December 2, 2006

Our Plant Pick this week is the Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus).  These little wonders bloom because of the amount of light they receive.  Try not to keep them in a room with too much artificial light, it may limit the blooms.  You can slow down the blooming by moving them into a cooler room and limiting their exposure to heat.  Like all cacti, they like it a little dry too.  These little plants can reward you with great blooms year after year if you just give them a little care.

November 11, 2006

Want that cool crisp smell (and taste) of wintergreen?  Then you are looking at our plant pick of the week, Gaultheria procumbens, also known as wintergreen.  This low growing evergreen shrub is very hardy and a great ground cover for our area.  It gets it name from the wintergreen smell you get when you crush the leaves and fruit.  It puts on a show during the winter and is a must-have plant for your garden.

November 4, 2006

Our plant pick this week is the Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans compacta’.  This graceful conifer has wonderful green summer foliage that changes to a rich coppery red or purple in the winter.  The new variety, shown to us by Michael from Portland Nursery (503-788-9000), stays short so you can even use it in a deck planter or container.  It is a great year-round plant that loves full sun and average watering.  It also has a soft texture that is smooth to the touch!

October 28, 2006

Our Plant Pick of the week was the Callicarpa bodinieri also known as Beautyberry.  The variety was ‘Profusion’.  This is a wonderful shrub that has beautiful neon purple berries in the winter, but it also looks great in the summertime.  This variety is a native of China and can get 6 feet high or more, so you may want to keep it cut back.  This graceful shrub is deciduous and is just starting to change color and lose its leaves.  Once the berries are gone remove about one-third of the branches to make room for new growth.  We found this one at Tsugawa’s Nursery (360-225-8750) in Woodland, but they are available at most local garden centers.

October 14, 2006

If you are looking for spectacular ‘hot’ fall color then look no further than our plant pick for this week, Burning Bush.  With the Latin name Euonymus alata it is easier to remember the common name of ‘Burning Bush’ due to the intense red fall color.  This plant is also called the ‘winged euonymus’ due to its squared limbs and in the middle of winter those squared branches are a real eye catcher!  It is shade tolerant but you will notice that it performs better with more sun exposure.  It can handle a variety of soil conditions but prefers moderate watering.

October 7, 2006

We found a new favorite!  We have always loved weigelas, but most varieties get a little too tall for our garden.  Proven Winners recently came out with one that stays small.  Weigela ‘My Monet’ is a more compact variety that stays shorter than 2 feet tall.  The other benefit to this variety is the color.  The leaves appear with a pink tint and change to a green with cream colored edge.  It looks great.  The other benefit is the flower color.  In late spring and early summer you will enjoy a soft pink bloom.  It likes full sun to partial shade, rarely needs pruning and is hardy to -20°.  Weigela ‘My Monet’ is a great plant for our northwest winters and you will find it at your local garden center.

September 23, 2006

Our plant pick for this week is a common one.  The garden mum is sometimes overlooked because you can find it everywhere.  But there is a reason why it is so popular; it performs well in the Pacific Northwest.  These perennials like full sun and good drainage.  If you want that full look you have to pinch the first buds off when they start to bloom.  It is hard to do but you will be rewarded with that full, colorful look in late summer/early fall.  They also are considered a heavy feeder, that means they like lots of fertilizer.  If they are in a very exposed location you may want to mulch them a little before the really cold winds blow.  We found some great plants in lots of colors at Willow Lake Nursery (503-390-3032) in Keizer.  Stop by next time you are in the neighborhood!

September 23, 2006

Arrrrr… Our plant pick is a real pirate!  It is Bluebeard, the common name for Caryopteris.  It will steal your heart!  We found our plant pick at Fresh to You Produce and Garden Center (503-769-9682).  Nancy Hendricks and her husband have been bringing the freshest produce and plants to the Stayton area for years!  She brought out 2 different varieties for us to see.  They were ‘Sunshine Blue’, which has golden foliage and ‘Petit Blue’, which stays short and is perfect for today’s smaller gardens.   They love moderate watering, full sun and are hardy for our area.  Fresh to You is also part of Le Tour de Plants.  Nancy told us about the great specials they have including 50% off pottery and 50% off flowering trees.  If you are east of Salem, stop by, pick-up some fresh produce and a plant or two!

September 9, 2006

Late summer color.  It is sometimes hard to get good color from your perennials that have been performing all summer long.  Our plant pick of the week is a great pick for giving you color at a time when other plants seem to be fading.  The Japanese Anemone is a great perennial that can handle just about anything.  It is long-lived and likes a little shade during the hottest times of the year, but once established it sends up long graceful stems of flowers that reach 2-4 feet tall.  After a couple of years it will slowly spread across your garden beds.  That is the time to dig and divide the plant to keep it manageable.  The anemone is a great plant for borders or an area between your taller plants and those short groundcovers near the edge of your flower beds.  We found this wonderful plant at Portland Nursery (503-231-5050) on Stark Street, but they are available at all your local garden centers.

