Welcome to fall! The weather has certainly changed and it feels good. The rains have returned and the plants in the garden are loving it. We are loving it too. For one there is no more smoke in the valley and we also don’t have to drag a hose around the garden looking for stressed plants!
Fall is also the time for fall festivals. Starting next week we will be showcasing some of the best local ones to visit. Today you can kick off your fall celebrating by visiting any of the four Al’s Garden & Home locations from 3:00-6:00pm. There will wine tasting, food, prizes, live music and of course great prices on plants!
In fact, it is a great time to visit any garden center. The weather is now prefect for fall planting. Get those plants in the ground now and you will be rewarded with great color and foliage next year!
This week we featured...
Ft. Vancouver Garden History
A few weeks ago we visited the Fort Vancouver interpretive garden. It is a wonderful garden filled with ‘period appropriate’ fruits and vegetables as the pioneers would have seen and used in their gardens in the 1840’s. How do they know these are accurate? As we learned before, they scoured pioneer letters, invoices and receipts to get some idea of what was growing at that time, but we also found out that the National Park Service did even more! Elaine Dorset, who is an archeologist with the NPS, did a little excavation a few years ago around the fort and it is amazing what she found. In 2005 and 2006 they dug trenches in areas where they thought the original garden was once located. What they were able to find was pollen. A lot of pollen is heavy and it can fall to the ground and is saved in the soil. Because of that they were able to determine a lot of the plants that were grown at that period in history. Plants like Bachelor Buttons, zinnia, asters and yarrow were all identified as original inhabitants of that historic garden.
Of course the garden is just a small example of what pioneers encountered when they arrived. If you would like to learn more about our early settlers you can stop by the Fort and enjoy a tour.
Nobody’s perfect, so why do we ask our fruits and vegetables to be? In the US alone, we throw away millions of tons of food each year because it ‘doesn’t make the cut’ as far as looking good enough. Now there is a company that is working to eliminate that waste, Imperfect Produce! These orphaned vegetables and fruits are just as nutritious and flavorful, they just don’t look so good sometimes. We met with Evan who runs the Portland office of this forward thinking company. Sometime, he told us, the produce looks just fine, it’s just that they have grown too much or there was a blip in the supply chain. Those vegetables can now find their way to your table. Subscribers can go to their website and pick from a number of available fruits and vegetables, and make their list. Then that list is filled out and boxed up, then a driver brings it to your door! Sometimes the next day. If you are unsure about what to do with all these great vegetables they will even send you recipes.
This new company covers a lot of the Portland area already, but they are growing. To find out more and to see if you can receive this service, check out their website.
Garden Chemicals Disposal
We all love healthy and thriving gardens and for some that means the use of garden products. Unfortunately, a lot of those chemicals and garden products expire over time, or we just forget we have them, and we want to get rid of them. Now, before you dump them in your regular garbage, you should check out a wonderful service provided by Metro to residents of the Portland area. Metro provides a hazardous material drop off for residents of the Tri-county area. We talked with Paul at one of the 2 locations in the Portland area. Paul told us about the service and how you can bring just about anything to them, even if you are unsure of the product. That includes automotive products, paints, batteries or even carpets and fingernail polish! You can find a complete list of products on the metro website. The normal cost of dropping off your chemicals is $5, but one thing that Metro offers to residents of the 3 county area is a coupon that covers that cost. What a deal for gardeners! If you live in an area outside of the Portland Metro area, you will want to check with your local garbage collection service or local government to see what they offer.
Next we walked over to the actual drop off area and talked with Bruce who took us through the process. When you drive up with your chemicals or hazardous waste, someone will greet you to ask what you are dropping off. Then they unload it from your vehicle and take it away. You don’t even have to get out of your car! The only thing they ask is that you place the items on one level in a cardboard box or container. Do not throw everything in a big plastic bag. There are specific rules for different materials, so check the Metro website for more details.
Now is the time to clean out that garden shed and take it down to Metro. You’ll be glad you did!
Garden Time European Tour
It is tour time again! Actually it is about a year away. Garden Time is announcing their next tour and we’re giving people a year to prepare. In August of 2018, we will be going to London, Paris and Belgium! We are leaving on the 5th of August and returning on the 18th; prime garden time! We start in London with a stop at Hampton Court Palace, a royal garden of Henry the VIII. The next day we travel to another historical garden, Kew. This garden is huge and so we are going to devote an entire day here. They have huge glass houses and even a former royal residence. The producers have been here and were in awe of the plant material! The next day we will travel to County Kent, the garden center of England. There we will tour the gardens at Great Dixter and Sissinghurst. The 4th day is a free day to explore London on your own. Day 5 takes us to Paris and our hotel is right next door to the Eiffel tower! When we arrive we take a tour of Paris which ends at Notre Dame Cathedral. Day 6 we are touring Rodin’s sculpture garden. This garden is equal parts of sculpture and plants. Or you can take the train and head to Versaille! The 7th day we travel to Monet’s garden at Giverny. Here we tour the gardens that were an inspiration for his ‘water lilies’ series of painting. The next morning we tour the Musee de L’Orangerie, which houses a huge display of Monet’s work. The afternoon you can explore Paris! Day 9 takes us to the Champagne region, where we enjoy a glass or two of the bubbly. Then we are off to Belgium. There we tour public and private gardens and World War I and World War II battle sites. We will also tour a winery and a brewery while we are in the Wallonia region. Then we head to our final stop Brussels. There we will visit the world famous Floral Carpet. This begonia display covers 2 whole blocks in the center of the city and is only done every two years! We end our tour with a nighttime display of fireworks over the carpet of bloom!
This 13 day tour includes 24 of your meals and also includes your airfare and hotels. It would cost around $10,000 per person if you traveled with another garden group, but our tour is under $7,000, and if you book now you can save an additional $300! It is a great deal! If you have traveled with the Garden Time crew before, you know that it is a great time with the rewards of laughter and friendships included. You will remember this trip for years to come!! Check out the link on our website for all the details, http://www.gardentime.tv/tours.