Articles in Category: Native

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. 

Ceanothus 'Emily Brown'

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

Ceanothus 'Emily Brown'

Mahonia spp.

on Monday, 30 November 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Oregon Grape

mahonia_compacta

Oregon grape may seem too common to mention but it has so many merits that it is a go to plant for many situations in the Rogue Valley.  Being a native plant, Mahonias can take our winter wet and summer dry and can be very drought tolerant once established.  Their thick leathery leaves and spiny edges also make them unpalatable to deer.  Most species of Oregon Grape are evergreen but still turn a rainbow of colors in the fall and winter giving them more interest than the average evergreen shrub.  The spikes of cheerful yellow flowers emerge early in spring and turn to blue-black fruit that are edible but more appealing to birds than humans.  Most varieties grow by underground runners and make a nice colony so best to give them room to shine. 

The ones we use the most in the Rogue Valley are:

Amsonia hubrichtii

on Monday, 25 August 2014. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Fall Color, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

Threadleaf Blue Star

amsonia closeupWe are excited to start growing and offering this harder to find and low maintenance perennial.  Threadleaf Blue Star has a long season of interest, beginning with starry sky blue flowers, fading to white in late spring followed by wispy light green foliage that turns a gorgeous golden yellow in fall. This SE American native is one of the longest lasting perennials for fall color.  It does go winter dormant but the dried foliage can persist through winter adding interest that combines well with the seedheads and blades of ornamental grasses.   Amsonia gets about 3' tall and 3-4' wide and requires regular watering to look its best but can tolerate some drought.  Full to part sun is ideal and give it at least two years to really show off.    We are anxious to try it out in deer country, because most sources say it is deer resistant and rabbit resistant.  So come on Rogue Valley, let's try it out!   Use it on masse, as a cut flower, or butterfly and bee attractor.

 

Fantastic fall color of Amsonia with Miscanthus and Buddleia 'Blue Chip'- Photo from University of Missouri

 

Amsonia-SchJourlCtYd-sm

Rhamnus californica

on Wednesday, 14 March 2012. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

California Coffeeberry

rhamnus_californica

Coffeeberry is a tough candidate for that hard to fill niche of an evergreen native shrub and the bonus is that it attracts birds, is very drought tolerant and deer resistant, fire resistant, and even makes a good hedge or screen.  Coffeeberry is native from southern Oregon continuing south all the way into Baja and gets its name from the dark berries that change from red to almost black.  The flowers are inconspicuous but the birds definitely notice the 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 woodland areas.  It has a more spreading, low habit when grown in coastal conditions.  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 preferes a sandy, well-draining soil. It is truly a xeriscape plant- once established, it can survive on no irrigation.  To keep it more fire resistant, a deep soak every two weeks is recommended.  The leaves are long and pointed and a matte green with a paler underside.  The named variety 'Eve Case'  has broader and brighter, green foliage and will stay a bit more compact at 4-8' wide and tall.  We have found it to be deer resistant in most situations, especially once established.  They may have a tendency to chew the new growth but will leave it alone when it gets some size.  If you haven't used natives before try out this low maintenance shrub to see how easy, attractive, and sustainable natives can be.