Numbers, numbers, numbers! This is a weekend with so much happening that we just can’t keep count. There is only 3 weeks left til our big Subaru Garden Dayz event at Capitol Subaru. There are only 5 spaces left on our trip to Europe this August (check out the Garden Time Tours page), and there is only ONE day left until Mother’s Day. There are so many things going on it is hard to count. One more number to consider, 80. We will be dealing with temps in the 80s over the next few days, so make sure that you keep those new hanging baskets watered and check out those young vegetable seedlings too.
This week we featured...
Clematis Garden Recognition
The Garden Time viewers have always known that one of the best collections of clematis in the US is right here in our back yard at Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego. That is the home of the Rogerson Clematis Collection. Now everyone knows it! Recently the collection was recognized as an official Plant Collection by the American Public Gardens Association. We met with Linda Beutler, the collection curator, to learn more about it. This recognition means that they can become a focus for plant research and also they can be marketed as an officially recognized collection, with a database of their collections and specimens.
This new recognition goes hand in hand with their new signage that was recently installed. People can now see signs that explain the history of the garden, what types of clematis certain beds contain and maps to help people enjoy what they are seeing.
Your chance to see all these beautiful plants and signs is coming up during their Inviting Vines Tour happening on the 26th of May from 11am to 4pm. During the tour you can see the garden and also tour 4 private gardens in the Lake Oswego/West Linn area. There is also a special ticketed event for breakfast and afternoon tea. For more information on this event and the Rogerson Collection, check out their website at www.rogersonclematiscollection.org.
Your strawberries, early blueberries and just about everything else edible is disappearing! The birds are taking everything in your garden, leaving little or nothing for you to enjoy. The same thing is happening to us, so we went to our local garden center to see what they have to scare the flying felons away. The first thing we found was holographic tape. This is a reflective tape that sparkles when it is hung by your plants to scare them off. Another item was bird netting. This provides a barrier so they can’t get to the plants. The other product was the fake owl. Owls are natural predators of most small birds and that presence of an owl is sometime enough to do the trick. William also told us about the large inflatable ‘eyes’ that you can hang around your garden.
Some other remedies include ‘tangle foot’. This is a sticky material that birds don’t like to get on their feet. Finally, we also heard about the Scarecrow sprinkler. The Scarecrow uses a photoelectric eye to sense when you have an animal in the area, then it sends a blast of water to scare the critter away. This product works really well, but is also the most expensive deterrent. There are also some home remedies. You can also hang tin pie plates, or old CD’s in your garden and they sometimes work just as well as the products in the store. There is one more tip to follow. Whatever you use, move it around your garden so the birds and other animals don’t get used to it!
There is one other solution that some people prefer, and that is to plant more fruit trees and shrubs. Then you can share the bounty with the local wildlife!
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
We went to see the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden for their big Portland Rhododendron Show and Plant Sale that happens every year on Mother’s Day weekend. Dick ‘Red’ Cavender talked to Judy about all the changes to the garden over time. The Crystal Springs area started as a big briar patch, full of weeds and blackberry vines back in the mid 50’s. Over time, with the help of volunteers and a partnership with the city of Portland, changes started to happen. Fees were collected and plants were donated and eventually walls, bridges, and landscapes were installed. All of what you see today is because of your fees and a lot of elbow grease from the Rhododendron Society!
He also told us about all the events happening at the garden this weekend. There is the plant sale in the parking lot, which is free to the public. There is also the cut flower show which is in the middle of the garden and can be seen with the normal admission charge, and don’t forget the wonderful garden itself! We also talked about those benefits the garden has enjoyed because of the generosity of gardeners and rhododendron lovers around the state during all these years. The garden is maintained by volunteers and the plant sale that the Rhododendron Society is conducting helps to raise funds for the garden. If you would like to learn more about the garden and about volunteering check out the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden website, or call 503-771-8386.
Rare Plant Olives & Citrus
Have you ever wanted to grow olives or citrus in your garden. You can! To learn how to do that we paid a visit to Burl at Rare Plant Research near Oregon City. We started in one of his greenhouses where he was growing some olive trees. Not every type of olive grows well in our cooler climate, but some of those that do include Frantoio, Arbequina, Sevillano and Aglandau. Each of these types is different with some in bush form and others as trees, plus the size of the fruit varies too. You need to determine where you want to plant it before you buy a variety. Speaking of planting, Burl recommends that you plant in full sun, with well-drained soil. They can be susceptible to frost and freezing temps so you may want to protect them when they are young and it gets down into the 20’s. In fact Burl said that they don’t fare well until they get a trunk of 1 inch in diameter or bigger. If they are small and you are concerned about frost, just wrap the trunk.
