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Happy Memorial day weekend. For a lot of people this will mark the start of the summer season. The calendar may tell us mid-June for the beginning of summer, for many this three day weekend is the start to grilling, travel and warm weekends. Let’s hope that weather cooperates!
This weekend is also a big one for gardening. There are a lot of festivals and plant sales happening. This week on the show we feature a bunch of colorful stops if you are in the mood to get in your car. Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, Adelman Peony Gardens, Egan Gardens, and Sebright Gardens are all clustered around Exit 263 (Brooks) and are all open this weekend. Sebright is also part of the Cascade Nursery Trail. We visit three of the Trail members participating in the ‘Spring Fever’ show this weekend.
There are many more events happening in the next couple of weeks. Get out and visit a few of these great events and nurseries before the spring blooms fade.
A little note for our viewers in the Portland area. On the weekend of June 11th the Grand Floral Parade will cause our program to move to 12:30-1:30. That day is also the day of our Subaru Garden Dayz event in Salem at Capitol Subaru on the parkway. We will have a bunch of garden vendors for your shopping, plus Ryan and Judy will be there too. We will be having drawings for gift cards every half hour and we have a huge assortment of gardening books to give away. Watch the show on YouTube and then come and see us between 11-3 on the 11th.
This week we featured...
Egan Late Spring Color
The late spring brings a change in colors in the garden, and the cooler weather this year means that some of that late spring color is combined with some early summer color too. We stopped by Egan Gardens (www.egangardens.com, 503-393-2131) near Brooks to chat with Ellen about some of her thoughts about the change of seasons. She told us that some of the things like hanging baskets are just now hitting their stride, so not to worry about getting your baskets late this year. We also have newer crops of plants that are maturing at the right time. Geraniums are looking great and a new crop is coming in (they are also on sale this weekend for the holiday). Another newer plant that is just making an appearance is vinca. This variety looks like a New Guinea impatiens, but it loves the heat and will really respond to the hot days yet to come. If you have had problems with bacopa dying back in the heat, then the Scaevola is for you. Known as fan flower, it loves the heat. It comes in a blue color, but the white one is a statement plant when you need one for your hanging baskets. The key to making these plants look good and surviving is consistent watering and fertilizer on a regular basis.
There are also a bunch of newer perennials that are just starting to show off too. Phlox, lupine, delphiniums, peonies and flowering shrubs are all just busting out with color. Ellen recommends that you stop by your local garden center every 2 weeks just to see what plants are looking good at that time of year. If you pick up a plant or two every few weeks, then your garden will have color all year long. Stop by if you are headed down to Exit 263 in Brooks for the other events in the area and pick up some great color plants.
Schreiner's Iris Update
May is a busy month for local blooming plants. The leading plant for most of May is the Iris and we are lucky to have the leading iris grower in the country at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (1-800-525-2367). The warmer weather that finally arrived has the blooms going crazy and that has meant a full garden. It’s a busy time for Ben Schreiner and the Schreiner family, but irises are in their blood. In fact they have been growing iris as a family for over 95 years, growing award winning irises. Part of that is the hybridizing of iris to create more varieties to choose from. Ben told us how he and his father, Ray, cross different types of iris to get new varieties. They can start with over 10,000 seedling every year and that is worked down to about 16 new introductions for each season. What they start to look for when the plants start to bloom is the color of the bloom. Is it something new and different? Then you look at bud count. Iris stems have multiple blooms on one stem and the more buds, the more blooms. Strong stems and resistance to diseases are also considered. Commercially they are now carrying around 700 varieties. This whole process can take a decade or more to get a new plant to you.
These are tall bearded iris but there are many more to choose from. With different varieties of iris you can extend your bloom time to 3 months or longer! You can start in April with ‘miniature dwarf iris’ that only get 6 inches high. Two weeks later you can enjoy ‘standard dwarf bearded iris’. Then shortly after that you can get the ‘intermediates’ starting to bloom and will last into May. Finally you get to enjoy the ‘tall bearded Iris’ that Schreiner’s is famous for. Then, after those start to fade you can enjoy the Louisiana Irises which bloom in June! Of course, if you pick the right varieties, you can also enjoy the re-bloomers of late summer! They have these and even daylilies available on their website.
