Welcome to summer, in a big way! Remember back when we had months of cold and wet weather, well, now we are going in the opposite direction. The temperature up near 100 means it is time to be careful! Remember to check those plants in the extreme heat to make sure they don't get too fried or dried out. Yes, you can water them in the heat and full sun, it won't sunburn them! Plus, it is important that you take care of yourself too. Drink lots of water and stay in the shade if possible. Also remember your pets. Take good care of them as well.
This weekend also marks our last hour long program for this season. We are only able to do 13 weeks of the hour long show and that ends this weekend. We hope you enjoyed the hour, but now we are back to a half hour until the end of our season in November.
Also, we have our 100th issue of the Garden Time Magazine coming out in a few days, be sure to sign up to receive this wonderful magazine if you don't get it in your e-mail already.
This week we featured...
Sun and Shade Shrubs
The dry areas of your yard and garden are hard enough to find plants for... but then you add bright sun or deep shade, and the search becomes harder. To get some ideas about what plants to use we stopped by Garland Nursery (1-800-296-6601) near Corvallis to talk to Brenda. She had pulled out a large group of plants to share with us. We started with the dry shade plants. The first one she had on the cart was the Cast Iron Plant. This is as tough as its name. It has been said that this one can grow in a dark closet, which might be stretching the truth a little bit, but it is tough. The second one could be a showcase plant in any dark spot, the 'Watnong Gold' Yew. This one has bright golden new growth and then the foliage turns into a light green. Another great bright spot plant for a shady area is the Japanese Aralia 'Spiderweb'. This one has almost white leaves with new growth and then it turns to a darker green as it ages. A plant that will stand out in the shade, but not for its color, is the Sarcococca. This plant will stand out because of its fragrance. In the late winter, this one will have tiny little blooms that you can hardly see, but it will knock you out with the fragrance it has. A couple of plants that can handle the dry shade are Aucubas. The 'Picturata' has variegated foliage with bright yellow in the center of the leaves and the 'Sawtoothed Aucuba' had serrated leaves that adds nice texture to the garden. This one will also get red berries if you have a male plant nearby. A nice addition to an already great plant.
Next we moved to the direct sun plants. These will need a little water until they are established, but after they are, they are very drought tolerant. The first group of plants she shared was the Crape Myrtles. These came in all sizes and shapes, and they love the heat. Two of the ones that Brenda had pulled out was the small 'Cherry Dazzle' and the much taller 'Red Rooster'. These will bloom in the late summer and are a nice addition after all those other plants are done blooming for the season. The next plant is a large grower in the garden, if you don't cut it back each year. The Chaste Tree can become a tree if left alone. It does get large lavender flowers that really attract the bees! Another plant for dry sunny areas are some of the conifer family. The gold and light colored ones can sometimes burn their foliage if in the direct sun, while others don't. One that performs well is the 'True Blue' cypress. This one is short and compact and has cool foliage that you just want to touch. Next was the rock rose or cistus. These are the champions of the dry garden. They thrive and bloom on those really hot days. The one we had on the cart was 'sunset', with a hot pink flower, but there are tons of colors to choose from. Finally, we looked at the nandina. These are also called Heavenly Bamboo, though they are not really bamboos. This one was called 'Tuscan Flame' because of the bright red new growth. These take pruning well, but can get tall if left alone. Both the cistus and nandina are also evergreen too. Now, if you have an area where nothing can grow, you can also add a metal goat! At Garland they also have sculptures and statuary for those tough areas as well. Stop by and check out all the plants, and animals!
Al's Tropical Planters
The summer has finally arrived and you may feel like you want to take a trip to the tropics! You don't have to get on a plane to enjoy that tropical feel or look. There are lots of plants you can use in containers to bring that same feel to your deck or patio. We stopped by the new location of Al's Garden and Home (503-855-3527) in Wilsonville to talk to Cindy about plants you can use. Cindy had pulled a bunch of different combinations for use to look at, but the best part was that she just built the looks she wanted right on the shopping cart. In fact that was a great tip for anyone. You simply put the container you choose and the plants on the same cart, then you can see right away what works together and what doesn't. Cindy also reminded us of the little rhyme to help us build the perfect pot. You need 'a thriller, a filler, and a spiller'. Let's break that down. The thriller is the tall focal plant in the middle of the pot (or near the back if you are near a wall), the filler are the plants that fill in around the base of the thriller. The 'spiller' are the plants that drape over the edge of the planter and soften the edge of the pot.
