This is the season of color. Maybe it’s because we’re seeing fresh blooms almost daily and everything looks great. Right now we have all our favorites in bloom like lilacs, iris, rhodies, peonies, and roses are starting to join the fun! If you walk through local gardens you can see these and so much more. This is the time to enjoy these wonderful blooming plants. In fact, in this week’s show we take you to two of our favorite spring festivals at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens and Adelman’s Peony Gardens. They are located just off I-5 Exit 263 in Brooks, Oregon (near Salem and Keizer). There you can also find Sebright Gardens and Egan Gardens. There is a lot to see in the Brooks area right now!
There are a lot of other things happening in the garden right now too. We visit with Jan for our tips of the month and we learn about a couple of products that will help make your garden look even better.
I would also like to put a bug in your ear about a couple of things happening on the 8th of June. One, the Garden Time show on Fox12-Plus in Portland (channel 13 /49) will be a little earlier in the morning. We will be on the air at 7am due to the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade. That change is for the 8th only and doesn’t affect our normal times on our stations in Salem and Eugene. Two, we are having our annual Subaru Garden Dayz at Capitol Subaru is Salem. That event starts at 11am and we will have a bunch of great garden vendors plus a lot of free stuff too. Come join us!
This week we featured...
Rare Plant Research Containers
If you are looking for something unique in the plant world, the place to go is Rare Plant Research in Oregon City. Burl Mostel and his wife have built an incredible plant place, that now also houses an award winning winery, Villa Catalana Cellars. Of course, we usually stop by to talk about plants and end up having a glass of wine too. Today we stopped by to talk about unusual plants for containers. However, we met Burl under something quite common, Golden Chain Tree. Actually, is was a bunch of Golden Chain under a trellis and in full bloom! This covered walkway was a buzzing, blast of yellow. These trees had been trained into a tunnel of incredible color. It is something you have to see. More on how you can see it a little later in this story.
Next we moved to a terrace near the tasting room which had a bunch of containers on it. Burl told us that this west-facing terrace gets really hot on sunny days and that can be terrible for most plants, but for some unusual tender tropicals it is right at home. We started with Furcraea gigantea variegate, an agave relative. This plant gets huge and is not hardy at all, but the light color is a true selling point, even if you have to move it in for the winter. The next potted plant was the Alluaudia procera. This succulent is found in Madagascar and its large fleshy limbs are covered with rows and rows of spikes and tiny green leaves. Lemurs are known to jump from limb to limb despite the pricklys on the limbs! Next was the Aloe plicatilis, which is known as the Fan Aloe. This looks like a small tree (it gets about 8 feet tall) with a fleshy aloe fan of leaves at the end of each branch. In a very tiny pot we found our next interesting group of plants, Bureras from Mexico. These obviously don’t need much of a root system because of the small container that was holding multiple varieties of them. We finished with 2 rather odd plants. Momordica rostrate from Africa and Pseudobombax ellipticum from Mexico. Both of these looked like giant bulbs crammed into pots, but that is just the form of this type of plant.
Your chance to ask questions about growing unusual plants in containers is today May 18th and tomorrow the 19th at the Annual Rare Plant Open Nursery event. The nursery, which is usually closed, will be open. There will be unique plants to buy, the winery will have tastings and there will be food to purchase. Plus you get to wander the grounds which resemble an Italian Villa! Come on out and see some cool plants in a great location!
5 Tips for Summer Water
Anyone can have a blue thumb! We recently met with Amy from the Regional Water Providers Consortium to get 5 waterwise tips for the homeowner. The idea behind these tips is to give the basics on being water efficient in the garden, and you don’t need to be a garden guru to do these.
1. Know when to water: Water early in the morning (before 10 a.m) or later in the evening (after 6 p.m.) when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is minimized.
2. Know how much to water: The amount of water needed each week changes with the weather. Go to www.conserveh2o.org for information on how much to water for the current week. Different plants have different water needs, and you’ll find this info on the website too.
3. Water thoroughly, and less frequently. This will encourage your plants to develop a deeper root system. Plants that have larger root systems are more effective at accessing water and need to be watered less frequently. Established landscapes and lawns need to be watered two times per week. Newer plantings, vegetables, and potted plants may need more frequent watering. Creating a watering schedule will help ensure that your plants get the right amount of water each week.
4. Prevent run off by applying only the amount of water your soil can absorb. Much of the soil in our area is clay which means it holds onto moisture well, but takes longer to absorb. You may need to break your watering session up to give your soil time to soak up the water you are applying (e.g. water for ten minutes, soak in for half hour, water again for 10 minutes). They call this wonderful maneuver ‘cycle and soak’!
