COVID-19 AWARENESS: Please note that we are taking all necessary precautions to keep our on-air personalities, interviewees and crew safe during this challenging time. However, we do run repeat stories and segments that were shot earlier this year, before social distancing practices were recommended by health officials. If you see our hosts standing close to someone, please be assured that the segment was shot before March of 2020. We thank you for your concern and your interest in Garden Time!
Welcome to our last hour long program of 2020. Every spring we have 13 weeks of hour long programs to cover all the gardening information that pops up every year. This year we only had 10 weeks of hour long programs due to the Covid-19 outbreak. It was just tough to get a show put together over Zoom every week! Everyone asks why we can’t have an hour long show for the entire year and the answer is… money. We have wonderful sponsors (please tell them ‘thank you’ when you shop), but as the spring goes away so do people at the local garden center and that means less spare money for sponsorship. We understand. We tell people that without those sponsors there would be no show at all. We thank the sponsors and all of you viewers who have kept us on the air for all these years!
As we wrap up the hour long programs, we have packed this week full of color, natives, pollinators, and helpful garden tips! Anyone who watches this week will walk away with a ton of information and probably a list of chores to complete in their own gardens!
This week we featured...
Al’s NW Native Plants
People in the Northwest love their native pollinators and animals. In fact a growing number of gardeners are looking at adding natives to their gardens and some are even trying to create a Certified Backyard Habitat. The Portland Audubon and Columbia Land Trust offer a program that will help you establish a welcoming, certified garden that welcomes all our native visitors.
Part of that program is getting the right plants in your garden. To find some of those great plants we stopped by the Al’s Garden & Home in Sherwood (503-726-1162) to talk with Aaron about some of the great natives that they have to offer. The first group of plants were some tall ones for the back of your garden beds. The first plant he had for us was the Holodiscus discolor or Ocean Spray. It blooms with white flowers in late June and is deciduous. It also has a great sweet scent. The second tall plant was the Sambucus racemosa or Red Elderberry. It has white blooms that transition into big clusters of red berries that are popular with local birds. The third plant was the Philadelphus lewisii or Wild Mock Orange. This one still had a few fragrant bright white blooms with yellow centers leftover from its spring bloom. It is tough, drought tolerant, and would survive pretty much any conditions in your garden. We then moved to the Indian Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis. This one is one of the first plants to leaf out in the spring and has a dangling white flower that will turn into a plum-like fruit. The fruit can be bitter, but will sweeten up a little in full sun. The Snowberry or Symphoricarpos alba was next. It has its bloom now, but this plant really shines in the winter. After the foliage drops you will get branches covered in white berries which really give you a pop of color in the winter garden. The last of the tall natives was the Pacific Myrtle. It makes a great evergreen shrub that is drought resistant and can get 10-12 feet tall, but you can shape it by cutting it back if you want.
We then moved to the shorter natives. The first was a personal favorite of producer Jeff, the Evergreen Huckleberry (vaccinium ovatum). In the late summer you will find this plant covered in tasty berries. You can make jams, jellies and even liquors from these berries, so plant extra to share with your animal friends. You can find huckleberries on trails around our area which makes them popular with hungry hikers. The next plant was one of the native Oregon Grapes or Mahonias. This one, Mahonia repens, is a low grower. It has yellow flowers that produce blue berries that are popular with birds and other ground dwelling wildlife. Our next plant is also popular with NW hikers, the Rubus specabilis or Salmon Berry. It has beautiful little blooms that turn into golden berries that look similar to blackberries (except they are golden in color). The last of the low growing natives that we saw was KinnickKinnick. This is one of the shortest plants you can get in your garden. With wonderful evergreen foliage and white/pink bell shaped flowers it is very popular in the garden. Especially now with the new foliage showing up as a bright green!
