Welcome to GardenPalooza! This is the 15th year of this wonderful event and we are proud to be able to bring it to you thanks to Dramm Tools. We are looking for a few possible light showers, but it will still be a great event with over 40 vendors, lots of garden art and loads of great food. Fir Point Farms are such great partners and they have made us feel so welcome. Remember it is a free event with free parking. You can also enter to win some great prizes too, including a bistro set for your patio from Garden Gallery Iron Works or a $1,000 visualscaping makeover from French Prairie Perennials. We also have drawings for gift cards from Al’s Garden & Home and Portland Nursery. There are also drawings for garden books and free seeds. Plus Black Gold will be giving away 4 quart bags of potting mix while supplies last. Come out and see us between 8-4, today, April 1st. For more details and even coupons on money saving deals you can go to www.GardenPalooza.com.
This week we featured...
French Prairie Perennials – GardenPalooza
I just mentioned that Rick at French Prairie Perennials (503-679-2871) will be giving away a $1,000 Visualscaping makeover during GardenPalooza, but he will also have a great selection of plants in his booth. He shared a couple with us. The first plant was a variegated climbing hydrangea called Mirranda. This one is a very showy hydrangea and not just for the white blooms it gets. This one has a dark centered leaf with a light green edge. It looks great all year long. It self-attaches to any wood structure so make sure you provide one. If you have it next to your house or wooden fence it will grow into the structure. It is worth it though, since it provides a great show all season long. The second plant he had was a winter hazel called ‘Golden Spring’. This is an early spring bloomer and it is almost electric when the sun hits it and it’s fragrant too. This is just the start to the show it puts on. The new foliage is a bright yellow as well, with red and orange streaks in it when it first starts growing. Finally we moved to a very unique conifer, a fernleaf Hinoki Cypress. This was a very compact evergreen that has a cool fern look to it, but the best part was not visible. Rick showed us the inside of the plant. Most conifers get a lot of brown die-back on the inside of the plant, but this one was nice and green. It looked great inside and out.
You can stop by and see these great plants and other like them at GardenPalooza in Rick’s booth. You can also sign up for that great $1,000 Visualscaping giveaway as well. But don’t worry if you can’t make it out on Saturday. French Prairie Perennials has a wonderful store in Aurora that is open on weekends. They not only have great plants at the store, they also have great gifts too!
Portland Japanese Gardens Reopens
We’ve been waiting a long time and the day has finally arrived. The Portland Japanese Garden (503-223-1321) is fully open again and ready for visitors. For the last year and a half the garden has been in the middle of a major expansion! Erica joined Judy at the Garden to share all the great new changes. As it has been said, they have had a wonderful garden with a small space to share Japanese culture, but now they have a wonderful cultural area to go with that great garden!
It all starts off with the new entry garden and area at the base of the hill. Before, you really didn’t know you were at the garden, but now it is a beautiful entrance pavilion. Once you climb the hill to the garden (or take the shuttle) you will enter the Cultural Village, as it has come to be called. This area outside the garden is where you will find the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Welcoming Center. This center is full of space for presentations and classes, the new expanded gift shop, a gallery and the Cathy Rudd Cultural Corner. Outside you will find a bonsai terrace, a court yard garden and the Zagunis Castle Wall. One of the great additions to the garden is the new Umami Café. This café will be serving traditional Japanese treats and authentic Japanese teas. The whole area is incredible.
Remember this is a new addition to this wonderful garden. In the past, everything was crammed into the current garden, making it crowded and a little less tranquil. Now, you can enjoy Japanese culture and still enjoy the beauty of the garden with a lot more elbow room! The grand re-opening is Sunday, April 2nd, but put it on your calendar to come up again later this spring and summer when the garden really hits its stride!
