Articles in Category: Perennial

Creeping Thymes

on Tuesday, 14 June 2011. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Edible, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Creeping Thyme

thyme-with-euphorbia

Creeping Thyme may seem too simple or common of a plant to feature but it is so useful and tough that we find ourselves using it all the time!   What other plant has evergreen leaves, spreads rapidly but not aggressively, has lovely bee-attracting flowers, and suppresses weeds without needing much water or care?  The creeping Thymes are not used for edible purposes but they still have a strong smell so the deer will leave them alone.  They will tolerate part shade but prefer full sun and a deep soak only when the soil is dry.  We use them to drape over a wall, or pot; as groundcover between pavers or at the edge of paths, anywhere you need a soft edge.  They are also great as filler- keeping weeds out while other shrubs are growing in and then they can either be lifted and divided or just let them remain under the existing shrubs.  The thyme pictured is Thymus pseudolanuginosus or Wooly Thyme- it is a bit slower to get established but that could be good in certain areas.  Thymus serphyllum 'Coccineus' or Red Creeping Thyme, and Thymus ser. 'Minus' or 'Elfin' grow more quickly and make great mass groundcovers that spread about 18".  Thymus 'Lemon Frost' is  a very handsome white flowering variety with lemon scented leaves that is well behaved, not spreading as fast to 12" or so.

Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea'

on Monday, 04 April 2011. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Purple Wood Spurge

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Seems as if we are always singing the praises of Euphorbias but what else has such bright, ever-changing color, is deer resistant and drought tolerant, and provides contrast with other shrubs and perennials?  Euphorbia purpurea is one of the shorter growing species and in the hot valley is best in part shade, morning sun, or dappled light; although increased sun will bring out more of the burgundy/purple tones.  Once established it is drought tolerant as long as it has well draining soil and the white sap in the stems make it poisonous and resistant to deer.  This Euphobia is always going through interesting color changes- the leaves go from fresh green/lime to wine-colored reds and purples as the season progresses.  The red stems and purple rosettes of leaves contrast beautifully with the chartreuse/lime colored blooms that perch atop the plant.   The blooms last for months and when they finally fade is the best time to prune the stems back to the base to keep it tidy.  This Euphorbia is at it's prime it's first few years and then may get a little tired looking, but it reseeds quite a bit so you will always have fresh plants.  It looks great as a mass groundcover in part shade, combined with yellow daffodils, black mondo grass, Mahonia repens or compacta, yellow toned ornamental grasses, Veronica 'Georgia Blue', Hellebores, I could go on and on.  The colors and form of the Euphorbia purpurea just complement so many other leaf shapes and colors.  They do well in containers as well and are a great choice for winter color and multi season interest in a shade/part shade pot.  Euphorbia purpurea will typically get about 12-18" tall and spread about as wide with seedlings popping up nearby.  They are easy to identify and remove or transplant.

Eryngium planum 'Jade Frost'

on Monday, 03 January 2011. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Jade Frost Variegated Sea Holly

eryngium_plant_of_week

This drought tolerant variegated Sea Holly is putting on quite a show this winter.  Almost like sparkling snowflakes, it boasts shades of cream, powdery blue, and pink as the blooms mature.  This particular Eryngium has variegated leaves at the base as well as the bracts surrounding the flowers adding to its long term interest and contrast with other plants.  Eryngiums are grown for their 'everlasting'  spiky flowers- they can be used fresh or dried in arrangements.  They even keep their charm when left up to catch frost or snow during our winter.  In the spring they can be cut to the base to clean them up.  The leaf base should remain evergreen and in general they are very cold hardy plants if given good drainage.  Performing best in full sun with sharp drainage and little water.  A layer of gravel mulch will keep the base from rotting out during the wetter winter months.  This sea holly can reach 24-30" tall and spread 15-20".  A great choice for a hot, dry spot where the spiky texture and upright form can contrast with softer leafed plants like sage, artemesia or phlomis.

 

Polystichum munitum

on Monday, 20 December 2010. Posted in Winter Interest, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Western Sword Fern

polystichum_munitum-plant_of_the_week

The sculptural fronds of ferns provide winter interest and Western Sword Fern is one of the toughest, most drought tolerant, and easiest ferns to grow in the Rogue Valley.  This native fern can tolerate our dry summers and wet winters and even take a little sun.  It prefers to be an understory plant but established ferns in good, composty soil will tolerate quite a bit of sun.  The key is to get them well established with deep waterings the first few summers and applications of yearly leaf mulch or compost mulch.   Western Sword Fern has a courser texture than some more delicate ferns but that makes their fronds last longer, allowing them to be used in cut flower arrangements.  The leathery, dark green fronds can be 2-4' tall depending where they are grown and can be used alone or look especially good in clumps or drifts.  We like to use Western Sword Ferns under large trees, like oaks, combined with Euphorbia purpurea, Heuchera sanguinea or the purple leafed varieties of Coral bells, Mahonia repens, and other dry shade perennials and shrubs.  All ferns are deer resistant and the Western Sword Fern is no exception.  They are evergreen but will look their best with an annual shearing of the oldest fronds in spring to allow the new fronds to uncurl.  Leave the old, pruned fronds as a natural mulch.  Ferns are always interesting to watch throughout the seasons and Western Sword Fern make an especially nice evergreen specimen in the shade garden.

Anemone hupehensis var. japonica (x hybrida)

on Monday, 11 October 2010. Posted in Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

Japanese Anemone

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One of the standout perennials of fall, Japanese Anemone is such a refreshing addition to a part shade garden.  The flowers start when many other perennials are fading, usually mid September, and continually bloom until frost.  They require no staking and just need pruned back after the flowers have faded.  Even the leaves are a pretty dark green and look handsome throughout the season.  They do best in a morning sun, dappled light position and only seem to need a deep soak every couple of weeks, but can also take regular water.  Japanese Anemone elegantly rise above shorter perennials and look best in the middle or back of a border.  Most varieties are 2-4' tall and will spread to at least 2-3' wide.  We love to pair them with ferns, especially the bronzy Autumn Fern, or Euphorbia purpurea.  They also continue the interest when your hostas fade out.   They usually come in whites and shades of pink and can be double or single petaled.  The deer typically leave them alone, but try one out first, deer have been known to just eat the flowers and leave the foliage in certain locations.  Don't forget the fall blooming perennials.  Yea for Autumn!