The next group of plants were called ‘Nativars’. These are crosses of some of the most popular native plants, that also share a lot of the same characteristics as their parents. The first is a popular one for gardeners already, the Black Lace Sambucus (Elderberry). The lacy foliage looks great, especially when a breeze happens by, and the pink flowers produce some berries that birds appreciate. The next two plants were different types of mahonia. The first was ‘Charity’. It can get 10 to 12 feet tall with brighter green foliage than the native plant, but it still gets those tremendous bright yellow bloom stalks, turning into berries. Aaron said the berries were literally stripped from his plants by a flock of cedar waxwings this spring. The second mahonia was ‘Soft Caress’ mostly because of its feathery foliage. It only gets about 4 feet tall and is really drought tolerant when it is established. The last nativar was the Pacific Manzanita. A great landscape plant that loves well drained soil and partial sun.
As we mentioned before these are great plants if you are looking to create a certified backyard habitat. In fact, if you sign up for certification you will receive a packet to help you get started. In that packet is a coupon book which can get you discounts on native plants at select local nurseries including Al’s. Their offer in the book is $20 off a $50 purchase. Yet another great reason to create a ‘native’ slice of heaven in your backyard!
Dancing Oaks Pollinator Plants
June Is National Pollinator Month. Nurseries encourage the planting of pollinator gardens that have nectar and pollen producing plants for bees, birds, bats, and other natural pollinators. One of the great events of June is the Pollinator Festival at Dancing Oaks Nursery (503-838-6058). Due to the coronavirus this year’s event was converted to an on-line event. You can go to https://dancingoaks.com/pages/pollinator-festival-2020 to get more information on the virtual festival this year. Dancing Oaks always has some great pollinator plants that are welcoming to all pollinators. To see a few we took the scenic drive down to the nursery outside of Monmouth to talk to Leonard. The first plant is one that we are used to seeing as a different cultivar, the Red Hot Poker. This one didn’t have the normal tight cluster of flowers at the end of the bloom stalks. The Kniphofia thompsonii is a native species to South Africa and has its tubular flowers spread out over the stalks. It still had the tall structure that people love in their gardens. Another structure plant that people love are the Sea Hollies (Eryngium alpinum). These bluish/green/grey foliage and early blooms are a great contrast to other brightly colored plants in the garden. The blooms open to a darker metallic blue that the bees just attack. The next plant was just covered in flower spikes. The Chinese Mint Shrub, Elsholtzia stauntonii, should not be confused with the Australian Mint Bush, which is a totally different plant. This one is hardy and is in its glory right now with tall stalks of light purple flowers that will bloom all the way to the fall. The foliage has a nice fragrance too, which makes it deer resistant. The next plant was a smaller ground cover type of plant in the Honeysuckle family called Lonicera crassifolia. It has shiny evergreen foliage and cute little yellow/orange blooms. Next we had a small plant, but watch out! The Fremontodendron – Flannel bush ‘Ken Taylor’ does not stay small for long. It becomes a big shrub in the garden so give it room! The bees love the big showy yellow flowers so, make room for this in your garden. The next plant has gotten a lot of attention the past few years, Asclepias speciose, or Showy Milkweed. This is the plant that you should have if you love butterflies, specifically the Monarch Butterfly. The adults feed on the nectar in the flowers, lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves and when they hatch the larvae eat the leaves. It is a one-stop shop for Monarchs! It also has something for us, showy flowers that are fragrant too. The next plant was a member of the potato and tomato family from South America, the Fabiana imbricate, ‘Violet Pichi’. It has heath or conifer type foliage, but it has really cool tiny blooms. The large plant behind it was the Eucomis bicolor (Pineapple Lily). This is a unique plant because its central flower stalks look like little pineapples when they bud and bloom. The top is unique too. In fact, Eucomis, means ‘good head of hair’ and that is what it looks like too! The final plant was the Arisaema ringens or Cobra Lily. These are also called Jack in the Pulpit for those who may have heard of it before. Some of these species can be a little stinky, but this one isn’t that bad. They have the really cool bloom and unique leaves that make a statement in the garden.
