We would like to take a little time this weekend to thank all of our military service members and those who have served in the armed forces. The reason for celebrating Memorial Day can get lost in all the excitement of the start of the summer season and nicer weather, but it is the sacrifice of these brave people that allows us to enjoy this weekend, and every weekend in freedom.
This weekend is turning out to be one of the better Memorial Day weekends in the past few years. We are seeing sun and just a chance of showers in the forecast. That is a win-win for Oregonians. Just enough water to keep our gardens happy and enough sunshine to enjoy the outdoors.
Speaking of outdoors, you really need to get out and enjoy some of the great flower shows that are happening. One of the best stops is on exit 263 in Brooks. Adelman’s Peony Gardens, Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, Sebright Gardens and Brooks Gardens are all just right off the exit there. In fact there are many more gardening stops and you can learn more by checking out their website at www.Gardening263.com. In fact, this weekend would be a wonderful time to stop and see them since many will be doing some wonderful things for the holiday weekend. Check out our story at Schreiner’s in this week’s show for their schedule of events. Stop by Schreiner’s on Memorial Day for the BBQ and you might get a chance to see the Garden Time crew. We love the chicken dinner!
This week we featured...
Raised Bed Options
A lot of people are building and using raised beds in their garden these days for vegetable gardening. But you don’t have to just limit yourself to veggies. A raised bed creates a perfect area for many other uses too. We stopped at Farmington Gardens (503-649-4568) and talked to MJ about some of the other uses they recommend. She first started by showing us the first use which was for vegetables of course. This bed had some cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, onions and even peas on a trellis. This trellis is a great addition because it adds height to the garden and allows more room for other vegetables. She had even added some cute little garden stakes. The next idea was an herb garden. This type of garden can last longer than a regular veggie garden. This garden can by harvested many times over for cooking and other ‘home’ projects like making your own teas and potpourri.
The final idea for using your raised bad involved perennials and annuals. The plants that MJ brought out were not just sun loving, some of them were for a shade garden as well. And that is one use we hadn’t thought of… If you have a large tree with lots of surface roots the raised bed will allow you to make use of that area without disrupting the roots of the tree. Some of the plants that we looked at included hostas, hellebores, and heucheras. There were also hardy fuchsias, brunnera, astilbe and even a few annuals that can be changed out for different seasons. You can also think about planting small shrubs and grasses if you are really looking to make a statement. If you are looking for some ideas for your raised beds, be sure to stop by Farmington Gardens and check with MJ and the staff for help.
Inviting Vines Tour
One of the quiet little garden secrets is located in Lake Oswego. The Rogerson Clematis Collection is located at the farm house at Luscher Farm. This collection of clematis is outstanding and grows in size and varieties every year. We met with Curator Linda Beutler in the display gardens to see some of the collection. She wanted to show us how they display their clematis and to give us ideas to share with viewers. With all the clematis on display you would think that they would have a lot of trellises around the garden, but instead, there were very few to be seen. Linda and her crew have decided to let nature be the trellis. In the wild, clematis grow up and around other plants, and that is what they are doing at the Rogerson garden. In one area she showed us how a Polish variety of clematis was growing up a tall barberry. The purple flowers of the clematis worked well with the burgundy colored leaves of the barberry. The next setting was similar, it featured a witch hazel which was done blooming, but the clematis was going strong. 2 plants but one column of color. Another area featured clematis ‘John Paul II’ climbing through an heirloom apple tree and that was right next to an outstanding pairing of a doublefile viburnum ‘Molly Schroeder’ in full bloom with Clematis ‘Maksymilian Kolbe’, also in full bloom! They were stunning! Our final stop took us up near the farm house. The north side of the house has two huge rhododendrons and they would be spectacular by themselves, but one of them had clematis ‘Nelly Moser’ growing through it. You had huge swaths of white, purple and red all along the side of the house. But that isn’t all. In the front of the house there was a very tall boxwood which was home to two clematis ‘Belle of Woking’ and ‘Edouard Desfosse’. Like Linda said ‘Anything that’s a green blob we cover with clematis’!
If you would like to see how various gardeners work clematis into their gardens and also help the Rogerson Clematis Collection at the same time this Saturday is just right for you. The Annual Inviting Vines Tour is happening today, May 24th from 10 to 4pm and features 5 private gardens in north and northeast Portland (and also at Luscher farm) You can tour these wonderful gardens and also get a chance to take a clematis home. You can get tickets at Garden Fever in NE Portland or at Luscher farm. For more details check out their website at http://rogersonclematiscollection.org.