Examples of the thriller included cannas, New Zealand flax, coleus and fatsia. Some good fillers are sun impatiens, smaller coleus and smaller begonias. Good spillers are vinca and sweet potato vine. All of these plants can bring that 'tropical' feel to your containers through the whole summer and into fall too. Some of them will even last into next season as well. For more great ideas, and even a selection of pre-made containers you can stop by any of the 4 Al's locations in Oregon.
Prepping Fresh Fruit
This is the time of year for fresh fruit. The problem with fresh fruit is that it can spoil pretty fast unless you take care of it. To get some tips on how to do that we stopped by Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) and talked to Joelle. Joelle is an expert on prepping and preserving berries because they grow so many, plus they are a 'no spray' farm. Nothing goes on the berries, that means that they have nothing sprayed on them to help preserve them from spoiling. Fresh berries, by their nature, have to be taken care of right away to get them ready for serving or preserving. First of all cooling them down by getting them into a refrigerator is very important. Then you have to think about using them within a day or two, or preserving them by freezing or canning if you take longer than that. Most berries, with few exceptions, are thin skinned and need to be handled gently. Joelle recommends that you only wash your berries right before you use them. For berries with solid centers and thick skins you can just wash them in a colander. For thinner skinned berries like raspberries, you will want to gently float them in cool water and bring them out with a strainer. You should also let them air dry on a paper towel to reduce excess moisture. After this process is done you can freeze them on a parchment covered cookie sheet, eat them or make them into jam.
For more tips on berries or to see what is ripe today, you can check out their website. It is constantly updated with new information. Then get out and enjoy the berries this season!
Worms are essential to a healthy garden and most kids are fascinated by them as well. What a perfect way to get your kids excited about gardening than a class on worms! We stopped by and talked to Diane Wavra at Wavra Farms (503-364-9879) to learn about her worm class that she uses to educate kids at her garden center. She starts with a book on worms to give the kids a little education before she brings out some real worms. First she has them place a worm on a piece of paper and try to figure out which is the head and which is the tail. Then they take a piece of ice out and place it next to the worm to watch the reaction. The cold causes them to start to think about hibernation, but the melting water also helps them breathe since they need moisture to do that. Finally she covered the worm and we left it alone for a few minutes. Then we uncovered it. The darkness made the worm stretch out and start to rest. Finally she placed the worm on top of a pot of soil. To see what the worm does next you have to stop by the nursery today, Saturday, June 24th, at 2pm for the kid's club!
While the kids are enjoying the worms, the parents can be grabbing all the great plants Diane has for sale. For more information and directions to the nursery, you can check out her website!
Oregon Garden - Children's Garden
The Oregon Garden (503-874-8100) in Silverton is one of the best public gardens on the west coast, but it is more than just one garden, it is many! One of the gardens that is the most interesting is the children's garden. Ty met with Judy in the middle of this wonderful garden to point out some of the most interesting features of this garden. A couple that stand out are the hobbit hole, the garden train and the weird plants area. The hobbit hole is cool because kids can enjoy the inside or climb on the outside of it. The garden train is another great feature because it is running outside and through some pretty cool landscapes and miniature plants. The weird plant area is full of strange shaped plants and trees. Beyond those cool areas there are topiary plants cut into figures and animal shapes. There is also a sand play area and a large area for entertaining groups, birthday parties and picnics. It is really safe too. It is in the middle of the garden and has only 2, highly visible, points of entry, so the kids can't sneak away!
The children's garden is just another example of why the Oregon Garden is perfect for any one in your family!
The Wall - Small Garden
What to do with that small area in your front or back yard? It is too small to build anything and too tight for entertaining! Actually, that is not true at all. We heard about a small front yard that seemed like it had no room at all, and how it was transformed into something spectacular by The Wall (503-735-9255). We met with Heidi the homeowner to talk about what she inherited when she bought her home. What she got was a small front yard that was dominated by a huge fir tree, a little lawn and a slope that drained the rain water toward her home. Not good! She contacted The Wall and they brought in landscape designer Larry Borlin. He met with her inside her home to chat about the outside. Larry knew that Heidi loved color and so he wanted to bring the inside color outside to a new entertaining area. They started by removing the tree and installing large French doors, replacing a large picture window. The soil was made more level and drainage was installed. This is where Jake from the Wall returned to the project. While Larry was helping to pick plants, The Wall poured a patio of colored stamped concrete. This created a large patio for entertaining. The new French doors now open on to this large area and help to tie the inside to the outside.
The Wall also installed a small retaining wall around the patio. They used a material called the Allan block courtyard stone. This looks great no matter which side you look at. It also helped create a little more privacy to the patio area. Drainage was also installed around the wall to help with the drainage problems. The Wall worked to make sure that all the potential problems were solved before they finished the project! The result is a great entertainment area that is now more welcoming and usable. If you have a small area that you don't know what to do with, just call The Wall!