We then moved up to Villa Catalana Cellars. This is an on-site winery that Burl and his wife also own. Near the tasting room he has a collection of citrus in the garden. Citrus is more temperamental when it comes to cold temperatures. All of his citrus is in pots and containers, and goes into storage in his greenhouses during the winter. Some people will cover and wrap their citrus and keep it in a protected area, but it will need to be monitored to help it survive.
Your chance to ask questions about growing olives and citrus is next weekend at the Annual Rare Plant Open Nursery event. The nursery will be open, there will be unique plants to buy, the winery will have tastings and there will be food to purchase. Plus you get to wander the grounds which resemble an Italian Villa! Mark your calendars for the 19th and 20th of May!
Salt & Straw Flower Flavors
A few years ago we met Tyler Malek from Salt and Straw Ice Cream. He introduced us to a Tomato and Olive Oil sorbet, using fresh local tomatoes. Tyler is known for making these wonderful and interesting ice creams, sherbets, and sorbets, using locally produced products. These unique and tasty items have helped Salt and Straw grow to cover multiple cities on the west coast. This time we met him at the brand new scoop shop in Lake Oswego. Here he told us about his new creations using flowers and plants. During the month of May you can stop by the local Portland area stores and enjoy 5 flavors. They include Rhubarb Crumble with Toasted Anise, Wildflower Honey with Ricotta Walnut Lace Cookies, Steven Smith Teamakers White Petal & Osmanthus, Orange Blossom Sorbet with Edible Flowers and Heart Cold Brew Chamomile Sorbet. The key, according to Tyler, is to balance the flavors so that the floral characteristics don’t overpower the other flavors. In fact, the flavors are so fresh that you will find actual flowers in your ice cream with some of the varieties!
Now you might look at these flavors and think that they are not your cup of tea, or scoop of ice cream, but let me tell you, they are good! Your chance to try these flavors runs out at the end of May, but don’t worry Tyler had to leave after our interview to go taste some new ones that they are working on. The other big news… you will soon be able to enjoy his flavors at Disneyland in California later this summer!
Super Tough Shade Plants
Shade areas are tough on plants. Either it is the lack of sun and water, or the competition with roots from larger neighbors. We asked Thomas and Kirk at Sebright Gardens (503-463-9615) to come up with plants that are nearly impossible to kill in the shade and they gave us 4 that they recommend most gardeners to start with. Thomas led us on a tour through the display gardens to show us how they are doing. The first stop was at a hosta. This one was Mount Tom which had a light green center and bright yellow edges. This hosta gets about 3 feet tall and 4 feet across, and due to the thicker leaves it can survive the shade and part-sun as well. Thomas had this one in a pot, which works great for any shade plant. The pot gives it a little more soil and it can be moved if it is getting too much sun. The next plant was a fern called Dre’s Dagger. Now most ferns are designed for the shade. They love the forest floor and thrive there, so it is no wonder that they will do well in your garden. This one had the added advantage of its unique foliage. This one had tassel-like fronds at the ends of its branches. Very unique.
We then moved to another part of the garden to check out the hardy begonia (Evensiana). These begonias will die back to the ground, but once they are established, they will bounce back every year. The flowers look good , but the best part of this plant is the leaves. The backs of the leaves have striking red veins and stems. In the late afternoon sunlight they glow! It is beautiful. The final ‘toughie’ was the Beesia. This plant may not have a flower that will knock your socks off, but it has a glossy foliage that looks fake, it is so shiny. There are small white spikes of flowers, but the foliage is the winner here. In the winter the foliage stays around, but it gets a burgundy edge around the leaves.
If you are looking for plants that can handle the shade stop by your local independent garden center, or you can pay a visit to Sebright Gardens.
TOW - Smashing Lilac Stems
The spring is the best time to bring in cut flowers for display in your home. The problem is that the blooms don’t last long enough, especially the woody stemmed ones. Judy and William shared a tip we learned at the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens (360-225-8996). This tip will make your lilacs last longer after they are cut. They told us how they smash the stems with a hammer. You want to crush the stems about 1-2 inches up the stem before you put them in warm water. The smashed stem allows the flower to draw more water and thus it will last longer. This technique works well for almost all woody stemmed plants. You can also cut it along the length of the stem and accomplish the same thing.
If you are looking for some great lilacs for your garden, check out the Lilac Days event at Hulda Klager’s garden in Woodland, Washington!