Schreiner’s Iris Gardens
Recently we found out that our friends at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (1-800-525-2367) are the largest hybridizer of iris varieties in the world! To learn how they do it we stopped by the iris fields and talked to Steve Schreiner to get the details. Every year Schreiner’s introduces 17-18 new varieties of iris and they can have up to 20,000 seedlings in their test fields at any one time. They are not just looking for great color and fragrance, though that is important. They are also looking for structure, does it stand tall in the garden; amount of blooms, are there a large number of blooms; and structure of the blooms, do they present well when seen in the garden. It is a big task, but one that they really love to do. They also get the honor of naming the new flowers too. So if you see a crazy name on a flower, you can be sure that the Schreiner’s probably had a hand in growing it!
We then moved to the display gardens. These gardens are a wonderful collection of color and fragrance featuring most of the varieties that they grow. Here you can actually see them and how they fit in a garden bed with other complimentary plants. It is a striking sight! This week is peak bloom for the Schreiner’s and it is a great time to visit the fields. Steve told us that they have a full weekend of activities planned. If you stop by on Saturday you can try a taste of the Iris Liqueur which is made in Eugene with a variety of iris root. You can also visit various booths around the garden featuring iris themed art. Then on Monday you can enjoy the sounds of Dixie land jazz and a BBQ chicken dinner. The gift shop will be open until June 1st but you can enjoy the display gardens everyday from dawn till dusk and the best part… the gardens are free to wander! Stop by and enjoy the wonderful sights and smells of Schreiner’s!
Some gardeners think that you are limited in the amount of materials you can choose from for a shady spot in your garden. To learn the truth we visited the cute little nursery ‘Out in the Garden’ (503-829-4141) in Molalla and the owner, Carol Westergreen, to see what she could pull together quickly for us for shady areas in the garden. She found a lot of stuff to show us! Some people think that shade plants can be tough, but most of these are push-overs and easy to grow with a little help. You just need to listen to the plant. If it doesn’t like the area it is in, you just move it! That is the beauty of perennials!
Carol brought out some of her favorite perennials. The first plant she showed us was the Actaea ‘White Pearl’ which is a fall blooming perennial. This one is super fragrant and is covered with white berries late in the season. Then we moved to ferns, which are a staple in any shade garden. The first fern was one called ‘Fortune’s Holly’ this is a tall fern and stays evergreen in the winter. We also looked at the back of the leaves and saw they were covered in spores. This is how the ferns reproduce, but some people think it is a disease or bug of some kind. It is totally normal. Then we moved to an Athyrium type of fern called ‘Branford Rambler’. This is a shorter variety of fern that starts out small and then grows during the summer showing off some cool dark stems. Our last fern was more of a groundcover fern. This one was called a ‘Himalayan Maidenhair’ Fern. It has a soft texture in its leaves and stays just 1-2 inches tall all year. It also stays evergreen all winter long, no matter how cold it gets! Next we looked at a shade garden favorite, the hellebore. Carol really likes these plants for their late winter, early spring blooms, and then the great foliage through the rest of the season. The best new plants out there are the Gold Collection including ‘Pink Frost’, ‘Joshua’ and ‘Jacob’. One plant that we haven’t seen much was next, Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’. This one has wonderful dark foliage and clusters of white flowers in mid September.
Shrubs for shady areas are not well known and Carol pulled a couple that thrive in shady, dappled light, areas. The Leucothoe ‘Zeblid’ and ‘Rainbow’ both start out with nice color on the new growth, but they really shine in the late fall and winter when they get burgundy leaves, providing a nice backdrop for your other perennial plants. Next was the perennial of the year for 2013, ‘Variegated Solomon’s Seal’. This one grows in clumps around the garden, with cream colored edges on the leaves and nice white flowers that dangle below the leaves. It also has an evergreen cousin that has similar characteristics. As we were getting down to the final plants we saw a hardy begonia. Most people think of begonias as tender indoor plants, but the ‘Begonia grandis’ is one that will survive in the outdoor garden. It has wonderful leaf color and dainty little pink flowers later in the season. Our final plant was the Ligularia. Carol brought out 2 different varieties of this ‘drama queen’ plant. She called them that because they really look like they are dying if they even get a little bit dry. You just give them a little water that they perk right back up again. The taller variety was ‘Przewalskii’ with blooms that can reach 6 feet high. It also blooms in late June or early July, a great time since there are not a lot of blooms at that time of year. The smaller variety was ‘Confetti’. This one has a cool leaf color and each leaf seemed to be a little different, putting on a colorful show in those shadiest areas of your garden. If you are looking for shade plants, don’t get discouraged. Stop by your local garden center, or better yet, stop by and see Carol at Out in the Garden Nursery!
