This is the time of year I look forward to. I know that the heat is too much for some people, but for me this is a wonderful time of year. Not only is the heat feeling great, but we are enjoying a daily bounty of fruits and vegetables from the garden and local farmers markets. The only drawback is when we have to work in it, it can really sap your strength! Still, we are enjoying the nice cool mornings and evenings, and so are our plants, and that makes it all worthwhile.
This week we featured...
Late summer means hot days and lazy afternoons, but wasps and hornets can be a big problem for the gardener! The late season makes all these winged pests more active and aggressive as they sense the upcoming fall and winter changes. We happened to find a local man while we were visiting Garland Nursery in Corvallis who happens to be an expert in removing these pests and using them for a beneficial purpose. Dan Scollard from Oregon Wasp (541-753-6861) happened to be at the nursery to remove a couple of nests of Bald Faced Hornets who happened to sting an employee a few days before. Dan captures these aggressive little flyers and provides them to medical facilities where they extract the venom and use it to produce life-saving allergy shots. He talked about how these little creatures produce their homes with wood fibers from fences and posts. They chew these wood fibers and with their saliva they make the paper that houses and protects the hive. They also recycle! As the nest grows they will remove the inside wall and reapply that material to the outside to allow the nest to get bigger. When he finds a nest Dan actually sucks up the hornets in a modified shopvac and then he will take the nest (which still has the queen in it) and hang it on his property to produce more wasps and hornets. It is a great service and one that helps lots of people. He will also help you if you have honey bees in the spring! If you are having problems with wasps and hornets and are in the Corvallis area, give him a call or stop by Garland Nursery (1-800-296-6601) for his contact info. Anywhere else in the state we would recommend that you stop by your local independent garden center for help with these pesky visitors.
Dramm Watering Tools
Hot summers equal lots of watering for the average gardener. One of the tools that can make that job easier is some of the great watering tools from Dramm. Dramm is the choice of nursery industry professionals when it comes to watering and it has become the gardeners choice as well. Jessica stopped by to visit when she was on a trip from Wisconsin to talk about the tools and a little bit of the history of the company. Dramm was founded by John G. Dramm who was a local florist. He was looking for a watering tool that mimicked the coverage and gentleness of rainwater. He came up with the 400 Water Breaker which was an immediate success. This has led the to the production of a wide array of watering tools that meets the needs of every garden watering chore. From watering wands to the revolver spray gun, Dramm has stayed on the cutting edge of design and durability. We saw how they ensure that durability with some of the testing they do. They bang watering wands into the concrete, drag them around the floor, and turn the valves on and off for days at a time, all to make sure that the tools work well in the home garden. Jessica even showed us how they have redesigned the Color Storm Oscillating Sprinkler to last long and be more efficient. They do this type of work on all their products. You can find the colorful line of Dramm tools at your local independent garden center.
Have you ever been in your garden and noticed that a variegated plant is growing a branch that is a different color? A lot of times a variegated plant will ‘revert’ back to the original parent plants solid color.
Growers will sometimes notice that a favorite plant is growing a different color of leaves on a branch. This is called a ‘sport’ and it is a genetic mutation that naturally occurs in some plants. These ‘sports’ are then propagated and, if they can hold true to their new colors, are sold in garden centers as new varieties. When we get them home and plant them, sometimes they want to go back to the original parent. This is not a big deal. If you notice this on any of your plants you will want to cut off the solid color branch. This original plant color is the dominate color and the entire plant will revert back to it unless you cut it off. If you want to keep your variegated plant you will want to remove the solid color branch from the plant. So if you see a reversion, just know that your plant is still healthy and that you may have to do a little bit of pruning.
Summer Tree Stress
The heat of summer affects us all differently. If you are a tree it could be dangerous. We stopped by Collier Arbor Care (503-72-ARBOR) and chatted with Logan Collier about summer heat and the stress it can produce in your landscape trees and shrubs. The heat and lack of additional watering can show up in any of your landscape plants. One of the first signs is your lawn. You will notice it getting brown, now is the time to look up and at your trees and shrubs. Typically you will notice stress in your understory plants first, especially if they are out in direct sunlight. On Dogwoods, the signs of stress include wilting and curling leaves, chlorosis (a yellowing of leaves caused by a lack of chlorophyll), and even dieback of leaves and branches. This stress from heat and lack of water actually causes the tree to shut down, it tries to save itself. That means its defenses are down and it is more susceptible to insects and diseases. You can help the trees and shrubs in your yard by checking out the soils. Make sure that the tree is able to get water and nutrients from the soil and that there isn’t too much clay or sand. You will also want to mulch to hold in the water that is there so the tree or shrub can access it. Then check your watering schedule. Trees and shrubs need about an inch of water a week when they are actively growing, and even more water when it gets hot out. If you are not sure about the health of your trees and shrubs, be sure to give Collier Arbor Care a call. They can also set up a schedule for later in the season to do some preventative maintenance to avoid bigger problems down the road. They also have a lot of great information on their website. You have invested a lot into your trees, make sure you protect that investment by consulting a professional!
McMenamins Edgefield Gardens
McMenamins is known for their great beers, but they are also heavily invested in nature and making sure their properties are earth friendly. We stopped by one of the signature locations of the McMenamins (503-669-8610) group, Edgefield, near Troutdale at the entrance to the Columbia River Gorge. Located on 74 acres Edgefield is a destination resort that features a winery, hotel, distillery, brewery, spa, movie theatre and golf course interspersed among other amenities on the property. We met with Kim Kincade, the head gardener, to talk about the 7 acres of gardens on the site. She commands a staff of 7 gardeners, 5 of which are full time. They help maintain a lot of ‘gardens within the garden’ that include a woodland garden, a wetland garden, and a huge vegetable garden which supplies organic produce to the Black Rabbit Restaurant located in the hotel. They also have an orchard, which supplies apples and pears for the distillery, a vineyard which supplies fruit for their wines and various other fruits and vegetables which are used on site and at other McMenamins properties. The staff is very proud of the way they garden too. They use all natural and organic products and methods when possible. They believe these natural practices are reflected in the quality of the products they serve! If you want to see the gardens, stop by and make a day of wandering the property. Better yet, stay the night and enjoy everything Edgefield has to offer! To learn more, you can read our story in the Garden Time Magazine, July 2014 issue.