As we mentioned before, you can participate in their online pollinator festival, or you can drive out to the nursery and pick up some of these great plants. They also ship as well, so you don’t even have to leave your home!
TOW – Smart Phone Gardening
Our tip of the week showcases how you can use simple technology to make your lawn and garden thrive. We showed you how to use the calendar in your phone to put in reminders to do simple home and garden chores. For example, when you prune your roses in mid-February you should put in a reminder to fertilize those roses again in 6 weeks. In fact, every 6 weeks is a good time for deadheading and/or fertilizing all your roses. Also, if you have houseplants, it might be tough to remember when you last watered them. We tend to overwater them anyway. Put a reminder in the phone to check them every 2 weeks to see if they need water. If you have a lawn, the best way to make it stronger and less susceptible to diseases and moss is to keep it fertilized. About 3-4 times a year, your reminder in your phone will tell you that your lawn needs a feeding. Put that smartphone to use and get healthier plants and a stronger garden.
Topping Your Dahlias
Our tip of the week will help your flower garden later this summer. This week we are passing on a tip about ‘topping’ or ‘tipping’ your dahlias. We noticed that, at the end of summer at the Swan Island Dahlia (800-410-6540) fields, their flowers were all up-right and didn’t flop in the fields, unlike our dahlias in the garden. They told us that they cut off the tops of the flower in the late spring. This ‘topping’ of the dahlia makes a shorter, stronger bush and a better structure for the flowers. When your plant is 18-20 inches tall, just count up about 3-4 leaf nodes from the ground and cut off the top of the stem. It is hard for some people to do! They notice the buds starting to form and that means it will take longer for your flowers to bloom, but if you do it now you will have a much better plant in just a few weeks. You can find more tips about dahlia care at the Swan Island Dahlia website.
When the flowers start to bloom it brings out some new pest in the garden. Right now we are starting to see the reappearance of the Geranium Bud Worm, also just called the ‘bud worm’. The bud worm is starting to show up on petunias, geraniums and other flowering plants. What you are looking for is notches in the blooms. Sometimes you will also see notches in the buds themselves. You may also see the little caterpillar that is the problem. It can appear green or a light brown and is sometimes hidden on the stems and under leaves. Right now you can use the Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew from Bonide. This is a natural product and can be used to treat the problem or as a preventative. It treats the pest bacterially and since it is a natural product it can be used in organic gardening too. Of course we always recommend that you read and follow all label directions. Look for the dreaded bud worm and then look for Captain Jack’s to get rid of the problem.
We often talk about deadheading in the garden, but what does that mean? Deadheading is the process of removing the dead or dying blooms or seed heads from your plants. We went out into the garden to demonstrate how to deadhead plants in your garden. We started with roses. Once the bloom has died you can simply go back down the stem to the first group of 5 leaves and make a cut there. Actually if you want to make your plant shorter you can go down a couple of 5 leaf clusters and cut. The new stem will come out at the branch where the leaf meets the stem. Then Ryan moved over to the geum. This is a very short flowering perennial, though some varieties can get over a foot tall. Here it was just the cutting of the old flower stems to clean up the plant and to expose the great foliage. Then we went over and met with Judy at the deciduous peony. This peony was past its prime and was starting to form seed heads. Here Judy cut down the old flower stalks into the new foliage. This cut gets the energy of the plant back to the roots and not to seed production. A stronger root will help the plant survive the hot days of summer and the cold days of winter. If you have a tree peony you will make a similar cut to remove the flower heads, but be careful about cutting too much off those since they bloom on that older wood.
Judy then moved to the brunnera, which is another low growing plant. The flower stems grow high above the foliage and now that they are done blooming it looks bad and distracts from the wonderful variegated foliage. Taking the seed heads off this plant exposes that great foliage and makes the plant look cleaner. Finally we joined Ryan again to cut the seed heads off the Japanese Iris. These seed heads should come off now to control the iris from spreading. Those seeds get loose and you’ll have these bright yellow iris everywhere. We ended with the lilac in the garden. We are getting to the absolute last time where you can make your cuts to your lilac. It is recommended that you cut them back right after they bloom in May or early June. Now you can go through and cut those dead blooms back. You wait too long during the summer and you start to cut those flowering buds that start to form now for your blooms next spring!
