Spring is flying by! We are celebrating our 3rd annual Subaru Garden Dayz today at Capitol Subaru in Salem. It is a day (11am to 3pm) of fun and lots of plants! We will be giving away seeds and plants, there is free food and drinks (while supplies last) and lots of drawings for gift cards! Stop by and you might win a $25, $50 or $100 gift card!
For the Garden Time crew this event means the beginning, of the end, of spring. The next big day is Memorial Day, next weekend, and then Father’s day before the summer arrives. Scary! We are also thinking about the upcoming garden tour to Ireland in less than a month, and that has us trying to figure out how to get all these shows produced before we leave!
If you were thinking of joining us on a future garden tour, we will be making an announcement soon about our next destination in February of 2017. It will be very affordable and to a tropical place that I’m sure you will love. Think about it… tropical plants and heat in the winter, can’t beat that!
Finally, I should let some of you know that we had a little glitch with the show in Portland the last couple of weekends. KPDX, our station in Portland had soccer matches from Germany the past 2 weekends at 6:30 in the morning. These matches ran long and due to obligations to children’s programming they had to cut our program short. I know it was as frustrating to you as it was to us. I’ve been told that this was probably the last time we will have to deal with the disruption for the rest of the year (fingers crossed). So, to make sure that everyone gets a chance to see the stories that were cut short, we will be airing them again for the next couple of weeks. For those of you that watch the program out of Salem and Eugene that will mean you will get a repeat of these stories. Sorry for that. For everyone else, enjoy!
This week we featured...
Perennials for Containers
When people think about their containers, a lot of them think about filling them with annuals. Yes, you get a ton of color, but then it is gone and you have to repeat it again the next season. What about using perennials in your pots? Perennials will give you lots of color and texture, year after year, and you don’t have to do much to get them to survive. To get some ideas we stopped by Farmington Gardens (503-649-4568) and talked to MJ. We found her in the display garden on the east side of the nursery. It is a great place to see how plants look in an established garden. She had some containers in the garden to show us how to use perennials in pots. The first container had a red salvia, yellow coreopsis, some short decorative grasses and an abelia shrub in the front, trailing over the edge. This was a ‘full sun’ container with a nice mix of plants. The second container was simple. Just a hardy gardenia in a classic white pot. One flowering, fragrant plant that you can enjoy the whole season long on your deck or patio! Speaking of matching colors, the next container had plants that worked well with the greenish/blue planter that they were in. They included a bright green creeping jenny and a short oat grass, paired with a nandina and Echinacea. She had also included a little spot of color with a dianthus in the center. The last ‘sun’ container we looked at was one that was planted last year. The old plants included a euphorbia, an ajuga and a decorative grass, but those were now partnered with a couple different verbenas for added color. Another plant that MJ was thinking of using was a new patio peony. These stay small and only get about 15 to 18 inches tall instead of the 2 feet that other peonies get. A perfect perennial for a planter.
We then moved to some shade planters. MJ had paired 3 different sized pots, that were all the same style. In the large one she had started with a smaller Japanese maple and used ground covers at its base. The second pot had a nice medium sized fern with more ground covers and the third, and smallest, pot had a heuchera in the center with more ground covers spilling over the edge. It made for a nice grouping! How do you care for these wonderful sun and shade plants? First be aware of fertilizing. Pots get watered a little more than regular plantings in the garden and that washes away nutrients. So give them a nice little dose of fertilizer about once a month. Plus be aware of water. Watering containers is important because they will dry out faster than your other garden plants. If you were thinking about doing something a little different in your containers this year, consider perennials. If you need help picking out plants or containers, check with the experts at Farmington Gardens or your local independent garden center.
