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You have to love the color! The fall is definitely here and so is the fall color. We are at the beginning of a couple of really beautiful weeks with local trees and shrubs putting on a show! If you have time between the fall showers, take a walk around your neighborhood and enjoy the colors.
The fall is also the time to do a few chores. This week we tackle slugs/snails, hydrangea pruning, decorating for fall, and Jan’s tips of the month. There is still plenty of time to get things done before it gets really nasty.
A couple of other notes for everyone. First, the Garden Time tour for 2021 to Spain and Portugal is open again. We should be have been in Europe right now, but had to postpone the trip for a year, to October of 2021. We have a few seats still open and you can find out more information here.
We also have added more merchandise to the Garden Time store. We have shirts, totes, hats and a bunch of other great stuff to help you show off your Garden Time pride. Check out our new items here.
Have a wonderful week.
This week we featured...
Fall Hanging Baskets
Fall has it’s own growing conditions and limitations. However you don’t have to have limitations when it comes to your fall hanging baskets. Just like your spring and summer baskets, you can have sun or shade plants to enjoy for months to come. Another limitation is the choice of plant material. Forget about that! To see what you can plant right now, we stopped at Tsugawa Nursery (877-658-0566) in Woodland and talked to Karlene. She mentioned that the traditional mum, pansies and ornamental peppers make great container fillers, but that you can think outside the box too. She had 3 containers to display that used many different plants to highlight fall colors. Heathers, heucheras and ornamental cabbages can all be used in addition to the favorites to add a little more variety to your hanging baskets. Karlene had also used a small decorative gourd in one basket to give it the fall look.
These were just a few of the ideas for fall containers that they had at Tsugawa’s. They also had large containers that had huge mums of different colors mixed together for that fall look. For these and other great ideas for fall and winter decorating, stop by Tsugawa Nursery for some help.
Fall Hydrangea Pruning
In the fall, most of your plants are starting to go dormant for the winter and for many of those plants they have already set their flower buds for next season. If you prune a lot of your perennials in the fall, you could be cutting off the flowers for next spring. A lot of hydrangeas are exceptions to that rule. To learn more about fall pruning of hydrangeas we stopped by Hydrangeas Plus (866-433-7896). Kristin joined us in her display garden to talk about the different types of hydrangeas and when you can prune them. We started with the macrophylla, or mophead type. These are the ones with the snowball type of blooms. The family also includes the lacecap type of flower too. In your garden yours are probably past bloom and you have fading blooms on your plant. These can still look gorgeous so you can leave them or you can cut them and dry them for display inside. To prune these for next season’s blooms, you will want to cut them back right now. They grow on new growth for next year. Kristin went down to the base of the plant and counted up 3 leaf nodes. These are the junctions where the leaves attach. At the leaf node she cut above the leaf. If you look closely at the leaf node you can see the buds where the new growth will come out for next year’s branches and blooms. She also told us that you should cut out about 1/3 of the oldest part of the plant, right down to the trunk. This will stimulate brand new shoots that will be your flowering branches in years to come.
We then moved down to a different part of her garden where we saw some of the arborescens family of hydrangeas. These have the huge flower blooms like ‘Incrediball’ and ‘Annabelle’. These hydrangeas are native to the U.S. These bloom on new wood, which means that you can really take them back when pruning. Kristin had already pruned some of these back and they were REALLY short. These are not so critical for pruning in the fall, these can be cut back during the fall, winter, or even in the very early spring. Another type that you can prune in the fall, winter or early spring are the paniculate, or cone shaped types, like ‘Limelight’, ‘Phantom’ or ‘Grandiflora’. Kristin told us that she likes to cut them back in the spring so they don’t get so tall and floppy.
Halloween is almost here and it is time to put out the decorations. If you are looking for something that can decorate your doorstep for Halloween and beyond, you need to check out this project. Ryan and Judy did a couple of different ways of pumpkin decorating. We started with Ryan and he showed us how to decorate a pumpkin by just gluing decorations and plant material to your pumpkin. You can just use a hot glue gun to attach garden material and sedums to the top of a pumpkin. He had a great selections of hardy sedums from Little Prince of Oregon. In just 10 minutes he transformed a pumpkin into a wonderful little decoration. The best part? This one won’t rot on your patio, it will last a couple of months if you keep it dry. Once the fall is over you can just pull off the sedums and plant them in your garden. Very cool!
The second method was done by Judy. She simply cut the top off a pumpkin just like she was going to carve it, but instead of carving the outside she just filled the pumpkin with some great Black Gold All Purpose Soil (https://blackgold.bz/) and placed a fall mum inside the container. If you have a bigger pumpkin, you can just drop in a few more plants. You’re using the pumpkin as a decorative pot! Give it a good watering and then just put it by your door step to scare the kids and delight the neighbors. Check it every few days to see if it is starting to rot. Since this pumpkin is cut and full of soil, it will rot much quicker than a regular carved pumpkin, so plant it just before you plan on displaying it. After it starts to rot, move the plants to your garden or another container to enjoy them longer.
The pumpkin is a traditional decoration for Halloween and Thanksgiving, and this is a way to show your creativity with a twist on the usual Jack-o-lantern!
