Could it be that we never had a spring? Sure, we had a few days of spring like weather, but with the extreme heat, it seems like summer is here! This is Rose Festival time, we should be getting rain right now. With all the hot weather arriving be sure to watch those plantings in your garden for signs of stress. Wilting leaves and drooping flowers are a sign that your plants might need some water or shade. This is especially true for your hanging baskets and containers. In fact, we are featuring a story on these ‘drama queens’ in the garden. Check out the story below.
A few more housekeeping notes. We are getting ready to head to Ireland for our Garden Time tour in just a couple weeks, but if you are not going and would like to possibly join us on our next trip, we have that one in the planning stages. We are going to head to Hawaii! Join us February 13th through the 18th of 2017. It should be a blast! Find out more at the Garden Time Tours page. Hope you can join us!
This week we featured...
Japanese Castle Wall
The construction on the Cultural Crossing area of the Portland Japanese Garden (503-223-1321) is moving ahead and it is starting to take shape. To see the latest addition we traveled up the hill to Washington Park and met with Erica. She met us at the base of a huge wall, a castle wall. This wall is the background for all the changes yet to come, but it is impressive by itself. The wall is 20 feet high and 140 feet long! Stone and rock are integral to the structure of a Japanese garden and this one is a masterpiece. The wall was constructed by Suminori Awata, whose family has been building similar structures for between 300-350 years in Japan. He doesn’t use any mortar in his construction, just the weight and structure of the wall keeps it securely in place! The cracks are filled with smaller stones and pieces of left over granite from the larger stones. These smaller stones are so secure that they are impossible to remove! In fact, the granite itself is called ‘Baker Blue’ from Baker City, Oregon, and 1000 tons of it was transported over 350 miles to the garden for assembly.
This wall is just part of the new Cultural Village area. This area will include a tea café, a courtyard, a garden house and the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center. It will be a place where people become even more immersed in the Japanese culture. Of course, you also still have the gardens to enjoy. The gardens will not see a significant impact, in fact, you can still visit them while all this construction is going on. While the new area will not be open until April of 2017, the gardens are as beautiful as ever. Pay a visit soon and check out the construction before you enter the garden and then keep updated by checking out the http://culturalcrossing.com website or the Japanese Garden website.
Ants are the #1 pest problem in the US. There are lots of products that can get rid of them and it can be confusing if you want to stop them before they invade your home, yard or garden. William and Judy shared a few of the different products that are available to the homeowner. William started with the chemical bait, Amdro. This contains ingredients that can kill and also create an effective barrier around the perimeter of your home. It is also effective on most types of ants including carpenter ants. It is very important that you follow the application instructions on these products. Remember the label is the law! Follow it!
Judy then talked about baits. There is one big difference with most of these baits…ants treat them as a food. The baits are taken back to the nest and once it is taken to the queen, she is gone and most of the time so is your problem. Some of the most effective of the baits are ones that include borax. If you have found a ‘home remedy’ on the internet, it most likely contains borax. The Terro product is one that most people are aware of. Bonide also makes one called Revenge. The liquid application is great because you can see the ants on the first day all huddled around drinking up the sugar/borax solution and then the next day they are gone. There are even all organic solutions that you can use that use all natural oils and essences. If you have an ant problem, stop by your local independent garden center and see which products might work the best for you.
Berries, Brews and BBQ
It is berry time at French Prairie Gardens (503-633-8445). We met up with Katie in the greenhouse to talk about the great event coming up. The Berries, Brews and BBQ event is happening over the next 3 weekends at the farm. The admission is free for the farm, and so is the parking, and once you get in you can find tons to do for the whole family. If you are into brews and ciders, they will have over 20 different kinds on each weekend for you to try. If you like fresh berries the fields will be open for u-picks, or you can get some fresh berries in the store (come early as the berries are nearing the end of their season) and if you like BBQ they will have an assortment of different BBQed meat for you to try too. Of course they will have the farm animals out for visitors, slides, hand-pump duck races and tractor wagon rides for the family. Stop by and enjoy a day in the country with the best tastes of the season.
Subaru Habitat Container
We are proud to be partners with Capitol Subaru (888-698-1973) in Salem on the Garden Time show, and recently we saw something at their dealership that made us even prouder. We found a container at the dealership that was a certified habitat for birds and butterflies. Carrie Casebeer, one of the owners of Capitol Auto Group, met us at the container to talk about their commitment to local causes. The container was right in front of the dealership and had shelter, water and food available to small birds and butterflies. She told us how they were trying to help out the monarch butterfly by also handing out milkweed seeds at the dealership.
Capitol Subaru is also involved in other causes. They work with the local Audubon Society on developing their lake outside the dealership and in the last couple of years they have donated over $70,000 to the local Humane Society. They are truly ‘involved’ in their community. If you are looking to buy a car from a dealer who cares, stop by Capitol Subaru (or any of the Capitol Auto Group stores).
