Hot enough for ya?! This week we may have received a taste of things to come for this summer. The heat was fast and intense, and just as fast it was gone and we were back down to normal. Being just the middle of June we can almost be certain that these temps will return again. Be ready! Get your watering schedule in order, this week we talk about the weekly watering number from our friends at the Regional Water Providers Consortium. It is a good thing to get programmed into your system of watering.
Another thing that is returning besides the heat is our half hour format. Next week marks our last hour long program on 2019. Every year we move to an hour long format for 13 weeks in the spring. As summer creeps up and people go on vacations we have to return to a half hour show. We will still continue with our program until the end of November, as we do every year.
This week we featured...
Portland’s Best Rose – Spring Rose Show
When Rose Festival is here, you can be sure that the roses are going to be in their full blooming glory! The driving force for featuring our festival namesake is the Portland Rose Society. To talk about the society and a couple of rose events we talked to Rich Baer of the society at the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park. The Garden Time crew was at the garden to help judge for the title of Portland’s Best Rose. This competition was by invitation only, though there is a public voting earlier in the week, and we were just judging a few of the hundreds of plants that are in the garden. Winners are chosen from all the different styles of roses including grandiflora, hybrid tea, shrub and floribunda. Judges are also asked to pick the most fragrant rose in the garden too. This year the winner for Portland’s Best Rose was ‘Smokin’ Hot’. This rose had a reddish orange bi-color to it and was spectacular in the garden. The most fragrant in the garden for this Sunday was ‘Parade Day’.
Rich also filled us in on the Annual Spring Rose Show. This show and its awards are open to any rose grower in our area! It takes place the Thursday and Friday before the Grand Floral parade at the Lloyd Center on the second floor and this year saw a huge number of entries for judging. It had almost 1,400 entries and rose lovers from around the area took home a huge number of prizes. There can only be one ‘Queen of Show’ and this year it was the rose ‘Robert Bruce’ by Dennis and Merilyn Konsmo. The Konsmo’s have been huge supporters of the Rose Society and Dennis actually bred this year’s winner! It’s the first time in the 130 year history of the show that the winner was also the hybridizer.
If you are an area rose lover you should join the Portland Rose Society! They have very cheap dues, just $15 a year, and you don’t even have to grow roses! They understand that, due to the small spaces that young gardeners have to deal with, not everyone can grow roses. You just need to love roses and want to promote them to others! Check out their website for more information!
Jan’s June Tips
This month we met with Jan for our tips of the month early in the morning to avoid the incredible heat! She was in her greenhouse and tending to a couple of things. One thing she wanted to share with us was a violet with curled leaves. This is caused by a little mite that curls the leaves to provide protection for itself. This is nothing to worry about. The plant will grow out of it. It is just an example of what you can find in your garden if you are paying attention. Next we talked about the famous ‘Meyer’s Lemon’ tree. This tree was bug infested and left to freeze last year outside during the winter. It has since made a miraculous recovery. It is loaded with blooms and young fruit. This is the time of year that your fruit trees should be outside and they will reward you with bunches of highly scented blooms. The final thing we looked at in the greenhouse was some new seedlings. Jan told us that it is not too late to plant your vegetable crops. With the summer heat, your vegetables still have time to mature and produce veggies for your summer table. Just remember to protect those young plants from those hungry slugs out in the garden!
We moved to another part of the garden to talk about watering. Watering is VERY important with this amazing heat that we have been getting. Make sure to water DEEPLY, especially those hanging baskets and planters. Water until you see the water running out of the bottom of the container. If it runs over the sides or comes out of the bottom too fast, it may not be getting into the soil around your roots. Do the finger test of digging down around the roots to see if they are getting the moisture they need.
Your container don’t have to have the same boring combinations every year. You can shake things up by combining your indoor plants with their outdoor cousins! To get some ideas we stopped by Al’s Garden & Home in Wilsonville (503-855-3527) and talked with Eve. She told us that by using plants from both categories you can expand your plant choices and add a pop to your annual containers! We are following our standard rule of a thriller, a filler and a spiller while constructing these containers. The ‘thriller’ is the main plant, generally in the middle of the container, that will be the focal point. The ‘fillers’ are the plants that surround that center plant. And the ‘spillers’ are the ones that will fill in the blank spaces and cascade over the sides of the container. Eve started with a nice silver pot that had a striking bromeliad as our thriller. This was surrounded by hardy and non-hardy ferns including a red fern, a tropical fern and a soft Japanese Fern. You could also use a small fuchsia, a begonia or a polka dot plant to bring out the pink colors of the bromeliad. The spiller turned out to be a licorice plant with its soft leaves. The silvers, blues and pinks really worked well together!
