Articles in Category: Deer Resistant

Baptisia australis

on Wednesday, 07 May 2014. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Blue False Indigo


Baptisia or Blue False Indigo may not be all that familiar but it should be for it's striking purple flower stalks and refreshing blue-green foliage.  It has what we always look for- drought tolerant (has deep roots), deer resistant (poisonous), good cut flowers (blooms in late spring), long lived (so can require some age to bloom and is slower growing), North American prairie native (can tolerate clay or sandy soils), and butterfly attractor.  The easy to care for Baptisia can get 3-4' tall and 18"-3' wide and is rather vase shaped, so low growing perennials at it's base might be nice. Looks great with chartreuse Euphorbias, round headed Alliums, or silver Artemesia nearby. The sweet pea-like flowers make a great contrast with grasses as well. We have an exciting new variety called 'Solar Flare' -  a sulphur yellow that just grabs your attention.

Daphne transatlantica

on Wednesday, 16 April 2014. Posted in Fragrant Blooms, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

'Summer Ice' and 'Eternal Fragrance' Daphne

Daphne_Summer-Ice-plant-of-By far, one of our most asked about plants!

Daphne Eternal FragranceThis species of Daphne blooms throughout the spring, summer and fall, and is less fussy than some of the other Daphne species. We generally carry two varieties: 'Summer Ice' and 'Eternal Fragrance'.

'Summer Ice' (pictured left) has a creamy, variegated edge. Plants get about 3 to 4' tall by 4 to 6' wide, and has a moderate growth rate. 'Eternal Fragrance' (pictured right) has plain green leaves and is more compact (2 to 3' tall and wide) and slower growing. 

Daphnes are considered partially evergreen plants. In mild winters, they will will keep almost all their leaves, but in severe winters they will drop quite a few leaves - but will flush out beautifully in the spring. What Daphnes are known best for is their fragrance. A light wind will carry their musky sweet fragrance to wherever you are in the yard. 

Daphnes will tolerate full sun, but in our climate a little protection from hot afternoon sun is probably best. We have a huge 'Summer Ice' on the east side of our office and it seems very happy there. While D. transatlantica isn't as picky about watering as other Daphnes, well-drained soil is best. These plants are also deer resistant, and fairly drought tolerant once established. Like all Daphnes, though, it doesn't like to have its root system disturbed so be gentle when planting and don't try to transplant it once it's settled.  


We also regularly carry two other types of Daphne that are a bit fussier, water-wise - but are well worth the effort:

Daphne odora (Winter Daphne): Winter Daphne gets to approximately 3 to 4' tall and wide, and there are both plain and variegated-leafed varieties. One of the secrets of successfully growing Winter Daphnes is to make sure they have excellent drainage. In heavier soils, plant them slightly higher than the surrounding soil, or plant on a mound.

Daphne Lawrence CrockerDaphne 'Lawrence Crocker': This is a really sweet dwarf Daphne (just 12" tall and wide) with purple flowers. Daphne 'Lawrence Crocker' was named after one of the original partners of the Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery, and this plant is a lovely namesake. They also prefer well-drained soil, and are an excellent addition to a dry shade garden. 

Pulsatilla vulgaris

on Wednesday, 02 April 2014. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Pasque Flower


