Happy Memorial Day weekend! Here we are at the unofficial beginning of summer. For a lot of people this marks the start of the warm summer months and it is hard to disagree with them this year! The early warm spring has everyone in the summer frame of mind already. Even the strawberries are making an early arrival! For me that means that we are beginning a season of fresh fruits and vegetables! I love it!
There are lots of things happening this weekend and we tried to cover a few of them for you in the show this week. Enjoy this extended weekend and maybe you will catch the Garden Time crew at one of these events!
This week we featured...
Smart Pot Raised Bed
Building a raised bed doesn’t take a hammer or nails, or even any wood! To find out more about this great new invention, we stopped by Donna Wright’s house. Donna works for Black Gold soils and she told us about Smart Pots. These are fabric pots made out of a heavy duty fabric. They are durable yet porous! Air and water can transfer through the fabric so your plants will do better. The circulation allows the roots to remain healthier which makes a stronger plant. The dark exterior also keeps your plants warmer so they get the heat they need to thrive. They also come in many sizes so you can have pots and raised beds anywhere you have room. Donna was using the wonderful Black Gold All Organic product in her bed. The organic soil is all natural and great for vegetables and flowers. Plus, by using the Black Gold potting soils and not the dirt from her garden, she is going to get some large healthy fruit and vegetables because the soil is fluffy and full of nutrients. You can find the Black Gold product at most of your local independent garden centers. If you are interested in the Smart Pot they have a retail locator on their website so you can find the location nearest you.
Inviting Vines Tour
One of the best collection of plants is right here in the metro area. The Rogerson Clematis Collection is located at Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego and contains lots of beautiful clematis that you can’t find anywhere else! To help fund the care and maintenance of this collection they annually host the Inviting Vines tour. In the past this tour took visitors on a trek to see many outstanding gardens around the area. This year they are doing something different, they are visiting just a couple of gardens. Linda Beutler is the president of the International Clematis Society and the curator of the Rogerson Clematis Collection. She met us at Ainsworth House in Oregon City to show us this wonderful garden. While we were there we met with Kevin, one of the owners. He told us that this property was one of the oldest in the state. When they took it over, it was in pretty bad shape, but they have converted this property into a showcase! They now host numerous events, including picnics, weddings and memorials. They still live on the property but are able to host many groups by appointment. If you are interested in renting the property, they’ll have information at the event.
We then talked to Linda and heard that the tour takes place this Saturday, May 28th, from 10 to 4pm. Visitors can also visit the Rogerson Clematis collection and Tuttle Garden in Rivergrove near Lake Oswego on the same ticket. If you are looking for tickets you can find them at lots of local garden centers, check out the list on the Rogerson Clematis website. They are $20 and you can also buy them at any of the locations.
This is a great way to support a great organization and also see a great private garden.
Even though we are in the ‘summer’ season, there are nights where we still get a chill. To take the chill off we stopped at Little Baja (503-236-8834) to look at the ‘Baja Chimney’, or chiminea, an outdoor fireplace for your deck or patio. Jared gave us a couple of tips for making your chimney last for years and years. Always start your fire small and let the chimney slowly warm up. Never use a metal poker, it can damage the clay and cause cracks. When burning a fire, use a hard wood or pressed log. This will minimize the ‘popping’ of softer woods, and never burn garbage in the chimney. Finally make sure you keep all combustibles away from the area around your fire. Little Baja will also help you in selecting a metal fire pit or instructions on how to create your own. They even have one that is made out of an old washing machine! Stop by for instructions and tips.
Climate Adapted Plants
With the warm spring and the threat of a hot summer, all the talk is about drought tolerant plants. But, what if you altered your thinking and thought about climate adapted plants? These are plants that not only handle the dry conditions of our heat, but also the incredible rain we have in the winter too! To learn more about these plants we stopped and visited with Greg at Xera Plants (503-236-8563). Xera plants, by definition, means plants that require no additional supplemental water. So that means their nursery tries to carry those types of plants. Greg told us that these types of plants don’t necessarily mean ‘native ‘ plants. Some plants that can handle our conditions could be from other part of the world. Rainfall is only part of the equation. We could also be talking about temperature and soil conditions as well. Also, ‘native’ is determined by your location. If you are in the foothills of the cascades, your native plants are different than the foothills of the coast range. Mediterranean plants are pretty much good for our climate, since they share a lot of the same climate conditions as our native plants. Some plants to consider are penstemons, erodiums, cistus, milkweed, mahonia, and our native roses. These are all good for controlling your water. If you would like annuals then Greg recommends a container. That way you can water the plants that need it and not waste water on those that don’t. If you are looking for a guide to picking these Climate Adapted plants, there is a guide, Water Efficient Plants for the Willamette Valley, available through the Regional Water Providers Consortium, http://www.conserveh2o.org. On their site you will also find other great water, and money, saving tips!
TOW – Planting While Standing
This tip comes to us from a viewer in Salem who we saw at the Subaru Garden Dayz event (sorry, I lost his name). This is a tip for those gardeners who have a hard time getting up and down in the garden. When you are planting seeds in the garden, you don’t need to add wear and tear on your back and knees. Just use a 3-4 foot piece of PVC pipe. First make your trench for planting as you would normally do with a hoe. Then just use the pipe as a ‘seed slide’. Place the pipe in the trench and move it along as you drop your seeds in the top end. They will land in the trench and then you just use your hoe to cover the seed and you’re done!
