a tendency to chew the new growth, but will leave plants alone when they get some size on them.

If you are new to growing native plants, this is a great plant to start with. Try it out to see how easy, attractive, and sustainable native plants can be in your garden!