Courtesy Shooting Star Nursery

When your market experiences some extreme weather swings coupled with particular water needs, it’s important to find plants that are the perfect fit. Shooting Star Nursery relies on Emerald Coast Growers to provide regionally appropriate selections that address the specific needs of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley.

Erik Petersen, head grower and production manager at Shooting Star Nursery, says Emerald Coast Growers offers a wide variety of material to source from and it’s often available right away.

“We can source plants pretty much any time we need them, and I can rely on them to be consistent with plant quality and customer service,” Petersen says.

Consistency is critical to production at Shooting Star because the nursery grows everything outside in natural conditions. It helps acclimate the plants to the region and makes them sturdy once they leave the nursery.

Another advantage is Emerald Coast Growers’ fixed shipping costs, so there’s no surprise when the plants come in.

“Fixed shipping costs are helpful to us. We know it’s going to be X amount per tray. And that’s really helpful with something like a custom-grow order. When you don’t know how much shipping will be up front, you can get some sticker shock,” Petersen says.

The plants he buys from Emerald Coast help with the challenges of growing in the region. Rogue Valley may have 110-degree days in summer or a brutal winter. The area also is experiencing water issues with the demand and the price of water increasing. In addition, deer browsing is becoming more of a problem, and they’re starting to eat plants that historically they’ve left alone.

“They’re coming into the valley starving,” he says. “They’re even eating hollies.”

Some of the more common plants the nursery sells include ornamental grasses, salvia, rosemary and lavender.

“Those fill the needs of low water use, low maintenance and deer resistance,” he says. “Our plants must be able to take a wide variety of conditions in the valley.”

Trends in the area have changed, and customers are asking for lower maintenance plants.

“Maintenance is also becoming expensive, and it’s important that we sell plants that don’t need as much trimming or deadheading,” he adds.

The nursery also purchases pollinator plants from Emerald Coast Growers, such as monardas and Asclepias tuberosa.

“This aspect of gardening has become big and quite important to folks, and they want to help increase pollinators as well as feel like there gardens are something more than a bunch of pretty plants to look at,” Petersen says.