Deadheading may sound rough, but if you do it now, your plants will look great for the rest of the summer!
Wooden Shoe Bulb Harvest – Hemp Planting
At Garden Time we get a lot of questions from viewers about gardening. The latest question was from someone who asked about digging and storing their tulip bulbs now that they are done blooming. To get the answer to that question we stopped by Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (1-800-711-2006) and met with Barb Iverson out in their tulip fields. She told us that in our area, there is no need to dig and store your bulbs. In other parts of the country, where the winter temps get lower, you may want to dig and store them, but not here. We were out in one of their fields as they dug their bulbs for sale. Barb showed us how they use nets to plant, grow and harvest their bulbs. In the fall they plant the nets, which are tubes with the bulbs in the middle, in their fields. Then after they are done blooming the nets are pulled from the ground, left to dry in the sun and then another machine picks up the tubes and they harvest the bulbs for storage, and eventually, for sale. It was amazing to watch the machines and workers knowing that some of those bulbs will make their way into our gardens in a few short months.
This isn’t the only work that is going on right now in their fields. Barb told us that this is also the time when they are planting for a fall crop of industrial hemp. There, they are also using specialized equipment to plant rows of hemp seedlings. These will be harvested in the fall and processed in their on-site facility for use in CBD and other products. They use some of this CBD oil in their own Red Barn Hemp (503-634-2580) products, which you can buy on the farm and on-line. If you count the grapes that they grow for their Wooden Shoe Wines and other businesses, you can see they have something to keep them busy all year long! If you would like to learn more about tulips, wine, or CBD products you can check out their websites or stop by their store outside of Woodburn at the tulip farm.
The Oregon Garden Reopens
The bad news about the Covid-19 crisis was the closing of all our local public gardens and other garden events. The good news is that many of those same gardens are now opening up to the public again. The Oregon Garden(503-874-8100), one of our favorites, is the latest to open their doors again. We met with Ali at the garden to see what was blooming right now in the garden. She had 5 flowers that were looking great. The first was the straw flower, centaurea. This one was a taller, yellow version of the flower that is normally blue in some gardens. Second was the bright red lychnis. This plant is a real eye catcher with huge bloom heads that stand up high above the foliage. The third plant was the penstemon. She had a couple of colors in the vase, and they are a winner in your summer garden. Bees and hummingbirds love the big color bloom spikes. Next we saw the Asiatic lily. There are lots of them in the garden and you can see them popping their heads up all over the garden as you walk. The last bloom was the gaillardia, also called the blanket flower. These are nearly a ground cover type of plant that will keep on blooming all summer long if you deadhead them. Most of these flowers can also be found in the small retail nursery that they have at the garden.
Right now the garden is open for visitors, but the visitor center, the gift shop and café are closed. They are limiting the number of visitors to 300 at a time, but there is plenty of room to spread out in the 80 acre garden. The water is shut off, so please bring your own water. The restrooms at the entrance are open, as are the ones near the children’s garden, but the rest of them in the garden are closed. The tram is also not running at this time.
There are still events happening at the garden including the Cruise-in Cinema right now and the Art in the Garden coming up later in July. To learn more about the visitor procedures and other garden events you can check out their website or Facebook page.