The heat is here early this year and that means some of the plants are starting to get a little stressed. Some of these plants can be a little ‘over dramatic’ when they wilt. To learn more about these ‘garden wimps’ we stopped by Out in The Garden Nursery (503-829-4141) and talked with Carol. She had pulled some of her favorite plants to share with us. She told us that even though these plants lean towards the melodramatic, they are great plants for the garden. The first one she talked about were the family of ligularias. These early summer bloomers are well known for drooping in the heat. If you give them a little water they perk back up. They give you wonderful blooms, but the foliage is what you get to enjoy for the whole summer and into fall. There are a lot of different sizes and textures so you can find one for just about any spot in the garden. Next we looked at the cousin of the ligularias, the farfugium family. These have a little thicker leaf and are not quite as hardy as the ‘princess’ cousin, but still remain evergreen, and will thrive with protection in a pot or container. The next pant on the list was the Acanthus. It can get huge in the garden and they make a statement with their unique foliage. Carol’s next choice was one she called her ‘indicator’ plant, an Artemisia. An indicator plant is one that will start to wilt when she starts to get dry. That means you should check your other plants and see if they need water too. The first to wilt, but well worth it for the fine foliage. The next plant is one that most people don’t think about for the summer garden, the edgeworthia. This is a plant known for its wonderful and fragrant yellow clusters of blooms in late winter, but she will get droopy in the heat and the ‘tropical-like’ leaves will start to wither. Not to worry, she will also bounce back with a good watering. The next plant was an aralia called ‘Sun King’. It has great golden foliage that will hold its color even in full shade, which is where this plant will be its best. Next to that plant was a Rheum or ornamental rhubarb. The large leaves are a great indication that this plant likes to show off and it will do well with consistent moisture. We were almost done and then Judy saw a Rodgersia called ‘Hercules’. This one is big and strong. The leaves will get over a foot and a half wide, and creates a huge mound in the garden. It even gets pink flowers in the summer. The final plant was a hardy fuchsia, but this one was more of a ground cover. It loves to ramble across the garden. It doesn’t have much of a bloom, but it has some great foliage that can fill in those wide bare spots in the garden.
If you think you would enjoy these drama queens performing in your garden, stop by Out in the Garden Nursery in Molalla. Well worth the trip!
Normally when we visit French Prairie Perennials (503-679-2871) we are talking to Rick about outstanding conifers. This time he had a little surprise for us. Rick had pulled out a few deciduous trees for us to look at. Some deciduous trees offer nice blooms, but what about the rest of the year? These trees offer wonderful structure and some pretty incredible foliage too. We started with the maple ‘Esk Sunset’. This one is a stunner! It has cream and green variegation on the top of the leaves and then it also has blazing pink under the leaves. If you see this one with sunlight on it, you will be blown away. It looks almost like stained glass. It gets 25-30 feet tall and would be a showcase tree in your yard. The next tree was a little shorter but just as stunning. This Japanese maple was called ‘Rainbow’ and had a combination of deep reds and almost hot pink on the leaves. The new growth is the pick color and if you continue to prune it, you will continue to get the pink color in the new leaves. The third tree was dwarf hedge maple called ‘Carnival’. You get some pink color on the new growth in the spring, but it will turn into cream and green variegation on the leaves for the rest of the season. This is one that loves the shade and only gets about 6-8 feet tall so it can fit in nearly any shady area that needs a bright spot. The final tree was a dogwood named ‘Summer Gold’. This tree has the normal dogwood blooms in the spring, but then you also get the gold/green variegation for the rest of the season with an occasional splash of red in the leaf. It will get more of that purple/red in the fall when the temperatures drop.
These are just a few of the colorful and unique trees that you will find at French Prairie Perennials. Look for them at their new location at 14936 SE 3rd St in Aurora.
Garden Time Rose at Washington Park
Recently we told you about the new Garden Time rose by Heirloom Roses. They describe it as ‘A delightful white shrub rose that offers repeat blooms on long canes. Lightly fragrant and approximately 3'x3’ during the season’. Well we just heard that it is now in the trial garden at the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park. We met with Harry Landers, the rose garden curator, to talk to him about the rose and the test part of the garden. Harry told us that the Garden Time rose is one of many that are tested every year. The garden at Washington Park tests for the American Garden Rose Selection and American Miniature, plus they also test for 6 different rose growers. So when you stop by you can see the latest roses that are being developed for the market. This is a great place to check out roses and find one that you might like in your garden. In fact they even have a list of the roses so you can keep track of them all. You can find a link to the list here (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewFile&PolPdfsID=1831&/2016%20Rose%20Garden%20List.pdf). If you want to learn more about the rose garden, check out their website here.
If you would like to add the Garden Time rose to your garden you can find a link to Heirloom Roses at our Garden Time website.
