Spring break is here for nearly everyone, and I think it’s more like a ‘Spring kickoff’ instead of a break. More flowers seem to be popping out every day. It is hard not to get excited for the warmer weather to come. Spring is definitely here!
Another way to tell when spring arrives is when French Prairie Gardens has their Ladies Night. William and Judy have had the honor of appearing at this event for the past few years and they always have a blast. They really enjoy helping people pick and plant their hanging baskets! We tell you more about it later in the show, but remember you should register through FPG if you want to be a part of all the fun.
Spring also means that GardenPalooza is coming up too. This week we received more prizes to give away. We now have watering tools from Dramm, garden books from Timber Press, and lots of garden center gift cards. Plus, don’t forget the drawing for the huge arbor from Garden Gallery Iron Works (also featured on the show this week). You count up all those goodies, and the 45 different garden vendors and you have a great time for any gardener! Check out www.GardenPalooza.com and we will see you next weekend!
This week we featured...
FPG Ladies Night
Kick off your spring at the annual Ladies Only Night at French Prairie Gardens (503-633-8445) near St. Paul. They have a whole bunch of fun planned for March 31st from 3:00 to 7:00. The evening starts off with a basket building time, where you can get William and Judy to help you with your hanging baskets for the coming season. Next is a private tour of the greenhouses showcasing their new retail area and the growing area where you can see some of the new combinations of baskets they have coming out this year. Then you will learn about some new plants coming to the market with a great ‘show and tell’ of new varieties. You can also taste local wines, enjoy six different microbrews and ciders on tap, and sample small plates and appetizers. Finally, there is ‘Upping Your Curb Appeal - Taking your Old Pottery from Drab to Fab’! Led by Farmer Karren, this fascinating session will help take your yard décor to a whole new level. They will also have a raffle that includes lots of cool gifts! It should be a great evening. The event is free and if you want to save some money you can go to their Facebook page, or call them and RSVP to get an additional 20% off your purchases. Plus, the first 50 ladies through the door will receive a goodie bag. Sorry guys, this is ladies only!
Blooming Junction Drought Tolerant Plants
Last summer was tough on the garden. We had an extended period of warm dry weather that left many plants in the garden dying of thirst. A lot of people are now looking at drought tolerant plants as part of their regular gardens. Well, we found a place where you can actually see a large variety of drought tolerant plants in a garden and check out how they perform. We stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) at 35105 NW Zion Church Road, near Cornelius and chatted with Ron, the manager, about the selection of plants. He told us that they only planted their garden a year ago and it has been wonderful to see how it has filled in over that year. First they started with creating a bed with a recycled concrete mulch base. This allows for water to drain quickly through the roots and provide weed suppression at the surface. Then they grouped the plants together based on their water needs. Because of this they only had to water a little bit to help the plants get started and then they watered only about 4 more times during the season during the extreme heat. The plants all looked great while we were there and they were starting to pop already! Ron then shared some of his favorite plants. The first 2 were ceanothus shrubs. One was ‘Dark Star’ and the other was ‘Tuxedo’. These were both covered with buds and will soon be covered with thousands of blooms. One plant that was already blooming was the Rock Cress ‘Rokey’s Purple’. This little ground cover was starting its bloom cycle with a bunch of purple blooms popping up through the foliage. We also looked at a couple of plants known for their foliage color. The Artemisia ‘Valerie Finnis’ and the Cardoon have striking silver foliage. The Artemisia stays somewhat short, while the cardoon gets pretty tall. These can really offset the darker colors in your garden. There were also other great plants like the rockrose, some daisies and sedums to choose from. Plus we didn’t even get to the agaves and other desert type plants. If you want to see how different drought tolerant plants look in the garden, you should stop by. Pretty much everything they sell is a ‘Blooming Advantage’ plant. They are grown right here in Oregon and every one of them performs well in the Northwest garden.
While you are checking out the garden be sure and walk around and enjoy this farm/garden center. They also have fresh produce in addition to the great plants and garden supplies. Well worth a stop!
GardenPalooza Arbor Giveaway
As I mentioned earlier, GardenPalooza is only a week away and this year we have a ton of things to giveaway, but our signature drawing this year is something that any gardener would love. Garden Gallery Iron Works (800-452-5266) has provided one of their wonderful Portal Arbors. This huge arbor is a perfect home for your climbing clematis and roses, and is a wonderful welcoming gate to your garden. Stop by the Garden Time booth at GardenPalooza to fill out an entry form for your chance to win, or drive down to their shop in Hubbard and just buy one!
One of the easiest perennials to divide is the hosta. We paid a visit to Sebright Gardens (503-463-9615) to learn how to do it from Thomas Johnson. Sebright grows over 300 different varieties of hostas so they know what they are doing. Thomas told us that you should see the points of the new growth poking out of the ground before you dig them up. If you are seeing the new leaves starting to unfold you should wait a couple of weeks so you don’t damage the new growth, but that is the only warning he gave. He just got his hands dirty and pulled a plant apart, but you can also wash the clump and then just tear it apart by hand. He started by making a cut from underneath the plant to separate the roots and then pulling the plant apart. If you have a large clump in the garden and can’t dig them up it is still easy! You can chop up a clump of roots with a shovel and still not kill the plant! Once they are divided you can move the pieces to their new home in your garden and replant them with compost, leaving the heads of the new shoots just above the soil level and they should be fine. If you ever have any questions about hostas you can contact them at Sebright Gardens. You can also see some of Thomas’s hostas at Gardenpalooza on April 2nd at Fir Point Farms.
Plant Pick – Little Prince Bletilla Orchids
Our Plant Pick sponsor, Little Prince of Oregon, returns for a second year and to start off the year they brought out something special! Mark shared the Hardy Ground Orchid with us. The name of the species is called Bletilla and he had 3 of them that he dropped off at Portland Nursery on Stark. The three he brought were Striata, Yokohama, and Ochracea. He was holding Striata and Yokohama. These were on the purple-ish to pink-ish side of the color wheel with the Striata being a little shorter in the garden at around 10-12 inches. Laura from Portland Nursery was holding on to the Ochracea, which had a bright yellow bloom on a 18-24 inch stem. These orchids are pretty tolerant of the cold and are hardy for our area. They love well drained soil, even moisture and some sun during the day. These are not for the dry, shade garden. They do spread slowly and make a nice, non-invasive clump. Plus you get these delicate blooms in your spring garden! You can find a list of local retailers on the Little Prince website. You can also follow them on Facebook for great plant information all season long!
TOW – Spring Wasp Traps
It may seem weird that we are putting out traps for wasps and yellow jackets in the spring, but next to the late summer this is the best time to use them. Our friends at Rescue (they make those cool yellow Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket traps) told us why it is a good time to put them out now. In the early spring the queens emerge from their winter hibernation and look for places to make their nests for the new season. If you get them now they won’t be around to create a nest of nasty pests to ruin your summer fun. Take down your old traps, clean and refresh them with the pheromone attractant packets available at most of your local garden centers. To make your hunting more effective, place a couple of traps around the perimeter of your yard and garden.