Here are some tips about growing bearded iris for you. The number one tip was about watering. Bearded iris are the perfect plant for areas with water restrictions. Iris are drought tolerant! Once they are established they can survive on very little water. You should also look out for slugs. Bait for them regularly. Fertilizing your plants should be done before they bloom and you should use a light fertilizer. Nothing too strong. If your iris are having problems blooming you might also need to give them more sun! They need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, anything less and they don’t perform well.
If you are looking to come out and visit the display gardens you should know that things are a little different. You have to book a time to visit and purchase tickets to visit. The cost is $5 a person and you can find those tickets on their website. The gift shop is open and you can buy potted iris and cut iris for your home and garden. Stop by and check out the gardens, it is always beautiful and relaxing. This weekend is the final big weekend.
When people think of Dramm, they usually think about watering tools, sprinklers and cutting tools, not fertilizer, but for nearly a decade Dramm has made a wonderful organic fish fertilizer that average gardeners and commercial growers both love. Dramm is located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Commercial fishermen would bring in their catch from the lake and the local processors would just throw away the fish waste. Kirk Dramm heard about a local man that came up with a process to use that fish offal (waste) to create a high quality fertilizer. This organic, OMRI listed product was just what Kirk wanted to expand the Dramm offerings for home gardeners. The people at Dramm have modified the process and now they can offer this product with the consistent quality that is demanded from organic gardeners. Check out your local garden retailer for the Drammatic Fertilizer product and take your garden to the next level.
Adelman Peony Gardens
We are at the end of May and that late spring heat means the peonies are blooming. They are looking great! Peonies are an easy and worry free plant that are great in the garden and the best place to see them is Adelman Peony Gardens (503-393-6185) near Brooks. The best part of this garden is that they have display fields and a display garden. The display gardens still look fantastic but the fields feature waves of color! The plants are in full bloom and we are being treated to a show that just seems to get better every day. Carol Adelman showed us the display gardens, where their efforts of hybridizing are putting on a show. There we saw 3 peonies that show the family of one peony group. The papa peony was ‘Lemon Chiffon’. The mama peony was ‘Salmon Dream’ and the baby of those 2 was ‘Pastelegance’.
Did you know there are 3 basic types of peonies; herbaceous, tree and intersectional peonies. The herbaceous peony is one that will die back to the ground during the winter. Not to worry these plants are a favorite in the upper Midwest and can handle our coldest winters. They will return year after year. Then there are the tree peonies. These are not really a tree, but a peony with a woody stem. These will lose their leaves but will also return every year and reward you with great blooms. These can be pruned back but you need to be careful not to cut off too much. The final type is the intersectional or Itoh peony. These were first hybridized by Mr. Itoh in Japan and combine some of the best attributes of the 2 other forms. They have wonderful foliage and great bloom color, plus they are hardy in all areas of Oregon! She also told us about common problems that the home gardener might be experiencing. She told us that to get a stronger plant you need to pull off the side buds from your peony stalks. This lets your peony stand tall if it rains. Of course you can leave the side buds on and that will give you more blooms. We also asked about ants on peonies. A lot of people are worried about the ants on their plants. There is nothing to worry about. They are there because the plant is pushing sugary sap up the stems to the buds and the ants are just enjoying the feast. It is not causing harm to your plant. They will disappear after the flower blooms because the sap is gone! Also we found out that the peony is one of the toughest plants in your garden. If they can survive in the snowy and freezing Midwest, they can survive here! The gardens are open every day from 9 to 6 until the 15th of June. The fields are open and free to wander. Check out their website for more information. While you are visiting be sure to pick up some cut flowers or a new peony to take home!
Rogerson Inviting Vines Tour
One of the best collection of clematis plants in the US is right here in the metro area. The Rogerson Clematis Collection is located at Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego and contains lots of beautiful clematis that you can’t find anywhere else! To help fund the care and maintenance of this collection they annually host the Inviting Vines tour. In the past this tour took visitors on a trek to see many outstanding gardens around the area and sometimes that included a lot of time in the car to get from one garden to another. In the past couple of years the tour had to be postponed due to the pandemic. This year the 5 gardens on the tour are all in the Lake Oswego area and are easy to get to. We met with Kathy Whitman at her garden, one of the stops on this year’s tour. She has a smaller lot in Lake Oswego, but it is full of little wonderful plants and hidden areas where you can get lost, surrounded by plants. The other gardens feature an estate/winery, a home of 2 professional horticulturists, a riverside retreat and a private park. Of course after you have visited the 5 private gardens you can stop by the Clematis collection at Luscher as well. It is a day full of beautiful blooms!
