Ahhh… could there be cooling in sight? The last week has been a struggle for some people and for the average garden. The heat really takes it out of everyone and everything. We noticed that we were keeping an eye on ourselves, and our plants, to make sure everyone was staying hydrated. The heat did have one benefit though, our fruits and vegetables are really doing well! Beans, peas, cucumbers and raspberries seem to grow and ripen overnight. It is great to wander the garden and graze on fresh produce! If you don’t have room for a garden you can always stop at a local grower like Smith Berry Barn. They have a lot of fresh fruit and veggies for you to choose from.
The mid-summer is a great time to relax and enjoy the garden. We may be in for more hot weather before the end of the month and so get out and enjoy some quiet time in your garden. We are not relaxing. We still have a full show filled with fresh stories!
This week we featured...
Village Green Winter Damage
We had the opportunity to travel south to Cottage Grove and visit the Village Green Resort and Garden (800-942-2491). The Village Green is a sister property to the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton and they both are owned by Moonstone Hotel properties. We met with Ty Boland who is the regional horticulture manager and botanical curator of both locations. We met with him in the garden area of the resort. Village Green is actually over 12 different themed gardens in one 14 acre location. They have gardens like the Mahogany Garden, the bride’s garden, a kid’s garden, and the Bird Garden to name a few. They also experienced a bad winter like most of us in Oregon. Ty talked to William about the different parts of the garden and where they saw the most damage. One of the most noticeable places where damage occurred was a large birch tree. This tree really took a hit with all the snow and ice. It caused many of the branches to fail and break. The whole tree will be coming down soon. There were lots of other areas where there was winter damage and those areas hold a lesson for all gardeners. A Lonicera (honeysuckle) and a Cotinus (smoke bush) both had signs of damage but the staff took a long term view on saving them. Ty mentioned that they left the plants alone and gave them a little water and some fertilizer and now most of the plants are returning to normal and they can see where the plants need to be pruned. If they had cut them back in the winter they would have damaged or destroyed some wonderful plant specimens.
Now don’t think that the gardens are a mess and full of winter damage, they’re not. The gardens are looking great right now. A lot of the plants were not even damaged due to the fact that they are well established and have been on the property for many years. If you are traveling and need a place to stop and refresh, the Village Green is a wonderful place to do that. The resort is also just a nice place to visit. Stop by and wander the grounds and see some of the magnificent plants and gardens there.
Jan’s July Tips
Every day in the summer the garden changes, especially in the vegetable garden. This month for our tips of the month, Jan McNeilan talked to Judy about soil; specifically pH. pH means ‘potential hydrogen’ and refers to the amount of acid and alkaline in your soil. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14, with 0 representing the highest concentration of acid and 14 representative of the most alkaline. Most people think that 7, being in the middle, would be the target pH for your plants, but Jan showed us that isn’t always the case. According to test the best pH for your soil is around 6. A just slightly acidic soil. Different minerals are absorbed by your plants at different levels of pH. The area around 6 is optimum for the absorption of the maximum amount of minerals. We saw a demonstration of this in Jan’s Garden. Two years ago Jan used some apple peels in her garden compost. The conditions were right that year and instead of composting they turned into an apple vinegar substance in her raised beds. This made her garden a little too acidic. She spent last year trying to bring her soil back to that perfect 6. This year she is almost there and the plants are doing better, but if you compare them to ones that she planted in containers with the right pH then you can really see the difference. The plants are near twice as tall and more productive. Jan has also done a little fertilizing with a nice fertilizer. The one she used has a combination of 10-30-20 with the middle number being higher. This higher middle number refers to phosphorus and it will help her plants to bear more fruit. She applied this fertilizer before her plants started to bloom so the plant had time to take in the nutrients. Jan also told us about the differences between organic and inorganic fertilizers. The plants really don’t know the difference between them. The plant only recognizes the mineral, not how it is made. It is more important in how it is applied. If you would like more tips on vegetable gardening or how to test the pH in your soil, you can stop by your local independent garden center, contact OSU Extension or find the local Master Gardener program in your area.
