Happy Rose Festival weekend. Actually, the Rose Festival is a multi-week event and covers tons of activities, but this weekend is the main wrap-up weekend for 2018. One of the biggest events this weekend is the Grand Floral parade on Saturday. We get in the Rose Festival mood by taking you behind the scenes for a peek at how they build those magnificent floats. This weekend and next are also full of some great events too. We share events about flower festivals, garden trains, bonsai, antiques and rose judging to name a few.
Now for some good news, bad news. The bad news is that one of our travel couples for the Garden Time tour had to cancel their trip. The good news is that we now have room for a couple more travelers. You can join us on this incredible tour by going to our webpage and clicking on our link. We heard that some discounts may still apply, so book soon!
This week we featured...
Jan’s June Tips
This month we found Jan in the garden with a weed eater! That was the start of one of the tips she had for us… managing your expectations. Everyone wants a beautiful garden, but sometimes the expectations crash into reality! For some it is raising children or job commitments that draw them away from the garden, for others like Jan and Ray, it is advancing age and health issue. The weed eater is a perfect example of managing those expectations. Jan uses it to keep the weeds down on her paths without having to weed all the time. Take a look at your garden and see if there are areas where you need to make adjustments and compromises. One area she will need to make adjustments is with the ongoing saga of the Meyer’s Lemon. This plant, which she left out all winter to die, is going strong! The diseases which plagued it for months have disappeared and it now appears healthy and robust! We’ll keep an eye on it this summer!
A few other things in the garden she brought our attention to… Osmocote, perennials and vegetables. If you are using Osmocote or any other slow release fertilizer, remember to keep it wet. If it dries out the pellets won’t dissolve, then your plants won’t get the nutrition they need. You can work the fertilizer into the soil to help it keep moist. Another thing that you should keep moist is your new plantings of perennials (and annuals). They don’t have the root system to survive too long without water in the heat, so make sure you give them a deep watering from time to time so they can make it through the summer, fall and winter. Finally, it is not too late to plant your vegetable garden. A lot of veggies play ‘catch-up’ through the summer and by harvest time you can’t tell the difference. If you are just starting your garden remember to use short season crops and varieties so they can mature before the fall and winter.
Even though the winter and spring have been wet, we still have to think about the coming summer months and keeping everything watered. No one wants to waste water and most garden centers have a bunch of watering tools to help you get the water to where the plant needs it. Penny from the Regional Water Providers Consortium met us in a local garden to suggest some great watering tools for us to use. First of all, you need a good soaker hose. A lot of the hoses you will find on the market are pretty flimsy. This is one place where you get what you pay for. A good soaker hose will not kink or leak and it should last more than one year of normal wear and tear. A good soaker will get the water to the root zone of your favorite plants and since it slowly drips water you won’t lose much to evaporation. Next we looked at spray nozzles. There is one from Dramm that had different settings so you could adjust the flow to the type of watering you were doing; a light mist to a ‘jet’ stream, and all you do is twist the knob on the front. Spray nozzles are great since they shut off while you are walking through your garden. Timers are also a good idea; there are battery operated ones and some that work on a spring system. The spring type are good if you are going to be around the house and just want the water to run for a certain time. The battery ones can be set to turn your water on and off for weeks if you plan to be on vacation. Of course, everyone has a timer now; just look at your phone! Using your phone can help you keep track of your water use without having to buy a timer.
Finally we talked about the importance of mulch. By using an extra layer of mulch you are creating a barrier to evaporation. The mulch helps keep your plants moist and healthy. Check your local independent garden center for more tools and ideas. If you would like more tips for watering, check with the Regional Water Providers Consortium.
Oregon Garden BrewCamp
In the past the Oregon Garden Brew Fest set the bar for festivals featuring beverages of the hop variety (and other tasty brews), but this year they are setting the bar even higher. The Brew Fest is now the Oregon Garden BrewCamp! Hard to believe, it has been 14 years since the Oregon Garden (503-874-8100) Brew Fest started, but my, has it grown! We met with Allie at the Garden to talk about this year’s festival and why they changed it. The reason was to create an entire festival that covers the whole weekend! Plus, instead of just hanging out in the Discovery Forest, you can now wander the whole garden and enjoy your brews. They are also offering camping for the whole weekend too. They are expecting over 40 breweries, pouring 90 beers, ciders and meads. Seagrams is also a big sponsor so you can sample some of their products too. They are also going to have live music and amazing food. Plus, because it is Father’s Day weekend, they will have kids and family friendly events all weekend. You can also shop various vendors for clothes, art and artisan goods. You can feel free to wander the 80 acres of gardens too, because Garden admission is part of your ticket! So book your camping space now and enjoy a weekend of tasty brews, beautiful flowers and lots of fun!
