Is spring here yet? This last week of rain is driving most people crazy, and even though the temperatures have been the warmest since last fall, we are all still itching to dry out a little bit. Maybe it is best that we stay inside for a few more days. In this week’s show Jan McNeilan tells us that most of us are ‘jumping the gun’ on cleaning up our gardens before the cold weather is completely gone.
Also, you may have noticed in the open and close to this week’s show that we are hosting a trip to Victoria BC. You can join William and Judy on this wonderful 5 day, 4 night trip in mid-June. All transportation (including train and ferry tickets), hotels and 8 of your meals are covered. We will get to see some award winning and nationally recognized private gardens and some of the best public gardens that Canada has to offer like the Government House Gardens, the Horticulture Center of the Pacific and the Butchart Gardens.
This trip is now sold out,
but check our Garden Time Tours page in the future for information about upcoming trips.
This week we featured...
FPP Landscape Job
Last year we visited a local grower/retailer/designer who had come up with a new way of landscaping and design called Visualscaping. A lot of people are looking to do garden makeovers (we get requests from viewers all the time), but they are sometimes scared away by the price of hiring a designer. Rick from French Prairie Perennials (503-679-2871) is the founder of this new way of doing things. With Visualscaping you become part of the planning process. Now you don’t have someone telling you why you can’t have a plant in your garden, or telling you what is the best plant for you! Rick has clients come to the nursery and talk to him about plants and what they would like to accomplish. Then he makes a trip to their gardens and they nail down what they would like to accomplish. Rick goes back to the nursery and brings out the plants and places them around the yard so you can actually see the ‘look’ before you buy the plants. He can actually try many different plants in one area so you can compare them before you plant. With this ‘visualscaping’ you actually can use the money you would have spent on drawing up a plan to buy better plants. Rick also has a deep knowledge of the plants and how they will grow so you get a plant that will be there for years and not outgrow the space in just a few seasons and need to be replaced.
This spring we followed him to a home outside of Dundee that belongs to Randy and Pam. They had a plain grassy field that Rick transformed into a low maintenance, beautiful garden. Now they have a complete backyard to entertain all summer long! If you are interested in trying Visualscaping, give Rick a call at French Prairie Perennials.
If you have fruit trees, now is the time to dormant spray before they start to flower. Dormant spraying will help control insects and diseases during the coming growing season. William and Judy showed you the type of spray you can use. William used an All Seasons Horticulture Spray from Bonide. This is a spray that is all natural and will smother insect eggs, preventing problems before they start. You can spray now before the flower buds open. Once the flowers are open you can let the pollinators go to work and get your tree pollinated. Once the fruit has formed you can spray again to prevent any other problems. This product is available at your local independent garden center. Your local garden center is also where you can get all your pest questions answered.
Rose Garden Tools
This is the season to cut back your roses for the season. The problem is doing it correctly. Last week we walked you through the PRUNE method from Heirloom Roses (503-538-1576) in St. Paul. This week we met with Ben again to learn about the correct tools to use. He started with the cutting tools, a pruner and some loppers. The pruners everyone has, but a lot of people overlook the loppers. These are great for cutting back your roses from a distance. This prevents you from getting your hands into those sharp thorns when you are cutting things back. Next, of course, were the bypass pruners. Bypass pruners are ones where the blade ‘bypasses’ a hard edge making a nice clean cut. The older ‘anvil’ type of pruners actually ‘pinch’ the stem in two as you cut, and that is not very good for the plant. Ben also carries a pruning saw with him in the garden while cutting his plants back in the beginning of the year. The saw helps cut out the larger ‘woody’ masses that you can find at the base of the plants. While we were talking about cutting tools we also talked about maintenance of your tools. Ben recommends that you take a bottle with a light bleach solution or a disinfecting spray with you in the garden and spray your tools when you move from plant to plant. This will prevent the spread of disease between plants and help them stay healthier. If you just spray disinfecting solution on your tools they will rust out pretty fast and that is why Ben and his crew also spray all their tools with a lubricant like WD-40 when they are done for the day. This will prevent rust and help the tools operate smoothly the next time you use them.
