Articles in Category: Berries Attract Wildlife

Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward'

on Thursday, 02 April 2020. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Native, Shade Plants, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

King Edward Red Flowering Currant

Ribes King EdwardFlowering currants really come into their glory in April, with their cascades of brightly-colored flowers and soft green, scalloped leaves. And one of our very favorites 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.

Rosa rugosa

on Thursday, 19 March 2020. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Rugosa Rose

Hansa editThese amazingly tough roses provide us with intoxicatingly fragrant flowers; long lasting, vitamin-rich rose hips; interesting leaf texture - as well as drought tolerance, disease resistance, and deer resistance. They’ll even grow and bloom in partial shade. Why would you ever plant any other rose? 

Rugosa roses were originally wild roses native to Asia, but they’ve been cultivated and naturalized in many parts of the world. Both varieties we carry (see below) will grow to about 5’ to 7’ tall and wide and will spread by runners, making them a good barrier or hedge plant. Rugosas also look great in a mixed border, especially because they don't need the extra care of sprays that most other roses need. Flowers come in single or double petaled forms and range in color from deep magenta pink to red to pure white and yellows. Once established, rugosa roses only need an occasional soak and prefer full sun, although they will do fine in part sun.

 Here are the two varieties of rugosa roses Shooting Star Nursery carries regularly:

Alba cropAlba: Big white single flowers – up to 3.5” across - with yellow tufted stamens sit atop deep green, quilted leaves. These lovely, bushy plants are known for their hardiness and tolerance to salt sea conditions. Fat round bright red hips give a bonus of fall color, providing food for local wildlife. Flowers to 3.5” across. Moderate fragrance. American Rose Society rating of 9.2 - out of a possible 10 points.

 

Hansa: Raspberry-purple, semi-double flowers with a wonderful fragrance (shown above). Great for barrier plantings in cold climates, extremely hardy, large abundant rose hips. ARS rating 8.4 - out of a possible 10 points.

 Rugosa hipsFun fact: Rugosas have also been called “sea tomato roses” because of their large orange to bright-red rose hips that appear in fall and last throughout the winter; providing a great source of nourishment for overwintering birds like robins, cedar waxwings, and hermit thrushes. The rose hips are prized by humans too – they’re a great source of Vitamin C and a popular ingredient in tea blends.

Arctostaphylos 'John Dourley'

on Thursday, 02 January 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Native, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'John Dourley' Manzanita

Dourley editHere at Shooting Star Nursery, we love our manzanitas!

Manzanitas are native, evergreen, drought tolerant, low maintenance - and really, really pretty. They’re also an important source of nectar for overwintering Anna’s hummingbirds; providing the rich, sugary nectars these birds rely on. In fact, manzanitas are outstanding plants for wildlife-friendly gardens, providing shelter, a late winter/early spring nectar source for a variety of pollinators, and late summer fruits that feed birds and other critters.

One of the earliest blooming manzanita varieties for Rogue Valley gardens is Arctostaphylos ‘John Dourley’. Ours here at the nursery are already blooming happily in early January! ‘John Dourley’ is a hybrid of two species of manzanita: A. pajaroensis x A. bakeri. They’re one of the most garden tolerant manzanitas around, thrive in either full sun and partial sun, and can even be grown in clay soils. Plants generally reach 2’ to 4’ tall by 4’ to 6’ wide – making them great candidates for a low hedge. New growth is coppery red, which is set off nicely by their cinnamon colored bark.

Like most manzanitas, ‘John Dourley’ requires little to no water once established. Most species of manzanita are also Verticillium Wilt resistant and also do well with water high in Boron (since they hardly need water!). If you are planting ‘John Dourley’ in clay soil, plants will do best planted on a mound or hillside.

Warning: manzanitas are a bit like potato chips – you might find it hard to just plant one! For more information on the other species of manzanitas we generally carry here at Shooting Star, check out this article on our website.

Ribes odoratum 'Crandall'

on Wednesday, 27 February 2019. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shade Plants, Edible, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Crandall' Blackcurrant

CrandallHere is a stellar plant that is beautiful, fragrant, and delicious - as well as being good for the birds! 

'Crandall' Blackcurrant is woefully under-utilized, perhaps people haven't eaten a currant before or not visited the nursery when they are in bloom. But come visit in April and you will see a drift of them planted in part shade in our drought tolerant display garden; handily close enough to the rock pile for little hands to pick the fruit when they ripen in summer and beckoning you for a closer look with their clove scented, yellow blooms.

Appealing to hummingbirds and butterflies, the flowers develop into black, round fruit that are tart/sweet with a more mild currant flavor and especially high in Vitamin C. My daughter loves to pick them fresh but they can be made into preserves or baked goods or dried. The cool weather and shorter days of fall bring out gorgeous red foliage color, too.

Most currants would appreciate a spot out of extreme heat but will tolerate full sun with good water. Part shade or morning sun is ideal. They will get 4-5' tall and wide, and bear fruit on second-year growth. Currants can be drought tolerant once established and do best in a well-draining but compost-rich soil. They can be a great addition to a mixed use garden - full of edible and ornamental power!

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'

on Wednesday, 15 November 2017. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Compact Strawberry Tree

arbutus-unedo-plant-of-the-

Compact Strawberry tree is one of our favorites for so many reason: it can tolerate sun or shade, is drought tolerant, provides fall flowers for the hummingbirds, has long lasting, spectacularly colored fruit, and it's evergreen!

You can easily see how this relative of our native Madrone gets its common name of Strawberry Tree. The orange and red fruits resemble strawberries, and although the fruit is technically edible, they are more for suited wildlife as they are bland  and mealy in texture. The honey scented, white, urn-shaped flowers can appear from fall into early spring and the fruits often come on at the same time or not long after.

Arbutus medSome years seem to have heavier fruit set than others, but the fruits are so decorative and long lasting that they don't qualify as messy. With leathery, dark green, oblong leaves, reddish new stems and shaggy auburn bark it is handsome all year. Compact Strawberry Tree is not the most fast growing evergreen shrub, but it will grow steadily to 5-7' tall and wide (eventually larger). With annual pruning it can be kept tighter and smaller. This is one of those rare plants that is happy in sun or part shade making it a great choice for a hedge with varied conditons. It is also tolerant of various climates and soils.

We have some planted on the north side of our house that have done wonderfully with no supplemental water after their first year and even survived the 7 degree winter with no damage! In extreme cold they will show some damage; so best to plant where they are not completely exposed to cold winds. The winter of 2013, where we got to zero degrees for several nights, proved fatal to some Arbutus and some rebounded after suffering damage on top.

We wish they were deer resistant but unfortunately the tips get chewed too much to be reliable.  Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' is great in foundation plantings  or hedges. You will be hardpressed to find an evergreen shrub with more year round interest - plus the hummingbirds will thank you for providing a much-needed winter nectar source!