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.
The rains are here and the garden is breathing a sigh of relief. The warm weather was nice, as were the warm evenings to enjoy, but the rains are really needed. In fact, we had a couple plants that were frying in the unexpected and extended heat. It feels good to get some cool breezes coming through the area. Don't forget to check those plants that may be protected under your eaves and taller trees, even with the rain they may need a drink of water.
We are excited to hear that Europe is opening up again soon. That means our Garden Time tour is all set for our departure in early October. If you are itching to get out and travel again, safely, then our trip is for you. Portugal and Spain are calling, so come and join us. All the information you need is found here!
This week we featured...
Bosky Dell Trees
We talk about adding native plants to our gardens to attract native pollinators. Let's not stop at native blooming plants! If you incorporate native plants of all types you will find that you will have plants that work really well in your garden because they are accustomed to our soils and climate. That is especially true for native trees. To see a few that you might consider, we stopped by Bosky Dell Natives (503-638-5945) and talked with the owner Lory. Bosky Dell is known for the great selection of native plants and for the way they display them, and Lory is a big cheerleader for these plants. We started with the Western Red Cedar. This is known as a tree of life by the native population because they could use it for many purposes including making clothing, shelters and even canoes. It can become a huge conifer so make space for it. The second tree was the Western Hemlock. This tree is one of the most prolific in our forests and is used for timber and paper production, but it is a winner in the garden too. It also can get pretty big, over 150 feet tall or taller, so give it plenty of room too. Lory recommended that you can plant these two trees in a mixed planting for a nice privacy wall between neighbors. The small plant behind the Western Hemlock was the Mountain Hemlock. This one stays much smaller and grows at a slower rate. This one only grows about an inch a year so you can place this plant just about anywhere in the garden. Lory called it Nature's Bonsai. These hemlocks can also come in interesting shapes. Some even look twisted and windblown, which gives them even more character. The last plant we looked at was the native Vine Maple. This plant usually shows up as a shrub with multiple trunks, but you can cut and train it into a tree form too. This plant can get up to 25 feet tall, but doesn't really spread out a lot. The best part is the incredible fall color! Oranges and reds will shine and it becomes a main focal point in the fall garden, so put it in an area where you can see it in the fall!
These are just a few of the native trees and shrubs that you will find at Bosky Dell. So if you are thinking of adding natives to your garden don't just look down for texture and interest, look up for trees with wonderful height too!
Garden Sun and Shade Plants #1
Everyone has areas in the garden of sun and shade, and if you need plants that might work in both areas, your choice might be limited. To find out if there are plants that will work in both sun and shade we stopped by Garland Nursery (800-296-6601) and talked to Lee Powell. Lee is one of the owners of Garland and is also a landscape designer. He brought out plants that will work in both areas, and he knows that because he has used these plants in his landscape designs. We started with a tall grass, Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'. This one gets about 4-5 feet tall and makes a wonderful wavy, rustling sound in the breeze. It has seed heads that look great in the fall as the plant turns a buff color at the end of the season. The next plant was a hydrangea called 'Strawberry shake'. This panicle type of hydrangea gets those almost cone shaped flowers on a compact plant. The flowers start white and turn pink as they age. Lee said that this one doesn't mind the heat, but can burn if it's left in an area with lots of reflective heat, like near a brick wall or a hot driveway. It also likes a lot of water in the growing season. The next plant was the native Oregon Grape (mahonia). The Mahonia aquifolium is the state flower of Oregon. With spiky leaves and bright yellow flowers it can grow just about anywhere! There are even some newer cultivars with different shapes and characteristics that you might want to try. The next plant didn't have spiky leaves and it was a holly. Hollys are known for those prickly leaves but this one, Japanese Holly 'Helleri', is one of the exceptions. It is a tough plant that does well in the sun and shade, but will get a little looser and leggy in the shade. The next plant was a biennial (blooms every other year) Foxglove called 'Arctic Fox Rose'. This new variety has a pink flower with an apricot colored center. The shorter plant for the sun/shade garden is the Fleeceflower. This variety, Red Dragon, is a low growing perennial that only gets about 4 feet tall, but has these wonderful purple bi-colored leaves. If you do put it in the full sun it will need a little more water. The next plant was nearing the end of its bloom time, the Columbine. These are great for a pop of spring color and if you cut them back they can bloom again later in the season. Finally, we finished with a geranium. Ann Folkard is a hardy geranium and has bright light green foliage, that gets golden colored in the full sun. It will spread out and its violet blooms will last from spring to fall.
These were just a few of the great plants at Garland Nursery that can handle sun and shade. In fact, Lee had so many choices that we promised that we would be back in a couple weeks to see some more!
Ants are the #1 pest problem in the US. There are lots of products that can get rid of them and it can be confusing if you want to stop them before they invade your home, yard or garden. Ryan and Judy shared a few of the different products that are available to the homeowner.
