Articles in Category: Perennial

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


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


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


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


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!

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'

on Monday, 20 September 2010. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Flowering Plants

Goldsturm Black Eyed Susan


Black eyed Susan may seem too common to mention but it is so easy to grow and provides such cheerful, long lasting color that it should have a place in every garden. This selected form of the coneflower is a true perennial, coming back with larger clumps every year. You will always be able to divide it and spread it throughout your garden, from clay soils to sandy soils and drier spots to moister locations. For most areas, Rudbeckia is deer resistant, however you may want to test it first. It can be drought tolerant but seems to appreciate a deep soak every week or so. The deep golden yellow petals surround a brown cone on a sturdy stem that is great for cut flowers. The flowers bloom in succession from mid summer to frost and even when the petals are gone the cones make a pretty sillouette in the winter. The best reason for leaving the seedheads up is to watch the yellow finches land on them and peck away at the seeds. You can then prune the stems back anytime from fall to spring, and a new flush of leaves will appear in late spring. Rudbeckia look great in a large mass or combined with other jewel- toned perennials or ornamental grasses. 'Goldstrum' can get about 3' tall and plan on it spreading to at least 2' wide; more after a couple of years unless you divide it. Try this low maintenance perennial that needs no staking or extra care.