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The summer must be here, and I'm not talking about the heat. I'm talking about the last hour-long Garden Time show for the season. Every year we have 13 weeks of hour long programs that run from April through the end of June. Then we go back to a half hour program until the end of November. We are able to have a longer show for those 13 weeks due to the support of our great sponsors and our TV station partners. We wish we could go longer, but the funding isn't there as nurseries and garden businesses wind down for the summer. This is why it is important to say thank you to those sponsors when you are out shopping!
Speaking of the heat, it is nasty out there! We are setting some all-time records this weekend and that means you should be taking care of yourself, your pets and your garden during this extreme heat. If you need to go out, do it during the cooler mornings, though they are not going to be too cool. Drink lots of water and check on your friends and neighbors to make sure they are doing well too. If you are around in the afternoon, be sure to head out and look at the plants that are suffering the most. Mark them. These are ones that you might need to move during the fall to an area where they will not fry in the summer heat. Remember, put the right plant in the right place.
This week we featured...
One Green World Tropical Fruits
Every summer we want to feel like we are in the tropics. We can get those big leafed tropical plants with their colorful flowers, but what about fruiting plants to make the plan complete? To get ideas for tropical fruiting plants we stopped by One Green World (877-353-4028) and talked to Sam. Some of the plants he picked could be from the tropics, and some just look tropical, but they all produce fruit for you to enjoy. The first one we saw was the Loquat. These are not unusual, as you can find some old ones spread throughout Portland. These have larger tropical looking leaves and are a cross between an apple and a pear. The fruit even tastes different, almost like an apricot. Below that plant was a bromeliad, actually it was a pineapple. They have the same leaf structure but this one, Sugarloaf, actually puts on a fruit after a couple years of maturing. You have to treat this one as a house plant in the winter, but you are rewarded with fruit for your efforts. The next plant was an actual tropical plant like the pineapple. The Dwarf Cavandish Banana has a funky variegated leaf and if you let it get tall enough, you can get edible bananas from it. Even if you don't get any fruit, the leaf color alone makes it a must have houseplant. The next plant you will also recognize if you travel around the area. The Passionfruit flower is one of those easy to remember flowers, that really looks tropical and exotic! The difference with the 'Black Knight' variety that they sell at One Green World is that you will get edible fruit off of it! Fruit and the same cool flowers? That is a winner in our book. The final plant was the pomegranate. These are a variety that flowers and fruits in our area. The 'Crimson Sky' variety was the one that we saw and even though it doesn't produce the huge fruit, like you see in the grocery store, you will still get edible fruit from it.
These are just a few of the fruiting plants that you can find at One Green World. They also have your regular berry and fruit plants too. Stop by and check them out.
Dig, Divide and Plant Daylilies
This early summer time is the time for daylilies! These are great bloomers for the early summer and, with some varieties, even longer. To learn more about these wonderful and versatile plants we stopped at Schreiner's Iris Gardens (503-393-3232) to talk with Ben. Now you may think that Schreiner's only grow iris, but you would be wrong. They grow hundreds of varieties of daylilies from famous hybridizer, Bill Maryott. The colors are fabulous and the plants are incredibly durable!
How do you plant them, divide them and care for them, those were the questions we had for Ben! Daylilies can be divided and planted anytime between April and September. To divide them you find the fans. These are groupings of leaves that appear separate on the plant. Grab two different fans and pull them apart, now you have two plants! It is that simple! You can even divide them when they are blooming! Before you plant them you need to do a little trimming. Ben used a shovel and cut off the flowering stems and leaves and even trimmed the roots a little bit. He had prepared a hole with some good soil and compost and planted the new plant up to the base of the fan. He told us that watering a new plant is very important. Make sure they stay in moist soil, but not drowning in water, and you should be good. If you are looking to give your plants a little boost once they are established, he recommended a good balanced fertilizer like a 10-10-10.
If you are looking to add some great summer color to your garden, look for daylilies and check out the selection at Schreiner's!
