Some changes are coming and Iím not just talking about the show! This past week Iíve heard a lot about cold wet weather and possible snow in December. Iíve lived in Oregon since I was a child and I know that you canít always tell what the weather will be from day to day, but I do know that gardeners in Oregon and Washington are ready for just about anything that Mother Nature dishes out. So get that yard and garden ready, so you can handle anything that comes our way.
As far as other changes. Most have heard by now that William is leaving the show at the end of this season. This was his decision and we respect his choice to stay with us until the 30th of November. I just wanted to let everyone know that we have picked a new co-host for Judy and we will be revealing his name soon! Iím sure you will be excited to hear who it is since you are probably familiar with his name.
Another change is to our Itinerary for the upcoming Garden Time tour. We have been tweaking the tour and we are just days away from announcing dates, places and pricing. It will be a great tour! Trust us! Drop us a line if you are interested and we will put you on the waiting list for information. The current list has over 20 names on it (told you that our tours are popular) and this one will be full before you know it!
This week we featured...
Holiday to Winter Plants
The holidays bring a whole bunch of plants into our homes, but did you know that a lot of those plants can provide you with winter color and interest long after the decorations come down? We stopped by the Ďplant loftí at the Alís Garden and Home (503-855-3527) in Wilsonville to talk to Peter about some of his favorites. Of course the loft is also the home to grills and patio furniture, and those plants looked great around the comfortable seats where they were sitting. Of course poinsettias are at the top of the list for most people during the holidays. Did you know that they can be kept all year round? They are a tropical plant that can be grown indoors. They wonít change color in your home during future holidays unless you do a little manipulating of light in the late summer and fall. Then you can also grow a Christmas cactus inside as well. We move ours outside for the summer, but move it back inside before the first frost and it reblooms without too much problem. A plant that a lot of people may already have in their gardens are cyclamen. There are hardier varieties that are familiar in our area. The ones you will find at garden centers now are called Ďflorist cyclamení. These are a frost tender, which means that they can go outside during the summer (when they are mostly dormant) but have to come back inside for the winter. Another tropical plant that can look good during the holidays and after is the Anthurium. The waxy blooms and leaves are a traditional year round indoor plant, but with the newer brighter colors they can cheer up the season and the winter too. Orchids are a great plant for the indoors during this time of year. They have long lasting blooms and require very little care to maintain their blooms. If you want to keep them as an indoor plant they can take a little work, but they are also pretty forgiving. Finally, we had the Amaryllis. This is a bulb that has become a seasonal favorite. The plants can be bought in bloom, or you can grow one from the bulb itself with no problem. At Alís they have them as just a wax covered bulb. These are cool and because all the energy for a bloom is in the bulb, you donít need to water them. Once they finish blooming you can peal the wax away and plant them in the soil. Who know, you might just get a bloom next year!
So, as you can see there are a lot of plants that can be used for the holidays and then make the transition to a regular houseplant! For more plants and ideas on what to grow inside, stop by your local garden center, or one of the 4 Alís locations around the area.
Building a Holiday Centerpiece
The time for entertaining is here! With all the food and home prep that needs to be done, you may not have time to do much decorating, but before you buy a cheesy centerpiece, why not take a few minutes and make your own? We found out how easy that is to do when we stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) in Cornelius. Ron took us to the classroom where he had set up a table to make a simple centerpiece. He started with a chunk of Oasis, a floristís foam that you can stick your greens and flowers into. There are 2 types of foam, a dry and a wet, make sure that you get the wet. Soak the foam for 1/2 hour and then place it in a waterproof bowl. Secure the foam with a florist tape and then you can start to build. Ron used various branches from his fir and pine trees from his yard. Start by cutting your greens longer than you need. You can always cut a branch shorter, but if you cut it too short, you canít make it longer! He worked in an oval shape so it would fit in the middle of the of the table and he would sit down every once in a while to see what it would look like for those that are seated at the table. You donít want them looking at the foam! Working evenly so all sides looked good, he started at the bottom of the foam and then worked upwards. Into and on top of the greens he worked in some berry branches like pyracantha, holly and even deep red rose hips. He also had red twig dogwood, rosemary, thistle, dried hydrangea blooms, and even branches with lichens on it. These are all worked in together to make a lovely centerpiece. Ron even finished it off with a candle and a bow. Ron also told us that you can change the decoration by just adding and subtracting different materials between seasons, from Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you would like to build something cool and unique, you can sign up for a class taking place at Blooming Junction on November 23rd at 11am. Pre-register by contacting Blooming by the 20th. The cost is a low $30 and you get to walk away with some hand-made holiday magic.
