November 24, 2007

One of the most over looked plants in the winter garden is the nandina.  Nandina is also called heavenly bamboo (though it is not related) and we found the fall colors to be just as heavenly.  It makes a great plant in the garden because it has interest all year long.  You can find many different varieties that can grow from 2 feet to 10 feet tall.  The two we featured included ‘Firepower’ and ‘Purpurea’ though there are tons of colors to choose from.  They love full sun but can even handle a little drier and shadier condition than most plants.  We found a big selection at Terra Garden’s Nursery (503-581-0441) in Salem, but they are available at all your local independent garden centers.

November 10, 2007

Our plant picks this week are designed to take your garden to a higher level!  A lot of people are looking to add height to their garden.  Some will do that with hardscaping; the use of statues, columns, trellises and arbors.  We suggest you consider plants, more specifically trees!  Not just any trees, but trees that have interesting growth habits.  These ‘structure’ trees will look good all year long and they are real conversation pieces.  The 3 we featured were from Portland Nursery on Division (503-788-9000) and included the Weeping Juniper ‘Tolleson’s Blue’, Cryptomeria ‘Rasen’ and contorted Douglas Fir named ‘Emerald Twister’.  There are many more to choose from and some have different growing requirements so check with your local garden center to see what is available.

November 3, 2007

We found a great plant pick this week.  The Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) is a great plant pick for a number of reasons.  First, it is a native plant that will do well in most northwest gardens.  Second, it is a slow grower, so you can enjoy it for a long time.  Third, it is loaded with wonderful berries!  It likes filtered sunlight and well-drained soil.  We found a couple of wonderful ones at the Oregon Garden (1-877-674-2733) in the Lewis and Clark garden.  This garden features all the different types of types of landscapes that Lewis and Clark passed through during their trip to the northwest.   Make a trip to the garden to see it there or find one at your local garden center.

October 27, 2007

Our plant pick for this week is an interesting one.  It is the Staghorn fern.  We found a local grower, Linda Wearne, who has become the expert in Staghorns.  The Staghorn fern is found in trees in semi-tropical areas.  They are like orchids, they attach to the trees, but they don’t damage the tree by taking nutrients away.  They survive on their own food production.  They can handle moderate light or morning sun and since they are a zone 9-11 plant they prefer some warmth, usually above 40 degrees.  You can keep them moist but not too wet and give them a little liquid fertilizer a couple times a year.  If you have questions you can contact Linda at Wearne’s Staghorn Nursery.

October 20, 2007

The Japanese maples are really showing off right now and we found one of the most colorful ones at Tsugawa Nursery, (360-225-8750) in Woodland Washington. Brian Tsugawa showed us one that was blazing red! During the season it is a normal green color, but now it is in full color. This maple can handle full sun and good watering, but it will need a little more care in the first year it is planted. A little extra water and a good transplant fertilizer will do the trick. If you are looking for a great fall color tree, check out the Japanese maples at Tsugawa’s.

October 13, 2007

Azaleas are generally known as being a spring blooming plant.  We found some new ones on the market that will give you tons of bloom and they will keep coming back all through the growing season.  Encore Azaleas were hybridized to bloom in the spring, followed by a mid-summer flush and again in the fall.  They take the same care requirements as your other azaleas and rhododendrons.   They like a full sun or light shade exposure, good watering and little bit of acid in their soil.  They also stay relatively small, reaching only 3 feet by 3 feet when full grown.  Check them out at your local garden center.


September 29, 2007

Sumacs don’t have the best of reputations!  They are a nice garden tree or shrub, but they have a tendency to sucker… meaning they will send up shoots.  We found a new one that is said to sucker less than the older varieties.  The ‘Tiger Eyes’ sumac is a new variety that has a shorter growth habit, suckers less and has fantastic fall color.  These plants love full sun and are great background plants.  That means they will go well with contrasting colored pants in front of them.  We found these beautiful specimens at Tom’s Garden Center (541-928-2521) in Albany, but they are available at most of your local independent garden centers.

September 15, 2007

Our plant pick also features an additional bonus of being a special on the Le Tour des Plants tour.  Brian Bauman from Bauman’s Farm and Garden (503-792-3524) is showcasing his Belgium Mums during the event. These mums are very easy to grow.  They don’t need any ‘pinching’ to get them bushy, they just grow that way.  They are also fairly hardy for our area.  Once you get them home you can put them in the ground and they will reward you with fantastic color every year!   Plus, during the Le Tour event, you can buy one and get a second at 50% off.  Bauman’s also has 3 wristband specials!  First, buy a flat of pansies for just $10.  Second, you can decorate your house for the fall with 20% off all straw bales and corn stalks.  And third, you can enjoy a free wooden basket with any $50 purchase.  More great reasons to head to your local Le Tour garden center.

