Welcome to GardenPalooza weekend! This is our 16th annual event and as you probably know by now it is a free event with free parking. As you also may know GardenPalooza, is presented by Dramm. We love returning to Fir Point Farms. This venue has become a home to us and the Romaine family are some of the greatest people we have ever had the pleasure of working with!
This year we will have a ton of giveaways again! In fact, we will be giving something away every 30 minutes, all day long! We have $25 gift cards from Portland Nursery and Al’s Garden Center. We have a bunch of garden tools from Dramm. There are also books from Timber Press. We also have a bunch of goodies from Black Gold as well. Some of our larger giveaways and drawings include a $50 gift card from Garden Gallery Iron Works, and a $500 raised metal planter from Garden Gallery as well.
One more thing… some of you may have noticed the weather forecast. Well, everything at GardenPalooza is under cover so you can stay dry as you shop!
It is going to be a great day and we will see you at GardenPalooza!
This week we featured...
French Prairie Perennials – GardenPalooza
We stopped by French Prairie Perennials (503-679-2871) to see what plants Rick will be bringing to the event and he had a few nice ones for us. The first plant was a dwarf blue atlas cedar called ‘Horstmann’. This one is a very slow growing variety that will only get about 10-12 feet tall. Perfect for the smaller garden! The second plant he had was a Japanese Umbrella Pine called ’Green Star’. This is one that would look great in any garden. It has cool, thick needles that make this one an eye catcher! It is also a slow grower that stays columnar and tops out at 8 feet. Next we moved to a very unique conifer, a dwarf Sawara Cypress named ‘Harvard Gold’. This was a very compact evergreen that has an even growth habit, so it looks like you have pruned it, but you haven’t! It is also a beautiful golden color that can handle a little sun as well. Finally, we looked at Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’. This is a newer variety of mahonia with a softer foliage and early winter blooms that brighten the winter garden when nothing else is blooming. Of course he will have even more plants to share with shoppers, but he will also have a limited number of metal structures for the garden as well and to learn more about those we went into the store to talk to Kerry.
Kerry showed us some of the metal birds that Rick will have and a few of the larger ones that they can’t fit into his booth. These are just a few of the things that they have at their store in Aurora. They store is filled with ‘garden-themed’ gifts that will work inside and outside your home. These include rain chains and bird feeders too. Remember, you can stop by and see these great plants and gifts at GardenPalooza in Rick’s booth, or you can drop by their store in Aurora, just minutes from GardenPalooza.
Rogerson Clematis – GardenPalooza
We have royalty at GardenPalooza this year! The Queen of the vines, the clematis, is making an appearance this year. The Rogerson Clematis Garden/Collection at Luscher Farms has a booth and will be bringing some of their best clematis to the event! We met with garden curator, Linda Beutler at the garden, but before we looked at clematis she gave us some tips for spring pruning. A lot of people are afraid of clematis, but there is a list of foolproof varieties that anyone can grow. You can find that list here, http://www.clematisinternational.com/cblindex.html. People are also afraid to prune their clematis but it is easy to do. You simply cut back the old growth to the new shoots that are appearing. You can even cut past those first new shoots to big shoots further down the stem for a tidier plant. Some plants can even handle a mid-summer pruning if they bloom in the spring.
We then moved into the greenhouse to check out some of the plants they will be bringing to GardenPalooza. There we saw Clematis ‘Abiline’ with bright red flowers. This one stays small so it is great for containers. The next one was montana variety called ‘Tsunami Child’. This is a very early bloomer (and one that you wouldn’t prune back yet). It has white and pink flowers that covered the plant! The third one was a golden colored plant called ‘Stolwijk Gold’. This is one of the few golden or variegated clematis plants that you will find. It has a simple blue flower, but it is the foliage that sets it apart. Finally we saw the variety ‘Lagoon’. This one was aptly named because of the cool blue flowers that cascade down the sides of this plant. It can also be a ground cover if you don’t let it climb.
If you would like to see these and even more clematis, or if you have questions about growing clematis, GardenPalooza is the place to be this weekend. You can also get more information about the clematis collection and the Inviting Vines tour happening later this spring.
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. Ellen 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! She also grows the regular geraniums which are great and don’t get as big. She will also have gerbera daisies and colorful senetti for sale too. Ellen also has a great selection of perennials that she grows.
