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Water, water, everywhere! That seems to be me in the garden during the summer. I’m out watering pots and containers, making sure that the veggies are happy and double checking to make sure that the lawn is getting the right amount of water and not the street. Oh, but the plants love it! The heat and sunshine have our plants popping up their heads and reaching for the sun. Of course the late afternoon sun has them drooping a little (check out our tip for watering on the show this week), but they recover quickly and seem to grow by leaps and bounds at this time of year.
If you go out and take care of your garden, remember to do the hardest work in the early morning to avoid the heat, and remember to stay hydrated!
This week we featured...
Art in the Garden #1
The Oregon Garden (503-874-8100) in Silverton is a showcase garden any time of year, but this summer it has so much more to offer. This year, once again, they are featuring ‘Art in the Garden’ an event that runs through the end of September. Art in the Garden features dozens of stunning art installations in the Garden featuring pieces from 6 artists. All pieces are available for sale and some of these great pieces are made from wood, glass and metal, but all would look great in the garden. The Art in the Garden event is included in your normal admission and all you have to do is ask for a map when you come to the garden.
We started with a glass artist, Judy Kunkle, who had art that looked like fused glass, but it was actually a more traditional stained glass technique. Her process uses a glaze that gives the impression of a fused glass finish. She also had little whimsical plant stakes that were made from recycled glass and other pieces, including some bells made from bottles. She loves to get her inspiration from the garden and the materials she finds to work with. Her framed glass windows are incredibly unique and colorful.
Ryan then caught up with Kay Sims. Kay is a metal artist, but that doesn’t even come close to describing how cool her art is. We started our interview at a tall monument made of unusual metal pieces. These were cool pieces of metal she found in her shop and included some ‘cats’ eyes that really stood out! She also told us about her use of a plasma cutter to cut intricate patterns into old tools and pieces of metal. We saw some shovels that were extremely beautiful and looked delicate, though they were made from metal. There was even a wheelbarrow that was a true work of art. She also does other pieces that show off her skill as a welder.
In a few weeks we are going to return to the garden and talk to a few other artists. You can experience this art yourself on your next trip to the garden in Silverton. Be sure to check out the Oregon Garden website for protocols and hours, then head up and enjoy the art.
Stur-D Fence Post Bracket
They tell us that any winter in the Northwest could be a bad one and many of us have experienced the results of those bad winters. A broken fence! That means it is time to get out and fix that fence post! Most broken fences are because of damaged or rotted posts. This damage and rot is usually at the base of the post where it makes contact with the top of the soil. That means that the rest of the post is perfectly fine and doesn’t need replacing. To help fix this problem we met with Chuck the owner and co-creator of the Stur-D Fence Post Bracket (503-941-5228). This is a steel support bracket that will fix your fence post without digging up the old cement. It is really easy to do. You start by digging a hole next to the broken post (6 inches away from the post) and just outside of the old cement ball. Dig down about 18 or 19 inches deep. Attach the Stur-D bracket to the post. You pre-drill the holes and then use large lag screws to secure the bracket to the post. Fill the hole at the bottom 1/3 full of water and add a sack of concrete and mix it in the hole. Then level and secure the post for 24 hours until the concrete sets up and you’re done. It was just that easy!
If you are looking for this quick and easy fix that will add years to the life of your fence, you can check out their website or your local Parr Lumber location!
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 Tsugawa Nursery (360-225-8750) to get some tips from Fabio about how to get started and what tools were involved. Tsugawa’s usually holds classes on a regular basis, but due to the Covid-19 crisis those have been put on hold, but Fabio gave us some of the tips they usually share. First he talked about the types of plants you should pick when you start. You want woody plants that can turn out to be full sized plants if left on their own. You don’t need to find ‘dwarf’ varieties to get started. You should also have the right tools. Pruners that make cuts without leaving the ‘stubs’ of your pruned branches and special trimming scissors are both a must have. You have to remember that this is a plant that is going to take a long time to train and shape. Plus, because of the shallow root system, they will need to be watched and watered carefully. These are not plants you can ignore and leave them unattended for very long. The reward for all this work will be a plant that people will stop in their tracks to admire. It will also give you a lifetime of pleasure and joy! If you have any questions on how to get started in this fascinating hobby stop by Tsugawa’s and check with their experts for some easy to understand instruction!
