COVID-19 AWARENESS: Please note that we are taking all necessary precautions to keep our on-air personalities, interviewees and crew safe during this challenging time. However, we do run repeat stories and segments that were shot last year, before social distancing practices were recommended by health officials. If you see our hosts standing close to someone, please be assured that the segment was shot before March of 2020. We thank you for your concern and your interest in Garden Time.
Welcome to the 16th season of Garden Time! It has been a crazy year so far, but like spring, good changes are on the horizon! We can see our garden waking up and changing, the same is true for our futures. Let’s plant a new positive attitude and see what grows.
Last year we wore masks and distanced when shooting our stories, and this year we are continuing to do the same. The Garden Time team is hoping that you continue to do the same as we get closer to the finish line!
As things change we are making changes as well. Our GardenPalooza event is not happening this April, but we may move it to anther date later in the year. Subaru Garden Dayz is in the process of planning for an early summer date.
Rose pruning time is here. Yes, we know that it is really cold and that snow is still falling around our area on certain days, we even experienced it when we shot this story, but if you look you will see new growth starting on your old canes and so now is the time to really do some cutting so your plants will give you the best blooms in just a few months. We took a trip up to the a local garden where Phil Edmunds from Garden Rose Consulting (503-476-4262) filled us in on why you prune your roses now and how to do it to be successful. Most people will tell you that you need to cut your roses by the middle of February, usually around Presidents Day, but you can put off the cutting until mid-March if necessary. In the past we have had experts tell you to cut to an outside bud and to clean out the center of the plant to help with airflow, but Phil told us that thinning and cleaning up your roses are the most important. His crew cuts away all the small canes, anything smaller than a pencil and they leave the rest. The feeling is that if you have more canes, you have more flowers! You are aiming for saving the newer green canes and getting rid of the older brown canes. This type of pruning is actually about maintaining the health of your plant, the newer the cane, the stronger your plant. The only other thing that he recommended was not doing any type of fertilizing right now. You’ll want to wait until mid- April to do that. If you would like to get more information about roses, or have Phil and his crew come out and see your roses, check out their website, he even has a list of his favorite roses for your garden!
Wavra Spring Color
Spring is almost here and if you are looking for color it isn’t just about tulips, daffodils and crocus. There are a ton of great early spring color plants that you can add to your planters or garden beds. To see a few of the choices we stopped by Wavra Farms (503-364-9879) in East Salem. Diane had a table full of great plants to share. We started with Ameria. This early bloomer stays low to the ground and ends up covered with wonderful bloom stalks and they will continue to bloom until June. We moved to a tongue twister of a name next, saxifraga. These will grow into a creeping mound of tiny blooms that can be hardy in our area depending on the variety. Diane had a brightly colored one for people who love the twilight garden look. The next one was also a smaller sized plant, the Bergenia. This one, ‘Shoeshine Rose’ will get much bigger over time. It is very hardy and pairs well with other early blooming plants. The leathery leaves will turn bronze in the winter adding even more interest to this garden winner.
Primroses have always been a part of the early spring garden, but with newer varieties coming out every year, there is even more excitement about adding them to your garden. Diane had two from the newest ‘belarina’ series of plants. Valentine is a deep red with tight swirls of blooms that open up even more as they grow. The ‘Baltic Blue’ has a smoky periwinkle color that opens up to reveal the wonderful veined pattern on each petal. These are must haves for your spring garden since they are very hardy and will return year after year. Some of the taller color plants for your garden include a huge selection of bleeding hearts. Also known as Dicentra’s they are pretty hardy if you keep them in the right areas. They like partial shade and don’t like soggy ground. They really do well in good garden soil and most of them don’t really need fertilizer if conditions are right. The next plant was the ranunculus, called the rose of the spring because of the blooms. They love the cooler days of spring and will start to fade back as the temperature rises. Some people can extend the bloom time by moving them into an area with morning sun and complete shade in the afternoon. English daisies were next and they are a prolific bloomer that can fill your borders with color. They seldom get over 8 inches tall but they reward your perennial garden with abundant blooms each year. We have anemones in our garden and they are always a pleasant surprise when they return each year. The Japanese anemone are their taller fall cousin, but both types are hardy for most of our area. The fine foliage and delicate flowers are great in the garden and in the middle of summer they can disappear completely, to return when conditions are right. Another taller color plant is the euphorbia. Known as Spurge, euphorbias can have great foliage color in addition to colorful blooms that may not look like traditional blooms at all. They are evergreen and like sunny areas in your garden. The last plant we had time to check out was the hellebore. These plants have a long history in Northwest gardens. In fact you may have seen them in your grandmother’s garden. The older varieties had colorful blooms that hung down facing the ground so you missed a lot of the fantastic colors, but the newer varieties are bred with upward facing blooms which show off the new beautiful varieties.
If you are looking for some cool spring color plants, visit your local independent garden center, or if you are in east Salem stop by Wavra Farms!
