Articles in Category: Attracts Pollinators

Elaeagnus

on Tuesday, 18 May 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

A Deer-Resistant, Evergreen Shrub!

elaeagnus fruitlandii leavesElaeagnus (pronounced “ellie agnus”) are a group of sturdy, fast-growing evergreen shrubs that are drought-tolerant once established, make a good addition to a firewise garden, and work beautifully as a screen or a hedge. Some species even fix nitrogen in the soil!

These qualities alone would make Elaeagnus a ‘must have’ plant in your garden. But what we really love about them is that they’re one of the very few evergreen shrubs we’ve found that seems able to resist the depredations of deer here in the Rogue Valley. Maybe it’s the tough leaves; maybe it’s the small thorns on the stems. But so far (knocking wood, fingers crossed…) deer mostly seem to leave them alone. 

E Fruitlandii flowerElaeagnus grow well in full sun or with a little light shade, but sun-grown plants will be fuller and denser. In fall, small cream-colored intensely fragrant flowers appear – followed by small reddish berries. The berries are generally too small for humans to bother with, but birds enjoy them. In fact, they’re a nice source of food that helps migrating and overwintering birds lay on a fat store to survive the winter months.

Shooting Star Nursery generally carries the following varieties of Elaeagnus:

‘Fruitlandii’ Rich olive-green leaves covered with small silver scales (shown above). Plants reach 6’ to 10’ tall and wide at maturity, but may be kept a bit smaller with careful pruning.

 

E. Clemson Variegated crop‘Clemson Variegated’ Lovely gold-centered leaves with dark green margins. About 10’ by 10’ at maturity.

 

 

E. Gilt Edge‘Gilt Edge’ Coloring is the reverse of ‘Clemson Variegated’; dark green leaves with rich gold edges. Smaller than the two varieties above – roughly 5’ tall and wide at maturity.

 

Elaegnus‘Hosoba Fukurin’ Similar to ‘Gilt Edge’, but the leaves have cream-colored margins rather than golden yellow ones. 4-'5 tall and wide, with extremely fragrant autumn flowers.

Nepeta 'Junior Walker'

on Monday, 10 May 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Nepeta 'Junior Walker'

Nepeta Junior Walker crop

Nepeta 'Junior Walker' is one of my very favorite drought tolerant perennials - and that's high praise indeed! Its aromatic, blue-gray foliage provides a beautiful contrast for soft-looking, blue-violet flowers. Plants generally begin blooming in early May, and will bloom well into fall if you shear them back after their spring bloom.

'Junior Walker' reaches about 16" tall by 30" tall at maturity. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil, and combines well with other drought tolerant perennials. It makes a nice accent in a summer garden; creating a nice cool place for your eyes to rest amidst the other hot-colored blooms of summer. 

Nepetas are also known as Catmints, and their foliage smells like mint with a warm hint of camphor. This aroma also serves another purpose in the garden: while it's really pleasant to humans, deer don't like the smell and tend to avoid the plants. 

However, the most notable feature of 'Junior Walker' - and of all Nepetas - is that they are absolute magnets for pollinators. Here at the nursery, it's not uncommon to find our Nepetas covered with a combination of butterflies, skippers, honeybees, bumblebees, and tiny solitary native bees. If you have really limited room for pollinator plants in your garden, put 'Junior Walker' at the top of your list! 

We also regularly carry these other varieties of Nepeta:

 N. Purple Haze2Nepeta 'Purple Haze'- 'Purple Haze' is the shortest of the Nepetas we grow. They share the same abundant violet-blue flowers and aromatic foliage of 'Junior Walker', but plants only get about 4" tall at maturity. They're a great addition at the front of a perennial bed - or plant them to spill over a rock wall.  

 Nepeta Walkers Low cropNepeta 'Walker's Low'- 'Walker's Low is the tallest Nepeta of the group. Plants get to 24" to 30" tall, by about 36" wide. Like 'Junior Walker', it has a gentle mounding shape and combines well with other sun-loving, drought tolerant perennials like Salvias, Agastaches, Rudbeckias, and Gauras.

 

 

Erigerons

on Monday, 12 April 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Fleabane

Erigeron speciosusErigerons – also known as Fleabanes – are a group of perennials that manage to pack a whole lot of wonderful into a sweet little plant. They’re also absolutely charming. Their bright, cheery, abundant, daisy-like flowers bring a smile every time you see them.

To begin with, Erigerons are both long-blooming and evergreen. With a bit of deadheading between blooms, you can expect them to flower from Spring well into Fall. They’re also easy to care for. Most Erigeron varieties like full to partial sun, prefer well-drained, lean soil and are fairly drought tolerant and deer resistant once established. Erigerons also combine well with other perennials – softening edges, filling in empty spaces, or spilling over rock walls. Try planting them with other drought tolerant plants like Eriogonums, Penstemon, Verbena ‘De La Mina’, Scutellaria, and ornamental grasses.

The place where Erigerons really stand out, though, is their ability to attract a wide variety of pollinators – especially butterflies and smaller native bees. Butterflies love their platform-type flowers, which give butterflies a place to sit while nectaring. Bees really appreciate the long bloom season, as Erigeron’s flowers generally appear before most other perennials begin blooming here in the Rogue Valley, and will last up until late-blooming favorite like Asters and Goldenrods begin flowering.

Here are a few of the Erigeron varieties Shooting Star Nursery carries regularly:

Erigeron Lynnhaven CarpetErigeron ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’: Both the leaves and stems of ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ are covered with fine, silvery hairs – giving it a soft, furry look. Plants begin blooming in early spring, and are covered with pale purple daisy-like flowers featuring a bright yellow eye. Plants reach 6-12” tall by 12-18” wide, and will spread slowly via runners; forming a tidy colony.