Schreiner’s Iris Gardens
May is a busy month for local blooming plants. The leading plant for most of May is the Iris and we are lucky to have the leading iris grower in the country at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (1-800-525-2367). Schreiner’s not only grows iris, they also host the public at their huge display gardens every spring, and this year they are really putting on a show! The warmer weather this spring has the blooms going crazy and that has meant a full garden. A busy time for the Schreiner family, but irises are in their blood. In fact they have been growing iris as a family for over 90 years, growing award winning irises. We met with Steve Schreiner in the display gardens to learn more about what makes a perfect award winning iris. He had a variety that was the ‘perfect iris in the 1930’s and Dusky Challenger, which is now considered the best iris around. The newer iris was huge and was blooming from top to bottom! Amazing what a 100 years of hybridizing can do!
He also had some tips about iris for us. The number one tip was about watering. Iris are the perfect plant for areas with water restrictions. Iris are drought tolerant! Once they are established they can survive on very little water. You should also look out for slugs. Bait for them regularly. Fertilizing your plants should be done before they bloom and you should use a light fertilizer. Nothing too strong.
These next 2 weekends are always big ones at the display gardens. This weekend is the Keizer Iris Festival and it includes a parade in downtown Keizer. Then head out to the garden for a volkswalk, live music and beer tasting. The Memorial Day weekend has special events scheduled every day. Stop by that weekend and you can see artists displaying in the garden. There will also be wine tasting from Methven Vineyards, spirit sampling from ‘Spiritopia’ and beer tasting with Gilgamesh brewing. The weekend wraps up with the annual Chicken BBQ by the Gervais Knights of Columbus and the sounds of bluegrass from ‘The Fading by 9 Band’. This isn’t the end of the blooms though. The gift shop will stay open for a couple more days and the display garden will stay open for visitors until the blooms are gone. Stop by and check out the gardens, it is always a blast.
Rosarian Rose Garden Contest
For over 100 years the Royal Rosarians have been the official greeters to the city of Portland and have been ambassadors of good will to guests of the city and the world. Since 1938 they have also sponsored the Royal Rosarian Foundation Rose Garden Contest. Royal Rosarian and rose garden curator, Harry Landers met us at the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park in the Royal Rosarian Garden to tell us about the rose contest and how people can enter. The contest has many categories and is open to anyone within a 20 mile radius of Pioneer Courthouse Square. Generally they ask that gardens contain at least 25 roses to enter, but there are categories for special gardens that can have as few as 12 roses. Check out the Royal Rosarian website for details. Just click on the ‘Events’ link for all the rules and an entry form. The entry period ends on the 26th of May. Judging takes place on the 5st of June followed by the awards presentation on June 21st at the Rosarian Garden. The website even has tips for winning!
If you get a chance you need to stop by the Rosarian Garden at Washington Park and see all the great flowers. It also contains plaques for all the Rosarian Prime Ministers to date. They also have a new statue that you have to see! And remember the Rosarian slogan… ‘For You a Rose in Portland Grows’.
Plant Lovers Guide to Clematis
Timber Press had a great idea a few years ago. Create a series of books for specific plants targeted for the people who love plants. The ‘Plant Lovers Guide’ series has become very popular and we had a chance to visit with the author of the latest edition, The Plant Lovers Guide to Clematis. It just happened to be our old friend Linda Beutler. Linda goes by many titles including, educator, President of the International Clematis Society and curator of the Rogerson Clematis Collection at Luscher Farms. Today she put on her author hat. She told us that the ‘Plant Lovers Guides’ have a selected format that she had to follow, but she could add information to that format if she wanted. The format incudes plant height, exposure, bloom time and hardiness. Linda told us that she added landscape uses as a part of her description, because that is a question she gets a lot. She also addresses pruning issues for the species and even the hybrid varieties. Then she had to pick varieties! She ‘narrowed’ it down to 196 different clematis! It is a great selection of plants that will make any clematis lover happy.
If you want to get your hands on this book, or see some great clematis you can find Linda this coming weekend at a Hardy Plant Society event or next weekend during the Inviting Vines tour. Check out their websites for more information on both events.