5. Add compost or mulch to your soil to help it absorb and store water. This is important for the health and well-being of your plants and it can also reduce your water usage by holding the water longer near the plants that need it.
By following these 5 simple tips you can see your plants thrive and your water bills drop! For more great information about using water wisely inside your home and out, check out the Regional Water Providers Consortium at www.conserveh2o.org.
Adelman Peony Gardens
We are at the end of May and that late spring heat means the peonies are blooming. The cold and wet spring kept the blooms from popping until now, but it was worth the wait. They are looking great! Peonies are an easy and worry free plant that are great in the garden and the best place to see them is Adelman Peony Gardens (www.peonyparadise.com, 503-393-6185) near Brooks. The best part of this garden is that they have display fields and a display garden. The display gardens still look fantastic but the fields feature waves of color! The plants are in full bloom and we are being treated to a show that just seems to get better every day. Carol Adelman showed us the fields and also the display gardens. Did you know there are 3 basic types of peonies; herbaceous, tree and intersectional peonies. The herbaceous peony is one that will die back to the ground during the winter. Not to worry these plants are a favorite in the upper Midwest and can handle our coldest winters. They will return year after year. Then there are the tree peonies. These are not really a tree, but a peony with a woody stem. These will lose their leaves but will also return every year and reward you with great blooms. These can be pruned back but you need to be careful not to cut off too much. The final type is the intersectional or Itoh peony. These were first hybridized by Mr. Itoh in Japan and combine some of the best attributes of the 2 other forms. They have wonderful foliage and great bloom color, plus they are hardy in all areas of Oregon! She also told us about common problems that the home gardener might be experiencing. She told us that to get a stronger plant you need to pull off the side buds from your peony stalks. This lets your peony stand tall if it rains. Of course you can leave the side buds on and that will give you more blooms. We also asked about ants on peonies. A lot of people are worried about the ants on their plants. There is nothing to worry about. They are there because the plant is pushing sugary sap up the stems to the buds and the ants are just enjoying the feast. It is not causing harm to your plant. They will disappear after the flower blooms because the sap is gone! Also we found out that the peony is one of the toughest plants in your garden. If they can survive in the snowy and freezing Midwest, they can survive here! The gardens are open every day from 9 to 6 until the 16th of June. They also have events happening every weekend so check out their website for more information. While you are visiting be sure to pick up a copy of Carol’s new Peony book from Timber Press. They have signed copies for sale in the gift shop.
Schreiner’s Iris Gardens 2019
May is a busy month for local blooming plants. The leading plant for most of May is the Iris and we are lucky to have the leading iris grower in the country at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (1-800-525-2367). Schreiner’s not only grows iris, they also host the public at their huge display gardens every spring, and this year they are really putting on a show! The warmer weather that finally arrived has the blooms going crazy and that has meant a full garden. It’s a busy time for the Schreiner family, but irises are in their blood. In fact they have been growing iris as a family for over 90 years, growing award winning irises. We met with Steve Schreiner in the display gardens to learn more about how you can plant different varieties of iris to extend your bloom time to 3 months or longer! You can start in April with ‘miniature dwarf iris’ that only get 6 inches high. Two weeks later you can enjoy ‘standard dwarf bearded iris’. Then shortly after that you can get the ‘intermediates’ starting to bloom and will last into May. Finally you get to enjoy the ‘tall bearded Iris’ that Schreiner’s is famous for. Then, after those start to fade you can enjoy the Louisiana Irises which bloom in June! Of course, if you pick the right varieties, you can also enjoy the re-bloomers of late summer!
He also had some tips about bearded iris for us. The number one tip was about watering. Bearded iris are the perfect plant for areas with water restrictions. Iris are drought tolerant! Once they are established they can survive on very little water. You should also look out for slugs. Bait for them regularly. Fertilizing your plants should be done before they bloom and you should use a light fertilizer. Nothing too strong. If your iris are having problems blooming you might also need to give them more sun! They need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, anything less and they don’t perform well.
We also found out that Schreiner’s are now selling daylilies. They have found a great partner with award winning hybridizer, Bill Marriot, and will be featuring some of his award winning varieties!
These next 2 weekends are always big ones at the display gardens. This weekend is the Keizer Iris Festival. Schreiner’s has donated a ton of flowers for the floats in the parade. After watching the parade, come out and see the display gardens. There is also a spirit tasting and a dividing demonstration for those who want to learn more about thinning out their iris. Then Memorial Day weekend which has special events scheduled every day. Stop by that weekend and you can see artists displaying in the garden. There will also be wine tasting from Anne Amie Vineyards and spirit sampling from ‘Spiritopia’ Craft Spirits. The weekend wraps up with the annual Chicken BBQ by the Gervais Knights of Columbus and the sounds of jazz from ‘Calamity Jazz’. This isn’t the end of the blooms though. The gift shop will stay open for a couple more days and the display garden will stay open for visitors until the blooms are gone. Stop by and check out the gardens, it is always a blast.