Fall Slug Bait
Slugs are not just a spring time problem. Fall, with its increasing rains, can bring them back into your garden when you thought they were under control. Remember to bait now so they don’t destroy your beautiful fall flowers. You can use a commercial bait that is safe for pets and children or you can use a beer trap to draw them out of your garden. The best part about fall and baiting for slugs now, is that if you bait now you will reduce the amount of slugs you get next spring because they are not around to lay eggs. Always remember to read and follow the label directions with any garden product.
Jan’s October Tips
The fall has its own list of chores for the garden and to get an idea on where to start we stopped by to see Jan McNeilan. Our favorite retired OSU Extension Agent was in her greenhouse to dodge those fall showers and to get some of her own chores done. She started by tell Ryan about her Pantry Moth traps. The fall is when the indoor bugs get a jump on most of us. These little guys make it into the house in your bulk birdseed, animal foods, grains or cereals. Jan had some in her house and so she used a pheromone trap to capture the males. Once they get full, you can dump the trap in the garbage along with your moth problem. Still see them, set out another trap. They are safe around pets and kids. She also had a few fruit flies in her kitchen from the fruits and vegetables from her garden. To get these guys she just put a cut lemon in a dish of cider vinegar and a couple drops of dish soap in the vinegar. They are attracted to the lemon and cider vinegar. When they land on the fluid, the soap breaks the surface tension of the fluid and they sink.
Heading to the garden we talked about fertilizers. Now is the time to apply a slow release fertilizer to your lawn to give it a tiny boost to stay healthy over the winter. A healthy lawn will emerge stronger in the spring. Jan also mentioned that you should store your granular fertilizers and other garden products in a dry place over the rainy winter to keep it from clumping. We then talked about cleaning up your apples. Mummified fruit can harbor disease and insect pests over the winter and then you will have them around in the spring. Get rid of the fruit and do not put it in your compost. If you are noticing that some of your tall cedars have brown branches in the interior of the plant, that is normal. This kind of die-off is just the plant ‘self-thinning’ for the fall and winter. If you see dead branches going out to the tip of the big branches, have it checked out by an arborist to see if there is a bigger problem. Jan also showed us where she had planted some new hostas in her garden over the summer. She had marked them with bamboo stakes so she knows where they are and won’t damage them next spring when she gets back out in the garden. This is a good tip for any of your perennials that disappear over the winter months. Mark them now so you where they are next year.
Finally, we visited the Meyer Lemon! This feisty little bush has one ripe and about 4 other green fruits growing on it. Jan is going to bring it inside her greenhouse over the winter to protect it, but before she does that, she is going to remove the top inch or so of soil to make sure she isn’t bringing any soil borne pests into the greenhouse with it. For more tips on what to do in your garden you can follow Jan on Facebook or check the OSU Extension website.
OITG Fall Plants
If you think that fall is the end of great plants in your garden, you’re wrong! We know of a ton of great fall plants and one place you can find a great selection of them is at Out in the Garden Nursery (503-829-4141) in Molalla. Carol is the owner and she had a bunch of her favorites to share. We started with the tiny cyclamen. She had 3 types to share and they are just finishing their fall bloom cycle, but the show continues with the great foliage colors and patterns. These are great because a lot of them return for the spring and then disappear for the summer, only to return for a fall flower show. Carol also loves grasses and she had a few to share as well. ‘Everoro’ is great variegated Carex grass that looks good all year long. They like a little shade, but can really brighten up a winter garden. Another Carex that looks incredible was the variety ‘Sparkler’. This one was tall and had the same variegated foliage on wonderful red stems. If you love pampas grass you know that some varieties can get REALLY tall. Carol had one called ‘Golden Goblin’ that is really tough and can handle those dry conditions in the garden. Hellebores are a favorite of the winter gardener and we moved to one called ‘Pippa’s Purple’, which was from a series of plants called the ‘Frostkiss’ series. With a name like that, they have to do well in the cold! The foliage is spectacular and it will also get those wonderful bright blooms in the late winter. The next plant was an Aucuba called ‘Mr. Goldstrike’. This was another great foliage plant that had the wonderful green leaves splashed with yellow spots. This one also loves dry shade and can get tall, at 6 feet, when fully grown. Something on the shorter side were a grouping of Sarcococcas. These are also known by the name Sweetbox. They definitely are sweet for the winter garden with tiny, tiny blooms that flood your garden with fragrance in the coldest days of the season. ‘Fragrant Mountain’ and ‘Fragrant Valley’ were two of the shorter varieties that she had. Ferns are great in the fall and winter garden as many varieties keep their foliage during the cold and dark days ahead. Carol had a Hearts Tongue variety called ‘Cristatum’ with broad, solid fronds that had an interesting twist to them. It is a real eye catcher! Finally we saw the tall Actaea called ‘White Pearl’. This one blooms really late in the season with tall stems of white flowers that resemble a bottle brush. They also have a nice fragrance in the sunny winter garden.
As you can see there are a lot of different and interesting fall and winter plants for your garden. You can find these and many others at Out in the Garden Nursery. Be sure to stop by and check them out before they close for the season at the end of October. Check out their website or Facebook page for up to date information on hours and plants.