Articles in Category: Drought Tolerant

Edible Figs

on Wednesday, 08 January 2020. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

If you’re thinking of adding some new fruiting trees and shrub to your yard this year to create an edible landscape, figs are a great place to start!

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs enjoy well-drained soils and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established. They're also self fertile, and are actually pollinated on the inside of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter. A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back.  They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs at Shooting Star and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to several better-known types that perform better in California. Our selection includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Oregon Prolific, Desert King, and Osborne Prolific; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Latturula (Italian Honey Fig- yum!).  See our fruit tree description list for more details on skin color and ripening..

 

blackjack 2012Figs are one of those fruits that don't keep well at the market, so you are lucky to have your own crop. What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins! Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

 

FIG VARIETIES FOR THE NW:

Fig 'Black Jack'

large, sweet purple skin w/strawberry flesh, semi-dwarf

 

Fig 'Black Spanish' **

dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf

 

Fig 'Brown Turkey' 

Med-lrg, sweet purplish/brown skin w/lt. pink flesh, big

 

Fig 'Desert King'

large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops

 

Fig 'Lattarula' (Italian Honey Fig) **

large, lt. green skin w/ amber flesh, can bear 2 crops

 

Fig 'Olympian'

Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf

 

Fig 'Oregon Prolific' 

vigorous, yellow skin w/ white flesh, great for Pac. NW

 

Fig 'Osborne Prolific'

Purple brown skin w/sweet amber flesh, hardy & productive, good in PNW

 

Fig 'Peter's Honey' **

deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

 

Fig 'Scott's Black'

Thin purple skin w/red flesh, sweet, closed eye

 

Fig 'Vern's Brown Turkey'  **

Brown skin w/amber flesh, sweet/flavorful, can produce 2 crops a season 

 

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.

Helleborus orientalis

on Friday, 27 December 2019. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Lenten Rose

Hellebore 1

Hellebores, also known as Lenten Roses, are one of those perennials you didn't know you needed - until you see them blooming their hearts out during the gray winter and early spring months. They bring a smile every time. Hellebores can be found in a variety of shades shades of pink, purple, cream, white, chartreuse, or even a deep purple-black, and more varieties are available every year. 

 

Hellebore 2Their long-lasting blooms rise 12"-18"above robust, dark green foliage and have a nodding habit that is best appreciated massed in the foreground of a garden or from below. Hellebores bloom for several months, and also make great cut flowers. 

 

Hellebore 3When these evergreen perennials aren't blooming, their dramatic, divided leaves provide a nice contrast to daintier ferns and ornamental grasses. Like most evergreen perennials, if their leaves become older and battered-looking, it's best to cut them back completely and let fresh, new leaves flush out. Hellebores tolerate dry conditions once established, and do best in partial shade: think 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.  

 

Hellebore 4Hellebores also do well in a containers and make a great addition to a shady porch potted arrangement with black mondo grass, Compact Mahonia, Heucheras, Ferns, and other shade lovers. They're also deer resistant - a real plus here in the Rogue Valley. Be aware, though: Hellebores are poisonous to humans and animals so be careful when placing them near children's activity areas or dog runs. 

 

Hellebore 5If you're looking to brighten up your winter garden this year, come by and take a look at our Hellebores. They're a wonderful way to remind yourself that spring is on the way!

Baccharis 'Twin Peaks'

on Thursday, 14 November 2019. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

'Twin Peaks' Coyote Brush

Baccharis flower'Twin Peaks' is one plant that really took me by surprise in the Shooting Star display gardens. 

Coyote Brush is widely known as a sturdy, fast growing, drought tolerant, evergreen native plant. The straight species (Baccharis pilularis) tends to be a little rangy and weedy-looking, but the 'Twin Peaks' cultivar forms a dense, mounding shrub - generally reaching around 2' tall by 6' wide. These plants thrive in the hot sun and in a variety of soils; including clay soil if they are planted on a slope. In fact, they're frequently used to help stabilize slopes and banked areas. As an extra bonus, deer tend to avoid them. 'Twin Peaks' is attractive enough to use up close to your house as an evergreen shrub, but is also a great choice for planting in extremely sunny areas, areas with poor soil, and out away from regular irrigation.

Baccharis Twin Peaks smThe thing that surprised me about 'Twin Peaks'? While the flowers (shown above) are fairly modest and unassuming, these plants are one of the best pollinator plants we grow here at Shooting Star - and we grow a lot of pollinator-friendly plants! On a recent late fall afternoon, the 'Twin Peaks' in our display garden was not only covered in flowers, but hosted the most diverse assortment of pollinators I've seen on a single plant: honeybees, bumblebees, tiny solitary bees, skippers, butterflies - even a big bee fly! 

While 'Twin Peaks' is a truly low-maintenence plant, a light annual pruning in early spring will help keep the plants looking full and dense. 

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma Goldcrest'

on Tuesday, 29 October 2019. Posted in Winter Interest, Conifer, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

'Wilma Goldcrest' Cypress

48981137793 2fd01884fc kThis is one adorable little conifer.

'Wilma Goldcrest' is a perfect plant for those tight spaces where you really want a splash of bright color. In the ground, they'll reach 6' to 8' tall, and up to 2' wide. They're fairly slow-growing, which also makes them a good choice for growing in containers.

Plants are evergreen, with beautiful golden chartreuse foliage that really lights up an area - especially when placed near plants with dark green or purple-colored leaves. The fragrant foliage smells like lemons (one of its nicknames is Lemon Cypress) which makes the plants unattactive to deer. 

'Wilma Goldcrest' is tolerant of a wide range of conditions, but it looks best when grown in bright light and lean soil. Plants grown in the shade will loose their "golden glow" and look a little more lime-colored. While 'Wilma Goldcrest' is relatively drought tolerant when planted in the ground, plants grown in containers will need regular water in order to keep the foliage from drying out and browning.

Bright yellow color, fragrant foliage, deer resistant, and year-round interest in the garden: there's clearly a lot to love about this tiny relative of the Monterey Cypress!