Articles in Category: Ground Cover

Zauschneria cana

on Tuesday, 16 June 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Perennial, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

California Fuchsia

zauschneria everetts choice small

Zauschneria - aka California Fuchsia - is one of the most drought tolerant, heat tolerant, pollinator-friendly, beautiful perennials you can grow. We're not sure why this western native is not used more: the hard to pronounce name, or that fact that you can kill it with kindness, perhaps? In any case, this lovely plant deserves a place of honor in more gardens here in the Rogue Valley! Ours begin blooming in early to mid-July and keeps going strong until we get a hard frost in late fall; putting on quite a show for us and the hummingbirds!

Zauschneria’s hot orange to deep red flowers are the quintessential “hummingbird flower”: long, nectar-rich floral tubes just perfectly shaped for a hummingbird’s slender bill. This is one of a handful of flowers I’ve seen actually hummingbirds bypass a feeder for! Plants bloom continuously and don’t seem to need any deadheading; the spent blossoms just neatly drop off the plant. In addition, the vivid orange-red flowers contrast beautifully with soft silvery gray foliage that fits perfectly into a drought tolerant garden. They look great when planted with Salvia, Agastache, Perovskia, Gaura, Eriophyllum, Monardella, and other drought-tolerant perennials.

Zausch editThis western native perennial is happiest in a well-drained soil (you see them naturally growing out of rock outcroppings), with full sun and infrequent water. They do especially well on slopes or at the edge of a rock wall. We like to leave up any dormant stems over the winter, to help them survive our wet winters and clean them up in early spring. The stems can be cut back after all danger of cold weather is past and the plant will grow back quickly to be full and vibrant by summertime.

When you see Zauschneria available in the nursery, grab them fast. We don’t carry them all year long and they sell out quickly! They are best planted in spring and summer, when they can have some time to get settled in before winter hits. Most varieties we carry are cold hardy to at least Zone 7b, about 5 to 10 degrees F.

zauschneria homepageHere’s a short description of a few of the varieties we carry:

Z. c. 'Calistoga'- 1' tall by 2' wide, one of the darkest orange (almost red) varieties with thicker, larger, more silvery leaves than most. Best planted on a slope.


Z. septentrionalis 'Select Mattole' - 10" tall and 24" wide or so. Very silvery, large leaves with a great spreading habit


Z. garrettii 'Orange Carpet' - 6" tall x 18" wide, a green leafed form that can take more afternoon shade and a bit more summer water. It is one of the first to bloom.


Z. ‘Everett’s Choice’ – 6” tall x 2-3’wide, with large vividly red flowers


Z. arizonica – 2-3’ tall, by 2’wide, with gray-green foliage and orange-red flowers¬. Hardy to Zone 5.

Callirhoe involucrata

on Tuesday, 09 June 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Wine Cups Poppy Mallow

CallirhoeOne look at Callirhoe involucrata in bloom and you’ll instantly understand how it got its common name: Wine Cup Poppy Mallow. Callirhoe’s large (up to 2” across), brilliant magenta flowers are held upright – like brilliant cups of wine – over its rich, dark green foliage.

Callirhoe is native to the central United States, with a range that runs from North Dakota south to Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona. Its native habitat is dry meadows and prairies and it combines well with other prairie natives including Liatris, Echinacea, Schizachyrium, Amsonia, and Solidago.

Callirhoe plant edThese fast-growing plants form a low growing mat about 6-12” tall, and between 3-4’ wide. Place them at the front of a perennial bed, or even let them spill over a garden wall where they’ll provide a vibrant show of color all summer long. Callirhoe does best in full sun and well-drained soils. Once established, they’re drought tolerant, deer resistant, and wonderful pollinator plants, as you can see from the photo to the left. They will grow in clay soils as long as they are well-drained (e.g.: on a slope or berm), but will not tolerate heavy wet soils.

Note: Callirhoe involucrata will self-seed. If you’d prefer to control its spread, just pinch off the dead flowers before they set seed!

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!

Helianthemum nummularium 'Henfield Brilliant'

on Thursday, 02 May 2019. Posted in Evergreen, Ground Cover, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Henfield Brilliant' Sunrose

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There are so many merits to Sunroses- where to start?  They are drought tolerant, evergreen, low maintenance, cold hardy, and spring blooming groundcovers that work well in the Rogue Valley. We use them all the time to cascade over rock walls, as an edging in a drought tolerant garden, or an evergreen groundcover at the base of taller plants.  Some varieties definitely have a better habit and denser growth than others- 'Henfield Brilliant', as pictured, is one of the best and it's copper flowers stand out against the grey green foliage.  Another grey-green foliage variety that ages well is 'Wisley Primrose' which has soft yellow flowers from May to June with literally hundreds of buds on the plant right now in early May.  Both varieties grow about 6-9 inches tall and spread 18 inches wide.  The variety 'Dazzler' has a dark green leaf and gets a bit taller- at least 12 inches, and mounded.   'Dazzler' has a dark magenta petal with yellow center that mixes well with other color schemes.   'The Bride' and 'St. Mary's are white varieties, and the new 'Stoplight' has a red bloom.  It is best to shear them back hard after blooming and they will reward you with handsome, evergreen foliage all year long.

Penstemon pinifolius

on Wednesday, 11 May 2016. 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 have a reputation of 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!  

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. They typically bloom 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 above), Penstemon pinifolius - the straight species - which is a reddish-orange, 'Steppe Suns Sunset Glow' - an apricot orange veriety.