A Vintage Flea
Antiques have always been hot. Now they are getting hot in the garden! Flea markets are the place to go for some of these buried treasures that you can use in your home or your yard. This weekend there is one place where you can get your garden and flea market fix at one time. Margie’s Farm and Garden is hosting ‘A Vintage Flea’. A Vintage Flea is a vintage/flea/antique market with anything from antiques and mid-century vintage to crafts and castoffs. Kathy joined us to tell us about the event which is happening from 9am to 5pm on Saturday, June 9th. Here you can find just about anything you want for your home and garden. As I mentioned before you can also get your plant fix too! Margie joined us to tell us that they will have 30% off almost every plant in the nursery. They are still full of great color plants and baskets. You can still add color to your garden. If you are thinking about planting now you should just pay more attention to the watering and you should be fine. If you are out and about this Saturday, stop by!
Little Prince – Festival of Flowers
The Festival of Flowers has graced Portland and Pioneer Courthouse Square for 30 years and this year one of favorite growers is involved! We met with Mark from Little Prince of Oregon because some of their plants are part of this year’s design. This year the theme was ‘oFISHially GORGEous’. It features the Columbia Gorge in its design and a bunch of Little Prince grasses and texture plants are used in huge sections of the display. Mark said that Little Prince plants are known for their color and texture and this year that includes Liriope muscari 'Big Blue', Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola', and Carex oshimensis 'Evergold' in the display.
Through June 12, visitors are invited to meander through the Gorge landscape or sit and watch the Salmon on the large amphitheater stairs migrate up river. Pathways are located to allow visitors to stroll through the path of the river, or traverse the Gorge itself. Upon completion of the Festival of Flowers all the plant material used in the design will be offered for sale to the public at the annual flower sale from June 13 – 15.
If you can’t wait to get some of these great Little Prince plants, you can check their website for a garden center near you!
People’s Choice – Portland’s Best Rose
Every year, rose experts gather at the International Rose Test Gardens at Washington Park to vote on Portland’s Best Rose. Even though this is a closed judging, there is an opportunity for the public to let their voices be heard. We met with the curator of the rose garden, Rachel to find out how you can do that. She mentioned that every year on the same day as the Grand Floral Parade, people can come up to the garden and see the same roses that the experts judge and cast their own votes. In years past, the People’s Choice Award has mirrored the top pick by the experts. Come up to the garden and see if you can match the experts with your choice. We’ll announce the winner in a future show!
Rose City Garden Trains
If you are looking to try something new in your garden, have you ever considered a garden train? There is a very active club of Garden Railroaders in Portland and next weekend they are having their annual garden tour. We stopped by one of the locations to talk to T.J. Meyer about his railroad. T. J.’s railroad is called the MRT&T and is a relatively new one, just being built in 2013. It is a family affair with his son, son-in-laws, and nephew all involved. His layout is a throwback to his childhood in Oklahoma and includes buildings named for family and friends. If kids come to see his train they will get a list of hidden items that they can find among the trees, buildings and trains. The ‘hippie’ was our favorite on the list! It even includes the place T.J. had his first job and other interesting items including a visit from the US President (granted in a much smaller scale).
Now, if you are interested in seeing this train and would like to see up to 14 more garden trains, then next weekend is the perfect time. The Rose City Garden Railway Society is having their huge summer garden tour. This tour takes place every year on the Saturday before Father’s Day from 10am to 5pm. Society members open up their backyards to the general public and you can stop by and see these enchanting layouts. There is a booklet that is a self-guided tour of trains from Corbett to Hillsboro. It is also your ticket! The booklet/ticket is available at local hobby shops and garden centers around the area. If you would like to find the location nearest you, check out their website. The cost is only $10 for an entire carload of people. So gather all your friends and pick up a booklet/ticket and start ‘training’.