Douglas Fir Brandy
Clear Creek Distillery (503-248-9470) is one of the most unique distilleries we have found. A couple of years ago we traveled up the gorge to see how they make their pear brandy with a whole pear in the bottle (check it out here if you want to learn how they do it). But recently we heard about how they were using our state tree, the Douglas Fir, in a brandy. This we had to see! We found the head distiller, Daniel in the middle of a forest near a Doug fir. He told Judy that they do make a Doug Fir brandy and it all starts in the forest in the spring. In the spring the fir trees send out their new growth. This soft new growth has just the right flavor characteristics to flavor the brandy, but it only works with the new growth! This also means that they have to keep their harvest area secret so they know that their trees are clean and not subjected to any type of pollution. Judy helped him harvest some fir tips and then they headed to the distillery. There they dumped the fir buds into a clear spirit that was distilled from Oregon Wine. The spirit then extracts the color and flavor from the buds. After a few days this mixture is pumped into the distiller and they pull off the clear liquor. To get the beautiful green color they have to use a second batch of fir buds to give it the color they want. This requires a second distilling. Now it has the color and flavor they want. When you taste it, you will notice some citrus and pear notes and a little Doug fir essence like you are walking through a forest. Judy asked how one would serve it and Daniel recommended that you use it as you would a gin. It is very nice and crisp! If you would like to try some for yourself, Clear Creek has a tasting room in NW Portland. If you don’t live in Portland, you can check out their ‘Where to buy’ page on their website. Who would have known a tree could taste so delicious!
Smith Berry Barn Early Fruit
The spring has been really warm, in fact April was the warmest month on record here in Oregon. That warmth has pushed the berry season into high gear. If you haven’t been out to pick your strawberries, you are running out of time. There are only a few more days left in the fresh strawberry season. To see how fast it is progressing we stopped by Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) in Scholls and met with Rich out in the fields. He was actually in the raspberry fields to show us that they now have raspberries ready to pick. The raspberries are already ripe and ready to pick. To pick the ripest fruit he told us to give the deepest colored fruit a light tug. If the fruit comes off freely, it is ripe. If you have to force it, it isn’t ready and could be a little tart. When you pick your own fruit, you want to pick the very best fruit, so choose wisely! Next we went out to the blueberry fields. They are starting to show some color and it looks like they’re only a week or two away from being ready. To pick the ripest of this fruit you want to tickle the berry cluster from underneath. The ripe berries will fall into your hand and the unripe berries will stay on the plant.
If you want more tips on picking and also an update on what’s fresh daily, check out their new website. There you will find information on the types of berries they grow, events and even directions on how to get there. The website is updated with new information frequently so always check back before you go! It is nice to have a place where you can get the freshest fruit and a unique gift! Stop by and check them out.
Hydrangeas are a cool plant. Do you know of another group of plants that you can change the color of the bloom? To learn more about how this is done we traveled to Hydrangeas Plus (866-433-7896) outside of Canby and talked with owner Kristin VanHoose. She grows and ships hundreds of hydrangeas a year and she know what she is talking about. Not all hydrangeas change color, but for the most part they are pH sensitive. That means their blooms are tied to the chemistry of the soil. It is actually the aluminum that is absorbed into the plant that changes its color. The acid in the soil can actually change the pigments in the flowers from pink to blue. In the Pacific Northwest we have an acidic soil and that will slowly change your pink hydrangeas to blue. For some varieties that change happens quickly, for others it can be a slower change. Garden lime will help your flowers stay pink and if you use it regularly it can change your colors back to pink, but it would require attention to your flowers to make them change. This color change will not affect the color saturation. If you have a deep colored bloom the color will not get softer. The pastel colored blooms will stay that soft pastel coloring whether blue or pink.
If you would like to learn more about color change and your hydrangeas, you can check out the Hydrangeas Plus website. They have a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section on their site that can point you in the right direction. You can also contact them to learn more about ordering hydrangeas. Get some information and then see if you can change your flower’s color!
Modern Home Tour
Normally when we see Kim Foren, we are talking to her about flowers at Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920), but today we are talking homes, specifically, her home. Kim’s home is part of the Portland Modern Home tour. This tour is a driving tour that features 8 wonderful homes in the Portland area. The reason we were interested was because Kim’s home is a Robert Rummer house. Rummer was inspired by the open design of the Eichler. This home features these same open areas with lots of light and a simplicity of design. It even has an atrium in the entry area. These homes even came with an Operators Manual which Kim had along with the original deed. The new owners were even offered some gardening materials, you got a load of rocks and a choice of trees, maple, fir or magnolia. Kim’s magnolia is magnificent! If you would like to check out this home or any of the others on tour, you need to do it today, June 4th. You can get information at the website and then show up at the homes. You can buy your ticket at any of the locations on the tour.