We all love our feline friends except when they are in our gardens where they shouldn’t be. Judy and William showed us various solutions to the problem. These are all safe for pets, all they do is create an uncomfortable area for pets so they go elsewhere. Judy started with some sprays and topical applications. These sprays including ‘Go Away’ from Bonide and include products like pepper oil, cinnamon or clove oil. It is the smell that will keep them away and they are safe for the pets and for you too. Another way to keep cats out is with materials that create a physical discomfort. Some people have found success with netting. Just lay it in strips around your garden and the cats have problems digging and they go somewhere else. You can also use a mulch like cocoa mulch, just sprinkle it around your garden and they don’t like the touch or smell and move on. If you have a favorite plant that they seem to be laying on, just push plastic forks into the ground, tines up and they will move on as well. Most cats also hate water so you can pick up the Scarecrow motion activated deterrent. Every time a cat comes into your garden bed the sprinkler will go off and send them away. If you are close enough to your cat when it is ‘doing its business’ you can just use a simple spray bottle full of water to train them to stay away. There is also fencing that you can use. If you are trying to protect a vegetable garden sometimes a screen of fencing about 1 foot tall will keep them out. Finally we talked about just making a truce! If you and your cat both love spending time in the garden why not make a space for you both. Look for an area in your garden that you can make a special place for your feline friend. Plant cat-friendly plants like catnip. Place a water source there, some sand for a potty area and some cool areas to lay down and you both can enjoy your time in the garden. If you are having problems with any of your pets, check with your local garden center for safe ideas to set those boundaries.
Grande Valley Gates
Adding structure to your garden can take many forms. One way to do it is with fencing and gates. We were recently at Grande Valley Ornamental Iron (503-981-6923) and noticed some of the cool designs they had for gates and fences. We met with Ed to learn about how they get the process started for new customers. It starts with a meeting. The new customer sits down with Jan, Ed’s wife and designer, to pencil out some ideas for design. Sometimes during these meetings they can come up with 2-3 different ideas. Then Ed and Jan will make a visit to the garden and do some measuring. This is where they get an idea for how the gate or fence will fit in the garden. They also fine tune the design at this point. They make these designs unique, in fact, a design will not be reused unless the owner agrees to share it, so they can be sure their design is one-of-a-kind! Once the gate is done it is delivered and installed. GVOI is getting quite the reputation. They have even build gates, fences, and fireplace screens for the abbey at Mt. Angel. If you are looking for a new gate that will complement the beauty of your garden, check out Grande Valley Ornamental Iron.
Geranium Lake Wall Succulents
Recently Kim Foren from Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) had the opportunity to go to New York to do the flowers for an event hosted by Robert DeNiro and his wife, Grace Hightower. This benefit was a star-studded affair and Kim was asked to do something really outstanding for a display. They wanted her to build a wall of plants to hang over a seating area at the benefit. Kim chose succulents and found a form that could hold them. At the last minute they changed the décor and she did something different, but it gave her an idea that she wanted to share with our viewers. The forms for hanging succulents are readily available as are the plants. Kim and Judy then took about 15 minutes to build a display for us to show! It was easy to plant, simply push the small plants into the holes in the form and then leave it lay flat for a couple of days to root and settle, then hang it on the wall. You should take it down once a week to water it and let it drain, then hang it back up again. If you are looking for sources on where to get the materials, just stop or call Geranium Lake Flowers!
Gartner’s Memorial Day Grilling
Holidays should be spent with friends and family and not tied to a grill. Memorial Day is a time of remembrance and honoring those who have sacrificed for our country, it is also the start of the summer season. This start of the summer season is a great time to reacquaint yourself with those close to you, and to your grill! We stopped by the home of Jerry Yost to pick up some tips to keep our holiday worry free and easy. Jerry works at Gartner’s Meats (503-252-7801) and is the master at the grill. He picked up some of their signature sausages and brats and showed us how easy they were to grill. They make over 40 different kinds of sausage, so there is something for everyone! He also brought out their premade chicken and beef kabobs! These are huge and sometimes can be too much for a single serving. Jerry recommended that you cut them in half once they are off the grill, so that none will go to waste. The kabobs even come in a bag already sauced so all you have to do is put them on the grill, and in a few minutes you are done. Gartner’s also carries a full complement of salads, breads and desserts to make your meal complete. Of course if you want more meat, Gartner’s has a full meat case with everything you need to make your meal a success. Check them out before you head to your next cookout.