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.
Brrrr…. It’s a little chilly out! Yup, the change of seasons is here. The colder weather has returned and it’s a hard signal that we need to get some things done in the garden. We put away all our patio furniture and moved some plants inside our greenhouse, and inside our home too. Fall may have arrived a month ago, but we are now pushed to the limit before the frost arrives. Check out our story on frost cloth if you are looking to extend your tomatoes and cucumbers a little longer.
As the cold weather arrives, start thinking about warmer weather for next year. The Garden Time tour to Portugal and Spain is back on for next October and you can sign up now! Check out our Garden Time Tours Page for more details.
Also, we recently added more stuff to the Garden Time store. Check out some of the newer items and then get a thing or two to show off your Garden Time pride.
This week we featured...
Colorful Fall Foliage Plants
The colors of summer are going quickly, but the colors of fall and winter are in full swing! A lot of gardens lack some good fall color plants and to solve that and to get some ideas for more plants, we stopped by Garland Nursery (800-296-6601) between Albany and Corvallis to chat with Patrick about some great garden choices. He pulled some red, fall colored plants for us to look at. He loves red since a lot of the natives turn yellow in the garden, the reds really pop! We started with a sweetspire (also called itea) called ‘Scentlandia’. This plant loves full sun and the foliage gets this reddish leaf that looks great in the fall, but it also has fragrant white blooms in the spring too. The next plant was a hydrangea. This Oakleaf Hydrangea called Gatsby Girl gets great fall color unlike a lot of other hydrangeas in the garden. This plant gets dark red/maroon leaves in the fall and when they are gone you are also rewarded with some wonderful peeling bark to create more winter interest. The third plant was a Japanese Stewartia and it also has a peeling bark, but the real interest is the deep red leaves that contrast with the lime green leaves of the summer. It also gets camellia-like flowers earlier in the season too. The largest plant in the group was the Tupelo ‘Gum Drop’. It is pretty widespread in the South but is underutilized here. If you have seen the large specimens at Hoyt Arboretum in the fall, you know how stunning these can get when in their full fall color. You can see them from a mile away! It is a large tree, coming in at 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide when it is mature. Another great plant from the south is the Crape Myrtle. These late summer bloomers are a real eye catcher in the garden with wonderful blooms, but they also have great fall color too. The one we saw was ‘Acoma’. It has a white bloom and an arching habit, but it is covered in a deep red color in the fall. The next two plants were from the same family, Cotinus or Smoke Tree. The first one was Obovatus and the smaller one near it was ‘Grace’. Grace stays shorter and has a darker red leaf, where the Obovatus gets tall and has blazing red/orange fall color. The next plant was one that a lot of people have in their garden, the witch hazel. “Arnold Promise’ is a familiar variety because it does get covered in yellow/orange/red colors as the leaves start to change. This is a great shrub in the garden as it also has tiny frizzly blooms in the winter for you to enjoy when there is not much else to see. The final plant was the Fothergilla ‘Blue Shadow’. It has bluish/green leaves in the summer but it changes into a deep red in the fall. The other benefit to this one is the puffy, pompon-like flowers in the mid spring. A real 4 season plant.
If you are thinking of adding some fall foliage plants to your garden, now is the time to pick them out. Stop by your local independent garden center as they are all showing off their fall colors right now. For these plants and others you can stop by Garland Nursery!
What kind of plant delivers great fragrance and beautiful blooms in the winter, and is delicious as well? It is citrus! We stopped by Tsugawa Nursery (877-658-0566) to see all the wonderful varieties they have in the store right now. Karlene pointed out a couple of plants of interest including the Meyers Improved Lemon. Citrus also has a lot of significance at this time of year. It is one of the featured fruits of the Chinese New Year, citrus and anything in the red range symbolizes good luck. Citrus is also one of those fruits that blooms in the late spring and then ripens in the dead of winter. No wonder why many cultures love it!
There are a bunch of newer types of citrus coming to the market these days. Karlene told us about the variegated kumquats, where you get great color and you can eat the whole thing, rind and all. There are also some new ‘red limes’ that are a dark red on the outside and have the look of a blood orange when you cut them open, but they still taste like a lime. The coolest plant we saw was the grafted Lemon and Lime tree. This is a tree with two kinds of fruit so you only need one pot! The thing to remember about citrus is that it is tender for our area. The Meyer Lemon can handle some chilly nights, but it prefers to be above freezing, preferably inside with lots of sun. You will also notice that citrus will drop leaves when they are moved or stressed. This scares many people, but it is normal. Let them settle down and give them a little love and they will bounce right back.
To see some cool citrus and get some great growing tips, stop by Tsugawa’s.
