Articles in Category: Shrubs

Hamamelis x intermedia

on Thursday, 13 February 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Witch Hazel

witch_hazel

Witch Hazels are one of our favorite shrubs at this time of year, as they cheer up these late winter days with their bright fringey blooms, and repeat the show all over again in the fall with spectacular leaf color. 

 

Hamamelis Arnolds PromiseMost Witch Hazels have a nice open form that is sculptural even when bare in winter. Their vase-shaped growth habit also provides a nice opportunity to use other plants at their base. Flowers unfurl in February and continue through March, with the textured leaves emerging afterwards. The thick leaves provide a great contrast with softer leaved plants like ferns, Euphorbias, or Geraniums. 

 

Hamamelis JelenaWitch Hazels are not the first choice for a hot spot in your yard, even though you will read that they will tolerate full sun (and you will see them looking spectacular in downtown Ashland in full sun). However, they will be prone to leaf burn and you will be watering more often if they are placed in full sun. Morning sun or at least half a day of sun is best. They also look wonderful in a wooded shade garden, just make sure they get some bright light for the best flower production and fall color. 

 

HamamelisWitch Hazels do best with regular water; deep soaks throughout the summer months and with a fertile, humus-rich soil. They are also generally deer resistant - we have seen them untouched in Ashland - but try one out first to make sure. 

 

Here are some of the varieties we generally carry (check our current retail availability for details):

'Amethyst' - Rounded shrub, 8' to 10' tall. with reddish-purple flowers

'Arnold's Promise'- Vase shaped with fragrant yellow flowers and yellow fall color

'Diane'- Rounded form with red flowers and orange-red fall color

'Jelena'- vase shaped vigorous grower with very fragrant large copper-orange flowers and orange-yellow fall color

'Sunburst'- upright, with lemon yellow blooms up to 1 inch long, early bloomer and yellow-orange fall color

Fruiting Shrubs for the Home Garden - Part 2

on Wednesday, 05 February 2020. Posted in Edible, Shrubs

Currants and Gooseberries

Currants and Gooseberries may be less familiar to Rogue Valley gardeners than other kinds of fruiting shrubs, but they’re great additions to your edible landscape – especially if you like to cook! They’re delicious in jams, jellies, and liqueurs, and are also really tasty when included in baked goods like scones and muffins. White currants are the sweetest of this group, followed by black currants; the others are more tart. All are high in Vitamin C, and the red and black varieties are also high in antioxidants and anthocyanins.
 
Shooting Star currently carries the following varieties in bareroot:

Cherry RedCherry Red Currant: Cherry Red bears heavy crops of beautiful, juicy, flavorful red berries. Great for fresh eating, or in tasty jams and jellies. Slightly tart, rich flavor. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

Primus Primus White Currant: Primus is one of the sweetest types of currants. They also bear heavily: one bush can yield 20 pounds of fruit from its long berry clusters. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

CrandallCrandall Black Currant: Wonderful clove-scented yellow flowers in the spring, followed by blue-black fruit in the summer. Crandall has a rich dark flavor, and is sweetest of all black currants. Primarily used in juice, jam, jelly, pies, and liqueurs. 3’-7’ tall by 3’-5’ wide.

 

Captivator‘Captivator’ Gooseberry: Very sweet, 1 inch, teardrop-shaped, red berries in large clusters that can be used in jellies, jams and juice on semi-thornless canes. Can be used fresh or in jam, pies, and desserts. 3’ to 5’ tall and wide.

 

Black JostaberryJostaberry: Jostaberries are a cross between a black currant and two types of gooseberries. Their tangy-sweet flavor has been described as a mix of grape, blueberry, and kiwi-fruit. 3’ to 5’ tall by 3’ to 6’ wide.

 

All currants and gooseberries are upright woody shrubs, and can take a bit of afternoon shade. They prefer well-drained soil, rich in organic material; and will bear on year-old wood. You’ll get a light crop the year you plant them, and they really hit their stride after two or three years.

To learn more about the different varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs avaliable here at Shooting Star Nursery, be sure to take a look at this list of Fruiting Trees and Plants from our website!

And if all this talk about fruiting shrubs has gotten you excited about expanding your edible landscape, be sure to register for our class on Creating a Food Forest on March 7th.

Fruiting Shrubs for the Home Garden - Part 1

on Thursday, 30 January 2020. Posted in Edible, Shrubs

Cane Fruits: Blackberries and Raspberries

Are you hoping to add a bit more variety into your edible landscape this year? Consider adding some fruiting shrubs into the mix! This week, we’ll look at a few types of cane fruits (blackberries and raspberries) that make a great addition to the home garden. Shooting Star carries a good variety of cane fruits, but this week’s article shines a spotlight on a few lesser-known varieties you might want to pick up in bareroot this winter.
 
Cane fruits all have similar cultural requirements. Both do best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, and prefer a minimum of 6 hours of sun a day (full sun is better). In addition, with the exception of Babycakes and Raspberry Shortcake, most types of cane fruits require some sort of trellising system that keep the canes (and fruit) off the ground.

