Articles in Category: Ground Cover

Veronica pectinata

on Sunday, 10 April 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Wooly Speedwell

Veronica pectinata3 smWooly Speedwell (Veronica pectinta) is a charming evergreen groundcover that forms a thick, vivid carpet of bright blue when it bursts into bloom in mid-spring.

This sturdy, undemanding perennial only gets about 2” tall and will spread to about 18” wide. Wooly Speedwell loves full sun, prefers well-drained soil, and is drought tolerant, pollinator-friendly, and deer resistant – it will even take light foot traffic!

Veronica pectinata1 cropOnce the first flush of flowers is finished in late May/early June, deadhead the plants and give them a good ‘haircut’ while you enjoy the look of the wooly, gray-green foliage. Plants will generally begin reblooming a few weeks later, and will continue flowering through the growing season.

Wooly Speedwell is a great choice for planting in mixed containers, or at the edge of a perennial border. You can also let it cascade over a rock wall, or plant it between stepping stones on a garden path. It will even do well out in a hot sunny “hellstrip” between a sidewalk and the street. It looks especially wonderful planted as a mass, so be sure to get several plants for maximum effect!

Teucrium

on Saturday, 09 April 2022. Posted in Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Germander

Teucrium aroaniumTeucriums – also known as Germanders – often get overlooked when folks are planning their gardens, and here at Shooting Star Nursery we’re on a mission to change that! 

If you’re not yet familiar with Germanders, this is a great time to get acquainted. These versatile evergreen groundcovers and subshrubs thrive in full sun, are drought tolerant and deer resistant, and are absolutely beloved by pollinators (maybe because their flowers smell like honey!). 

All Germanders will take well to light shearing throughout the year, making them good candidates for a low, formal border. In fact, this feature made them extremely popular as border plants in formal Elizabethan knot gardens. 

 

Shooting Star regularly carries the following varieties of Germander:

Gray Creeping Germander (Teucrium aroanium): Narrow soft gray foliage with pinkish-purple flowers; 2-3’ tall by 1.5 – 2’ wide. Both foliage and flowers are fragrant. See photo above. 

Teucrium chamaedryasWall Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys): Glossy dark green leaves topped with small spikes of rosy lavender flower. Shear after blooming to help maintain shape. 1-2’ tall by 2-3’ wide. Photo on right. 

Dwarf Wall Germander (T. chamaedrys ‘Prostrata’): Same coloring Wall Germander, but plants only reach 6-8” tall by 18” wide at maturity.

Teucrium Summer Sunshine‘Summer Sunshine’ (T. chamaedryas ‘Summer Sunshine’): New leaves are golden green, darkening to chartreuse later in the season; rosy purple flowers; 6-8” tall by 12-18” wide. Photo on left.

Sarcococca

on Monday, 28 February 2022. 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 confusa gets 3-5' tall and wide at maturity, with a moderat growth rate; perfect for a low hedge or evergreen border in a shade bed! It is such an easy, reliable shrub to grow that it has received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

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. 

Sarcococca humilis (Dwarf Sweet Box) is the smallest member of the group, reaching just 1-2' tall and 8-12" tall at maturity. It's an elegant little shrub though, with slender, tapered, glossy dark-green leaves.

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!

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

on Monday, 06 September 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Dwarf Plumbago

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

By September, many of the summer-blooming perennials that have brightened our gardens for the past few months are beginning to look a little tired and worn, so it’s really nice to find a something that looks bright and fresh, and is just getting started up as summer winds down.

It’s especially nice if the plant in question is covered with vivid blue flowers that contrast beautifully against the dark green foliage, like our Plant of the Week – Dwarf Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides). Even better, those lovely dark green leaves turn a dark, burgundy-red in fall; providing brilliant show of fall color.

Dwarf Plumbago is just a delight in the garden. It’s an herbaceous groundcover (meaning it dies to the ground in the winter and comes back up again the following spring) that grows well in a variety of situations from full sun to part shade, is extremely easy to care for, is relatively drought tolerant, attracts butterflies and other pollinators, and is even deer resistant! Plants grow to about 6 to 8” tall by 18” wide, and spread slowly via undergrounds stems. It begins flowering around mid-summer, and here in the Rogue Valley it will generally remain in bloom up until the first frost of fall.

Dwarf Plumbago combines beautifully with plants like Coreopsis, Echinacea, Anemone, and Croscosmia. It’s also a great companion plant for spring-flowering bulbs. The bulbs appear and flower before the Dwarf Plumbago leafs out, but by the time your bulbs have finished blooming, the Dwarf Plumbago is filling in your bed with its lovely deep green leaves; giving your flower bed a smooth transition into late spring/early summer.

Helianthemum nummularium 'Henfield Brilliant'

on Monday, 02 August 2021. Posted in Evergreen, Ground Cover, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Henfield Brilliant' Sunrose

helianthemum nummularium henfield brilliant blooming nursery 2 st gpp

There are so many wonderful things about Sunroses - where to start?

Sunroses are drought tolerant, evergreen, low maintenance, cold hardy, 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.

While there are quite a few varieties of Sunroses, one of the best – in terms of growth habit and form – is ‘Henfield Brilliant’. In fact, this charming little plant even received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

‘Henfield Brilliant’ has bright, coppery flowers that really stand out against its soft gray-green foliage. Each individual flower is about 1” across, and plants bloom profusely from about May through July. Even when it’s not blooming, ‘Henfield Brilliant’ is a just a lovely plant with a soft mounding shape – about 6” tall and 18-24” wide at maturity. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil (plant them on a mound or atop a rock wall if you are gardening in clay soil), and should be sheared back hard once it is done blooming, to help maintain a good shape and stimulate next year’s bloom.