We then moved over to another couple of containers. The first was a copper colored container with a large red banana in the center. These bananas are typically not hardy in our area, but they can be over wintered if you do a little work in the fall. To learn how to save them, check out this story from assistant manager Peter from Al’s on Saving your Banana. The fillers around this banana were reddish heucheras, ferns and grasses. The spillers were plants like the dark sweet potato vine and the prayer plant. The final planter was a bronze pot and we filled it with dracaena for a starter and filler around with sweet potato vine, another bromeliad, a begonia and a kalanchoe. The kalanchoe will just fill this container with color too!
To maintain these pots you will want to start with a nice garden soil like the Al’s Natural and Organic Potting soil with a good transplant fertilizer. Then you can add a slow release fertilizer after a month or so. Then give them a kick every 2 weeks with a nice water soluble fertilizer. For more ideas on creating mixed containers you can stop at any of the 4 Al’s Garden & Home locations!
Weekly Watering Number
How much should you water without wasting this precious resource? You just need the Weekly Watering Number! To learn more about this great resource we stopped by the garden of Amy from the Regional Water Providers Consortium (https://www.regionalh2o.org). You can start the process by figuring out how much water your sprinklers are pouring out on your lawn. You can do that by using a couple of tuna fish cans. You place one close to your sprinkler and on about 4-5 feet away from the first one. Turn on your sprinkler system for 15 minutes. Average the water in both cans to give you your starting point. Then go to the Regional Water Providers Consortium website at www.regionalh2o.org, click on the ‘Get Your Number’ link and using the charts provided where you can figure out how much water your system is providing. Your lawn will need about an inch of water a week to maintain its health. Divide that 1 inch into 2 waterings per week. This will force your grass to grow deeper roots which will make a healthier lawn in the long run.
Then sign up for your weekly watering number by entering your zip code. This number tells you, based on your location and the upcoming weather, how much you need to water your lawn. Some weeks it will go up and some week it will go down, just know that you are applying just the right amount of water each week.
For more great watering tips for inside and outside your home check out the RWPC website.
Timber Press Summer Books
Summer is for relaxing and reading, and if you are a gardener, you have a ton of garden selections to choose from. We stopped by the local office of Timber Press, one of the leading publishers of garden titles to talk to Tom Fischer about what he would recommend on his short list. We started with a book called Plant Parenting. This book covers all the details on how to grow and propagate new plants. This walks you through, step by step, how to make more plants from your favorite ones in your garden. It covers everything from seed starting to making plants from cuttings and other methods too. The next book, Grow Your Own Herbs, talks about the 40 best culinary varieties for the home garden. These 40 different herbs can be used for cooking, teas, tinctures and medicines. It not only covers their uses in the kitchen, but also the tricks for growing them well in the garden. For the garden ‘stylists’ we looked at The Planthunter. This book is about gardening trends and upcoming styles of gardening. This book contains profiles of gardens all over the world so the reader can see a wide variety of gardens and plants. This isn’t about large gardens either. This book even addresses urban gardens as well as larger space gardens. The final book we looked at was A Way to Garden. This tome walks the gardener through the seasons in the garden. It is filled with beautiful photos and helps people design for the seasons. A great read, or even just to look at the pictures.
Timber has an even larger number of books to choose from and some are yet to come to your bookstore during the summer. Some of those title include: The Lifelong Gardener, Deer-Resistant Design, and The Tree Book which we featured earlier this spring!
Check out the Timber Press website for even more selections.
Tools and Strategies for Adaptive Gardening
For those who love to garden, age and illness can seem like an insurmountable mountain to getting back out in the garden and remaining active. To learn about some tools and techniques for staying healthy in the garden we stopped by the Stenzel Therapy Garden at Legacy Good Samaritan in Portland to talk to Teresia Hazen. Teresia is an old friend of the show and as the Coordinator of Gardens for the Legacy Health System and a registered horticultural therapist, she had a bunch of suggestions for staying healthy and active in the garden.