Garland Early Summer Color
A lot of people think that spring is the time for color, but summer has its time in the sun too! To get an idea about great summer, full sun, blooming plants we paid a visit to Garland Nursery(1-800-296-6601) between Albany and Corvallis. Brenda joined us in the nursery to talk about some of her favorites. Some of these she had in her garden, and others were soon to be added to her garden. She started with the buddleia. Butterfly Bushes were banned as invasive a couple of years ago, but there are new ‘sterile’ (meaning no seed) varieties on the market now. The first one was a taller one called ‘Miss Molly’ with the deep rich purple blooms and the smaller variety was the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ with a light lavender color to the blooms. Bees and butterflies love these and they bloom all summer long with a sweet fragrance. We then moved to spireas, another butterfly favorite. It has a nice large flower that creates a landing pad for pollinators. One was called ‘Neon Flash’ with deep red flowers and the other was called ‘Magic Carpet’ with a light pink bloom and a lime green foliage. If you are looking for something that is really different try our next plant, Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorius). This one is not a long bloomer, but it has great blooms and the buds look like little balloons. Maybe try it in a pot on your deck so you can see those great buds when they come out? The next one is one that we have had in our garden, the Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’. The variegated foliage of green with cream edge is a great contrast with the deep red blooms. It may want to revert to a basic green, but just pick off those leaves to help keep its variegation. Nepeta was our next group of plants. These are called catmints because they are an attractant for cats. These are not only great for the cats, they are great for bees and other pollinators too. The old favorite here is called ‘Walker’s Low’ and now there is a new shorter variety called ‘Cat’s Pajamas’. We moved to yarrows next. These are one of the go-to plants for butterflies, but bees love these as well. They have a large flower pad that is welcoming to butterflies and they are visually stunning in the garden for us as well. The yellow one we saw was called ‘Moonshine’ and the pink bloomed one was called ‘Song Siren ‘Layla’. Another one that may be familiar to gardeners is the agastache or hyssop. We saw the variety ‘ Kudos Mandarin’ with the bright orange blooms on long flower stalks. It has a citrus fragrance that is loved by hummingbirds and bees too. Another familiar one in the garden is the crocosmia. This plant has those tall flower spikes that really stand out in the garden. The variety that we saw was ‘Lucifer’, with bright red flowers that are attractive for pollinators and for people too.
We then moved to carnations or dianthus. There are a lot of newer varieties on the market now that showcase new colors and blooms. We saw ‘Georgia Peach Pie’ and ‘Bumble Berry Pie’. If you keep deadheading them they bloom all summer long, plus they are drought tolerant once they are established. If you are confused about heaths and heathers, don’t be! Our next two are from both families. The key that Brenda talked about is finding the right plant for your garden based on what looks good to you. The fist plant was the an Erica called ‘C.D. Eason’ and the second plant was the calluna ‘Allegro’. Both of these would be an excellent addition to your garden. The next couple of plants have a familiar name but are not your average plant. Years ago the potentilla was one of those landscape plant that you would find in all the parking strips and apartment gardens, with its bright yellow flowers. Now they have varieties like ‘Pink Beauty’ and ‘Mango Tango’. They are a lot more visually stimulating and they are a tough shrub for your garden. Next we moved to the Itea or Sweetspire. The one that we had to show was the ‘Scentlandia’. It had long spikes of white blooms on a plant that can grow into a medium sized shrub. Finally, we moved to the Parahebe perfoliata. This is a low grower that had clusters of blue flowers on low flower spikes and a foliage that looked like eucalyptus leaves. It can get down to zone 7 (good for most of our areas of the Willamette Valley) but could use a little protection in colder area.
So you can see that there are a lot of plants that can still get you excited about color in the garden, even after the spring is done. To see these and many more great bloomers, check out the selection at Garland Nursery.
This month a lot of local rose growers have noticed that their plants are getting ‘mushy’ blooms and buds. They may also have a grey mold on some of those buds. That is Rose Blossom Blight or Botrytis. This is a grey mold that forms when conditions are just right. The cool wet rains or moist mornings combined with the warm days is what this mold needs to thrive. It can appear on a lot of your garden plants, but it is really affecting the roses right now. To combat it right now you should cut off the affected blooms and place them in a paper bag and throw them away. You don’t want to compost these blooms, that will just spread the spores to your compost and then back to your plants when you use the compost later this season or next. Next thin your plants to allow for more airflow. That will help them dry out and limit the conditions for spore growth. Once the rains go away and the days warm up the mold will go away. The mold will not kill your rose, but it doesn’t help the plant and it looks bad. Clean up those roses and they will be back to looking good in no time.
