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Happy Mother’s Day to all our gardening mom’s out there! We hope that everyone has a chance to be with their moms and that you have a wonderful weekend. You will notice in today’s show that we have a lot of stories that revolve around mom and Mother’s day. Moms love gifts and they love plants! Today’s show should give you enough ideas to make you and your mom happy.
We hope that as we warm up you are checking out your garden and making sure that things are getting watered. We thought we had plenty of time to set up our irrigation, but we neglected our plants and some of them have gotten burned in the early heat. Make sure you check and keep your plants well hydrated.
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This week we featured...
Cornell Farms Spring Color
Spring is a time of great color! Flowers, trees and shrubs are all showing off for our enjoyment, and if you are looking for something to impress mom on Mother’s Day, you can’t beat a big colorful plant. All of your local garden centers have nice plants, but we found a huge colorful selection at Cornell Farm (503-292-9895). Deby met with Judy in the front of the Nursery with a large group of plants that would work well in just about any garden. We started with trees. Deby pointed out the huge Redbud called ‘Pink Pom Poms’ which was covered in clusters of pink flowers. It was stunning. Another tree that is looking good right now is dogwoods. We saw a few in the nursery that were also in full bloom. Dogwoods love our climate and soil, and they show it by having a great show of blooms each spring. Another plant that is starting to bloom right now is the rose. You can see these at all your garden centers in our area, we are the city of roses, right? Deby pointed out a couple that were on standards. A standard is normally a shrub, but is grown on a trunk or long stem to look like a tree. She had a red rose on a standard and a yellow on a double standard/topiary. That one looked like a lollypop on steroids! With most roses you can promote more blooms by cutting off the old blooms (deadheading). We then talked about the other stars of the late spring garden, rhododendrons and azaleas. Rhodies are a plant that you can find in just about every garden. Their large clusters of large blooms scream spring has arrived! The azalea that Deby had for us was a deciduous azalea. These types of azaleas drop their leaves in the winter and then come out with bright and vibrant colorful blooms in mid-spring. You can keep these plants in shape by pruning them right after they bloom. They are also fragrant too! If you have an area that gets a little dry during the summer, then you may want to try a cistus. Known as the Rockrose, they will bloom all summer long and will make a blanket of color on the ground. The small rose shaped, two toned, blooms are striking. Once established this one will need very little water. The next plant has two seasons of interest. The Fothergilla is covered right now in fuzzy blooms that look like bright caterpillars on the plant. Even though it is just a green plant during the summer, it has fall color that just blazes in the autumn sun.
Another drought tolerant plant was next. The Ceanothus or California Lilac is a big boy! This one can fill up a large area in your garden. The one we saw was ‘Zanzibar’ with variegated foliage and light blue flower clusters that bees, hummingbirds and butterflies love! Once those flowers are gone you still have that wonderful foliage to look at. A smaller plant that bees love is the Rock Daphne. Daphnes need good soil and great drainage, but for all the work they give you beautiful blooms and that signature fragrance that we all love. Another smaller plant that people are loving is the Deutzia ‘Yuki Cherry Blossom’. This spring bloomer was covered with small pinkish flowers that bees were attacking. It is a great ground cover that works well on slopes and is also deer resistant. Finally we saw the Snowball Viburnum. These can also get tall and wide in the garden, but they have interest in the garden all season long. It starts with the large snowball shaped flowers. As Deby said, who doesn’t like snowballs in the summer? Then it can transition into a fruit covered plant, then it can put on a show in the fall with great color on its oak shaped leaves. A stunner in any large garden.
These were just a few of the plants that were showing off right now. You can find even more at Cornell Farm. Stop by and pick up something for mom, or yourself!
Mother’s Day Rhododendrons
We went to see the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden to talk with Dick Cavender about their Mother’s Day event. Every year people mark Mother’s Day weekend by dropping by the garden to see the blooms and to pick up a plant at their big sale. Dick was sad to inform us that the sale in the parking lot is not happening this year due to Covid and the lack of distancing. Instead their big plant sale is online this year. You can go to the Crystal Springs website and click on the ‘plant sale’ link to see and purchase your rhodies. Dick did let us know that the garden is still open to visitors, but masking and other protocols are still required and enforced. The garden is a must see when it is in full bloom, and it changes all the time. Those changes started years ago. The Crystal Springs area started as a big briar patch, full of weeds and blackberry vines back in the mid 50’s. Over time, with the help of volunteers and a partnership with the city of Portland, changes started to happen. Fees were collected and plants were donated and eventually walls, bridges, and landscapes were installed. All of what you see today is because of your fees and a lot of elbow grease from the Rhododendron Society! We also talked about those benefits the garden has enjoyed because of the generosity of gardeners and rhododendron lovers around the state during all these years. The garden is maintained by volunteers and the plant sale that the Rhododendron Society is conducting helps to raise funds for the garden. If you would like to learn more about the garden and about volunteering check out the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden website, or call 503-771-8386.