We had a few patients and volunteers to help us demonstrate the tools and strategies. We started with Denise who was recovering from a recent stroke. She was working on deadheading pansies with her hand that was weak from the stroke. This helped strengthen that hand and, because the flowers were in a pot, allowed her to work from her wheelchair. We moved to another part of the garden to check out Deborah who was also in a wheelchair. Deborah had suffered a case of heart failure and she was watering to help build her overall strength and endurance. Just simple tasks like this can help you maintain or build muscle and stability.
We then worked with 2 of the garden volunteers who were there. Pat showed us how to use good body mechanics to keep her back straight and how to use the Winged Weeder tool effectively. Audrey also showed us how to use a raised bed or even a seat to relieve the stress of gardening on our bodies.
We finished by showing tools and other garden accessories to lessen the load on our bodies. Using rakes with smaller heads so we don’t pull such large loads through our lawns and beds, finding ergonomic tools so we don’t strain our forearms or shoulders, finding watering tools, like Dramm, that allow for many different choices in watering and even quick connect hose adapters so our wrists get a break. These are just a few things that you can do, or use, to make sur that you can garden well into your 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. If you would like to find out more about the Legacy Health system of gardens you can check out their website at https://www.legacyhealth.org/gardens.
Portland Nursery Bonsai
Bonsai is a wonderful art. Each plant becomes a microcosm of a miniature landscape. It can become a hobby that can consume you if you get bitten by the ‘bonsai’ bug. It can also be very intimidating for the beginner. To help people understand how easy it can be we stopped by Portland Nursery (503-788-9000) to talk to George about the big Bonsai Show that is happening at the Division Street Store. He showed us how easy it is to get started in making your own bonsai. We started with tools. You will need a good pruning scissors. Since most of your pruning will be done on small limbs and branches these are very important. Next is a small hand rake. This helps with raking the soil, weeding and straightening the roots when you replant your bonsai. It is also recommended that you get a carrying case for these tools so you don’t misplace them. Wire is also useful when training your plant’s growth. This can help shape your bonsai to gain a more statuesque appearance. We also talked about the different plants that you can start with. Most of these were varieties that were bred to be dwarf or miniature plants. There are a wide assortment of evergreen plants or even deciduous varieties. You will want to take your time in choosing the right plant since bonsai is not a short term hobby. It is recommended that beginners start with a juniper, pine, hornbeam or a maple. Those are the most common and the easiest to work with. You will then want to choose a pot that is the right size for your plant. Soil is very important and there are special bonsai mixes that provide the right nutrients and drain well so your plant doesn’t end up sitting in too much moisture. If bonsai interests you, you should stop by the Portland Nursery location on Division today for their big bonsai event. From 10am to 3pm you can learn about bonsai from the Bonsai Society and even enter your own bonsai for prizes (you must enter before 10am). There will be lots of bonsai experts there to answer your questions. Be sure to check out the Portland Nursery website for more information on this great event!
Oregon Garden Pet Garden
It can be a constant struggle to have a pet and a nice garden. We found a new demonstration garden at the Oregon Garden (1-877-674-2733) in Silverton. Ty met with William to show us their ‘pet friendly’ garden. It is meant to show people how to build a garden where pets and people can enjoy the outdoors together. The garden has signs that tell you how to protect delicate plants, create walkways, provide drinking water and places to rest for your pet. He also talked about the plant choices that you make in the garden. Make sure that you have pet safe plants by checking with the Oregon Garden where they also have an informational kiosk that has a list of poisonous plant material that can be harmful to your animal, or with the Oregon State Extension service. You can bring your pet to the garden and even let them take a dip in the pool! Check it out the next time you are at the Oregon Garden.
TOW – Deadheading Rhodies
So your early blooming rhododendrons are starting to lose their bloom. Here is a tip to help you get more bloom out of them next year. Take the spent bloom at the base and snap it off. Be careful not to damage the new growth coming out at the base of the bloom. By removing the old bloom you are telling the plant to not produce seed heads and to spend its energy on the bloom for next year.
If you are looking to limit the growth of your plant you may want to do a little trimming. Snap off some of the new growth to keep the plant at the same height. This may also damage some of the blooms for next season since the plant sets buds in late July and August. You can reduce the height of your plant by cutting down the branch to the next leaf bud. This will cause the plant to not bloom on that branch for next year, but you can generally expect a new bloom on that branch the year after that. Also remember to wear a glove when cutting your rhododendrons back; they have a coating that may irritate your skin.