September 2, 2006

Looking for a tropical look for your late summer garden?  We found it with the Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus).  This cousin of the Hibiscus is a great plant for our area.  It can handle our cool winters and hot summers and still put out a great flower that looks fantastic.  It likes the late summer heat and can even be a little drought tolerant.  It can get to 12 feet tall depending on the variety but you can keep it lower with selective pruning.  Our plant pick of the week comes to us from Kale Farms (503-393-8857) in North Salem.  It is a great garden store with a wonderful little gift shop.

August 26, 2006

An overlooked shrub in the garden is the cotoneaster, our plant pick of the week.  The cotoneaster is a great perennial shrub that can take full sun and also moderate watering.  That makes it a good drought tolerant plant for just about any area in your garden.  It mainly stays low and can be a good ground cover alternative in a border.  It also has yellow to red-ish berries that create great fall and winter interest.

August 12, 2006

One of the most exciting perennials of the past few years is Echinacea, also known as coneflower.  These perennials are the tall pink-ish late summer bloomers, but recent varieties are shorter and come in a variety of colors.  We found some cool ones at Larsen Farm Nursery (503-638-8600) in Wilsonville.  They love full sun and can handle moderate watering once they are established.  This makes them an excellent plant for those beds that don’t get a lot of attention during the summer.  If you take care of them they will continue blooming until frost.  They even make a good cut flower to bring indoors!

August 5, 2006

If you are looking for a ‘tropical’ feel for your garden you can’t pass up our plant pick for this week, the Canna.  The Canna is one of those plants that puts on a show.  Whether it is the striped foliage or the outstanding flowers, it really has an exotic look to it.  Cannas come in all different colors from yellow to pink, white and red.  Like their tropical cousins, they love full sun and a good watering when it is hot.  They are equally at home in your garden or in a container.  Most of the varieties available in the northwest are hardy for our area, but there are some that could be tender so be sure to read the tag when you purchase one.  We found our plant pick at Garden Fever (503-287-3200) in Northwest Portland, but they are available at all your local garden centers.

July 29, 2006

Our plant pick of the week is ‘Unique’.  It is the Pee Gee Hydrangea ‘Unique’.  These hydrangeas are just coming into bloom right now.   They can take full sun but like a little shade on the hottest days and will grow to around 10-15 feet high.   A favorite of the florist industry, they make a good cut flower.  The flowers are very different with a cone shaped cluster that has flowers of various shapes and sizes.  It will make a good plant for the back of a bed or border.  They don’t have any fragrance but they really put on a flower show! Find a place for one in your garden.

July 22, 2006

These deciduous shrubs are a great for the northwest garden because they are tough and easy to care for.  They like well drained soil but can handle most soils and conditions once established, including heat and moderate watering.  They can grow to as high as 3 feet tall and will produce blooms from late spring till early fall.  We saw 3 varieties at Farmington Gardens (503-649-4568) including ‘McKay’s White’, ‘Gold Star’ and the salmon colored ‘Red Ace’, but you will find them at all your local independent garden centers.

July 15, 2006

Our Plant Pick of the week may look familiar to you.  Alstroemeria’s are very common as a cut flower in floral arraignments.  Those varieties are preferred by florists because of their long stems, but they also tend to flop in the garden.  We found a new series of these flowers that look great in your garden and will bloom for weeks to come.  Deby from Cornell Farm (503-292-9895) showed us the new ‘Princess Lilies’ that are now available.  These get 18-to-24 inches tall, take full sun, and like well drained soil.  The key to getting them to rebloom is don’t prune them.  Instead, pull the spent flower stems out of the ground and they will grow new ones.  When you do, they will bloom until the fall.

July 1, 2006

Our plant pick of the week is a 2-for-1 holiday bonus!  We found two plants that share a common trait: fragrance.  Danielle Ferguson from Ferguson’s Fragrant Nursery (503-633-4585) pulled out two of her favorite plants. The first is the Daphne.  This plant is a favorite of many gardeners in the Pacific Northwest.  It grows into a nice deciduous shrub with small white flowers.  It also has great foliage with green leaves that are edged in a cream color.  The second plant is the star jasmine.  This plant is a vine and, as the name implies, the flowers are a star shape about an inch wide.  They too have a fragrance that will knock your socks off.  Both of these plants love full sun and good drainage.  They also share bloom times, starting in late spring and running until fall.  If you are looking for a couple of plants to bring sweet scents to your garden, you can’t go wrong with these two.

June 24, 2006

Our plant pick of the week is an old favorite with a new twist.  Brian Tsugawa of Tsugawa Nursery (360-225-8750)  showed us two varieties of the Crape Myrtle.  The old favorite was Crape Myrtle ‘Tonto’ and the new twist was Crape Myrtle ‘White Chocolate,’ a new introduction this year.  Crape myrtles love full sun and moderate watering.  They can be kept as a shrub or pruned into a tree shape.  Most varieties grow between 12 and 20 ft.  The main features are the spectacular clusters of flowers, which can be reddish pink like the variety “Tonto” or white found in the variety ‘White Chocolate’.  Crape myrtles can be found at most of your independent garden centers, but new varieties like ‘White Chocolate’ may require a little bit of a search.