Grimm’s – Clean Compost
Recently there has been some stories in the news about the herbicide clopyralid and its presence in some local mulches. To learn more we stopped by Grimm’s Fuel (503-636-3623) and talked to Jeff Grimm about it. He told us that a couple of local mulch providers were being tested because their products may have contained this herbicide. Clopyralid is a broad leaf weed control that is used in range lands and pastures, mostly in eastern Oregon, to help control weeds. This herbicide doesn’t break down easily and if animals eat grass that has been sprayed it will pass through the animal and can be found in their manure. If a company uses some of this manure in their mulch mixes, it can make its way to local gardens, stunting or killing plants.
Jeff was proud to tell us that Grimm’s does NOT use materials from eastern Oregon in their products and they do rigorous testing to make sure their mulches are clean and nutritious. In fact, they do seed germination and soil voracity tests to ensure their quality. To learn more about Grimm’s Fuel and all of their great products you can check out their website, read their blog or follow them on Facebook! The Garden Time crew has always used Grimm’s Fuel mulches and we couldn’t be happier.
Garden Time Tour Update
As many of you know, Garden Time had a tour scheduled for this coming fall to Portugal and Spain. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 crisis we have had to postpone the tour to the fall of 2021. We will still be visiting the same great gardens and landmarks that we had on our original trip, but now we will be safer and more comfortable as we travel. The change in dates has opened up a few spaces as some of our group can not change their calendars for the new dates. So, if you would like to join us on this great tour, simply go to the GardenTime webpage and click on the little airplane to learn more and to sign up.
Squirrels can be cute little garden goof-offs or they can be the pest that are destroying your birdfeeders and creating a mess. Either way you can find ways to take care of them at Backyard Bird Shop (503-620-7454). We stopped by to talk with Angie and see what they had. We started with things for the squirrel lover. Angie showed us one of the many feeders that they have for squirrels. Some of the feeders actually make them figure out how to get their treats. They have to learn how to work doors and lids to get their food. There were some great designs and, of course they had a wide selection of food too.
But what if you don’t like these guys and they are stripping your bird feeders dry? This is where we started to see some interesting ideas for keeping them out of the bird seed. First we talked about baffles. These are physical barriers that you can use on your posts or shepherds hooks to prevent them from climbing up the post to the food. But what if they are jumping over from the trees and roof of your home. Well they have guards called top baffles that you can place over the top of the feeder too! Angie also told us that you should position your feeder at least 16 inches away from a wall, roof or tree. This also makes it harder for them to get to the bird food. We then looked at feeders. The best one that she recommended was the Squirrel Buster. This one had a weight triggered shut off. The birds are light so they can just perch and eat, but when a squirrel comes along his weight will cause the feeder to close and he gets nothing. There were a couple styles of this feeder available. Another feeder used a cage design. This feeder has a large cage around the feeder and so the birds can fly through the cage to eat. The squirrels can’t reach the food! The final feeder was more of an entertainment center. The Yankee Flipper from Droll Yankees has a battery operated spinner. The birds can land on the perch to eat but once the squirrel tries to grab it to eat it is flung off by the rapidly spinning perch. People love watching this. Pretty soon the squirrel stops coming back. In fact, some people let the battery die and when the squirrels start coming back they will put in a recharged battery and let the show begin again!
Finally we talked about bird feeds. You can treat your bird food with Cole’s ‘Flaming Squirrel’ hot sauce. You use a few drops of this to treat your food with habanero pepper sauce. This will burn their little mouths and then they stop eating at your feeders. This doesn’t affect your birds since they don’t have taste buds, but any mammal will sure be surprised when they feed. Cole’s also makes ‘Hot Meats’ which is shelled sunflower seeds that have already been treated. If you are looking for more information you can stop by any Backyard Bird Shop and pick up an informational flyer or check out their website.