Welcome to fall! We are now, officially into the new season. Of course, it felt like fall all this past week. In fact, we have been noticing the trees are starting to change color on a larger scale now. Some trees even seem to be further along in their color change, but some of that could be due to stress. The change of seasons also means some plants are showing off another aspect of their beauty, by producing berries. In the show today, Brian from Tsugawa Nursery shows off some plants that offer some colorful berries that we, and the wildlife, can enjoy.
This week we are also kicking off our sign-ups for the new and improved Hawaii tour. We expanded the number of days from 5 to 10, included airfare and most meals, and made most of it a cruise! All for the same price as before. Who wouldn’t want to tour tropical gardens in February? Check out the story and then head to our tour page for more details and pricing!
This week we featured...
Creating Garden Diversity
A lot of gardeners get really excited in the spring. They see lots of new color and they fill their gardens with it, but later in the summer they grow tired. What they need is a little more plant diversity in their lives! One big proponent of garden diversity is Greg from Xera Plants (503-236-8563). Greg believes that a diverse garden is good for everyone, pollinators, insects, wildlife and people. He talked about the layers in your garden, starting with the top, trees. There were a couple of trees that he brought to our attention. The first was the native Oregon White Oak (or Garry oak). This tall tree used to cover the Willamette Valley. This is a tree that you plant for future generations. It will take decades to reach full maturity. Another west coast native is Western Redbud. It is great for early season pollinators as it starts to bloom in early March. Blue Elderberry is another native that is sometimes classified as a shrub. This is a great plant because of the berries. They are edible for wildlife and people. Some people will make the berries into jam or even wine. Judy also pointed out a non-native tree, the Crape Myrtle. This is part of that plant diversity. Local bees and insects use non-native plants and trees as much as they do natives. This means that you can add a Crape Myrtle to your garden palate and still be a benefactor to those little workers in the late season. Another late season bloomer is the Chaste Tree (or Vitex), which starts in July and August when other trees are done and continue to bloom until fall.
The next level down are shrubs and a few that Greg liked included the Coffee Berry (California Buckthorn) It is native to southern Oregon and northern California. The berries were a food source for Native Americans and are loved by wildlife as well. It will bloom at various times of the year so you could get blooms when you don’t expect them. Another native shrub is Buckbrush (Ceanothus cuneatus). The one we saw was from the Corvallis area. It is covered with tons of white blooms in the spring that bees just love! One plant for hummingbirds is the Agastache. This one is not native to our area, but will keep blooming for months and will have hummers returning to your garden almost every day!
A great time to get your questions answered is during the big Xera sale at their retail location in Portland. They have 30-percent-off all their plants in stock from Sept. 22-25 and 29th until the 2nd of October. Stop by and learn how to diversify your garden!
Blooming Junction Green Roofs
Green roofs are still a popular thing! But how do you do one? What are some of the points you should consider? To get some tips we stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) at 35105 NW Zion Church Road, near Cornelius and talked with Grace Dinsdale, the owner. She is also a grower and she had a lot of good information.
First she recommends that you make sure that you roof is designed to hold the weight of a green roof. Depending on the type of plants and soil it could double or triple (or more) the weight limit of your roof. You should also include the weight of the water you would be using on the roof. Speaking of plants and soil. You will want a fast draining soil (which will get rid of large amounts of rain water quickly) and not a lot of organic material in your soil. If you have too much organic material it will breakdown and make your soil compacted.
Grace is a grower and distributor of GreenFeathers which supplies modular green roof systems. They grow various depths of green roofs. The deeper the depth of your material, the larger the variety of plants you can grow. Their systems run from 2 inches deep to 8 inches deep and the plantings in each module change depending on that depth.
If you are looking for plants that you might use for your roof planting, Grace had a few favorites that she would recommend. Of course there are always small sedums that work well in most situations, but there are others to choose from as well. If you have a shady roof then you can use ferns. Deer fern or even maidenhair fern for full shade. Larger sedums and even grasses will work depending on the amount of sun and depth of soil you use. A few plants that you might consider are Fragaria virginiana (Virginia Strawberry) or Ajuga ‘Purple Brocade’ which works well in sun or shade.