Little Prince Sinningia & Cestrums
Local plant grower Little Prince of Oregon, is known for their great quality and their hard to find selections of plants. One reason for that variety of plants is plant hunter extraordinaire Mark Leichty. He is one of the R&D wizards behind some of these rare and unusual introductions. Today he introduced us to Sinningia and Cestrums. Sinningias are related to African violets, which tend to be quite tender in our climate. The Sinningia are a lot more hardy and Mark had 3 to share. He started with his favorite, ‘Invasion Force’, which gets tubular light pink flowers that face downward on long spikes that tower over the foliage. The name suggests that it might take over your garden, but not to worry, it just gets tall (about 4 feet by 4 feet) but it doesn’t spread. It loves full to part sun. The next Sinningia was ‘Cherries Jubilee’. This one has red flowers that also point downward, but still attracts tons of hummingbirds. It also gets 4 feet by 4 feet. The last sinningia that we saw was ‘Towering Inferno’. This one also get tall but the flowers on this one point upward a little more so you can appreciate the blooms a little more.
The next 2 plants were Cestrums. These are also shrub-like when they get bigger. The first one we saw was ‘Orange Zest’. The orange flower stalks shoot high above the foliage and present clusters of trumpet-like flowers that bloom from June through October. It can get between 4 and 6 feet tall in the right conditions. The final one was ‘Ruby Clusters’ with tons of red flowers on the same flowering spikes. Orange Zest was pretty hardy in our area, surviving down to single digits, but Ruby Clusters is going to need more protection in your garden, since it doesn’t like those cooler temps.
Of course you can find Little Prince plants at most of your local garden centers. Just look for the crowned frog! If you don’t find them there, you can always check out their website.
Rogerson Container Clematis
When most people think of clematis they are thinking of large climbers that need a huge trellis, or the side of a barn, to support their huge height! There are however a new group of clematis that stay small and can make a great container plant. To learn about a few of these and get tips on planting them in a container we stopped by the Rogerson Clematis Garden to talk with curator Linda Beutler. Linda had some great information to share and started with a simple sheet that can get your started. They have this sheet of planting tips and small cultivars at the garden or on their website. You can find a link here. Some of these smaller clematis can still use a little support if you want them to grow on a structure, or you can let them grow over the sides or as small groundcovers. If you are looking for a container, Linda recommends a glazed pot. The glaze of the container will help keep the moisture contained and limit transpiration through the pot. Since they are in a container you will need make sure that they stay hydrated and protect them from the cold a little more than a clematis in the ground. Linda also recommend a nice well-draining soil in your pots. You don’t want a soil that looks like wet chocolate cake when you water it. As far as fertilizing, she told us that they use a tomato type of fertilizer. These types of fertilizer contain magnesium which will help your plant stay healthy and bloom more consistently. We then talked about the plants that she had brought out to show us. She had ‘Filigree’ with its dusty lavender color, the ‘Ninon’ with white blooms and dark purple center, ‘Ines’ with a purple flower that had a darker bar of color running down the center of the petals, and the variety ‘Fleuri’ with the deep purple color on huge blooms.
We then moved into the garden to talk with Paula about a great Mother’s Day event they have going on. This weekend they will have the garden open starting at 10am and will be conducting docent led tours. At 11am you can watch Linda do a potting demonstration and then enter to win the container that she plants! They will also have their sale area open for you to purchase a clematis to take home. Also if you decide to buy a membership you can get $5 off a ‘Bijou’ clematis. This is one of the recommended types for a container so you can put it anywhere in your garden. Be sure to stop by with mom this weekend! For more details you can always check out their website.
Building a Small Planter
As gardeners we are always looking for containers for our plants. Why not build one? We came up with a simple plan for a small cedar planter that uses only 2 boards. One was a 6 foot cedar fence board and the other was an 8 foot cedar 1x2. With a couple of minutes, a hammer, some 5d galvanized nails and a miter saw we were able to construct a planter that will last for years. The best part? It cost only a few bucks to build. In the past we have also recommended that you seal the cedar so it lasts longer and that we drill a couple of drainage holes too, but sealing is an option. Still, not bad for a simple, quick to assemble planter!
