Articles in Category: Flowering Plants

Amsonia 'Blue Ice'

on Monday, 31 May 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Fall Color, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

'Blue Ice' Bluestar

Amsonia Blue Ice edit

The American Horticultural Society named Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ as one of its “75 Great Plants for American Gardens’, and it is easy to see why! Easy to grow, attractive foliage, lovely periwinkle-blue flowers, and great fall color: Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ deserves a space in any sunny perennial garden.

 

‘Blue Ice’ is native to the southeastern US, but is finding increasing popularity here on the West Coast. It gets about 15” tall by 24” wide and has a nice, soft clumping shape, which helps it blend in nicely with other plants in a mixed border. Late spring/early summer flowers put on a great show – and in the fall, the foliage turns a warm golden color.

 

Plants grow best in full sun – they get a little soft and floppy in partial shade - and deadheading will help prolong flowering. ‘Blue Ice’ is tolerant of most soils; even clay soil, as long as the soil isn’t waterlogged. As an added bonus, the latex sap in plant stems makes it unpalatable to deer, but butterflies and other pollinators find the flowers irresistible!

Phlomis fruticosa

on Sunday, 30 May 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Jerusalem Sage

PhlomisJerusalem Sage is a very striking and unusual plant to add to your drought tolerant or deer resistant garden. The fuzzy gray-green leaves seem to be unpalatable to deer, and being a Mediterranean native makes it a great choice for our dry summers.

Phlomis acts as more of a shrub than perennial; staying evergreen in all but the coldest winters. Ours died back a few years ago when it got to 7 degrees, but came back full and lush the next summer. It can grow to 4' tall and wide but can be pruned in fall to keep it more compact. We have found it to be fully deer resistant even in the hills of east Medford and seems to be tolerating the clay there as well, as long as it is not overwatered. The large, fuzzy leaves make a nice contrast to the finer leaves of most drought tolerant plants, and Phlomis also brings a strong structural element to your landscape design!

Phlomis2Starting in May, the yellow flowers emerge in whorls along the sturdy stems and attract bees and butterflies throughout the summer. Phlomis will take full sun to light shade and will tolerate poor soil, requiring good drainage, and even tolerating some clay if not overwatered.

Phlomis russeliana is a similar looking Jerusalem Sage that we sometimes carry; it tends to spread by runners instead of staying in one clump and stays a bit shorter, but will stay within bounds.

Both species remain attractive even after the blooms fade, their seedheads keeping an architectural sillouette throughout the colder months and providing seed for birds. They look great with ornamental grasses, Lavenders, Nepetas, Asters, Sages, Vitex, and other Meditteranean type plants. Just prune back the flower stems when you're done with them and that's about all you have to do to maintain them.

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.

 

 

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Rotundifolius'

on Wednesday, 28 April 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus (False Holly)

osmanthus_rotundifolia

This is one evergreen shrub that looks great all year round. No leaf spot, no diseases or weird pests, no old brown leaves - just glossy, thick leaves that start out light green and darken to a beautiful holly-like blue green.

The Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus is very easy to grow and seems to be happy in any location. We have one planted on the east, west, and north sides of buildings and all seem to be thriving. It wouldn't necessarily be our first choice for a hot spot against a south wall, but they do seem to acclimate to where they are placed and will even tolerate clay soil.

Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus will be more drought tolerant in a shadier location, but our established ones are rudely ignored and haven't complained. A thick mulch layer will help any evergreen shrub - or any plant for that matter - retain moisture and withstand the changes in temperature. This variety of Osmanthus is hardy to Zone 6 and has shown no winter damage through Rogue Valley winters. Like most Osmanthus it produces small, white, fragrant flowers, typically in the fall.

Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus will get about 4'x4', but can be pruned a bit tighter. It is not fast growing but puts on steady growth each year and won't overrun it's location. It is a great foundation plant or background for showier perennials. If the spines of Hollies are not your favorite this could be a good substitute since the rounded leaves only have slight spines - nothing to cause damage to the pruning gardener.

It can be deer resistant once established since it has thick, leathery leaves. But in heavy deer country it can have a hard time getting settled if the deer constantly eat the new growth. So cage it until it can get big enough to withstand the occasional deer browsing or test it out first - it seems to depend on the deer population on this one. 

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.