It is hard to get motivated! The summer is finally here and all we can think about is the cold wet spring. It is time to enjoy the warmth we were dreaming about just a few short weeks ago. Have a cold beverage and enjoy the sun!
This week we featured...
The Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop’s Close
We spent a little time at the Elk Rock Garden (800-452-2562). This spectacular 13 acres is a place for relaxation and meditation. It is not a picnic type of garden and it has no public restrooms, but a great place where you can enjoy some huge plant specimens and some private quiet time. It was designed by the New York firm of Olmstead and Son who also designed Central Park in New York City and Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon. They are widely known for their many varieties of magnolias as well as for outstanding examples of many other native and exotic plants. It is located near Lake Oswego off of highway 43.
If you are looking to add fish to your pond or water feature there are some things you should be thinking about. We visited with Eamonn Hughes of Hughes Water Gardens (503-638-1709) to learn how to introduce them to your pond successfully. First, make sure that the pH of your water can support the fish. Next, determine the size of fish that the pond can support. Also, you will want to create an environment for them to thrive. This includes areas for them to hide from predators, and determining the type and amount of food you need to provide. You can even add fish to small water features or water bowls. If you have any questions give the staff at Hughes a call.
It is not too late to plant and enjoy the color from summer bulbs. Usually you have to have them in the ground by early spring to get summer color, but when we stopped and talked to Yolanda Wilson from VanVeen Bulbs (888-289-2852) she told us how to trick the plant so we can still get color by late summer or early fall. She places them in a cooler so they think it is winter. Then when you take them out they start to grow and in 6-8 weeks you get great color. She also showed us some of the plants that are looking good right now. Plants we saw were Canna ‘Cleopatra’, Color Calla Lilies, Canna ‘Durban’, and Lily ‘Conca D’Or’. You can find these plants and more at the VanVeen booth at the Portland Farmers Market, Beaverton Saturday Market and the Hillsdale Farmers Market.
Chinese Summer Bloomers
Just when it seems too hot to be outside there is a place you can go to relax and stay cool, the Portland Classical Chinese Garden (503-228-8131). It is also a great place to check out some great summer color. Glin from the horticulture staff joined us to show us some of the great plants that you will find blooming right now. The first plant was the Hypericum ‘Hidcote’. This plant is covered in waves of blooms. It is very hardy and can handle full sun; in fact the highway department uses this plant along roads because it needs very little maintenance. Right next to that plant was the Clematis montana, var. wilsonii. This clematis is growing through a magnolia and is loving it there. Finally we saw the Rose ‘La Sevillana’. Normally you wouldn’t see too many roses in a classic Chinese garden, but since this is the city of roses the designers decided they needed one here. Also, a ‘normal’ classical garden would only have around 50 species of plants, but in Portland you have over 500 to enjoy! If you need a place to relax and enjoy summer color, check out the Portland Classical Chinese Garden.
Little Baja Outdoor Fire Pits
Even though we are in the ‘summer’ season, there are nights where we still get a chill. To take the chill off we stopped at Little Baja (503-432-8959) to look at the ‘Baja Chimney’, an outdoor fireplace for your deck or patio. Wayne gave us a couple of tips for making your chimney last for years and years. Always start your fire small and let the chimney slowly warm up. Never use a metal poker, it can damage the clay and cause cracks. When burning a fire, use a hard wood or pressed log. This will minimize the ‘popping’ of softer woods, and never burn garbage in the chimney. Finally make sure you keep all combustibles away from the area around your fire. Little Baja will also help you in selecting a metal fire pit or instructions on how to create your own. Stop by for instructions and tips.
Top 3 Trends
Last week we talked to Ross from Tuesday Morning (503-699-8954) stores about making over your patio for $250 or less. This week we talked to him about the 3 hot trends for outdoor entertaining. Trend #1, people want value. With the weak economy people want a bang for their buck. They can get that at Tuesday Morning, a great discount store. Trend #2, people are looking to be more environmentally responsible. This means living ‘green’ whenever possible and being earth friendly. You can do that by using products that are easily renewable, like bamboo. Ross showed us some bamboo products that included towels, mats, furniture and utensils. Finally, trend #3; people want ideas and options for outdoor entertaining. Since people are trying to save money by staying home they are looking for ways to entertain in style. We saw portable ice makers, margarita makers, bar-b-q supplies and beer machines. Stop by one of the many Tuesday Morning stores for more ideas.
Tool Shed – Sprayers
Sprayers are one of those pieces of garden equipment that people tend to forget about. Judy showed us a couple of the different styles of sprayers to use. A lot of manufacturers are making it easy for the home gardener by adding a hose-end sprayer to the bottles of product that you buy. These are mini-sprayers that are designed to disburse just the right amount of product on your plants. You have to remember that they are only designed for the product that they are attached to and should not be moved to other containers. Fertilome makes a cool sprayer that attaches to most Fertilome products and can be adjusted to deliver the right product no matter which product you use. Finally saw some of the battery operated ones and the old fashioned pump kind. Some final tips; wear protective gear including eye protection and gloves, and never spray during a breezy day. Also, you may want to label your sprayers so you don’t mix your chemicals when you spray. See your local, independent garden center for more information.