April is a celebration of the earth! We like to think that, as gardeners, we celebrate the earth all the time. To help people focus on the earth we are traveling to Capitol Subaru today, April 13th from 11am to 2 pm. There are lots of things happening and a ton of free stuff. You have to come see William and Judy at the dealership. See all the details below!
We would also like to take time to thank everyone who came out to the 17th annual GardenPalooza event. We had a great time and thousands of our gardening fans would agree! We will see you next year!
This week we featured...
Early Spring Bloomers
During the spring people focus on the brilliant color of the new spring bulbs as they emerge, but if you are focused on tulips and daffodils, you are missing a whole lot of color happening with your perennial plants too! To get an idea of the selection of color you can find right now, we stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) in Cornelius. Ron, the manager there, pulled a HUGE assortment of plants and still didn’t scratch the surface of what you can find. We started with the brightest plant of the spring, the forsythia. The variety ‘Showoff Sugar Baby’ was in full bloom and was dazzling. We then move to the Redbud ‘Don Egolf’. This tree/shrub has deep pink blooms on the entire length of the stems and trunk right now. Camellias are in their glory right now and ‘Pink Icicle’ was looking incredible with large pink blooms. The plant next to it was one that we don’t see a lot of in our area. It is one from Australia, Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’, had fern-like foliage and finely detailed pink flowers. Very unique! The next group of flowers were a favorite of the early spring garden, the pulmonaria. These lower growing plants are loaded with flowers right now. Varieties included ‘Blue Ensign’, ‘Raspberry Splash’ and ‘Smokey Blue’. The only differences being the flower or leaf color. Quince are also looking good right now. ‘Cameo’ with salmon colored flowers and ‘Texas Scarlett’ with red flowers are really showing off now.
If you are looking for flowering ground covers Ron had those too. Violets are starting to bloom and Ron had 4 to share. ‘Labrador’, ‘Irish Molly’, ‘Etain’ and ‘Blue Remington’ were just a few that were looking good right now. Some of these spread easily and others have more of a clumping nature. Two plants from the same family, bergenia, were next. ‘Evening Glow had a taller structure with large pink flower stalks and larger leaves, and ‘Flirt’ had a shorter stature and smaller leaves, but both were striking with warm foliage and flower colors. Ron also had some natives in bloom as well including the Camas Lily. This one grows wild in our untouched meadows and plains, and native tribes would harvest the bulb as a food. The next plant had a wonderful orange colored bloom, the primrose ‘sunset shades’. This one will put on a show with taller bloom stalks and those orange flowers. One flower that is lower to the ground is the deep blue Gentian, an early bloomer that starts in early March and just keeps blooming! Another lower blooming plant is the aubrieta or Rock Cress. These plants create mounds of purple flowers in your garden. The difference is ‘Dr. Mules’ is shorter and has variegated leaves, and ‘Rokey’s Purple’ is taller with just green leaves. Both are beautiful. The next plant was also very beautiful and tall too! The Wallflower ‘Winter Party’ had orange/pink/purple flowers on taller stalks that continue to bloom as long as you deadhead them! Next we looked at a couple of Currants or Ribes plants. These are hummingbird magnets! ‘King Edward’ was a reddish blooming plant and ‘Oregon Snowflake’ was a white blooming variety, but both were covered in blooms.
We finished with 3 taller plants. The Vibernum ‘compactum’ had clusters of tiny flowers on a compact shrub. It is a good plant for those areas in the middle of your flower beds that need a filler between the ground covers and the taller plants. One of those taller plants is the Bay Laurel ‘Crestwood’. It is covered with unusual clusters of yellow flowers right now. Still a stunning plant. Finally we ended with the weeping cherry. It was covered with pink blooms and was a reminder that all your flowering and fruiting trees are coming into their prime right now. In fact, if you are looking for a tree, now is the time to see what the blooms look like while they are blooming at your garden center. If you would like to see these or any of the other spring blooming trees, shrubs or perennials, stop by Blooming Junction and check them out!
Capitol Subaru Loves the Earth
Arbor day is right around the corner and if you are looking to celebrate, you need to look no further than Capitol Subaru (888-698-1973) in Salem. I know, a car dealer; but did you know that Capitol Subaru is one of the main supporters of the Straub Environmental Center? That commitment is evident in a lot of what Capitol does. When Capitol purchased the land for their new dealerships it was a former rock quarry. They decided to let the lake stay and they planted native trees and plants around it. In fact they named it Capitol Lake.