PN – Planting a Strawberry Pot
With the push for edibles in the garden the last few years we had the idea of bringing those edibles to your doorstep. We stopped by Portland Nursery on Stark Street (503-231-5050) to get some ideas from Sara about planting strawberries and how to choose a strawberry pot to bring your fruit and vegetables to your deck or patio. First we pulled a strawberry pot out of their inventory, which was no problem with all the pots they have in the garden center. We learned that you need to plant in layers. You don’t just fill the pot full of soil and shove plants in! You fill your pot with soil up to the first holes and then place your plants in and then move to the next layer. We also learned a little bit about strawberries. ‘June-bearing’ gives you one crop. ‘Ever-bearing’ and ‘Day Neutral’ gives you 2 or more good crops of berries through-out the summer if you treat them well. There are a couple of other things that growers do to get a good crop… plant new berries every 3-4 years. For a list of varieties and culture, check out their Fruits and Berries page. You should also maintain good watering and apply fertilizer a couple times a year. Sara had a great idea for making sure that your berries are well watered. She, and General Manager Suzy, had a PVC pipe capped and drilled with holes. This was placed in the center of the pot and would allow for the water to reach all levels of the pot so all the plants would get a drink! Finally, remember that you can plant everything from trees to other fruits and vegetables in pots. Smaller varieties of fruit trees are very popular right now and you can even find single trees with multiple varieties on one trunk. These are great in containers. Sara even told us about people who plant tomatoes in pots on their deck! Sounds like a winner to me!
Everyone wants to use their irrigation water wisely and one of the best ways to do that is with a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation uses a fraction of the water that other forms of watering use, because it places the water right where the plants need it, at the roots. Drip, though, can be perceived to be confusing and difficult, but it’s not. To learn more about drip irrigation we drove up to Right Irrigation (360-696-1831) and talked with Cindy Webb. She told us it is easy to set up a drip system if you just have the right tools and a little time. She showed us how you can build a drip system off your hose bib on the side of your house. First you start by measuring the area you want to cover. This will give you an idea about how much hose you will need to reach all your plants. Then you attach a pressure reducer to the spigot outside your house. The pressure reducer makes sure that you don’t blow the hoses apart when you hook up. Then you can either go directly to your plants or if you have 2 areas to reach you can use a splitter off the main line and then take the larger hose out to your plants. This tubing is usually ˝ inch in diameter. Once you are at your individual plants you can then use an emitter to regulate the water to your plants. The emitters are what regulate the flow of water. These emitters are rated in gallons per minute. They start with a half-gallon an hour emitter up to 24 gallons per hour. The most popular are the half, 1 and 2 gallon emitters. As a rule of thumb you would use a half-gallon for hanging baskets and patio pots, the one gallon for small shrubs, the two gallon for larger shrubs. The best part is that you can change the emitters. If you find out that a plant needs more or less water, you can change the emitter. The way to deliver the water is cool too. You can use a drip ring for plants or baskets, or sprayers or even pop-up heads if you want the sprayers to disappear when they are done. You can even get shut off valves if you want to shut off the water to certain areas during different times of the year.
If you want to do a little homework before you tackle the job, Right Irrigation even has this wonderful set of handouts to help you through the process (click here for a pdf copy.) Of course we recommend that you stop by their store in Vancouver (the Garden Time crew went back later and made our purchases!) and get some personal assistance.
Fiberon Deck Demolition
Recently we talked to our friends at Conrad Lumber Co. (503-625-7535) about picking the right deck material for replace or repairing your deck. We decided to use a composite material from Fiberon for a deck replacement.
This week we met with Josh from Outdoor Living and Renovation (503-995-0174) about the installation of the Fiberon material. First we had to take out the old 25 year old deck. Josh told us that this is a great place to start for replacing any deck or patio. This is when you get some eyes on the ground. One thing we noticed was the amount of rot we found. The top of the old deck looked pretty good, but as Josh pointed out, that is the part that we worked to clean and preserve for all those years. Underneath, it was untreated and the water had done a number on the old cedar. The homeowner can also see the condition of the footings and where the deck attaches to the home. It is right about now when the homeowner feels a little overwhelmed and where it is good to have a professional contractor come in. Josh and his crew noticed that the footings had moved over time and they also noticed the condition of the contact of the old cedar with the home was pretty good, but needed a little work to prevent long term damage.
Next time we revisit the project, we will talk with Josh about the installation of the Fiberon product and tips for the homeowner when installing it on their own.