Happy holiday weekend. For a lot of you this weekend marks your first extended vacation of the year. Start with a Thursday holiday, mix in a Friday day off and then the weekend, and voila, a vacation! We hope you have a great one! If you are not going somewhere special for this extended vacation, consider visiting one of the local farmer’s markets or maybe even pick some cherries. We give you a suggestion in this week’s show!
Next weekend Judy and William will be at the Oregon Garden for their great ‘Art in the Garden’ kick-off. Go to the Oregon Garden website, buy a ticket for the art presale and the Forks and Corks dinner, or stop by on Sunday morning at 10am and join them in the garden where you can meet the artists too!
This week we featured...
Updating Your Sprinklers
Summer watering time is here and as you crank up your sprinklers, understand that you might be spending a lot of money and water on your garden and not getting the results you want. You don’t have to make a huge commitment to changing your watering system to reap some benefits. Steve Carper from the Regional Water Providers Consortium, met us in a backyard to share some tips for watering cheaply and more efficiently. He started with a trowel. Steve brought this out to demonstrate how to dig around your sprinkler heads and bring them up-right again if they had started leaning or falling over. This will make sure that they are not shooting spray into the air or into the ground and that you are getting full coverage. Then if your head is not aimed right you can simply grab the post and turn the whole head. If that doesn’t fix the problem you can replace the head with one with a different coverage pattern, or if you have ‘Multi-stream rotators’, you can use a simple tool to make the adjustment.
Another way to help control and conserve water is with a rain sensor. These can be hooked up to your system and then, if it rains, it will shut down your system until the rain is gone, and then it will turn on your system again. If all this seems like an ‘over my head’ project, then you should contact a licensed and bonded landscape contractor who has a background in irrigation systems. They will make sure your system is running effectively. For tips on watering wisely and how to pick a quality contractor, check out the RWPC website at www.Regionalh2o.org.
Did you know that Salem and the surrounding area used to be a huge cherry growing area? That is why Salem is known as the Cherry City and also why the public buses in Salem are called Cherriots. We were reminded of this when we paid a visit to Cherry Country (877-3CHERRY, 324-3779)and visited with Celeste Bonniksen. Her parents bought a cherry orchard in 1991. It started out as a hobby, but soon they realized that they could do so much more. They decided that they would dry the cherries to maintain their flavor and make them store better. They then decided to cover those dried cherries with chocolate. This has now grown to a business of over a half dozen people and a huge following of fans. Now they also make jellies, jams various candies and other treats. Celeste then talked to us about the homeowner and how they can be successful with cherry trees. First find a variety that will grow well in your area. Make sure you can give the tree adequate water and lots of sun. Then you want to a make sure it gets good pollination which means you might need another tree to cross pollinate or a self-pollinating variety. Finally we learned how to pick a cherry. You will find ripe cherries attached to a fruiting spur. This is the woody little nub at the top of the cherry stem. You don’t want to damage that since the tree makes use of it again the next season for fruit production. You gently push the cherry stem up and away from the cluster of cherries and it will just snap off without damaging the rest of the fruit spur. Very easy!
Then we moved up to their production facility to see how they process the 10 different varieties that they grow. From our previous visit we saw when the cherries come in, how they are washed and sorted, then they are pitted by a machine. The cherries are then stored and some are frozen for later use. When they need cherries for production they can pull them out of the freezer all year long. She also showed us how they make their chocolate cherries. I think we gained 20 pounds just watching her do it!
If you would like to try some of these treats you can come out to their farm on selected dates for u-pick or you can check their website. There you can find a retailer or farmers market near you where you can get these delicious treats!
Forks and Corks – Art in the Garden
It is summer and that means Art in the Garden at the Oregon Garden (503-874-8100). This year they are adding a special pre-sale night and Garden Time will be there. We met with Lindsay in the garden and she told us that the evening of July 13th, you can meet at the Garden for an art pre-sale and the Forks and Corks dinner. William and Judy will be there to chat and mingle while you check out the art and enjoy a lovely dinner. The dinner is a 5 course meal with wine pairings for each course!
Then on Sunday the 14th at 10am the Garden opens with all the artists in attendance. With the price of Garden Admission (free to Oregon Garden members) you will be able to tour the Garden, chat with the artists, meet Judy & William, and the first 50 paying guests will also receive a complimentary mimosa! New this year, we will give each guest an Art in the Garden Passport. When you visit each artist, you will receive a stamp. Once your passport is stamped at each location and filled out, you can turn it in for a chance to win our Dinner Escape Package Giveaway! This giveaway includes an overnight stay, dinner for two and a bottle of wine at the Oregon Garden Resort. We hope to see you there!
Whitman Farms Unique Trees
We found one of the most delightful nurseries we’ve ever visited recently. Whitman Farms (503-585-8728) was recommended to us by some friends and so we paid a visit. There we met with owner Lucile Whitman. She is a bundle of positive energy and just fun to be around. She took us on a tour of her nursery and we found so many plants that were new and cool to us, that we had a hard time figuring out what to showcase in our story. We decided to focus on 3 main types of trees, ginkgos, mulberries and smoke trees.
We started with the mulberry. Lucile calls herself the mulberry queen and the one she shared with us was wonderful. Mulberry (Morus alba) ‘Girardi Dwarf’ was a tiny little thing, and yet it was loaded with fruit. The mulberry is often overlooked in the garden and is a good producer of great tasting fruit. Next, we moved to the Ginkgos. The first plant was a ginkgo with fruit! A lot of people don’t know that this tree can produce fruit and Lucile had one! Most of the time you have to wait 30 years to get fruit, hers was producing after a couple years. It is rumored that the fruit is delicious. Then we moved to 2 pretty unique ones that were developed by Crispin Silva, plant scout extraordinaire. The first one was ‘Jagged Jade’ with really cool jagged leaves. Next to it was a ‘sport’, or new plant, that had a variegated leaf and it was called ‘Crispin’s Jaded Jester’. Very stunning. Next we were back into fruit again with a Goumi (Eleagnus multiflora). These plants, really more of bush, are native to areas of Russia, China and Japan. Right now they are covered with deep red berries that are high in vitamin C and delicious! Finally we ended with a smoke tree. Not your common purple leafed smoke tree, but the ‘American Smoke Tree’ this one is green and does have the typical ‘smoke’ flowers, but this one turns incredible colors during the fall. Each leaf will become a different shade of reds, yellows and oranges. Lucile said that looking at the leaves reminds her of the stained glass in a cathedral.
If you are looking for some of her great plants, she sells some of them through Portland Nursery and One Green World, or you can check out her website to get one shipped to your home. She also sells at her wholesale nursery, by appointment only.