Who would have thought that we would ever do a story on origami? We recently heard about a local origami artist who had a class at the Oregon Garden. She was showing members how to make flowers likes lilies and roses, and even butterflies and hummingbirds. We just had to meet her. Yuki Martin met us at Portland Nursery on Stark to show us how to make a simple flower with one sheet of paper. While she was folding she filled Judy in on her background and the art of Origami. Origami is a Japanese word and literally means ‘folding paper’. In Japan they learn the art in kindergarten and the early primary grades as an art project. Yuki did this in her school and for the past 9 years, as an adult, she has been practicing and teaching this art to others. She is amazing. In just a few minutes she transformed a single square piece of paper into a beautiful flower. If you are interested in trying your hand at origami, we recommend you check out her blog and find out the next class she has scheduled. We’re sure that you will enjoy the art of origami as much as we did.
Margie’s Strawberry Pie
There is nothing like fresh grown Oregon strawberries! We know they are starting to show up at the local farmer’s markets. One place that we found with fresh berries was Margie’s Farm and Garden (503-866-6123). Margie said that they are picking Hoods, Shuksans and Puget Summers right now and that other varieties are going to be ripe soon. That means it is time for fresh strawberry recipes. Margie grabbed some berries and we headed to her kitchen where she shared her strawberry pie recipe. This was a very easy recipe and it takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish if you have all your ingredients. First she had William crush 14 graham crackers in a Ziploc bag. This is a great chore for the kids because the bag keeps the crumbs from making a mess. Then the crumbs were combined with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar and half a cup of melted butter and mixed together. Then the mixture was formed into a crust in a pie plate. This was baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. While that was baking Margie took a sauce pan and, on the stove she combined 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of corn starch, a cup of mashed strawberries and a half cup of water in the pan. This was heated to a boil and then removed from the heat. By this time the crust was done baking. While the crust cooled a little Margie made a cream cheese filling by mixing 4 ounces of cream cheese and 2/3 of a cup of powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. This was spread as a bottom layer over the crust. Whole sliced berries went over this and then the strawberry ‘gel’ from the sauce pan went over that! It was incredible!!! If you are looking to try this recipe, be sure to stop by Margie’s for some fresh berries and then treat the family to one of life’s great pleasures, a dessert made with fresh Oregon berries! You can also print out the recipe here.
Terra Casa Fountains
There is nothing like the sound of water in the garden and one of the best ways to bring the sound to your backyard is with a fountain from Terra Casa (503-577-8242). We took a walk with Justin to see some of the different styles that they have at the store. At Terra Casa they say that they can make a fountain out of any container at their store and now we believe them. Justin showed us how you can build a fountain above ground or even make a small feature that can be buried in your backyard. They will even come out and dig the hole for you and install it. The coolest feature that we saw was how they designed their water features so you can adjust the amount of splash you get. The valve is just right below the surface of the water, so all you have to do is reach in and turn the valve! If you love décor whether indoors or out, stop by Terra Casa. They are just 10 minutes east of Clackamas Town Center in Damascus.
Canby Farmers Market
‘Farm fresh’ is a nice phrase that everyone seems to be using. Unfortunately for a lot of farmers markets, it is just a phrase. To get the best in produce and goods you need to be where the farms are! For the mid-Willamette Valley area that’s the Canby Farmers Market. Canby is known as the Garden Spot. It gets that moniker from all the farms that surround the town. Mallory Gwynn, the executive director of the Canby chamber of commerce, told us that the area has been known for years as the best place for gardening and farming. They are not only the home to the Swan Island Dahlia festival, but they also have the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival at their doorstep. This is a great backdrop to the Canby Farmers Market. This market brings the best in local produce to your table. They have fresh veggies, flowers and plants, along with wonderful crafts and homemade items. It is a wonderful place to start your weekend. If you are in the area, stop on by and take home something special.
Lonesomeville Border Pots
Going to Lonesomeville Pottery (503-774-5387) is always an experience. The pottery is outstanding, unique and beautiful, but their gardens are also spectacular! Plus we get a chance to hang out with Wayne, one of the owners. Wayne is a blast to visit with and this time he took William on a tour of the gardens to show off his ‘muumuus’. A ‘muumuu’ is a dress that helps hide little imperfections and Wayne has something similar in his garden. His muumuus are pots that he fills with wave petunias. He can place them around the garden and when they grow out they cover those areas that don’t always look so good. He also had another cool idea for containers. This time he had ceramic borders around his garden and, as a spacer, he placed planted containers of flowers to break up the line! It was a great idea. The borders were built with ceramic edging that Lonesomeville makes and is an outstanding addition to the garden.
Your chance to see this wonderful garden and purchase a piece of wonderful pottery is today, Saturday, May 28th from 10am to 4pm at their home/studio in SE Portland. Stop by 5006 SE Long St., Portland, Oregon 97206 and check out the sale and the garden!
Gartner’s Memorial Day Grilling
You have spent all spring getting your garden ready for summer, now it is time to set up the grill, have a cold drink and relax. Memorial Day is here and to get us ready to grill we dropped by to see Jerry Yost from Gartner’s Meats (503-252-7801). Everyone seems to grill hamburgers and hotdogs during the summer. Jerry showed us how easy it is to impress people by trying something different, Grilled Marinated Short-ribs. These ribs are the most popular item that Gartner’s sells during the summer holidays. In less than 10 minutes you can have a real mouth-watering treat, and a great start to the summer grilling season! Not only do they have a great selection of meats for the grill, you can also fill the rest of your dinner table with goodies. They have a wide selection of side salads, bread, twice baked potatoes and even marinade-to-go so you can prepare your own special recipe. Start your summer off right with some ribs from Gartner’s!