The rains are here and the crisp, brisk air has returned. The local gardener may be looking to batten down the hatches for the winter, but there is so much to see and do between the showers. The garden in transition is a thing of beauty. Some plants are enjoying the change in temperature and other are putting on a colorful show. There are also all the festivals that are happening. So pull out your rain gear and head into the mist and enjoy these invigorating days of fall.
This week we featured...
Portland Nursery 21st Annual Apple Tasting
"A" is for apple, and you will find a ton of apples at Portland Nursery’s (503-231-5050) 21st Annual Apple tasting at the Stark Street location. Over 60 different varieties of apples and pears are available to taste. Many varieties are available for purchase with a percentage of the sales going to Elders in Action. There is a kid’s area with face painting and balloon creations. Plus you can stop by on Fridays for ‘kid days’ which are loaded with kids activities. Cooking demonstrations, an apple press and live music are also on the list of activities. Another reason for stopping by is to get a chance to vote for the best scarecrow. Fellow shoppers have entered their best scarecrows for the chance to win prizes. You can also shop from a variety of local vendors that will be offering local honey, mustard, jam and a whole lot more. Special events include a ‘live’ radio broadcast with the ‘Garden Doctor’ show, a special ‘Senior Day’ with 10% off for seniors, and everyday discounts on apple prices. Now is the time to also take advantage of all the wonderful fall perennials available at both locations of Portland Nursery.
Garland Small Conifers
With all of your perennials starting to lose their leaves you may be looking for some plants to brighten up your garden. We found some great conifers to spice up your garden. Conifers are not just those tall giants that you find in the forest. Lee Powell from Garland Nursery (1-800-296-6601) found some great small varieties that will work great in a smaller garden or even a container. The first one he started with was not really a very small conifer but one that had a new twist. The Port Orford Cedar, ‘Blue Surprise’ used to have problems with root rot but now it is grafted on a better root stock and it is becoming a true winner in the fall garden with the blue foliage it has. We then moved to the smaller varieties which included, Cryptomeria ‘Little Diamond’, Cypress ‘Vintage Gold’, the weird ‘Tasmanian Cedar’ – Microcachrys tetragona, plus Chamaaecyperus ‘True Blue’, ‘Heatherbun’ and ‘Red Star’. If you are looking for some great fall color that will last through the seasons check out these varieties of conifers at Garland or your local independent garden centers.
There is a fungus among us and it is homegrown and tasty. We caught up with a group from the Oregon Mycological Society as they were preparing logs and straw to be the future home for some wonderful mushrooms. Ed Foy told William about how they make these portable mushroom gardens. There are a couple of different ways for them to make the mushroom ‘gardens’. The first way is with straw. First they chop up some straw and pasteurize it. Then they place the straw in plastic bags mixed with the spawn of the mushroom spores. The other ways of growing mushrooms involves logs. In one version you can place the spawn in cuts on the logs and in another you drill holes in the log and place pegs in the holes. These pegs have been inoculated with spores. If you are curious about how to start your own log or you want to learn more about wild mushrooms, you can check out the Oregon Mycological Society’s Mushroom show happening on October 12th from noon-5pm at the World Forestry Center.
Livingscape Small Fruit
Harvest time is here and you can buy numerous fruits and vegetables from local farmers. But what if you want to try growing some fruits of your own? If you plant fruit trees now you can start to enjoy some of the ‘fruits’ of your labors as early as next season. Steve, the owner of Livingscape Nursery (503-248-0104), had pulled out some varieties that he really liked. We started with a couple of apple trees. The first one, ‘Scarlet Surprise’, has the distinction of looking normal from the outside, but containing a red flesh on the inside. A very interesting apple! The other apple was called a columnar apple, ‘Golden Sentinel’. That type fruits on the main trunk and doesn’t grow on the limbs, in fact, it generally doesn’t have limbs. We then saw the fig variety, ‘Stella’. Stella is a wonderful fig for containers and produces great fruit. We also saw the ‘Arbequina’ olive, which is well suited to our NW climate. It can produce ripe olives and fruit for oil too. Finally, we looked at a blue berry. Livingscape carries about 10 different varieties of Blueberries and Steve recommends that you plant 2 or more varieties that will fruit at different times so you can extent your harvest through the whole summer. Now is the time to get those plants in the ground and you can be enjoying fresh fruit in your own garden next fall.
Your yard debris of today is becoming the rich garden compost of tomorrow. Since it is fall and everyone is cleaning up their yard we decided to check out where that yard debris ends up. Jeff Grimm walked us through the composting facility at Grimm’s Fuel (503-636-3623). This facility in Tigard is where a lot of your lawn clippings end up. At the Grimm’s facility they cut up the garden waste, pile it, turn it (to keep it hot) and let nature take it’s course. Most of this will become ‘Metro certified’ garden mulch. What that means is it is clean of residual herbicides and meets ‘Earthwise’ standards. Grimm’s has a complete selection of different types of soils and amendments for your lawn or garden. It is also a great time to mulch your plants to protect them from the coming cold. Give them a call for delivery rates and availability.
Woodburn Company Stores Mall Display
The seasons change and so do the displays at the Woodburn Company Stores. Don Sprague of the Garden Gallery Ironworks (1-800-423-0158) has his crew working hard to update the old flower displays with ones loaded with pumpkins and plants for fall. They are huge and you can even see them from I-5. We also saw the tribute displays for the Beavers and the Ducks. If you are looking to create your own mini fall displays for your yard or garden check out the frames and get some ideas at Garden Gallery Ironworks.