November 22, 2008

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 25, 2008

Our plant pick is a very interesting one.  The Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia, is considered a carnivorous plant.  The reason why is because it attracts flies with a nectar and when the fly goes inside to retrieve the nectar, it can’t get out.  The inside of the flower has small hairs that prevent escape.  The fly will die and the plant use the nutrients of the decaying body to help supplement its diet.  These plants like a boggy or marsh area and are great around ponds and water features.  They can be a little tender so you may want to protect them in severe weather.  A species of this plant can be found as a native plant on the southern Oregon Coast, these colorful hybrids really stand out.  You should try one in your garden.  You can find them at a lot of your local garden centers, but we found a great selection at Hughes Water Gardens (503-638-1709).

September 20, 2008

Most gardeners are familiar with sedums. They are usually the short, drought tolerant, ground covers that are used in our gardens and containers as an under-story plant. We wanted to show case the larger varieties that you will find in your garden center right now. These taller varieties of sedums are great plants for anywhere in your garden. They will get up to 20 inches tall and have wonderful foliage and flowers to look at. They, like their shorter relatives, are very drought tolerant once they are established. They like full sun and good drainage. You will be rewarded with huge clusters of flowers on tall stalks every fall. You can find them as most of your local garden centers.

September 13, 2008

Our plant pick this week is a staple of the fall garden. Garden mums are very easy to grow.  They are a full sun plant and are covered with flowers.  Some varieties will continue to bloom through the fall and into early winter. They are also fairly hardy for our area with a little protection.  Once you get them home you can put them in the ground or keep them in a pot and they will reward you with fantastic color every year!  We found these mums at Hart’s Nursery.  They grow these plants and supply them to garden centers in Oregon and Washington.

August 9, 2008

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 2, 2008

Our plant pick this week is the Crape Myrtle.  These plants are popular in the south and are just starting to take hold here.   They are called Crape Myrtle because of the crape paper like blooms that they have.  There have been a ton of new cultivars introduced recently that have new foliage and flower colors to choose from.  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”, while white can be found in the variety ‘White Chocolate’, or the light pink blooms of ‘Burgundy cotton’.  Crape myrtles can be found at most of your independent garden centers and are just starting to bloom now.

July 26, 2008

Our plant pick has a memorable name and bloom, even if you can’t eat it. Yolanda from VanVeen Bulbs (888-289-2852) showed us her favorite plant in the whole world, the Pineapple Lily (Eucomis). This plant has a flower stalk that looks like a pineapple, but the tiny flowers open into a wand of soft texture and color. Though they are known as a sun plant, Yolanda has had success with them in the shade as well; they will just bloom later in the shade. They are very hardy and will bloom in the mid-summer when other plants are getting a little tired. You can find Yolanda and her bulbs at the Beaverton Farmers Market, The Hillsdale Farmers Market and the Portland Farmers Market at PSU twice a week in the summer. You can also order them through her website.

July 19, 2008

Our plant pick for this week is an old favorite with a new twist. Black Mondo Grass is a small dark leaved plant that is actually a member of the lily family. It grows well in most gardens and grows slowly over time. It also has little spikes of flowers that accent the foliage well. The twist is that the staff at Hughes Water Gardens found that it performs well in little floating gardens in your pond or water feature. If you are looking for a plant that likes a boggy area, try Black Mondo Grass.

June 14, 2008

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.

May 31, 2008

It is Rose Festival Time and that means that roses are starting to pop all over the state of Oregon.  We visited Heirloom Roses (503-538-1576) to see some of the early bloomers and one caught our eye, the Mary Rose.  A couple of years ago, William found the rose ‘The Impressionist’ (which is looking fantastic!), but Judy may have topped that one with ‘Mary Rose’.  This one is a David Austin rose and is a shrub rose.  As the name implies, it stays low and bushy and can be trained into a hedge fairly easily.  It has a wonderful bloom likes well drained soil and a good amount of sun.  It can also re-bloom if you cut off the dead blooms with a pruner or even a hedge trimmer.  It is one of the main wonderful roses you will find in the Heirloom display garden. Check them out when you are near St. Paul.

May 24, 2008

I jokingly said that our plant pick this week has Mr. T jealous!  The Golden Chain Tree (laburnum) is in full bloom right now and is loaded with long dangling chains of golden flowers.  The Golden chain is not a huge stand out tree for most of the year, but right now it is really showing why people say this is a ‘must-have’ tree.  It likes well drained soil and prefers to be slightly protected from strong winds.  If you have children or pets, be aware that the seeds (after it flowers) are poisonous.  It is very hardy for our area, surviving down to -20 and stays relatively short, topping out at 30 feet.

May 17, 2008

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 2 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 10, 2008

This week plant pick is a little known plant, the Cytisus battandieri, also called Pineapple Broom.  It is best grown with some shelter from cold winds and in full sun, and makes an excellent wall shrub, where its silky grey-green foliage, delicate and laburnum-like, looks effective against brickwork.  It can reach 18 feet tall in some cases. The golden pea-shaped flowers are gathered in large upright cones, and have a strong scent of pineapples.  We found this one at Portland Nursery on Division (503-788-9000), but you can find them at your local independent garden center.

April 19, 2008

The local garden centers are full of flowering geraniums and you may have seen ‘Zonal’ geraniums on the shelf and wondered what type of geraniums they are.  Zonal and seed geraniums are the two different types you will find.  Zonals are made from cutting from established plants and tend to be bigger, fuller, stronger and healthier than seed geraniums, but they can also cost you a few pennies more, but the investment is worth it.  These geraniums like heat and well drained, rich soils.  Add zonal geraniums to your garden this year for a fuller, more beautiful garden.

April 12, 2008

Our plant pick is a real hot one! Urs from Edelweiss Perennials picked out the Primrose ‘Vulcan’ for us. This one is grows in the Swiss Alps and likes sun. It also doesn’t go dormant in the winter and has a spectacular bloom with dark purple edges and a bright yellow center. You can pick one up this weekend at the Hardy Plant Sale at the Expo Center. Check out the Hardy Plant Society website for more details!

March 22, 2008

Last fall we featured Nandina as our plant pick of the week.  We liked the great fall color of the leaves and all the different varieties that we found.  Well, we found the ‘heavenly bamboo’, another name for nandina, is still performing, even as we approach spring.  The leaves are still holding the color and the plants didn’t look the least bit tired from the long cold winter.  You can find many different varieties that can grow from 2 feet to 10 feet tall.  They love full sun but can even handle a little drier and shadier condition than most plants. We found a nice selection at Kale Farms in Keizer (503-393-8857).

March 8, 2008

Our plant pick this week is the Edgeworthia (Chinese paper bush), yet another Daphne family member! This deciduous shrub is best known for its winter escapades.  Frosty silver buds break open to round clusters of intoxicatingly fragrant, golden-yellow flowers dangling from the tips of bare branches.  The Chinese made paper from edgeworthia by pounding flat the stems and bark.  Their branches also show some winter interest because they branch out in clusters of three.  We found a great selection at Larsen Farm Nursery (503-638-8600) in Wilsonville, but they are available at all your local garden centers.

March 1, 2008

If you are looking for a structure plant that will really knock your socks off then you may want to check out the Paper Bark Maple (Acer griseum).  These trees have great fall color, but they also have the added attraction of having the peeling bark.  This peeling is striking when the branches are bare during the winter months.  We found this beautiful tree at Joy Creek Nursery (503-543-7474) in Scappoose.  They had this one in their display garden and it was great!

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