Cranberry and Doublefile Viburnum
Cranberry and Doublefile Viburnum
Cornelian Cherry is a dogwood relative that is a beacon of light in the gloomy days of early spring. It is rare to find a yellow blooming tree and since Cornus mas bloom so early, the blooms last an extra long time- up to two months. Blooming so early means they may be susceptible to a late spring frost if it coincides with the blooms emerging but once open they can take the occasional freeze. The small yellow inflorescences just glow in the low light of spring and look especially good with a dark green background of pines or doug firs. Like most dogwoods they do best in dappled light or as an understory tree but these species seem to take more sun than a regular dogwood. We have observed some in full sun in the Rogue Valley surviving just fine. After the flower show, small, shiny, oval leaves with a curved margin emerge and get yellow or red/purple fall color. More interesting are the red, oblong, up to 3/4", fruits that come on in the fall and hang on until birds feed on them. They are edible, best for preserves as they are a bit sour. The Cornelian Cherry is a great choice for a small, disease and pest resistant tree that provides multi-season interest and easy care. They typically will get 15-20' wide and tall at a slow to medium growth rate.
There is a beautiful specimen at the OSU Extension Office on Hanley Rd. in Central Point.
Threadleaf Blue Star
We are excited to start growing and offering this harder to find and low maintenance perennial. Threadleaf Blue Star has a long season of interest, beginning with starry sky blue flowers, fading to white in late spring followed by wispy light green foliage that turns a gorgeous golden yellow in fall. This SE American native is one of the longest lasting perennials for fall color. It does go winter dormant but the dried foliage can persist through winter adding interest that combines well with the seedheads and blades of ornamental grasses. Amsonia gets about 3' tall and 3-4' wide and requires regular watering to look its best but can tolerate some drought. Full to part sun is ideal and give it at least two years to really show off. We are anxious to try it out in deer country, because most sources say it is deer resistant and rabbit resistant. So come on Rogue Valley, let's try it out! Use it on masse, as a cut flower, or butterfly and bee attractor.
Fantastic fall color of Amsonia with Miscanthus and Buddleia 'Blue Chip'- Photo from University of Missouri
'Biokovo' Hardy Geranium (Cranesbill)
This versatile and easy-to-grow hardy geranium is a great choice for an evergreen perennial that is deer resistant, drought tolerant in part shade, and even gets fall color.
When looking for deer resistant plants it's always imortant to seek out scented plants, especially leaves with a strong smell. 'Biokovo' Geranium is one of the rare perennials to have a strong, spicy scent that is not Meditteranean or needing lots of sun. It performs best in a cool location with morning sun or at least protection from the hottest part of the day. The broad, lobed leaves provide striking contrast to finer leafed perennials and grasses.
'Biokovo' spreads by rhizomes to make a nice spreading mound about 6-10" tall and 2-3' wide and can be a bit aggressive so make sure it's neighbors can hold its own. Dainty, pale pink to white flowers with pink stamens emerge in late spring through summer, but this perennial remains interesting all year. The variety 'Cambridge Blue' is similar except with a lavender-blue flower. We usually have several varieties of hardy Geranium in stock; they're great, tough, long-blooming perennials!
Cool fall weather brings out vibrant red and gold tones in some of the leaves but the leaves don't go completely dormant so you won't have an empty spot there in the winter. This tough geranium can be drought tolerant once established but will look freshest with regular water and a shearing after winter. A great groundcover for use with bulbs as it will mask fading bulb leaves and add flower interest after the bulb flowers are done. This is our go-to plant for a deer infested shade garden!
We're on a fruit tree kick, so here's another good choice for the Rogue Valley climate- Asian Pears! Pears in general do well in the valley, as history has shown, and asian pears are an especially delicious way to add more variety to your fruit choices. They are a great selection for the home orchard because they are easy to grow and tend to be expensive at the grocery store since they don't always travel well. An Asian Pear fresh off the tree is a true treat. They seem like a cross between an apple and pear; being round and crisp like an apple, with a slight flavor of pear but more complex and sweet. They are great fresh or sliced into salads and can be cooked. They also store for at least a month in the refrigerator. They need another Asian Pear or a European Pear like 'Bartlett' for pollination. Being in pear country, we've had good pollination on our one asian pear just from neighboring pears. Asian Pears also produce fruit when young so you don't have to wait years before you can enjoy the crisp fruit. Besides the fruit, they also have ornamental value with large, white flowers in the spring and orange/red foliage in the fall. If you don't have lots of space for a fruit tree, they espalier against a fence or trellis really well. In the photo we have one trained against copper tubing- every year it just gets pruned back to spurs and growing it flat makes it very easy to pick the fruit. Full sun to at least half a day of sun is prefered and like all fruit trees, good drainage is best to keep diseases at bay. An occasional deep soak is the best way to water, allowing the roots to grow deep and letting it dry out between waterings.
The varieties we like are: