Articles in Category: Evergreen

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!

Penstemon pinifolius

on Wednesday, 12 August 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Pineleaf Penstemon

Penstemon Mersea YellowPineleaf Penstemon makes me happy every time I see it. So many benefits in such a compact package! 

 Penstemon, as a group, have a reputation of being fussy about watering, and not being very long lived. But this western native perennial is evergreen, and one of the very best Penstemons for long term success in the garden. It makes a great rock garden plant or edger at the front of a border, in fact, we have a bank of it planted in our display garden. The delicate tubular flowers should be appreciated up close - that is if the hummingbirds will let you get close enough!  

PPinifolius crop ed

Pineleaf Penstemon requires well drained soil, especially on a slope, and will be drought tolerant once established. The needle-like foliage is evergreen and looks best when you can shear the spent flowers back in the same style as you would shear an Erica or Calluna after blooming. In most areas, we have found them to be deer resistant.

 Sunset Steppe Penstemon edThese Penstemons typically begin blooming in late spring - May and June here in southern Oregon - and are great compliments to the other sun lovers like spring and summer blooming sages, sedums, lavenders, or even dwarf conifers. They will stretch to about 2' wide and 12-18" tall and look comfortable among rocks and boulders.

 The varieties we usually carry are 'Mersea Yellow'- a nice soft yellow (shown top left), Penstemon pinifolius - the straight species - which is a reddish-orange (above right), 'Steppe Suns Sunset Glow' - an apricot orange veriety.

Pieris 'Cavatine'

on Friday, 06 March 2020. Posted in Evergreen, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant

Pieris japonica Cavatine cropWe really, really like Pieris. They’re evergreen, deer resistant, relatively low-maintenance shrubs that grow well in part sun to full shade. They even grow well in containers! In short, they’re pretty versatile plants that come in a variety of sizes - from just 2’ tall up to 8’ tall.

 

Of all the Pieris varieties out there, though, there’s one that is our hands-down favorite (even though, like parents, we’re not supposed to have favorites...): Meet Pieris ‘Cavatine’.

 

Cavatine detail cropCavatine is a gorgeous dwarf variety, reaching roughly 2’ – 3’ tall and wide. The dark green foliage really sets off the abundant spring bloom of white, bell-shaped flowers that look a bit like lily-of-the-valley. Even when the bloom is finished, the dark green leaves are a wonderful complement to other shade-loving perennials including Heuchera, Aquilegia, Erica, and Hellebore.

 

Another thing in Cavatine’s favor? It provides year-round interest in the garden. Pale green flower buds appear in the winter, contrasting nicely with the evergreen foliage. Cascades of pure white flowers arrive in early spring, followed by bright red new growth that gradually changes to dark green as the plant matures.

 

Pieris ‘Cavatine’ is in full bloom right now, and we’ve got a good assortment of them in both 1-gallon and 2-gallon sizes. We’re guessing they’ll quickly become a favorite of yours too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarcococca

on Friday, 10 January 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Fragrant Sweetbox

Sarcococca ruscifolia

Dark and shady places - like the north walls of a home - can be extremely challenging sites to plant. Sarcococca, or Sweetbox, is an ideal shrub for low-light situations like this. Thriving in everything from part sun to deep shade, Sweetbox is an attractive, broad-leafed evergreen with glossy dark green leaves that provides a good backdrop for airier ferns and flowering shade perennials. 

There are a handful of different species ranging from upright shrubs to slowly spreading groundcovers. They all have simple leathery leaves and are for the most part deer resistant, making this genus a true problem solver in a myriad of ways. Not to mention they bloom in late winter when most plants haven't even broken dormancy! 

Even though their small fringy flowers are not what you would consider showy, they amply make up for it with a powerfully sweet, vanilla-like fragrance that is sure to get attention. Add in red to black berries that lend a festive quality later in the year, and you've got a great four-season plant!

In return, this understated plant merely asks for moderately fertile soil with decent drainage and regular water throughout the hotter months. That is not to say Sweetbox wouldn't prefer rich, humusy and acidic soil, but it is quite adaptable once established. 

 

Here are some of our favorite types:

 

Sarcococca ruscifolia or Fragrant Sweetbox is the largest of the more common species reaching 3-6' high and wide with an arching habit and more rounded leaves. It is known to naturally espalier itself against a house and thus can be useful in tight spots and under windows. Its growth is slow to moderate and can easily be kept at 3’.

Sarcococca 'Fragrant Valley' is a compact yet vigorous selection growing to 18-24" tall and 3-4' wide. 

Sarcococca 'Fragrant Mountain' attains a slightly larger size at 2-3' tall and 3-4' wide, making it a great alternative to Skimmia japonica. 

All of these varieties are disease resistant and tolerant of drier soils and less than ideal conditions. Sarcococca species are great supporting cast members for the shady garden (…we can't all be stars...) - and a must have for lovers of fragrant plants!

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.