Happy Mother’s Day! We want to wish all the mothers out there a very happy day with your families. Hopefully you are all out in the garden. We are so excited to have had such a wonderful spring so far. Yeah, we have had a few showers, but it is always a great spring when you are surrounded by all these blooms! The Garden Time crew is really enjoying this spring! It seems like the cold winter of the past few months have really kick-started the blooms of the spring. We are seeing plants really pushing a lot of flowers this year. Maybe the weather scared them or maybe they are celebrating the warmer weather just like we are!
We want to take this opportunity to announce a new garden event. On the 14th of June we will be celebrating Subaru Garden Dayz at Capitol Subaru in Salem. I say it is a new event, but really it is an event that used to be part of the Good Day Lifestyles show from many years ago. It was a popular event that just needed to return! Keep an eye out on our website and for announcements on the show. We are going to be giving away some garden plants, seeds and other great stuff. You don’t want to miss it!
This week we featured...
Oregon Garden Greenhouse
Can you imagine growing enough plants to accent a 80 acre garden? Tough job right? How about doing that with a couple of full time people and a bunch of volunteers? Believe it or not that is what they do at The Oregon Garden (1-877-674-2733). We stopped by their growing facility located on the back edge of the garden and talked with Sarah who is the greenhouse manager and she took us on a quick tour. The garden is loaded with an outstanding array of perennials, but it falls on Sarah and her army of volunteers to grow the beautiful annual blooms that grace the grounds during the summer. She first talks about the greenhouse where they plant all the seedling and cutting from ‘mother plants’ those are then moved and transplanted by her volunteers into larger containers to get a good root ball growing. Finally they are moved to a larger greenhouse and then eventually outside to acclimate to the temperature. Then they are moved into the garden. If you would like to see how they grow over 70,000 plants your chance is coming up on the 17th of this month. The greenhouse will be open for tours. Members of the garden will get in free if they preregister and others will pay a small fee. They are also welcoming drop-ins on the morning of the tour. Be sure to check out their website for more details.
Little Baja Statuary
We have all seen statues in the garden, but what do those statues mean? To learn more we stopped by Little Baja (503-432-8959). Some of the most popular of the statues are animal shapes. Some people will use animal statues to remember a pet that has passed away while others adopt the Native American’s belief that an animal statue can bring characteristics of that animal to a garden. A wolf or bear statue might welcome the spirit of that animal to your garden. Gargoyles have a long history of being in the garden. Since the middle ages gargoyles are believed to protect against evil spirits. I wonder if they would scare away the moles in our garden? Gardens are a place of thought and prayer, and for some people that brings in a religious theme. Bringing in angels and statues of the Madonna can help to bring tranquility to the garden. One of the most popular is a statue of Francis of Assisi. He thought all animals were brothers and sisters to us all and he is often pictured holding a bird. Some believe he could talk to the animals as well. Fairies and gnomes are long believed to live in gardens and having a statue of one is thought to bring luck to a home. If you don’t take care of the fairies and gnomes they are rumored to cause mischief and take things from your garden. Eastern and Asian art is also a popular theme. Buddha in all his forms can be found in many gardens and can help bring luck, tranquility and whimsy depending on the type of piece you find. Asian art can also be functional as well. Some of the pagodas can hold candles and can be used as lanterns for night time strolls through the garden. If you would like to see all the different varieties of statues and find one for your garden, check out the selection at Little Baja… now, I think a gnome took my pruners and I need to go find them.
Late Spring Hydrangea Care
In the spring when your hydrangeas are blooming you may think that there is not a lot you can do, but you can still do some things to help your hydrangeas stay healthy and happy. Kristin VanHoose from Hydrangeas Plus (866-433-7896) met William near some climbing hydrangeas to talk about what you can do right now as they are blooming. First of all, you can enjoy them. Hydrangeas tolerate the cold very well and so you should have seen little or no damage to them from the winter cold. If you do see some ‘tip’ damage at the end of the branches then you will want to trim that off, but the plant will still grow even if you don’t cut it off. Fertilizing your plants is also something that you can do now. Use a nice well balanced fertilizer to give them a good shot of growth. You can also change the color a little bit when they first start blooming. For blue blooms make your soil acidic, pink blooms go for an alkaline pH. It is a little too late to do that if your flowers are in full bloom but you can do it if you apply lime or aluminum sulfate earlier in the bloom or in the early spring. If you have any other questions about hydrangea care then you can always give them a call at Hydrangeas Plus. You can also stop by this weekend as they wrap up their annual sale.
