December 5, 2009

The holidays are here and there are lots of plants that are linked to the Christmas season, but we found one that could be the namesake of this time of year, the Yuletide camellia. The Yuletide is a Sasanqua camellia. This variety blooms from fall into winter. Like most plants these plants like a well drained soil, but it will do well in full sun or shade. They are drought tolerant too. The Yuletide is striking for its bloom color, a deep red petal with a bright yellow center. Camellia ‘yuletide’, a great plant for the holiday season.

October 10, 2009

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.

October 3, 2009

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 reddish berries that create great fall and winter interest.

September 12, 2009

One of the coolest gardens you will ever see is a rock garden. These types of gardens use a unique selection of plants because of the growing conditions. We stopped at a cute little nursery in West Linn, Green Gate Nursery (503-657-4175, 1720 Willamette Falls Dr., West Linn); to learn more form the experts there. Green Gate specializes in rock garden plants and other unique, hardy, organic plants. The basic rules for rock gardens are superb drainage and lots of sun. Some of the plants that we saw included Cunninghamia ‘Little Leo’, Plantago nivalis, Ozothamnus ‘County Park Silver’ and ‘hens and chicks’. All of them had great individual characteristics that really blended well together in a container. Since these types of plants work well in a container, they are perfect for smaller gardens and patios. If you are looking for more information on rock gardens, check with the experts at Green Gate. They are also part of the Le Tour des Plants event.

August 22, 2009

Our plant pick is one of the beauties of late summer.  The PeeGee Hydrangea is just hitting its stride right now.  The PeeGee Hydrangea (also known as Hydrangea paniculata) is covered in beautiful blooms and will continue to bloom for the next few weeks.  The PeeGee is hardy for our area and loves a few hours of full sun to perform the best.  They also are one of the few hydrangeas that can be pruned into a tree form.  They have bunches of cone shaped flowers and can become a very large shrub of 8-10 feet if you let them.  The one we found was at Larsen Farm Nursery (503-638-8600), though you can find them at almost all of your local independent garden centers.

August 15, 2009

We go ‘big’ with our plant pick of the week.  This week we featured the chaste tree, Vitex agnus-castus.  This one loves the heat!  The hotter it gets the more blooms you will see. This one is a big one, getting up to 20 feet tall with the right conditions, but it does handle pruning well if you want to keep it smaller.  Another great attribute of this plant is the fact that they are so drought tolerant.  Once they are established they will need little to no water to grow and flourish.  So if you love a plant that has lots of blooms, is easy to grow and care for, AND has a great fragrance; then you should try the Vitex agnus-castus.

July 11, 2009

Our plant pick of the week is a beautiful plant that can surprise you with the amount of colors it comes in. The Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a great mid-size plant for your garden. They can reach 3 feet in height and spread about 2 feet across. They come in a broad range of colors from whites and yellows to pinks and reds. They also have a soft fern-like foliage that is fragrant. They like full sun and are pretty drought tolerant once they have a season of growth. They are very hardy for our climate too. We found a ton of them at Drake's 7 Dees on Stark Street (503-256-2223) in east Portland, but they are available at most of your independent garden centers.

July 4,

Our plant pick came to us from the new west side location of Drake's 7 Dees (503-292-9121). This location used to be home to Langdown Florist and Gardens. It was bought by Drakes and has had a complete overhaul. It is spectacular now. We met with the new manager Larry Borlin and his choice for the plant pick, Acanthus mollis ‘Tasmanian Angel’. This plant is also known as Variegated Bears Breeches. It has bold leaves that have a cream colored variegation on large leaves. It is pretty tolerant of different soils, prefers a moist, deep, well drained soil. Afternoon shade is also a good idea. It has flower stalks of pink and cream colored flowers in late summer. A great plant for your garden!

June 27,

This tree is spectacular for the interesting year-round interest it has.  First you have the great blue-green needles of the old growth.  Then you have the new growth of the bright green needles in the middle of the branches.  This tree also has a beautiful display of cones that will hold on for most of the season.  It likes full sun and good water.  We found this variety at Garden World (503-982-2380) near Woodburn.  You can pick this one up at the nursery off of I-5 or this weekend at the coast at the Oregon Coast Gardening and Landscaping Expo.

June 20,

This week we found a great plant pick that is just getting noticed now.  Escallonia ‘Gold Brian’ is one of the shrubs that will keep performing through many seasons in your garden.  It starts with the stunning bright yellow new growth which is then complimented with reddish-pink blooms during the summer.  The foliage will become a lime green as the season progresses.  It will get a little big, growing to a 5 foot by 5 foot bush in the right conditions.  It likes partial shade is can handle beach conditions well.  We found this plant at Garden World (503-982-2380) near Hubbard between Portland and Salem, right off I-5.  You can pick from their great selection at the nursery or you can buy one at the Oregon Coast Gardening and Landscaping Expo ‘Gardening on the Edge’.  They will be one of the dozens of plant and garden vendors at the event.  Stop by the Newport Middle School and see them next weekend!

May 30,

Our plant pick is looking really outstanding in the garden right now. We found a great example of the Fringe Tree at Portland Nursery (503-788-9000) on Division. The fringe tree is also known as Chionanthus virginicus. It likes full sun to partial shade. Right now it is in full bloom with delicate flowers that are fragrant. Later in the summer it has a blue fruit that attracts wildlife. It has yellow to golden foliage in the fall and it has a wonderful pealing bark in the wintertime. It will get close to 20 feet tall and just about the same in width. You will find them at most nurseries or garden centers that carry trees.

May 23,

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 9,

Our plant pick is a winner for any garden. It is the Flower Carpet Rose. These roses are low growing groundcover roses and they are pretty maintenance free. They bloom and once they are done blooming, they set buds for another bloom. They like full sun and good watering. They are introducing new varieties of this wonderful plant every year. We found these plants at Yard N’Gardenland (360-573-7172) in Vancouver near the 99th street exit off of I-5. They have a great nursery and gift shop and are worth the visit if you are in the area.

April 25, 2009

Our plant pick this week comes from the brand new location of Ferguson’s Fragrant Nursery (www.FragrantNursery.com, 503-636-0073). They have had a wonderful location near St. Paul for many years and now they have a new location in Lake Oswego on A street. This week we found the Evergreen clematis ‘Avalanche’ in the garden center. This one is just covered in blooms in the early spring and it holds the bloom for quite a long time. It is also evergreen and that means it has leaves all year long. These leaves are small with a very fine cut-leaf pattern. It works great as a ground cover, but if you grow it upright it can get 10-20 feet tall. It loves sun and part shade so it will work well in many parts of a garden. Stop by the new Ferguson’s and check it out.

April 18, 2009

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 7, 2009

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 3.  We found a great selection at Larsen Farm Nursery (503-638-8600) in Wilsonville, but they are available at all your local garden centers.

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