Happy Mother’s Day! We love our moms and this is the perfect weekend to show that. The weather is great and there are a ton of events out there to share with mom. We have covered a bunch already on the show including the Lilac Days at Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland Washington. They are finishing up their event this weekend. There are a few other events just starting this weekend including the open gardens at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens and Adelman Peonies at Exit 263 in Brooks, Oregon. There is also the big rhododendron event and sale at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in SE Portland. There are so many places to catch some great blooms, that there should be no excuse to not visit one or more of them. You can even pick up some cut flowers or plants at all these locations.
This week we featured...
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden 2019
We went to see the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden for their big Portland Rhododendron Show and Plant Sale that happens every year on Mother’s Day weekend. Dick ‘Red’ Cavender talked to Judy about all the changes to the garden over time. The Crystal Springs area started as a big briar patch, full of weeds and blackberry vines back in the mid 50’s. Over time, with the help of volunteers and a partnership with the city of Portland, changes started to happen. Fees were collected and plants were donated and eventually walls, bridges, and landscapes were installed. All of what you see today is because of your fees and a lot of elbow grease from the Rhododendron Society!
He also told us about all the events happening at the garden this weekend. There is the plant sale in the parking lot, which is free to the public. There is also the cut flower show which is in the middle of the garden and can be seen with the normal admission charge, and don’t forget the wonderful garden itself! We also talked about those benefits the garden has enjoyed because of the generosity of gardeners and rhododendron lovers around the state during all these years. The garden is maintained by volunteers and the plant sale that the Rhododendron Society is conducting helps to raise funds for the garden. If you would like to learn more about the garden and about volunteering check out the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden website, or call 503-771-8386.
There is one major change that the City of Portland is enforcing this year. Anyone parking along 28th street will be getting a ticket this year. There is plenty of parking across the street at Reed College. There will also be another parking area open along SE Steele Street with a shuttle servicing that one. Come have a great day and make sure you take home a plant and not a ticket!
Early Blooming Clematis
Spring is when all the plants in the garden start to show off. One of these plants is the Queen of Vines, the clematis, and one of the first varieties to bloom is the Montana varieties of clematis. To see some spectacular specimens we stopped by the Rogerson Clematis Garden at Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego and took a tour with Linda Beutler, the curator of the clematis collection. She took us to the edge of the garden where there was a huge ‘Grandiflora’ just starting to bloom. This plant completely engulfed the 10 foot structure it was growing on. These small flowered plants are just covered in blooms! In fact, the best views of some Montanas in the collection are facing a jogging path so people walking by get the best show in the house. Linda told us that this huge plant will get a haircut later this summer which will drop the height to 2 or 3 feet. That is a huge cut, but these ladies will respond like champs and within a couple years will be rivaling their current height.
To see more we moved up the hill to the Founder’s Garden. There we found even more of these tall beauties. Right behind us during the interview we had the Montana variety ‘Warwickshire Rose’ which was paired with a smaller, large bloom, hybrid ’Sixten’s Gift’. They worked really well together! Another one in the Founder’s Garden was the equally stunning ‘Vera’, and right around the corner, in the Heirloom garden was the Montana var. ‘Ruben’s’. In case you couldn’t tell by now, the garden was full of wonderful blooming clematis! If you would like to visit the garden you can stop by between dawn and dusk every day. It is free to the public. The greenhouse hours and information about tours are on their website. On the website you can also find a list of clematis that are blooming that week.
There is one more way that you can enjoy the Rogerson Garden and that is during their Inviting Vines event that is happening on the 25th of this month. You can support the garden by buying a ticket and see the garden along with 4 private gardens in the Lake Oswego/West Linn area. There are a couple of other events that will require a separate ticket. Maurice Horne from Joy Creek Nursery is the guest for the morning breakfast on that morning, and William and Judy will be in the garden for an afternoon tea. Tickets for the tour can be purchased on the Rogerson website. They can also be picked up at select garden centers and nurseries. The list of those is also on their website. Stop by the garden now and catch these beautiful plants, or consider supporting the garden by purchasing a ticket for the Inviting Vines tour on the 25th.
Garland Mother's Day Color
What mother doesn’t like color? Spring is the perfect time for Mother’s Day because of all the color that is available at your local garden centers. To get an idea of the selection out there we stopped by Garland Nursery (1-800-296-6601) in Corvallis. There, Brenda pulled out some great plants that you might consider picking up for mom. We started with a new variety of lilac, the Bloomerang. This is a reblooming lilac and this one was called ‘Dark Purple’. To get it to rebloom, just do a little cutting of the old blooms this spring and you should get more blooms in late summer. Another great bloomer is the Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily). They come in a variety of colors, this one is called ‘Eliane Orange’, and are great at reblooming all summer long. To make them rebloom even faster during the summer, you can just twist the old bloom heads and they will snap off below the surface. This will promote even more flowering stems to come up. These are also great cut flowers, lasting a long time in a vase once cut. The tallest of our group was next, the delphinium ‘Guardian Lavender’. These perennials will return to your garden year after year, if you give them the right conditions. That includes good watering in a well-drained soil.
