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Garden Time hit the road this past week. We traveled to Bend and Sisters and shot a bunch of new stories focusing on plants and problems of the high desert. There is an amazing diversity in the growing conditions around the state of Oregon. We like to try and highlight those different conditions when we can. You'll be seeing quite a few stories from Bend and Sisters in the coming weeks featuring plants and products from central Oregon. In the future we plan on traveling over to the Oregon coast to feature plants from there as well.
This week we featured...
Bartlett Sunburned Trees
During the recent heat wave we had a lot of questions from viewers about what they should do with their toasted trees and shrubs. To get some answers to those questions we met with Logan from Bartlett Tree Experts (503-722-7267). We met him in a garden of another Bartlett employee to see some of the damage there. Yes, even the experts got hit hard by the heat! Logan told us that the burning of the leaves was a result of weather conditions that didn't allow for effective and efficient transpiration in the plant's leaves and needles. This buildup of heat and lack of oxygen, CO2 and water exchange can cause the leaves to shut down and burn. This is a defense mechanism of the leaf and it is done by the plant to protect itself. The urge for most gardeners is to cut off the badly burned leaves, but as Logan showed us, most of the leaves were only partially burned. These leaves are still feeding the plant. The plant has been severely stressed, so you will want to leave as many leaves, and partial leaves, as possible. Logan also told us that those damaged branches could also set new buds and have another flush of growth later this season. The other reason for not pruning back the dead leaves and needles is that they can provide shade (however small) to the other leaves in the interior of the plant.
So what can a homeowner do? Logan mentioned that you should continue to water and care for those damaged plants. Before the next heat event you will want to deep water your trees and shrubs. In what he calls a 'rain day'. Provide a small amount of water over a longer time, so that water can go deep and saturate the soil. A quick water can possibly runoff and not provide the hydration that your plants need. Mulch can be part of the solution as well. A good couple of inches of mulch will help to hold in that moisture and moderate the temperature so your plants can handle those extreme swings in heat and cold. Also, check your plants over the coming days and weeks. You may see new growth. We found this on a small perennial in this garden. The major stems looked completely dead, but at the base of the plant we saw new green shoots coming up!
So the big key here is to continue to take care of your plants and water them. In a couple months you can add a slow release fertilizer to help the plants recover in the cooler days of fall. If you have concerns about the safety of your trees you can always contact the Bartlett Tree Experts for help.
Tough Central Oregon Plants
Garden Time covers a lot of nurseries in the Willamette Valley, but we have viewers from all over Oregon and SW Washington. That covers a lot of different areas and growing conditions. Central and Eastern Oregon have growing conditions that can be quite different than conditions in the valley or the coast. To get an idea about choosing some plants that can handle those tough conditions we stopped by C&C Nursery in Sisters Oregon. We met with the owner Chad about what 'bullet proof' plants he recommends to his customers. He told us that during different parts of the year you can start the day with frost and temps in the 30s, and end the day in the 70's or 80's. The range of temperatures is incredible, sometimes having a 40-50 degree swing of temperatures for multiple days. If you add the dry conditions with low humidity your plants can really suffer. That means you need to have plants that can handle that range of conditions.
He started with some conifers. He had the golden colored 'Old Gold' Juniper. It loves the central Oregon weather and that means it can start to go wild after a time, but you can prune it back to keep it in its place. That juniper goes well with the Mongomery Blue Spruce. This stunning shrub/tree will get to about 10 feet tall in time. The blue colored needle make a great contrast in any garden. A great plant to contrast with the two conifers is the Potentilla 'Goldfinger'. This shrub gets 4-5 feet tall and is covered in bunches of yellow blooms during most of the growing season. This one is one of the many that deer don't seem to like much. Another shrub that deer don't care for is the Barberry. 'Rose Glow' barberry has tiny spikes to keep the deer at bay, but it also has tiny variegated crimson, pink and cream leaves that look great. Chad also had a couple of grasses to share. He had the very tall and statuesque Feather Reed Grass 'Karl Foerster' This is a wonderful tall grass that has large seed heads that look great in those afternoon breezes. Next to that was the striking 'Blue Oat Grass' with blue foliage and nice seed heads as well. There are also vines that you can add to your central Oregon garden. Hops are a good choice. The 'Willamette' variety is a good choice, not only for the great structure it provides, but it is deer resistant as well.