September 8, 2007

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 18, 2007

Our plant pick is a favorite in the valley and on the coast.  The escallonia ‘Pink Princess’ is a plant that can handle the climate changes in the valley and the wind and salty air on the coast.  It is an evergreen shrub that can handle full sun.  It has glossy leaves that may be why it is a good drought tolerant plant as well.  Some varieties can get fairly tall, but can be pruned to any height you want.   The variety we found has wonderful pink clusters of flowers that bloom from mid-summer to late fall.  It is also a great hedge plant.  In fact we found a new hedge of them at Oregon Coast Garden Center (541-563-6001) in Waldport, but you can find them at most of your local garden centers.

August 11, 2007

We have a tasty plant pick this week!  The fig is a great tree to add to your garden.  Newer varieties are popping up all the time with delicious variations of this fruit.  We found a couple of varieties at Cornell Farm (503-292-9895) in Portland.  They had 5 different varieties of fig, but we featured ‘Brown Turkey’ and ‘Peter’s Honey Fig’.  Figs love full sun and good water and can reach heights of 30 feet or more.  They can also be pruned to remain bush sized or even trained as espalier along a fence or wall.  They also can send up suckers as well.  They can produce a huge amount of fruit so there is plenty for you and your animal friends!   To see these varieties (and a huge full grown one) check out the selection at Cornell Farm.

August 4, 2007

Finding plants that can handle pond conditions can be tough.  We always find some interesting plants that don’t mind the wetness at Hughes Water Gardens (503-638-1709).  Our plant pick this week is the Pickerel Weed.  This aquatic perennial loves water and is a full sun plant that can handle even the toughest winters if you place a foot below the waterline.  It has wonderful spikes of flowers and can bloom from late spring to fall.  It is a perfect companion plant to the Waterlily.   Don’t forget, this is the final weekend of the 5th annual Waterlily Festival and Invitational Art Show.  Stop by, check out the art, water plants and all the festivities!

July 28, 2007

Our plant pick of the week comes to us from Guentner’s Gardens (503-581-7133) in Salem. Callas have a little bit of a bad rap. Some people only think of them as the all white lily that they buy at Easter time. Others think that they are only a tropical flower that can’t survive the cold wet winters of the northwest. They are wrong on both counts. New varieties of callas are coming on the market and they have great combinations of colors and foliage. Plus, they are hardier than their older cousins. Even these new varieties like well drained soil and some can handle fun sun. Check them out on your next trip to the garden center.

July 21, 2007

Our plant pick stands tall and bright in the garden!  The rudbeckia is a common popular perennial that has been around for many years.  These perennials have ‘black-eyed Susan’ flowers that are bright and showy. They are fairly easy to grow, but don’t like wet feet (soggy soil).  People like them for the prolific blooms they produce that also make great cut flowers.  We found a huge field of them at Fir Point Farms
(503-678-2455).  Fir Point has a U-cut field where you cut and create your own fresh flower arrangement.  They also have the ‘live’ kind for you to take home and add to your own garden!

July 7, 2007

Our plant pick comes to us from the Boring Square Garden Center (503-663-9797), a great little garden center in Boring, Oregon.   They had a great selection of alstroemeria, a relative of the lily family.  These prolific summer bloomers are perennials, which means they will come back every year.  They love good drainage and need to be mulched for protection only during bad winters.  They grow off of tubers, so to promote more blooms you shouldn’t prune them, you should pull the flower stalks from the ground after they finish blooming.  Try one in your garden and enjoy great blooms all summer.

June 16, 2007

We bring you a bit of the tropics with our plant pick of the week.  The hardy banana (Musa basjoo) is a wonderful addition to your garden and when you combine it with other tropical-type plants it can make a huge impact!  The care for the Hardy Banana is fairly simple.  They like lots of water, and a lot of fertilizer.  They will die back in the winter and you may need to protect the crown if it is in an exposed area.  It will return the next season to grow even taller, in fact, you may even have more plants to divide and share since it creates other plants by runner.  It does produce an occasional fruit but it is not edible and is mainly for show.