Ryan started with a couple of the more heavy duty baits. Amdro is a bait that takes care of over 20 different types of ants, including carpenter ants. This product was developed to take care of fire ants in the south and with some minor adjustments can now take care of most ant problems. The second bait was a granular product from Terro and it does the same thing as the Amdro product. Ants take it back to the nest and the queen and it kills them in the nest. Both of these products contain ingredients that can kill and also create an effective barrier around the perimeter of your home.
Judy talked about baits that can be used inside your home. There is one big difference with most of these baits...ants treat them as a food. The baits are taken back to the nest and once it is taken to the queen, she is gone and most of the time so is your problem. Some of the most effective of the baits are ones that include borax. If you have found a 'home remedy' on the internet, it most likely contains borax. The Terro product is one that most people are aware of. The liquid application is great because you can see the ants on the first day all huddled around drinking up the sugar/borax solution and then the next day they are gone. There are even all organic solutions that you can use that use all natural oils and essences. Judy also had one from Bonide called 'Home Safe' that was all natural and easy to use.
It is very important that you follow the application instructions on these products. Remember the label is the law! Follow it! If you have an ant problem, stop by your local independent garden center and see which products might work the best for you.
Annuals, Perennials and Biennials
When we do stories we sometimes use terms that people may not understand. Even if they are familiar terms, they may have a different meaning when it comes to plants and gardening. A few of those terms include 'Annual, Perennial and Biennial'. These are terms we use for plants and how they grow in your garden. We'll start with Annuals. These are tender plants that may not handle the year-round temperatures in our area, especially the cold. These plants germinate, grow, flower and go to seed in one season. Plants like marigolds, petunias and lobelia are annuals. The good news is that you can collect the seeds at the end of the season and use them to grow new plants the next year. Perennials tend to be more cold hardy and will return year after year. Some perennials will die completely to the ground and grow back. While others might lose their leaves during the winter months, and some will stay evergreen. The thing that ties them together is that they survive the cold and return again. There are some perennials that will die if the winters get too cold, but most will return. Biennials are plants that grow and bloom on a 2 year cycle. The first year they germinate and grow green leafy plants, the second year is when they flower, set seed then die. You can then use that seed the following year to start a new plant. Foxgloves are a biennial, blooming every second year.
Depending on where you live the terms may apply to different plants. If you live in the tropics a plant may be a perennial, where the same plant may be an annual in the Pacific Northwest due to the colder temperatures. This is why it is important to pay attention to the plant tags when you buy a new plant. Annual, perennial, or biennial, the key is to find a plant you love and enjoy it in your garden either for one year or for many!
Cleaning and Sharpening Tools
As you start pulling out your garden tools for the coming season, it is a good time to give them a good cleaning and sharpening. Clean and sharp tools will make your garden chores much easier. Some tips to follow include using alcohol or bleach and steel wool to scrub them clean and disinfect them. Then you want to use a sharpening stone or file to give a good sharp edge to them to make the cutting easier. Remember to only sharpen the beveled edges of the blades! Also, if you have a pruning saw, take it to a professional or buy a new one. They are just too dangerous to attempt on your own. Your local garden center has all the tools you need and they can even demonstrate how to do it correctly. Do a little sharpening now and all your spring and summer garden work will be a breeze!
Bartlett Storm Damaged Trees
The recent ice storm was pretty devastating for many home owners. Trees and shrubs really took a beating and some were severely damaged. It has local tree care companies, like our friends at Bartlett Tree Experts (503-722-7267), extremely busy. If you are a homeowner is there anything that you can do to clean things up yourself? To get the answer to that and other questions we talked with Dr. Tom Smiley from Bartlett. The first question that a homeowner should ask is how much damage is there to the tree. If there is less than 50% then that tree has a good chance of survival. Anything over 80% damage and it might be time to take that tree down. Next we should think about safety. We should be looking at broken branches, hanging branches and branches that might be propped up or balancing on other branches. If these present a danger then they should be removed before any other pruning is done. Then we should look for cracks, any exposed diseased areas or weaknesses. Those are signs of eventual failure and need to be addressed. Finally we look at aesthetics, or the shape of the tree. You may take a large part of a tree down, but it may look terrible and take years to recover the natural look. That is also a consideration on keeping and removing a tree.
The key is to call in an expert. A certified arborist or trusted company is your best bet for doing things right. If you try to climb up a tree and do the job yourself you can be in real trouble. Dr. Smiley told us that 2 to 3 times more people are injured AFTER the storm then during the storm. Also, if you don't know the right cuts to make or how to save that tree after the storm you could do more harm than good.
The key right now is to be patient. Contact a great company like Bartlett Tree Experts. They will come out and make sure that you are safe and the job gets done right. It may take awhile but you and your trees will be happier in the long run.