Building a Summer Container
The summer creates a unique opportunity for creating cool pots and containers for your deck or patio. The combination of heat and sun opens up your plant palette to lots of new choices. To get an idea on how to build a summer container we stopped by Portland Nursery (503-788-9000) on Division to talk with Sara. The container she featured contained plants that she currently has in her garden containers. We always talk about Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers. These are the types of plants you should look at when you are building a container. The thriller is the big focal point to your container. You usually have one or two of these plants. Next are the fillers. These are shorter plants that can complement the taller 'thriller' plants. The final plants are the spillers. These are low plants, a lot of times a trailing or vining plant, that spills over the side of the pot to provide a soft edge to your container and help tie the container and plant material together. When you are putting your pot together make sure that the plants have all the same requirements. Either all sun plants, or all shade plants. Plants that love dry conditions or plants that like it moist. Putting plants with similar needs together will help them all survive together.
Sara started with her Thrillers. She had the Canna Pretoria. This has beautiful leaves with gold stripes through them, but it also has wonderful orange blooms later in the summer. The new leaves on the canna have a red color to them and that compliments the red leaves of he Japanese Blood Grass, her other thriller in the container. The orange of the canna blooms also tie into the orange of a lantana that she had planted as one of her fillers. There are also yellow blooms from the calibrachoa and a daisy that also bring the colors together with the streaks of yellow in the canna leaves. Finally there are the sweet potato vines in yellow and black that 'spill' over the side to complete the canvas and her container.
The tips from the Thriller, Filler, Spiller can work with all of your various potted containers, or even in your garden beds. Sara mentioned that you should always start with your large specimen, your thriller, the one you really love, and then build around that.
If you would like to get some ideas for building a container of your own, check out the Portland Nursery website. They feature a container of the month, which will give you a recipe for building something spectacular for your garden. They also have labeled their tables with sections of Thriller, Filler and Spiller plant to get you started. Check out their website for more great tips and ideas.
Little Prince Ground Covers
People are always looking for larger plants to fill the big spaces in their gardens, but what about all those small empty spaces? Groundcovers may be the answer. We stopped by Little Prince of Oregon, who are known for their great groundcovers and talked with Mike Hicks, the head grower. He mentioned the different types of uses for groundcovers. One use would be the understory of all your other plants, one would be as a filler for stepping stones and the final use could be as a lawn alternative, though that works the best in a small lawn situation.
We started with a few that he recommends for people who have a sunnier space in their garden. The first was the Super Star Creeper, a white flowering groundcover that is just covered in tiny white blooms. Next to that was the Blue Star Creeper, with its blanket of blue blooms. These both have a full bloom season in late spring and early summer, though they can bloom longer too. The next plant was the Elfin Thyme. It has a tight structure and tiny purple flowers. A benefit to this one is the great fragrance when you walk on it. It also likes full sun and gets better as it fills in. It can also take a good amount of foot traffic.
Up next, there were 2 mosses. Scotch moss is a tight grower that has a chartreuse color to it and some small white flowers. The Irish moss is a darker green and has white flowers also. These mosses do like some sun and dryer conditions, and are more drought tolerant than your normal moss. They also can handle some decent foot traffic too.
We move to the other groundcovers on the table and these are a little better adapted to the shade. These do much better in the cooler conditions of a shady area. The first was a miniature Sweet Flag. It is a bright yellow grass that fills in to create a bright spot in your shade garden and is a nice compliment to your larger garden plants. It also likes the wet areas in your garden. The next plant was Baby's Tears. This one works great in many conditions. In fact, Mike has this one spread throughout his own garden! The last two plants were Leptinellas or Brass Buttons. The first was' Platts Black' with a darker fern-like foliage and the other was a Miniature Brass Buttons. These love morning sun and afternoon shade and gives your understory a nice textured look.
Like all new plants these will need a little attention until they get established and then they do well with normal care. If you are looking to create a weed barrier with these groundcovers you will need to hand weed until they get established and then they will spread out and help you control weeds, but you will still need to do some hand weeding from time to time.