TayberryTayberry: Tayberries are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry with delicious, large aromatic fruits. They also contain a high level of pectin and are great for making jams and jellies – that is, if you can keep yourself from eating them all fresh! They’re too fragile to ship well, so they’re rarely available commercially – an even better reason to grow your own.

 

Marionberries 2493507934Marionberry: Marionberries are a cross between a Chehalem blackberry and an olallieberry, with tasty sweet-tart berries with complex flavor. They’re an Oregon favorite, and can be eaten fresh or used in pies, jams, jellies, pancake syrups - even ice cream! Berry trivia: Marionberries were developed at OSU, and are named for Marion County, Oregon.

 

FallGoldFall Gold Raspberry: Very large golden berries of excellent flavor. The berries are too delicate to ship, so you’ll mostly only find them at local growers markets. Wonderful for eating fresh, highly recommended as a fresh topping for vanilla ice cream!

 

babycakes editBabycakes Blackberry and Raspberry Shortcake: These two varieties are thornless, bush-type berries – perfect for the patio garden! Raspberry Shortcake gets about 2’-3’ tall and wide, Babycakes gets 3’-4’ tall and wide. Both bear abundant crops of delicious, full-sized fruit.

To learn more about the different varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs avaliable here at Shooting Star Nursery, be sure to take a look at this list of Fruiting Trees and Plants from our website!

Want to learn how to prune and care for your cane fruits? Be sure to register for our Pruning & Growing for Bounty class on February 29th!

Sarcococca

on Friday, 10 January 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Fragrant Sweetbox

Sarcococca ruscifolia

Dark and shady places - like the north walls of a home - can be extremely challenging sites to plant. Sarcococca, or Sweetbox, is an ideal shrub for low-light situations like this. Thriving in everything from part sun to deep shade, Sweetbox is an attractive, broad-leafed evergreen with glossy dark green leaves that provides a good backdrop for airier ferns and flowering shade perennials. 

There are a handful of different species ranging from upright shrubs to slowly spreading groundcovers. They all have simple leathery leaves and are for the most part deer resistant, making this genus a true problem solver in a myriad of ways. Not to mention they bloom in late winter when most plants haven't even broken dormancy! 

Even though their small fringy flowers are not what you would consider showy, they amply make up for it with a powerfully sweet, vanilla-like fragrance that is sure to get attention. Add in red to black berries that lend a festive quality later in the year, and you've got a great four-season plant!

In return, this understated plant merely asks for moderately fertile soil with decent drainage and regular water throughout the hotter months. That is not to say Sweetbox wouldn't prefer rich, humusy and acidic soil, but it is quite adaptable once established. 

 

Here are some of our favorite types:

 

Sarcococca ruscifolia or Fragrant Sweetbox is the largest of the more common species reaching 3-6' high and wide with an arching habit and more rounded leaves. It is known to naturally espalier itself against a house and thus can be useful in tight spots and under windows. Its growth is slow to moderate and can easily be kept at 3’.

Sarcococca 'Fragrant Valley' is a compact yet vigorous selection growing to 18-24" tall and 3-4' wide. 

Sarcococca 'Fragrant Mountain' attains a slightly larger size at 2-3' tall and 3-4' wide, making it a great alternative to Skimmia japonica. 

All of these varieties are disease resistant and tolerant of drier soils and less than ideal conditions. Sarcococca species are great supporting cast members for the shady garden (…we can't all be stars...) - and a must have for lovers of fragrant plants!

Edible Figs

on Wednesday, 08 January 2020. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

If you’re thinking of adding some new fruiting trees and shrub to your yard this year to create an edible landscape, figs are a great place to start!

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs enjoy well-drained soils and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established. They're also self fertile, and are actually pollinated on the inside of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter. A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back.  They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs at Shooting Star and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to several better-known types that perform better in California. Our selection includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Oregon Prolific, Desert King, and Osborne Prolific; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Latturula (Italian Honey Fig- yum!).  See our fruit tree description list for more details on skin color and ripening..

 

blackjack 2012Figs are one of those fruits that don't keep well at the market, so you are lucky to have your own crop. What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins! Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

 

FIG VARIETIES FOR THE NW:

Fig 'Black Jack'

large, sweet purple skin w/strawberry flesh, semi-dwarf

 

Fig 'Black Spanish' **

dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf

 

Fig 'Brown Turkey' 

Med-lrg, sweet purplish/brown skin w/lt. pink flesh, big

 

Fig 'Desert King'

large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops

 

Fig 'Lattarula' (Italian Honey Fig) **

large, lt. green skin w/ amber flesh, can bear 2 crops

 

Fig 'Olympian'

Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf

 

Fig 'Oregon Prolific' 

vigorous, yellow skin w/ white flesh, great for Pac. NW

 

Fig 'Osborne Prolific'

Purple brown skin w/sweet amber flesh, hardy & productive, good in PNW

 

Fig 'Peter's Honey' **

deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

 

Fig 'Scott's Black'

Thin purple skin w/red flesh, sweet, closed eye

 

Fig 'Vern's Brown Turkey'  **

Brown skin w/amber flesh, sweet/flavorful, can produce 2 crops a season