Late Spring Bloomers
The spring is loaded with blooming plants. It is hard to pick out the right ones for your garden when there are so many that are vying for your attention. To get some ideas on some of the best for this time of year we stopped by Garland Nursery (541-753-6601) and talked with Erica. She pulled about a dozen different plants that she loves. She started by showing us the Amsonia hubrechtii or Narrow leaved Blue Star. This one has some wonderful blue flowers but the texture of the plant is the best part. The fine cut leaves seem to blow and swirl in the slightest breeze. The next plant is one that Erica said should be in every garden, the ‘Magic Carpet’ Spirea. This one has brilliant gold and red tinged leaves that glow in the sun. If the foliage wasn’t enough it also has hot pink flowers to enjoy. A really unusual plant was next. The Digiplexis illumination ‘Flame’ is a relative of the Foxglove. It has cool pointy leaves but the flower spikes are the real selling point to this plant. A member of the sweetpea family, baptisia, was next in line. Also known as ‘False Indigo’, it comes in different varieties that have different colors. Blue and yellow flowers are popular and it can fill out to take up a large space in the garden with a long bloom time. Erica also pulled out a couple of exbury azaleas. These plants are part of the rhododendron family, but drop their leaves in the winter. In the spring they bloom in bright colors before the leaves return. The first one, ‘Irene Koster’ had warm pink blooms and the ‘cannon’s double’ with a brighter orange color.
Finally we had some of the bigger shrubs that are available. The Deutzia ‘Chardonnay Pearls’ has electric yellow foliage and clusters of tiny white flowers that really make this a showcase plant in your garden. The next plant may have you worried that you are breaking the law. A few years ago the Butterfly Bush was put on the noxious weed list because it was seeding so readily and creating problems in the environment. Now they have sterile plants on the market that don’t reseed and they are not outlawed! The one we saw was the variety ‘Miss Molly’ and as the name implies, it is a butterfly magnet. Another benefit? This one is also deer resistant and drought tolerant. We are now at our last plant from Erica. The ‘Anah Kruschke’ is a rhododendron that blooms later than most of the other rhodies on the market. It is also more heat tolerant so you can put this in the sunny part of your garden, and with the correct amount of water, it should do very well. If you would like to see more great blooming plants you can stop by any local independent garden center or make a trip to Garland Nursery between Albany and Corvallis.
Mother’s Day Rhodies
We went to see the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden for their big Portland Rhododendron Show and Plant Sale that happens every year on Mother’s Day weekend. Dick ‘Red’ Cavender talked to William about all the changes to the garden. This year it seems that the cold of the winter didn’t affect the rhodies except that they seem to have stimulated more blooms this spring. Still, some of the rhodies and azaleas have yet to bloom. We also talked about the ‘azalea lace bug’ problem that has been affecting gardens all around the area. Some gardeners have taken out their azaleas and rhododendrons; in fact some in the print media have written that it may be the only way to completely get rid of this pest. Red told us that you don’t need to go to that extreme! In fact there are many ways of treating the problem including chemical, organic and mechanical means of control. You can apply a systemic chemical to the plant, but either do it before blooms appear or after they have died back. If you want to do an organic treatment, there are soaps and oils that can be applied, but will need to be done multiple times during the season. Or, you can try a mechanical means of treatment which may just be a high pressure spray to knock the bugs off the plant. Any of these treatments will be much cheaper than tearing out your plants and replacing them with new plants. He also covered all the events happening at the garden this weekend. There is the plant sale in the parking lot, which is free to the public. There is also the cut flower show which is in the middle of the garden and can be seen with the normal admission charge, and don’t forget the wonderful garden itself! We also talked about the benefits the garden has enjoyed because of the generosity of gardeners and rhododendron lovers around the state. The garden is maintained by volunteers and the plant sale that the Rhododendron Society is conducting helps to raise funds for the garden. If you would like to learn more about the garden and about volunteering check out the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden website, or call 503-771-8386. You can also find out more about the Portland Chapter of the Rhododendron Society at http://rhodies.org.