June 9, 2007

Hydrangeas are just starting to bloom and while that is enough to get our attention; we found one that caught our eye with just its foliage.  The Lemon Daddy hydrangea is a new introduction from Novalis. Novalis plants are grown and distributed locally by Fisher Farms.   It has a spectacular lemon colored foliage that is incredibly bright and can make a great accent plant in your garden.  Like most hydrangeas, it likes morning sun and a little protection in the afternoon.  This variety has a pink bloom but the color can be changed by adjusting the pH of your soil.  Keep the soil well drained and you will be enjoying this one for years to come.

May 19, 2007

Spring is the time of year for rhodies and azaleas to bloom.  The colors of the different flowers are spectacular, but the colors of the deciduous azaleas are out of this world!  Deciduous azaleas lose their leaves during the colder, winter months, but then they return in the spring in a blaze of glory.  There are two types of deciduous azalea, the exbury and the mollis, but both produce fantastic color!  If you are looking for something special in your spring garden, check these out at your local garden center!

May 12, 2007

Our plant pick is a very broad one this week.  It is the annual color plants we found at Egan Gardens in Brooks (503-393-2131).  I know, it may be a cop-out to have a pick so big, but we really wanted to select a color plant and this large group deserved to be recognized.  Whether it is pansies, impatiens, marigolds or one of the many other color annuals, these plants really perform.  They say that ‘those that live the shortest, burn the brightest’ and that is true for these plants.  This color can’t be beat.  Our recommendation is to spend a little extra money, buy an extra flat of them and plant them now for that ‘full’ look to your garden.  Don’t wait for them to fill in.  Enjoy the color now and for months to come.

April 21
, 2007

Our plant pick is more than one plant this week.  We decided to highlight the large group of sedums, agaves, echeverias and sempervivums known as succulents.  These plants are extremely forgiving once they are established.  Most retain their color or foliage year-round.  They tend to be very drought tolerant and love full sun.  Most are from the desert and so they are used to extremes in climate and temperature, though you can find some that are picky and prefer the constant temperature of an indoor garden.  We found a great selection at Buffalo Gardens (503-228-0220) at 30th and Alberta in NE Portland, but they are available at most independent garden centers and nurseries.

April 14
, 2007

If you are looking for a colorful foliage plant for your garden you can’t beat Ninebark.  Ninebark, also known as Physocarpus, is a winner for colorful foliage in your garden.  Ryan from Larsen Farm Nursery
(503-638-8600) called us to recommend this one as a plant pick and he was right!  He brought out 3 different varieties for us to look at; ‘Dart’s Gold’ which has a wonderful golden color, ‘Summer Wine’ is a great contrast to that with deep burgundy foliage and then there is ‘Nugget’ with an emerald green coloring.  Ninebark gets big, up to 8 feet tall, but you can find shorter versions appearing on the market.  They love sun or shade, and can handle pretty much anything your garden can dish out.  Check out all the varieties at Larsen Farm or any local independent nursery.

March 31, 2007

Spring is a great time of year for picking new plants for your garden.  Our plant pick for this week is a perfect one for early spring color.  Viburnum burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’ is a great plant that has tight clusters of fragrant flowers and will get about 6 feet high and wide so you may want to keep it in the back of a flower bed.  It likes full sun to part shade and well-drained soil.  It will drop its leaves in the winter, but really puts on a show in the spring.  We found this one at Bloomers Nursery (541-687-5919) in Eugene, but they are available at most of your local independent garden centers.

March 24, 2007

Our plant pick this week is the Evergreen Clematis.  These clematis are great for year round interest, but right now they are in full bloom and extremely fragrant!  They require a very sturdy trellis or wire to climb on and prefer cooler roots and their tops in full sun.  You can prune them after they bloom to keep them from getting too tall so they can be shaped to fit any garden area.  The 2 different varieties featured were at Drakes 7 Dees in Portland (503-256-2223).  They were Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’ and ‘’Apple Blossom’.

March 17, 2007

We traveled to Kraemer’s Garden and Pet (503-472-7729) in McMinnville to get our plant pick of the week, Pieris.  This evergreen shrub is an old favorite to some gardeners, but new varieties are opening everyone’s eyes.  Pieris, also called andromeda and Lily-of-the-Valley, like moderate water and filtered sunlight so keep them out of hot sunny locations.  They have clusters of tight, tiny flowers that will hang around for quite a long time.  You will find colors range from reds to pinks to white.  The one we featured is the Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’.  Check them out now at your local garden center.

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