Last week we forgot to wish everyone a happy May Day and a productive Naked Gardening Day! It is crazy. Both days are celebrated around the world, but probably not in equal measures. The one thing to remember is that they are both signals of spring. We welcome everyone to get out and enjoy this early spring (glorious) weather! Before you head out, check out this week’s show.
This week we featured...
The spring garden is home to the ‘loner’ of the bee world. The Orchard Mason Bee is a wonderful, early spring, pollinator. It will fly in colder weather than its honey-making counterpart. It is also a very busy bee. It can pollinate many more flowers than the honey bee, plus it is much more docile too. It hardly ever stings! The one difference between the 2 varieties? The mason bee is pretty much done pollinating by June 1st and then it heads into hibernation to wait for the next spring to start all over again. We met with Mitch from the Backyard Bird Shop (503-303-4653) in West Linn, to learn more about these little ‘busy bees’. He told us about these industrious bees and how they reproduce. These bees will find holes in the wild to lay their eggs. We have found them laying eggs everywhere including cracks in our house. The best part is that they don’t do any damage to the area where they lay their eggs. You can watch these bees as a family project with some of the cool mason bee homes that you can get at your local Backyard Bird Shop. For more information on welcoming the Mason Bee to your backyard, stop by and check in with Mitch and the Backyard Bird Shop staff.
Citrus has become HOT for the home gardener. With the development of newer, more frost resistant varieties, people are willing to give these plants a chance. We know that in our garden, in containers, these plants are a winner! Some seasons they perform better, pound for pound, than our tomatoes!
To learn about citrus we stopped by Al’s Garden & Home in Woodburn (503-726-1162) and chatted with Mark. He told us that growing citrus is easier than you think. They like a warmer growing temperature and prefer to be inside. Though they can be moved outside for the summer months, it can be scary sometimes as leaves will drop off the plants when you move them or expose them to changes in temperatures, but they will always bounce back and produce fruit. Another benefit is the fragrance! The flowers produce a fragrance that will knock your socks off! On a warm spring day, they can overwhelm your deck or patio with their sweet smelling blooms! Taking care of them is a breeze too. Just keep them well watered, though not soaked, and watch that temperature and you will have them for years! They also do really well when you give them a boost with Espoma’s Citrus-Tone fertilizer.
If you would like to grow citrus but have questions, just stop by any Al’s Garden and Home location and get the 411 (information) on growing these beauties!
Bonide Indoor Plant Care
Indoor plants are a hot item for gardeners and homeowners, but they can have problems like any of your other garden plants. To learn how to take care of those problems we stopped by the Houseplant section at Terra Gardens in Salem and met with Tom Combs from Bonide. Tom had a few products that will keep your indoor plants happy and healthy all year long. We started with a great product that can tackle a lot of your indoor plant problems, Bon-Neem. This product has natural ingredients which you can tell by the ‘tan’ corner of the label and it also can take care of fungus, mites and insects naturally! The next product was Insecticidal soap. This is a topical product. It coats the plant with a soapy mixture and essentially ‘drowns’ the pest. Because it can be washed away, you might need to reapply this product a few times. The third product was a systemic solution. This product is a synthetic chemical and, once you apply it to the soil surface, it trans-locates throughout the plant from the roots to kill all those sucking insects that can feed on your plant.
The health of your plants is not just about getting rid of the pests and diseases, you also need to fertilize and feed those plants. For that Bonide has a wide range of plant foods for you to use. Tom had the African Violet food to show us. These products will get your plant the nutrients to thrive, even if you neglect them a little. For a full range of plant products check out the Bonide website, and for a great selection of indoor (and outdoor) plants stop by Terra Gardens in east Salem.
Foster Farm Historic Lilac
If you love lilacs and history then you have to go to the Philip Foster Farm in Eagle Creek (near Estacada). They have a very interesting lilac there with a deep history. We met with Tom Burnett, a descendant of Philip Foster, in front of the home on the property, right next to the lilac. The original start of this lilac was brought from Maine to Oregon in 1843 by Mary Charlotte Foster, wife of Philip Foster, partner with Sam Barlow on the Barlow Road. The Fosters sailed around Cape Horn and Mary Charlotte planted the lilac immediately upon her arrival in Oregon City. She moved it five times, replanting it at each of her homes. It was planted in its current location in 1883. When pioneers arrived at Foster Farm after travelling the Barlow Road, this was a welcome sight! You can see this plant at the farm and learn more about it during normal tour hours, please check the website for the current hours as they change by season. While you are there, check to see if you can buy a start of this plant for your own garden, since they have them available at various times of the year. Then you can have a piece of pioneer history in your own garden!