 

Erigeron Wayne RoderickErigeron ‘Wayne Roderick’: ‘Wayne Roderick’ begins blooming in mid-spring, and features large purple flowers, up to 1 ½” across with gold centers. Plants reach 12” tall by about 18” wide. ‘Wayne Roderick’ will tolerate a bit of afternoon shade, but will also be fine with full sun if you can provide them with deep, weekly waterings during the summer months.

 

Erigeron ProfusionErigeron ‘Profusion’: Erigeron ‘Profusion’ is aptly named – this plant is generally covered with flowers from early summer into fall! The flowers are smaller than ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ and ‘Wayne Roderick’, but they more than make up for it with their sheer exuberance. Flowers range from white to pale pink, with both colors appearing at the same time on the plant. ‘Profusion’ is lower growing than the two varieties listed above, generally reaching between 6-8" tall, making it a great choice for border edges, spilling over rock walls, or even growing in containers.

Veronica 'Georgia Blue'

on Friday, 02 April 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Georgia Blue Speedwell

Veronica Georgia BlueThis modest little groundcover happens to be one of our most popular perennials! Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’ adds a generous splash of rich cobalt blue to the edge of any garden or container planting.  

Dainty deep blue flowers with white eyes begin blooming as early as February and are heaviest in April. If you deadhead plants once the first flush of bloom is finished, you can easily extend their flowering season into early summer. The flowers are also attractive to a variety of pollinators including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Besides the blooms, the best part about 'Georgia Blue' is that it remains evergreen; with leaves turning lovely shades of burgundy in the colder weather. 'Georgia Blue' is a great companion to early spring bulbs - especially daffodils and species tulips - and can mask the untidy foliage bulbs leave behind as they fade.

Georgia Blue smThis Veronica is a great choice for spilling over the edges of walls or out of containers, or as a densely massed groundcover. Plants will get about 6" tall and spread between 12-24" wide. 'Georgia Blue' will tolerate full sun to part shade and can even take a little drought; but looks best with moderate water and good mulch.

'Georgia Blue' 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. It looks great planted next to purple toned Euphorbia, Black Mondo Grass, Mahonias, and other broader leaved shrubs and perennials, or as a fill between stepping stones – as you can see in Shooting Star’s Demonstration garden.

Shooting Star also regularly carries these other Veronicas:

Veronica WhitewaterVeronica ‘Waterperry’ and Veronica ‘Whitewater’ both have similar growth habits to ‘Georgia Blue’. ‘Waterperry’ is a softer, lighter blue than ‘Georgia Blue’ and ‘Whitewater’, as the name suggests, is a lovely clear white.

veronica pectinataVeronica pectinata: Also known as Woolly Veronica, this Veronica is more drought-tolerant than the others and is also lower growing (to about 2”).

Native Iris

on Friday, 26 March 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Native Iris species

Iris innominata resizeHere in southern Oregon, we’re fortunate to have a nice selection of native Iris available for our gardens. While our native Iris lack the in-your-face showiness of their Bearded Iris relatives, they do have a lovely, refined look to them that many gardeners prefer. They’re also tough, sturdy plants that are both deer-resistant and relatively drought tolerant.

Native Iris do best in sunny to light-shade areas, and work beautifully in borders, or as part of a woodland garden. They bloom from March into late June (depending upon species) and only require occasional water during the summer months – because these plants are already adapted to our summer-dry Mediterranean climate. In addition, most species feature colorful ‘veins’ on the flowers that serve as nectar guides for bees and other pollinators.

The one requirement these plants do have is that they require well-drained soil. If your soil tends toward clay, plant them on a slight mound so excess water can drain away from their crowns quickly – or plant them in pots!

Here are a few species of native Iris that Shooting Star carries regularly:

 

Iris bracteata2Iris bracteata: Also known as Siskiyou Iris, this lovely plant is endemic to the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon and northern California. Flowers are generally creamy white to pale yellow, with contrasting veins of a rich brownish-purple. Plants feature slender leaves, and grow between 6-12” tall. 

 

Iris chrysophylla2Iris chrysophylla: Another Iris from southern Oregon and Del Norte County, California. Iris chrysophylla is generally a pale yellow with contrasting purple veins. Plants range from 6”-2’ tall, and are easily distinguished from I. bracteata by their extremely long floral tube.  

Douglas Iris2Iris douglasiana: Named after Scottish botanist David Douglas, Iris douglasiana can vary widely in color – from nearly white with blue accents to a rich deep purple. They also prefer part-sun to full shade in the garden, and like water every 2 to 4 weeks during the summer months. If you have encountered a blue Iris while hiking along the coast, it was probably Douglas Iris! 

 

Iris tenax: Also known as Tough-Leafed Iris, ranging from southwest Washington to northern Oregon. In the wild, it is usually found along roadsides and in grasslands and forest openings. Flowers are generally lavender-blue in color, and plants grow in tight clumps – about 1-1/5’ tall. Unlike most other Iris, Tough-leafed Iris does not like to be divided.

 

Pac CoasrPacific Coast Hybrids: Pacific Coast Iris hybrids are the real showstoppers of the group. Flowers come in an incredible range of colors – blues, purples, reds, oranges, browns, and multicolors; often with showy ruffled petals. They’re also the fussiest of the bunch (but well worth the effort!): they don’t tolerate clay soils or watering during the heat of the day, and prefer not to be divided every year.

 

If you’d like to try creating your own native Iris hybrids, it’s easy to do – and a lot of fun. Since most of the Iris described above have similar cultural requirements, you can create mixed plantings of several species. Iris hybridize freely – just collect the seeds when they are ripe, grow them out, and see what exciting color variations you come up with!