How is your spring going? We are spending more and more time in the garden as the weather heats up and it is wonderful! The biggest cloud of pollen has fallen and we can now sit outside and enjoy the weather. However, has this happened to you? While you are sitting outside all you can see, after the first five minutes, are all the projects that need doing? Yup, thought so! Well before you head out into the garden to do those projects, take a few minutes and enjoy this week’s show.
A note to our Portland viewers about the delay in broadcasting our show last weekend. The show finally aired at 9:15. If this ever happens again, just know that you can always find the entire show right here on the Garden Time website.
One last note. Mark your calendar for June 2nd. We have another great garden event with our Capitol Subaru Garden Dayz! Come join us for plants, hotdogs, prize drawings, cider tastings, and a kid’s planting event between 11 and 3 on the Parkway in Salem. Check out the above link for more details.
This week we featured...
5 Tips for Summer Water
Anyone can have a blue thumb! We recently met with Amy from the Regional Water Providers Consortium to get 5 waterwise tips for the homeowner. The idea behind these tips is to give the basics on being water efficient in the garden, and you don’t need to be a garden guru to do these.
1. Know when to water: Water early in the morning (before 10 a.m) or later in the evening (after 6 p.m.) when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is minimized.
2. Know how much to water: The amount of water needed each week changes with the weather. Go to www.conserveh2o.org for information on how much to water for the current week. Different plants have different water needs, and you’ll find this info on the website too.
3. Water thoroughly, and less frequently. This will encourage your plants to develop a deeper root system. Plants that have larger root systems are more effective at accessing water and need to be watered less frequently. Established landscapes and lawns need to be watered two times per week. Newer plantings, vegetables, and potted plants may need more frequent watering. Creating a watering schedule will help ensure that your plants get the right amount of water each week.
4. Prevent run off by applying only the amount of water your soil can absorb. Much of the soil in our area is clay which means it holds onto moisture well, but takes longer to absorb. You may need to break your watering session up to give your soil time to soak up the water you are applying (e.g. water for ten minutes, soak in for half hour, water again for 10 minutes). They call this wonderful maneuver ‘cycle and soak’!
5. Add compost or mulch to your soil to help it absorb and store water. This is important for the health and well-being of your plants and it can also reduce your water usage by holding the water longer near the plants that need it.
By following these 5 simple tips you can see your plants thrive and your water bills drop! For more great information about using water wisely inside your home and out, check out the Regional Water Providers Consortium at www.conserveh2o.org.
Adelman Peony Gardens
We are at the end of May and that late spring heat means the peonies are blooming. The cold and wet spring kept the blooms from popping until now, but it was worth the wait. They are looking great! Peonies are an easy and worry free plant that are great in the garden and the best place to see them is Adelman Peony Gardens (503-393-6185) near Brooks. The best part of this garden is that they have display fields and a display garden. The display gardens still look fantastic but the fields feature waves of color! The plants are in full bloom and we are being treated to a show that just seems go get better every day. Carol Adelman showed us the fields and also the display gardens. Did you know there are 3 basic types of peonies; herbaceous, tree and intersectional peonies. The herbaceous peony is one that will die back to the ground during the winter. Not to worry these plants are a favorite in the upper Midwest and can handle our coldest winters. They will return year after year. Then there are the tree peonies. These are not really a tree, but a peony with a woody stem. These will lose their leaves but will also return every year and reward you with great blooms. These can be pruned back but you need to be careful not to cut off too much. The final type is the intersectional or Itoh peony. These were first hybridized by Mr. Itoh in Japan and combine some of the best attributes of the 2 other forms. They have wonderful foliage and great bloom color, plus they are hardy in all areas of Oregon! She also told us about common problems that the home gardener might be experiencing. She told us that to get a stronger plant you need to pull off the side buds from your peony stalks. This lets your peony stand tall if it rains. Of course you can leave the side buds on and that will give you more blooms. We also asked about ants on peonies. A lot of people are worried about the ants on their plants. There is nothing to worry about. They are there because the plant is pushing sugary sap up the stems to the buds and the ants are just enjoying the feast. It is not causing harm to your plant. They will disappear after the flower blooms because the sap is gone! Also we found out that the peony is one of the toughest plants in your garden. If they can survive in the snowy and freezing Midwest, they can survive here! The gardens are open every day from 9 to 6 until the 17th of June. They also have events happening every weekend so check out their website for more information. While you are visiting be sure to pick up a copy of Carol’s new Peony book from Timber Press. They have signed copies for sale in the gift shop.