Of all the flushes of new growth and bright flowers of spring, Pulsatillas are my favorite harbinger of this vibrant season.  Among the earlier of perennials to bloom, Pasque flowers emerge from dormancy covered with silky hairs that lend a silvery tone to their soft green, lacy leaves.  They quickly produce fat buds that are equally furry; the entire plant just begs to be touched!  These buds open into both nodding and upright cup shaped blossoms in shades of purple, red and white.  Their stamens are arranged in a ball of golden color with a tuft of purple in the center, looking like a little pineapple.  The seed heads that follow are akin to thin, silky feathers gathered into pompoms that last for weeks, swaying in the slightest breeze and really adding to the overall show.  Pulsatillas are one of those refined yet bold flowers that don't need any frills to be visually exciting.  They truly stand out when placed at the edge of a border or nestled among boulders in a rock garden, especially when scattered about.  They can reseed themselves if happy, although not so heavily as to be a nuisance.  The seedlings of this special perennial are welcome in most gardens and often vary in bloom color from their parents, creating a wonderful blend of tones throughout their clumps.  Pasque flowers are best situated in a spot with plenty of spring sun, but some afternoon shade during the hot summer months, otherwise they simply go dormant early.  This can be achieved by placing them next to a perennial that does not have much of a presence in spring, but come summer is a towering, shade providing neighbor.  Native to the prairies and steppes of central Europe, Pulsatillas prefer well drained soil and will even tolerate gritty, nutrient poor soil.  On the smaller side, Pasque flowers only reach 6-8 inches tall and spread 12-18 inches in time.  Their diminutive stature allows them to be easily stashed into any remaining blank nooks that show up in the springtime garden.  Year after year this sweet little plant will reward even the most negligent gardener when it sparkles with morning dew in March and is smothered with jewel toned beauties throughout April.

Spirea thunbergii 'Ogon'

on Thursday, 31 October 2013. Posted in Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Ogon (Gold Leaf) Bridal Wreath Spirea


A colorful and textural addition to the tough and easy to grow Spireas.   Changing from bright yellow, to lime green, to vibrant orange in the fall, the leaves are the real show.  'Ogon' is a white, spring blooming variety of Spirea, meaning pruning is best done after bloom- the clustered flowers on the bare stems are good for cut flower arrangements.  This spirea is 3-5' tall by 3-5' wide and has an arching, billowy habit creating a soft haze of yellow.  The leaves are very narrow and feathery which contrast really nicely with larger leaved plants like Cotinus, or Viburnums.    We just love watching the color changes of this Spirea, in December it still has leaves clinging to the stems and has nice orange fall color- which all Sprireas don't have.  Spireas in general are easy care (a harsh prune after flowering if needed) and can take full sun to part sun as well as moderate to light watering.  It is also not choosy about soil types, even withstanding clay. Spireas are typically deer resistant, but try one out first.    'Ogon' Spirea would look great paired with purple leaf Cotinus (smokebush), Arbutus unedo, Hamamelis (Witch Hazels), and other contrasting leaf shapes.

Cistus spp.

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



If your only exposure to Rockroses has been the Orchid Rockrose (Cistus purpurea), which can get a bit rangy and raggedy after a few years, you are in for a real treat!

There are some spectacular varieties of Rockrose on the market, and these plants easily fill that challenging niche of a drought-tolerant, deer resistant, evergreen shrub with showy blooms. They do require well-drained soil - not too fertile is best - and minimal summer water once established.

Cistus are native to the Mediterraneas region and thrive in our hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. They do especially well on a slope or rocky hillside with well-drained soil. Make sure they are placed in a location that gets winter sun. Rockroses 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.

Here are some of our favorites:

cistus skanbergii 1 568xCistus skanbergii - A beautiful little groundcover Cistus. And abundance of soft pink 1" wide flowers are complemented by gray-green leaves. Low, broad habit- 3' tall and up to 8' wide.

Cistus 'Blanche'- a large shrub in habit and bloom.  Ours have grown well over 5' tall and about 4' wide in 4 years.  Seems to be more upright than wide with an especially resinous and scented medium green leaf.  Needs some tip pinching to keep dense but has a nice habit for a large hedge.  Extra large white blooms with yellow center.  Seems to be one of the most deer resistant because of its resinous leaves.

Cistus ladanifer maculatus- Crimson Spot Rockrose - shown above.  White petals with crimson spot at base.  Rounded habit to at least 4'x4' and dark green leaf.

Cistus SunsetCistus 'Sunset'- Another good rockrose for groundcover. 'Sunset' will spread at least 4-5' wide and stay 18"-2' tall, with bright magenta flowers on sage green/silver foliage.  Great contrast and long blooming.