Farmington Spring Vines
You can add height and structure to your garden and you don’t even need to build anything! Just add a vine to your plant selections. We met with Mary at Farmington Gardens (503-649-4568) to a large assortment of vines that you can choose from. She had 3 full carts of different vines and she started with a hydrangea. This one was a climbing hydrangea called Miranda and it has wonderful variegated foliage. She also had come clematis vines on her cart. Clematis like to have some protection on their roots so you want to have them planted with another plant like a hosta to shade those roots, but they love full sun on their leaves. You can also bury these plants a few inches deeper when they go in the ground, which is something you can’t do with most of the other garden plants you have. One of the most popular plants recently is hops. Yes, these are the plants that they use to make beer, but you would need to grow a lot more to do your own brewing. Instead, these are great landscape plants. They can grow quite tall in the full sun and will return year after year if you want. The variety that we saw was an incredible golden color. Some of the more unusual vines we saw included; honeysuckles, porcelain vine, the silver creeper vine, akebia, mandevilla, bougainvillea and jasmine. So you can see that there are an incredible amount of vines out there. All you have to do is try to find your favorite! If you need help, just stop by Farmington Gardens and check with Mary or one of the other great staff members!
Spring is the time for building. People are getting to work on new decks, fences and raised beds. But before you start you should make sure you are getting the right wood for the job. To learn about all the different types of wood for garden construction we stopped by Parr Lumber (866-214-7277) and talked to Amber. She started with the ‘treated wood’. This is treated with a copper based chemical to prevent rotting, mold and mildew. It is a type of wood that you should use if your project comes in contact with the soil. She then showed us a couple of different cedars that you will find at your local lumber supplier. One was a ‘tight knot’ cedar. This had knots in the wood but they were intact and there were no holes. The other kind was a clear cedar. This one has a nice grain to it and could be used to give your project a nice, finished look. Finally, she showed us a redwood. This, and the cedar, are naturally termite and rot resistant and make great raised garden beds, but if you were to use them for a deck, fence or patio you should use the treated wood at the base to make your projects have a longer life. If you are starting a project, make sure you stop by and see the experts at Parr to get all your questions answered. It is easier to get the correct information the first time at Parr, then to make multiple trip to the big box store!
Rhubarb is starting to show up in the garden and the grocery store, but you don’t have to make a pie to cook with it. Chef David Musial from First Course Artisanal Catering met us down at Standard TV and Appliance (503-619-0500) to show us a quick and easy chutney recipe. Chutney is a type of sauce that is usually made with fruit, though it can be made using a vegetable. You can use it to compliment meats or as a side dish for vegetables, it is considered to be a ‘relish’ by most people. David’s recipe involved just one pan on the stove. In that pan he ‘sweated’ some onions, which softens and sweetens them. Then he added brown sugar and white sugar, apple cider, cinnamon, clove and pepper. Judy was stirring this while he continued to add stuff to the pot. Fresh grated ginger went in and a little bit of lemon peel. Once that was dissolved, David added the rhubarb which had been cut into chunks. This was left to simmer for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb was soft. This was cooled and then refrigerated before it was used. It tasted great and was just fantastic with the pork loin which David also prepared! If you would like to try this recipe, click here. If you would like to contact David you can reach him at First Course (firstname.lastname@example.org, 971-998-2571)
Terra Firma Crawlspace
Did you know that a lot of the air you breathe comes through your floor from your crawl space. This air can carry with it a lot of different particles, including mold, mildew and allergens. To help minimize these potential problems we met under a house with Scott Pierce from Terra Firma Foundation Solutions (541-229-4049). Scott explained the ‘encapsulation system’ which separates the earth from your home. They completely seal the crawl space to prevent all those particles from migrating to your living space. They also can install a humidity control system so you don’t have to worry about that mold and mildew either! It is just a healthier way to live.
Plus, with all the recent earthquakes shaking the west coast, Scott also talked about how they can check to make sure that your home is attached to the foundation to secure it during a disaster. If you are concerned about your home environment or are unsure about whether your home is prepared for an earthquake, be sure to give Scott and his Terra Firma crew a call.