You may think that dahlias are a mid-summer plant, but there are shorter varieties that are blooming now. These sill also return to your garden every year if you keep them in a well-drained area. The next plant is one that we all know but is now called by a new name. The Regal Geranium, formerly called the Martha Washington geranium is a great addition to the garden or even a container. They will keep blooming if you keep them well fed. They will reward you with two-tone blooms and a wide range of colors. Finally, we ended up with a sunflower. This is a new variety the will bloom all season long and not just once in the fall. This one was from a line called ‘Sunbelievable’ and this one was the variety ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. Hard to believe, a short sunflower that will bloom all summer long! You’ve got to try one in your garden, and maybe one for your mom too.
Terra Gardens Fruit Trees
Everyone wants fruit in their garden and this is the time of year to plant a fruit tree in yours. Terra Gardens (503-581-0441) in Salem is known for their large selection of fruit trees and we met with the owner, Dan, to get some tips on planting one in your garden. We found that they had a lot more trees than most of the garden centers we’ve visited. They had the basics that you can find everywhere, including cherry, apple and pear trees, but they also had more unusual ones like fig, pawpaw, quince, persimmons and jujube.
The key to success is at planting time. Make a hole that is twice as wide as the pot that came from the garden center. Into that hole add some nice organic material and a little transplant fertilizer. Plant the tree a tiny bit higher than the soil level of the pot. This will ensure that the graft, the part where the root stock and the fruiting tree are joined, will be above the soil level. This also helps to make sure that the base of the tree is not exposed to standing water, which will damage and possibly kill the tree. You will also want to avoid piling mulch up against the base of the tree as well. Piled mulch will hold moisture against the tree and could also do damage.
Some people will expect to get fruit from the new tree, but Dan told us that is a rare occasion for newly planted fruit trees. You can expect to start getting fruit 2-3 years down the road. If you have more questions about fruit trees or you want to add one to your garden, stop by Terra Gardens in northeast Salem off Cordon Road.
Portland Nursery Salvias
The National Garden Bureau has determined that 2019 is the year of the Salvia! Salvias are a huge family of plants. The salvia family has annual, perennial, herb, culinary, medicinal and even more types. We stopped by Portland Nursery (503-231-5050) on Stark Street to see a few of the selections that Sara had pulled out to share with us and to demonstrate the variety available. The one that made Sara fall in love with this plant was ‘May Night’. It was the vertical structure of the plant with strong flowering stalks that caught her attention. The next one was an annual salvia, ‘Majestic Spires Blue’. It had huge bloom stalks that are a great showcase plant for any garden, they just won’t return every year as other perennial salvias will. The next one was salvia ‘Hot Lips’. This one has a bright two tone bloom that hummingbirds go crazy over. The white and red blooms will cover this plant during the summer and well into fall. If you protect it during the winter, it will return again for another show next summer. The final one that Sara had pulled out for us to see was a salvia known as ‘Pineapple Sage’. This is one that is used in cocktails, salads and other dishes. As you can see there is a lot of variety in this family of plants. To pick up your favorite salvia of the year, stop by either Portland Nursery location, either 50th and Stark or 90th and Division.
Little Prince Groundcovers
Do you have a large bare spot in your garden that could use a little cover, or maybe an area that can handle the huge wear and tear of kids and pets? Groundcovers are your answer and there are a few that can take the toughest treatment that you can hand out. To learn what they are we stopped by Little Prince of Oregon. They are growers of some really cool and unique plants. Mark met us in the shipping area to share some of his favorites. He started with 2 varieties of Kinnikinnik (arctostaphylos). The first one was ‘Massachusetts’ and next to it was ‘Emerald Carpet’. These are great plants for a tough area for growing other things. They are evergreen, drought tolerant and deer resistant. You even get a nice tiny white flower in the early spring. The next plant was the Rubus pentalobus which has the common name of Taiwan Creeping Berry. It is a nice one for birds and wildlife as it gets a nice little berry that they can feed on. It is also a zone 7 plant, which means it will do well in our area. For those shady parts of your garden Mark had some Sweet Woodruff (Gallium Odoratum). This one has a small fragrant flower that blooms in late spring and early summer. It can also be sheared back after it blooms. The last one that we looked at was the Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’. It is perfectly hardy in the Northwest and has little blue blooms that just keep coming all season long. If the weather cooperates, it can bloom up to 10 months of the year.