We then moved to gloves. There are 2 types that Heirloom recommends. The first ones have a large leather gauntlet covering the forearm of the user. The gauntlet is the piece above the palm and fingers. These are preferred by Ben’s wife Kara. He prefers the regular heavy duty leather gloves to protect his hands from thorns. Finally Ben showed us the Leaf Hopper. This is a mesh piece of fabric that they use to carry all the debris from pruning out of the garden. It is large and has handles so you don’t get poked while working and the best part is that the thorns don’t get stuck to the fabric. If you would like to pick out any of these ‘must have’ tools, you can stop by Heirloom Roses or come by for one of their Saturday Academy classes on rose care and pick up some tools and a new rose while you are there!
Simple Hoop House
In the last couple of years we have shown you how to build your own raised garden bed. Recently we had the itch to get out and do a little early gardening so we came up with a simple way to build a basic hoop house to protect our tender vegetables and get an early start on the gardening season. The one we build was very easy to construct. We stopped by a local hardware store to pick up 4 different materials we would need. We needed 3 hoops for our 6 x 4 foot bed. So we needed 6 pieces of 2 foot long rebar (you might need to get 3 foot pieces if your soil is soft). 3 - twelve foot pieces of PVC ½ inch pipe, plastic sheeting that is clear and at least 6 ‘mil’ thick, and finally some clamps to hold the plastic on the poles. Drive the rebar in the ground on each side of your raised bed. Be sure to call 811 to locate any underground obstacles. Leave about 6-8 inches above the ground and slide the PVC over the rebar on one side. Get some help, bend the pole and slide it over the PVC on the other side of your bed. We did this until we had 3 nice hoops. Then we pulled the plastic sheeting over the hoops and secured it to the hoops with the clamps. At the ends we folded the plastic and secured that to the sides of the raised bed. Remember to check and water your plants since they will not be receiving any direct rainfall. Also, keep your eye on the weather and when days get above 55 degrees you may want to take the plastic off for a few hours until dark.
Now you can plant your tomatoes, pepper and other tender plants out a little sooner than you normally would, or in our case we want the bed to heat up so we get asparagus a few weeks sooner. What a quick and easy way to start your garden early or extend it later this fall!
Jan’s March Tips
Spring is here, or will be soon and that means it is time to get out in the garden, but wait, is it really time… We stopped by to visit with Jan McNeilan, retired OSU extension agent and one of the things she talked about is waiting another couple of weeks before we do too much clean-up in the garden. That mulch that you put down to protect your plants last fall may still be needed for protection. It is also good to look for growth on plant that you think may be dead before you cut them too far back. Also, if you cut back any spring blooming plants, you will be cutting off some or all of the blooms for this season.
Jan also took us on a tour of her front garden. Last fall she took out an old plant that was covered in mildew. Now she has replaced it with 2 new plants and they are really liking the front bad. There may be one more plant to go out though. There is a clematis that is near a drier vent and it doesn’t like the moist air that comes out. Jan is still looking for a plant that may perform better there.
We then moved around to the greenhouse. Now is a good time to clean up your plants and get them ready for the move outside in a few weeks. Cut back some of the dead branches and prune your miniature roses. Clean up the soil on the tops of your pots and containers, and don’t forget to clean up the greenhouse as well with a nice bleach solution. Now is also a great time to get your seeds out and ready to plant. Go through your seeds from last year, most of them will still be viable for this season. Take an inventory of what you have and what you need for your garden. Jan kept a map of last year’s garden and she is looking to replace some varieties with ones that show more promise. If you are itching to get back into the garden make sure you check out the OSU Extension website http://extension.oregonstate.edu for a guide and some tips for what you can do right now in your garden.