Blooming Junction Spring Color
Spring color is more than just daffodils and tulips. There are a ton of plants that are showing off right now in the garden. To see a small selection of what is out there we stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) in Cornelius and talked to Ron. He had pulled a bunch of different plants out of the nursery to share with us, from small annuals and shrubs to trees. We started with one of the trees. Ron had pulled a Star Magnolia called ‘Leonard Messel’ aside for us. This one is starting to bloom right now with pinkish white blooms, and when it is done you get a wonderful multi-trunk tree to enjoy. The next tree was a cool one! Chinese Redbuds are very popular in the spring. This one, ‘Don Egolf’, was just getting ready to bloom. What makes Redbuds so cool is that they bloom on all their branches and even on the trunk! It is pretty cool for a tree. We checked out a shrub next. It was a camellia called ‘April Dawn’. It has blooms that can come out in different blends of pink and white. The one we saw was pretty spectacular with a half white and half pink bloom. A plant that really can show off this time of year is the forsythia ‘Show Off’. As the name implies, it really stands out with hundreds of bright yellow blooms. I like to think it is a signature plant for spring, plus it is great for the bees too! Another small shrub that is just starting to bloom is the pieris. We saw one called ‘Mountain Fire’ that was covered in white blooms. Ron also showed us some of the great containers full of bulbs and not just daffodils! Those pots of blooms went really well with a Bergenia purpurascens. The bergenia is a great low growing plant with dark green leaves on top, that are bright red underneath. They also have tall stalks of pink blooms right now that burst from the foliage. Another plant that is overlooked in the garden is the Moroccan Daisy. The one we saw was Marrakech, with early pinkish blooms. It is very hardy in the garden. Another relatively hardy plant in our gardens is the Bleeding Heart. Ron had one with gold colored foliage and deep pink flowers called ‘Gold Heart’. These will perform now and then die back in mid to late summer only to return early next year with great foliage and heart shaped blooms. A plant that also does really well in our gardens is the Wallflower. Ron had his favorite out, the ‘Winter Orchid’. These plants have a bunch of different varieties in all sorts of colors. We also can use vines in our early spring gardens too. We ended with the evergreen clematis ‘Snowdrift’. This one was loaded with hundreds of blooms and an incredible fragrance too! It is a showstopper in the spring garden.
Not only does Blooming Junction have all these great plants, it is also a farmers market. You can stop by and get these great plants, but you can also take home the freshest local produce and even fresh eggs! Stop by and check them out.
Capitol Cherry Blossoms
A lot of people have heard about the cherry trees in bloom in Washington DC. Well, you don’t have to travel across the country to see a flower show; you can just travel to Salem and visit one of our newest State Parks. State Capitol State Park is the 14 acre area surrounding the state capitol and the other state buildings around it. Bryan Nielsen, the park manager told us about the park and mainly about the beautiful cherries that are in bloom right now. The cherry trees line the mall directly in front of the capitol building and they are really putting on a show. These flowering trees are an Akebono variety. They are very popular in the Northwest and will do well in our growing conditions. Plus, according to Bryan, they need very little care. These trees also can handle tight conditions, the area where they grow is on top of a state parking garage and it has only 14 inches of soil in some places. The cherry trees only mark the beginning of the season for the park. This park has lots of significant plants and they will all be in bloom soon. In addition to all the plants we also found out that there are over 90 historical and informational markers and 6 major monuments in the park. It is an outdoor history lesson on the state of Oregon! Drive by this coming weekend to catch the show before it is all gone!
Dramm Tools – GardenPalooza
We are happy and proud to have Dramm be our Presenting sponsor of the GardenPalooza event again this spring. They are a well-respected company that makes a great product! They are always looking for ways of improving and introducing products to help the gardener. We had a chance to tour their facility a few years ago on a trip to Wisconsin. They have built machines that try to simulate the abuse we give our garden tools so they make sure theirs last. We saw machines that worked the shutoff valves, dragged the watering wands on the ground and even one that slammed the tools into concrete just so they could manufacture a more durable tool. The newest feature is a one finger, easy to use, shutoff switch. It is great! Plus they have introduced a new lawn sprinkler that can be adjusted to any lawn shape or size! If you would like to try and win one of these tools, stop by and see William and Judy to sign up for a chance. If you can’t make it to GardenPalooza, just look for the colorful Dramm display at your local garden center.
