The second week of September always reminds me of ‘normal’. It is this week when kids are back in school, the vacations are over and routine takes over again. It is a wonderful change of seasons. For those of you who have missed the show because of travel and vacations, welcome back! Did you know that you can still see the old stories you missed by just going to our archive section on the Garden Time website. There is lots of good information there, no matter what your garden questions are.
Speaking of the change of seasons. We will soon be into the cold and rainy (possibly snowy) days of winter. Wouldn’t it be nice to escape to Hawaii in February? We had been planning a Garden Time tour to Oahu that was only going to last 5 days, but people wanted to stay longer and we listened! We are just putting the finishing touches on the plan for 10 days, 4 islands and 9 gardens. We will visit Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the big island! All at a special Garden Time Tour price! Stay tuned, details are coming!
This week we featured...
Mosaic Garden Blocks
We all want something special in the garden. How about some handmade art? Carol, a friend of the show, is a very creative artist. She invited us over to Oceanside to check out her latest garden project, a mosaic cinder block tower. This little structure was not only beautiful, it was unique, since she had made it by hand.
She started by picking up some small cinder blocks (8x8x8) at her local hardware store, some outdoor paint, some gorilla glue and various things to attach (beads, tiles and pottery) to the blocks. She started by painting the sides of the bricks that were going to be exposed. The colors were meant to stand out, but you could also match them to various color themes in your garden. On the other exposed parts of the blocks she attached broken pottery, beads and other tiles using the gorilla glue. These surfaces had to be prepped first with water to allow the glue to work and then the objects glued to the surfaces. These pieces had to be weighted down so they didn’t ‘pop up’ when the glue expanded. For the tiles and pottery she had to do the same thing, but the tiles presented an additional problem. Carol had attached different decorative designs from paper napkins on the surface of the tiles using Mod Podge and those had to be sealed to protect the paper transfers from washing off in the weather. Once everything was glued and sealed, Carol grouted and sealed the blocks. Then she simply had to stack them into a tower in her garden. If your tower is level, no additional cement or glue is needed since the weight of the block holds everything in place. She even topped the whole thing off with a decorative ball. If you would like a more detailed description of this process, check out the September 2016 edition of Garden Time Magazine.
Portland Nursery Hanging Succulents
Succulents are a hot plant! I don’t mean temperature, I mean they are popular! They are popular because they are unique and low maintenance. Most people place them in their gardens but there are so many other uses for them in other parts of your home or garden. We stopped by Portland Nursery (503-231-5050 to chat with Sara about some different ways to display and enjoy your succulents. First we looked at a wall hanging. This was a simple nursery planting tray that had chicken wire over it. The soil was under the wire and plants were placed through the wire into it the soil. This wire was what held everything in place. Now, if you want something a little easier, Sara showed us a pre-made frame that was easy to plant and hang. Simply put in your soil and cut holes in the landscape fabric for the plants and you’re done! You can also put your succulents in pots and even little clay pots. They even had little light bulbs with succulents in them. Sara even had a hanging container that they had built with coco fiber and used succulents in the sides of the container to create a cool combination. If you would like to build something cool with succulents or just pick up something premade, Portland Nursery can help you out. Check out either Portland Nursery location for more details and help.
Forcing Cactus to Bloom
We are always surprised when we see our Christmas cactus bloom just around the holidays, but we also noticed that sometimes it doesn’t give us a lot of blooms. To learn how to get more consistent blooms we stopped by Rita Lees Nursery and talked with Heather. The key to getting a cactus to bloom is all about timing. She recommended that you pitch off the new growth at the beginning to middle of August (though you can do it a little later). This new growth will take some of the energy of the plant for its blooms. It is also a good time to ‘prune’ your plant to shape. Then about the middle of September you will want to cut back on watering and let it get a little cold. If you have a cactus on your deck or patio for the summer, the cooler late summer nights might do this for you. These few things should trigger the blooms on your cactus. If you are moving your cactus in for the winter be aware that the warmth of the house will jump start your cactus to bloom earlier. You can leave your cactus in the garage or a cool protected area to slow down the bloom cycle. Don’t let your cactus freeze. You should notice the blooms as they start to form as little bumps at the tips of each branch. When you are ready for the bloom bring your plant inside about a week before you want the full bloom.
If you have any other cactus, the same rules apply. Cut back water, don’t fertilize and cool things down. If the plant is ready to bloom, it will. Not all cactus are the same though. If you are looking for specific advice you can always check out the Rita Lees Facebook page for more information.
Dramm Hose Swivel Tool
Are you tired of having your garden hose all twisted and kinked when you are trying to water your garden? Well, instead of dragging the hose through the garden with all those kinks you should try the new watering tool from Dramm. It is a brass Hose Swivel Tool. It attaches to your hose and the watering tool of choice, and it swivels so the kinks work themselves out! We tried it in the garden and it is wonderful. No more turning the hose while flipping it in the air to get the kinks out. They do it on their own! Look for this great tool at your local independent garden center or at the Dramm website.
We found a unique lantern that doesn’t give off any light! The Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi) is a perennial that you can plant in your garden to brighten up these dull fall days. Jennifer Cavender of Cavender Nursery walked us through her fields of Chinese Lanterns and explained how her farm grows these colorful plants for the cut flower market across the U.S. The Chinese Lantern can be an invasive perennial if you don’t take care of it. Jennifer recommended that you keep it in a pot or container! It can propagate by seed or root. It likes full sun and can get as high as 3 feet tall. Jennifer and her husband Glenn have been growing them for years in the Canby area but you can find their lanterns as far away as New York and parts of the east coast.