Smith Blueberry Jam
Saving the taste of summer is made easy if you capture the flavor in a homemade jam or jelly. Joelle from Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) invited us into her kitchen to show us how quick and easy it is to make a jam from fresh fruit. All we needed were 3 ingredients, fresh fruit, pectin and a sweetener. The pectin we used was Pomona Universal Pectin which is great because you can use any type of sweetener (Equal, Splenda, Honey or even Stevia), so it is great for diabetics. First we crushed the berries and added lemon juice and the calcium mixture (part of the Pomona product) to our mixture. We were making a canned jam so we cooked the mixture and added our sweetener mixed with the pectin. You can also use this pectin to make a freezer jam and not have to heat up the kitchen with the additional cooking. Smith Berry Barn doesn’t use any sprays on their fruit so we just had to wash it off. After a couple of minutes we checked the mixture to make sure we didn’t need to add more sweetener or more calcium water to help it jell and we were done! We poured it into containers (in this case it was sterilized jars) and left a little room at the top of the jars for the jam to expand, and then sealed everything in a hot water bath. Joelle also recommended that you do a little reading on canning on the OSU Food Preservation website, or call the toll-free number at 800-354-7319 if you have questions. These ‘canned’ jams are good for a year or more, while the freezer jam will stay fresh in your freezer for 6 months to a year! If you would like to try this at home, you can call Smith Berry Barn, or pick up a packet of Pomona’s Pectin; the instructions are in the box.
If you want to pick fresh berries, you will need to book a reservation for a time to pick. This helps you stay safe in the field, with plenty of distance, plus it ensures that the fruit will be ripe and ready when you arrive. Check out their website to book a time.
A lot of people are looking to do garden makeovers (we get requests from viewers all the time), but they are sometimes scared away at the price of hiring a designer. There is a new way of landscaping that can save you some money and may even get you some better plants for a better landscape. Rick from French Prairie Perennials (971-533-5637) has discovered a new system of design called ‘Visualscaping’. With Visualscaping you become part of the planning process. Now you don’t have someone telling you why you can’t have a plant in your garden, or telling you what is the best plant for you! Rick has clients come to the nursery and talk to him about plants and what they would like to accomplish. Then he makes a trip to their gardens and they nail down what they would like to accomplish. Rick goes back to the nursery and brings out the plants and places them around the yard so you can actually see the ‘look’ before you buy the plants. He can actually try many different plants in one area so you can compare them before you plant. With this ‘Visualscaping’ you actually can use the money you would have spent on a plan to buy better plants. Rick also has a deep knowledge of the plants and how they will grow so you get a plant that will be there for years and not outgrow the space in just a few seasons and need to be replaced. Plus it goes way beyond plants. You can have Rick and his crew install water features, walkways, walls and other additions to your garden. If you are interested in trying Visualscaping, give Rick a call at French Prairie Perennials.
TOW – Pool Plants
The heat makes us all thirsty! Our garden tip of the week helps quench the thirst of your hanging baskets and small container gardens. We found a metal wash tub, filled it ½ full of water and set our driest plants in the water. You can even buy a cheap ‘kiddie’ pool to hold even more plants. During those days that have excessive heat, the plants really like the extra water and we don’t have to worry about constant watering. There are a couple of precautions you have to follow. Don’t leave them in there for more than a day or two; they can get too much of a good thing and that may create mold, fungus or disease problems. And don’t over fill the pool. Allowing the plant to take what it needs from the pool is good, drowning it is not!