The heat is on… the last time I used that line it was during the summer when we were in the middle of a heat wave. Now, I’m using the same line because we had to turn on our furnace again because of the cold. Yeah, the heat is on, again! With the days getting darker and colder we are making plans for the winter, and for next summer too. We are getting our garden beds cleaned up and planting some new perennials. We are also doing some new projects, like replacing and expanding an old garden path. It is a good time for those larger projects, because it will give your garden plenty of time to recover and it will be done by the start of next spring. Then we can relax and enjoy!
Also, some big news items coming up soon. The hint for the first big announcement is the number 500! The hint for the second announcement is ‘Europe’. Both announcements will be revealed in the next week!
This week we featured...
Layering Spring Bulbs
As we enter fall we are reminded to plant our spring blooming bulbs in our gardens. Josh from Al’s Garden & Home in Wilsonville (503-855-3527) reminded us that bulbs are great in pots too! You can create waves of color by layering your spring blooming bulbs. He demonstrated that by using different layers of bulbs in a pot you can have color that lasts all spring! He used daffodils, tulips and crocus in three different layers. Then he topped it all off with some great fall color plants. When the warm days of spring arrive he will have these bulbs blooming at different times and will have waves of color for months. Don’t worry, the bulbs will find their way up through the plants in the pot. For the best results always remember to start with a quality potting soil, bulb fertilizer and water them in well!
Portland Nursery 31st Apple Tasting
Be prepared for a celebration!!! A is for apple and you will find a ton of apples (and pears) at Portland Nursery’s (503-231-5050) 31st Annual Apple tasting at the Stark Street location. This landmark celebration features over 50 different varieties of apples and pears available to taste. This is an event for the whole family. There is a kid’s area with face painting, a scavenger hunt and pumpkin painting. There are demonstrations, fresh baked apple strudel and live music are also on the list of activities. Another reason for stopping by is to get a chance to vote for the best scarecrow. Fellow shoppers have entered their best scarecrows for the chance to win prizes. You can also shop from a variety of local vendors that will be offering local honey, mustard, jams and a whole lot more. You can also help out your community too. While the event is free, you can bring a non-perishable food item for the Oregon Food Bank! And don’t forget the fresh pressed cider! Speaking of cider, you can sample hard ciders! Now is the time to also take advantage of all the wonderful fall perennials available at both locations of Portland Nursery. Come see these and a bunch more at the tasting!
Little Prince – Cool Indoor Plants
The cold winds of winter are chasing the bright colors of summer away, but you can still enjoy some great color and texture with cool indoor plants. To see a few that you can try indoors we stopped at the growing facility at Little Prince of Oregon. Mark met us in one of the greenhouses with a group of plants that he recommends. The first plant he started with was a coffee plant. Yes, you can grow coffee in the Northwest. These are not hardy plants and they will have to be moved indoors. This one was the variety ‘arabica’. Within 4 years you can have a plant that is 4 feet tall and producing berries, which contain the ‘beans’ you need for coffee. They need to be processed, and you may only get a cup or two of coffee, but how cool is growing your own coffee. It goes outside in the summer with morning sun and afternoon shade, and then indoors for the winter near a bright window, with not a lot of direct sunlight. The next plant was one that is really cool for the gardener. It is the Albuca ‘Frizzle Sizzle’. The curly leaves are not something you see every day. Then it also has the fragrant blooms that come on and smell like a spicy vanilla. It is a bulb and Mark recommends that you treat it like an amaryllis. So you can put it into shade and not water it during the late summer and then pot it up in early October and wait for the curly leaves and blooms to return. The final group of plants were some succulents. The group Mark had for us were not hardy for the winter, but they can go outside during the summer, and then back inside for some great winter color and texture.
If you are trying to fight the winter blues, these and many of the other Little Prince plants will help you do that. For more information on Little Prince and the retail locations that carry their plants you can go to their website.
Hoyt Fall Color
Fall is here and the trees at Hoyt Arboretum (503-228-TREE) are putting on their annual show. Martin Nicholson, the curator at the arboretum, took us out to show us the fall color and we didn’t have to go far. We started at a large specimen of American smoke tree. It was a huge mass of vibrant red leaves. It was here where we asked how the tree turns such a variety of different colors. Martin told us that the trees sense the change in the length of daylight and start shutting off the flow of nutrients to and from the leaves. This causes the chlorophyll to slowly degrade and disappear from the leaves causing the other colors to appear in the leaves. These chemicals are always there during the year, but they now become more visible. The direct sunlight makes it appear faster. Martin even showed us how the leaf was a bright red in the sunlight and a yellow/green in the shaded areas.
We then moved to the Maple Trail of the arboretum where the Sugar Maples were one of the stars of the show. These are the trees that people equate with fall, but there are so many other maples that look great too. The Arboretum has nearly 70 types of maples to check out. It is a great place to be if you are a photographer! There are also fall color walks happening too. One is taking place today, Saturday the 13st at noon for the general public and one on Sunday at 1pm for Hoyt Members.
The arboretum is a great place to take the family or any out-of-town guests. It is open year round but the color show won’t last forever. The show is just starting and will continue for the next few weeks!
TOW – Moving Plants Indoors
A lot of people take their indoor plants outside during the summer months. It is good to get them some sun and fresh air, but now is the time to bring them indoors for the coming winter. We have some tips that will help keep them healthy and happy. First, start adjusting them for the reduced light and watering they may encounter indoors. Next, prune off the old, dead or diseased leaves and limbs. Finally, get those bugs! Hit your plants with a stream of water from the hose. This will clean them up and get rid of most of your bad bugs that are on the plant. Next you will want to spray your plant with an insecticide or you can add a granular systemic product that will work for 6 months or more. You can use one of the commercially available products out there. If you are concerned about chemicals or you have a citrus (or other edible plant) you can choose an insecticidal soap or Neem Oil product. The insecticides will kill the sucking insects, the natural products smother them. Once you bring your plants in you will want to protect the floor around them. Use a drip tray or saucer under your plants to catch the water. Also, you want to place your larger plants on a plant caddie so you can roll them around easily. Check with your local independent garden centers for more tips.