Articles in Category: Ground Cover

Veronica 'Georgia Blue'

on Friday, 02 April 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Georgia Blue Speedwell

Veronica Georgia BlueThis modest little groundcover happens to be one of our most popular perennials! Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’ adds a generous splash of rich cobalt blue to the edge of any garden or container planting.  

Dainty deep blue flowers with white eyes begin blooming as early as February and are heaviest in April. If you deadhead plants once the first flush of bloom is finished, you can easily extend their flowering season into early summer. The flowers are also attractive to a variety of pollinators including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Besides the blooms, the best part about 'Georgia Blue' is that it remains evergreen; with leaves turning lovely shades of burgundy in the colder weather. 'Georgia Blue' is a great companion to early spring bulbs - especially daffodils and species tulips - and can mask the untidy foliage bulbs leave behind as they fade.

Georgia Blue smThis Veronica is a great choice for spilling over the edges of walls or out of containers, or as a densely massed groundcover. Plants will get about 6" tall and spread between 12-24" wide. 'Georgia Blue' will tolerate full sun to part shade and can even take a little drought; but looks best with moderate water and good mulch.

'Georgia Blue' has proven deer resistant in some gardens (Jacksonville, Applegate Valley) in the Rogue Valley but not others (Griffin Creek area of Medford), so try it out first. It looks great planted next to purple toned Euphorbia, Black Mondo Grass, Mahonias, and other broader leaved shrubs and perennials, or as a fill between stepping stones – as you can see in Shooting Star’s Demonstration garden.

Shooting Star also regularly carries these other Veronicas:

Veronica WhitewaterVeronica ‘Waterperry’ and Veronica ‘Whitewater’ both have similar growth habits to ‘Georgia Blue’. ‘Waterperry’ is a softer, lighter blue than ‘Georgia Blue’ and ‘Whitewater’, as the name suggests, is a lovely clear white.

veronica pectinataVeronica pectinata: Also known as Woolly Veronica, this Veronica is more drought-tolerant than the others and is also lower growing (to about 2”).

Zauschneria cana

on Tuesday, 16 June 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Perennial, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

California Fuchsia

zauschneria everetts choice small

Zauschneria - aka California Fuchsia - is one of the most drought tolerant, heat tolerant, pollinator-friendly, beautiful perennials you can grow. We're not sure why this western native is not used more: the hard to pronounce name, or that fact that you can kill it with kindness, perhaps? In any case, this lovely plant deserves a place of honor in more gardens here in the Rogue Valley! Ours begin blooming in early to mid-July and keeps going strong until we get a hard frost in late fall; putting on quite a show for us and the hummingbirds!

Zauschneria’s hot orange to deep red flowers are the quintessential “hummingbird flower”: long, nectar-rich floral tubes just perfectly shaped for a hummingbird’s slender bill. This is one of a handful of flowers I’ve seen actually hummingbirds bypass a feeder for! Plants bloom continuously and don’t seem to need any deadheading; the spent blossoms just neatly drop off the plant. In addition, the vivid orange-red flowers contrast beautifully with soft silvery gray foliage that fits perfectly into a drought tolerant garden. They look great when planted with Salvia, Agastache, Perovskia, Gaura, Eriophyllum, Monardella, and other drought-tolerant perennials.

Zausch editThis western native perennial is happiest in a well-drained soil (you see them naturally growing out of rock outcroppings), with full sun and infrequent water. They do especially well on slopes or at the edge of a rock wall. We like to leave up any dormant stems over the winter, to help them survive our wet winters and clean them up in early spring. The stems can be cut back after all danger of cold weather is past and the plant will grow back quickly to be full and vibrant by summertime.

When you see Zauschneria available in the nursery, grab them fast. We don’t carry them all year long and they sell out quickly! They are best planted in spring and summer, when they can have some time to get settled in before winter hits. Most varieties we carry are cold hardy to at least Zone 7b, about 5 to 10 degrees F.

zauschneria homepageHere’s a short description of a few of the varieties we carry:

Z. c. 'Calistoga'- 1' tall by 2' wide, one of the darkest orange (almost red) varieties with thicker, larger, more silvery leaves than most. Best planted on a slope.


