Articles in Category: Winter Interest

Hydrangea quercifolia

on Monday, 03 October 2016. Posted in Winter Interest, Showy Bark/Stems, Fall Color, Shade Plants, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Oakleaf Hydrangea

hydrangea-quercifolia

The oakleaf hydrangea offers a lot more four season interest over its showier mophead cousins and can be considered deer resistant due to its courser leaves.  In its native habitat as an understory shrub, it would appreciate protection from afternoon sun and is happiest growing under trees in dappled light or strong morning light.  A great choice for a woodland garden or dry shade, the oakleaf hydrangea grows from multiple shoots and can form a colony that gets around 6' tall and wide.  There are many smaller cultivars available that can easily can be pruned to the ground in spring to keep it 3' by 3'.   Its cone shaped clusters of white flowers differentiate it from the ball shaped flowering hydrangeas, as well as its brilliant burgundy fall color.  The flowers begin in July; lasting for months and are even pretty when dried.  The autumn changes the large, oakleaf shaped leaves into shades of red, burgundy, plum and orange.   The cinnamon-colored bark shows off in winter as it peels in thin flakes.  It can be drought tolerant once established but will make more flowers if kept well watered through the summer and keep it well mulched.  Please test its deer resistance in your neighborhood before you make a hedge out it- it may be more deer resistant in certain areas.  Let us know!

hydrangea-quercifolia-fall-color

Perovskia atriplicifolia

on Wednesday, 06 July 2016. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Russian Sage

perovskia

Perovskia or Russian Sage may seem ubiquitous but it is for a reason.  IT IS TOUGH.  And beautiful, adding long lasting color and texture to your garden.   Russian Sage is not a salvia or sage but has a pungent smell to the silvery, dissected leaves that may remind one of sage leaf.  This smell keeps the deer away so it is yet even more useful.  It is incredibly drought and heat tolerant and even looks pretty in the winter when the dried out sillouette and open branching catches the frost.  We like to wait to prune it back until spring arrives so that the crown stays protected from the winter wet.  When you see new growth emerge in mid spring that is the best to time to prune it back hard and freshen it up.  Perovskia is a woody stemmed perennial and does go winter dormant.   It requires good drainage and full sun and make sure to not keep it too wet.  The lavender blooms pair wonderfully with other heat lovers like yarrow, Rosemary and Salvia, as well as ornamental grasses or Yuccas.    Butterflies are attracted to the late summer flowers.  The straight species get quite large, as much as 4' tall and wide. But there are several newer varieties that stay more compact.  We like 'Little Spire' at 2-3' tall wide  and 'Peek a Blue' at 2' tall and wide.   We are also starting to grow Perovskia in 2 gallon pots as well as 1 gallons. They make quite a statement at the larger size and hold up better through the summer.

Helleborus orientalis

on Monday, 04 January 2016. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Lenten Rose

helleborus_orientalis

Hellebores are another plant to make us smile in winter as well as being a valuable dry shade perennial.  The Lenten Rose comes in shades of pink, purple, cream, white, and chartreuse or splashed with darker spots; with more variety being available every year.  If a plant is not labeled as a certain color than it will be a surprise when it starts blooming in late winter; so if you want a certain shade- buy it when they are in bloom.  The long-lasting blooms rise 12"-18"above large, dark green foliage and have a nodding habit that is best appreciated in the foreground of a garden or from below.  They make great cut flowers and will bloom for several months.  When these evergreen perennials aren't blooming the dramatic, divided leaves provide nice contrast to daintier ferns and ornamental grasses.  Like most evergreens, once some leaves become older and ratty it is best to cut them back completely and let new ones flush out.   They will tolerate dry conditions once established and do best in partial shade- an east exposure or under the dappled light of larger trees and shrubs. They look especially good as a mass groundcover under a specimen tree.  Give them good organic soil with new mulch added each year and they will reward you with easy care flowers and sculptural leaves.  They should also be deer resistant.  Hellebores do well in a container and make a great addition to a shady porch potted arrangement with black mondo grass, Compact Mahonia, Heucheras, Ferns, and other shade lovers.  Hellebores are poisonous to humans and animals so be careful when placing them near children's activity areas.

There are many different species and hybrids that have desirable qualities.  Come visit to see the latest selections.

Mahonia spp.

on Monday, 30 November 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Oregon Grape

mahonia_compacta

Oregon grape may seem too common to mention but it has so many merits that it is a go to plant for many situations in the Rogue Valley.  Being a native plant, Mahonias can take our winter wet and summer dry and can be very drought tolerant once established.  Their thick leathery leaves and spiny edges also make them unpalatable to deer.  Most species of Oregon Grape are evergreen but still turn a rainbow of colors in the fall and winter giving them more interest than the average evergreen shrub.  The spikes of cheerful yellow flowers emerge early in spring and turn to blue-black fruit that are edible but more appealing to birds than humans.  Most varieties grow by underground runners and make a nice colony so best to give them room to shine. 

The ones we use the most in the Rogue Valley are:

Mahonia x media 'Charity'

on Tuesday, 10 November 2015. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Charity Mahonia

Mahonia 'Charity'

Looking for a dramatic addition to your drought tolerant shade garden that is plagued by deer?  Mahonia 'Charity' is a large, upright, evergreen shrub for shade to morning sun and provides extra large spikes of yellow flowers in early spring making it stand out from other Oregon Grape.  This Mahonia is very drought tolerant once established and it's toothed, coarse leaves make it very deer resistant. Best in protected spot- hardy to Zone 7. Would look great in a red container or tucked in a shady corner that needs a large filler.  This gets large- 6-10' tall and 5' wide.  We saw this Mahonia used in front of a more modern looking series of townhomes in Portland and it really made a statement from a distance.  Very striking and sculptural and clean.

More reading about it here:

http://www.greatplantpicks.org/plantlists/view/977