Jan’s May Tips
Spring is in full swing and there is so much to do in the garden. We could fill a bunch of shows with information. To get a few tips for May we stopped by Jan McNeilan’s house and met her in the greenhouse. The first thing she was working on was an indoor plant. Now is a good time to move your indoor plants outside for the summer. Just be aware of their needs. If your plant likes shade inside, give it shade outside too. Jan underestimated the amount of sun involved and slightly burned a couple of leaves on her plant. We then talked about pruning your rhododendrons. If your plants are done blooming now, you can either cut them back drastically or just deadhead them. Rhodies are pretty tough. We have seen people cut them to the ground and then seen them grow back. Of course, major pruning will mean that you will have no blooms for 2-3 years until new buds form on those pruned stems. With deadheading, you just snap off the old flower buds so you can control a little of the new growth and keep the plant at its current size, plus, if you’re careful you will get new blooms next year.
The final two things we chatted about involved mulch and fertilizing. Jan recommended that you don’t fertilize unless you need too. Sometimes people get into the habit of applying fertilizer on a schedule and, unless you have a heavy feeder like a hanging basket with fuchsias, you could be wasting fertilizer and money. If you mulch you need to be aware of a few things. First, the mulch will help suppress weeds, but it could also block water from getting to the root zone if you have it piled too high. The other thing about mulch, pull the excess away from the base of your trees and shrubs. If it is piled up at the base of the these plants it could hold in moisture and create future problems with rot and diseases. If you are looking for more timely gardening information, check out OSU Extension’s website.
Burls Unique Plants
Burl at Rare Plant Research has the coolest plants! If you want to see some unique plants all you need to do is go to his website. We were able to stop by his growing facility and check out a few of his current favorites. The first plants were carnivorous. The first was a Sarracenia that was hardy to about 10 below 0. The second one was our native Darlingtonia which you can find on the Oregon coast. Burl had problems with this one until he figured out that they shouldn’t be immersed in water, and that they only need their toes wet. It has responded well and one is even blooming in his garden. We then moved out to his new courtyard garden. There we talked about olive trees. He has a new variety to our area called frantoio. This one is an Italian olive and is a tiny bit hardier than the ones we have been using in our garden in the Northwest. Still, you should protect this one during the really cold winter days. It has a larger olive and is a better producer of fruit. If you are interested he is also bringing in VERY large olive trees. He has an arbosana that is 30 feet tall and blooming! The final plant that he had to show us was a Australian Finger Lime. It is a type of citrus native to Australia and they are now just making it to the states in larger numbers. The fruit is what makes this plant so cool. The limes look like little pickles and when ripe you can pop them open and eat the fruit inside. They also call this plant ‘Lime Caviar’, because when it is ripe the inside looks like caviar. Tiny little fish egg looking, lime tasting, fruit pustules. Incredible!
If you would like to see more unique plants and Burl’s beautiful gardens this weekend is the time to do that. Burl is having his annual open garden. Saturday and Sunday, the 21st and 22nd, you can buy some rare plants, walk the gardens, enjoy lunch and sample wines from their award winning Villa Catalana Cellars. The event is from 11 to 4pm both days so stop on by and enjoy a day in a beautiful garden!
Little did you know that squirrels are attracted to more than just nuts! We found that out at Garden Fever (503-287-3200)! Lori joined us in the nursery to show us some nibbled branches from a maple and a dogwood. It is nesting time for squirrels and they are looking for nesting material. For a garden center that means soft leaves from those same maples and dogwoods. Their resident momma squirrel took those tender shoots and padded her nest with them. If you have the same problem happening in your garden Lori recommended a couple of natural products that can deter our fuzzy friends. ‘Shake Away’ has some granules that use natural products and scents to drive them away. These products include garlic and even fox urine to ward them off of your plants. If you want more tips on getting rid of these pests, stop by Garden Fever or your local independent garden center.