June 17, 2006

Nothing rings in the summer like our Plant Pick of the Week, the Japanese Snowbell, also know by its Latin name Styrax japonica.  The Snowbell is really putting on a show right now.  These low growing trees have a horizontal branching habit which makes them perfect for the home gardener.  The wonderful white or pink flowers in late spring give way to a berry in late summer/ early fall.  The fall color is not spectacular but the bare winter branches add a wonderful accent to your winter garden.  Jon DeBoer from Farmington Gardens (503-649-4568) in Aloha showed us some beautiful varieties, including a pink one called “Pink Chimes’.

June 10, 2006

Our plant pick is one hot number from the tropics!  The Bougainvillea is known for the great color it has.  That color is not from flowers but from the bracts/leaves that surround the small white/yellow flowers.  This plant is a touchy tropical.  It doesn’t like to be disturbed and it will not survive the winters here without a lot of protection, but it is worth it for the continual floor show it puts on through the summer.  Most varieties are full sun and like regular watering, keep an eye on them during the hottest days since they might need extra watering.  Once again, remember they are a tropical, so put them in a place you can see them and enjoy!

May 27, 2006

Our plant pick of the week is the Heuchera, also known as Coral Bells.  This evergreen plant is a winner in the foliage department.  It is known for the variety of textures and colors in its stems and leaves.  It can handle full sun, but prefers partial shade.  It can be used in beds or containers and makes an excellent accent plant because it remains somewhat short, with most varieties staying around 3 feet tall or shorter.  We found an excellent variety at Guentner’s Gardens (503-585-7133) in South Salem, but you can find them at any local independent garden center.

May 20, 2006

We traveled to Heirloom Roses (503-538-1576) for our plant pick of the week.  This one leaves a great impression -- in fact, it is called the Impressionist!  This vigorous climber will stand up and shine in the garden.  At various times you may see lavender, scarlet crimson, buff and orange, tan to brown, yellow, pink, white, cream, apricot, salmon, creamy pink, peach, coral, several shades of pink, orange, red and gold!  All these colors can appear in its bloom lifecycle.  If you think that is great, check out the fragrance!  If you are at Heirloom, check out this winner!  It is located near the gift shop!

May 13, 2006

Our plant pick of the week combines color and fragrance.  We traveled to Ferguson’s Fragrant Nursery(503-633-4585) where we found the Abelia ‘Bridal Bouquet’. This sun loving shrub has an arching form and can reach up to 6 feet. Clusters of small fragrant flowers during the summer gives way to wonderful bronzy fall color.  This plant makes a spectacular visual barrier with its showy flowers and is a great addition to any garden.

May 6, 2006

Our plant pick this week comes to us from Fir Point Farms, home of Gardenpalooza.  We found a plant that is outstanding for its combination of foliage color and blooms.  The variegated weigela we found was in a small container, but it can grow to be a large plant.  If you need something that can fill a 6 foot space in your beds than this might be the plant for you.  It is fairly hardy for our area and can handle full sun.  it puts on its best show in the spring and can be pruned back pretty hard after it blooms.  If you prune it back it will reward you with more blooms next year!

April 29, 2006

Our plant pick doesn’t know what to be called!  Some people call it a Seascape Daisy or an African Daisy, but it is really an Osteospermum.  These sun loving plants are great for the northwest garden.  They can handle moderate watering and colder temperatures.  If it doesn’t freeze in the winter they will return year after year.  They bloom for quite awhile and seem to bloom better in the cooler spring weather.  They can even handle poor soil conditions, but they will perform better if you put them in nice soil and keep them watered.  We found a great selection at Max & Hildy’s (503-645-5486) in Hillsboro.


April 22, 2006

The plant pick of the week comes to us from Al’s Garden Center (503-491-0771) in Gresham.  The barberry is a great plant that has something to offer all year long.  In the spring it has wonderful foliage and cute small blooms.  During the fall, the color of its leaves will take your breath away and in the winter it has the berries in its branches.  Most varieties will stay in the 4-to-8 foot range and can handle just about any soil condition.  They can handle very little water and no extra care except occasional pruning.  They have a spiny stem and that makes them a good plant to keep unwanted guests out of your garden.  The two varieties we saw today were the ‘Rose Glow’ and ‘Golden’.  Check them out at your local garden center.

April 15, 2006

Magnolias are really showing off right now and with all those beautiful blooms it is hard to pick a favorite, so we went to see Tim Clarke at Garden World (503-982-2380) to get some help! You can find magnolias in many different heights and styles, and for the most part they love full sun and good early fertilization.  Tim picked out a couple that he really likes.  We saw Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’, Magnolia ‘Pinky’, Magnolia ‘Golden Gift’, and Magnolia ‘Susan’.  All of them are so nice we challenge you to choose!

April 8, 2006

Our plant pick of the week comes to us from Cornell Farm (503-292-9895).  Deby Barnhart told us about these wonderful drought tolerant perennials.  They can take full sun and they are evergreen.  These cousins of the poinsettia also produce a milky sap that can be a skin irritant so be careful of getting it on your hands.  You can find them in bloom right now at your local garden center.

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