Janís November Tips
We joined Jan for our last tips of the month for our 14th season in her greenhouse. She had a quick list of things to do in the garden before the holidays take over. First, she had to show us that she still had the Meyers lemon tree and it was doing great! She had added fertilizer to it because it was starting to show signs of mineral deficiency and reacting to the cold. Jan also told us that you can still get your spring blooming bulbs in the ground. You will want to do that pretty soon, but donít wait too long. She also told us that she drained the hoses and shut off the water, but she still had to open up the faucets and let the little bit of water in those to drain out too. Any residual water could freeze and cause your pipes to crack. In the garden, Jan has pruned back her rose canes to about waist high. This will help them stay strong during those strong winter winds and they wonít rock back and forth. Since the weather is cold, Jan also pointed out that the temps can be painful for those with hand injuries or arthritis. She had some minor compression gloves that help her hands stay warm and the gentle pressure helps with pain reduction.
The best news for this month, Jan also had a knee preplacement! She now will be ready for the new gardening season in 2020. If you would like more tips on what to do in the fall and winter garden, check out the OSU Extension website at https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening.
GGIW Ė Holiday Open House
The holidays are here. The kickoff for most people happens after Halloween (though some start a little sooner!) and that means it is time to start your shopping for everyone in the family, including you! All of our garden center and nursery friends are having their open houses over the next month and we start the fun at Garden Gallery Iron Works (800-452-5266) in Hubbard. Don met us in their huge showroom to talk about the HOT items for the holidays. We start in the new area that features Dean Crouser art. Dean recently had an appearance at the store and the response was incredible. So Dean is making another appearance at the annual Holiday Open House on November 16th between the hours of 11 and 2, but when the doors open at 9am, it is going to be crazy. Starting with a gift for the lucky few who get there early and a special free cocktail especially made for the occasion.
Next we moved to another part of the store to see some of the outdoor decorations that they have for sale. Don showed us the metal snowmen and Christmas trees that were lined for lights and ready for outside. These will last for years and all you have to do is push their stakes in the ground! They have also stocked up on those very popular tiny chapels and churches that are lit on the inside. You can also order your locally made wreaths if you stop by the store during the annual Holiday Open House. Donít miss the big party! In fact there is a gift for everyone, and that is a 25% discount on your entire purchase all day long! Itís a great way to kick off your holiday shopping!
Winter Bird Care
The change of the seasons signals a change for your local bird populations. Some of the non-migratory birds will be hanging around and may need a little help from you to survive the cold and wet of winter. We visited with Mitch of Backyard Bird Shop (503-303-4653) in West Linn to learn more about helping our feathered friends. We started with food. For seed eating birds you can use a black oil sunflower seed. This is a good basic seed that provides calories for high energy birds. We checked out the already shelled seed. It is a tiny bit more than the whole seed product, but there is less mess. For insect feeders you can set out a suet cake. Use different types of suet to attract different types of insect feeders. For most suet feeding birds they love insects and if you see a suet block with seed it is generally used as a filler in the suet. Once you have their food needs met, then you need to think about water. You may want to take a look at heaters to keep their water from freezing. You should also remember to put out fresh water whenever you can, since the birds prefer that over standing, dirty, water. The one bird that has special needs in the winter is the hummingbird. They use lots of calories and so their food needs are more critical than other birds. You can keep their nectar in the feeder fresh by changing it every week or so. You can find a simple recipe for making their nectar at the Backyard Bird Shop website. Plus, they need to have a nice clean feeder so they donít get sick over the winter. A new item for sheltering your birds is the Ďroost pocketí. This little woven shelter can keep your small song birds out of the harsh elements during the really cold days. They are also really cute! You can also welcome birds to your garden by incorporating different types of shrubs and trees. For a list of winter interest plants you can check with your local garden center. To learn more about attracting birds to your garden during the winter you can check with Backyard Bird Shop or The Audubon Society of Portland.