Bonide Mole Max
Moles and voles are a problem in many gardens. There are some gardeners who would do anything to deter these little soil partiers! One product that works really well and is safe around pets and kids in the MoleMax product from Bonide. Tom Combs met us in a garden full of mole hills to tell us how it works. Tom told us that you apply the product over an area where you have mole activity. He recommends that you divide the area in half and apply to one half. Once they are driven out of that half you apply it to the other half of the area and drive them, one direction, out of your garden. The product works by coating the worms and grubs, their food source, with a nasty tasting layer. They don’t like the smell and taste and they move on. You will need to reapply if you see new activity in your garden. It is one way to get rid of mole and vole problems in your garden!
Portland Nursery Heucheras
Heucheras are a must have for the perennial garden in the Northwest. These evergreen perennials, also known as Coral bells, provide color and texture to your garden all year long! To see some varieties and how to use them we stopped by Portland Nursery on Stark Street (503-231-5050). Sara met with Judy and had a table full of color for us to look at. Sara told us that these workhorses of the garden do well and don’t spread at all in our gardens. They stay where you put them and don’t usually become large overgrown beasts! This makes them great for containers, and because they have year round color in their foliage they work well with any combination of plants and bulbs. She pulled out an astilbe and an ‘All Gold’ Japanese Forest Grass to prove her point. She placed some heucheras with these two plants and they looked great!
We did notice that there were small bloom stalks with bell shaped flowers, how they got their other name, but these are not the show stopper. They are a nice addition, but it is the leaf color that make these a must have. Sara had a few varieties to share including ‘City Rio’, ‘Cascade Plum’, ‘Fire Chief’, ‘Black Pearl’ and ‘Sweet Tea’. If you are looking for a plant that brings color and texture to your garden or containers, heucheras are your plant.
Now is the time to plant your tomatoes and there are a few things you can do to ensure a bountiful fall crop. One thing you can do is to plant your tomato deep! Tomatoes will grow roots along their main stem as long as you leave a portion of the leaves above ground. Also, in addition to fertilizer, you should add a small amount of garden lime to the soil so you can avoid ‘blossom end rot’, a condition that causes a brown spot at the end of your tomato. We used the Tomato-tone product from Espoma to help prevent problems and give our plants a big boost! If your night time temperatures are still a little cool you may want to protect your new plants with a cover, like a cloche, or use a product like a Wall-o-Water. Don’t forget to set your tomato cages up as well. Use a couple of these tips now and you will have a great harvest this fall.
Little Baja Pottery Sealer
Protecting your investment in containers is tough in our weather. The rain and freezing temperatures, followed by the intense summer heat, can cause the best of containers to break over time. It is best to seal them. We stopped at Little Baja (503-236-8834) to check out a product that they use. Jared recommended a product from Timber Pro that you use on your fountains, statues, and birdbaths. This product is safe and easy to use. It helps keep water from penetrating into the cement and terra cotta where it can do some real damage and ruin your investment, and it is safe for the environment! Little Baja also does maintenance of fountains and water features as well. So if you have any questions, give them a call.
Terra Casa Garden Gifts
It is Mother’s Day weekend and if you are looking for a gift for your mom, or even for yourself, Terra Casa (503-577-8242) is the place to stop by. Not only do they have great fountains and pottery, they also have wonderful décor items and other cool gifts. To see what they had for the ‘gardening mom’ we stopped to talk with Diana. We started with the popular Art Poles. These outdoor poles come with a metal stake that you can use for mounting them. They have funny and inspiring messages that will look great and remind mom of your gift every time she is in the garden. For those mom’s with small children they have a whole area of gifts. These include tools, garden aprons and planting kits for the little ones. These will get the little ones out in the garden and enjoying time away from screens and other distractions. They also have terrarium kits if you want to grow your garden inside. Other gifts include traps and homes to get rid of wasps and attract bees, depending on what you want to do. For those who like to plant, they also have seeds and gloves too. The Garden Like a Girl gloves are very popular and are meant for heavy duty work!
If you find a few things that you like and can’t make up your mind they will also help you build a basket of gifts for mom. This year give mom a great gift and walk away a hero!
TOW – Handle Measuring Stick
Our tip of the week is about making your tools do double duty. When you buy a plant or plant seeds a lot of the tags will tell you to keep the new plants separated by a distance to make sure they have room to grow. Most of us don’t carry around a measuring tape to make sure we keep those distances, so why not make your long handled tools be the measuring tape? Simply make marks on your handle at 6 inch intervals and then all you have to do is lay your tool down to measure the distance and you can plant without worries!