Articles in Category: Shrubs

Fruiting Shrubs for the Home Garden - Part 2

on Sunday, 06 February 2022. Posted in Edible, Shrubs

Currants and Gooseberries

Currants and Gooseberries may be less familiar to Rogue Valley gardeners than other kinds of fruiting shrubs, but they’re great additions to your edible landscape – especially if you like to cook! They’re delicious in jams, jellies, and liqueurs, and are also really tasty when included in baked goods like scones and muffins. White currants are the sweetest of this group, followed by black currants; the others are more tart. All are high in Vitamin C, and the red and black varieties are also high in antioxidants and anthocyanins.
 
Shooting Star currently carries the following varieties in bareroot:

Cherry RedCherry Red Currant: Cherry Red bears heavy crops of beautiful, juicy, flavorful red berries. Great for fresh eating, or in tasty jams and jellies. Slightly tart, rich flavor. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

Primus Primus White Currant: Primus is one of the sweetest types of currants. They also bear heavily: one bush can yield 20 pounds of fruit from its long berry clusters. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

CrandallCrandall Black Currant: Wonderful clove-scented yellow flowers in the spring, followed by blue-black fruit in the summer. Crandall has a rich dark flavor, and is sweetest of all black currants. Primarily used in juice, jam, jelly, pies, and liqueurs. 3’-7’ tall by 3’-5’ wide.

 

Captivator‘Captivator’ Gooseberry: Very sweet, 1 inch, teardrop-shaped, red berries in large clusters that can be used in jellies, jams and juice on semi-thornless canes. Can be used fresh or in jam, pies, and desserts. 3’ to 5’ tall and wide. 

All currants and gooseberries are upright woody shrubs, and can take a bit of afternoon shade. They prefer well-drained soil, rich in organic material; and will bear on year-old wood. You’ll get a light crop the year you plant them, and they really hit their stride after two or three years.

To learn more about the different varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs avaliable here at Shooting Star Nursery, be sure to take a look at this list of Fruiting Trees and Plants from our website!

Hamamelis x intermedia

on Sunday, 30 January 2022. Posted in Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Witch Hazel

witch_hazel

Witch Hazels (Hamamelis) provide delight in the garden year-round. Not only do they brighten these late winter days with their bright, fragrant spidery blooms decorating their bare branches; they turn around and repeat the show all over again in the fall with spectacular leaf color. 

Hamamelis Arnolds PromiseMost Witch Hazels have a nice open form that provide sculptural interest even when these shrubs shed their leaves in winter.

Their vase-shaped growth habit also provides a nice opportunity to use other plants at their base – think Hellebores, Heucheras, or early spring-flowering bulbs. Flowers appear in early February and continue through March, with thick, pleated-looking leaves emerging once flowering is finished. 

Hamamelis JelenaAn exposure with morning sun is best for Witch Hazels. They also look wonderful in a wooded shade garden - just make sure they get some bright light for the best flower production and fall color. 

Witch Hazels aren’t the best choice for a hot spot in your yard, even though you will read that they will tolerate full sun (and you will see them looking spectacular in downtown Ashland in full sun). However, you’ll find that they are prone to leaf burn in the hot summer sun, and you’ll need to mulch them heavily and water more often if you choose to plant them in a hot exposure. Hamamelis

Overall, Witch Hazels are easy, low-maintenance shrubs. They do best with regular watering - including deep soaks throughout the summer months - and prefer a fertile, humus-rich soil. They’re also tolerant of clay soils as long as they are well drained.

Witch Hazels are slow to moderate growers that generally only need pruning to control their size and shape. As with most spring flowering shrubs, they prefer to be pruned in late spring once they have finished blooming. Avoid fall or winter pruning, or you’ll end up cutting off the next seasons flower buds!

Fun Plant Trivia: Witch Hazels are closely related to one of our favorite small shade trees: Parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood). Both plants tend to have outstanding fall color.

Here are some of the varieties we generally carry (check our current retail availability for details):

'Amethyst' - Rounded shrub, 8' to 10' tall. with reddish-purple flowers

'Arnold's Promise'- Vase shaped with fragrant yellow flowers and yellow fall color. 12-15' tall and wide.

'Diane'- Rounded form with red, mildly fragrant flowers and orange-red fall color. 8-12’ tall by 12-15’ wide.

'Jelena'- vase shaped vigorous grower with very fragrant large copper-orange flowers and orange-yellow fall color. 8-12' tall and wide.

'Sunburst'- upright, with lemon yellow blooms up to 1 inch long, early bloomer and yellow-orange fall color. 9-12' tall by 6-8' wide.

Fruiting Shrubs for the Home Garden - Part 1

on Friday, 07 January 2022. Posted in Edible, Shrubs

Cane Fruits: Blackberries and Raspberries

Are you hoping to add a bit more variety into your edible landscape this year? Consider adding some fruiting shrubs into the mix! This week, we’ll look at a few types of cane fruits (blackberries and raspberries) that make a great addition to the home garden.

Cane fruits all have similar cultural requirements. They do best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, and prefer a minimum of 6 hours of sun a day (full sun is better). With the exception of Babycakes Blackberry and Raspberry Shortcake, most types of berries grow tall enough to need some sort of trellising system to keep the canes (and fruit) off the ground. All types will benefit from seasonal pruning to maximize productivity.

blackberryCollage

BLACKBERRIES

Natchez: One of the first producers of the season. A vigorous, semi-erect, thornless plant, with consistent yields of large, elongated, flavorful berries. Requires trellis support, especially when fruiting. Pinch out growing tips to control vigor. Ripens Early June. 4-5’ tall.