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. Don’t forget the custom tables and chairs that they make at his shop in Hubbard.
Finally we looked at the metal raised bed that they will be giving away this weekend. This planter is valued at $500 and comes with a attachable trellis for those climbing plants you grow. Another reason to stop by their booth… they are giving away $10 coupons for their store in Hubbard. To sign up to win 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!
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 raised metal garden bed from Garden Gallery Iron Works, but that is just the beginning. If you are wandering the event you can stop 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 Black Gold shopping bag or gloves while supplies last. So even if you don’t pick up any plants you can still go home a winner. All you have to do is enter!
Sebright Gardens – GardenPalooza
Sebright Gardens (503-463-9615) is known for the great hostas that they sell, but they are really experts in all kinds of shade plants! They are another vendor at the GardenPalooza event this weekend and so we stopped by their nursery in Brooks to see what they were going to bring to the event. Thomas had a huge table full of great plants to share. We started with Epimediums. These plants have gotten better over time with more and taller flower stems and beautiful foliage. Their dainty flowers could be lost on most plants but these were covered in blooms so they are hard to miss! Next we moved to ferns. Ferns have a ton of different sizes and textures. They also work well with tree roots, so you can plant them in just about any shady location. Then we moved to the hostas. It wouldn’t be Sebright without some great hostas. They grow over 1,000 different varieties of hostas and have ones for shade and a few that love the sun. Then we saw the wonderful abutilon, also known as the Flowering Maple, due to its maple shaped leaves. These plants are wonderful in the garden, but I think they are even better in a container. If you can get them closer to your deck or patio you can enjoy those blooms even more. Plus, they are a hummingbird magnet. Sebright will also have some other great plants there like primroses, beesia and even a hardy fuchsia or two. You have to stop by the Sebright booth at GardenPalooza, or their retail location near Brooks!
GardenPalooza Visitor Tips
If you are a new visitor, or even a repeat visitor, it can be confusing to find your way around the farm at Fir Point during GardenPalooza. To help you we have these tips. When you first enter drive down the one way road to your right. The area along this road is for handicapped parking. There is plenty of parking in the field just past this road. Just follow the directions of the parking attendants to find a spot. The exit for the event is towards the back of the property, on the east side of the field. If you have bought plants and have them in the ‘plant holding’ area, you will head to the west (left) around the back of the greenhouses to that plant area. If you don’t have plants in the plant holding area you want to go to that back gate to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
A couple more tips. Since the farm has pretty tight quarters we ask that you don’t bring a cart or wagon. We have the free plant holding area so there is no need for a cart. Just leave your plants there and then pull around to pick them up. Also, Fir Point Farms does welcome well-behaved pets on a leash, but since crowds tend to be large it may be upsetting to them. It might be a good idea to leave them at home for this event.
If you like sushi or even spicy and ‘hot’ foods then you are probably a fan of wasabi. For most people this is the green paste that you get with your meal so you can spread it on your meat or fish. But did you know that wasabi is a plant? We took a trip to the Oregon Coast and met with Jennifer from Frog Eyes Wasabi, also known as Oregon Coast Wasabi, one of the largest growers of wasabi in North America. The actual name of the plant is Wasabi japonica because it grows natively in shady Japanese streambeds and it is a member of the brassica family. They grow 2 types of wasabi, daruma and mazuma. This plant loves moist shady conditions and is coveted for the rhizome which develops slowly over 18 to 24 months. This rhizome is then grated to make the paste that you can use on your foods. Here is an interesting fact, most of the wasabi that you find in restaurants is actually made from a mixture of horseradish, mustard and food coloring, and contains no wasabi at all. Actual wasabi starts to lose its flavor within a few minutes after you grate it. It should always be used fresh. It does store well in a refrigerator for a week or so, and can be frozen. Another fact about wasabi, all of the plant is edible. The leaves and stems still have some ‘heat’ but have a much subtler taste. Frog Eyes Wasabi also sells plant starts so you can try to grow these at home as well. You will need to wait awhile for the rhizome, but you can still harvest the leaves and stems for use in salads and cooking. If you are interested in trying the ‘real’ wasabi you can find a store near you at their website, www.thewasabistore.com. You will also find out more about how to grow this tasty plant and how to get a start of your own.
If you want to buy some plants and have more questions, you can stop by GardenPalooza this weekend and spice up your garden!