Ask almost anyone to draw a cactus and they will give you a picture of a plant that looks like a guy with his hands up in the air, but there are so many more varieties out there that it is hard to tell them apart. To learn some of the basics about cactus we stopped by Rita Lees Nursery and talked to Heather. Rita Lees grows cactus that are sold locally in independent garden centers like Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood. Heather’s family grow a huge amount of cactus and succulents. We started with the desert species. There were a large array of different looking plants from small ones that almost looked like ground covers to tall ones that were well over our heads. These desert varieties like to be dry and warm. In fact they need to have dry soil before you water them. Heather recommended that you err on the side of caution when watering. If they look like they are doing ok, then leave them alone and wait a few more days before watering them. They also like to have a light all-purpose, general fertilizer added to their containers about once a month. We then move to the euphorbia type of cactus. These can grow from the desert to the mountains. They like full sun to part shade. They like a moist, but well drained soil. They can also handle the cold a little better than the desert cactus, even though that varies by species. One of the weirdest cactus we saw were the Living Stone cactus, from the Lithops family of plants. These look like little stones in some gravel.
The next plants looked very familiar to us. They were all different types of Jade Plant, from the Crassula family. They are originally from South Africa and they are one of the easiest plants to grow. They can survive anywhere. Finally we looked at the rain forest cactus, also called orchid cactus. If you have had an Easter or Christmas cactus, you have had one of these. These are from the genus, Schlumbergera. Some of the more exotic of these plants grow huge flowers and have long pendulous arms that hang over the edge of their containers. They also like moist, but well drained soil and an all-purpose fertilizer once a month. All the cactus we saw were heat loving. They don’t handle the cold very well, in fact the growers don’t let their cactus grow in temperatures that are below 55 degrees. The final tip? The number one enemy of cactus is over-watering. If you would like to learn more about these cactus and Rita Lees Nursery you can check out their Facebook page or look for their plants at Al’s and other fine garden centers.
Capturing the beauty of the garden for most people, involves a camera, but for the artistic few, painting, drawing and sketching holds special significance. There is nothing like capturing the ‘feeling’ of the garden on a canvas. To get some tips for the beginner artist we stopped by Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) and talked to Kim Foren, the owner, who started out as an artist before she became an award winning designer. She said the biggest tip was to not have any expectations. Don’t get into it thinking that you will produce a masterpiece on your first try. The key is to try! She likes to just get a simple chalk or piece of graphite and start sketching. She won’t even look at the picture she is drawing, she will concentrate on the flower she is drawing. Then she will go in and work on the details later. You are not make a botanically correct picture of a plant, you are capturing the plant as you see it. So get out in your garden and start with simple sketches. Then work your way up to detailed stuff, or we recommend that you stop by her shop and get a simple arrangement of flowers and even work on drawing during those rainy days when you’re stuck inside (plus you get to keep the flowers inside when you’re done!)
In a couple of weeks we are going to go to her garden and get a more detailed lesson. Stay tuned.
Terra Casa Outdoor Entertaining
Summer is the time for entertaining in the garden. Setting up an inviting place to dine and entertain isn’t hard and it doesn’t need to be expensive either. To get some ideas we stopped by Terra Casa (503-577-8242) in Damascus and met with owner, Diana Helm. Dressing up your outdoor table can begin simply, with just functional pieces. Outdoor placemats and napkins are a nice place to start. Diana had a couple of reversible placemats (two different patterns is always nice) and added a table runner to add a classy touch to the bare table. On top of the table runner she had a bunch of flowers. She has silk ones at the store, but you can get fresh ones too. In addition Diana had added candles to the table. These were not just ordinary candles, these were battery operated and could be turned on by a handheld remote. A nice touch and they won’t blow out in a breeze! These candles also had a slight fragrance too. She recommended that you use a candle with a slight fragrance so it doesn’t over-power your meal. Simple plates and silverware almost completes the picture. But what about the drinks? Diana had that covered as well, and I mean covered. Not only did she have some cool glassware, she also had nice covers for that glassware so the bugs don’t get into your drink!
All of this was on top of a beautiful table and chairs. This furniture set was made out of recycled plastic and was heavy duty!! The weight of the chairs alone pretty much guarantees that they won’t blow away in the wind, and under the table was a very decorative outdoor rug to complete the look. If you are looking for some help in setting the table (or even getting a new table) for your outdoor entertaining stop by Terra Casa and check out all the great items they have.