Egan Gardens – GardenPalooza
Another great vendor at GardenPalooza is Egan Gardens (503-393-2131). Ellen always has a booth packed with colorful plants and this year is no exception! We stopped by her nursery in Brooks to see what she will have at this year’s event. She started with her ‘tide me over plants’ or as she called them ‘porch hardy plants’. These plants are designed to give you a boost of color while you wait to plant your favorite annuals later this spring. Two of them that she had brought out were a cyclamen and a Fairy Primrose. Ellen also brought out a couple of Martha Washington geraniums. These are incredible plants covered in blooms and even more buds for later this spring. Ellen grows them long and slow so they set more blooms. Her plants are also large and will bloom all summer long! Ellen also has a great selection of perennials that she grows. She had a ‘Blue Heron’ Corydalis that she pulled out of the greenhouse. It had a beautiful baby blue bloom and covered the entire plant.
You will be able to get most of these plants at GardenPalooza, but if Ellen runs out you can probably find them at her nursery. Stop by either location to see what she has.
Garden Gallery Iron Works – GardenPalooza
If you are looking for garden art and functional garden pieces, then you need to stop by and see Garden Gallery Iron Works (800-452-5266) at GardenPalooza. Don Sprague and his crew are always coming up with wonderful pieces for any type or size of garden. We met him at his store in Hubbard, just down the road from GardenPalooza. He had just a few of the things he plans on bringing to GardenPalooza to show us. He always brings a bunch of stuff and it was hard to feature just a few things. First we looked at his wobbling and balancing bird sculptures. These little birds dance in every little breeze and even nod their heads as they spin. Birds are always hot in the garden and so he even had a plant stake and a metal garden screen with birds on them. We were also able to check out some functional garden pieces like his peony/dahlia cages and his metal raised beds. Then we moved over and saw the new wine bottle accessories that they have including a lighting kit that you can use inside your empty wine bottles!
Finally we looked at the bistro set that they will be giving away to one lucky GardenPalooza guest. This set includes a granite top bistro table and 2 chairs. All you have to do is stop by the Garden Time booth and look for William and Judy to enter. If you want to see more of his great items, stop by the Garden Gallery Iron Works store in Hubbard!
Kindergarden – Seed Bombs
With spring finally here you might be thinking about planting your flower seeds outside. This week we have a great project that you can do with your kids that will get them interested in gardening while planting some great wildflower seeds. We are talking about ‘seed bombs’. They are called Seed Bombs because they leave a burst of color wherever you throw them, and they’re easy to make! You start by tearing up paper into tiny pieces. Try to not use glossy papers or newsprint (the ink will stain your hands). Once you have your paper ripped up you put it in a bowl of water and let the paper break down and get mushy. This could take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Once the paper is mushy you put it in a food processor and puree it. You pour this mixture into a strainer and get out as much water as you can from the mixture. Then you take a muffin tin or a cookie mold and press the moist paper mixture into the tin. Make sure that you only fill them up to a half inch in the bottom of the holes. Press a cloth on the mixture to draw out excess water and them leave them set over night (or longer) until they are dry. Once dry, sprinkle a pinch of wildflower seeds in each cup. Make sure you are using wildflower seeds that are made for your area. Some mixes of seed are meant for different parts of the country and may contain plants that are not suited for our area. Your local garden center should be able to help you pick a good blend. We found ours at Silver Falls Seed Company (503-874-8221). Once you have the seeds in the cups then you make another batch of the paper mixture. You place another layer in each container, once again keeping it around a half inch thick. Press the extra water out again and then let it dry for a couple for days. What you end up with are little discs of paper with the seeds in the middle. Now just wander around your garden and toss them around. You will end up with splashes of color when the seeds germinate and a group of kids who are now excited to be in the garden!
