Articles in Category: Deer Resistant

Edible Figs (Copy)

on Wednesday, 16 September 2020. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs enjoy well-drained soils and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established. They're also self fertile, and are actually pollinated on the inside of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter. A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back. They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs here at Shooting Star Nursery, and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to several better-known types that perform better in California. Our selection generally includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian, Little Ruby, Stella, and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Desert King; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Peter’s Honey.

 blackjack 2012What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins. Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

Here are a few of the varieties we generally have in stock:

Black Spanish - Dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf
Brown Turkey – Medium-large fruit, sweet purplish/brown skin w/light pink flesh
Chicago Hardy – Medium fruit, brown to violet skin w/strawberry pink flesh, excellent flavor
Desert King - Large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops
Little Ruby – Medium fruit, reddish-brown skin w/ruby flesh, prolific bearer, dwarf variety
Olympian - Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf variety
Peter's Honey - Deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

Muhlenbergia 'Fast Forward'

on Friday, 21 August 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Flowering Plants

Pink Muhly Grass

FFSome ornamental grasses – Miscanthus ‘Adagio’, Andropogon ‘Red October’, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Forester’, Panicum ‘Northwind’ – are known for their big, bold, structural presence in the garden. These grasses practically beg to be put front and center, and used as a focal point. Other grasses are more subtle and delicate-looking in their appearance. Muhlenbergia ‘Fast Forward’ falls in the latter category.

Muhlenbergia ed‘Fast Forward’ is a truly graceful ornamental grass. It’s finely textured, with bluish-green foliage that grows in a tidy clump; about 2-4” tall by up to 3’ wide. As attractive as the leaves are, though, the inflorescences are what makes this a stunning addition to a garden or border. Plants begin blooming in late August, and the lovely pink inflorescences create a soft haze of color that seems to float in the air. This grass is really effective as a backdrop for other shorter perennials, or massed in a clump. If you can put it somewhere where it will be backlit by the late afternoon sun, that’s even better!

Muhlenbergia ‘Fast Forward’ provides you with both color and texture in the garden, as well as an element most gardeners rarely think of: motion. Fine blades of grass and inflorescences dance slowly in an afternoon breeze; adding a soft vitality to your garden bed or border. These plants are also deer resistant, and do well in full sun.

Like most ornamental grasses ‘Fast Forward’ browns out during the winter. We like to leave the grass blades and flower heads standing all winter: their silhouette provides some lovely visual interest in the winter landscape, and the foliage will help protect the grass from heavy rains and unexpected cold snaps. Cut it back in early spring (late February through early March), when you start to see new growth push through last year’s faded vegetation.

Perovskia atriplicifolia

on Friday, 14 August 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Russian Sage

Perovskia edPerovskia or Russian Sage is one TOUGH plant. It's also quite beautiful, with fuzzy silvery-blue buds that open to blue-violet flowers; adding long lasting color and texture to your garden.

Perovskia’s gray-green, finely dissected leaves have a clean, pungent smell – reminiscent of sage and mint. And while humans find the fragrance enjoyable, deer do not – which helps make this plant quite reliably deer resistant.

This plant is incredibly drought and heat tolerant, and even looks pretty in the winter when the dried-out silhouette and open branching catches the frost. Perovskia is a woody stemmed perennial and does go winter dormant. It requires good drainage and full sun and make sure to not keep it too wet. We like to wait to prune it back until spring arrives so that the crown stays protected from the winter wet. When you see new growth emerge in mid spring that is the best to time to prune it back hard and freshen it up.

Perovskia’s soft-looking lavender-blue blooms pair wonderfully with other heat lovers like Yarrow, Rosemary, and Salvia, as well as ornamental grasses or Yuccas. Butterflies and many types of bees are attracted to the late summer flowers. The straight species (Perovskia atriplicifolia) gets quite large, as much as 4' tall and wide. But there are several newer varieties that stay more compact. We like 'Little Spire' at 2-3' tall wide and ‘Blue Steel’ at 1-3’ tall and 18-24” wide.

Crocosmia

on Wednesday, 08 July 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Lucifer crop edit

Generally, summer-flowering perennials fall into two groups: those whose flowers fall into the cool tones (blues, purples, soft pinks) and those with warm-toned flowers (reds, oranges, and bright yellows). Crocosmia flowers aren’t just warm-toned, they’re hot!

These fiery-colored flowers make a bold statement in the summer garden, at a time when most spring-blooming perennials are starting to fade in the heat.

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora George Davison 2Crocosmia (also known as Montbretia) is a member of the Iris family and is native to South Africa – an area with a climate similar to our climate here in the Rogue Valley. They look a bit like a refined Gladiola, only with flowers held in graceful, arching sprays rather than on stiff, upright spikes. Plants are deer resistant, drought tolerant when established, and grow well both in the ground or in containers. For a really dramatic effect, consider planting Crocosmia in large drifts to bring a splash of vibrant color to your garden. Hummingbirds find these plants irresistible, and you’ll often see several of them working a large planting of Crocosmia.

If you are a fan of bringing fresh flowers into your home, you’ll be happy to learn that Crocosmia are also a great addition to the cutting garden. Not only do the flowers hold up beautifully, but their seed pods and long, narrow leaf blades can be used with striking effect in flower arrangements!

 

We carry three different varieties, ranging in color from a rich yellow to a brilliant red:

Lucifer’: Big and bold; ‘Lucifer’ gets from 3’ to 3 ½’ tall with vivid, scarlet flowers. Photo top left.

EmilyM edit‘Emily McKenzie’: ‘Emily McKenzie’ is a mid-sized Crocosmia, reaching between 2’ and 2 ½’ tall. Bright orange flowers darken to red near the throat, with a yellow center.

 

‘George Davidson’: This is the shortest of the varieties we carry. Plants tend to top out at around 1 ½’ tall. Orange buds open up to lovely, golden-yellow flowers. Photo top right.

Chilopsis linearis 'Bubba'

on Thursday, 18 June 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Trees, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearisThinking of creating a small, shady oasis in the middle of your drought-tolerant garden? Chilopsis ‘Bubba’ might just be the tree you are looking for!

Desert Willows are native to desert washes throughout the southwestern US and northern Mexico. Despite its common name, Desert Willow is not actually a willow (its closely related to Trumpet Vine and Jacaranda), but its long, narrow, dark green leaves are reminiscent of willow leaves. ‘Bubba’ has large, fragrant pinkish-purple flowers that begin blooming in early summer (ours are blooming now) and last well into fall. These plants really come into their own during our summer heat, when other plants start to slow down.

Chilopsis Bubba crop ed‘Bubba’ is a small (15’ by 15’), fast growing tree with an open growth habit and attractively textured bark. It prefers a hot, sunny location and is hardy to at least Zone 7. We have seen it growing at the Denver Botanic Garden though, so we’re assuming that mature trees can withstand even colder temperatures. Plants are quite drought-tolerant once established, but will also tolerate deep, infrequent summer watering. They do need well-drained soil. If you have clay soil in your yard, consider planting it on a mound or a berm.

‘Bubba’ combines beautifully with other drought-tolerant, heat loving plants like Oenothera, the Salvia ‘Mirage’ series, Callirhoe, Penstemon pinifolius, Zauschneria, Monardella, Hesperaloe, and Perovskia to create a vibrant, colorful garden that really shines during the heat of summer. Even better, think about placing a bench under your Desert Willow, so you can enjoy its dappled shade and watch the hummingbirds and other native pollinators that flock to your mini-oasis!