The Tour is happening Saturday, June 11th from 10am to 4pm. You can get your tickets on-line at the Rogerson Clematis Collection website. Other events happening are a box lunch at the Clematis Collection Garden featuring Anne Jaeger, a ticketed wine tasting, docent tours and a clematis sale. Check out the Rogerson Clematis website for more information.
Cascade Nursery Trail – Out in the Garden/Miller’s Manor
We always talk about the Cascade Nursery Trail, the group of 8 different specialty nurseries, and why they are so great for the local gardener. Your chance to find out why is this weekend during the 9th annual Spring Fever event. All the member nurseries are open from 10-5 this extended weekend so you can find those cool and unusual plants for your summer garden.
The first stop was at Out in the Garden Nursery (503-829-4141) in Molalla. Carol had pulled out a bunch of plants for Judy to look at. Carol and her nursery are known for perennials and grasses for sun and shade, but she has so much more. She started out showing us 3 different hardy geraniums. Raven was the first one with a plain leaf but a beautiful dark purple flower. The second one was the ‘Rosetta’ with a lower growing habit and a pink flower. The third one was ‘Elke’ and it had a two-tone pink and white bloom and a nice cut leaf texture. We then saw a white bleeding heart. People are more familiar with the pink and white flower, but this is a bright spot in the garden with pure white flowers. It is blooming late this year due to the cooler weather, but it is a great contrast for your early spring garden beds. We then saw a couple of persicaria on the table. The ‘Speciosa’ with its scarlet red blooms and the ‘Orange Field’ with orange red blooms on tall flower spikes. If you are looking for a shorter plant and lots of color, look to the Eupatorium (joe pye weed) ‘Little Joe’. The flat purple flowers create a nice landing strip for butterflies and bees, making it a favorite in the pollinator garden. The Thalictrum (Meadow Rue) was next. ‘My Little Favorite’ has light purple blooms that will cover the plant when it blooms. It is also a favorite of bees and butterflies. Then we moved to one of Carol’s favorite plants, ligularias. She once called these the prima donnas of the garden. They droop in the hot weather, but bounce back quickly with a drink of water and they reward you tall yellow bloom spikes. ‘Little Rocket’ also has cool cut edges to the leaves and a deep dark red stem. We ended with a very fragrant plant for your garden, the little lilac ‘Miss Kim’. This one will stay short and will just get covered with clusters of light purple colored blooms.
We then headed over to Ryan who was at Miller’s Manor Gardens. Lynda had a table packed with a huge assortment of plants, many of them drought tolerant. Miller carries rare and unusual dwarf conifers, hardy fuchsias, rock & alpine plants, irises and other perennials. Lynda started with one of their witch-hazel’s, ‘George’. It has great fall color and a strawberry red flower in the late winter. The next plant was a scotch broom. They are known as an invasive species, but this one was a sterile variety so it is safe for your garden and won’t take over. Instead of the typical yellow blooms, this one was covered with deep red/pink blooms. Then we saw a coral bells variety called ‘Timeless Gold. It has bright gold foliage with tall pink flower spikes. It was a stunner! ‘Timeless Night’, a cousin plant, was also nearby and had a little taller habit with the same cool bloom colors. Fuchsias, both tall and short, were on the table with ‘Preston Guild’ and ‘British Jubilee’ representing their huge selection of 100 different varieties that they grow. If you like early spring color, the pulmonaria are a perfect plant. ‘Raspberry Frost’ was on the table and as a newer variety it has only raspberry colored blooms instead of the two-toned blooms that most people are familiar with. Lynda also had some taller plants with ‘Mint Crisp’ honeysuckle towards the back of the table. The traditional yellow and white flowers are complimented with variegated foliage. Another great spring bloomer is the Geum ‘Petticoat Peach’. The soft peachy colored blooms stick up and show off above the foliage. Next to that one was a new Agastache called ‘Mandarin’. The orange colored blooms, with their long throats, are a hummingbird favorite. Moving to another hummingbird favorite was the Salvia ‘Moulin Rouge’. The purple blooms attract the hummers, but their unusual bloom shape is an eye catcher for the gardener. The ‘Sunstruck’ heliopsis was just starting to show off with its striking variegated foliage, which will soon be followed by sunflower like blooms. It was so beautiful, that we even picked one up after the shoot for our garden. The taller cousin ‘Burning Heart’ has a darker foliage and a taller habit, but still has those sunflower blooms. Geranium ‘Midnight Ghost’ was on the table with a shorter habit and light pink flower blooms. Perfect for a ground cover that will accent any plant in your garden. Lily of the Valley are favorites and the variegated variety is a wonderful little plant. Remember that this one will spread in the garden, so give it some room to grow and you will get the great foliage and the little bell shaped blooms. We finished with the dwarf conifers she had on the table. These are ones that their son has discovered on various trips around the country. They are all different and unique!