This weekend they are supporting Earth Day and Arbor Day with a big event at the Subaru dealership with the Subaru Loves the Earth event, today, April 13th. Stop by between 11am and 2pm and you can do a lot of things to help celebrate the earth. At noon Bartlett Tree Experts will be giving a pruning demonstration on a Japanese Maple. They will also be giving tips and answering questions about all your tree needs. William and Judy will follow with a demonstration of how to plant a container of pollinator plants. This container and one that they have done previously will be given away at the end of the day. Also, there are lots of other giveaways too. Subaru will have shopping bag and gloves made from recycled plastic , there will be pollinator plants given away with a planting station so you can pot yours up to take home. The kids area will have coloring sheets and a planting station too. There kids can plant up some sweet pea seeds to take home and grow. We will have drawings every half hour for a gift card to Al’s Garden and Home. You can also enjoy other vendors like Busby Bee products and the Willamette Humane Society. There will also be food carts there to enjoy. We even have sunflower seeds to give away while they last.
Also, you can stop by and test drive the new 2019 Forester! It is a great car and now that you know about the Capitol Auto Group commitment to community, you can feel good about driving one! If you test drive a new Forester you can get a Colorado Spruce to take home! See you Saturday!
Al’s Vegetables – Tomato Contest
It is vegetable season. People are flocking to their local independent garden center to get some vegetable plants for a jump start on spring. We met with Eve at the Al’s Garden & Home in Woodburn (503-726-1162) to ask her about getting your veggies in now. She recommended that you start with your Cole crops, not cold crops, though some use the terms interchangeably. These crops, like cabbage, cauliflower and kale are made for the cold weather of spring. These along with onions and garlic, can be planted now. Other crops like basil and squash should be protected if they are planted now. That goes for tomatoes too. Even though you can get them now at your local garden center, you should use a covering to protect them at night until the temps get warmer. When you are planting them you should also use a good fertilizer and a little lime to prevent blossom end rot.
Speaking of tomatoes… Do your kids have a green thumb? Would you like them to? The chance to get your kids excited about gardening is happening today (Saturday April 13th) at all 4 Al’s Garden & Home locations. If you bring in your kid (13 and under) between 9:30am and 10:30am they will get a free ‘Early Girl’ tomato plant. They will grow them all summer and at the end of summer there will be a big weigh-in. The kids with the largest tomatoes will win big prizes including gift cards, tools, free kids club for a year and much more.
If your kids are interested in trying to grow the biggest tomato, have them stop by your local Al’s!
Newberg Camellia Festival
We made the short drive out to Newberg to learn about one of the newest of festivals in the Northwest. Newberg, the camellia city, is hosting their Annual Camellia Festival this Saturday, April 13th from 9-5 at the Chehalem Cultural Center. They are partnering with the Oregon Camellia Society who is having their annual show at the Cultural Center. If you love camellias this is the place to be. We started our visit with Collier Brown from the camellia society. He had brought in 5 different blooms for us to look at. It was amazing to see all the different styles and flower types. He had varieties including ‘Mrs. Nellie Eastman, Fir Cone, Frank Houser, Ruth Tinkle and Lily Pons’ which will all be feathered at the show. We then visited with Carissa Smith-Burkett to learn about all the activities that they have planned for this weekend. She told us about the Asian themed events they have happening like the Taiko drummers, a lion dance team and other performers at the event. The day starts with a funf run and then people can catch a trolley which will be giving tours of the historic area of Newberg and areas showcasing the camellia, or they can just hang out at the center for a full day of fun. They will have entertainment all day long. During the festival you can also check out the local art and photography and visit the plant sale. For fans of Hello Kitty, she will be at the festival too. If you are in the Newberg area you really need to stop by and check them out!
TOW – Deadheading Daffodils
Now is the time to deadhead your early spring blooming plants. By removing the seed heads, you are telling the plant to send the energy to the bulb or tuber to make it stronger for next year’s bloom. Don’t cut back the foliage yet! That part of the plant is putting the ‘gas’ in next year’s engine. When the foliage dies back in a couple of weeks you can just pick it up and clean up your garden bed then.
Carol’s Overlooked Favorites
Not every plant shines in the spring. Some of those plants can be overlooked and only show off in the late spring or early summer. To see some of those hidden performers we stopped by Out in the Garden Nursery (503-829-4141) in Molalla and chatted with Carol. One group of these hidden gems are the geraniums. She had 4 to share with us. Some of them look really similar right now, but when they grow a little more and bloom, they will be VERY different. ‘Anne Thompson’, ‘Rozanne’, ‘Orkney Cherry’ and ‘Kaya’ will all put on a great flower show later this spring and all have different growing heights and foliage to enjoy. Another overlooked plant, though it is hard to imagine, is the ‘Avalanche’ evergreen clematis. This vine has showy white flowers and is great for small gardens and containers. It is a smaller variety and can get lost among its taller cousins. A couple of other plants that can get lost are smaller plants like the Allium ‘Sugar Melt’ and the grass Deschampsia ‘Northern Lights’. These both have interesting foliage right now, but will also reward you with colorful blooms later in the season. The next plant was the actaea (bugbane) ‘Cheju-Do’. Though it has taller, darker, cousins that have showier blooms, this one has short white flowers and can hold its own in the garden! A taller plant in the garden that can be showy is the Greater Woodrush ‘Golden’. It has a nice flower right now, but the golden foliage brightens up any summer garden. Next we looked at the DRAMA queen of the garden the ligularia. These plants will droop at the least sign of stress and then bounce back in cooler weather or after a little drink. This one ‘BBQ Banana’, has a darker color on the foliage and can handle the heat a little better than its taller relative. The final plant was the Kerria ‘Golden Guinea’. It has tall flower spikes that are going wild right now with bright yellow blooms, and will bloom sporadically though out the season.