Don't forget the color! There are lots of blooming plants that can create interest too. Chad had a couple of Cat Mints (Nepata). The first one was 'Purrsian Blue'. This little guy stays at around 1-2 feet tall and around, where his larger cousin 'Walker's Low' get 2-3 feet tall. Both of these have numerous flower spikes covered in blue flowers that the bees and hummingbirds just love! Next to the Walker's Low was Moonshine Yarrow. These are known for their large blooms which create a landing pad for bees and butterflies. Once again, this is a great deer resistant plant because of the rough foliage. If you are looking for a short groundcover, the Lamium 'Purple Dragon' is a good choice. Two toned light green and cream colored leaves support short flower stalks of purple flowers that don't mind the shade.
We were getting to the end of the plants Chad had chosen when he pulled out a Russian Sage 'Perovskia'. Another great deer resistant plant, it has long spikes of flowers with rough textured leaves. It loves the heat and can get 4-5 feet tall! We finished with a couple of plants covered in bright blooms. A wonderful echinacea and a Black Eyed Susan. These are great for late summer and early fall color and can brighten up any dark spot in your garden.
If you are living in central Oregon or looking for a plant that can handle the extreme conditions, even in the Valley, check out these plants. Either at C&C in Sisters, or at your local independent garden center.
Burgerville Kids Seeds
If you are looking for a 'happy meal' that will keep kids and parents both happy, you just need to stop at Burgerville. Many years ago, Burgerville decided to focus on local. That meant no expansion plans past the Northwest and they would also try to source local products and services whenever possible. To learn about this local angle we talked with Michelle from Burgerville. This push to help make the NW the healthiest region in America means that over 75% of their suppliers are regional. This means better food when you visit a Burgerville restaurant. Ryan knows a little about this local tie because a member of his family, Mike Seely of Seely Mint, provides the mint products for their dairy shakes and Bliss shakes. This commitment to local even extends to the kids meals and the 'prize' within! For about 20 years Burgerville has included seed packets in their nutritious kid's meals. Recently that program has also grown more local, for information on that we moved over to talk with Lane.
Lane is a professor at Oregon State University and a founder of the Culinary Breeding Network. She works with growers, suppliers, produce buyers and restaurants to bring locally grown and sourced produce (and seeds) to the marketplace. For Burgerville this means that their Kids Meal seeds will come from local growers and breeders. In fact, Lane told us about the connections that the current seeds have to local growers. Currently the seed choices include snap peas, barley, and lettuce. This line of seeds will grow and expand as newer varieties are introduced to the market.
So if you are looking to give your kids a great meal and a little something to grow and learn from, stop by your local Burgerville for a Kids Meal.
Wildfire House and Prep
With recent developments dealing with wildfires we thought we would take a look at ways to prevent wildfires from damaging and destroying your home. We found an excellent demonstration for wildfire prevention at the Oregon Garden in Silverton. They have a wildfire prevention house that you can check out on the grounds of the garden. Kris took us on tour and filled us in on things that you can do to lessen your risk of fire damage. We talked about spacing. Kris recommended that you leave a buffer zone that is 'plant free' away from the foundation of your home. This is called creating a 'defensible space'. We also talked about spacing your plants so they are not so tightly grouped. Kris also recommended that you use native plants that were fire resistant. The big problem is those plants that can accumulate dry material or that have a high sap content. These can help fuel fires and create more damage. These plants include arborvitaes and other landscape plants that can hide flammable materials. We also talked about 'ladder' fuels. These are plants that help the fire climb up off the floor of the forest and into the canopy where it spreads faster and is harder to control. If you are concerned about the threat of wildfire you can check out www.KeepOregonGreen.org and www.ready.gov for more information on prevention or come on up to the Oregon Garden to see the wildfire prevention house. If you are looking for a list of fire retardant plants there is a great resource on the OSU Extension website.