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.
Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to our last broadcast episode in 2020. It has been a crazy year but we all made it through (so far). We hope that you all have a wonderful and safe holiday season. Yes, it is our final episode for this year and people always ask why we leave the air for three months. It is because our advertisers don’t have the funds to help support the show. Most garden centers help us when they can, but they don’t have enough money for advertising budgets during the winter. We appreciate their help the rest of the year and we hope that you say thank you when you shop our sponsors. You can find a list of them on our website, here. Please keep checking in on our website for occasional updates during our winter break.
Have a great holiday season and we will see you in March of 2021!
This week we featured...
Winter Fragrant Plant
The winter months don’t have to be all cold and boring! You can have fragrance in the garden too! To get an idea of what to plant we stopped by Portland Nursery (503-788-9000) on Division and talked with Laura about some great plants that she recommends. We started with an old favorite, Viburnum ‘Pink Dawn’. This one is a mid-winter bloomer and a welcome sight in the garden when there is little else blooming. Clusters of pink blooms that have a nice little fragrance in those warmer days. It can get a little tall in the garden, so give it some room to grow and put it in a place you can see from indoors. The next plant was a Camellia. Varieties of camellias bloom at different times of the year, but the winter blooming ones are great. These shrubs add a splash of color to any garden, and some have a subtle fragrance too. These first 2 can get kind of large and need a little room to grow, but the third plant was made for those smaller gardens, the gaultheria or wintergreen. This plant not only smells like wintergreen when you crush the leaves or the berries, the berries also have that wintergreen flavor when you eat them. Daphne odora was our next plant. This little shrub will knock your socks off when it is in bloom, plus it has great leaf color when it isn’t blooming. The leaves have that cool light green trim, but it is the fragrance that really sets this one apart! Remember to put this in a spot that has good drainage since it doesn’t like to be in standing water. A plant without blooms, but with fragrance is the Lemon Cypress. This bright green plant releases a great lemon fragrance when you brush by it. Want more fragrance, give it a rub! Next, we checked out some bulbs. The paperwhite narcissus inside your home are great for those mid-winter blues. They have bright blooms and in the case of the paperwhites, a strong aroma! Some people love the smell and some don’t. Next to the paperwhites was a florist cyclamen. This type of cyclamen has larger leaves and flowers, and a slight fragrance to them. These are meant for indoor enjoyment, but there are hardy varieties, with smaller flowers, that can be planted outside.
The next plant is called Sarcacocca, or Sweet Box. It is sweet too! The miniscule blooms come on in mid to late winter and are incredibly fragrant. You won’t know where the smell is coming from because it is such a small plant. It is perfect in a bed near your front door so you can enjoy it every time you come home. One that a lot of people miss is the winter honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima. They get really large after a few years but can be cut back to maintain a nice shape and size. They have fragrant flowers in January that create a nice scent in the garden. If you pair that with a witchhazel, then you have a pair that can’t be beat. The witchhazel does have a subtle fragrance too, but the tiny blooms in late winter and its fall color are the big reasons for getting this in your garden. The tiny blooms that look like tufts of wild hair come in all sorts of bright colors too.
These are just a few of the winter plants with fragrance. To find more, check out Portland Nursery on either Division or Stark St. in Portland or your local independent garden center.
Winter Bird Care
The change of the seasons signals a change for your local bird populations. Some of the non-migratory birds will be hanging around and may need a little help from you to survive the cold and wet of winter. We visited with Amanda of Backyard Bird Shop (503-445-2699) in West Linn to learn more about helping our feathered friends. A few weeks ago we talked about food and water needs, and we’ll review those later.
This week we talked about the colder and wetter days to come. That means the birds need some protection! We start with protection for their food. Get a dome to cover their seed, suet or syrup. You will see the visits increase if you provide a little shelter while they are eating, plus their food won’t get wet. Food can get moldy and rotten if you let it get wet. Feeding for hummingbirds also needs a little help to prevent their syrup from getting frozen on those really cold mornings. There are now heaters that you can attach to their feeders so they stay warm all winter long. The freezing is not bad for hummingbird syrup, it can also rob birds of an access to drinkable water. Backyard Bird Shop has a few different water warmers for your birdbaths. They even have a bird bath pre-wired for heat so you don’t need anything extra except to plug it in. A new item for sheltering your birds is the ‘roost pocket’. This little woven shelter can keep your small song birds out of the harsh elements during the really cold days. They are also really cute!
Now for a reminder about food and water. Here are some of the notes from our previous story…
We started with food. For seed eating birds you can use a black oil sunflower seed. This is a good basic seed that provides calories for high energy birds. We checked out the already shelled seed. It is a tiny bit more than the whole seed product, but there is less mess. For insect feeders you can set out a suet cake. Use different types of suet to attract different types of insect feeders. For most suet feeding birds they love insects and if you see a suet block with seed it is generally used as a filler in the suet. Once you have their food needs met, then you need to think about water. You should also remember to put out fresh water whenever you can, since the birds prefer that over standing, dirty, water. The one bird that has special needs in the winter is the hummingbird. They use lots of calories and so their food needs are more critical than other birds. You can keep their nectar in the feeder fresh by changing it every week or so. You can find a simple recipe for making their nectar at the Backyard Bird Shop website. Plus, they need to have a nice clean feeder so they don’t get sick over the winter. You can also welcome birds to your garden by incorporating different types of shrubs and trees. For a list of winter interest plants you can check with your local garden center. To learn more about attracting birds to your garden during the winter you can check with Backyard Bird Shop or The Audubon Society of Portland.