Callahan Therapy Garden
Legacy Health is known for their outstanding healing and therapy gardens, but they don't rest on their laurels! They are nearing the completion of another great garden near Legacy Good Samaritan in NW Portland. We met with Teresia Hazen and a couple of guests to talk about this latest addition to the Legacy gardens. The area we met at was a former garden that had fallen into disrepair and was not welcoming at all. It was now being converted into a public space and a therapy garden. For one guest this was a labor of love. Dan Callahan is with the construction company, Lease Crutcher Lewis, that was working on the project. The park is part of the John Callahan Memorial, dedicated to Dan's uncle, the famous cartoonist and artist. John lived in the area and was a fixture at Portland events. Dan is pretty proud of this garden!
We then moved to another part of the garden to talk with Brian Bainnson of Quatrefoil Inc, the landscape company who helped design the space. Brian talked about how they brought together a large group to make sure that they included everything that would make the park more welcoming and open. This included the elements like the lawn and gravel areas for therapy patients to get good exercise, and the open seating and walkways for the community to enjoy. He also talked about the memorial being built that would include some of the artwork and cartoons that John Callahan made famous. It has turned out to be something everyone can enjoy.
You're chance to see it for the first time in on the 12th of July. From 11:30 to 1pm on the 12th, there will be tours and a grand opening celebration for everyone. If you can, stop by and see this wonderful garden and help celebrate the unique and funny legacy of John Callahan!
NW Natural Outdoor Grills
With the return of the heat, it also signals the return of grilling season! To see what bells and whistles the new grills contain we stopped by the NW Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) in SE Portland. The NW Natural Appliance Center has been open for 35 years and NW Natural has been involved in retail for over 100 years. So they kinda know their stuff! There we found Trevor and he had a couple of grills to share with us. The first one was a grill from Napoleon. This grill featured a heavy duty stainless steel so it will last a long time under our Northwest conditions. It also had a wonderful rotisserie element and even an infrared burner that heats up to 1,800 degrees in about 30 seconds to help seal in those juices and flavors on your larger cuts of meat. There was also a cast iron charcoal pan. This pan is placed in the grill and then you use the gas to start the charcoal. Once the charcoal is ready you can shut the gas off and get that charcoal flavor to your cooking! The best of both worlds!
We then moved over to the Hestan Grill. This one was very well made and had tons of features. It included the same types of features like the rotisserie and infrared burner, but it also could be converted to a salamander grill which would allow you to do some broiling as well!
The NW Natural appliance center also can help you build and entire outdoor kitchen if you wanted one! And if you wanted to run a gas line to your new grill they have the expertise and a list of contractors that can help you do it right! Imagine, no more running out of propane when you're grilling! If you have questions on grills, or any other gas appliance for your home or garden, stop by and check them out!
Boulder Inn Japanese Garden
Did you know that one of the coolest Japanese gardens outside of Portland is located in Lebanon, Oregon! That's right, and to learn more about it we traveled down the valley to see it. The garden is part of a complex that also houses the Best Western Premiere Boulder Falls Inn (541-451-1000) and the Boulder Falls Conference Center. Leslie, from the Boulder Falls Inn, met with Judy to talk about the complex and how they all tie together. Guests at the hotel can enjoy one of the 84 guest rooms and the 8,000 sf events center while they tour the garden, then they can enjoy a meal at the award winning 1847 Bar and Grill! But you don't have to be a guest to enjoy this garden. This garden is open to all in the community. In fact it was the community that made this happen. One of the drivers behind the garden was Bill Rauch. Bill was friends with renown garden designer, Hoichi Kurisu. Hoichi helped designed 3 gardens in the Lebanon area, including this wonderful one. It is over an acre in size and has a nice meandering path that covers a lot of ground. You can enjoy a waterfall, seating areas, koi, and a couple of nice covered areas. It also has some very mature plant material too. Some of the trees are over 40 years old and were started in Hoichi's nursery. He just was waiting for the right place to plant them! We're glad he chose this garden! Another part of the community involvement, all the rocks in the garden were donated by a local timber company, Cascade Timber Consulting.
If you are in the mid-valley and need a break, be sure to stop by the Boulder Falls Inn, have a great lunch at the 1847, and then relax in the garden. You won't regret it.
TOW - Raking Needles
The summer means bare feet in the grass, unless you have fir trees in your backyard! Our tip this week will help make your lawn more bare-foot friendly! After you mow your lawn, simply give your lawn a quick rake and then mow again. The quick raking will draw some of those pesky needles to the surface and they will be picked up by the second pass with a mower. Once we get into the middle of summer you will not have to do it quite as often, since the trees will drop fewer needles then.