Articles in Category: Native

Acer circinatum

on Sunday, 24 October 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Native, Fall Color, Trees

Vine Maple

Acer circinatum2Graceful beauty, versatility, durability, great fall color: these are just a few of the reasons that Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) is widely considered to be one of the very best native trees for the home landscape here in Oregon.

If you’ve ever hiked along one of the many creeks or rivers in southwest Oregon, chances are you’re already familiar with Vine Maple. They generally grow as an understory tree, but are also able to grow in sunny areas – although they do best with a bit of afternoon shade.

The shape and size of a Vine Maple is frequently dependent upon where it is grown - they can range in height from about 6’ to 20’. Trees grown in sunny areas tend to be upright and fairly compact, while shade-grown trees develop the gorgeous horizontal branching form that gives this tree its common name.

Acer circinatum flowersIn the spring, branch tips are covered with clusters of dangling, delicate-looking red and white flowers that are extremely popular with a wide variety of bees (both native bees and honeybees); followed by slightly rounded, bright green leaves. These leaves are not only lovely to look at – they’re also an important food source for the larvae of the beautiful Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

Acer circinatum1 cropVine Maple colors up nicely in the fall, with leaf color ranging from golden-yellow to orange to red. Even after the leaves have fallen, the branching structure of Vine Maple provides some nice visual interest in the winter garden. If you’re thinking of incorporating more native trees into your landscape, Vine Maples are a delightful place to start!

Polystichum munitum

on Thursday, 21 October 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Western Sword Fern

Western Sword FernThe sculptural fronds of ferns provide lots of winter interest, and Western Sword Fern is one of the toughest, most drought tolerant, and easiest ferns to grow in the Rogue Valley. 

This native fern can tolerate our dry summers and wet winters and even take a little sun. It prefers to be an understory plant but established ferns in good, composty soil will tolerate quite a bit of sun. The key is to get them well established with deep waterings the first few summers and applications of yearly leaf mulch or compost mulch. Western Sword Fern has a courser texture than some more delicate ferns but that makes their fronds last longer, allowing them to be used in cut flower arrangements. The leathery, dark green fronds can be 2-4' tall depending where they are grown and can be used alone or look especially good in clumps or drifts. 

Polystichum detailWe like to use Western Sword Ferns under large trees - like oaks, combined with Euphorbia purpurea, Heuchera sanguinea or the purple leafed varieties of Coral bells, Mahonia repens, and other dry shade perennials and shrubs. All ferns are deer resistant and the Western Sword Fern is no exception. They are evergreen but will look their best with an annual shearing of the oldest fronds in spring to allow the new fronds to uncurl. Leave the old, pruned fronds as a natural mulch.  Ferns are always interesting to watch throughout the seasons and Western Sword Fern makes an especially nice evergreen specimen in the shade garden.

Rhamnus californica

on Friday, 18 September 2020. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

California Coffeeberry

Coffeeberry

Coffeeberry is a great candidate for that hard-to-fill niche of an evergreen native shrub that also attracts birds and pollinators; is drought tolerant, deer resistant, and fire resistant; and even makes a good hedge or screen. In fact, it may well be the only plant that fills that niche!

Coffeeberry is a west coast native; occurring from southern Oregon all the way south into Baja California. It gets its common name from its fruit: berries that change from green to red to almost black over the course of the year. The flowers are inconspicuous (although pollinators notice them just fine) but the birds definitely notice the colorful berries.

Rhamnus makes a great hedge, usually growing at a medium rate to 6-8' tall and wide, with the potential to get larger in more wooded areas. The named variety 'Eve Case’ has broader and brighter, green foliage and will stay a bit more compact at 4-8' wide and tall. Its leaves are long and pointed and are a matte green with a paler underside.

Coffeeberry prefers full sun but can also be happy in part shade or a more wooded garden. In the Rogue Valley, it can tolerate the heat and most soils, although it prefers a sandy, well-draining soil. This is truly a drought-tolerant plant - once established, it can survive on no irrigation. To keep it more fire resistant, though, we recommend giving it a deep soak every two weeks during the summer months. We have found Coffeeberry to be deer resistant in most situations, especially once established. Deer may have a tendency to chew the new growth, but will leave plants alone when they get some size on them.

If you are new to growing native plants, this is a great plant to start with. Try it out to see how easy, attractive, and sustainable native plants can be in your garden!

Monardella 'Marian Sampson'

on Tuesday, 16 June 2020. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Monardella Marian Sampson crop edIf you walked by Monardella ‘Marian Sampson’ before it was in bloom, you might not even notice it. But once it starts to bloom, this plant will stop you dead in your tracks! Clusters of bright scarlet, tubular flowers – in many cases taller than the plant itself – almost completely obscure the foliage. And thanks to these brilliant flowers, ‘Marian Sampson’ is not only popular with gardeners; it is also beloved by hummingbirds and native bees.

Marian Sampson flower ed‘Marian Sampson’ is a modest little mat-forming perennial; a cultivar of a California native (Monardella macrantha). Plants are just 3-4” tall and about a foot wide, with dark green, shiny leaves and a powerful minty fragrance, if you happen to brush past it. It provides a vivid splash of color in the drought-tolerant garden from early summer into fall.

Plants are drought tolerant and deer resistant, and can also be grown in containers. They do require excellent drainage, though. If you are planting them in clay, make sure you are planting on a mound or a hillside, where the water will drain away from them – especially during our wet winter months. ‘Marian Sampson’ can be grown in full sun, but is also perfectly happy with a bit of light shade in the afternoon.

Looking for more information on pollinator-friendly plants for Rogue Valley gardens? Be sure to check out our Pollinator-Friendly plant list!

Arctostaphylos 'John Dourley'

on Thursday, 02 January 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Native, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

'John Dourley' Manzanita

Dourley editHere at Shooting Star Nursery, we love our manzanitas!

Manzanitas are native, evergreen, drought tolerant, low maintenance - and really, really pretty. They’re also an important source of nectar for overwintering Anna’s hummingbirds; providing the rich, sugary nectars these birds rely on. In fact, manzanitas are outstanding plants for wildlife-friendly gardens, providing shelter, a late winter/early spring nectar source for a variety of pollinators, and late summer fruits that feed birds and other critters.

One of the earliest blooming manzanita varieties for Rogue Valley gardens is Arctostaphylos ‘John Dourley’. Ours here at the nursery are already blooming happily in early January! ‘John Dourley’ is a hybrid of two species of manzanita: A. pajaroensis x A. bakeri. They’re one of the most garden tolerant manzanitas around, thrive in either full sun and partial sun, and can even be grown in clay soils. Plants generally reach 2’ to 4’ tall by 4’ to 6’ wide – making them great candidates for a low hedge. New growth is coppery red, which is set off nicely by their cinnamon colored bark.

Like most manzanitas, ‘John Dourley’ requires little to no water once established. Most species of manzanita are also Verticillium Wilt resistant and also do well with water high in Boron (since they hardly need water!). If you are planting ‘John Dourley’ in clay soil, plants will do best planted on a mound or hillside.

Warning: manzanitas are a bit like potato chips – you might find it hard to just plant one! For more information on the other species of manzanitas we generally carry here at Shooting Star, check out this article on our website.