Welcome to vacation time. We’ve been hearing from people that they are disappointed about missing the show during the summer. It is vacation time and a lot of people are traveling away from home during weekends and so people are not in front of their TVs on Saturday mornings. We tell them not to worry, the show can always be seen in its entirety on the Garden Time web page. You are on the ‘This Week’ page right now. Now just look above this little message and you should be able to find the link to the whole show. Of course, you can always watch the individual stories by just clicking on the video thumbnails next to each story below.
The cooler weather this week is just a reminder that the winter winds will soon be blowing. Why not spend part of that cold winter in Hawaii in the tropical sun and warmth. Join us on our Garden Time tour. Check out our tour page for more information.
This week you will notice that we are at Drake’s 7 Dees for the open to the show. They are getting ready to celebrate their 60th anniversary. On August 27th from 10am to 8pm you can stop by and sample wine, listen to music, check out some cool art and even save a ton of money. They will have up to 60% off everything in the store! Mark your calendars and join us there.
This week we featured...
One of the plants of spring is the iris. In May of each spring you can see fields of color just north of Salem along I-5. Those fields belong to the Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (1-800-525-2367). The Schreiners have been growing iris for generations, four generations in fact. We were joined by Ben Schreiner in the display gardens at the farm. These beds are full of color, but now they are getting replanted for next spring. That means that the plants are being dug, divided and replanted. Ben joined us to show us how they go about dividing and planting these spring beauties. When you dig up your 2-3 year old plant you will find a dark center rhizome. This is the primary rhizome from which all the new parts of the plant started. Ben showed us how 4 new plants have grown off this ‘mother’ plant. To divide the rhizome you can cut them apart or you can just break them off the old plant. Trim the roots a little bit, leaving a few inches of root on each rhizome and cut off the leaves, leaving about 3 inches of leaf on the plant. You can then plant them in your garden. Use a garden compost or mulch to amend your garden bed and dig a shallow trench planning the rhizome roots away from the front of your bed. The roots are at the back of your plant. Cover the roots and leave a small portion of the rhizome exposed. You can also use a light fertilizer now when you plant them and again in the early spring before they develop their flower stalks. Water them in well!
You can do your digging, dividing and replanting between the beginning of August until the end of September in the Willamette Valley. You can also still order your iris plants if you wanted to add some to your garden. Give Schreiner’s a call or check out their website for a description of plants and colors.
Summer Interest Shrubs
The summer garden can get tired and look boring in the mid-summer heat, but it can look much better with a splash of color. We stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) at 35105 NW Zion Church Road, near Cornelius and talked with Ron about summer interest shrubs. These plants will put on a show during these hot days and, because they are shrubs, you will get the same splash year after year. Ron started by showing us the pistachio hydrangea. It has a cool two toned flower that starts reddish-pink and fades to a lime green with a bright blue center, and it stays under 3 feet. Next to that was Caryopteris ‘Blue Mist’, which was covered in blue flower spikes that really attract the bees! That plant was next to another blue flowered bush the Chaste Tree also called Vitex. The variety was ‘Sensational’. It almost looks like a butterfly bush but it get 8-10 feet tall and will rebloom if you prune it back after the first flush of flowers. Roses are a great plant for the summer garden. If treated right, they will rebloom a few times during the summer. The one that Ron brought out was the variety ‘Cutie Pie’. This one was a shorter variety and after every bloom you could just shear it back to get more blooms in a little over a month. The next plant had flower color and foliage color all in one. Abelia 'kaleidoscope’ had cream colored edges to the green leafs and pinkish white flowers all summer long. The leaves also get more dramatic in the fall; a great plant! We then moved on to the Crape Myrtle ‘Pecos’. Crape myrtles are hit and miss in our area. If you get late summer heat, they will bloom for you, if you are cooler or at higher elevations, they are not so reliable. This one is great for the Willamette Valley garden with bright pink flowers. Clethra (summer sweet) was next. It has dark green leaves and stays small in the garden. The white flower spikes are very fragrant and are a real bee magnet! We are nearing the end with Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’. Tall branches are tipped with deep red flowers and have an interesting fragrance. Still it is one to consider for the back of your garden beds. We finished with Cotinus or ‘smoke bush’. This one was called ‘Young Lady’ and was nearly covered in the fluffy blooms of the typical smoke bush. The pink flowers were fading but it was still spectacular, and it looked almost like a huge cotton ball.
