Articles in Category: Winter Interest

Ginkgo biloba

on Thursday, 24 September 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Showy Bark/Stems, Fall Color, Trees

Maidenhair Tree

Autumn goldWhen most people think of fall color, their minds immediately go to the bright scarlets of maples and oaks. But we’re guessing that’s probably just because they’ve never seen a Ginkgo tree in its full fall color.

Ginkgos – or Maidenhair Trees - turn a rich, buttery gold in fall. They’re especially stunning when planted against a backdrop of dark green conifers. When the leaves finally do drop, they tend to do so all at once, forming a brilliant golden carpet around the base of the tree. They’re also tolerant of air pollution and a wide variety of soil types; making them valuable as a tough, long-lived street tree that works well in both urban or rural situations.

Big ginkgoThey’re also one of the oldest tree species in the world. Ginkgo leaves have been found in fossils that date back to over 250 million years ago, which means they were around when dinosaurs still walked the earth!

Ginkgos tend to be a long-lived, low-maintenance tree. They like at least a half-day sun, but will do fine in full sun as well. Once established. Trees do fine with deep, infrequent watering. Young trees tend to be slow growing, but once established they can put on 1-2’/year

We regularly carry the following varieties of Ginkgo here at Shooting Star Nursery:

Autumn Gold – Broadly pyramidal, 45’ by 35’. Angular, linear branches

Golden Colonnade – 45’x 25’, narrow, oval shape

Princeton Sentry – The most tightly columnar of the group – 40’ x 15’. Stiffly upright, narrow, pyramidal shape

Rhamnus californica

on Friday, 18 September 2020. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

California Coffeeberry

Coffeeberry

Coffeeberry is a great candidate for that hard-to-fill niche of an evergreen native shrub that also attracts birds and pollinators; is drought tolerant, deer resistant, and fire resistant; and even makes a good hedge or screen. In fact, it may well be the only plant that fills that niche!

Coffeeberry is a west coast native; occurring from southern Oregon all the way south into Baja California. It gets its common name from its fruit: berries that change from green to red to almost black over the course of the year. The flowers are inconspicuous (although pollinators notice them just fine) but the birds definitely notice the colorful berries.

Rhamnus makes a great hedge, usually growing at a medium rate to 6-8' tall and wide, with the potential to get larger in more wooded areas. The named variety 'Eve Case’ has broader and brighter, green foliage and will stay a bit more compact at 4-8' wide and tall. Its leaves are long and pointed and are a matte green with a paler underside.

Coffeeberry prefers full sun but can also be happy in part shade or a more wooded garden. In the Rogue Valley, it can tolerate the heat and most soils, although it prefers a sandy, well-draining soil. This is truly a drought-tolerant plant - once established, it can survive on no irrigation. To keep it more fire resistant, though, we recommend giving it a deep soak every two weeks during the summer months. We have found Coffeeberry to be deer resistant in most situations, especially once established. Deer may have a tendency to chew the new growth, but will leave plants alone when they get some size on them.

If you are new to growing native plants, this is a great plant to start with. Try it out to see how easy, attractive, and sustainable native plants can be in your garden!

Parrotia persica

on Friday, 18 September 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Showy Bark/Stems, Fall Color, Trees

Persian Ironwood

parrotia persica logiegarden ras 09 2011 03 gpp fallParrotia persica – or Persian Ironwood – is one of the fall foliage season’s best-kept secrets – and that’s a real shame. If you’d like to broaden your yard’s fall color palette beyond the usual flaming red maples, we’d highly recommend this tree!

Parrotia flowerIn fact, Parrotia provides true four-season interest in the landscape. In late winter, tiny red flowers – similar to witch hazel flowers – appear, followed by bronzy-colored new leaves. As the leaves unfurl, they turn a rich green, providing a nice dense canopy of shade during the summer months.

parrotia persica ras 04 2012 01 gpp barkFall, though, is when Parrotias really begin to shine; putting a great show of color, with foliage turning shades of yellow, orange, and red. Even when the leaves drop, there’s still plenty to look at. As Parrotias mature, their bark begins to exfoliate; leaving dappled patches of color along the trunk.

A small to medium-sized shade tree, Parrotia will get between 20-30’ tall, and about 20’ wide. They’re generally unfussy trees and are tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, including clay soil and air pollution. Their compact size also makes them great street trees.

Looking for something narrower to fit into a small space? There are two varieties of Parrotia that will do the trick! Persian Spire gets about 25’ tall, and just 10’ wide; growing in a lovely upright, columnar shape. Vanessa is a bit larger: about 28’ by 14’, and was given an Award of Garden Excellence by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society in 2020.

Muhlenbergia 'Fast Forward'

on Friday, 21 August 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Flowering Plants

Pink Muhly Grass

FFSome ornamental grasses – Miscanthus ‘Adagio’, Andropogon ‘Red October’, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Forester’, Panicum ‘Northwind’ – are known for their big, bold, structural presence in the garden. These grasses practically beg to be put front and center, and used as a focal point. Other grasses are more subtle and delicate-looking in their appearance. Muhlenbergia ‘Fast Forward’ falls in the latter category.

Muhlenbergia ed‘Fast Forward’ is a truly graceful ornamental grass. It’s finely textured, with bluish-green foliage that grows in a tidy clump; about 2-4” tall by up to 3’ wide. As attractive as the leaves are, though, the inflorescences are what makes this a stunning addition to a garden or border. Plants begin blooming in late August, and the lovely pink inflorescences create a soft haze of color that seems to float in the air. This grass is really effective as a backdrop for other shorter perennials, or massed in a clump. If you can put it somewhere where it will be backlit by the late afternoon sun, that’s even better!

Muhlenbergia ‘Fast Forward’ provides you with both color and texture in the garden, as well as an element most gardeners rarely think of: motion. Fine blades of grass and inflorescences dance slowly in an afternoon breeze; adding a soft vitality to your garden bed or border. These plants are also deer resistant, and do well in full sun.

Like most ornamental grasses ‘Fast Forward’ browns out during the winter. We like to leave the grass blades and flower heads standing all winter: their silhouette provides some lovely visual interest in the winter landscape, and the foliage will help protect the grass from heavy rains and unexpected cold snaps. Cut it back in early spring (late February through early March), when you start to see new growth push through last year’s faded vegetation.

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'

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

Karley Rose Oriental Fountain Grass

Karley Rose edAn easy to grow, soft textured fountain grass, Pennisetum 'Karley Rose' will give you months of light pink blooms that are great for floral arrangements and beautiful accents in the garden, but aren't attractive to deer.

This Pennisetum is more cold hardy than the straight species (Pennisetum orientale) and blooms earlier than other varieties like 'Hamelyn'. The rose-pink blooms appear in early summer and continue on until frost. Once the blades and blooms dry out to an autumnal, tan the silhouette remains pretty in the frost of winter. Cut this grass back in early spring, as new growth begins to emerge. Aside from that, there is no special care for this drought tolerant, deer resistant grass.

When in bloom, 'Karley Rose' tops out at about 3' tall and 24-30" wide. ‘Karley Rose’ is easy to divide, to create a graceful, massed effect in your garden. It looks great backlit by early morning or late afternoon sun and pairs nicely with Sedums, Echinaceas and other large-flowered perennials. Full sun or light shade and well-draining soil is best – the one thing ‘Karley Rose’ doesn't like is wet, boggy soil.