Ferguson’s Mid-summer Fragrance
If you have never been to Ferguson’s Fragrant Nursery (503-476-7550), now is the time to pay a visit. Dani and her crew have built a wonderful display garden and it is looking stunning right now. The hydrangeas, roses and lilies are all in bloom and it seems they get more beautiful plants every day. We stopped by to check out the garden and to see what plants are best for mid-summer fragrance. Dani had pulled some plants out of the nursery and we looked at them in her display garden. We started with a hardy geranium called ‘Frost Proof’ and just like the name says it is good until frost and will return year after year. This plant really preforms well in a container and will do best if you protect it and keep it in a green house or inside during the coldest months of the year. She had also pulled 3 wonderful daphnes for us to look at. The first one, ‘Wilhelm Schacht’ was a small, late blooming variety which only gets about a foot tall and a foot wide. It will rebloom until frost. Another smaller growing variety is ‘Lawrence Crocker’. This one is also a repeat bloomer with wonderful purple flowers. The final one was ‘Eternal Fragrance’. This one gets taller, about 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide, and has white blooms. These daphnes all love full sun to part shade and great drainage, so they do well in containers. If you are looking for a taller plant for the fragrant garden, check out the Agastasche. The one that we saw was about 4 feet tall and covered with tall, flowering stalks. Another one that gets tall in the garden is the Actaea ‘Black Negligee’. This one is very fragrant, with tall bloom stalks with spikes on white flowers. Dani recommended this one even for the front of a border so you can enjoy the smell and the lacy black foliage. We finished with a Star Jasmine’. This climber can get really tall, in fact Dani has one in her garden that is over 8 feet tall, on a trellis. It is covered in star shaped blooms and even when it isn’t blooming it has evergreen leaves for all-season interest. If you would like to see more fragrant plants or just need a refreshing stroll in the garden, stop by and see Dani and her staff.
St. Honoré Spaetzle
The vegetables in the garden are getting ripe and we are always looking for a new recipe to try that uses the bounty of the summer garden. We found one from one of the best bakers in town, Dominique Geulin of St. Honoré Boulangerie (971-279-4433). We met him at Sheridan Fruit Company, a wonderful little grocery store, in SE Portland on Martin Luther King Blvd. Dominique loves this store because it has everything he needs for his cooking and it reminds him of a store back in his native France. He picked up some carrots, asparagus, mushrooms and fresh herbs including rosemary and chives. We then went back to his new Division Street location to make a Spaetzle. The name ‘spaetzle’ refers to the tiny little dumplings that you can use like pasta or make into a casserole type of dish. The recipe that Dominique shared was a casserole. First he mixed flour, salt, pepper and spices in a bowl and then added 3 eggs, some milk and a little bit of yogurt which will bring a little bit of acidity to the recipe. That was allowed to rest for a few minutes while we brought some water to a simmer. This batter was then poured into a ‘spaetzle’ maker which looked like a large cheese grater. The dropping batter fell into the simmering water and after about 30 seconds the dumplings started to float. When they rose to the top he spooned them out and placed them into an ice water bath to help firm them up and cool them down. While they were cooling down we worked on our sauce that would be combined with the spaetzle. You start with sautéed garlic and shallots and then add some wine. Let it reduce a little bit and then add some cream and the rosemary sprigs to give it a little flavor. This was set aside while we worked on our fresh vegetable mix. The mushrooms were sautéed for just a few minutes in a pan and then we added the asparagus and carrots, which had been diced and blanched a few minutes earlier. Once they were all browned we added the sauce and the spaetzle dumplings. This was then poured into a baking dish, covered with Emmenthal cheese and placed in the oven until the cheese was golden brown on top. If you would like to try the recipe, check out the recipe here!
This spaetzle is just one of the delicious things you will find at the new Division street store. They built this store to offer a little different menu. You can still get all the wonderful award winning baked goods that you have come to expect at the other two locations, but this restaurant also offers a savory menu featuring Alsatian inspired dishes and a large cider bar with 10 different cider selections. They also have come up with cider cocktails that taste wonderful! They are open until 10 on the weekends and also offer live music every Friday night. You can stop by anytime to satisfy your sweet tooth, but now, at the Division Street location, you can have a heartier dish if you want.