If you would like to add a little pizzazz to your garden, consider a summer interest shrub. You can get most of these at your local garden center or at Blooming Junction out near Cornelius.
Cactus are scary plants, and I don’t mean because they are sharp and pokey! A lot of people are afraid of killing their cactus if they do something wrong. Because of that a lot of cactus never get repotted when they outgrow their home. Heather from Rita Lees Nursery joined us again to show us how easy it is to repot your plant. She started by showing us how to tell when your cactus needs to be replanted. Cactus like to be a little root bound. Tight quarters means a happy plant, most of the time. If they get too tight in the pot, they need to be moved to a larger container. She showed us a cactus that was pushing on the sides of its container and then pulled the plant out to show us the well-developed roots. This plant was ready to be moved. Heather went just one pot size larger, not a huge difference. First she cleaned off the top of the soil level and broke up the roots a little bit. Then she placed the plant in the new container with some new soil and tamped the soil down around the edges until the plant was seated securely. She told us not to water it for a couple of days. Unlike perennials, the roughed up roots will not take up the water well and if you water too early it can introduce diseases to the plant.
If you are still unsure of how to do this, you can always contact Rita Lees through their Facebook page and send them your questions.
Garland Mosquito Plants
West Nile, Malaria, Zika… If there is a scary virus, it probably is carried by the lowly mosquito, not to mention the itching and scratching of the regular mosquito bite. Avoiding these little pests becomes a passion during the summer months when we are all trying to get outside and enjoy the cool evenings on our decks and patios. Did you know that there are a range of garden plants that can help keep these pests away, naturally? We stopped by Garland Nursery (1-800-296-6601) and talked to Brenda, who had pulled out a bunch of plants for us to look at. Most of these plants had essential oils or a fragrance that repels mosquitos. The first few had a fragrance of lemon that chase the insects away. Lemon grass, lemon verbena and lemon thyme all have the lemon fragrance that seems to work. Plus you can use the lemon grass and thyme in cooking, and the verbena for teas. Other herbs that you can use are lavender and rosemary. Other plants include the Mexican marigolds, Nepeta (Catmint) and Western Red cedar. One of the most interesting was the beauty berry, Callicarpa. This plant has been used by farmers for years. They take the leaves and crush them under the harness of their animals in the fields to ward off biting flies and mosquitoes, and now we are finding out that it works for us on our patios as well. The key to success is to use these plants around your deck and patio and to brush the leaves every once in a while to release those fragrances and oils.
If you have water features you don’t need to worry about using a plant to scare away the pests. There are now mosquito ‘dunks’ that you can use in any standing water. These have a natural bacteria called BT, and it will take care of mosquitoes and not hurt birds, children or animals. For more ideas on plants or products, stop by Garland Nursery or any local independent garden center.
Smith Grilled Figs
Figs are ripe and oh so sweet! What makes them better is to prepare them on the grill! We stopped by Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) to get a quick and simple recipe from owners, Joelle and Rich. Joelle started by showing us the figs they picked up at their store. The best tasting ones are a little over ripe, but she decided to use the barely ripe ones because they held up better on the grill. After cutting them in half, she put olive oil on the outside skins. Joelle than sprinkled feta cheese on the open face of the figs and, using her special scissors, cut small sprigs of rosemary over the cheese. Then Rich moved them on to the grill. Over medium heat he grilled them until they were lightly brown on the outside skins. They then removed the figs from the grill and Joelle then drizzled honey and pink Himalayan sea salt over the top. It was incredibly delicious! You can find all the ingredients at Smith Berry Barn, except for the grill! Give it a try and soon you will be grilling figs all the time.