For these and more options for groundcovers you can check out your local garden center and look for the Little Prince tag or you can go to their website and order some there!
Summer Water Tips
Summer is here and you might be getting ready to take that vacation that you've been waiting all year to take, but what about your lawn, what about your plants!? To get some tips on how to prepare your lawn and garden for your travels we met with our old friend Kevin from the Regional Water Providers Consortium . Kevin recommended that you start with a walk around your garden. Check out the sprinkler system and where your plants are located. Check to make sure that your system is in good working order and covering all the areas of your garden that need watering. If you have a neighbor who will be checking your house, walk them through your system as well, including how to shut off the system if there is a blowout or a problem. You should also make sure that your hose connections are tight and secure and that there are no leaks.
If you have pots or containers place them in a shady area with plants that have similar needs grouped together. That way they can all get the same attention that they deserve. If you are worried about keeping those containers watered, get a small kiddie pool and fill it with a couple of inches of water and place your containers in the pool. This should help them stay watered until you return.
By taking a few steps you can return to a happy and healthy landscape after your summer vacation!
Red Pig Tools
This pig can dig! Many years ago, after years of constant grumbling about the quality of hand tools available to the gardener, we were introduced to Bob Denman of Red Pig Tools (503-479-5571). Bob had a long history of developing and building hand tools. In the past few years Bob decided to retire and Seth Pauley took over. Seth is an avid garden expert and an expert blacksmith and he gave us a demonstration on how he builds a weeding tool. He explained how he reinforces certain parts of the tool so it stays stronger and lasts longer. The key to building a great garden tool, is to create a handcrafted work of art. These tools will outlast nearly all of your other tools. The best part of a handcrafted tool, Seth works hard to make sure the tool is right for you! He makes over 200 different types of tools from the smallest of trowels to the longest of shovels. Seth can find the perfect tool for you and your hardest garden jobs. He can even fill you in on the history of the tools too.
If you would like to learn more about Red Pig Tools, or to get one for yourself. You can check out a few local retailers including Portland Nursery and Garden Fever, but the best place to get all his tools is at the Red Pig Tools website! Either way you will be very happy with the garden tools you will find and use for many years to come.
Japanese Garden Iris
There are lots of plants that show off throughout the year at the Portland Japanese Garden (503-223-1321), but right now there is one that you have to come and see. While others show their glory for weeks, the Ensata Iris 'Higo' near the zigzag bridge in the strolling pond garden is only sharing its blooms for a few more days. We met with the director of marketing, Megumi Kato to talk about the iris and how they planted it in this marshy bed. This bed was originally planted in the late 60's and early 70's when the garden was built. They are all pretty much one color probably due to the fact that there weren't many varieties on the market at that time. These iris love boggy conditions and don't mind a little water, in fact they need a lot of water in the spring to flower. If you want to grow them at home you will also need to put them in full sun and give them a fertilizer. At the garden they also compost them in the fall after they cut them back.
After looking at all the beauty of the iris, we headed to a shadier part of the garden in the Strolling Pond Garden, one of many gardens to enjoy. This shaded garden was a relief from the hot sun. It was at least 10 degrees cooler! The 5 different gardens all have wide ranging styles, but there is one thing they share and that is a serenity that helps people relax and unwind. It is a little sanctuary in the middle of the city.
If you would like to see the wonderful iris flower show, head up to the Portland Japanese Garden in the next week or so to enjoy these wonderful iris, and stroll the beautiful gardens.
Little Baja Containers
Picking the right container can make all the difference for the health of your plants. We had some questions about containers and so we stopped by Little Baja (503-236-8834) to talk with Jared. We started by talking about their signature Little Baja terra cotta pots. These pots are handcrafted by the same small production houses that Little Baja has been using for over 30 years. The clay is the best and it is fired hot ovens to give it great structure and a long life. Their terra cotta also breathes and transfers oxygen well to the plants, so your container plantings will do well over the years. In fact, they have many plants in the same pots as they were planted right onsite at their store. They also have some great new pots too. Bright and colorful glazed containers from Vietnam, if you are looking for a splash of color. There are also lightweight fiber pots and containers too. One of the hottest containers on the market are the concrete pots. These have modern, sleek designs and are great if you need heavy duty statement pieces in your garden or at your business.
