Prepare for the heat. The temps are creeping up again. If you are headed out on vacation, remember to make sure that you have your watering system adjusted and ready. If you are staying home, remember to keep yourself and your plants hydrated. Find a hammock or lawn chair and relax, enjoy the heat, soak it in, and think of the colder days ahead.
This week we featured...
Al’s 2009 Plant Trials
Want to know what the hot plant for 2009 will be? Actually, you can help make the choice. We paid a visit to the plant trials that are happening at the Al’s Garden Center (503-726-1162) in Sherwood. The plant trials are where growers are trying out new and different varieties of plants. This is where they determine what will be grown for sale for the coming year. Now through the end of the month you can check out the newest of plants and vote for your favorites. Paul Fukasawa told William about the trials and the hundreds of varieties on display. This year Al’s is celebrating their 60th anniversary as a garden center and have placed a replica of their fruit stand in the middle of the nursery along with a great vegetable garden. The garden is free and open to the public during store hours from today until August 23rd. On August 24th the display plants will be available for purchase. The trials display fills a 1/2 acre greenhouse area at the Sherwood garden center. Take some time to check out this huge display and vote for your favorite. Who knows you may pick the hot plant for 2009!
Bloomers Summer Plants
There are certain plants that really start to shine in the heat of the late summer. We stopped by Bloomer’s Nursery (
541-687-5919) in Eugene to check out the best in the garden center right now. Stephanie pulled 3 different plants for us to look at. First we saw the Anemone, or windflower, ‘September Charm’. It likes good shady spot in the afternoon and really doesn’t need much care. Next we saw 2 types of Clethra (Sweetshrub), one named ‘Rosea’ and one named ‘Hummingbird’. It has a great fragrance and depending on the variety it can be a tall shrub or a short one in your garden. The bees love it! Finally we took a look at a tree, the Sourwood. It is a great tree for a small space. It is covered in long spikes of white flowers right now, but it will exchange that for brilliant red foliage in the fall. For more choices on great summer plants, stop by Bloomer’s in Eugene or your local independent garden center.
Native White Oaks
When you ask people about native trees of the Northwest, a lot of people will come up with the Douglas Fir. There is another one that is native and is slowly disappearing from Oregon gardens. The White Oak is a great tree that is perfectly suited to the Oregon climate. Once planted and established it can handle the cold wet winters and also the hot dry summers with little or no care. One nursery in Salem is making a name for itself by not only growing these giants, but also for salvaging mature trees from being destroyed. Mahonia Vineyards and Nursery (
503-585-8789) is working with local developers on removing oaks from developments and finding homes for them in other gardens. Frank told us about the oaks and how they can be a great part of a Northwest garden (if you have the room) and about some of the plants you can use around them. If you would like to learn more about the oaks or would like to add one to your acreage give them a call.
A variety of plant that is hard to kill is the sedum. These little wonders grow in areas that other plants find hard to endure. Donna Wright from Black Gold
shared a way to enjoy your wreath on a garden wall or on your picnic table. She used a wire wreath frame and then planted 5-6 varieties of sedums in patterns of three for a beautiful display of color and texture. If you would like to build your own wreath, check out these directions.
It is a great time of year to live in the Northwest. All the fresh fruits are ripe and ready for the picking. But that also begs the question, when is something ripe? We found that it is hard to tell with some fruit, like peaches. We traveled to Salem to see the experts at Olson Peaches (503-362-5942). The Olson family has been farming in the Salem area for decades and they open their farm to u-picks the entire summer. Stuart told us to look for a good overall gold color with good blush of red. Plus, you don’t want to twist the fruit to remove it. You want to lift it up to snap the stem from the branch. Then we moved to the grill where Kristina showed us how you can wrap quarter slices of peach with prosciutto and then place them on the grill on medium heat.
The tastes of summer can be at your fingertips all year long. We found a counter top mini-hydroponic system that is incredible. The Aero-garden is a small self contained system that allows you to grow vegetables on your kitchen counter. It can be purchased with different types of seeds or you can use your own. It also has watering and fertilizer reminders that take the guesswork out of the maintenance of the system. Michelle of The Greenhouse Catalog (
800-825-1925) then showed us another little gadget that will let you make your own salad dressing with the fresh herbs you’ve grown. You simply cut them back and drop the pieces in this mini-blender and you have fresh dressing for your greens! Very tasty.