Triple Crown: A trifecta of flavor, productivity, and vigor, Triple Crown blackberry may outrun any competition as it gets better known. Plants are semi-erect and thornless and do well on trellises. Ripens mid-July to mid-August. Vigorous vines can grow 12-15’ in a season.

Chester: Thornless with semi-trailing habit and large, very sweet, flavorful fruit, even when firm. Begins to ripen just at Triple Crown finishes. Chester is the most winter-hardy thornless blackberry and is very resistant to cane blight. Provide support for the vines. Ripens mid-late summer. 5-10’ tall.

Black Satin: This thornless, heat-tolerant blackberry is a prolific producer of deliciously sweet and juicy, deep blue-black berries. Small, soft pink flowers appear on second-year semi-erect canes in spring, yielding a reliable crop of large blackberries in midsummer. 5-6' tall. Requires support.

babycakes2

Baby Cakes (pictured right): A dwarf, thornless blackberry with a compact habit that is perfect for small spaces and patio containers. In summer, large, classic, and sweet-tasting berries ripen in a series of colorful sprays of fruit, sometimes twice in one season! 3-4' tall x wide.

 

raspberryCollage RASPBERRY 

Fall Gold Raspberry: Very large golden berries of excellent flavor. The berries are too delicate to ship, so you’ll mostly only find them at local grower's markets. Wonderful for eating fresh, highly recommended as a fresh topping for vanilla ice cream! They are especially cold hardy and vigorous variety that is perhaps the tenderest and sweetest raspberry around. A primocane berry that ripens in fall. 4' tall x 3' wide.

Anne: An everbearing raspberry with the largest and best tasting berries of all the golden yellow raspberries. A moderate to high producer in this area, but bears very sweet, tropical tasting, quarter-sized fruit from summer into late fall - the same time as ‘Heritage’. Requires good drainage and benefits from a trellis. 4-5’ tall. 

Caroline: Late summer to fall fruiting. High-yielding plant that produces an abundance of large and delicious berries. Bears on new wood (primocane), and benefits from a bit of afternoon shade. Great in preserves, or for eating fresh off the plant! 3-4' tall and wide.

Heritage: An everbearing red raspberry that is considered the #1 fall variety nationwide. Large berries are firm and of excellent quality. It produces a smaller July crop with heavier production in Early September - the same time as the golden yellow ‘Anne’ raspberry. Good vigor and hardy canes that do not need staking or trellising. Rapidly growing to 5-8' tall.

raspberryShortcake

Raspberry Shortcake (pictured left): A dwarf,thornless, bush-type berry perfect for the patio garden! Raspberry Shortcake gets about 2’-3’ tall and wide and bears abundant crops of delicious, full-sized fruit.

  

 

 

To learn more about the different varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs available here at Shooting Star Nursery, be sure to take a look at the Fruiting Trees and Plants list from our website!

Lycium barbarum

on Monday, 27 December 2021. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Edible, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Goji Berry

gojiBerry2Also known as 'Wolfberry', the Goji Berry is widely recognized as a superfood - with high nutrient and anti-oxidant properties - makes a great addition to your edible landscape. Both the bright orange-red berries and shiny, oval green leaves are edible with an appealing spicy, nutty flavor. The leaves are traditionally enjoyed as a tea, and the berries can be used as a tea or for snacking, baking, or preserving.

Goji berry is self-fruitful, producing small, purple-pink flowers in late spring/early summer that are highly attractive to the bees. It can take up to two years to bear fruit which will be loved by the birds and other browsing animals. Harvest the small, oval, bright orange-red fruit from summer through fall by shaking each branch so the ripe berries fall onto a large basket or bowl. Avoid touching them to avoid oxidizing the skin which turns them black. It's best to enjoy them fresh, frozen, or dried after washing, or refrigerate the berries unwashed for up to two weeks.

gojiBerryThis is a vigorously growing, thorny bush with woody stems and should be seasonally maintained to keep suckers that grow from the base in check. Luckily, they are well adapted for growing in containers. Deer will be attracted to the edible leaves and berries, but this might be one situation where they could be a welcome helper.

Once established, goji berries are heat tolerant and drought tolerant. They perform best when planted in full sun, (with mid-afternoon shade during the high heat of summer), out of the wind, and in well-draining, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. They can grow 8-12 feet tall and wide at full maturity and can be easily pruned to any desired size.

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'

on Tuesday, 14 December 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Compact Strawberry Tree

arbutus-unedo-plant-of-the-

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

You can easily see how this relative of our native Madrone and Manzanitas 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 (Fun fact: the species name unedo is a combination of the Latin words unum meaning "one" and edo meaning "eat" resulting in "I eat only one", in reference to the technically edible, but distinctly untasty fruit!).

Arbutus medThe honey scented, pinkish-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. As with many other fruiting shrubs, some 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 fastest 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 conditions. It is also tolerant of various climates and soils.

Arbutus2 treeLooking for something a bit taller, but with all the same great attributes as the Compact Strawberry Tree? The full-sized species - Arbutus unedo - gets about 10-15’ tall and wide at maturity. In its native habitat (Britain and the Mediterranean), Arbutus unedo usually grows as a multitrunked plant, but we also carry single-trunked specimens which make a really lovely small tree.

Arbutus flower and fruitWe 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.

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' is great in foundation plantings or hedges. You will be hard-pressed to find an evergreen shrub with more year-round interest - plus the hummingbirds will thank you for providing a much-needed winter nectar source!