Helianthemum nummularium 'Henfield Brilliant'

on Monday, 02 August 2021. Posted in Evergreen, Ground Cover, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Henfield Brilliant' Sunrose

helianthemum nummularium henfield brilliant blooming nursery 2 st gpp

There are so many wonderful things about Sunroses - where to start?

Sunroses are drought tolerant, evergreen, low maintenance, cold hardy, spring blooming groundcovers that work well in the Rogue Valley. We use them all the time to cascade over rock walls, as an edging in a drought tolerant garden, or an evergreen groundcover at the base of taller plants.

While there are quite a few varieties of Sunroses, one of the best – in terms of growth habit and form – is ‘Henfield Brilliant’. In fact, this charming little plant even received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

‘Henfield Brilliant’ has bright, coppery flowers that really stand out against its soft gray-green foliage. Each individual flower is about 1” across, and plants bloom profusely from about May through July. Even when it’s not blooming, ‘Henfield Brilliant’ is a just a lovely plant with a soft mounding shape – about 6” tall and 18-24” wide at maturity. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil (plant them on a mound or atop a rock wall if you are gardening in clay soil), and should be sheared back hard once it is done blooming, to help maintain a good shape and stimulate next year’s bloom.

Rudbeckia

on Tuesday, 27 July 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

Black-Eyed Susans

Goldsturm edit

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia sp.) may not be one of those "fancy" plants, but they are so easy to grow and provide such cheerful, long-lasting color that we believe they should have a place in every garden!

This charming and versatile group of perennials is native to North America and includes two species that can be found right here in the wilds of southern Oregon. The three varieties we carry here at the nursery all have deep golden petals that surround a (generally) brown central “cone” – hence their other common name: Coneflowers.

Rudbeckia are largely unfussy about soil, and even tolerate clay soils well. They make great cut flowers, are generally deer resistant, have a long bloom season, and can be fairly drought tolerant (although they also don’t mind getting regular watering). Flowers bloom steadily from mid-summer to frost, and even when the petals are gone the cones make a pretty silhouette in the winter. Rudbeckias look great when planted in a large mass, or combined with other jewel- toned perennials or ornamental grasses.

One of the most fun things about Rudbeckia is that they do double-duty in the wildlife garden. The flowers are popular with butterflies and a variety of bees, while the seed heads attract goldfinches, pine siskins and chickadees during the fall and winter months.

We carry the following varieties here at Shooting Star Nursery:

'Goldsturm' – This is the traditional ‘Black-eyed Susan’ most gardeners are familiar with (see photo above). Plants get about 3' tall and will spread to at least 2' wide; more after a couple of years unless you divide it.

Little Henry editLittle Henry’ (left) has butter-yellow flowers with delicate-looking quilled petals. Flowers are a bit smaller than ‘Goldsturm’, but make up in abundance what they lack in size. Plants are generally well-branched and reach about 2 ½’ to 3’ tall at maturity.

Irish EyesIrish Eyes’ (right) has huge 5” wide, orange-yellow flowers that feature a bright green central cone (does that make them a Green-eyed Susan?). Plants are a bit smaller than ‘Goldsturm’ and ‘Little Henry’ – about 2’ to 2 ½’ tall and about 15” wide.

Vitex agnus-castus

on Tuesday, 20 July 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Chaste Tree

Vitex edThis drought tolerant Mediterranean native absolutely thrives here in the Rogue Valley! Vitex needs consistent heat in order to bloom profusely, and our long hot summers give them exactly what they like. From mid-summer into early fall, Vitex is covered with long spikes of flowers ranging in color from soft lavender to dark blue. The blooms slowly open from the base to the tips, eventually reaching up to 12 inches long and lasting at least 4 to 5 weeks; attracting bees and hummingbirds from far and wide.

VitexFlipSide editVitex’s fragrant leaves are very attractive in their own right. Their shape is similar to a lace leaf Japanese Maple; and are a lovely shade of soft blue-green. Most varieties are gray-green underneath, but Flip Side features a dark purple reverse – making them truly stunning in a breeze. As an extra bonus, the fragrance helps make this plant quite deer resistant.

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. The straight species, and varieties like Shoal Creek get about 10-15’ tall and wide. Varieties like Flip Side and Delta Blues are smaller – maybe 8-10’ tall and wide at maturity. Vitex bloom on new wood, so 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 has lovely blooms late in the season!

Agastache

on Wednesday, 14 July 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Anise Hyssop/Hummingbird Mint/Licorice Mint

photoAgastacheAurantica250x376

Sometimes it's hard to be thankful for the relentless heat we get in July and August in the Rogue Valley, but having an Agastache (or two) in your garden will definitely help you learn to appreciate our summer weather! This late blooming perennial LOVES our dry, hot summers. Agastaches attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds with their tubular flowers. They thrive in well-drained soil and can even handle gritty or nutrient poor soil. And as you might guess from their multiple common names, Agastache’s minty-fragrant foliage endears them to gardeners – while making them generally unpalatable to deer.

There is a catch, of course. Agastache not only thrive in well-drained soil – they require it. The key is getting them through our wet winters. We recommend planting them high, adding gravel or grit to the hole, and mulching with a 1/4" gravel to keep moisture from the crown.

The other imperative is to not prune Agastaches back until spring, when you see new growth emerging from the base. Leaving the woody stems will help them survive our rainy winters; it is usually too much water, not cold, that will do them in. Placing them in full sun, even in the winter months will also help.

A deep soak every couple of weeks will get them through the summer months, but once mine are established I don't water them all summer. They pair beautifully with ornamental grasses like Bouteloua, as well as other sun-loving, pollinator-friendly perennials like Echinacea, Nepeta, Erigeron, and Lavender.The other imperative is to not prune Agastaches back until spring, when you see new growth emerging from the base. The woody stems will help it survive the rainy winter; it is usually too much water, not cold, that will do them in. Placing them in full sun, even in the winter months will also help.

Coreopsis verticillata

on Wednesday, 30 June 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Threadleaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis MoonbeamCoreopsis are sturdy and versatile perennials that can brighten up any sunny summer garden. They bloom profusely from May through October here in the Rogue Valley, with bright daisy-like flowers that float over their loose, airy foliage like stars.

We really like using them in a mixed border; their foliage adds a nice texture when mixed in with other larger-leafed plants and their flowers bring a generous splash of color. They’re also a great choice if you’re looking for a perennial to plant over your spring-flowering bulbs. Coreopsis are still dormant when bulbs begin blooming, but are flushed out and flowering by the time your bulbs start to fade – it’s a great way to extend the bloom season in your garden!

Coreopsis ZagrebCoreopsis are a big favorite with bees and butterflies, and you will find that they’re literally humming with activity on a warm summer morning. The flowers also hold up well in bouquets, and make a lovely addition to the cut flower garden. To prolong your bloom season, be sure to deadhead the plants once or twice during the spring and summer months.

Aside from that, Coreopsis are extremely easy to grow. They’re heat tolerant, deer resistant, and drought tolerant when established. There’s only one small down side: Coreopsis are a bit habit-forming – once you try one, you will almost be certainly be back for more!

CoreopsisRedSatinShooting Star Nursery regularly carries three different varieties: Moonbeam (top left) – a lovely, soft yellow; Zagreb (above right) – bright golden-yellow; and Red Satin (left) – ruby-red flowers with a satiny sheen. All get about 18” tall and 24” wide at maturity.