The perfect time to get your questions answered about green roofs is this weekend when they are celebrating their Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday the 24th. There will be music, food, wine tasting, cooking demos and samples from the farm to enjoy. There is free admittance and free parking, so stop by and learn about green roofs while you have a great time.
Fall and Winter Berry Plants
Fall brings color to your garden as your plants put on their fall coats. That fall coat isn’t always leaf color, sometimes your plants will also share colorful berries too! To see some of the plants that have interesting berries we stopped by Tsugawa Nursery (360-225-8750) and talked to Brian Tsugawa about some of his favorites. He had a few plants that will bring seasonal interest to your garden including a couple of viburnums to share, including the large shrub ‘Pink Beauty’ with the pink and blue berries and the ‘Davidii’ with the neon blue berries. The larger of the 2 was the pink beauty and the shortest was the davidii. The difference was the leaves. The davidii is the evergreen, the pink beauty was deciduous (losing its leaves in the fall). Hollies are known for their berries, but the variety ‘Blue Princess’ that Brian brought out, is also a compact variety so it won’t take over your garden, still you are rewarded with wonderful red berries. Another short evergreen with berries is the Pernettia ‘Rubra’. This is not as well known, but the pink berries turn red, thus the name ‘rubra’ which means red. It has been around for years but is underused. A very well-known berried plant is the Calacarpa ‘Profusion’. This plant is also known as beautyberry. It is a large shrub that has neon bluish-purple berries that hold on through the fall and winter. It can be easily pruned to stay small if you want. A very popular berried plant is the pyracantha. We saw the ‘Red Elf’ with orange berries, but there are lots of varieties in various shades of red and orange that work well in any garden. They can be a shrub or can be trained on a trellis or arbor. Our final plant was also a well-known plant, the Euonymus (burning bush). This plant earns its name because of the bright red fall color, it almost seems on fire! We saw both presentations of the plant, one version on a standard (a trunk) and one version as a shrub. Both were bright red in their foliage and full of berries.
These were just a few of the varieties of berried plants you can find at your independent garden centers. For more choices, stop by Tsugawa’s and check out these ‘berry’ wonderful plants.
Garden Time Goes to Hawaii
The cold winds will soon be a-blowin'. Yup, winter is on the way and those warm days of summer will just be a memory until they return next June. But you don’t have to wait that long for warm breezes and sunny days! Our old itinerary was just for 5 days and 1 island. This one is 10 days and 4 islands. Let’s look at the rundown...
• 10 days, in the Hawaiian Islands, during the winter,
when it is raining and cold here. Need I say more?!
• 9 nights, ditto!!!!
• 8 gardens – at least! We will have opportunities to see more!
• 7 nights on the NCL Pride of America, a cruise ship with meals,
pools and other activities included in your price.
• 6 days in port at various locations around the islands!
• 5 days private touring, with guides and planned itineraries. No worries, total comfort!
• 4 islands – Oahu, Maui, Hawaii and Kauai.
• 3 internationally recognized gardens, on the itinerary (with options for more!)
• 2 nights on Waikiki Beach, including a fireworks display on the beach.
• 1 great trip with your Garden Time Gang!
We keep saying it; fall is the time for planting. It really is! By getting your plants in the ground now they will have time to establish roots and be better prepared for the winter months ahead, plus they will reward you by getting a jump start for you next spring. We always tell people that there are 3 stages to perennials; Sleep, Creep and Leap. The first year they sit there, establishing their roots, the second year they start to spread out, and the third year they burst with full foliage and color. By planting your perennials now you will speed up the process. It is also a great time to move plants around your garden. This summer you may have noticed that some of your favorite plants didn’t do so well in the heat and sun. Now you can move them to different locations in the garden where it might be better suited to their needs.
Fall is also the perfect time to check out some of the fall perennials in your local garden center. Right now you will see some of the wonderful fall color that many plants get this time of year. In the spring you can see them with great blooms. Now you get to see which ones look great in their fall coats!
When planting or transplanting you will need to amend the soil to make it better for growing roots. As the old saying goes, ‘build a $40 hole for a $20 plant’. Amend your soil with some good garden compost or even a great potting soil like Black Gold. Sprinkle in a tiny bit of transplant fertilizer and you are good to go.