Little Prince Indoor Plants
Indoor plants are the hottest trend and people are looking for the newest and most interesting indoor plants on the market. Their search just got a lot easier! We stopped by Little Prince of Oregon and talked to Joan about their new line of plants called ‘Beau Chateau’. This is group of plants that they call ‘Sophisticated Houseplants’. Growing indoor plants is a lot like growing outdoor plants. You need to know their needs to be successful. Some plants like drier conditions and some a good wet soil, some prefer shade and others a little more sunshine. Joan told us that the Little Prince plants always have the correct information on the plant tag to help you become successful. Also, you can find plants to cover any room or space.
A few of the plants she had on the table in front of her were, the eyelash fern, the Brazilian tree fern, a couple tillandsias, a few unique philodendrons, some beautiful begonias, a variegated ‘string of pearls’ and the VERY cool variegated ‘Tricolor Artillery Plant’. These are only a few of the cool indoor plants you can find at Little Prince. If you are looking to pick up one (or ten) you can check out the selection at your local independent garden center. You can also buy them from Little Prince.
Holiday Plant Heritage
Ever wonder why we use holly in our holiday decorating? What is the story behind kissing under the mistletoe? Ryan and Judy covered the reasons why we use specific plants during the holidays. Holly’s origins are based on both Christian and non-Christian traditions. In one tradition, the holly protects the home from evil spirits. In another, the holly represents the crown of thorns of Christ’s passion and its berries represent the drops of blood. Christmas trees are a staple in just about every house during the holiday season. Though there are references to evergreen trees going back for thousands of years, the current traditions were starting to be established in the 1400s. The symbol of an evergreen tree represents rebirth, long life and strength. This is because it maintains its green color during the longest and coldest winters. Decorating became popular with Queen Victoria and started with fruit and candles. Now we use mass-produced ornaments and lights. The angel at the top of the tree reminds us of the good news of Jesus’ birth. Mistletoe has a longer history. It has various meanings that include fertility, immortality and love. Once again, these meanings are due to the fact that it stays evergreen in the winter. Of course the best meaning involved kissing. In proper English society you could not kiss your spouse-to-be in public. During the holidays you could kiss under the mistletoe, but you had to remove a white berry every time you did. Naturally, twigs with lots of berries were highly prized! Finally, the poinsettia. This plant is relatively new to the holiday tradition list. This plant has a history dating back to the 16th century. The story is that a little girl wanted to bring a gift to her church for the Christ child. She had nothing to give, but had a dream of an angel collecting weeds and leaves by the roadside, and giving them to the child. When she did it, they turned into the red blooms that we see today. The flower was named for Joel Poinsett a US diplomat who fell in love with them and started promoting them in the US. Paul Ecke, a plant grower and breeder from California, helped popularize the plant and it has been a holiday favorite since then.
So next time you are decorating your home, take some time and appreciate these wonderful holiday plants now that you know a little more about some of their meanings.
Terra Casa Holiday Lights
The Christmas season can be merry and bright! You just need to stop by Terra Casa (503-577-8242) in Damascus. We did and talked to Diana about all the great holiday lights they have to offer. She started by showing us the wonderful display of ‘snow globes’. These are not your ordinary globes that you have to shake to enjoy the sparkles and snow. These are battery powered and lit so they provide endless hours of a winter wonderland. These Snow Globe water lanterns are mesmerizing! Another light that you can use to create a mood is part of the Stoney Creek collection of glass lights. These fixtures have a soft light with different themes and scenes on the front of them. Very warm and inviting. Finally we took another stroll to see some holiday ‘paintings’ that literally sparkle! These scenes have tiny LED lights embedded in the painting so you can have a holiday scene that twinkles all holiday long! You can also get ‘real’ candles and the special ‘life-time’ candle which uses a clean burning candle lamp oil. For more decorating ideas and other great Christmas gifts, stop by Terra Casa and check out all the cool stuff for indoors or out. Check out our website or YouTube channel next week so you can get some great ideas for His and Her gifts!
TOW – Trimming Your Iris
Those wonderful irises of the late spring are looking pretty bad right now. Dry, dead leaves are mixed with sad, damaged leaves. Now is the time to clean them up. First, pull all the dry leaves out of the clump. Then cut back the green leaves to about 2-3 inches from the ground. Later this fall you can dig, divide and replant them, but for now this will take care of them and make your beds look much better. For more tips on iris care you can check out the website for Schreiner’s Iris Gardens.
Lights at the Oregon Garden Resort
One of the biggest light displays in the Willamette Valley was the Christmas in the Garden at the Oregon Garden. This year, like other holiday lighting displays, the Christmas in the Garden has been canceled. However, there is good news from Silverton!! The Oregon Garden Resort has put together a huge light display that you can still enjoy! The ‘Lights at the Oregon Garden Resort’ is now set up and ready for guests. This year though, there are some new restrictions. This display is not set up on the grounds of the Oregon Garden, they are surrounding the main lodge at the Resort. Plus, to see them, you have to be a registered guest at the resort. This is to help keep crowd numbers down for this wonderful event to create a safe environment for all visitors. The special rate at the resort includes overnight accommodations and parking, admission to the lights, and a tasty breakfast the next morning. You can also still enjoy some of the tasty holiday treats and selected holiday vendors while you visit. The lights will be on until the 2nd of January (closed on Dec 24/25), so don’t miss your chance to see this event. Unfortunately, there is no alpine slide or ice skating, but you can still have a lot of fun. Check out the Resort website to book your room and tickets.