If you would like to see more of these ‘overlooked’ plants or other popular varieties, you can stop by and see Carol at the Leach Botanical Garden Plant sale today, April 13th at Floyd Light Middle School or stop by her nursery in Molalla.
Easy Berries – Espoma
Berries are ‘hot’ in the garden right now! Everyone wants edibles and fruiting plants are at the top of the list. The problem is space! Not everyone has the area to devote to larger varieties of plants. To get some options we stopped by Al’s Garden & Home in Sherwood (503-726-1162) and talked with Peter about smaller (and popular) varieties of blueberry, raspberry and cane berries that you can try. We started with blueberries. ‘Chandler’ was one with large berries and great taste. That one needed a larger space to grow, but ‘Perpetua’ was one that would do well in a smaller container. If you are looking for raspberries, then you might consider ‘Vintage Red’. This one will give you raspberries from mid-summer until fall and it doesn’t need a tall structure to hold it up. A blackberry that doesn’t need a structure is the ‘Triple Crown’. This berry was developed at OSU in Corvallis and has large tasty berries with no thorns on the canes! A smaller variety of blackberry for containers is the ‘Baby Cakes’ variety from ‘Bushel and Berry’.
The key to a successful harvest is to fertilize those berry plants now, at the beginning of those growth cycle. Peter recommends the Berry-tone product from Espoma. It is an organic product that is slow release and acid based, so the soil becomes more ’friendly’ for your fruiting plants. The fact that Espoma has been making products for over 90 years, so they know what they’re doing! Check out Al’s, or your local independent garden center, for these great berries and the Espoma product!
Terra Casa Metal Art
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. We are talking art! Diana at Terra Casa (503-577-8242) in Damascus walked Judy around to show her some of the great art pieces that they have at the store. We started with Haitian metal art made from oil barrels. These pieces are great. They are handmade, very detailed and signed by the artists. Next to then were enameled metal pieces that were vibrantly colored! These wall hangings could be bent to give them a 3-D look. They were also in the shapes of birds and other animals.
We then moved to another area of the outdoor display area to look at some indoor pieces that were made into outdoor pieces. These metal pieces were treated and coated to survive the conditions outside. Two large tree sculptures were showcased here. Next to them were some really cool items that were recycled metal coolers and planters. 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.
French Prairie Perennials – Deer Defeat
The new growth of spring on your plants is an invitation to a buffet for your local deer. Even if you have planted ‘deer resistant’ plants, they can be a problem, because deer eat EVERYTHING when they are hungry. Now if you are done picking the right plants and putting them in the right areas and you still have problems with deer you may need a little more help. Rick Naylor from French Prairie Perennials (503-679-2871) has found a product that might be just what you need. Deer Defeat is a deer, rabbit and groundhog repellant. Rick has used it at various clients homes and it has worked great. He sprays it on the plant and the deer leave it alone. It lasts a long time too! It is also safe around animals and kids.
If you like sushi or even spicy and ‘hot’ foods then you are probably a fan of wasabi. For most people this is the green paste that you get with your meal so you can spread it on your meat or fish. But did you know that wasabi is a plant? We took a trip to the Oregon Coast and met with Jennifer from Frog Eyes Wasabi, also known as Oregon Coast Wasabi, one of the largest growers of wasabi in North America. The actual name of the plant is Wasabi japonica because it grows natively in shady Japanese streambeds and it is a member of the brassica family. They grow 2 types of wasabi, daruma and mazuma. This plant loves moist shady conditions and is coveted for the rhizome which develops slowly over 18 to 24 months. This rhizome is then grated to make the paste that you can use on your foods. Here is an interesting fact, most of the wasabi that you find in restaurants is actually made from a mixture of horseradish, mustard and food coloring, and contains no wasabi at all. Actual wasabi starts to lose its flavor within a few minutes after you grate it. It should always be used fresh. It does store well in a refrigerator for a week or so, and can be frozen. Another fact about wasabi, all of the plant is edible. The leaves and stems still have some ‘heat’ but have a much subtler taste. Frog Eyes Wasabi also sells plant starts so you can try to grow these at home as well. You will need to wait awhile for the rhizome, but you can still harvest the leaves and stems for use in salads and cooking. If you are interested in trying the ‘real’ wasabi you can find a store near you at their website. You will also find out more about how to grow this tasty plant and how to get a start of your own.
If you would like to learn more about wasabi and get your questions answered, check them out the Leach Botanical Garden Plant sale today, April 13th at Floyd Light Middle School.