Are we in summer? It seems like the hot temps of spring are now tempered. Summer was in May and spring is now in July. We have had a period of cool temps after the record temps of spring. Not that I’m complaining, these temperatures are feeling great, but the tomatoes are not happy in my garden! I would love to have some warmer days to help ripen those ‘heat loving’ vegetables and it looks like we are going to be getting that heat soon.
Enjoy the heat by attending a few of the festivals and events happening this weekend. We highlight 3 great local events in this week’s show!
There is nothing better on a warm summer day than to wander through a nursery looking at art and plants while sipping some wine! If you are looking for something of interest in your garden that doesn’t require watering, you may be thinking of garden art. The local garden art scene is packed with talented people and you can see many of them this weekend at Garland Nursery (1-800-296-6601) in Corvallis. We stopped by the nursery to chat with Brenda and Erica from the Powell family (the owners of Garlands) and to visit with Molly Alexander, of ReCandle Company, one of the featured artists this weekend at the nursery. This year they will have over 40 different artists who work in metal, glass, fabric, pottery, paint and stone. Some even work with recycled materials. Molly and her husband use recycled metal, bottles and even wax in their products. These candles and the holders are not only functional but are beautiful too. Each of these ‘ReCandles’ is unique and are truly works of art. You have to see them to believe them. There will also be 4 different wineries and 3 spirit/beer vendors sampling their best libations. Plus there is live music and food is available for purchase. The event happens from 10-4 on Saturday and Sunday and is free to the public. If you are down in the Albany or Corvallis area, stop and check it out.
Hoyt Bamboo Forest
In a state known for timber we recently found a new forest to explore. Hoyt Arboretum (503-865-8733) is now the home to a new bamboo forest. To learn more about it we stopped by the Arboretum and chatted with Martin Nicholson, the Arboretum curator and Anna Foleen from Bamboo Garden (503-647-2700), who designed the forest. The Arboretum had a bamboo area once before, but it was in an area that wasn’t suited for good bamboo growth. This new area is proving to be much better. Anna told us that this new area has dry and wet spots so there are lots of areas for the different bamboos to thrive. Right now they have over 20 different types of bamboo on display and they are aiming for over 30 when they are done. Martin then told us about how they are going to use this area to demonstrate how to grow and maintain the bamboo. He showed us some ‘sand traps’ around each plant. These traps are where the new growth happens and then they can just use a shovel to cut off those new shoots to help contain the plants.
This Sunday, the 24th, the Arboretum is hosting the Pacific NW Chapter of the American Bamboo Society annual Bamboo Festival. The event runs from 10am to 3pm in the Stevens Pavilion, but at 2pm they will be dedicating the forest and opening it to the public. If you want to see some great bamboos and learn how to grow them, this Sunday at the Arboretum is the place to be.
Growing cactus is sometimes scary for gardeners, but it can be fun and very rewarding. When you can get your cactus to thrive, it gives you a lot of satisfaction! One part of growing cactus is knowing how and when to prune it. Cactus are like a lot of your regular garden plants and they can perform better with a good trimming. We found the best place to learn about cactus is Rita Lees Nursery. Rita Lees is a wholesale grower, but you can find them at local sales like GardenPalooza and Subaru Garden Dayz. They also have their cactus available at Al’s Garden Centers. Heather met with William in one of their greenhouses and demonstrated the pruning technique on an orchid cactus. She showed how to cut off the dead and damaged leaves at the base of the plant and how to avoid the new growth, which in this case, was red. She also left a leaf that had a little damage to see if it would grow out and become healthy again. This pruning will help promote even more new growth.
We then moved to a hanging basket type of cactus. This one was a ‘string of pearls’. Heather showed how to place some of the damaged strands into the top of the pot where they will root and produce more strands. She then picked up the pot and cut off the old strands even with the base of the pot. This cleaned the plant up, made it look nice and will also help promote new growth. Her only words of caution were about wearing hand protection to keep from getting poked and to also be judicious in your pruning, since you can’t undo a bad cut. If you would like to learn more about cactus care you can follow Rita Lees Nursery on Facebook.
Out in the Garden Grasses and Event
Out in the Garden is a great place to be! Not just in your own yard, but also the nursery in Molalla. The owner of Out in the Garden Nursery (503-829-4141), Carol Westergreen, has a nursery in a beautiful setting, but she also has a wonderful selection of plants. Some of her favorites this time of year are the grasses. They are nearing their full summer growth and some are even blooming. We started with a couple of striped miscanthus. This grass had green and yellow foliage and looked identical except one variety would only get a couple feet tall and the other would get up to 7 feet tall. We then saw a panicum called Ruby Ribbons. This plant had a green foliage that turned burgundy over time. The leaves are nice and broad so the color really shows up well in the garden. The next plant was a tall one called Stipa gigantea. This one is also called Golden Oats and had huge striking flowers that will hold onto their shape through fall. The next plants were a pair of pennisetums. One was ‘Karley Rose’ and the other was ‘Orientale’. Karley Rose is a little taller and darker, getting to about 3 feet tall, while the Orientale gets only a couple feet tall. Their fluffy seed heads/flowers will last from June until frost. A couple of Carol’s favorite plants were next. Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and ‘Overdam’. These are tall, stately plants that look great in a mass planting. In fact there is a hedge of them in her display garden. These are cool season grasses that grow early in the spring and start blooming in May. They hold their tall flower all through the winter. The next grass had a very unique flower. Blue Grama Grass ‘Blonde Ambition’ is a smaller grass but the seed head is bright and angled to the side so you can see it across the garden. It has just started blooming, but will continue to bloom until fall. Another tall plant was next, Pennisetum spathiolatum. Actually the flowers are the tall part of this plant. The foliage stays short and the seed heads grow a foot or more taller and look great in a breeze! Another tall one was next. Carol had a Molinia. This plant is tough. Last year it had no water and still looked great. It is kinda plain but still adds great texture and motion to the garden. Our final plant was another pennisetum called ‘Burgundy Bunny’. This one has red foliage but stays nice and short. The foliage is this red/burgundy that only gets more color as the season progresses.
One thing we found among the grasses was a bottle of wine from Forest Edge Vineyards. That was a reminder for us to talk about the 5th annual Wine and Cheese in the Garden event. This event takes place on Sunday the 24th from noon to 5pm. There are lots of local foods, wines and crafts to enjoy, all under the canopy of the signature white oaks in their display garden. They will also have live music by Rae Gordon and even a dancing horse! Come out, wander the nursery and have a great time in the summer sun!
TOW – Little Baja Tree Watering
Our tip of the week is from our friends at Little Baja (503-236-8834). Little Baja are the experts in containers. They sell terra cotta, concrete and glazed containers for the home gardener. One of the biggest questions they get this time of year is how do I keep my plants from dying. Wayne told us that the problem is water. When a tree or large shrub is in a container they are reliant on you to keep then watered. They cannot pull water from an extensive root system in the ground. Plus, when you water them, they need LOTS of water. A little bit on the top won’t make it to the roots. You have to give a large tree about 1-2 gallons of water every day during the heat of summer. This is especially true if you have a tender tree like a maple. An evergreen tree with needles will dry out slower and can make it by if you miss a day, but a maple if left alone can be damaged permanently.
Also, it does make a difference on the type of container you use in the garden. Concrete and glazed pots help to seal in the moisture, but a terra cotta pot breathes. That is what makes them so great for your plants (they stay healthier in Terra Cotta), but that also means that they can lose moisture faster too. The key is to pay attention and make sure your plants stay well hydrated. If you have any other questions about pottery, or statuary, stop by and ask our friends at Little Baja.