Welcome to another week of the stay at home gardener! This weekend we were supposed to be hosting our annual GardenPalooza event. For obvious reasons we are not, though we want people to know that we are trying to host the event later this year. Right now we are tentative for the 27th of June. Check out www.GardenPalooza.com for updated information as the spring goes on.
Also, you may know that a lot of your local garden centers are open for business during this difficult time. Some are allowing shoppers to come in their stores and others are offering ‘order and delivery’, or even pick-up at their businesses. Be sure to check their websites and Facebook pages to learn more!
This week we featured...
Planting a Sedum Wreath
These days of being stuck indoors are a good time to do a little planting, no really! A good planting project that we found was building a sedum and succulent wreath. Ryan joined Reggie from Little Prince of Oregon to walk through the steps of building an easy and beautiful wreath. Reggie started with a dried moss wreath that you can find at most craft stores. This wreath is dry so you have to soak it in water for 6-8 hours to fully hydrate it. Once the wreath was soaked she started to poke holes on all the exposed sides. These holes were about 1.5 to 2 inches wide and about an equal depth. She had Ryan push a variety of sedum and succulents into the holes. You can plant 5-6 varieties of sedums/succulents in patterns of three around the entire wreath for a beautiful display of color and texture. For this wreath we used outdoor, hardy plants so it can go outside. If you are concerned about freezing weather, make sure you choose indoor varieties and keep your wreath indoors.
To care for this beautiful wreath you will want to soak the wreath thoroughly every couple of weeks. You can immerse the wreath in a sink full of water for a few minutes or give it a nice long drink from a garden hose. If some of the plants get too big or start spreading out, you can pinch them back or tear off the new shoots and plant them elsewhere.
For a good selection of sedums and succulents (and some of the supplies) you can check out the Little Prince website.
One of the easiest perennials to divide is the hosta. We paid a visit to Sebright Gardens (503-463-9615) to learn how to do it from Thomas Johnson. Sebright grows over 1,200 different varieties of hostas so they know what they are doing. Thomas told us that you should see the points of the new growth poking out of the ground before you dig them up. If you are seeing the new leaves starting to unfold you should wait a couple of weeks so you don’t damage the new growth, but that is the only warning he gave. He just got his hands dirty and pulled a plant apart, but you can also wash the clump and then just tear it apart by hand. He started by making a cut from underneath the plant to separate the roots and then pulling the plant apart. If you have a large clump in the garden and can’t dig them up it is still easy! You can chop up a clump of roots with a shovel and still not kill the plant! Once they are divided you can move the pieces to their new home in your garden and replant them with compost, leaving the heads of the new shoots just above the soil level and they should be fine. If you ever have any questions about hostas you can contact them at Sebright Gardens.
FPP – Unusual Dwarf Plants
We stopped by French Prairie Perennials (503-679-2871) to see some of the great plants that they have for sale at the nursery in Aurora. Rick talked with Judy about what they have available. Yes, they are open between 11-1 Tues-Sun, and by appointment, but you can call 503-679-2871 to find out more. The first plant was a dwarf blue atlas cedar called ‘Horstmann’. This one is a very slow growing variety that will only get about 10-12 feet tall. Perfect for the smaller garden! The second plant he had was a Japanese Umbrella Pine called ’Green Star’. This is one that would look great in any garden. It has cool, thick needles that make this one an eye catcher! It is also a slow grower that stays columnar and tops out at 8 feet. Next we moved to a very unique conifer, a dwarf Sawara Cypress named ‘Harvard Gold’. This was a very compact evergreen that has an even growth habit, so it looks like you have pruned it, but you haven’t! It is also a beautiful golden color that can handle a little sun as well. Finally, we looked at Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’. This is a newer variety of mahonia with a softer foliage and early winter blooms that brighten the winter garden when nothing else is blooming. Of course they will have even more plants to share with shoppers, but they will also have a limited number of metal structures for the garden as well and to learn more about those we went into the store to talk to Kerry.
Kerry showed us some of the metal birds that they will have at the store and they have a few of the larger ones too. There are even more things that they have at their store in Aurora. The store is filled with ‘garden-themed’ gifts that will work inside and outside your home. These include rain chains and bird feeders too.
4 Simple Trellises
If you are looking to add height to your garden you can buy something, or you can build a simple trellis yourself! William and Judy walked us through the steps of building a couple of different ones. The first one was easy. William showed us how to make a simple teepee of bamboo sticks. He tied them at the top and they made a quick and simple structure. Next Judy used a tomato cage, for something other than tomatoes, to help her climbing peas. She also planted the peas on the inside of the cages to protect them when she was going to weed. The third structure was a folding trellis made from PVC pipe. We cut the pipe into various lengths to fit our garden size. This one had 3, ¾ inch pipes that were 3 feet long. These are for the two base pieces and the top. Then we cut 4 longer pieces (6 foot) these are for the sides. 6 elbows create the square and then we also had 2 tees. The top of the tee was a bigger size than the rest of the pipe. This will allow the folding of the trellis when the season is done. The finishing touch was the string. Last year we used a hemp string for the plants to climb on. This quickly broke down and that meant it didn’t work as well as we had hoped. This year we are using a cotton fiber string, which will give our trellis the strength to give our beans and other climbing plants a good strong base to grow on. The final one was a simple set-up of eyehooks that were screwed into the post on an arbor that we built a couple of weeks ago. Then we ran fishing wire through the hooks to make a structure for the plants to climb on. The fishing wire was invisible to the naked eye and if you are looking for more support you could use a wire, or if you wanted something more ‘earth-friendly’ a hemp string would be good. Give one (or all of them) a try and see if you can get your gardening ‘off the ground’.
Bauman’s Edible Container
Two of the hottest trends are container gardening and edibles. Brian Bauman from Bauman’s Farm and Garden (503-792-3524) combined both. He took a container and planted up something that looks and tastes good. His large container didn’t have drainage holes so he had to drill them in, and to save weight he put some old plastic pots in the bottom too. Then he filled the pot up with some brand new Black Gold All Purpose potting soil.
Brian then started with a new container raspberry plant called Raspberry Shortcake. This is a new variety that is designed for smaller pots and containers. That went in the center of the container. Then he started to fill in around the pot. Violas have wonderful flowers, but those blooms are also edible. These went in with lettuce starts, a trialing sugar snap pea and a couple little rosemary and oregano plants.
Once this is planted, you can water them in and give them a weekly watering through the spring. Soon you will have a tasty treat on you back deck that you can harvest the whole summer! All of these plants can be found at your local garden center or you can stop by Bauman’s!