Spring break is here and that means a break from school for the kids, but not for the gardener. This weekend we are seeing some great weather in the forecast and that means everyone is getting outside to do a little spring cleaning in the garden! This is the time to get to work so we can have beautiful gardens in the summer. Still, don’t spend all your time in the garden. Spring also kicks off a lot of festivals. The first big one is the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. It is starting a week earlier this year because of the warm, wet weather. The flowers are starting to pop and with the sunny weather they are looking better every day!
Spring also means GardenPalooza! We are just 2 weeks away. We just received even MORE giveaways today. We will have watering tools from Dramm to give away. Plus we will have $25 gift cards from Portland Nursery and Al’s Garden Center to give away every half hour! They are now added to the list of great prizes and gifts that we will be handing out to lucky winners on April 2nd at Fir Point Farm. Don’t forget our BIG prize of a Garden Trellis from Garden Gallery Iron Works. We will see you all at Fir Point Farms in Aurora on the 2nd! Check out www.GardenPalooza.com for more details.
This week we featured...
Spring Interest Trees
If you are out in the garden in the early spring you may think it is not the best time for your trees and shrubs, and for the most part, they can be either bare or boring. But we stopped by French Prairie Perennials (503-679-2871)at their new location in Aurora to see 3 plants that buck the trend. Rick Naylor, our friendly tree expert brought out 3 different plant that he wanted to show us. The first one was a Japanese White Pine called ‘Snow in the Valley’. This one is called that because the new growth comes out white and the candles (the points at the tips of the branches) are pink. It is very slow growing and will stay short for a long time. The second plant was an Arizona Cypress called Glabra ’Aurea’. This one is a tree that gets about 30 feet tall as it reaches maturity. The new growth here is a lemony yellow color that lasts most of the summer until it turns a blue/green in the fall. The final tree was a rare Snakebark Maple tree called ‘Esk Flamingo’. This one has a lot going for it. The new growth is a creamy pink and green variegated leaf and the back side of this leaf is a bright purple. Then you also have the bark with its snakeskin like appearance. These branches also have a pinkish tinge to them as well.
These were great plants to showcase, and you can find them at their new location in Aurora, but the other reason for stopping by is the expanded gift shop. There is so much more to see inside the store. There are more gifts and décor items to see in the store, you have to stop by and see for yourself.
Plus, you can see Rick at the GardenPalooza event on the 2nd of April. Stop by and register for a chance to win a new tree!
Jan's March Tips
We start our new season of garden tips with Jan McNeilan in her greenhouse this month. She took us out there to dodge the showers but also show us what happened over the winter in her garden. Actually, nothing happened in her garden. Jan battled a couple of health issues including pneumonia so she didn’t make it out in the garden very much over the past couple of months. One of the things she noticed was that her daffodils and garlic didn’t make it out into the garden. So they sprouted and bloomed in the containers she left them in. The Daffs just had a little water and that was enough to produce a beautiful bouquet. This was a great example of how plants just want to grow and they will succeed even with no help from us. We then talked about soil temperature. Right now it is too cold to plant most of your garden vegetables. You can plant your cole crops like broccoli and cauliflower, and plants like peas, but those tomatoes and peppers need to wait until the middle of May or so. In fact most of your vegetable plants will only actively grow when the soil temps reach 50 to 55 degrees. If you get your plants in the ground too early they will just sit there and not grow (or they may even die if it is too cold). If you are wondering when you can plant there is a great publication from OSU Extension called ‘Growing your Own’. This publication will help you get your garden started no matter where you live in Oregon. There is also another one called ‘Vegetable Gardening in Oregon’ with similar information.
We then switched to rose pruning. The best time to prune was actually back in mid-February but if you didn’t get it done then you can do it now! Your plants will still flower, even if you are cutting off the new growth now. They will send up new shoots and you will get blooms. They may just be a few weeks later than normal. Finally, we talked about coffee grounds in the garden. We had a viewer ask us about them and, yes, you can add grounds to your garden beds or compost. They are organic matter and any time you add organic matter to your garden it is a good thing. If you would like more gardening information on what to do in your garden for the spring you can always check out the OSU Extension website, http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening.
We all know that small space gardening is getting more and more popular. We recently heard about a new portable and mobile planter called Mobilegro and had to check it out. We found them at Drake’s 7 Dees on Scholls Ferry Road in Portland. This new, easy to assemble, planter allows you to grow vertically in a small space with over 9 cubic feet of growing area. The water drains down and into a pan at the base so you can use it indoors as well as outside on your deck or patio. It looks great and has multiple designs to choose from in powder coated steel, and it is easy to assemble with just one screw holding everything together. Drakes had theirs full of perennial shade plants, but you could plant it full of vegetables or just about anything else you wanted. If you would like to check them out, you can go to their website, or stop by Drake’s and see it up close.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
We visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm for the Annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest (1-800-711-2006). This event showcases the fields full of beautiful tulip blooms. This year the early warm weather has the fields looking spectacular! Karen Bever met William out in the fields to see the blooms. They were really starting to pop. The festival is always changing and this year is no different. They have recently added a wine tasting room to their facilities. Plus, this year, you can take a ride out to the fields on their Wine Wagon Farm Tour and sample wine and other goodies. Another thing that has become popular is the Steam Tractor Spark Show on April 9th. This is an evening event that features those wonderful antique steam tractors. During the event they burn hazel nut shells that throw sparks into the air. It is quite a display. That event takes place after the normal business hours. There is another way where you can come early or stay late in the fields and that is with a season pass. This pass is good for the whole season and you can use it as many times as you like . Plus you will be able to get into the fields an hour before sunrise and stay an hour after sunset.
Still, this is a festival about the blooms! One area that we found interesting was the small display areas out in the fields. These areas featured all of the bulbs that they have planted in the field. You can take a look at these bulbs and compare them side by side. Once you figure out what you want, you can order them for next year. Also, if you are confused about which ones to get, you can order special prepackaged mixes of bulbs. This guarantees that you will have a nice combination of bulbs that will continue blooming for months. The flower fields are just hitting their peak and the farm is full of events and it is still a must see for anyone, even non-flower lovers. Every weekend they are packed with different activities including a wooden shoe carver, pony rides, arts and crafts, and other entertainment for a small fee. Even when the weather is a little damp, the fields never disappoint. You can even check out their ‘field report’ link on their webpage for the most up-to-date bloom report. Bring a camera; this is a scene you have to capture on film!
While you are there, you can pick up the Garden Time tulip. It is a must have for any garden!
Planting Summer Bulbs
I know that we are just seeing some of our spring bulbs blooming, but it is also the time to start thinking about the late summer color we get with summer blooming bulbs. We stopped by Portland Nursery (503-231-5050) on Stark to talk with Sara about getting your summer bulbs in the ground now. There are lots of bulbs and tubers that you can plant in April and May including tuberous begonias, lilies, gladiolus, crocosmia and dahlias. Remember too that these bulbs will benefit from a little boost of bulb food when they go into the ground. You can pick up a prepackaged box of food or even try some bone meal. Also, you want to plant the bulb or tuber at the right depth. To help you, Portland Nursery has a page about bulbs that you can check out on their website and they even have a downloadable chart that shows planting depths. For more information you can call or stop by either location, on 50th and Stark, or 90th and Division.