Winter Storm Damage
We have had a really hard late winter and most of your plants have had a hard time. In fact, some of your plants may look like they didn’t make it. But before you whip out those pruning shears, you may want to take a step back and wait. This was one of the many tips that we got from retired OSU Extension agent Jan McNeilan. Jan is known as a garden expert but, like the average gardener, she also had some plants that suffered during this past winter. In her neighborhood she lost some deciduous trees including a cherry in her backyard. The ice is what did the most damage in the Portland area on these wide and brittle trees. Fir trees lost some limbs and a few fell over, but the decorative fruit and landscape trees and shrubs took the major hit. With the extended cold a lot of local gardeners may notice darkened tips on the ends of some of the leaves. This is ‘tip dieback’. The leaves that are damaged will show signs of burn and some leaves will fall off all together. Not to worry. Jan told us to not rush to prune yet. See where the plant revives and then cut off the dead parts.
If you do have a branch that needs to be removed, follow some simple rules. Don’t work over your head or on extension ladders. A limb can snap and knock you down. If it is within reach try the 3-cut method of pruning. This technique should be used if the branch is on the lower part of the tree and smaller than the size of your arm. Anything bigger or higher in the tree should be tackled by a certified arborist. You start by cutting off most of the small branches from the end of the broken limb. This reduces the weight of the limb to reduce the risk of injury when you are cutting it off. Next go to the trunk of the tree and, on the underside of the broken limb make a cut of about 2-3 inches deep. Then go to the top side of the limb and go further out on the limb and cut through the limb. The limb should start to fall, but the cut on the underside of the limb will keep the bark from pealing back into the trunk and the good bark that the tree will need to heal. Make sure to be careful when you get to the end of the cut so the limb doesn’t fall on you or your feet. Finally, you will now have a small piece of wood to cut off to finish the project. Around the base of the limb where it meets the trunk you will notice a wrinkled ‘collar’. This is important to keep when you cut off the final piece of wood. Cut the last part of the limb off as close to the collar as you can without cutting this collar. Once the limb is gone the tree will start to grow over the wound where the limb once was. If you notice rotten wood in this cut area, call an arborist, it could be a sign of deeper damage. In a few short years your wound area will be covered with new bark and your tree will continue to grow in your yard for years to come. If the job seems too big for you and you are looking for a certified arborist, check out our friends at Bartlett Tree Experts (503-72ARBOR).
There are also a few publications that you can download if you want more information. The Clackamas County Master Gardeners have a series called ’10 Minute University’ which has great gardening information that can help you all season long and not just during these stormy times. Plus the Oregon Department of Forestry has a great handout that showcases the 3-cut method. You can find their information here.
We hope your garden survived the toughest days of winter, but if it didn’t you can always find help at your local OSU Extension office or on-line.
Bonide Dormant Spraying
If you have fruit trees, now is the time to dormant spray before they start to flower. Dormant spraying will help control insects and diseases during the coming growing season. Ryan met with Tom Combs from Bonide. He had a few products that you can use to help your trees avoid pests and diseases during the coming season. He had a little rule to help remind you when to spray your trees during the winter months. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. If you apply your dormant spray during those times you will have the best chance of success. He recommends using the All Seasons Horticulture Spray and a copper fungicide to get on top of any problems. The All Seasons is a spray that is all natural and will smother insect eggs, preventing problems before they start. You can spray now before the flower buds open. Once the flowers are open you can let the pollinators go to work and get your tree pollinated. Once the fruit has formed you can spray again to prevent any other problems. When applying these sprays you will want a nice dry day with no wind. These products are available at your local independent garden center. Your local garden center is also where you can get all your pest questions answered.
Pruning Apple Trees
Pruning is one of the hardest jobs in the garden. A lot of gardeners are afraid of cutting back their plants for fear of damaging them or possibly killing the plant. This is especially true of fruiting plants! Some believe that if you cut too much or at the wrong time you can reduce your yield! That’s true, but if you don’t prune, you can reduce your yield as well. To learn some basic pruning techniques we stopped by Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) in Scholls and talked with Rich. He is the reason for all the great fruit production they get on the farm. Last week on our website we talked about blueberries but this week we moved to the orchard and started on an apple tree.
Apples fruit on older wood. Fruit spurs are formed on wood that has been cut back, forcing growth to these spurs. Pruning here is to not only promote the highest quality fruit , but also to increase the size of that fruit. An unpruned tree will produce a lot of fruit, but it will always be small and will probably all mature at the end of the branches creating weight problems and possible damage to the tree. Rich showed us how pruning makes the fruit ripen better (with more exposure to sun) and easier to pick.
If you would like some tips for pruning your fruit you can stop by the nursery for some hands-on training on pruning techniques, today, March 6th. Check out their website for times of this annual pruning seminar. Do a little pruning now for the best production ever!