Are you decorated yet? Halloween is just a little over a week away and people are getting their costumes for the big night! It is on a Friday this year and that means a lot of people will be out late and enjoying the evening. Since you have probably thought about your costume, have you thought about how you are going to dress up your home? Most of your local independent garden centers are loaded full of Halloween décor including pumpkins, corn stalks, fall blooming plants and a whole lot more. They are also full of friendly advice too and can help you get started on your other holiday decorating as well.
And it isn’t scary to shop the stores either!
This week we featured...
Oregon Garden Volunteers
How does The Oregon Garden do it? How do they keep the grounds looking so great and how so many flawless events throughout the year? It is all about the volunteers. We stopped by the garden to meet a couple of these wonderful garden helpers. The first person we met was Sue MacDonald. She works with the horticulture staff of doing everything plant related in the garden, from assisting in planting to just weeding, she is like so many other volunteers, they just love to do it. Plus she gets the satisfaction of knowing that she is helping make the garden one of the best in the nation.
We then talked to the other Sue, Sue Lake. She is volunteering in Guest Services. She works to help greet people and gives a hand in all the events that the garden has throughout the year. She loves to put a ‘face’ on the garden. There are so many different event that happen over the course of the year that the job is always different! In fact there is another event coming up in the near future that she is excited about and that is the Christmas in the Garden. This is one of the newest events and one of the most fun. She recommends that you check it out.
If you would like to become a volunteer it is really easy. Just contact the Oregon Garden office for more information. There are lots of different jobs where they need a little help and you can volunteer as much or as little as you want. Call today and become part of one of the best gardens around!
Second Step Garden
Since 1996, Second Step Housing (360-993-5301) has been working to help eliminate homelessness in the Vancouver Washington area. Second Step Housing develops, renovates, and manages affordable housing and helps families achieve self-sufficiency. One of the way they help reach this goal is to promote gardening. We recently visited Aurora Place Apartments where Second Step has clients. We met with Debby Dover and facilities manager, Kris Mitchell, to tour the gardens that the clients use. She told us how they encourage residents to grow their own food and help them with tips on how to grow their own vegetables. Plus if a family has too much food they encourage them to share with others. One of the best stories is of one of the kids that use the garden. They are more willing to try new food when they grow it themselves! Kris also asked for help. If you want to help create more garden beds and develop other garden areas she would love to hear from you.
If you can’t volunteer in the garden there are other ways you can help. We then talked to Debby from Second Step about an event that is coming up in the next week where you can financially support the group and have a great time while doing it. The Step into Fashion event is happening on the 23rd of October at the Royal Oaks Country Club at 5:30pm. Every year 3 or 4 clients are picked to get a makeover. This includes hair and makeup, and a new wardrobe. Then they get to model their new ‘look’ for everyone at the dinner. They have made the first step to getting their lives back on track and this makeover helps to create a new look to match the new person they have become. The modeling doesn’t just stop at the clients. There are guest models on the runway as well, including the Mayor of Vancouver (who took his shirt off for a donation last year) and a local Judge. It is a very fun evening! For more information on this event and on the Second Step program, check out their website or give them a call.
Winter Tree Prep
The wind, rain and possible snow of the coming winter can mean trouble for your large landscape trees. How can you tell if your trees are healthy enough for all that mother natural has to offer? We sought out our favorite ‘Certified Arborist’ Terrill Collier from Collier Arbor Care (503-72ARBOR) and asked him for some signs we can look for. Terrill took us to an area near Wilsonville for our first stop to show us a multiple trunked tree that could lose one of its trunks due to rot and decay at its base. That is just one of the 8 signs that you should look for in a dangerous tree. Other signs included weakly attached branches, cracks in the branches of the trunk, pealing bark and signs of decay or rot. These are the most obvious of signs, but if you are unsure of the safety of your trees you can contact Collier Arbor Care or a certified arborist. Collier’s even has a brochure that can tell you what else to look for. Terrill emphasizes that you insist on a certified arborist. They are trained to look for the damaged spots and are trained (insured and bonded) to remove the weak tree safely.
It is apple season and that means it is the perfect time to enjoy the bounty of the season with fresh applesauce. Joelle from Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) let us know that she had a simple, easy recipe that anyone can make in a short period of time. We caught up with her in her kitchen where she was busy preparing apples with an apple peeler/corer/slicer. This is a neat gadget that does all 3 jobs at once. You cannot believe how great it works. They carry them at Smith Berry Barn and she swears by them. She had picked 2 different varieties of apples, Liberty and Macintosh. She picked both because of their firm texture (which helps in the peeler/slicer) and their different complimentary flavors. After preparing about 16 apples in a pan Judy added lemon juice, brown and white sugars and a cup of water. We then cooked it on the stove for about 40 minutes while we stirred and mashed it. Then we ran it through a food mill (or a strainer will do) to even out the consistency. You can serve it while it is still warm or freeze it to enjoy later this winter when you need a reminder of those wonderful flavors of summer.