Z. septentrionalis 'Select Mattole' - 10" tall and 24" wide or so. Very silvery, large leaves with a great spreading habit


Z. garrettii 'Orange Carpet' - 6" tall x 18" wide, a green leafed form that can take more afternoon shade and a bit more summer water. It is one of the first to bloom.


Z. ‘Everett’s Choice’ – 6” tall x 2-3’wide, with large vividly red flowers


Z. arizonica – 2-3’ tall, by 2’wide, with gray-green foliage and orange-red flowers¬. Hardy to Zone 5.

Callirhoe involucrata

on Tuesday, 09 June 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Wine Cups Poppy Mallow

CallirhoeOne look at Callirhoe involucrata in bloom and you’ll instantly understand how it got its common name: Wine Cup Poppy Mallow. Callirhoe’s large (up to 2” across), brilliant magenta flowers are held upright – like brilliant cups of wine – over its rich, dark green foliage.

Callirhoe is native to the central United States, with a range that runs from North Dakota south to Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona. Its native habitat is dry meadows and prairies and it combines well with other prairie natives including Liatris, Echinacea, Schizachyrium, Amsonia, and Solidago.

Callirhoe plant edThese fast-growing plants form a low growing mat about 6-12” tall, and between 3-4’ wide. Place them at the front of a perennial bed, or even let them spill over a garden wall where they’ll provide a vibrant show of color all summer long. Callirhoe does best in full sun and well-drained soils. Once established, they’re drought tolerant, deer resistant, and wonderful pollinator plants, as you can see from the photo to the left. They will grow in clay soils as long as they are well-drained (e.g.: on a slope or berm), but will not tolerate heavy wet soils.

Note: Callirhoe involucrata will self-seed. If you’d prefer to control its spread, just pinch off the dead flowers before they set seed!

Sarcococca

on Friday, 10 January 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Fragrant Sweetbox

Sarcococca ruscifolia

Dark and shady places - like the north walls of a home - can be extremely challenging sites to plant. Sarcococca, or Sweetbox, is an ideal shrub for low-light situations like this. Thriving in everything from part sun to deep shade, Sweetbox is an attractive, broad-leafed evergreen with glossy dark green leaves that provides a good backdrop for airier ferns and flowering shade perennials. 

There are a handful of different species ranging from upright shrubs to slowly spreading groundcovers. They all have simple leathery leaves and are for the most part deer resistant, making this genus a true problem solver in a myriad of ways. Not to mention they bloom in late winter when most plants haven't even broken dormancy! 

Even though their small fringy flowers are not what you would consider showy, they amply make up for it with a powerfully sweet, vanilla-like fragrance that is sure to get attention. Add in red to black berries that lend a festive quality later in the year, and you've got a great four-season plant!

In return, this understated plant merely asks for moderately fertile soil with decent drainage and regular water throughout the hotter months. That is not to say Sweetbox wouldn't prefer rich, humusy and acidic soil, but it is quite adaptable once established. 

 Here are some of our favorite types:

 Sarcococca ruscifolia or Fragrant Sweetbox is the largest of the more common species reaching 3-6' high and wide with an arching habit and more rounded leaves. It is known to naturally espalier itself against a house and thus can be useful in tight spots and under windows. Its growth is slow to moderate and can easily be kept at 3’.

Sarcococca 'Fragrant Valley' is a compact yet vigorous selection growing to 18-24" tall and 3-4' wide. 

Sarcococca 'Fragrant Mountain' attains a slightly larger size at 2-3' tall and 3-4' wide, making it a great alternative to Skimmia japonica. 

All of these varieties are disease resistant and tolerant of drier soils and less than ideal conditions. Sarcococca species are great supporting cast members for the shady garden (…we can't all be stars...) - and a must have for lovers of fragrant plants!

Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'

on Monday, 09 June 2014. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Fall Color, Shade Plants, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'Biokovo' Hardy Geranium (Cranesbill)

BiokovoThis 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!

geranium biokovo fall coloCool 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!