Articles in Category: Perennial

Eriogonums

on Monday, 09 May 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Fall Color, Perennial, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Flowering Buckwheat

Display garden2In our opinion, Eriogonums – also known as Buckwheats – deserve a place in pretty much every sunny garden in the Rogue Valley! Eriogonums are one of those plants that check all of our boxes here at Shooting Star. Drought tolerant? Check. Good pollinator plant? Check. Native plant? Check. Really, really pretty? Check. We are frankly amazed that we haven’t featured it as a plant of the week before this!

In general, Eriogonums prefer full sun and well-drained soils. They’re a perfect plant for that hot spot in your yard that gets blasted by afternoon sun. Despite their toughness and resilience, they are covered with showy displays of delicately beautiful-looking flowers from mid-summer into early fall. They look great in a mixed planting combined with other sun-loving, drought-tolerant plants like Salvias, Agastache, Zauschneria, and Monardella, and Ceanothus.

They’re also one of the best pollinator plants around; providing larval food for butterflies and moths, and abundant nectar for a truly dazzling variety of pollinators: tiny native bees, bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, and beetles. Seriously - one of my favorite things to do with Eriogonums in the garden is just sit next to one on a sunny day and watch who comes to visit!

We regularly carry the following varieties:

E. compositum flower detailEriogonum compositum (Arrowleaf buckwheat): To 2’ tall by 1’ wide. Soft grayish-green, arrow-shaped leaves. Flowers – which are borne in clusters up to 3” across - are white, tinged with a soft pink, and fading to a rusty red. E. compositum is somewhat more tolerant of heavy soils than E. umbellatum – although it would still prefer well drained soil. As an extra bonus, f you leave the seed heads on the plants in the fall, you will be extremely popular with seed-eating birds like goldfinches!

 

Eriogonum ed cropEriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur-flower buckwheat): As the name suggests, these plants feature bright, sulphur-yellow flowers. Their leaves are a darker green than E. compositum, and more rounded. Plant size can be variable: they get between 6-12” tall by 1-3’ wide.

 

Kannah CreekKannah Creek: A cultivar of E. umbellatum, slightly more compact and consistent in size and shape. Kannah Creek gets about 12-15” tall by 15-24” wide. As an extra bonus, they provide outstanding fall color, with foliage turning a bright burgundy color as cold weather moves in.

  

Phlomis fruticosa

on Monday, 30 May 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Jerusalem Sage

PhlomisJerusalem Sage is a very striking and unusual plant to add to your drought tolerant or deer resistant garden. The fuzzy gray-green leaves seem to be unpalatable to deer, and being a Mediterranean native makes it a great choice for our dry summers.

Phlomis acts as more of a shrub than perennial; staying evergreen in all but the coldest winters. Ours died back a few years ago when it got to 7 degrees, but came back full and lush the next summer. It can grow to 4' tall and wide but can be pruned in fall to keep it more compact. We have found it to be fully deer resistant even in the hills of east Medford and seems to be tolerating the clay there as well, as long as it is not overwatered. The large, fuzzy leaves make a nice contrast to the finer leaves of most drought tolerant plants, and Phlomis also brings a strong structural element to your landscape design!

Phlomis2Starting in May, the yellow flowers emerge in whorls along the sturdy stems and attract bees and butterflies throughout the summer. Phlomis will take full sun to light shade and will tolerate poor soil, requiring good drainage, and even tolerating some clay if not overwatered.

Phlomis russeliana is a similar looking Jerusalem Sage that we sometimes carry; it tends to spread by runners instead of staying in one clump and stays a bit shorter, but will stay within bounds.

Both species remain attractive even after the blooms fade, their seedheads keeping an architectural sillouette throughout the colder months and providing seed for birds. They look great with ornamental grasses, Lavenders, Nepetas, Asters, Sages, Vitex, and other Meditteranean type plants. Just prune back the flower stems when you're done with them and that's about all you have to do to maintain them.

Nepeta 'Junior Walker'

on Monday, 09 May 2022. 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 absolute magnets 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:

 N. Purple Haze2Nepeta '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.

 

 

Achillea 'Little Moonshine'

on Tuesday, 26 April 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

A New Compact Yarrow for your Garden!

Achillea Little Moonshine

Achillea 'Little Moonshine' is the yarrow you didn't know that you needed - but once you see it you'll immediately start thinking about where you can use it in your garden. Because, clearly, you DO need this delightful little plant!

As the name suggests, 'Little Moonshine' is a compact version of 'Moonshine' yarrow. 'Little Moonshine' shares the large, buttery-yellow flowerheads and soft gray-green foliage of its namesake, but only reaches 9" to 12" tall and wide at maturity. Flowering begins in early summer and continues through October if the spent flowers are cut back. Like most yarrows, 'Little Moonshine' prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Plants are sturdy and drought-tolerant when established, and attract a wide variety of pollinators. Their fragrant foliage also helps make them deer and rabbit resistant. 

Here's some fun plant trivia: Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War. He is said to have used yarrow to staunch the bleeding and heal the wounds of his warriors, so the genus is named for him. Achillea continues to be used as a medicinal herb today! 

Achillea 'Strawberry Seduction'

on Tuesday, 26 April 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Yarrows: a Versatile and Sturdy Perennial

Achillea Strawberry Seduction crop editIf you're thinking of planting a pollinator garden this year, Achillea 'Strawberry Seduction' is a great place to start.

Achilleas (aka Yarrows) are incredibly sturdy, long-flowering perennials that thrive in sunny perennial garden. Low-maintenance, drought tolerant, pollinator friendly, deer resistant, and tolerant of clay soils (as long as they aren’t overwatered); there’s a lot to love about Yarrows!

While our native Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) has modest white flowers, Achillea ‘Strawberry Seduction’ features large cherry-red flowers with a yellow center. Flowers are offset by dark green, ferny/feathery foliage that has a pleasantly spicy fragrance. Strawberry Seduction has a gratifyingly long flowering season – generally from late May through September or October. Want to prolong your enjoyment of these lovely flowers? Consider growing them as a flower you can cut and dry! They hold their color well, and are a great choice for using in wreaths or dried arrangements. 1-2’ tall and wide.

Like most Yarrows, ‘Strawberry Seduction’ is drought tolerant once established, and is a great nectar source for pollinators; attracting a wide variety of insects including butterflies, native bees, and honeybees as well as beneficial/predatory insects like lacewings. They provide a reliable splash of long-lasting color in your garden, especially when combined with plants like Nepeta, Salvia, and Penstemon. Deadheading ‘Strawberry Seduction’ after its first flush of blooms will help you prolong its flowering season.

Once you start planting Yarrows, you’ll probably want to try growing other varieties as well. Here are a few others we carry regularly:

 Achillea Pink Grapefruit crop editAchillea ‘Pink Grapefruit’ – 2’ by 1.5’. Dusty pink flower heads fade to a soft rosy pink as the flowers age.

 

 Achillea Moonshine editAchillea ‘Moonshine’ – A bit different than ‘Strawberry Seduction’ and ‘Pink Grapefruit’ – Achillea ‘Moonshine’ has golden yellow flowers that contrast beautifully with its soft, grayish-green leaves. 18” by 24”.

 

Fun fact: Yarrows are part of a group of plants known as “composites”, because what looks like a single flower is actually a collection of many small flowers. In Yarrows, this is even more pronounced because the larger flower heads are composed of clusters of small flowers, which are - in turn - composed of groups of smaller disc and ray flowers. Next time you are out in your garden, take a moment to take a closer look!