Brrr… it is definitely fall! Last weekend was great with the sunny and warm weather. I hope everyone got their chores done like I did. Now I can enjoy the fall festivals around the area. A lot of your favorite festivals have many of their activities under cover. Get out and enjoy them while you can.
This week we featured...
Hoyt Fall Color
Fall is here and the trees at Hoyt Arboretum (503-228-TREE) are putting on their annual show. Martin Nicholson, the curator at the arboretum, took us out to show us the fall color and we didn’t have to go far. We started at a large specimen of American smoke tree. It was a huge mass of vibrant red leaves. It was here where we asked how the tree turns such a variety of different colors. Martin told us that the trees sense the change in the length of daylight and start shutting off the flow of nutrients to and from the leaves. This causes the chlorophyll to slowly degrade and disappear from the leaves causing the other colors to appear in the leaves. These elements are always there during the year, but they now become more visible. The direct sunlight makes it appear faster. Martin even showed us how the leaf was a bright red in the sunlight and a yellow/green in the shaded areas.
We then moved to the Maple Trail of the arboretum where the Sugar Maples were one of the stars of the show. These are the trees that people equate with fall, but there are so many other maples that look great too. The Arboretum has nearly 70 types of maples to check out. It is a great place to be if you are a photographer! In fact, there is a photo contest called ‘Fall into Hoyt’ to promote this wonderful fall color, check out their website for more details. There are also fall color walks happening too. One is taking place today, Saturday the 21st at noon for the general public and one on Sunday at 1pm for Hoyt Members.
The arboretum is a great place to take the family or any out-of-town guests. It is open year round but the color show won’t last forever. The show is just starting and will continue for the next few weeks!
Jan’s Oct Tips
We are getting the colder temperatures and rain of a normal fall. That means the chores in the garden are changing. To learn what we should be tackling we stopped by and talked with retired OSU Extension Agent Jan McNeilan about what we should be doing.
The first order of business was to clear up something we addressed last month about root rot. As Jan told us, when plants get a lot of soggy soils in the winter, their roots rot. Then when you get summer heat stress, those plants don’t have the small hair roots to take up moisture and nutrients, and they don’t grow new roots. So you can have a plant that can die of root rot in the summer and drought stress in the winter. It can sometimes take months for this to occur! Of course there are ‘normal’ signs of stress too. We saw a Western Red Cedar with signs of ‘flagging’, which is a die-back of interior foliage. The new foliage on the tips of the branches was nice and green, showing normal growth. The interior shedding of old growth is normal after a long hot summer and is not a worry.
The fall also brings out the critters. Jan has been doing a lot of canning of fruits and vegetables and that attracts the fruit flies. She found that just hanging fly paper was a great way to capture those little guys and get them out of the way. We also talked about spiders. This time of year they are everywhere! They are mostly just ordinary ‘orb-weavers’ and are not poisonous for us. If they are not a problem in your garden, just let them be and they will help control the bug population in your garden.
Other things to do in the fall garden include planting your spring bulbs now, cleaning up old fruit from the ground and your trees so they don’t attract bad bugs and continue weeding so you have less weeds next spring. For more information on fall garden chores you can always check out the OSU Extension website.
Fall Mum Care
One of the flowers of fall is the mum. Large pots of mums are in all the garden centers and one of the largest selections of varieties was at French Prairie Gardens (503-633-8445) in St. Paul. Katey joined Judy to talk about fall care of mums. The number one rule is watering! A lot of people buy these colorful plants and place them in displays at their homes. Normally that is under the eaves of their homes and then they dry out. Just make sure that you water them regularly. Also, think about using the smaller mums as decorations on the inside of your home. They can last for a month if you do that. When the holidays have passed you can also plant them in your garden for a return of color every year!
There are other reasons for visiting the farm this fall. They are having their annual fall festival with slides, mazes, swings, animals, tractor rides and much more. The best part was the pig races! These little porkers run like crazy around the ring for the reward of an apple cider donut! There is a ton to eat and the market is full of fresh farm produce. Stop by between now and the end of October for lots of fun and tons of mums!
Tiny House Unveiling
For the past couple of months we have been following the building and outfitting of a tiny house at Garden Gallery Iron Works (800-452-5266). This week we paid another visit to preview the unveiling of the project. As you know Sherry, from Garden Gallery Iron Works, has been supervising and outfitting a new tiny house that will be her primary residence in a couple of weeks. Today we stopped by to preview the big unveiling which is happening today, October 21st. Sherry was looking for a fresh start and a clean slate as she downsizes and this home from Daystar Tiny Homes is just the ticket for her. The question is, what to do with the interior? For that she recruited Janna from Yellow Prairie Interior Design. Janna is an expert in Farmhouse Style and that fits perfectly with the design of this home. Garden Gallery has a huge selection of Farmhouse Style pieces and Janna was able to find lots of great décor pieces that look great and are functional too. Just what you need in a space this small.
Finally, we met with Don Sprague to talk about the other part of the design work, the iron work! Garden Gallery Iron Works can make just about anything. For this project they made window boxes, planters, and railings for the home, they even made a custom headboard for Sherry’s bed! Don told us that they make all kinds of custom items. Just bring them your ideas. If you would like to check out the tiny house, stop by today. There will be refreshments and other goodies for everyone, including a ‘Farmhouse’ pumpkin!
Winter Bird Care
The change of the seasons signals a change for your local bird populations. Some of the non-migratory birds will be hanging around and may need a little help from you to survive the cold and wet of winter. We visited with Mitch of Backyard Bird Shop (503-303-4653) in West Linn to learn more about helping our feathered friends. We started with food. For seed eating birds you can use a black oil sunflower seed. This is a good basic seed that provides calories for high energy birds. We checked out the already shelled seed. It is a tiny bit more than the whole seed product, but there is less mess. For insect feeders you can set out a suet cake. Use different types of suet to attract different types of insect feeders. For most suet feeding birds they love insects and if you see a suet block with seed it is generally used as a filler in the suet. Once you have their food needs met, then you need to think about water. You may want to take a look at heaters to keep their water from freezing. You should also remember to put out fresh water whenever you can, since the birds prefer that over standing, dirty, water. The one bird that has special needs in the winter is the hummingbird. They use lots of calories and so their food needs are more critical than other birds. You can keep their nectar in the feeder fresh by changing it every week or so. You can find a simple recipe for making their nectar at the Backyard Bird Shop website. Plus, they need to have a nice clean feeder so they don’t get sick over the winter. A new item for sheltering your birds is the ‘roost pocket’. This little woven shelter can keep your small song birds out of the harsh elements during the really cold days. They are also really cute! You can also welcome birds to your garden by incorporating different types of shrubs and trees. For a list of winter interest plants you can check with your local garden center. To learn more about attracting birds to your garden during the winter you can check with Backyard Bird Shop or The Audubon Society of Portland.