Articles in Category: Winter Interest

Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue'

on Sunday, 16 March 2014. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Georgia Blue Speedwell


This easy maintenance, perennial groundcover adds a beautiful cobalt blue to the edge of any garden.  We love the dainty deep blue flowers that start blooming as early as February and are heaviest in April, continuing into early summer.  Besides the blooms, the best part about 'Georgia Blue' is that  it remains evergreen, turning lovely shades of burgundy in the colder weather.  It is a great companion to early spring bulbs, especially the yellow of daffodils, and can mask the untidy foliage bulbs leave behind as they fade.  This Veronica is good for spilling over edges, out of containers, or as a mass groundcover.  It may need shearing back after blooming once in a while to refresh it but otherwise it is low maintenance.  You can plan on it getting about 6" tall and spreading 12-24" wide.  It will tolerate full sun to part shade and can even take a little drought; but looks best with moderate water and good mulch.  It has proven deer resistant in some gardens (Jacksonville, Applegate Valley) in the Rogue Valley but not others (Griffin Creek area of Medford), so try it out first.  Butterflies and hummingbirds are known to visit the cheerful flowers.  Georgia Blue Speedwell looks great planted next to purple toned Euphorbia, Black Mondo Grass, Mahonias, and other broader leaved shrubs and perennials.

Cistus spp.

on Wednesday, 15 May 2013. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants



Rockroses are much more diverse than you would think after seeing what's usually available.  The ratty looking Orchid Rockrose (Cistus purpurea) or some of the old fashioned types don't hold up well.  Yet there are some spectacular forms out there that, with proper care, will fill that niche for an evergreen shrub with showy blooms.  Another bonus is that Cistus are usually deer resistant (the more resinous and pungent the leaves, the better) and they are always drought tolerant.  They must have well draining soil (not too fertile is best) and minimal summer water once established....basically ignore them once they get settled in.  Cistus thrive in their native Meditteranean climate of hot summers, and mild, wet winters and can do well on a fast draining or rocky hillside.  Make sure they are placed in a location that gets winter sun. Rockroses can look great as a mass groundcover (they usually are wider than tall) or mixed in a drought tolerant bed of lavenders, rosemaries, Ceanothus and other Meditteranean plants. Each individual flower doesn't last long but they bloom successively over many weeks. They don't tolerate heavy pruning, just annual tip pruning to keep them compact and.

Here are some of our favorites (we chose the best cold hay varieties from Xeraplants and more info can be found from the Xera Plants website):

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'

on Thursday, 21 February 2013. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

'Diane' Witch Hazel


Witch Hazels are one of our favorite plants since they cheer up the dark winter days with their bright fringey blooms and repeat the show again in the fall with spectacular leaf color.  Witch Hazels are also useful because of their vase shape habit, making it easy to use other plants at their base.  They have a nice open form, that is sculptural even when bare in winter, so they are useful as a specimen.  The flowers unfurl in January and continue into March, with the textured leaves emerging afterwards.  The thick leaves provide a great contrast with softer leaved plants such as ferns, Euphorbias, or Geraniums.  'Diane' is one we usually have in stock because it has the darkest coppery-red flowers and gets wonderful fall color of yellow, crimson, and orange, even purple tones.  Witch Hazels are not the first choice for a hot spot, even though you will read that they will tolerate full sun and you will see them looking spectacular in downtown Ashland in full sun.  But 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, or at least avoid a hot location against a wall.  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.  Witch Hazels do best with regular water; deep soaks throughout the summer months and with a fertile, humus-rich or leaf mold based soil.  'Diane' will get about 8-12' by 8-12' at maturity.  Witch Hazels should be deer resistant; we have seen them untouched in Ashland, but try one out first to make sure. 

Rhamnus alaternus 'Variegata'

on Wednesday, 12 September 2012. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Variegated Italian Buckthorn


Italian Buckthorn is a bit new to us but we have been impressed with how fast if grows and its attractiveness all year round. This evergreen shrub can get quite large- up to 8-10' tall and 6-8' wide so it can make a nice hedge or specimen. The creamy edged foliage lights up a corner and contrasts well with the red/brown stems. This Rhamnus can tolerate sun or part shade, but being a zone 7 plant, is cold hardier with full sun. It develops small flowers that turn to red fruit in the winter and the foliage is wonderful for cut flower arrangements. Drought and heat tolerant once established make this a good screening choice for the Rogue Valley. Looks wonderful with contrasting reds and purples. Here are some other photos of it from Xera Plants. Would love to know if its deer resistant....

Rhamnus californica

on Wednesday, 14 March 2012. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

California Coffeeberry


Coffeeberry is a tough candidate for that hard to fill niche of an evergreen native shrub and the bonus is that it attracts birds, is very drought tolerant and deer resistant, fire resistant, and even makes a good hedge or screen.  Coffeeberry is native from southern Oregon continuing south all the way into Baja and gets its name from the dark berries that change from red to almost black.  The flowers are inconspicuous but the birds definitely notice the 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 woodland areas.  It has a more spreading, low habit when grown in coastal conditions.  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 preferes a sandy, well-draining soil. It is truly a xeriscape plant- once established, it can survive on no irrigation.  To keep it more fire resistant, a deep soak every two weeks is recommended.  The leaves are long and pointed and a matte green with a paler underside.  The named variety 'Eve Case'  has broader and brighter, green foliage and will stay a bit more compact at 4-8' wide and tall.  We have found it to be deer resistant in most situations, especially once established.  They may have a tendency to chew the new growth but will leave it alone when it gets some size.  If you haven't used natives before try out this low maintenance shrub to see how easy, attractive, and sustainable natives can be.