Dividing your perennials in your garden is not hard. In fact you can do it with just a shovel or trowel. Judy and Ryan found a couple of plants that have just gotten too big in the garden. The reason for dividing them may be that they are too big for the area, have gotten too leggy (long flower stalks that flop) or they are dying in the center where all the new growth is around the outside. Judy started with a heuchera. This is a plant that had just gotten too big for the are it is in. She first found the irrigation line, so we didn’t cut it when digging. Then she gently dug around the piece that we were removing. With a garden knife she cut off a large chunk of the plant with a nice root ball to move to another part of the garden. You want a nice large chunk if you can get one, since it will have a nice root system to start growing again.
We then moved over to Ryan where he was tackling a helenium. This is a plant that has gotten too leggy. The flower stalks had bloomed and fallen over and the center of the plant was looking weak. So he did the same. He cut around the outside of the part he wanted to transplant and took a nice big chunk with a good root ball. It was ready to go into another part of the garden.
A couple years ago we divided a lobelia that had just spread too far in the yard. It was covering part of the lawn and was hanging out into the street. The first thing we did was to cut back the plant. The early spring or late fall is the perfect time for dividing your plants. The foliage is dead or dying, and by cutting it back you can see the entire crown of the plant. Then we took a shovel and just drove it down into the middle of the plant. By cutting a line across the middle of the plant we were able to cut out that part of the plant and keep it from spreading into the yard again this year. The best part? We now have parts of our favorite plant that we can share with our friends and family.
If you want to get more precise in your dividing, you can dig the entire plant up, cut it apart and then replant a smaller portion. Either way, it is easy to divide most of your garden perennials like this! Also, by digging and transplanting in the fall you can take advantage of warmer soils and fall rains to help the plant acclimate to its new surroundings. For more tips on dividing perennials check with your local independent garden center, or check out this webpage and chart from the University of Minnesota Extension Service for lots of great information!
TOW – Frost Cloth
The cold winds of fall and winter are arriving and if you are trying to squeeze out the last of your summer harvest we have a tip for you, frost cloth. It is a light white material that you can use to cover your plants and protect them from a light frost. The fabric is permeable and can allow rain and water to get to your plants, but protect them from the elements. This cloth will protect your tomatoes and other tender veggies so you can get a few more days of harvest out of them. If you can’t get to a garden center to pick up some frost cloth, you can use a cotton sheet. That will do the trick too. Also remember to remove it during the day to allow sunlight and air circulation to get to your plants.
The other benefit of the frost cloth is that you can reuse it in the spring. If you get your spring vegetables in early, the cloth will keep them a little warmer, and protect from early pests and predators, so you can get an earlier start to your growing season. So you can extend your growing season in the spring and the fall!
Dried Flower Wreaths
The flowers and blooms of the summer are fading and soon we will be left with photos as our only reminders of the warm days of summer… not so fast. Dried flower and vines from your garden can have a second life if you dry them and use them in flower arrangements and as decoration. To get a few tips we went to Keddie Farms near Aurora to chat with Amanda Bayha of Soulseeds. She is very busy this time of year as she is harvesting and drying blooms, leaves and vines from just about anything that grows in the garden. She gets so excited about these spent blooms that she told us that she has been known to do a ‘bin dive’ in her friends compost bins to retrieve good plant material.
The key for her is to find plant material that looks good. It can be early in the bloom cycle (like rose buds) or late (like seed pods). Just find stuff that attracts your eye. Then comes the drying. Most of the material that she uses is hung upside down in her garage until it is dry. Some things like large single blooms can be dried flat. Experiment to find what works best for you and gives you a shape and size that you like. After they are dried, the flowers can be displayed in a vase or they can be incorporated in a wreath or as a swag. Amanda uses vines and other stems to make the frames for wreaths. For this she uses a natural twine so the whole wreath is biodegradable. A few wreaths that she showed us were made from mint stems, beet foliage and twigs of rosemary. Of course you can use grape vines if you have them, but it is up to you to find what you like. Once everything is ‘dried and tied’ you can start inserting the dried floral material into the wreath.
Once it is done you can hang it up until it get tired and dusty. Then you can recycle it or burn it. It is also a great way to preserve flowers from weddings and funerals as a memento too.
If you would like to learn how to make these and get more tips you can check out the Soulseeds website, or you can attend a class that is coming up on the 31st of October at Keddie Farms. Check either website for details on how to sign up. Hurry, these classes fill up fast.
Grimms Fall Mulch
Believe it or not, now is the time to start thinking about your summer garden. If your garden is getting tired and needs a boost, then you should be adding garden compost now. It is also the time to add mulch to your garden to protect your plants and add nutrients to the soil. Jeff Grimm from Grimm’s Fuel (503-636-3623) showed Judy all the different mulches and composts available and the benefits of each one. You can even use some of them for erosion control. We also found out the differences between all the different barks that are available, plus if you don’t want to spend time shoveling, they can even blow it in for you. Now is also the time to get your wood for the coming winter. Grimm’s not only has barks and mulches for your garden they also supply wood and heating oil too. Give them a call before it’s too late!