Oh wow, the weather is starting to break. We have been seeing more sun and warmer days. It is great to be outside again. This weather is allowing more walks around the garden and time to start thinking about projects to tackle before the sultry days of summer arrive. Be watching the show as we start to tackle ‘One Weekend Wonders’. These are projects that can be built in a weekend with little effort by a couple (without causing a divorce!) They could be as simple as assembling a trellis, tackling a retaining wall or building a walkway. Last week we built a patio water feature at Tsugawa’s Nursery in less than 2 hours! Be watching for more of these fun projects!
This week we featured...
Blooms and Brew at the Oregon Garden
We paid our annual visit the Oregon Garden (1-877-674-2733) to see all the spring blooming plants that they have and to hi-light all the events going on in Silverton. Our timing could not have been better! This weekend is the 3rd Annual Blooms and Brew festival on Saturday. April Purdy told us about the 30 local brewers that will be offering samples of their beers, and for a $10 admission you get a commemorative glass and 4 tickets for samples. Live music will fill the garden with guests like Terry Robb and Blue Light Special. You can also get a great dinner supplied by Roth’s! But don’t forget the garden. The cooler weather has really held up the blooms and they will be busting out for the festival! Come up, jump on the garden tram and spend a day enjoying the garden!
With the coming of spring it also signals the return of birds to the garden. You can make it easier for our feathered friends by equipping your garden with all the right materials they need. We paid a visit to Gray’s Garden Center (541-345-1569) and met with Donna Fountain to see what they recommend for bird lovers. The basics that they recommend addressing are shelter, food and water. Shelter could be a bird house, or even planting the right plants in your garden that can protect them from the weather and predators. Food needs change depending on the type of bird you want to attract. For example, you wouldn’t use a hummingbird feeder to attract a chickadee. So know your bird and use a correct feed. Also, when choosing a feed, pick a quality one. Some feeds contain weed seed that is non-native and it is starting to cause problems for gardeners and farmers. Finally, water, create areas in your garden that have water stops. Smaller birds prefer shallow pools of water for drinking and bathing. You can even place them on the ground for those ground feeding birds. If you have any questions, you can contact you local garden center.
When you are putting your new plants in the ground it is always a good idea to give them a boost with a shot of fertilizer. The problem is that most fertilizers are granular and take a while to break down and release their nutrients to the plant. Fertilome has a liquid product that will do what the dry fertilizers do and a whole lot more, it also contains plant hormones that help reduce transplant shock and stimulates root growth. You just mix it in with the water you use to transplant and give your plant a good drink when it goes in the ground. Ryan at Larsen Farm Nursery (503-638-8600) showed us how well it works. You can find it at Larsen Farm or other independent garden centers.
Late spring is rhododendron time and we went to a nursery in Springfield that is known for their wonderful Rhodies. Roger Gossler from Gossler Farms Nursery (541-746-3922)has 2 species rhododendrons that are really different. First he showed us a ‘Rhododendron arboretum’ that is supposed to get 100 feet tall when it is mature. It has wonderful blooms but is also known for the colorful indumentum under the leaves. Indumentum is the fuzzy coating that is found on some varieties of rhododendron. The other plant was an azalea that was called ‘schlippenbachii’. Azaleas are actually part of the rhododendron family. This one was deciduous (it loses its leaves in the winter) and grow to be around 10’ x 10’. Both of these are not easy to find but you can get them from Gossler’s.
Balled and Burlaped
If you have bought a tree or shrub in the last few years you have noticed that they usually have the roots wrapped in a burlap ball. These ‘balled and burlaped’ plants easily adapt to most gardens because the roots remain intact and are not damaged when you move them. We went to Bloomer’s Nursery (541-687-5919) in Eugene where they grow these B&B plants for sale to other nurseries. Jenny showed us how they use specialized equipment to dig the plants and then how they tie them so the plant retains as much soil as possible. Next she showed us how to plant a B&B plant. There are very few steps to follow for success. First, prepare the hole. She recommends a good transplant fertilizer and amended soil. Second, after the plant is in the hole, cut the twine. The twine that holds the burlap around top of the plant can cut off the circulation to the plant, so remove it. Next, pull the burlap back. Pull the burlap back and shove it down into the hole on the sides of the root ball. You can leave it in the hole because it will break down eventually. Finally, backfill the soil. Push the remaining soil in the hole, but keep it from piling up on the trunk. Keep the trunk flare even with the existing ground level. Pretty easy! For more tips you can check out the process again at Bloomers How-to page.
If you are looking for a small tree to use in your landscape, check out the newest varieties of crabapples that have been recently introduced. Brian Tsugawa from Tsugawa’s Nursery (360-225-8750) pulled 4 out of this nursery to show us the new varieties out there. The ones he hi-lighted included ‘Prairiefire’, ‘Red Barron’, ‘Sargent Tina’ and ‘Louisa’. The old styles of crabapples were known for getting scab and rust, plus they could get 30 feet tall or bigger! These newer varieties are more disease resistant and they have been hybridized to stay smaller. Right now they reward you with beautiful blooms and later they will reward your garden wildlife with small fruits too. Check out all the varieties at your garden center to find the right one for your yard.
If you have been afraid to grow hydroponically, don’t worry. We found a new garden center in the Springfield area that will make it easy for you to get started. It is called Oregon’s Constant Gardener (423 Q Street Springfield, 541-747-8170) and one of the owners, Scott Ostrander, joined us to show us how they are planting their new grow room full of vegetables. The benefits of growing your own veggies are well documented, but the main reason is that you can’t beat fresh! Having your garden growing year-round means you can be sure of the quality of your produce. If you are considering growing your own vegetables and want to know where to start, you can contact Scott and his crew and they can walk you through it.