Spring is the time of year for rhodies and azaleas to bloom. The colors of the different flowers are spectacular, but the colors of the deciduous azaleas are out of this world! We stopped by Portland Nursery on Stark (503-231- 5050) and talked to Sara about these garden gems. Deciduous azaleas lose their leaves during the colder, winter months, but then they return in the spring in a blaze of glory. There are 2 types of deciduous azaleas, the exbury and the mollis, but both produce fantastic color! Another couple of benefits of these plants is that some of them are fragrant and some can handle the full sun too.
Sara showed us 3 varieties that were just starting to bloom. The first one was ‘Irene Koster’ and it had a soft rosy pink color with some yellow in the center. The second one was ‘Gibraltar’ and in the sun it gets a bronze edge to the leaves, with flowers that are an orange/red color. The final plant was ‘Cannon’s Double’. This one had the bronzing of the leaves and a pink/orange flower with a double petal shape. All of them were truly outstanding! If you are looking for something special in your spring garden, check out deciduous azaleas at Portland Nursery or your local garden center!
Jan's May Tips
The spring is in full swing and that gives us lots to talk about at Jan McNeilan’s for our monthly tips of the month. This month we circled everything around her back patio table to make sure we got everything in! We started with the lemon that Jan was given last fall. It was covered in scale and other bugs so she just left it outside to kill it off, but surprise, surprise, it survived. In fact it has a bunch of new growth. She is going to keep an eye on it, but it goes to show you that plants just want to survive, even if we don’t always give them the best conditions to do so. Then we talked about tomatoes. Jan picked up some plants at her local garden center and they were in a coir fiber pot. Her tip is that you need to keep them well watered until you plant them. The coir will dry out faster than a regular pot so they will get stressed much faster! Next on the table was a couple of Hoya plants. One was huge and bursting out of its pot. The other was in the process of getting a new home. Jan told us that now is a good time to do some trimming work on your houseplants. She is currently reducing the size of them both and with the nice weather she can do that outside. They will eventually make it back into her kitchen in time for next winter where they will have had enough time to adjust to their new homes.
The big project for this month was dealing with carpenter ants. During some repair work the contractors found carpenter ants underneath 3 pieces of siding. How did Jan know they were carpenter ants? She did her research! She used a pamphlet from Washington State University called Identification and Habits of Key Ant Pests in the Pacific Northwest. With this brochure she found the right pest and was able to treat it. She had a couple treatments that included Borax, and she also had the number of a pest company if the problem got too big. We recommend that you always use caution with applying any pesticide, whether it is organic and natural, or synthetic.
One way to get some of your questions answered in a timely fashion is to go to the OSU Extension website and click the ‘Ask an Expert’ link. Your questions will be answered by an extension expert or a trained Master Gardener. You can also check out the website for even more garden tips!
Geraniums are one of the signature plants for spring and summer in our area, and one of the places where you can find a huge selection and experts to help you take care of them is at Marbott’s Nursery and Greenhouse (503-285-2106). Larry took us on a tour of this 90 year old nursery and we ended up in their geranium house. They grow about 8,000 plants each year so they know what they’re doing! He pulled a bunch of different varieties for us to look at. We learned that red is the number one seller, with hot pink just behind. These come in the standard zonal variety, with a solid green leaf, but they also have the same colors with a variegated leaf too. These are nice because you have the leaf variegation, even if you don’t have blooms. Another type are the scented geraniums. These include a ‘lime’ scented geranium, a ‘chocolate mint’ scented one, and one that smells like citronella. Citronella is known to keep mosquitoes away, so if you plant this around your patio, it will help keep those mosquitoes at bay.