To see how they can handle the elements we walked outside to the growing area of the nursery where they were growing the Rubus. Mark showed us how you can walk all over these plants with no damage to the plant. He also showed us how they take a cutting from the plant to get new plants to sell. This hilly area was covered with plants. If you wanted this type of coverage, Mark recommended that you plant them 12 to 18 inches apart. We then moved over to another bed full of Massachusetts Kinnikinnik to see how tough it is too. If you would like to pick up these plants you can find them at your local independent garden center or you can join other garden lovers from the Hardy Plant Society for the tour of the nursery on May 23rd. This is open to members of the society, but you can go to their webpage to join the Hardy Plant Society for this tour and other great events. For more information on the Little Prince nursery check them out on the web, Instagram or Facebook.
Spring Pond Prep
The weather is warming and that can create a few problems for your pond or water feature. We stopped by Hughes Water Gardens (503-638-1709) to get some tips from Eamonn Hughes to learn what you should be doing now to get ready for the season. Eamonn started with algae! This is the bane of the pond owner. The algae grows because of the heat and all the nutrients in your water. All those decaying leaves and other plant material is giving the algae the food to grow. You will want to remove all this dead and dying debris from your pond to start. Then you want to kill the algae in your system with a treatment of GreenClean. This will get rid of that nasty string algae. Next you want to break down the remaining nutrients with Microbe-lift. This is a bacterial pond clarifier that introduces bacteria to your system so it can eat all the nasty stuff at the bottom of your pond. Finally you can starve the algae with a good selection of pond plants. You should be cleaning up your plants right now as well. Get rid of the dead and damaged foliage; it will just add nutrients to your water that will foster the growth of algae, but be careful of the new growth and the flower buds. Now is also the time to fertilize your pond plants. Use a pellet fertilizer that will release over time. You can also start monitoring your fish. Remember that you need to be careful about feeding them right now. If the temperature of the water is below 45-50 degrees they won’t be able to metabolize the food that you feed them, so you will want to feed them a wheat germ product until the water warms up and they can process the protein in a regular food. The warmer weather will also mean a bloom of algae and mold in your system. You can control it with a variety of natural and organic products. For more information on pond maintenance you can always check with the experts at Hughes Water Gardens.
Stink Bug Update
A couple of years ago we told you about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB. This imported pest is a threat to our gardens and large scale farming operations. It can stick its sucking parts into any number of fruits, nuts and other plants, doing extreme damage to the plant and the fruit it produces. Oregon State University is taking the lead in finding a solution and we stopped by the campus to chat with one of the researchers involved, Dr. David Lowenstein. He is an expert in biological controls, that means he uses insects to control other insects. In this case he is working with a new, tiny fighter in the battle with BMSB, the samurai wasp. This little guy fights the stink bug by laying its eggs inside of the stink bug eggs. You can imagine how small this little warrior is by thinking about how small the stink bug egg is! They are so small they are really hard to see with the naked eye. They look like a tiny gnat. The eggs of the stink bug are usually a cluster of bright green eggs under the leaves of trees of bushes. If the wasp can get to them and lay eggs in them, they will turn into dark colored eggs (with tiny wasps in them), and you can sometimes see the mother wasp hanging out to protect them until they hatch.
Now this is where you can help researchers track the samurai wasp. They know that the wasp in in the Willamette Valley, but they would like to know the range of wasps and how they are doing in the battle against the BMSB. Dr. Lowenstein asked that when you are out gardening, to look for stink bug eggs. If they stay green and hatch small stink bugs you can destroy them, but if they are a dark color and has a tiny mother wasp hanging around, then they would like you to contact them at this website. Keep those eyes peeled and help get rid of this nasty pest.
TOW – Smashing Lilac Stems
The spring is the best time to bring in cut flowers for display in your home. The problem is that the blooms don’t last long enough, especially the woody stemmed ones. Judy and William shared a tip we learned at the Hulda Klager (360-225-8996) lilac gardens. This tip will make your lilacs last longer after they are cut. They told us how they smash the stems with a hammer. You want to crush the stems about 1-2 inches up the stem before you put them in warm water. The smashed stem allows the flower to draw more water and thus it will last longer. This technique works well for almost all woody stemmed plants. You can also cut it along the length of the stem and accomplish the same thing.
If you are looking for some great lilacs for your garden, check out the Lilac Days event at Hulda Klager’s garden in Woodland, Washington!