Articles in Category: Drought Tolerant

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!

Nepeta 'Junior Walker'

on Thursday, 17 October 2019. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Nepeta 'Junior Walker'

Nepeta Junior Walker crop

Nepeta 'Junior Walker' is one of my very favorite drought tolerant perennials - and that's high praise indeed! Its aromatic, blue-gray foliage provides a beautiful contrast for soft-looking, blue-violet flowers. Plants generally begin blooming in early May, and will bloom well into fall if you shear them back after their spring bloom.

'Junior Walker' reaches about 16" tall by 30" tall at maturity. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil, and combines well with other drought tolerant perennials. It makes a nice accent in a summer garden; creating a nice cool place for your eyes to rest amidst the other hot-colored blooms of summer. 

Nepetas are also known as Catmints, and their foliage smells like mint with a warm hint of camphor. This aroma also serves another purpose in the garden: while it's really pleasant to humans, deer don't like the smell and tend to avoid the plants. 

However, the most notable feature of 'Junior Walker' - and of all Nepetas - is that they are an absolute magnet for pollinators. Here at the nursery, it's not uncommon to find our Nepetas covered with a combination of butterflies, skippers, honeybees, bumblebees, and tiny solitary native bees. If you have really limited room for pollinator plants in your garden, put 'Junior Walker' at the top of your list! 

We also regularly carry these other varieties of Nepeta:

 Nepeta Purple Haze cropNepeta 'Purple Haze'- 'Purple Haze' is the shortest of the Nepetas we grow. They share the same abundant violet-blue flowers and aromatic foliage of 'Junior Walker', but plants only get about 4" tall at maturity. They're a great addition at the front of a perennial bed - or plant them to spill over a rock wall.  

 Nepeta Walkers Low cropNepeta 'Walker's Low'- 'Walker's Low is the tallest Nepeta of the group. Plants get to 24" to 30" tall, by about 36" wide. Like 'Junior Walker', it has a gentle mounding shape and combines well with other sun-loving, drought tolerant perennials like Salvias, Agastaches, Rudbeckias, and Gauras.

 

 

Ceanothus 'Emily Brown'

on Tuesday, 08 October 2019. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Ceanothus 'Emily Brown'

Salvia 'Autumn Sapphire'

on Tuesday, 01 October 2019. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Autumn Sapphire Sage

Salvia reptans COMPACT form 5 683x1024

'Autumn Sapphire' Salvia is another wonderful introduction by one of our favorite garden writers - Lauren Springer Odgen - and the Denver Botanic Garden. This beauty comes into bloom in late summer, when a lot of other flowering perennials are starting to slow down - and continues blooming right up until frost. As the name suggests, flowers are a rich cobalt blue; complemented by finely-textured green leaves. Plants grow to 18" to 20" tall and wide, and are hardy down to zone 5. Like most other Salvias, they also are great pollinator plants and are deer resistent. For best results, leave all the stems up until spring to make sure it survives the winter wet, and then prune back when new leaves begin to emerge. 'Autumn Sapphire' performs best in well-drained soil in full, hot sun. Looking for some good companion plants? Consider pairing it with Solidago, Rudbeckia, Echinacea, or Gaura - or create a mixed planting of 'Autumn Sapphire' and ornamental grasses!