Articles in Category: Good for Screening

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'

on Wednesday, 15 November 2017. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Compact Strawberry Tree

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Compact Strawberry tree is one of our favorites for so many reason: it can tolerate sun or shade, is drought tolerant, provides fall flowers for the hummingbirds, has long lasting, spectacularly colored fruit, and it's evergreen!

You can easily see how this relative of our native Madrone gets its common name of Strawberry Tree. The orange and red fruits resemble strawberries, and although the fruit is technically edible, they are more for suited wildlife as they are bland  and mealy in texture. The honey scented, white, urn-shaped flowers can appear from fall into early spring and the fruits often come on at the same time or not long after.

Arbutus medSome years seem to have heavier fruit set than others, but the fruits are so decorative and long lasting that they don't qualify as messy. With leathery, dark green, oblong leaves, reddish new stems and shaggy auburn bark it is handsome all year. Compact Strawberry Tree is not the most fast growing evergreen shrub, but it will grow steadily to 5-7' tall and wide (eventually larger). With annual pruning it can be kept tighter and smaller. This is one of those rare plants that is happy in sun or part shade making it a great choice for a hedge with varied conditons. It is also tolerant of various climates and soils.

We have some planted on the north side of our house that have done wonderfully with no supplemental water after their first year and even survived the 7 degree winter with no damage! In extreme cold they will show some damage; so best to plant where they are not completely exposed to cold winds. The winter of 2013, where we got to zero degrees for several nights, proved fatal to some Arbutus and some rebounded after suffering damage on top.

We wish they were deer resistant but unfortunately the tips get chewed too much to be reliable.  Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' is great in foundation plantings  or hedges. You will be hardpressed to find an evergreen shrub with more year round interest - plus the hummingbirds will thank you for providing a much-needed winter nectar source!

Ilex meserveae 'Blue Girl'

on Monday, 05 December 2016. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Blue Girl Holly

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Holly may seem a bit pedestrian of a choice for a plant of the week, but it fits the season and the red berries brighten up these gray fall days. Plus 'Blue Girl' Holly is deer resistant (although in Ashland, the deer are ignoring this advice), drought tolerant, tough, and can tolerate sun or shade.

The glossy dark green leaves do have spines but they are not as sharp as many other holly types or even barberry. The leaves look fresh and clean and are complimented by purple stems and bright clusters of red berries. You can keep this holly around 3'-4' if you like with occasional pruning or let it get 5-6' tall and 3-6' wide for a dense hedge. You do need a  'Blue Boy' to keep the berry production up, but it seems that there is usually a holly bush in the neighborhood to assist with pollination. This species is especially cold hardy and can handle clay soils, appreciating the typically acidic pH of clay soils.

Keep watering to the drier side of the spectrum, and prune back if needed in the winter. 'Blue Girl' Holly is not a fast grower, so it is a good choice for growing in a container paired with other festive-colored plants, like Heuchera, Nandina, and ornamental grasses.

Cistus spp.

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

Rockrose

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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.

Rhamnus alaternus 'Variegata'

on Wednesday, 12 September 2012. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Variegated Italian Buckthorn

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Italian Buckthorn is a bit new to us but we have been impressed with how fast if grows and its attractiveness all year round. This evergreen shrub can get quite large- up to 8-10' tall and 6-8' wide so it can make a nice hedge or specimen. The creamy edged foliage lights up a corner and contrasts well with the red/brown stems. This Rhamnus can tolerate sun or part shade, but being a zone 7 plant, is cold hardier with full sun. It develops small flowers that turn to red fruit in the winter and the foliage is wonderful for cut flower arrangements. Drought and heat tolerant once established make this a good screening choice for the Rogue Valley. Looks wonderful with contrasting reds and purples. Here are some other photos of it from Xera Plants. Would love to know if its deer resistant....

Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'

on Monday, 09 May 2011. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Howard McMinn Manzanita

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This named form of Manzanita made it through the 2009 winter that seemed to kill off most Escallonias and Phormiums.  At lows of seven degrees, this Manzanita didn't even discolor or lose leaves.  We have a few planted in the ground at the nursery and they have done beautifully without much irrigation or care. 

'Howard McMinn' will tolerate more irrigation than other manzanitas but all are very drought tolerant in well draining soil.  It will take full to half a day of sun and grows quickly to 4-5' tall and at least 4-5' wide.  The hummingbirds love the light pink flowers that appear in early spring and smell like honey.  It looks good all year and has dense growth unlike some leggier forms of manzanita.  The red stems contrast nicely with the apple green leaves.  The deer should leave it alone but we have gotten reports of deer chewing some tips.  It may depend on the time of year and the deer population. Arctostaphylos Howard McMinn sm