Planting Lily Bulbs
Spring makes us start to think about summer, and summer makes us think about summer color. Now is the time to plant those summer bulbs so you can get that late summer color you’ve always wanted. To get some tips on planting lily bulbs we stopped by Parry’s Tree Farm and Nursery (503-348-9601) to talk with Kenn. Parry’s hosts a huge lily festival each summer and they grow hundreds of lilies each year. Kenn showed us three different ways to plant your lily bulb. The first way was in a raised bed. Here he dug a hole that wasn’t very deep, only about 3-4 inches. Then he added his special fall fertilizer mixture, a slow release, low nitrogen mix, to promote root growth. He covered the bulb with soil and then sprinkled a light amount of spring fertilizer on the top of the soil. Kenn also showed us how he covers the bottom of his raised beds with chicken wire. This is to prevent moles and gophers from getting into his beds and creating problems.
Next we moved to a container. Kenn had a plastic whiskey barrel that he had filled with nice clean potting soil that was nice and loose. This container was going to be well drained because lily bulbs don’t like setting in wet soil. Another reason for the fresh potting soil was the fact that a lot of gardeners also plant annuals in their containers with their bulbs. Those plants need to be watered and to prevent the bulbs from rotting you need a quick draining soil. Once again he planted the bulbs shallow, only about 2-3 inches deep. Again he added the fall fertilizer with the bulb and the spring fertilizer on top.
Finally we move to regular soil. This is how most gardeners are going to plant their bulbs. The problem with planting in regular soil is the clay we have here in the Pacific Northwest. This time Kenn dug down about 8 inches and amended the soil with compost and potting soil at the bottom of the hole. He mixed these two together and placed his bulb in the center. Then added the fall fertilizer and covered the bulb and top-dressed with the spring fertilizer again.
By following these step you should have a wonderful crop of lilies later this year. If you are looking to add lilies to your garden contact them through their website or give them a call. Plant all of your summer bulbs now for great color this summer!
This year at GardenPalooza we have a bunch of giveaways. We have already told you about the bistro set from Garden Gallery Iron Works and the $1,000 Visualscaping makeover that you can enter to win, but that is just the beginning. If you are wandering the event you can stop by and pick up a 4 quart bag of potting soil at the Black Gold booth while supplies last, or you can come by the Garden Time booth and see William and Judy for even more chances to win stuff. Every half hour we will be drawing names for $25 gift cards for Al’s Garden and Home or Portland Nursery. We will also be giving away watering tools from Dramm, and an assortment of gardening books. You can also pick up a free packet of seeds for the kids from Capitol Subaru! So even if you don’t pick up any plants you can still go home a winner. All you have to do is enter!
French Prairie Gardens – GardenPalooza
If you love hanging baskets you can just pay a visit to French Prairie Gardens (503-633-8445) at GardenPalooza. We met with Stacy to learn about the baskets they grow and about the ones they will have at GardenPalooza. Stacy told us how you can pick up your baskets now and start enjoying them early. They have been growing them in their greenhouses with little heat so they are growing slowly. This means that they are not filled with long and skinny plants. They are perfect to go outside now. The only recommendation she had was to keep them in a protected area or cover them if the temperatures drop too low. You can do this by simply placing a plastic bag over them during those cold evenings. You can get more basket tips from them at GardenPalooza and to see a wider selection of baskets, stop by their nursery which is just minutes away from GardenPalooza.
TOW – Hellebore Clean-Up
Our tip of the week involves hellebores and cutting the foliage. You can do this in spring once the hellebore starts to bloom. By cutting the old leaves off you can enjoy the flowers without all that beat up and tattered foliage. Don’t worry, in late spring the new leaves will grow in and the plant will continue to grow and be healthy.