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You can tell we are now into spring. This week is our last half hour program for the early spring. Next week we go to our annual hour long program for 13 weeks until we reach summer. Last year we had to change things up due to the pandemic. This year we are getting vaccines (some of the Garden Time crew have received shots, yes we are that old!) and looking forward to slowly returning to normal. Being normal means more time in the garden with family and friends... and an hour long program again.
This week spring break is wrapping up for some families and just starting for others. We hope that with all the excitement of spring you have a chance to get out and enjoy a little fun in the garden.
This week we featured...
Early Spring Fragrance Plants
In spring we are happy just to have color returning to our gardens. But Sara from Portland Nursery (503-788-9000) thinks we should also look at adding fragrance to our gardens. She pulled some wonderful plants out of the nursery to show us what were beautiful and fragrant as well. The first plant she told Ryan about was the witchhazel 'Aphrodite'. This one has a light fragrance, but it also has the wonderful featherlike blooms that set this one apart from other spring blooming plants. We then looked at an evergreen clematis called 'Snowdrift'. This one was in full bloom. It is a real climber. It will grow to over 30 feet and will cover up just about any trellis with these great fragrant flowers. We moved on to a couple of daphnes. All of the varieties of daphne are known for their great fragrance. The first one was Daphne ordora 'Zuiko Nishiki'. This one can grow in some tough conditions, it actually loves clay soil and blooms from January to April. It is deer resistant and is drought tolerant. The second one was Daphne Odora 'Aurea Marginata'. This one is the one that everyone thinks of when they think of daphnes. It has a great upright structure and variegated leaves. Next we moved to Sweetbox or Sarcococca. This one is another sweet smeller! This one can be used as a ground cover because it only gets 18 inches tall and spreads out on the ground, though there are some varieties that can get taller and make great hedges. We then moved to a tall shrub called Viburnum bodnantense or Pink Dawn Viburnum. This is a mid to late winter bloomer and is very fragrant. The plant is tough, in fact during the recent snow/ice storm and cold snap it took a beating and continued to bloom. Put this in an area with room to grow and you will get tons of fragrant blooms! Finally we talked about the fragrant spring bulbs like hyacinth. These ground dwellers come back and reward you with sweet colors and fragrance when they make their annual appearance. If you would like to add some color AND fragrance to your garden consider these great plants. Stop by your local garden center or pay a visit to either Portland Nursery location.
The cold winds of winter are gone, but spring can still be a chilly time for your garden especially those new veggies starts and tender plants. If you are looking to get a jump start you may need a little frost protection. To see what you can get at your local garden center we stopped by Tsugawa Nursery (877-658-0566) in Woodland. The most common product is frost cloth. It is a light white material that you can use to cover your plants and protect them from a light frost. The fabric is permeable and can allow rain and water to get to your plants, but protect them from the elements. This cloth will protect your tomatoes and other tender veggies so you can get them in the ground a few more days earlier this spring. If you can't get to a garden center to pick up some frost cloth, you can use a cotton sheet. That will do the trick too. Also remember to remove it during the day to allow sunlight and air circulation to get to your plants. The other benefit of the frost cloth is that you can reuse it in the fall to extend your harvest. Another product to protect your garden is a cloche. A cloche is a bell shaped or domed cover. These are designed to protect your plant in the short term and then be easily removed during those warm days. One product at Tsugawa's was the Giant Cloche tunnel. This was a long mini greenhouse for your veggies. You can use a bunch of different materials to protect your plants including a fabric to keep early season pests out of your garden. There were also single 'hat shaped' hot cap. These can protect just one plant as it gets started on growing for the season.
If you get your spring vegetables in early, these products will keep them a little warmer, and protect from early pests and predators, so you can get an earlier start to your growing season. They can extend your growing season in the spring and the fall! For these products, and other ideas, stop by your local independent garden center or at Tsugawa Nursery in Woodland.
If you live in the Northwest you have moss. This is one of the biggest problems facing the homeowner and with the warmer weather around the corner you may have the urge to renovate your lawn for the summer months ahead. But first you have to get rid of the moss. We talked to Tom Combs from Bonide about moss and why we seem to have so much of it in the Northwest. It is a condition that we get from a lack of care. If you take care of your lawn and help the grass grow, then you can help keep the moss from taking over. Tom gave us some tips on getting rid of the moss and what you should do to keep it from coming back. We also featured the MossMax product. This product comes in a liquid, fast acting product or a granular product that can be applied with a lawn spreader. If you apply this product, in a short period of time your moss will turn black and you can remove it with a rake or thatcher. You should apply this during a calm day and only to the areas where you want moss removed. We also learned that some lawn products have iron in them so you should be careful to not let it get on buildings, patios or clothing. The iron will cause a stain. The MossMax is made differently and is safe for sidewalks and patios. Though it is a good idea to sweep or wash excess product off your hardscapes. For more information about this product and how to get rid of moss, check out the Bonide website.
Recovering from Winter Damage
This was a bad winter for a lot of local gardeners. Ice and snow damaged plants. Bent or broken branches on trees and shrubs meant a lot of people are looking for tips on helping their damaged plants recover from this past winter. To get some tips on how you can help your plants recover we stopped by Bauman's Farm and Garden (503-792-3524) to talk with Brian Bauman. Actually we stopped by his house where we came face to face with some of his damage. The first stop was his front yard by a yew. This plant was over 7 feet tall before the storm, but is now reduced to a 3 foot plant. The branches were all broken and so Brian cut it down to a shorter plant so it had a chance to grow from healthy branches. Plants like this can be stressed from the cutting and so the key is to help it do what it does naturally. Brian chose to give it a boost of fertilizer to help it along. He was using the Espoma Evergreen-tone. This is a well balanced fertilizer meant for yews and other conifers. To apply it he drove a stake in 3-4 places around the base of the plant near the drip line. The drip line is the area right below the outer most branches of the plant. When rains come, they drip off these branches at the tips of the plant. This gets the fertilizer to the plant quicker. Since he applied the fertilizer in those stake holes it wont run away and the plant gets the full measure of the nutrients.
We then moved to his backyard where a rhododendron had been smashed by ice. The good new is that rhodies can take a lot of heavy damage and still bounce back. Brian had cut out the damaged parts but left most of the plant, with its blooms, to enjoy this year. Here we had another Espoma product, Holly-tone. Ryan was holding the Azalea-tone product. Brian explained that they both had the same ingredients, but the labeling was there to make it easier for the consumer. You can just pick the product based on your plant and its needs. Using this product Brian just sprinkled it around the base of the azalea. He could have used the stake method, but this was a little quicker considering the plant was much larger. Once the fertilizer was down around the drip line, he worked it lightly into the soil with a rake so it wouldn't runoff with the next rain. These are just a couple of the great Espoma products you can pick up at Bauman's or your local garden center. With this care, the Espoma product and some good spring sunshine and rains, these plants should recover nicely!
Spring Yellowjacket Traps
It may seem weird that we are putting out traps for wasps and yellow jackets in the spring, but next to the late summer this is the best time to use them. Our friends at Rescue (they make those cool yellow Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket traps) told us why it is a good time to put them out now. In the early spring the queens emerge from their winter hibernation and look for places to make their nests for the new season. If you get them now they won't be around to create a nest of nasty pests to ruin your summer fun. Take down your old traps, clean and refresh them with the pheromone attractant packets available at most of your local garden centers. To make your hunting more effective, place a couple of traps around the perimeter of your yard and garden.