The winds and rain are carrying our great fall color away, but the colorful holiday season is coming. You just have to look indoors for some great color like we found at Gray’s Garden Center in Eugene. Have you put everything away for the winter? It may be a few weeks before it dries out again. Just be careful if you go out in this weather.
This week we featured...
Terrariums used to be BIG in the 70’s. I remember having a big acrylic ball with one in our living room. It was cool; it even had a little scene in it with a gnome skiing down some white rocks in the center. Well, terrariums have come a long way and to see the latest in designs we went to Cornell Farm (503-292-9895). Terrariums are basically small self contained gardens. They usually contain smaller varieties of plants and create their own atmosphere. Deby showed us how easy it is to build one. She started with a layer of decorative rocks on the bottom of the container. You can also use marble, glass beads, etc. anything to allow for good drainage. Then you need to add a layer of charcoal. This will help absorb and filter the fumes and smells from the decomposing plant material. Next we added a cactus mix for our potting soil. It is a quick draining soil that will keep the plants from sitting in water. Then we looked for small, slow growing plants to include in the scene. These plants included a couple of polk-a-dot plants and some mosses. Remember; do not fertilize these plants because you don’t want them to grow fast. You can check out a great selection of pre-built terrariums at Cornell, or stop by your local independent garden center for more information.
Winter Bird Care
The change of the seasons signals a change for your local bird populations. Some of the non-migratory birds will be hanging around and may need a little help from you to survive the cold and wet of winter. We visited with Stuart of Gray’s Garden Center (541-345-1569) in Eugene to learn more. We started with hummingbirds. They need to have a good clean feeder. The mixture in the feeder needs to be changed every couple of weeks to keep the bacteria down. For seed eating birds you can use a black oil sunflower seed. This is a good basic seed that provides calories for high energy birds. For insect feeders you can set out a suet cake. Use different types of suet to attract different types of insect feeders. You can also welcome birds to your garden by incorporating different types of shrubs and trees. We saw some that work well in the landscape including ‘Cranberry’ Cotoneaster, Crabapple ‘Strawberry Parfait’, Pyracantha ‘Mohave’, and the ‘Profusion’ Beautyberry. To learn more about attracting birds to your garden during the winter you can check with Gray’s, your local independent garden center or The Audubon Society of Portland.
Fall Slug Care
Slugs are not just a spring time problem. Fall, with its increasing rains, can bring them back into your garden when you thought they were under control. Remember to bait now so they don’t destroy your beautiful fall flowers. We recommend a quality bait like Corry’s, but if you have pets or small children you can use a product like Worry Free from Lilly Miller. It is an organic product that is safe to use in any garden setting. You can also use some of the all natural traps and baits using safe products like beer. Remember those traps need to be checked and refilled often due to the frequent rains. Some people say that if you bait now you will reduce the amount of slugs you get next spring because they are not around to lay eggs. Always remember to read and follow the label directions with any garden product.
Albany School Garden
We stopped by a great little garden at Memorial Middle School in Albany. They created a peace garden in one of the open spaces at the school. A special part of the garden is the paperclip in the middle of the garden. This ‘paperclip’ made from bricks, shows the kids solidarity with concentration camp survivors from World War II. Paperclips were worn on lapels during WWII to show solidarity with those who were persecuted during the war. This project started out as a class assignment and has grown to become one of many gardening and community projects that the school and the city of Albany have worked together on. In fact, the school just recently won a Citizenship Award from SOLV. Check out their video here. This is an excellent example of how to bring gardening into the classroom.
Fall Rose Care
Now that the cold winds are blowing, your roses may be in need of some fall and winter care. Chris Williams of Heirloom Roses (503-538-1576) showed us how to clean up your roses now to keep them healthy through the winter. She recommended that you cut your plants down to waist high AFTER the first frost. You avoid making your cuts until then to prevent the plant from adding new growth. You also cut them back to avoid wind damage to the canes and to keep them from being blown over in the wind. It is also recommended that you remove the leaves and throw them away (don’t compost them) to prevent disease next spring.
Call Before You Dig
In the fall there is no better feeling than turning some soil in your garden. That feeling will disappear quickly if you dig into a utility line. We found out that there is a new, easy way to avoid this problem. Steven and Jenna from NW Natural Gas told us about the new 811 number. This number is a nationwide number to help homeowners and businesses locate buried utility lines so you can stay out of trouble. The ‘Call Before You Dig’ program is not new, but the way of contacting them is! One call will help you locate any line. If you don’t call you can be held liable for the damages of cutting a line. Just call 811 two business days before you dig!
Kindergarden – Seed Mosaics
Our kindergarden segment this week plants the seed of creativity. The kids at Al’s Garden Center (503-981-1245) created seed mosaics. Amy Bigej printed some pictures off the internet, but you could also use pictures from coloring books, and then the kids glued seeds to them. The seeds included different varieties of beans, peas and even wild bird feed. They turned out fantastic and are a good project for those rainy winter days!