Articles in Category: Winter Interest

Heaths and Heathers

on Thursday, 21 November 2019. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Fall Color, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs

Heaths and Heathers

EricaHeaths and Heathers are two closely-related evergreen shrubs that are great additions to the shade or partial shade garden. 

Heaths (Erica sp., see photo to the left) have needle-like leaves and bloom during the winter, a welcome sight during those cold, gray months! Plants are low growing - generally from 6" to 15" tall by 2' wide - and have flowers in shades of white, pink, and purple.

CallunaHeathers (Calluna sp., see photo to the right), on the other hand, have scale-like leaves and bloom from summer through the fall. They get a bit larger than Heaths; generally growing from 1' to 2' tall by up to 3' wide. Flowers are also various shades of white, pink, and purple.

Both Heaths and Heathers prefer partial to full shade and well-drained soils. Both are relatively deer-resistant and undemanding. As an extra bonus, many varieties of Heath and Heather have foliage that colors up nicely in fall weather, in shades ranging from copper to orange to red. If you plant a mixture of the two, you'll end up with something in bloom for most of the year - along with some great fall color!

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma Goldcrest'

on Tuesday, 29 October 2019. Posted in Winter Interest, Conifer, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

'Wilma Goldcrest' Cypress

48981137793 2fd01884fc kThis is one adorable little conifer.

'Wilma Goldcrest' is a perfect plant for those tight spaces where you really want a splash of bright color. In the ground, they'll reach 6' to 8' tall, and up to 2' wide. They're fairly slow-growing, which also makes them a good choice for growing in containers.

Plants are evergreen, with beautiful golden chartreuse foliage that really lights up an area - especially when placed near plants with dark green or purple-colored leaves. The fragrant foliage smells like lemons (one of its nicknames is Lemon Cypress) which makes the plants unattactive to deer. 

'Wilma Goldcrest' is tolerant of a wide range of conditions, but it looks best when grown in bright light and lean soil. Plants grown in the shade will loose their "golden glow" and look a little more lime-colored. While 'Wilma Goldcrest' is relatively drought tolerant when planted in the ground, plants grown in containers will need regular water in order to keep the foliage from drying out and browning.

Bright yellow color, fragrant foliage, deer resistant, and year-round interest in the garden: there's clearly a lot to love about this tiny relative of the Monterey Cypress!

Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii

on Thursday, 26 September 2019. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Wulfenii Euphorbia (Spurge)

Euphorbia-with-Allium

Another plant we love to sing the praises of: evergreen, usually compact, deer resistant and drought tolerant - with flowers that last 3 months or more. And the only thing you have to do to enjoy them is to not overwater and prune the flower stems back to the base of the plant after blooming is done. This photo shows a Euphorbia characias variety with a Allium 'Purple Sensation' in the foreground. Flowering begins in early spring and will easily last into July. The flowers are set off by the larger bracts, thus lasting longer than a typical petaled flower. When flowering stalks start to brown or look faded, just prune the flower stem all the way to the ground so the new stems can fill in. As an added bonus, Euphorbias are evergreen in all but the coldest Rogue Valley winters, and their foliage tends to color up in winter; providing a nice visual interest in the winter garden. Euphorbias will take full sun to half a day of sun and need well draining soil. They all have a white sap in their stems keeping the deer at bay but can also cause a rash in some people, so wear gloves when pruning Euphorbias.

There are many varieties of Euphorbia and here are some of our favorites that we usually carry:

Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid'

on Wednesday, 14 November 2018. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Conifer, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Trees, Drought Tolerant

Vanderwold's Pyramid Limber Pine

vanderwolf_pine

The 'Vanderwolf' Pine has proven itself a good conifer choice for a hot, dry spot; that won't get too large and has soft, two-toned needles.  This western North American native Pine can tolerate our dry, hot summers and wet winters.  Well draining soil, including dry, rocky hillsides, will help it tolerate those conditions even better.  We have especially been attracted to it because it doesn't have the scratchy quality of most conifers, you can get close to it and enjoy the blue and green needles.  The 'Vanderwolf' has a more open habit than some other sheared looking conifers when young but gets denser with age and can be used as an effective screen, a specimen position, or looks great in groups of three.  'Vanderwolf' is more pyramidal than the species- Pinus flexilis.  It is difficult to pin down a mature size on the 'Vanderwolf' but it is slower growing so it is useful in smaller spaces.  It can get 20-25' tall and 10-15' wide but it seems to get taller more quickly than it gets wide.   Like most pines, it only needs occasional watering once established and this variety is more disease and pest resistant than some other pine species.   Also like most pines, it is deer resistant.

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Vitex agnus-castus

on Saturday, 07 July 2018. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Chaste tree

vitex-plant-of-the-week

Our hot summers allow us to enjoy this Mediterranean native that is drought tolerant and deer resistant.  Heat is neccessary for profuse blooms, and profuse it is once it gets going in July and August.  The blooms slowly open from the base to the tips eventually reaching up to 12 inches long and last at least 4 to 5 weeks.  The color can vary from pale lavender to a darker purple and attract bees and hummingbirds from far and wide.  The fragrant leaves are very attractive on their own- they are divided similar to a laceleaf Japanese Maple and are a very pleasant shade of soft blue-green and gray-green underneath.  Chaste tree is late to leaf out in the spring, helping it avoid damage from our late spring frosts; but makes a good small shade tree in the heat of summer.  One of the fun things about Vitex is that you can grow it into whatever form you like, multi-trunk or single trunk tree or a large, broad shrub.   We have seen older specimens around the valley that are 10' tall by about 12-15' wide, meaning they are cold hardy once established and can get quite large.  However, they can be maintained at 6' tall and wide or trained up as a small shade tree. They take very well to a severe pruning, even all the way back to the ground if needed.  We have also seen them be used successfully in large containers against hot walls and parking lots.  Vitex grow slower with drought conditions and grow fairly rapidly with regular water and richer soil but will tolerate both conditions well.   We have been very impressed with the cold hardiness and drought tolerance of these shrubs as well as their many uses.  Vitex are one of the few choices for a small tree or large shrub that thrives in the heat and have lovely blooms late in the season.