We then moved outside to a display with even more varieties. Larry had a hanging basket with Ivy Geraniums. These will end up trailing slightly over the edge. The next basket had a calliope geranium. This one is a cross between an ivy and an upright geranium. This one has larger leaves and even more of a cascading effect which creates a water fall of color. The final one was the Swiss or cascade geranium. The flowers on this one are tiny in comparison to the other types, but the plants were covered with blooms. This one is very popular in Europe. The final plant we saw was not a new variety, but one that had been trained into a tree shape. They do a few of these every year and this one was not for sale, but was an outstanding showpiece!
Tips for care include regular fertilizing (which keeps those blooms coming) and good, even watering. They also love sun, but can take a little shade too! If you want the blooms to keep on coming you can also take off the old blooms. You can do this by following the flower stalk down to the main stem and then just snap it off. This will promote more blooms!
If you are looking for a great selection of these plants, stop by Marbott’s. They have a great garden center and wonderful staff to help you.
Schreiner's Iris Gardens
May is a busy month for local blooming plants. The leading plant for most of May is the Iris and we are lucky to have the leading iris grower in the country at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (1-800-525-2367). Schreiner’s not only grows iris, they also host the public at their huge display gardens every spring, and this year they are really putting on a show! The warmer weather that finally arrived has the blooms going crazy and that has meant a full garden. It’s a busy time for the Schreiner family, but irises are in their blood. In fact they have been growing iris as a family for over 90 years, growing award winning irises. We met with Steve Schreiner in the display gardens to learn more about how you can plant different varieties of iris to extend you bloom time to 3 months or longer! You can start in April with ‘miniature dwarf iris’ that only get six inches high. Two weeks later you can enjoy ‘standard dwarf bearded iris’. Then shortly after that you can get the ‘intermediates’ starting to bloom and will last into May. Finally you get to enjoy the ‘tall bearded Iris’ that Schreiner’s is famous for. Then, after those start to fade you can enjoy the Louisiana Irises which bloom in June! Of course, if you pick the right varieties, you can also enjoy the re-bloomers of late summer!
He also had some tips about bearded iris for us. The number one tip was about watering. Bearded iris are the perfect plant for areas with water restrictions. Iris are drought tolerant! Once they are established they can survive on very little water. You should also look out for slugs. Bait for them regularly. Fertilizing your plants should be done before they bloom and you should use a light fertilizer. Nothing too strong.
We also found out that Schreiner’s will soon be selling daylilies. They have found a great partner with award winning hybridizer, Bill Marriot, and will be featuring some of his varieties soon!
These next two weekends are always big ones at the display gardens. This weekend is a large Volkswalk, with a spirit tasting and a dividing demonstration for those who want to learn more about thinning out their iris. Then Memorial Day weekend which has special events scheduled every day. Stop by that weekend and you can see artists displaying in the garden. There will also be wine tasting from Methven Vineyards and spirit sampling from ‘Spiritopia’ Craft Spirits. The weekend wraps up with the annual Chicken BBQ by the Gervais Knights of Columbus and the sounds of jazz from ‘Calamity Jazz’. This isn’t the end of the blooms though. The gift shop will stay open for a couple more days and the display garden will stay open for visitors until the blooms are gone. Stop by and check out the gardens, it is always a blast.
There is one change that they wanted everyone to know about. Due to increased costs of the activities, there is now a $5 per car charge. A small price to pay for acres of blooms and lots of activities!
Terra Casa Metal Coolers
You are getting your deck, patio and garden ready for the late spring and summer and you notice things are just not right! You may need to add a few accessories to your garden. Well, we stopped at Terra Casa and found some accessories that are also great for the environment too. These cool items were recycled metal coolers and planters. Diana at Terra Casa (503-577-8242) in Damascus walked Judy around to show them to her. We started by looking at coolers, but these were not just ordinary coolers, these were coolers with style! They were large coolers made from recycled metal from Vietnam. They were made into the shapes of cars, trucks, trailers and even animals. The metal artwork also was made into planters, animal shapes and wall art. It was very bright and colorful. We can bet you’ll not find these at too many places and they do make a statement when you’re entertaining! Take the time and make the short trip to Terra Casa and create a beautiful space inside and outside your home.