Portland Nursery Bonsai Event
Bonsai is a wonderful art. Each plant becomes a microcosm of a miniature landscape. It can become a hobby that can consume you if you get bitten by the ‘bonsai’ bug. It can also be very intimidating for the beginner. To help people understand how easy it can be we stopped by Portland Nursery (503-788-9000) to talk to Sara about the event. In the past she told us how to get started and what tools were involved. She showed us a bunch of different plants that you can bonsai. Most of these were varieties that were bred to be dwarf or miniature plants. There are a wide assortment of evergreen plants or even deciduous varieties. You will want to take your time in choosing the right plant since bonsai is not a short term hobby. It is recommended that beginners start with a juniper, pine, hornbeam or a maple. Those are the most common and the easiest to work with. You will then want to choose a pot that is the right size for your plant. Soil is very important and there are special bonsai mixes that provide the right nutrients and drain well so your plant doesn’t end up sitting in too much moisture. Tools come next. You will need a good pruning scissors. Since most of your pruning will be done on small limbs and branches these are very important. Next is a small hand rake. This helps with raking the soil, weeding and straightening the roots when you replant your bonsai. It is also recommended that you get a carrying case for these tools so you don’t misplace them. Wire is also useful when training your plant’s growth. This can help shape your bonsai to gain a more statuesque appearance. If this interests you, you should stop by the Portland Nursery location on Division today for their big bonsai event. From 10am to 3pm you can learn about bonsai from the Bonsai Society and even enter your own bonsai for prizes (you must enter before 10am). There will be lots of bonsai experts there to answer your questions. Be sure to check out the Portland Nursery website for more information on this great event!
Rose Festival Floats
Every year we get to see moving works of garden art and we probably don’t even know it. Did you know the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade of the Portland Rose Festival is a showcase of plants? To learn what that means we stopped by to visit with Kendra at SCi 3.2. SCi 3.2 is the builder of most of the huge floats that you see passing by during the parade. These floats have to be built with plant material. Every part of the float has to have a plant (or plant part, seeds, stems, fruit) visible to the crowd and the judges. We were a little early in the process. They were working on the dry elements while we were there with live flowers being used later in the week. Kendra showed us some of the large cool floats. We saw the huge cougar head on the Spirit Mountain, the underwater world and otter of the Reser’s float and the garden and treehouse of the Fred Meyer float. Most of the work is done within a couple of weeks before the festival. Volunteers are busy in the final couple of weeks applying all the color and texture that makes each float so special. If you are interested in viewing the floats you can stake out a position on the parade route. Or check them out after the parade on Naito Parkway at the waterfront from 2-9pm on Saturday from 11-5 on Sunday. If you would like to volunteer in decorating the floats for next year, check out the SCi website.
Five Oaks School Garden
We recently heard about a garden in the Beaverton School district that is all about gardening, so we had to visit. Five Oaks Middle School has a huge garden that is part of the Rachel Carson Environmental School. This garden, and may others like it around the district, are a huge outdoor classroom! A couple of the instructors joined us to tell us how they use them. Pad and Kendall take students out to teach them about biology, plants, farming and harvesting. The best part of the program? They supply all the food that is grown to the Oregon Food Bank through a special partnership. This joint effort is the best of both worlds. Kids learn about gardening, and hungry families benefit from the great food that is grown!
Lucas and Kevin, a couple of students involved with the program were excellent spokespeople for the program and told us that they will stay involved with the garden through the summer, long after school lets out! Those are the type of students/gardeners that make us all proud!
Pizzeria sul Lago
Farm to table is a big buzz phrase right now. A lot of restaurants talk about it, but very seldom do they really achieve it beyond their salad choices. We found a restaurant called Pizzeria sul Lago (503-305-8088) in Lake Oswego that goes above and beyond the call! Owner Nick Ford has a wonderful partnership with Kara Gilbert from Vibrant Valley Farm to get the freshest produce for many of his menu items. Kara said that she works very closely with Nick to plant and grow exactly what he needs to create tasty masterpieces. That means they even work together to decide how many plant go in the ground at the farm!
Nick then took us into the kitchen to watch him make an incredible pizza with a bunch of fresh greens and fresh strawberries! This pizza is just one of the many recipes that he makes fresh every day, and because of the seasonality of some produce that means the menu is an ever changing palate of flavors. He showed us this by bringing out a few dishes for us to check out. That included roasted asparagus and rhubarb, a kale Caesar salad, a snap pea dish and the pizza that had edible flowers, strawberries and fava beans.
He paired these dishes with a wine program of Italian wine grape varietals and some cool cocktails too. If you would like to visit the restaurant and taste these incredible dishes check them out in downtown Lake Oswego on the lake.