They also have more than containers. There is a huge selection of statuary to choose from if you are looking for a garden accent or two. Plus the wall hangings and terra cotta suns and moons to hang near your front door. Some with great smiling faces to welcome guests, or scare off bad guys!
If you are looking for a great selection of containers, with the knowledge to help you choose the right one, stop by Little Baja!
The Wall - Retaining Wall
Over the years we have visited different landscape sites that were made better by our friends at The Wall (503-735-9255). Today we stopped by a house that needed big help with a slope. Lilly, the homeowner, met with Judy to fill her in on how bad it was when they bought the house. The large slope in the front yard looked great during most of the year until the big rains came. Then all their hard work, and bark dust would wash away down the street. It needed help. After talking to friends and family, and doing research of quality companies, they chose The Wall. Lilly mentioned how easy it was to get a plan put together and soon they had a nice retaining wall and they were able to reclaim their front yard. She mentioned how she and her husband can now sit out front and enjoy their landscape instead of watching it wash down the street. The best part is hearing the nice compliments from people strolling down the street.
We then turned to Dave, who was the project manager for this job. He worked hand in hand to make sure they were getting everything they wanted. He even made suggestions based on his years of experience and they were able to tie in the new project with the old parts of the landscape they wanted to keep. Doing a project like this is not for the regular weekend warrior, there are drainage issues and structural integrity that needs to be considered. Plus they work with landscapers, plumbers and electricians so you can get the whole package. In this case it included irrigation, lighting and some great new plants to finish it off.
This may seem like a simple project, but it is built to last, and they don't stop at retaining walls. Patios, walkways, outdoor fireplaces and Bar-B-Ques are also up their alley. There's not much that they can not do! If you are looking for help on a project, large or small, give them a call at The Wall!
TOW - Smart Phone Gardening
Our tip of the week showcases how you can use simple technology to make your lawn and garden thrive. We showed you how to use the calendar in your phone to put in reminders to do simple home and garden chores. For example, when you prune your roses in mid-February you should put in a reminder to fertilize those roses again in 6 weeks. In fact, every 6 weeks is a good time for deadheading and/or fertilizing all your roses. Also, if you have houseplants, it might be tough to remember when you last watered them. We tend to overwater them anyway. Put a reminder in the phone to check them every 2 weeks to see if they need water. If you have a lawn, the best way to make it stronger and less susceptible to diseases and moss is to keep it fertilized. About 3-4 times a year, your reminder in your phone will tell you that your lawn needs a feeding. Put that smartphone to use and get healthier plants and a stronger garden.
Watching the Garden Time Show
We have a large, loyal following of viewers that say that they learn a lot each week, but we still get questions about stories... 'where were you filming?', 'how can I learn more about those plants?' and many more. Sometimes the answer to those questions are right in front of you. Every story that we do starts with an 'identifier', we share who we are talking to, with their name across the bottom of the screen, and a location graphic, listed in the top left hand corner of the screen. If you watch the story a lot of the plant names will appear on the screen. If we are moving quickly through a story, we may not always get to the names on the screen. If you are interested in the featured plants, or want more information about the story, you can always wait until the end of the story. In the last part of every story we have a website and/or phone number on the screen for the guest we are interviewing. A quick call to them will help you get even more information.
Of course, if you don't want to sit in front of the TV with a pen and paper writing all this information down, you can always go to the Garden Time website. There you can find even more information. Simply click on the 'This Week' link where you can re-watch the whole show, find links to the featured nurseries and even watch the individual stories again. Looking for an older episode? Go to our Archive link and type in the topic. Watching Garden Time is great, and you can find a lot of information on the screen, but there is even more information at our website.