If you want to see these great plants and many others at other nurseries on the trail, check out the website and make a plan to do a little ‘trail blazin’ this weekend.
Hydrangeas Plus Late Spring Tips
Late spring is the time for climbing hydrangeas, and the best place to see them and get one of your own is at Hydrangeas Plus (866-433-7896). Kristen took us on a tour of her display garden and the varieties she had were massive! The white lace-cap type blooms that you find on most of the climbers are just starting to open up, and when they do that they become very fragrant. The stems have lateral roots that attach to the wall or structure that they grow on. That means you should be careful where you place them. If you just train them on your house they will attach to your siding and could cause marks on the wood if you have to remove the plant. The plant we saw on this trip was one that most people know as a climber, the Anomola Petiolaris. This one has the lace-cap blooms that are huge and also fragrant. It LOVES the full sun once established.
We then talked about this being the perfect time to plant. The cooler, wet weather has created perfect soil conditions for those new roots. We also talked about how to change the color of your blooms (if you have the right type of hydrangea) The blues are best in acid soil. The amount of aluminum available in the soil and the ability of a particular variety to absorb it will control the degree of blueness. The reds and pinks enjoy an alkaline or neutral soil. The whites will stay white but usually enjoy the same conditions as the reds and pinks. You can find more information about hydrangea care on the website.
Your chance to see these great plants is this weekend during the Cascade Nursery Trail tour. There are 8 nurseries in the mid-valley and they all will be welcoming visitors to the growing operations during their Spring Fever Open House! Stop by this weekend and find a treasure to take home!
Building a Small Planter
As gardeners we are always looking for containers for our plants. Why not build one? We came up with a simple plan for a small cedar planter that uses only 2 boards. One was a 6 foot cedar fence board and the other was an 8 foot cedar 1x2. With a couple of minutes, a hammer, some 5d galvanized nails and a miter saw we were able to construct a planter that will last for years. The best part? It cost only a few bucks to build. In the past we have also recommended that you seal the cedar so it lasts longer and that we drill a couple of drainage holes too, but sealing is an option. Still, not bad for a simple, quick-to-assemble planter!
Red Pig Tools
This pig can dig! Many years ago, after years of constant grumbling about the quality of hand tools available to the gardener, we were introduced to Bob Denman of Red Pig Tools (503-479-5571). Bob had a long history of developing and building hand tools. In the past few years Bob decided to retire and Seth Pauley took over. Seth is an avid garden expert and an expert blacksmith and he gave us a demonstration on how he builds a weeding tool. He explained how he reinforces certain parts of the tool so it stays stronger and lasts longer. The key to building a great garden tool, is to create a handcrafted work of art. These tools will outlast nearly all of your other tools. The best part of a handcrafted tool, Seth works hard to make sure the tool is right for you! He makes over 200 different types of tools from the smallest of trowels to the longest of shovels. Seth can find the perfect tool for you and your hardest garden jobs. He can even fill you in on the history of the tools too.
If you would like to learn more about Red Pig Tools, or to get one for yourself. You can check out a few local retailers including Portland Nursery and Garden Fever, but the best place to get all his tools is at the Red Pig Tools website! Either way you will be very happy with the garden tools you will find and use for many years to come.