Van Veen Rhody Propagation
A few weeks ago we met with Mike at the Van Veen Nursery and Heritage Garden. We talked about the history of the nursery and how it is now converting to the Van Veen Heritage Garden. The nursery is still active as a growing facility and Mike took us into a greenhouse to show us how they propagate new rhododendrons from cuttings. Well, he tried to show us... the greenhouse was hot and humid. Two things you need to get these cutting to start rooting. Mike told us about the Van Veen family and how they discovered this process to grow the best new rhododendron starts in the industry. The camera kept fogging up but we were able to see how they take the new growth from plants and then use those small twigs to start new plants. Currently they are growing Vireyas rhododendrons. These are a tropical type of rhody and they have to be protected from the cold. The flowers on these are incredible and nothing like what you would consider a normal rhododendron.
Once these cuttings are fully rooted they are moved to another greenhouse and grown into larger plants. These plants along with other rhody and azalea hybrids are for sale either through their website or at one of the Rhododendron Society sales. We were amazed at how they make new rhododendrons and how beautiful they were. We even bought one ourselves while we were shooting the story and recommend that you get one too!
They are looking for volunteers and financial support for the gardens as well. Contact Mike at the nursery if you are interested in pitching in!
Leach Garden Improvements
For the last few years we have been following the improvements to the Leach Botanical Garden (503-823-9503). Plans were being made a couple years ago and then last year the garden started the major renovations. The main parts to the renovation were to first address the upper part of the garden. To see how those changes worked out we met with Virginia near the new Welcome Center off of Claybourne Street, the new entrance to the garden. From the entrance pavilion we walked to the new Tree Walk. This elevated walkway takes you through the tree tops so you can get a little different perspective of a forest from the birds point of view. From the walkway you can look down on some of the plant collections and even to the Manor House down the hill. Next to the walkway is the Fireside Terrace. This covered area and firepit are perfect for receptions, weddings and other meetings. It is available for rent too. Virginia told us that right now the garden is free but you will need to book a ticket to save your place since the garden is limiting visitors.
We then met with Adam the horticultural manager at the garden. He told us about the new planting areas in the garden. We started by talking about the new pollinator garden near the Welcome Center. This area is planted with seasonal blooming plants that bloom in waves and provide flowers for the entire growing season. He then talked about the groupings of native plants along the hillside to create big splashes of color and texture. We also talked about the improved access for all visitors to the garden. A lot of the pathways are now much larger and paved so people of all abilities can enjoy the garden.
We recommend that you take the time to come and visit this garden now and again in a few months. It will be growing and changing quite a bit and you'll see it as it happens! Come enjoy this new gem in Portland!
Shopping Your Garden Center
Shopping your garden center this year can be difficult. With the pandemic people have been gardening more and that means you could run into few plants to choose from. We have a few tips to help you in shopping during these crazy times. First tip, if you find something you like, buy it! Due to the increased foot traffic and more gardeners, that plant may not be there if you come back later. Second tip, know when plant shipments arrive at your garden center. Most growers deliver new shipments to your garden center on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays. You might find a better selection of plants if you shop before the weekend and the big crowds come through. Third tip. If you can't find the plant you want, look for one that has similar characteristics to the one your looking for. You might find a new favorite plant!
Of course the key is to be patient and seek out help from the staff at your local independent garden center to point you in the right direction to find that perfect plant!
When people think of the Goodwill Store they are probably thinking about clothes or household items, but there are lots of ideas and products for your garden as well. Dale Emanuel joined Ryan at their Airport Way Outlet store to show off some of the items that she found that can dress up any patio. This store is also known as one of 'the bins'. These stores are the last stop for donations before they are recycled or repurposed. Items that have already been offered at their regular retail stores are brought here and put into bins. The bins are rotated and people can pay by the pound or by the piece for larger items that they find. The airport store carries the unsold items from 8 other Goodwill stores. These bins are not full of junk, in fact it is more of a treasure hunt! Dale pulled together a bunch of items that looked like they had just been overlooked. We had everything for the garden from mowers and trimmers to décor items and even tools and planters. There were more than 2 dozen items on the table and the total price for everything was under $150.
We also went behind the scenes to see what happens to items if they don't get picked up at this last stop. Goodwill recycles a lot of these donations. Clothing, electronics, toys and other items are packaged separately and sold to other companies for recycling. As little as possible goes to the landfill.
Goodwill is a great place for shopping no matter what you are looking for. Part of the proceeds from sales at their stores goes back to the community in the form of jobs and other support services. Stop by the Airport store or any of the other Goodwill stores and see what you can find for your garden.
TOW - Stone Garden Markers
Our tip of the week takes us out to our spring bulbs as they are dying back for the season. How many times have you been planting in the garden in late summer or fall and have dug up some of those same spring bulbs? To remember where those bulbs are buried, simply take a flat rock and write the name of the bulbs (example: tulips) on one side of the rock and place it next to your bulbs, then when your spring flowers are gone, you'll still know where those bulbs are buried!