Articles in Category: Winter Interest

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

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

Witch Hazel


Witch Hazels are one of our favorite shrubs at this time of year, as they cheer up these dark 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 January and continue into 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 carry (check our retail availability for details):

'Angelly'- medium size cultivar with citron yellow flowers and new growth has a reddish bronze tint

'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

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.

Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'

on Monday, 09 May 2011. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Howard McMinn Manzanita


This named form of Manzanita made it through the 2009 winter that seemed to kill off most Escallonias and Phormiums.  At lows of seven degrees, this Manzanita didn't even discolor or lose leaves.  We have a few planted in the ground at the nursery and they have done beautifully without much irrigation or care. 

'Howard McMinn' will tolerate more irrigation than other manzanitas but all are very drought tolerant in well draining soil.  It will take full to half a day of sun and grows quickly to 4-5' tall and at least 4-5' wide.  The hummingbirds love the light pink flowers that appear in early spring and smell like honey.  It looks good all year and has dense growth unlike some leggier forms of manzanita.  The red stems contrast nicely with the apple green leaves.  The deer should leave it alone but we have gotten reports of deer chewing some tips.  It may depend on the time of year and the deer population. Arctostaphylos Howard McMinn sm