Articles in Category: Shrubs

Edible Figs

on Wednesday, 16 September 2020. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs enjoy well-drained soils and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established. They're also self fertile, and are actually pollinated on the inside of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter. A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back. They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs here at Shooting Star Nursery, and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to several better-known types that perform better in California. Our selection generally includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian, Little Ruby, Stella, and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Desert King; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Peter’s Honey.

 blackjack 2012What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins. Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

Here are a few of the varieties we generally have in stock:

Black Spanish - Dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf
Brown Turkey – Medium-large fruit, sweet purplish/brown skin w/light pink flesh
Chicago Hardy – Medium fruit, brown to violet skin w/strawberry pink flesh, excellent flavor
Desert King - Large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops
Little Ruby – Medium fruit, reddish-brown skin w/ruby flesh, prolific bearer, dwarf variety
Olympian - Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf variety
Peter's Honey - Deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

Edible Figs (Copy)

on Wednesday, 16 September 2020. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs enjoy well-drained soils and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established. They're also self fertile, and are actually pollinated on the inside of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter. A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back. They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs here at Shooting Star Nursery, and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to several better-known types that perform better in California. Our selection generally includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian, Little Ruby, Stella, and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Desert King; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Peter’s Honey.

 blackjack 2012What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins. Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

Here are a few of the varieties we generally have in stock:

Black Spanish - Dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf
Brown Turkey – Medium-large fruit, sweet purplish/brown skin w/light pink flesh
Chicago Hardy – Medium fruit, brown to violet skin w/strawberry pink flesh, excellent flavor
Desert King - Large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops
Little Ruby – Medium fruit, reddish-brown skin w/ruby flesh, prolific bearer, dwarf variety
Olympian - Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf variety
Peter's Honey - Deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

Lagerstroemia indica & hybrids

on Thursday, 09 July 2020. Posted in Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Crape Myrtle

Lager1 editHigh summer is the season of Crape Myrtles. While many perennials have begun to fade; and blooming shrubs and trees are few and far between, Crape Myrtles are just hitting their stride. From July through September, their lively show of crinkly crepe paper-like flower clusters in an array of whites, pinks, reds and purples are the perfect anecdote to a drab border. Not only do they deliver in bloom, but most varieties also boast fantastic fall color with fiery oranges and reds, in addition to tints of yellow and purple.

Even though we are on the northern edge of their winter hardiness range, Crape Myrtles are ideal plants for our hot summer climate. They thrive in full, hot sun and well-drained soil, and do best with deep, but infrequent soaks once established. Crape Myrtles bloom on new wood, so late winter or early spring is the best time to prune.

Natchez2 editRanging in size from dwarf shrubs around 3-5 feet tall and wide, to 20-foot-tall trees, there are endless possibilities for fitting Crape Myrtles into a landscape. Although naturally occurring as large shrubs, they are often pruned as trees or multi-stemmed specimens, which are the ideal forms for exposing their exquisite bark. With some age, their peeling cinnamon colored outer bark reveals a smooth and burnished surface, adding sophistication to their winter silhouette. This feature is truly the Crape Myrtle's saving grace due to the fact that they are notoriously late to leaf out in the spring. So be patient, because they are well worth the wait come the dog days of summer!

Without a doubt, the Crape Myrtles is a superior solution to the small tree challenge, offering three seasons of interest in a vibrant, heat and drought tolerant package.

Here, sorted by color, are some of the varieties we carry:

Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward'

on Thursday, 02 April 2020. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Native, Shade Plants, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

King Edward Red Flowering Currant

Ribes King EdwardFlowering currants really come into their glory in April, with their cascades of brightly-colored flowers and soft green, scalloped leaves. And one of our very favorites is Ribes sanguineum ‘King Edward’.

A cultivar of our native Ribes sanguineum, 'King Edward' has darker pink flowers than the native species, followed by dark blue berries in the summer. Both ‘King Edward’ and the native species are absolute magnets for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Later in the seasons, berry-loving songbirds like robins, thrushes, grosbeaks, cedar waxwings, etc., flock to the berries (which taste better to them than they do to humans, so we’re happy to share!).

Flowering currants will bloom heaviest when in full sun, but in hotter areas like the Rogue Valley, they also appreciate a bit of afternoon shade. In fact, they’re also a great choice for dry shade gardens or for planting under an oak or other large tree. ‘King Edward’ will grow in a variety of soils but does require good drainage; if you plant in clay, place it on a mound or along a slope. Being a native plant, they are used to dry summers and wet winters, and will do best if you can mimic those conditions in your garden.

'King Edward' grows quickly and has a lovely open habit that mixes well with other plants. They can get at least 4-5' tall and wide, and are also relatively drought tolerant once established.

Rosa rugosa

on Thursday, 19 March 2020. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Rugosa Rose

Hansa editThese amazingly tough roses provide us with intoxicatingly fragrant flowers; long lasting, vitamin-rich rose hips; interesting leaf texture - as well as drought tolerance, disease resistance, and deer resistance. They’ll even grow and bloom in partial shade. Why would you ever plant any other rose? 

Rugosa roses were originally wild roses native to Asia, but they’ve been cultivated and naturalized in many parts of the world. Both varieties we carry (see below) will grow to about 5’ to 7’ tall and wide and will spread by runners, making them a good barrier or hedge plant. Rugosas also look great in a mixed border, especially because they don't need the extra care of sprays that most other roses need. Flowers come in single or double petaled forms and range in color from deep magenta pink to red to pure white and yellows. Once established, rugosa roses only need an occasional soak and prefer full sun, although they will do fine in part sun.

 Here are the two varieties of rugosa roses Shooting Star Nursery carries regularly:

Alba cropAlba: Big white single flowers – up to 3.5” across - with yellow tufted stamens sit atop deep green, quilted leaves. These lovely, bushy plants are known for their hardiness and tolerance to salt sea conditions. Fat round bright red hips give a bonus of fall color, providing food for local wildlife. Flowers to 3.5” across. Moderate fragrance. American Rose Society rating of 9.2 - out of a possible 10 points.

 

Hansa: Raspberry-purple, semi-double flowers with a wonderful fragrance (shown above). Great for barrier plantings in cold climates, extremely hardy, large abundant rose hips. ARS rating 8.4 - out of a possible 10 points.

 Rugosa hipsFun fact: Rugosas have also been called “sea tomato roses” because of their large orange to bright-red rose hips that appear in fall and last throughout the winter; providing a great source of nourishment for overwintering birds like robins, cedar waxwings, and hermit thrushes. The rose hips are prized by humans too – they’re a great source of Vitamin C and a popular ingredient in tea blends.