Are you enjoying an extended holiday weekend? This year a lot of people are using the mid-week holiday to create an extended vacation time. I found that, for myself, these weeks are actually better for staying home and enjoying the garden. While the campgrounds are packed, the roads around town stay pretty light with traffic. It also gives me a chance to enjoy the quiet of our neighborhood as a lot of friends are traveling.
If you do stay around the area, make sure to check out the local events and farmers markets in your neighborhood. Relax and enjoy the neighborhood!
This week we featured..
Ginkgo. This is the one plant that a lot of people really don’t think about. This tree is also known as the Maidenhair tree and is famous for its medicinal properties, but for the gardener it has become a tree that people can treasure in their garden as well. We paid a visit to Conifer Kingdom (503-874-4123) again to talk to Sam about new varieties that are in the market right now. They grow about 200 varieties of ginkgoes in their nursery, but not all of those are considered marketable. Some of those are newer varieties that are in testing for future introductions. Sam had a few that we were able to look at. Some were pretty spectacular. The first one was the Tube-leaf Maidenhair Tree, with a tube shaped leaf that curls up and has many lobes to the leaf. This one can take full sun as can most ginkgoes. The second one was Troll, which a lot of people like to use for bonsai. This one will stay low and is a slow grower of only 3-4 inches a year. It is great in a container. The third one had a great variegation to the leaves. It was called ‘Snowcloud’, and is one of the newer ones on the market. Bred in Oregon, it is white with new growth in the spring and then gets a green center as it ages. With all that white foliage it can use shade to prevent the burning of its leaves. It is great for a small shady space in your garden. The fourth tree was ‘Sunstream’. It has huge leaves and a green and gold, striped, variegation. In the fall it becomes a totally gold fall color and will only get about 6 feet tall in 10 years.
The final tree was one of those special trees that is in the pipeline for future production. This new variety was similar to the ‘Sunstream’ with striped variegation, but this one had a cream color to it and was called ‘Vanilla Swirl’. It was stunning and when they get enough propagated it will be introduced to the market. If you would like to add one of these to your garden, you can call Conifer Kingdom and make an appointment to stop by their growing facility or you can order one on-line and have it delivered to your door.
Cascade Nursery Trail Preview
The blessing of living in the Pacific Northwest is that we are surrounded by wonderful specialty nurseries and wholesale growers. A group of those growers and nurseries have joined forces and are known as the Cascade Nursery Trail. This group of 6 nurseries coordinates a schedule of shows and this weekend is one of their best, the Midsummer Madness Sale. To get a preview of this great sale, we stopped by two of the participating nurseries, Out in the Garden and Hydrangeas Plus.
We met with Carol at Out in the Garden Nursery (503-829-4141) first. She took us out to her display garden to show us a few of the plants that she sells, and what they look like in the mature garden. The first one was one of her favorites, Aralia ‘Sun King’. It is a great plant for those shady parts of your garden. The foliage is a bright golden green combination. She also has great plants for the sun too. These were out in full sun and looked fantastic. The first one was Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’. Carol called this the goddess of the garden because of the wonderful red flowers with cream centers that will last for almost 3 months. Near the ‘Aphroditie’ was a taller plant full of white blooms, Persicaria ‘Polymorpha’. This one was only 2 years old and over 7 feet tall, covered in waves of white blooms! Carol finished with two clematis. Clematis Recta ‘Purperea’ and Clematis ‘heracleifolia’. The Purpurea is a shorter non-climbing clematis that is covered in blooms. It is a huge plant that stays under 4 feet tall. After it blooms Carol will cut it back and let it flush with the dark foliage of its new growth. Then she can enjoy the shorter ‘heracleifolia’ with its deep bluish flowers. These stunning specimens are all in Carol’s display garden, a great place to hang out on a sunny day.
Judy then tossed it over to William who was at Hydrangeas Plus (866-433-7896) with Kristin. There William and Kristin talked about all the great color you can get in hydrangeas, in fact she focused on a little red, white and blue bloom. The first two were red and they were ‘Rotdrossel’ and ‘Kardinal’. They will stay a nice red if kept in a pot, or turn a purple color if they are in our acid soil. The next two had white blooms. The first of these has a variegated leaf and is called ‘Lemon Wave’. The foliage on this one was worth buying it alone, but with the flower it is a must have for the garden. The second white flowered plant was Princess Juliana, with bright white petals! Finally we saw a blue flowered one called ‘Decatur Blue’ which blooms a little earlier than the others in the group, but still puts on a wonderful late show.
