The spring is finally here! Actually we all know that there are still cold and wet days ahead, but for now it feels great to have the sun and heat back. I don’t know about you, but we have been trying to squeeze in a little clean up in the garden the past couple of weeks. Now we are going to go ‘pedal to the metal’ this weekend, or should I say ‘Petal to the Metal’? A little flower joke there… Before you head out into the sunshine, check out this week’s show.
This week we featured...
Jan’s March Tips
Jan joins us for her monthly tips from her garden near a couple of fruit trees and a pile of debris. The pile is not bad news, but good news! It is spring and she is getting her fruit trees pruned and ready for the upcoming summer. Now is a good time to do your early season pruning. This is the time, before the leaves and blooms pop out, to see what you are doing and where those dead, diseased and crossing branches are. Jan had her trees shortened and thinned. This will also allow better airflow and bring the fruit closer to the ground for harvesting. The only drawback to pruning now is that there is a higher chance for ‘Water shoots’ to appear. Those are the new growth branches that shoot straight in the air and won’t fruit this year. They can be cut back later this year or next spring when you prune again. If you choose to prune your trees in the summer there is less chance of the water shoots popping up. The other thing we talked to Jan about was the cold February that we just emerged from. We had a pleasantly mild December and January, that lulled our plants into an extended growing phase. February pushed our plants back and has a lot of us worried about the frost damage they might have encountered. Not to worry, Jan told us that a lot of your plants may have survived the cold and snow and may be just fine. She recommends that you take a break and not prune those ‘damaged’ plants back for a couple of months just to see if they pop out of it.
We then moved to the side of her garage to see a pile of leaves. The leaves were not what we were looking for, it was the pots and containers that are under those piles. Last fall Jan had moved her pots to the south side of her house and covered them with the leaves from her trees. That helped them survive the cold winds that we did get. They are all looking good and some of them had bulbs that were pretty tall. They were looking a little yellow though. This was because of the lack of sunshine on those new shoots. Jan told us that a little sunshine and everything would green-up again. She also recommended that you move all the leaves and mulch away from the trunks of your trees and shrubs too. This will allow rainwater to reach the roots, the sun to heat the soil around the base of the plants and will help prevent rot to the outside layer of bark. For more great springtime tips, check out the OSU Extension website at http://extension.oregonstate.edu.
Early Season Perennials – Little Prince
The spring is the time for new color! If you are just relying on bulbs for your spring color you may be missing the boat on a colorful garden. Ryan from Little Prince of Oregon joined us at the Wilsonville Fred Meyer to talk about all the great early spring perennials that you can have in your garden. We were only able to showcase a couple of the plants that they grow, but there are so many more to choose from. We started with a couple varieties of Phlox, the ‘Crimson Beauty’ and the ‘Emerald Blue’. These ground covers are great for rock gardens and between paths, they are even great to fill in around those bare spots in your garden beds. Then Ryan pulled out a Rock Cress (Aubrieta) called ‘Audrey Purple Shades’. This one is a nice little clumping plant that will be covered in flowers that are just starting to bloom now. We then looked at English Daisies from their ‘Speedstar Mix’. These are mixed seeds so you get a bunch of different colors in the 4 inch container. These will jump out at you with their mix of bright colors. Perfect for the spring garden! Our final plant was the Iceland Poppy. These too were grown from a mix of seeds called the ‘Champagne Bubbles Mix’. These have the large pastel colored blooms that stand tall in your garden and just keep coming! Ryan also told us that these plants are all grown with no heat in their greenhouses so they are ready for our cold conditions in the Northwest. You can find Little Prince Plants at a lot of local independent garden centers, and at all 97 Fred Meyer locations! Pick up a few and bring some spring color to your garden for years to come!
Pruning Climbing Roses
Climbing roses are unique and can be the best bloomer in your summer garden. But to get the most out of your plant you need to prune it correctly. They are different than your standard hybrid teas. Rachel from the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park walked us through some of the rules for pruning them correctly. What you can do now is to thin them out. Pick the oldest canes and take them out at the base of the plant. This will promote new cane growth and better plant health. This is the time you start planning for the future by establishing new canes for better blooms in the future. Next you will want to train the longer newer canes on a horizontal fence, wall or trellis. This causes the plant to send flowers up from the entire length of the cane. If you train it vertically it will send all the flower growth to the top of the cane and it won’t be as attractive. You are focusing on the lateral branches off the main cane. These are the ones that will produce the blooms for your rose this year. If you would like to see how the professionals do it, you can drop by the Rose Garden at Washington Park or stop by Pittock Mansion where we did our pruning this week.
Planning Perennial Borders Class – Rogerson
Now is the time for planning and planting! For some though, it can be a little intimidating to plan out your garden beds for the season. To help you with that struggle we found out about a class that you can attend to get you started. We met with Kathy Whitman at the Rogerson Clematis Garden to learn about a class on planning your perennial borders. She told us that the class is more than just drawing up a plan, it has useful tips on plant selection, learning about putting the right plant in the right place, and even check out examples of successful borders. It will help you learn how to create a gorgeous perennial border and what to plant for your front or back garden to get year-round color and interesting textures. You will also learn how to plant for color cutting, sun or shade. Kathy even told us a couple of tips for layers of color. Her example included cutting daisies back at different heights to bring on waves of blooms throughout the season. If you would like to attend this class which takes place on March 23rd between 10am and noon, check out the Rogerson website at http://rogersonclematiscollection.org. The fee is $10 for garden members and only $25 for non-members. Stop by and get some great tips for your perennial garden.