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Is it the end of summer? It seems like the weather is telling us that the extreme heat of 2021 is done and we are headed for cooler and wetter days. I’m sure we will see more warm days so there is plenty of time to enjoy your garden. This week we saw some of the kids returning to school and more are to follow in the weeks to come. Take the time to enjoy these last family days before we all return to our fall routines. Labor Day weekend is next weekend! Soon we will be into the fall festival season; pumpkin spice is coming!
This week we featured...
Dahlia Flower Forms
The fields are blooming and the festival is on! If you have never been to the Dahlia Festival you have missed one of the most spectacular shows of the summer. Nearly 30 acres of blooms greet you as you drive up. But that is only part of it… Heather from Swan Island Dahlias (800-410-6540) showed us the different styles of dahlias and high-lighted a couple of the different varieties. We saw the different styles of flowers including pom pon, orchid, single, collarette, cactus, decorative, Waterlily, and laciniated. The Dahlia is one of the most versatile of blooms. We can’t think of another type of flower that can look so different! Heather also showed us what is believed to be one of the original dahlias that they use to hybridize with to create all these new types and styles. Heather had also told us last week that to continue receiving blooms you can give them lots of water right now and to ‘deadhead’ or remove the old blooms, the watering and deadheading will promote more growth and even more blooms!
We also talked about the changes to the festival in the past couple of years. In the past, the festival was only for a couple of weekends at the end of August. Now they have the fields open 6 days a week (closed on Wednesdays) from the beginning of August to the end of September. Plus they have stuff going on all the time. There are dahlia classes, yoga, a Friday farmers market and a lot of food carts rotating through. You can also get cut flowers and tour the gift shop while you are there. The only thing that they have had to eliminate was the cut flower display under one of the barns due to spacing and covid. Still, it is a great way to spend a day, because the fields are open and free. Take some time to head down to Canby for the annual Dahlia Festival.
Burgerville Seed Harvest
A while ago we visited a Burgerville to learn about their kids meals, specifically the seed packets that they are now including in those meals. These seeds were picked because they are easy to grow and fun for the kids to start with their parents. This past week we were able to go out to Empowered Flowers to see where they grow these wonderful seeds. We met with co-owner and grower Adrianna in a field full of plants that were starting to produce seed. Normally, as gardeners, we try to keep plants from going to seed, but here seeds are the goal. She showed us how they were getting ready to harvest lettuce seeds. The plants were incredibly tall and covered at the top with a bunch of puffball seed heads. These will be harvested, dried, separated and packaged as their ‘Outredgeous Lettuce’. This lettuce is a nice red color and some of the seeds were grown on the Space Station by astronauts, which is pretty neat! They are also growing seed for a pollinator flower mix and a type of cucumber too. All will soon be at your local Burgerville restaurant! It’s nice to know that Burgerville is picking local growers and producers for their seeds and supplies. Supporting local is what they do!
Lan Su Lotus & Fall Flowers
The late summer is when the lotus flowers start to show off at the Lan Su Chinese Garden (503-228-8131). Justin called us from the garden and told us we had to see them, and we were not disappointed! They are looking spectacular. They were just one of the great plants that are in full bloom (or fruiting) right now in the garden. First he told us about the lotus. This plant signifies rebirth and attaining your perfect self, because of its rising from the mud into the perfect flower. It is also a food plant. The seeds, roots, and stems are all used as a food or for medicinal purposes. It is one of the most important plants in Chinese culture and is even represented in the artwork and sculpture. Another great plant right now is the pomegranate. This plant has appeared in Chinese writings from at least 150 BC. It is a symbol of fertility.
For a great blooming plant in your garden that has Chinese roots, you can get an oleander. This is considered a weed in some parts of the world, but here it is a beautiful plant and flower, though poisonous, so be careful where it is planted. Finally we talked about the hibiscus which is in full bloom right now and is native to China. It made its way to Europe and all parts west via the Silk Road, as did many other plants.
If you are looking for something to do while at the garden, mark your calendars for the middle of September for the Mid-Autumn Festival. There will be lantern viewings and a bunch of other events happening. You can get your tickets and also check out other events by going to the Lan Su website. It is a great place to relax, in the middle of the city!