If you are looking for plants and want to get something special, plus see some great specialty nurseries, then you need to check out the Cascade Nursery Trail!
Portland Garden Conservancy Open Day Tour
If you love to tour outstanding gardens your chance is coming up in a week on July 14th. The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon is sponsoring the Portland Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour. These tours allow people to see some truly outstanding gardens and support a couple great organizations at the same time. The Hardy Plant Society uses a portion of the funds generated to support garden education and scholarship programs, while the Garden Conservancy uses their portion to help save and maintain signature and significant gardens around the U.S.
One of the gardens on the tour this year was the garden of Peter Eastman and Dayrol Griffin. Peter met with William in the garden, or as he called it, the tropical paradise! This garden has been growing for decades and it is fantastic. There are various ‘rooms’ that feature different plants on this oversized lot. The area it is located in used to be a touchy part of town. Gang activity was a block away and so hedges were installed years ago for security and privacy. Now the neighborhood is one of the most trendy in town and so the hedge material just provides privacy. The biggest part of the garden is a tropical wonderland and it is full of tropical looking plants. Another part of the garden is heavy into shade plants and even has a hammock. You have to see this garden to believe it!
As we mentioned this tour takes place on the 14th and you can get tickets at Thicket, Garden Fever and Portland Nursery. During the tour you can not only visit the garden, but you can meet Timber Press authors and at Garden Fever you can go to ‘Digging Deeper’ events at Garden Fever (where you can learn about succulents) and Anna’s Garden (where you can learn about propagation). Tickets are $7 per garden or $30 for the whole day. Check out their website for more details. Plus after the day is done you can attend a ‘wrap party’ at Portland Nursery on Stark! It is a day that can’t be missed!
These are the coolest plants on the planet! Carnivorous plants grow like regular plants, but instead of fertilizer, they create their own additional fertilizer by digesting bugs! It takes organic fertilizer to a whole new level! To learn about these great little plants we stopped by Sarracenia Northwest (800-823-0923). Jeff joined Judy to talk about these freaks of the plant kingdom. Jeff told us that they grow a couple hundred different types of carnivorous plants in their nursery. To showcase a few we focused on 4 of the main types that people will encounter. The first was the Venus Flytrap. These are a US native and are found along the coastline of North and South Carolina. They survive well in cold winters and are a hardy perennial. They love the outdoors even though people want to grow them as a house plant. They are a bog plant that likes full sun. At the nursery they use shallow trays of water and are just out in the open! The next plant was the Sundew. These are plants with thin arms that are covered with sticky leaf hairs. When prey gets caught in the hairs the plant curls around the bug and then breaks down the animal with digestive juices. The next plant was our own native carnivorous plant the ‘Darlingtonia’ pitcher plant, also called the Cobra Lily. The pitcher plant has a deep cup that has a soft or slippery edge at the top. Once a bug is near the edge it will slip and fall into the cup of digestive juices below. The final group of plants was the Sarracenia pitcher plants. These are from the east coast and are the BEST plants for catching bugs. In fact, people use them around their decks and patios for taking care of pesky bugs during the summer time.
If you would like to check out these great, but unusual plants you can find Sarracenia Northwest at the Beaverton Farmers Market through early July, or at one of their many open garden events at their nursery. Check them out for a ‘bug free’ back yard!
Pet Friendly Village Green
In the past we have told you about the Village Green in Cottage Grove (800-942-2491). It is a great place to stop for the night, get a meal, a room, and get a chance to wander the many gardens on the site. We had a chance to talk to Ty , who is the manager of horticulture at the Village Green, about the newest addition that is being added to this garden, a pet friendly garden. During our chat we actually found out that the whole garden is now pet friendly. Yes, in the future they will be adding a new garden dedicated to pets, but you can enjoy the whole garden, including the renovated RV park, with your pet. This is great since a lot of people now travel with their pets and want a welcoming space for their whole family. If you are traveling and are looking for a welcoming space for the whole family, stop by the Village Green, just south of Eugene in Cottage Grove.