Articles in Category: Fall Color

Lagerstroemia indica & hybrids

on Thursday, 09 July 2020. Posted in Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Crape Myrtle

Lager1 editHigh summer is the season of Crape Myrtles. While many perennials have begun to fade; and blooming shrubs and trees are few and far between, Crape Myrtles are just hitting their stride. From July through September, their lively show of crinkly crepe paper-like flower clusters in an array of whites, pinks, reds and purples are the perfect anecdote to a drab border. Not only do they deliver in bloom, but most varieties also boast fantastic fall color with fiery oranges and reds, in addition to tints of yellow and purple.

Even though we are on the northern edge of their winter hardiness range, Crape Myrtles are ideal plants for our hot summer climate. They thrive in full, hot sun and well-drained soil, and do best with deep, but infrequent soaks once established. Crape Myrtles bloom on new wood, so late winter or early spring is the best time to prune.

Natchez2 editRanging in size from dwarf shrubs around 3-5 feet tall and wide, to 20-foot-tall trees, there are endless possibilities for fitting Crape Myrtles into a landscape. Although naturally occurring as large shrubs, they are often pruned as trees or multi-stemmed specimens, which are the ideal forms for exposing their exquisite bark. With some age, their peeling cinnamon colored outer bark reveals a smooth and burnished surface, adding sophistication to their winter silhouette. This feature is truly the Crape Myrtle's saving grace due to the fact that they are notoriously late to leaf out in the spring. So be patient, because they are well worth the wait come the dog days of summer!

Without a doubt, the Crape Myrtles is a superior solution to the small tree challenge, offering three seasons of interest in a vibrant, heat and drought tolerant package.

Here, sorted by color, are some of the varieties we carry:

Japanese Zelkova

on Friday, 14 February 2020. Posted in Fall Color, Trees

Zelkova - The 'Problem Solver' Tree

Zelkova

Zelkovas are real ‘problem solver’ trees for gardeners and landscapers alike. This super-tough elm relative prefers full sun and is tolerant of a wide variety of soil types – including heavy clay soils. While they prefer regular watering when young, Zelkovas are relatively drought- and wind-tolerant when established. They can be successfully planted in a variety of situations: in lawns, as street trees, even in parking lot islands and buffer strips (aka ‘hellstrips’). In fact, two of the Zelkova varieties listed here are smaller trees (less than 25' tall), which makes them the perfect choice for smaller areas. In addition to all this, Zelkovas also bring great fall color to the landscape - ranging from golden yellows to fiery reds, depending upon variety.

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

 Wireless Zelkova editWireless: A smallish tree - just 23’ tall by 36’ wide – with a broad, spreading crown; bright red fall color. Because of its low height and broad spreading shape, this cultivar has an ideal shape for street plantings under utility lines.

City Sprite ZelkovaCity Sprite’: Roughly the same height as ‘Wireless’ (24’ tall), but only 18’ wide. Compact, dense, and semi-dwarf, this is the perfect little tree for tight urban spaces. Summer foliage appears brighter green than typical Zelkova, and fall foliage is a buttery yellow.

zelkova serrata greenvase jfssc 01 gpp editGreen Vase: ‘Green Vase’ is one of the taller Zelkovas - 45’ tall by 30’ wide – and has a graceful vase shape, with upright, arching branches. Its medium-sized, dark green leaves turn shades of yellow, orange and rusty red in fall.

 musashino zelkova'Musashino': ‘Musashino’ is another columnar Zelkova, 45’ tall and just 15’ wide, with a lovely orange-yellow color in fall. It’s an ideal tree for street use, with tightly upright branches that allows good vehicle and pedestrian clearance beneath its delicate green canopy.

 

Heaths and Heathers

on Thursday, 21 November 2019. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Fall Color, Shade Plants, Deer Resistant, Shrubs

Heaths and Heathers

EricaHeaths and Heathers are two closely-related evergreen shrubs that are great additions to the shade or partial shade garden. 

Heaths (Erica sp., see photo to the left) have needle-like leaves and bloom during the winter, a welcome sight during those cold, gray months! Plants are low growing - generally from 6" to 15" tall by 2' wide - and have flowers in shades of white, pink, and purple. Heaths can tolerate full sun, but are also happy in partial sun. 

CallunaHeathers (Calluna sp., see photo to the right), on the other hand, have scale-like leaves and bloom from summer through the fall. They get a bit larger than Heaths; generally growing from 1' to 2' tall by up to 3' wide. Flowers are also various shades of white, pink, and purple. Heathers do best in part-sun, and can be a little fussy about watering (they don't like being over-watered or under-watered).

Both Heaths and Heathers prefer well-drained soils, and are relatively deer-resistant and undemanding. As an extra bonus, many varieties of Heath and Heather have foliage that colors up nicely in fall weather, in shades ranging from copper to orange to red. If you plant a mixture of the two, you'll end up with something in bloom for most of the year - along with some great fall color!

Ribes odoratum 'Crandall'

on Wednesday, 27 February 2019. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shade Plants, Edible, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Crandall' Blackcurrant

CrandallHere is a stellar plant that is beautiful, fragrant, and delicious - as well as being good for the birds! 

'Crandall' Blackcurrant is woefully under-utilized, perhaps people haven't eaten a currant before or not visited the nursery when they are in bloom. But come visit in April and you will see a drift of them planted in part shade in our drought tolerant display garden; handily close enough to the rock pile for little hands to pick the fruit when they ripen in summer and beckoning you for a closer look with their clove scented, yellow blooms.

Appealing to hummingbirds and butterflies, the flowers develop into black, round fruit that are tart/sweet with a more mild currant flavor and especially high in Vitamin C. My daughter loves to pick them fresh but they can be made into preserves or baked goods or dried. The cool weather and shorter days of fall bring out gorgeous red foliage color, too.

Most currants would appreciate a spot out of extreme heat but will tolerate full sun with good water. Part shade or morning sun is ideal. They will get 4-5' tall and wide, and bear fruit on second-year growth. Currants can be drought tolerant once established and do best in a well-draining but compost-rich soil. They can be a great addition to a mixed use garden - full of edible and ornamental power!

Asian Persimmons

on Thursday, 01 March 2018. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Edible, Trees, Drought Tolerant

Persimmon trees

hachiya persimmon 1Persimmons are the fruit you didn't know you needed.  So decorative!  So versatile! And fall color as a bonus in an edible tree.  Asian Persimmons are the main type for home gardeners to grow, even though there are American Persimmons (just not as edible).   There are astringent types (used for cooking and eaten soft and fruits have a pointed bottom), and the non-astringent types (can be eaten fresh when firm or soft and fruits have a flat bottom).  See below for the main types we carry.  The non-astringent varieties can keep for 3 weeks at room temperature while the astringent varieties need to be used right away.  Dried Persimmon is a delectable treat that can add vitamin A and C and beta ceratine to your winter days.  Persimmons can be used in baked goods and there are lots of recipes out there showing ways to use this gorgeous fruit.

 

persimmonPersimmons are self fertile so you can get away with one tree and offer vibrant orange fall color.  They are one of the last fruits to harvest in the late fall, usually October even into November.   Trees can typically get 20-25' tall and wide and are not super fast growing.  They appreciate a well draining soil and full sun.   Most Asian Persimmons are hardy to zone 7.  Plase them so you can enjoy the glowing orange pumpkin like fruit hanging from bare branches in late fall.