The summer swing is here! That is the time of year when we settle into the multiple days of summer heat and get into the swing of things in the summer garden. The fruits and veggies are also starting to hit their stride. It is a great time to be a gardener.
For some the heat is too much, but as someone told me, in the summer you have cool mornings and cool evenings. In the winter, it is cold all the time! So whether it is morning, evening or the middle of the day, enjoy these wonderful sunny days.
This week we featured...
Oregon Garden Pet Garden
It can be a constant struggle to have a pet and a nice garden. We found a new demonstration garden at the Oregon Garden (1-877-674-2733) in Silverton. Ty met with William to show us their 'pet friendly' garden. It is meant to show people how to build a garden where pets and people can enjoy the outdoors together. The garden has signs that tell you how to protect delicate plants, create walkways, provide drinking water and places to rest for your pet. He also talked about the plant choices that you make in the garden. Make sure that you have pet safe plants by checking with the Oregon Garden where they also have an informational kiosk that has a list of poisonous plant material that can be harmful to your animal, or with the Oregon State Extension service. You can bring your pet to the garden and even let them take a dip in the pool! Check it out the next time you are at the Oregon Garden.
Picking Deck Material
These days people are looking to entertain more at home and that means they want a deck they can be proud of. But if you are looking at replacing or building a new deck there is a lot of confusion about all the different product choices. Jason from Conrad Lumber Co. (503-625-7535) walked us through 2 of the main choices a home owner has to choose from. First was the old stand-by, wood. There is something about a cedar deck. Natural wood gives a deck a certain feel because of the uniqueness of the wood pattern itself. The problem is maintenance. To have a wood deck last for a long time you need to take care of it. That means cleaning and sealing it every year. So you may want to try a composite material like the Fiberon product. This is a combination of wood fiber and PVC. It is strong and long lasting and has the look of a wood product with just a little bit of maintenance. Derek told us about this great product and how easy it is to install and maintain. Plus, right now, the cost of cedar is pretty high so the Fiberon product is right there with pricing too. You will also appreciate that the patterns and colors are so much more diverse compared to a few years ago. Some of the styles are similar to exotic hard woods! Another choice that Derek shared was their new product made from recycled carpet. It was very durable and so it will last for a very long time and needs virtually no maintenance to keep it in shape. Once you have chosen your material you can really get artsy with your choice of railing, post caps and lighting. To learn more you can stop by Conrad Lumber. You can also go to the Fiberon website for an on-line design tool that will help you figure out materials and costs. It is so simple you can even do it yourself!
Summer Hydrangea Color
In the spring when your hydrangeas are blooming you may think that there is not a lot you can do, but you can still do some things to help your hydrangeas stay healthy and happy. Kristin VanHoose from Hydrangeas Plus (866-433-7896) met Judy near some of her blooming hydrangeas to talk about what you can do right now as they are blooming. First of all, you can enjoy them. Hydrangeas tolerate the cold very well and so you should have seen little or no damage to them from the winter cold. If you do see some 'tip' damage at the end of the branches then you will want to trim that off, but the plant will still grow even if you don't cut it off. Fertilizing your plants is also something that you can do now. Use a nice well balanced fertilizer to give them a good shot of growth. You can also change the color a little bit when they first start blooming. For blue blooms make your soil acidic, pink blooms go for an alkaline pH. It is a little too late to do that if your flowers are in full bloom but you can do it if you apply lime or aluminum sulfate earlier in the bloom or in the early spring. If you have any other questions about hydrangea care then you can always give them a call at Hydrangeas Plus. You can also stop by this weekend as they celebrate Midsummer Madness with the Cascade Nursery Trail tour. It is a great time visiting lots of unique nurseries, plus you see some great scenery too!
Willamette Valley Wine Book
The wine industry in Oregon is booming! We have some of the best wines in the world, but did you know that the industry is only 50 years old? In less than a generation we have grown into one of the most respected industries in the world and it is all because of a group of pioneers that decided that the Willamette Valley was prefect for growing great wine grapes. In fact, the Willamette Valley was named the wine region of the year for 2016! Now, thanks to a good friend of Garden Time, Barbara Smith Randall, you can take a journey to those early years!
We met with Barb at Durant Vineyards outside of Dundee to talk about her new book, 'Willamette Valley Wineries' by Arcadia Publishing. This small group of dreamers started with a handful of grape vines, a little bit of knowledge and a lot of energy in 1965. They shared information, dreams and a goal of making the best wines available. It is interesting to walk these steps with them again through this pictorial history. You get to see how a few people with a few vines, created an entire industry!
If you would like to see Barb and learn more about the book, she will have some singings coming up in the next few weeks. There is an official book launch at the Lake Theatre and Café in Lake Oswego, on the 11th of July at 6pm. There is also a book signing at Durant Vineyards on the 30th of July, or you can order a copy from Arcadia Publishing at this address.
Spiritopia (541-990-0337) has become one of our favorite spirits to enjoy and not only because they taste so good, but because they use the freshest ingredients and distill just outside of Corvallis! Chris the head Spirit Chemist, joined William in their tasting room. First he talked about their line of spirits. He started with their Apple Liqueur, then the Pomegranate Liqueur, then their Apple Brandy (the base for a lot of their wonderful libations), and finally their first introduction, their Ginger Liqueur. Then he shared one of his favorite cocktails, a Ginger Royale.
The Ginger Royale is simple to make. You just need dry sparkling wine and the Spiritopia Ginger Liqueur. An ounce of the ginger to about 4 ounces of the sparkling wine and you have a nice, refreshing and a little 'spicy' cocktail! If you would like to try this wonderful cocktail you can stop by the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival in Newberg on July 8th and 9th starting at 10am both days, at the Chehalem Cultural Festival. They will have a booth there. You can enjoy a Plein Air Art show, craft booths and even visit a nearby lavender farm.