Oregon Garden Greenhouse – Digging in the Dirt
Can you imagine growing enough plants to accent an 80 acre garden? Tough job right? How about doing that with a couple of full time people and a bunch of volunteers? Believe it or not that is what they do at The Oregon Garden (1-877-674-2733). We stopped by their growing facility located on the back edge of the garden and talked with Ana who is the greenhouse manager and she took us on a quick tour. The garden is loaded with an outstanding array of perennials, but it falls on Ana and her army of volunteers to grow the beautiful annual blooms that grace the grounds during the summer. She first talks about the greenhouse where they plant all the seedlings and cuttings from ‘mother plants’ those are then moved and transplanted by her volunteers into larger containers to get a good root ball growing. Finally they are moved to a larger greenhouse and then eventually outside to acclimate to the temperature. Then they are moved into the garden. Your chance to see all these beautiful plants is coming up and to learn about that we traveled up to the garden to talk to Allie
She told us that they are hosting their annual ‘Digging in the Dirt’ event on the May 11th. They invite people to purchase a ticket and then they will put you to work. I know that sounds a little crazy, but there are perks for joining in! You show up with your ticket, plant a few plants and then you get to listen to live music, plus enjoy brunch and bottomless mimosas served in the Discovery Pavilion in the Rediscovery Forest. You will also get a plant to take home, a free return pass to the garden so you can see your plants in bloom and an additional 20% off at the gift shop and the Garden View Restaurant. You definitely get your money’s worth for just planting a few plants for all visitors to enjoy. Go to their website to get your tickets, but hurry, they are limited!
Garden Statuary and Spinners
If you are filling your garden with just plants, you might be falling short! To create a total ‘entertainment environment’ you should consider adding statuary and motion to the garden as well. To get some ideas we stopped by Terra Casa in Damascus (503-577-8242), and talked with Diana to see what she has to offer. We started with statuary. She has a large selection of cast aluminum frog statues that are new this year. They are cute with whimsical poses and positions that will be sure to start a conversation for guests to your garden. They can be placed outside along with some great concrete statues that she always has a huge assortment of outside the store. The coolest thing we’ve seen in a while were the new metal spinners. These spinners look almost animated with different motions when twirling! Diana added a pendant at the bottom and it was incredible. We were mesmerized just watching them. These spinners are meant to hang down from your eaves or a structure, but she also had some whirligigs and pinwheels that are meant for the tops of your fence posts. These also created very unique movements and patterns while twirling.
To add a new dimension to your garden you need to stop by Terra Casa in Damascus.
Crabapples & the Tree Book
Trees are a great addition to your garden and one of the best places for the introduction of new trees is at J. Frank Schmidt and Son in Boring, Oregon. We met with former hybridizer Keith Warren in front of their offices to talk about some of the new crabapples that he has helped introduce. The first one we looked at was Sparkling Sprite. This short little ball of a plant was covered with blooms! It is the perfect tree for a small garden! Then we moved to the ‘Trial Block’ where they grow newer introductions to make sure that they perform well. Here Keith showed us how they protect new flowers so they can cross pollinate blooms with just the right genes to get newer plants with the characteristics they want. The result of that cross pollinating results in new trees like the crabapples ‘Ivory Spear’ and ‘Raspberry Spear’ which are both known for their incredible upright structures. These trees will become more available in the next couple of years.
This led us to talking about the new Timber Press introduction, The Tree Book. This tome is loaded with 940 pages of great information on a boatload of trees. If you want to know some great information on trees this is the book for you. It just recently became available from Timber Press, so if you can’t find it at your local bookstore be sure to order it from the Timber Press website!
Grimms Spring Mulch
Now is the time to apply a good layer of mulch to your garden. Jeff Grimm from Grimm’s Fuel (503-636-3623) joined us to talk about the different types of mulches you can get for your garden beds this spring. We were looking to add some mulch to our garden this year and Grimm’s came out and blew a unit of it into our garden beds. No shovels or wheelbarrows for us! Jeff told us about all the different materials they offer. In the spring you can get gravel for pathways, wood chips for under your swing set and bark dust in all different styles and colors. Garden Mulch, which is what we got, is VERY nutritious, protects your top soil, prevents weeds and retains moisture. They also have top soil which will improve your beds and they even have a fine mulch that is great for renewing your lawn when you over-seed. In the fall and winter they can also supply your heating needs with wood for your fireplace or woodstove and heating oil for your furnace. If you need it, Grimm’s has it. Grimm’s has all this and can deliver them in bulk or even blow them in, as we found out, so the work is done and you save your back!
Agri-Plas Plastic Recycling
If you are a gardener you probably have a stack of those black nursery pots hanging out in your potting shed or garage. A few years ago we introduced you to a business in Brooks, Oregon that recycles all types of agricultural plastics. Agri-Plas (503-390-2381) collects plastics from various garden retailers and growers and recycles the plastic for other uses. However, a few years back the market for plastics disappeared. We stopped and talked with Allen, the owner, about the current situation of the market. He told us that it is recovering, but they no longer accept pots from your local garden center. They are just accepting products from wholesalers right now. Some of those plastics ends up in other products like bender board and some is re-used in the manufacturing of new garden pots and containers. They are even seeing a rebound in recycling of milk jugs, soft drink bottles and plastic sheeting, but there is a long way to go. Allen said that they are hoping to see a rebound in customers of recycled plastic so they can return to accepting plastics from local garden centers. If you would like to recycle your pots we recommend that you continue to contact your local garden center. As soon as Agri-Plas can accept your plastics, they (and Garden Time) will let you know.