Could the heat be over? This past week I heard that the long range models for the weather show that this extreme heat may be our last for the summer. Of course, I’m not counting on it. We have been fooled before. Either way stay cool and enjoy these last few weeks of summer.
Don’t forget about the State Fair in Salem. We heard that a few of our viewers are entering some of their garden bounty in the fair, so stop by and check out the winners. Who knows, it might be someone you know.
This week we featured...
The fields are blooming and the festival is on! If you have never been to the dahlia festival you have missed one of the most spectacular shows of the summer. 40 acres of blooms greet you as you drive up. But that is only part of it… Nick Gitts from Swan Island Dahlias (800-410-6540) showed us the different styles of dahlias and high-lighted a couple of the different varieties. We saw the different styles of flowers including pom pon, orchid, single, collarette, cactus, decorative, Waterlily, and laciniated. The Dahlia is one of the most versatile of blooms. We can’t think of another type of flower that can look so different! Nick also talked about things that the home gardener can be doing now to help their own dahlias. He recommended watching for spider mites. These tiny pest can start attacking your plant at the base and you may notice some yellowing of the leaves at the base of your plant. The other thing you can do is to give them lots of water right now and to ‘deadhead’ or remove the old blooms, the watering and deadheading will promote more growth and even more blooms!
He also filled us in the special events that they have planned for the 2 weekends of the festival. If you stop by on August 27, 28, 29, and September 3, 4, 5 (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) you will also get a chance to see over 15,000 blooms in 400 different cut flower arraignments. You can also enjoy food, music, cut flowers and informational talks to help you grow dahlias like the experts. And it is all free. Take some time to head down to Canby (not Swan Island) for the annual dahlia festival.
Drake's 60th Anniversary
Very seldom do businesses last more than a few years, and very few are older than 50! One business that has bucked the trend is Drake’s 7 Dees (503-292-9121). Drake Snodgrass’s father started by growing rhododendrons in the valley in the 1950’s. He added a landscape business and eventually a retail store.
The store is spectacular too. We stopped by and visited with Anna to see some of the plants they are carrying. The first plant we saw was a gardenia named ‘Chuck Hayes’. These are VERY fragrant and are wonderful on your deck or patio, especially in the evening, when the scent is intoxicating. The next plant was one for the insect lover in your family, a yarrow. These plants have a bunch of different flower colors, but they are all loved by beneficial bugs like bees, butterflies and hover flies. It will also keep blooming all summer long if you just deadhead it. The next plant was a tree, a tri-colored beech. This plant gets fairly tall, but it has great foliage color. The leaves are shades of green, pink and cream, and look good all summer long. The final plant that we looked at was the hibiscus. This one was on a ‘standard’ or trunk. This plant will fill your deck or patio with tropical looking blooms and is a show stopper for your outdoor garden. It is not a hardy plant for our area and will need protection or a greenhouse in the winter, but you can’t beat the summertime show.
The best part of all these plants is that they are 60% off on Saturday, August, 27th. On that day they are celebrating their anniversary and all you wonderful customers with 60% off everything in the store! They also have the day packed with all sorts of fun things to do. There will be wine tasting with Hip Chicks do Wine, chocolate tasting with Whimsy Chocolates and Bag it Totes with some cool handbags to see. There are also 3 artists displaying their art and live music from Scott Shearer. Plus, Antonio’s will be serving coffee and blended drinks, and will have an assortment of scones and muffins to snack on. It looks like a great way to end the summer and get some wonderful plants for your fall garden.
Summer entertaining is so much better with a quality cocktail, and if that cocktail is made from ingredients from a local company, that’s even better. We have a lot of those companies in our area and one of the best of the best is Spiritopia (541-990-0337) in Corvallis. We met with Sebastian in their tasting room to find out how they make their wonderful product. First he introduced us to their four different products. They started with a ginger liqueur and then made an apple liqueur, followed by an apple brandy and now they have just introduced a pomegranate liqueur. What is interesting is that all of these products taste just like the fruit on the label. Now, you might say, of course they taste like that, but we can tell you that a lot of liqueurs do not have enough flavor infused in them to even notice. Others taste like cough medicine, not Spiritopia! They pay attention to the balance of their spirits and use chemical analysis to make sure everything stays consistent in their product. Plus they use real local fruit in their process. The ginger liqueur is made with real ginger and not ginger powder or syrup. The fresh ginger basically dissolves into their spirits over the course of 3 months. The same holds true for their apple product, and continues with their pomegranate liqueur. In fact, they deal directly with the pomegranate farmer to get their fruit! All of this makes a liqueur that is outstanding. As they say at the distillery, they are ‘true to the fruit’. You can find their product at most of your local liquor stores in Oregon, Washington and California, or you can find it at their tasting room near Corvallis. Plus you can find them on Facebook (Facebook/SpiritopiaLiqueurs), and Instagram (#spiritopialiqueurs).
TOW - Rock Plant Markers
If you have problem remembering where all your plants are, join the group! We always say that we will remember where everything is and then, later in the fall or early spring, when we are planting or transplanting, we dig up a perennial or some bulbs! We found a way to remedy that. You simply take a large rock with a flat surface on it and then write the name of the plant on that surface. Then you place the rock, facedown, next to the plant! Then when you are looking for a location to plant after the foliage is gone, you will know where you plants are located. The best part is that the rocks look natural and don’t stand out like a regular plant tag or marker.
Antique Hedge Trimmers
Most of our modern tools can be traced back to a tool in antiquity, that is very true for the common grass and hedge trimmer. We stopped by to visit with our local expert on tools, Bob Denman, at Red Pig Tools (503-663-9404) to get a little history lesson. The first tool he brought out was a tool that was invented in 1878 by a Mr. Ridgeway. He was a British inventor who had a great idea for a new tool. In fact, it was so revolutionary that it was an immediate hit and was used at the royal gardens at Kew. He converted it into a grass shear that performed the same way, and even offered to trim beards to show how well it worked. Talk about a close shave! The second tool was of a similar design, but operated with a slightly different motion. Bob picked up this rare antique for $5. He’s pretty sure the guy selling it didn’t know what he had. The final tool was a very rare tool indeed and cost him a lot more. The tool has an adjustable set of blades that can swing to cut at different angles. A gentleman brought it into the store and Bob started to gush over it. He told him it was a rare find and a ‘national treasure’! That is when the guy told him that he wanted to sell it. Now, because Bob told him it was so rare, it now cost him $75 to buy it. He should have stayed quiet!
If you are looking for a wonderful ‘modern’ tool, or even one that is a little unique, then stop by Red Pig Tools near Boring and check out Bob’s selection. You can also order tools on-line!