Articles in Category: Perennial

Perovskia atriplicifolia

on Friday, 14 August 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Russian Sage

Perovskia edPerovskia or Russian Sage is one TOUGH plant. It's also quite beautiful, with fuzzy silvery-blue buds that open to blue-violet flowers; adding long lasting color and texture to your garden.

Perovskia’s gray-green, finely dissected leaves have a clean, pungent smell – reminiscent of sage and mint. And while humans find the fragrance enjoyable, deer do not – which helps make this plant quite reliably deer resistant.

This plant is incredibly drought and heat tolerant, and even looks pretty in the winter when the dried-out silhouette and open branching catches the frost. Perovskia is a woody stemmed perennial and does go winter dormant. It requires good drainage and full sun and make sure to not keep it too wet. We like to wait to prune it back until spring arrives so that the crown stays protected from the winter wet. When you see new growth emerge in mid spring that is the best to time to prune it back hard and freshen it up.

Perovskia’s soft-looking lavender-blue blooms pair wonderfully with other heat lovers like Yarrow, Rosemary, and Salvia, as well as ornamental grasses or Yuccas. Butterflies and many types of bees are attracted to the late summer flowers. The straight species (Perovskia atriplicifolia) gets quite large, as much as 4' tall and wide. But there are several newer varieties that stay more compact. We like 'Little Spire' at 2-3' tall wide and ‘Blue Steel’ at 1-3’ tall and 18-24” wide.

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.

Rudbeckia

on Monday, 03 August 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

Black-Eyed Susans

Goldsturm edit

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia sp.) may seem like too common a plant to mention in this column, but they are so easy to grow and provide such cheerful, long-lasting color that we believe they should have a place in every garden!

This charming and versatile group of perennials is native to North America and includes two species that can be found right here in the wilds of southern Oregon. The three varieties we carry here at the nursery all have deep golden petals that surround a (generally) brown central “cone” – hence their other common name: Coneflowers.

Rudbeckia are largely unfussy about soil, and even tolerate clay soils well. They make great cut flowers, are generally deer resistant, have a long bloom season, and can be fairly drought tolerant (although they also don’t mind getting regular watering). Flowers bloom steadily from mid-summer to frost, and even when the petals are gone the cones make a pretty silhouette in the winter. Rudbeckias look great when planted in a large mass, or combined with other jewel- toned perennials or ornamental grasses.

One of the most fun things about Rudbeckia is that they do double-duty in the wildlife garden. The flowers are popular with butterflies and a variety of bees, while the seed heads attract goldfinches, pine siskins and chickadees during the fall and winter months.

We carry the following varieties here at Shooting Star Nursery:

'Goldsturm' – This is the traditional ‘Black-eyed Susan’ most gardeners are familiar with (see photo above). Plants get about 3' tall and will spread to at least 2' wide; more after a couple of years unless you divide it.

Little Henry editLittle Henry’ (left) has butter-yellow flowers with delicate-looking quilled petals. Flowers are a bit smaller than ‘Goldsturm’, but make up in abundance what they lack in size. Plants are generally well-branched and reach about 2 ½’ to 3’ tall at maturity.

Irish EyesIrish Eyes’ (right) has huge 5” wide, orange-yellow flowers that feature a bright green central cone (does that make them a Green-eyed Susan?). Plants are a bit smaller than ‘Goldsturm’ and ‘Little Henry’ – about 2’ to 2 ½’ tall and about 15” wide.

Agastache

on Wednesday, 08 July 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Anise Hyssop/Hummingbird Mint/Licorice Mint

photoAgastacheAurantica250x376

Sometimes it's hard to be thankful for the relentless heat we get in July and August in the Rogue Valley, but having an Agastache (or two) in your garden will definitely help you learn to appreciate our summer weather! This late blooming perennial LOVES our dry, hot summers. Agastaches attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds with their tubular flowers. They thrive in well-drained soil and can even handle gritty or nutrient poor soil. And as you might guess from their multiple common names, Agastache’s minty-fragrant foliage endears them to gardeners – while making them generally unpalatable to deer.

There is a catch, of course. Agastache not only thrive in well-drained soil – they require it. The key is getting them through our wet winters. We recommend planting them high, adding gravel or grit to the hole, and mulching with a 1/4" gravel to keep moisture from the crown.

The other imperative is to not prune Agastaches back until spring, when you see new growth emerging from the base. Leaving the woody stems will help them survive our rainy winters; it is usually too much water, not cold, that will do them in. Placing them in full sun, even in the winter months will also help.

A deep soak every couple of weeks will get them through the summer months, but once mine are established I don't water them all summer. They pair beautifully with ornamental grasses like Bouteloua, as well as other sun-loving, pollinator-friendly perennials like Echinacea, Nepeta, Erigeron, and Lavender.The other imperative is to not prune Agastaches back until spring, when you see new growth emerging from the base. The woody stems will help it survive the rainy winter; it is usually too much water, not cold, that will do them in. Placing them in full sun, even in the winter months will also help.

Crocosmia

on Wednesday, 08 July 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Lucifer crop edit

Generally, summer-flowering perennials fall into two groups: those whose flowers fall into the cool tones (blues, purples, soft pinks) and those with warm-toned flowers (reds, oranges, and bright yellows). Crocosmia flowers aren’t just warm-toned, they’re hot!

These fiery-colored flowers make a bold statement in the summer garden, at a time when most spring-blooming perennials are starting to fade in the heat.

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora George Davison 2Crocosmia (also known as Montbretia) is a member of the Iris family and is native to South Africa – an area with a climate similar to our climate here in the Rogue Valley. They look a bit like a refined Gladiola, only with flowers held in graceful, arching sprays rather than on stiff, upright spikes. Plants are deer resistant, drought tolerant when established, and grow well both in the ground or in containers. For a really dramatic effect, consider planting Crocosmia in large drifts to bring a splash of vibrant color to your garden. Hummingbirds find these plants irresistible, and you’ll often see several of them working a large planting of Crocosmia.

If you are a fan of bringing fresh flowers into your home, you’ll be happy to learn that Crocosmia are also a great addition to the cutting garden. Not only do the flowers hold up beautifully, but their seed pods and long, narrow leaf blades can be used with striking effect in flower arrangements!

 

We carry three different varieties, ranging in color from a rich yellow to a brilliant red:

Lucifer’: Big and bold; ‘Lucifer’ gets from 3’ to 3 ½’ tall with vivid, scarlet flowers. Photo top left.

EmilyM edit‘Emily McKenzie’: ‘Emily McKenzie’ is a mid-sized Crocosmia, reaching between 2’ and 2 ½’ tall. Bright orange flowers darken to red near the throat, with a yellow center.

 

‘George Davidson’: This is the shortest of the varieties we carry. Plants tend to top out at around 1 ½’ tall. Orange buds open up to lovely, golden-yellow flowers. Photo top right.