All this fun can be had for just $5 a car load (rates change for other vehicles). A small price to pay for acres of blooms and lots of activities!
Hughes Water and Bog Plants
If you have a pond or water feature, or even just a boggy wet spot in your garden, you can really open up the palate of plant choices if you stop by Hughes Water Gardens (503-638-1709). Eamonn Hughes met with Judy in the nursery to talk about some of the choices you can find for those moist plants. First Eamonn talked about how to use these plants in layers. If you have a water feature or a pond, you don’t want hide it behind a lot of foliage. Start with smaller plants in the front and work toward taller plants in the back. He also recommended that you use transitional plants to go from your regular garden to those wet places.
He had brought out a bunch of plants we can consider when working around water. We started with the smaller plants. We had a nice collection that included Golden Creeping Jenny, a Pennywort ‘Crystal Confetti’ and a large leaf Lemon Bicopa. There was also an old favorite, Black Mondo Grass. Next to that was a couple of different Corkscrew Rushes. The smaller Dwarf Corkscrew Rush and the larger ‘Blue Medusa’.
Then we moved to the midrange plants. That started with the Caltha or Yellow Marsh Marigold which bloomed in late winter and early spring. That was followed by one of Eamonn’s favorite plants the Pickerelweed, which has a deep blue/purple flower that will just go all summer long.
Then going to the next layer up in plant height we went to the Louisiana Iris, which loves the watery areas around your pond. We also saw the tall rush ‘Lovesick Blues’. This one will add structure to your pond area all year long. You can also look for long lived color too. The marsh primula are beautiful along with the Bletilla terrestrial orchid. We ended with a tiny little treasure, the Zebra’s Quill (Ledebouria cooperi). This is a very small plant that can make a big impact if placed where you can enjoy it. Striped leaves and a tiny pink flower really show off in a smaller feature.
If you would like to add plants to your pond or water feature, take measurements and pictures of your feature to your local garden center or stop by Hughes Water Gardens and they can help you pick the right plants for the right place!
Jan’s May Tips
It’s time for the tips of the month and this month Jan was out in her garden, that is getting a major remodeling, to talk about an issue that affects a lot of gardeners this time of year. That is the issue of planting new plants or transplanting old ones. The key is to keep them well hydrated until they get established. When planting a new or old plant, make sure to get it mudded in well. That means you dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the plant in the container (don’t bury the plant). Then you have to keep it moist all summer long until fall. This will ensure that it gets a healthy start going into its second year. The next tip was one about being comfortable in the garden. Jan has arthritis in her hands and so she covers the handles of her tools with insulation foam for pipes. This helps her hands stay comfortable while working in the garden. Jan also talked about fertilizing strawberries. You don’t need to fertilize them, but if you do, use a fertilizer with a low nitrogen level (that is the first number of the N-P-K numbers). Later this summer when you cut back your strawberries for the season, you can use a nice balanced fertilizer on them.
Then we had to move into the greenhouse to see what was happening with the Meyers Lemon that Jan adopted last year. It was loaded with blooms! It looked healthy and it appears like it will have a ton of fruit come late winter next year. We will see… We ended our story with a warning about using old potting soil. It is alright to use old soil in your beds and even in your planters and containers, just remember that almost all of the nutrients are gone from last year’s plantings. If you use old soil, use it in the bottom of your planters and add some nice new fertilizer to refresh it, then top it with new potting soil. You can find a whole list of other tips for the month at the OSU Extension website, http://extension.oregonstate.edu.
Rogerson Inviting Vines Update
This week we found Linda Beutler, the curator of the Rogerson Clematis Garden, in the Modern Garden. This garden is filled with large flowered hybrids and they are just starting to bloom. We saw one, ‘Will Baron’ that was in full bloom and showing off right now. At its base was something that we didn’t expect, strawberries! This was a reminder that clematis like ‘their feet in the shade and their head in the sun’. That means they perform better if you keep the roots a little cooler, while their flower and vines love the heat and sun. There are 16 rows of clematis and an equal number of berry varieties to enjoy (if you are just nibbling) while you stroll.
Even though you can stroll the gardens at any time, your chance to see the garden and many more is coming up next weekend during the Inviting Vines tour 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.