In-ground Irrigation Basics
The heat of summer will be here soon and that means your garden will be stressed! The hot days of summer can give your plants a beating. To help you keep your lawn and garden in shape have you ever considered an in-ground sprinkler system? We found out how easy it would be to install one when we stopped by Right Irrigation (360-696-1831) and talked to Cindy. She had a diagram on the wall that showed all of the main features that you need to consider when installing a system.
First you tap off the main water line. This cutoff has a valve on it so you can shut off the water to the system in case you need to do maintenance to your system. The next piece was a very important one, a backflow device. The backflow device prevents the flow of your system’s water back into the public water supply. It is the only part that is REQUIRED by code to be installed. Next we saw the drain. This is used to drain your system when you shut it down for the winter. The pipes need to be drained in the winter so they don’t freeze and damage your system. This water line then goes to the valves. These valves are electronic and turn the water on and off to the different zones or stations in your system. They are run by a controller. The controller is where you turn your zones on and off and allows you to program when the system operates. Some of these valves can also have small backflow devices attached to them. Cindy told us that the main thing here is that you need to control which zones are turned on and which are turned off. You cannot have all your zones going at once, the system and your water supply probably can’t handle it. The other important point is that you have to remember that the zones need to be determined by the number of gallons available and not the number of sprinklers you have. Never exceed the number of gallons your system can handle at any time. Also different sprinkler heads use different amounts of water. So you really need to do your calculations here!
Cindy has 5 tips to follow to help you be successful. The first tip is to figure out how many gallons you have available from your system. This number will help you determine the number of sprinkler heads and the type of heads to use. The second tip is to use a uniform size of pipe for your whole project. This will help maintain your pressure throughout your whole system. For the normal residential installation that would be a 1 inch pipe. The third tip is to cross your sprays. Since the sprinklers can’t water the area closest to themselves you need to have the other sprinklers cover those areas. Use head to head coverage! Tips number four is to not ‘mix heads’. Each type of sprinkler is different and uses different amounts of water. So don’t mix a ‘rotor’ sprinkler with a ‘spray’ sprinkler. You would not be using your water efficiently if you did. The final tip was to use the ‘Swing Joint’. This is a system of joints and tubing that will allow you to ‘swing’ your sprinklers in numerous directions. This will allow the head to be moved to accommodate growth in plants, installation of bark or mulch, and even to be stepped on without damaging your system. It is truly unique!
If you were thinking about installing an in-ground system you can take your design to Right Irrigation and they can help you pick out the parts, but they can also design a system for you. Right now they will charge you $100 for the design and if you but buy 75 percent of the materials from Right, they will refund $80 back to you. We have found them to be great to work with. So if you need any more questions answered just stop by or give them a call!
Fiberon Deck Installation
For the past few weeks we have been walking you through the replacement of a deck. The producers of the show had decided on installing Fiberon, a composite product, instead of cedar. Today we talked with Josh of NW Outdoor Living and Renovation (503-995-0174) about the progress we’ve seen so far. We covered the removal of the old deck and the pouring of the new foundation for the new deck. These new supports were more than just pre-formed little concrete supports. These new poured supports are going to be here for a while. Another way to build support is the addition of joists to your project. 24 inch (on center) joists are normal for a deck. These were 12 inch on center and so this deck will not have the bouncing of older decks. It was a perfect foundation for the new Fiberon product.
Derek, from Fiberon, then joined us to talk about the different Fiberon products and which ones had been chosen for this project. The producers had chosen the Horizon ‘Ipe’ product for the main surface, with a border of the ‘Cinnabar’ symmetry product. This ‘picture frame’ application creates a border around your project which adds a touch of style to your new deck, something that you can’t get with your normal wood products. These Fiberon products also have a 25 year stain and fade warranty, plus you will never have to deal with rotting, warping, or splitting. You can even go to the Fiberon website and use their design tool to figure out styles and amount of square footage for your project. They also have lighting and railing to choose from on their site too!
For a dealer near you , we found our product at Conrad Lumber (503-625-7535), you can check out the Fiberon website, and then you can get your project done and enjoy a worry-free deck for decades to come!