Meadowland Simple Syrup
Recently we were at Smith Berry Barn and talking about making cocktails with fresh fruit and herbs. While there we were introduced to Meadowland Simple Syrups. A simple syrup is just that, simply sugar and water mixed together. The big difference with the line of Meadowland Simple Syrups was that they are flavored with flowers, herbs, honeys and other natural and organic ingredients. We met with co-owner Kathy Irwin. Her family owns Oregon Spirit Distilling. While at an event with the distillery, they were looking for a nice simple syrup to use for cocktails and there was not a quality one that they were happy with, so they decided to make their own. People liked it and now they have a nice lineup of great flavored simple syrups that are available in stores and on their website. Kathy showed us how easy it was to make a nice cocktail (she made a Mocktail) with just lemonade and one of their syrups. If you want to make a nice adult drink you can add a great Oregon Spirit libation. They have a wide assortment that includes gins, vodkas and bourbon whiskeys. They are also introducing liqueurs like Limoncello and other flavored products.
We ended up by talking about the great art work that was featured on all the bottles. Those wonderful designs were made by Kathy’s daughter-in-law, Katie Daisy. Katie is the other half of Meadowland and is an accomplished artist and author. She not only works at Meadowland, but she also has a new book coming out called ‘How to be a Moonflower’. It is a celebration of all things ‘night time’ and includes poems, activities and other things you can do while enjoying an evening in your garden. Check out the book and enjoy it with a wonderful cocktail, featuring Meadowland Syrups.
Garden Time & YouTube
Every once in a while the Garden Time show has a little ‘blip’ when it airs on our TV partners and people don’t get the whole show in its entirety. We also hear from viewers that may have missed the show due to vacations and other circumstances. Don’t worry, you can still watch each episode and stories, even weeks after it airs by going to the Garden Time YouTube channel.
Simply go to the www.GardenTime.tv website and click on the YouTube icon in the upper right corner. That will take you to our channel and you can watch current and past shows and stories, as many times as you like. Once there you can also sign up as a subscriber to receive notification of all our stories as soon as they are posted (sometime days before they broadcast!) So don’t worry about missing Garden Time, we’re as close as your computer!
RWPC – Summer Checkup
It is the middle of summer and it seems like our sprinklers and hoses are running every day, either on the lawn in the vegetable garden or watering our patio pots and containers. That may be an exaggeration, but we are using a lot more water than we would the other 11 months of the year. There are ways to make sure that we are using our water effectively and efficiently. To get some tips we met with Kevin McCaleb from the Regional Water Providers Consortium at a local home to see what he would recommend. He mentioned that even though we had a nice wet June, that water is all gone and, in fact, we are in the middle of a 3 year drought. 95 percent of the state is below normal for rainfall for this year.
He mentioned that the place to start is by just using your eyes to watch your irrigation system. Turn it on and see where the water is going. Are you watering the pavement, is it running off your lawn and into the street? If you have a slope, is the water staying where it’s supposed to? Also, take a look at your plants. Some of them may need water and others may not. If just a few need a drink, consider just hand watering those and leaving the others. Speaking of plants, your lawn may be looking a little tired too. Kevin recommended that you leave your lawn to dry out and not apply as much water. Grass goes dormant during the summer and it takes a lot of water to keep it green. If you cut back on the water, there is no need to worry, come September and the fall rains, it will bounce back and you’ll be mowing again!
Kevin also recommended that you watch your pop up sprayers in the lawn. Sometimes the amount of water going through them causes a fine mist because the pressure of your system is too much for them to handle. If that water becomes a fine mist, it will just blow away and not end up where you want it. Check with your local hardware store to see if they have a pressure regulator to help reduce that pressure. You could also be putting too much or not enough water on your lawn and garden due to weather changes. Because of that we recommend that you subscribe to the weekly watering number from the Regional Water Providers Consortium. This number is based on the weather and other conditions and is sent to your computer or mobile device so you can adjust your sprinklers and get the most out of watering.
Where can you find all this information and even videos to walk you through the process? At the RWPC website. Check it out and get the most out of your watering system for the rest of the summer!