Bonide Sucker Punch
Do you have a problem with suckers? These are those little tiny volunteer shoots that come up from the base of your favorite flowering ornamental or fruiting tree, like a lilac, cherry or plum. Tom from Bonide shared a product that will help you control them, Sucker Punch. This product can be painted on the suckers when they first appear at the base of the plant or on the runners as they appear further out from the plant. This will stop the growth of the sucker without harming or stunting the growth of the mother plant. This will also work on water shoots that appear later this summer on some of your fruiting trees. Once again just paint it on those shoots to stop them from growing, stealing the energy from your main plant.
Check out this great Bonide product at your local independent garden center or nursery.
Ants are the #1 pest problem in the US. There are lots of products that can get rid of them and it can be confusing if you want to stop them before they invade your home, yard or garden. William and Judy shared a few of the different products that are available to the homeowner.
Judy talked about baits. There is one big difference with most of these baits…ants treat them as a food. The baits are taken back to the nest and once it is taken to the queen, she is gone and most of the time so is your problem. Some of the most effective of the baits are ones that include borax. If you have found a ‘home remedy’ on the internet, it most likely contains borax. The Terro product is one that most people are aware of. The liquid application is great because you can see the ants on the first day all huddled around drinking up the sugar/borax solution and then the next day they are gone.
There are even all organic solutions that you can use that use all natural oils and essences. William showed us one from Bonide called ‘Home Safe’ that was all natural and easy to use.
There is one product that we left out and it was the chemical bait, Amdro. This contains ingredients that can kill and also create an effective barrier around the perimeter of your home. It is also effective on most types of ants including carpenter ants. It is very important that you follow the application instructions on these products. Remember the label is the law! Follow it! If you have an ant problem, stop by your local independent garden center and see which products might work the best for you.
Bringing a water feature into your garden can take it to a whole new level! The sound of water will help relax you, will attract birds and wildlife to your garden, and will help drown out the other man-made noises that are a distraction in your yard. To learn about adding a water feature to your garden we met with Rick Naylor from Visualscaping, a part of French Prairie Perennials (971-533-5637). We were in Newberg at the site of one of Rick’s installations. This one was huge, but it worked well with the slope in the yard and with the great plants that Rick always installs. Rick told us that water features can be as simple as a bubbler, which can be a pot with water going over the side, to tall stone monoliths, to a manmade stream rolling down a hill. All of them will work and can accent your garden if done well. The key is location. You need to put it in an area where you can enjoy it. You also need room for a reservoir. All water features with the active movement of water, are just recycling the same water over and over again. That requires a place to store all that water. Once you have the feature in place you have a couple other things to consider. First, you have to make sure that it will always have enough water. Features will run out of water over time. So that means either you monitor and fill it by hand or you set up a system to refill it. Some people use a float system. The float, when levels get low, will kick on a pump or open a valve to fill your water feature back up. The other consideration is the use of plants. Rick had a story of a client that had planted bamboo around their pond and after a couple of years the bamboo had punched a hole in the liner of the pond which required an expensive fix!
If you are considering adding a water feature to your yard or garden, we would suggest you contact a qualified landscaper/architect like Rick and his crew at Visualscaping!
Bio-tone and New Plantings
When you are planting your new vegetable garden, remember to get it off to the right start. That means helping your plant get the energy it needs from the soil by using a great product like Bio-tone Starter Plus from Espoma. We met with Carla at Garland Nursery in Corvallis to ask her about it. Bio-tone Starter Plus is a magic in a bag according to Carla. It has soil microbes, it has mycorrhizae and a starter fertilizer in one bag. You add this to the hole when you plant. It will attach itself to the roots of your plant and help it convert the nutrients in the soil into food for your plant. Once the plant is growing with a nice healthy root system, you can use Garden-tone to keep the plants growing with even more beneficial nutrients. You will have healthy plants with more flowers and fruit later in the season. You can find the great Espoma products at Garland Nursery and many other local garden centers.
Using a Sprayer Safely
In the late spring and early summer people start to pull out their sprayers. Whether they are applying weed control, moss control or other chemicals we thought it would great to give people a reminder about sprayer safety. These are good tips to follow even if you are applying an organic spray. First make sure that there is little or no wind. You don't want drift from your sprayer to get into different areas than where you want it to go. Also, make sure that the temperature is not too hot or too cold. Most chemicals, either organic or synthetic, are most effective in warm weather. Of course you will always want to read the label for application to make sure that you are applying it correctly. When you are applying the product you should walk backwards so you don't spread the spray on your shoes to other areas in your garden.
As far as attire, you should wear long pants, long sleeves and closed toed shoes. Eye protection, gloves and a mouth cover or respirator round out your clothing choices. Follow these simple rules and
you can be sure that the spray will end up right where you want it!