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The rains have returned! It has been months since we have had a good soaking rain. The plants and people I've talked to are loving it. It sure feels like fall!
I could have told you that the rains would return. How do I know? It's because we have our Subaru Fall Garden Fest happening today at Capitol Subaru in Salem! Don't let a few showers deter you from stopping by and say hi and visit some great plant and garden art vendors. We have more information about the event below, so watch the stories and then come and see us Saturday between 11-3.
This week we featured...
Al's Fall Décor
With the change of seasons we can sure use a change of scenery around our home and garden. To get some ideas we stopped by Al's Garden and Home (503-726-1162) in Sherwood. Judy met with Mark Bigej a 3rd generation Al's owner to talk about refreshing your containers for the fall season. At this time of year, those summer annuals are looking a little tired and they can use a little freshening up. Some of the plants he recommended go perfectly with the colors of fall. He started with the millet. This is a grass with wonderful, colorful and useful seed heads. The seed heads create a striking color that will rise over your other container plants, but it also provides edible seed for the neighborhood birds. The one that Mark loved was called 'Jade Princess' with a foxtail looking bloom. Other things that they included in the planter were a wonderful ornamental cabbage, some decorative peppers (which we heard are edible and hot) and mums. Mark had a tip about the mums. Look for buds instead of flowers. The buds mean that more flowers are coming so your plant/container will look better longer. We also noticed that tiny decorative squash also added to the autumn feel of this container. The pot was completed with fillers and trailers. Vincas, ajuga, and pansies all fill the empty spots and cascade over the side of the container making the display complete.
We then moved over to Annie. Annie is a 4th generation Al's family employee. Her great grandfather was Al! She talked about the placement of the fall container as part of an overall design for your front patio or porch. She mentioned the rule of triangles. The eye is drawn to triangles, whether triangles of color or height, and her decorative elements were used to create that shape. Pumpkins were stacked to create a triangle. Tall corn stalks were combined with the millet in the containers and then down to smaller pots of mums to create the desired shape. The shades also worked well together to create a wonderful and visually stimulating triangle of color. If you are stuck trying to figure out where to start, Al's has you covered. They have a fall decoration bundle. That includes an 8 inch mum, a corn stalk bundle, a pumpkin and a mini haybale. That should get you started on your fall decorating! Stop by any of the 4 Al's locations to get yours.
Jan's September Tips
There is always something to do in the garden, and to get a few tips on garden chores we always stop by and chat with Jan McNeilan. As a retired OSU Extension Agent she has seen just about everything. We often get questions from viewers of the TV show and readers of our Garden Time Magazine. A couple of the questions we received this month were dealing with spiders in the garden and yellowjacket wasps. People have been noticing more spiders in their gardens and in their homes too. This is normal for this time of year. They are building more webs outside to capture food and laying eggs to set the table for the cooler months ahead and to get their young ready for next year. The reason why you are seeing more of them in your home is because it is getting cold outside and they are looking for a nice warm spot, it just happens to be your home. Don't kill them in your garden and shoo them outside if they are in your house, because remember that they are beneficial. They kill all those other pest in your garden and around your home. The same is true for yellowjackets. They help get rid of other nasty bugs in your garden. The problem is that the queen has quit laying eggs and the hive is now looking for more food and they are getting aggressive. The queen will survive until next year, but the rest of the hive will die over the winter. The key is to keep them away from your late season outdoor entertaining. Jan recommends that you use the regular Bounce dryer sheets. This is not a research based solution, but one that seems to work from her friends and family. Give it a try.
We also talked about the heat from this past summer causing the bark on some trees to split. This damage generally appears on the south and west facing surfaces of the tree. The key here is to let the tree do its best to heal itself. DON'T apply a 'wound sealer' to the crack. This inhibits the tree in doing what it does naturally. Plus it can trap diseases and allow insects to invade the outer layer of the tree, causing greater damage. Now that the rains have returned, Jan had a tip about that as well. She had recently moved a plant and after a long drenching of the soil found that only the top couple of inches of soil had gotten wet. This is a reminder to check how deep your water is getting to your plant's roots. Water deeply, check and water again. The rain feels good, but your plant may need more. Finally we talked about streptocarpus. These are also called Cape Primrose. These are an overlooked plant and they are in full bloom now. They love the morning sun and afternoon shade. Jan loves them and she will be contributing an article to the Garden Time Magazine for our November issue.
When you say 'Oktoberfest' most minds go to the thought of beer and bratwurst! If you are in the Mount Angel area, it means so much more! If you're in their area, the Mt Angel Oktoberfest can also mean 'harvest festival' and part of that is the harvest monument in the center of town. The monument has been the central meeting place for the entire history of this great community event. The monument itself is built from scratch each year. The monument is a celebration of the harvest and bounty of our area! We met with Monica the Marketing Director of the festival to talk about the monument. She told us that the artist Philis Schmidt, has been building the monument for the nearly 20 years, and talked about the process that goes into making such a great creation. She told us that it starts a year ahead of time when they come up with the theme for the new year. Then Philis designs the monument with panels that represent that theme. These panels are eventually covered in seeds and beans and attached to the sides. Then there are ribbons of hops, rows of vegetables and bunches of flowers added during the final days of prep. This is all done in a warehouse close to the center of town so it can be moved and assembled easily right before the festival starts. It is quite a process with a huge group of volunteers involved in the final prep.
This volunteer effort is just part of the overall community response that makes this festival possible each year. Monica then talked about the event for this year. Last year we remember the 'virtual' event. People were able to pick up food and beer at a central site and then they could follow the celebration on-line. Not the best way to celebrate, but still fun for all. This year they are back to a 'live' event'. She told us that the festival has been going on for over 50 years and it involves over 7500 community members, including the entire board of directors, who all pitch in to make this happen. This is truly a family event and everyone makes sure that it includes something for everyone! Yes, there is beer, but there are events and activities for the whole family! Plus all the proceeds of this event go back to the community in the form of grants for projects and improvements. That means over 3.3 MILLION dollars has been put back into the community!
So next time you go to the Mt Angel Oktoberfest, stop by the harvest monument, have a brat and a beer, and help support this wonderful event!
Subaru Fall Garden Fest
We are out and about again! Subaru Garden Dayz was canceled this past spring, but we were able to put together a new event called Subaru Fall Garden Fest. This great event is taking place today, September 18th between 11am and 3pm at the Capitol Subaru Pavilion, just off the Salem Parkway. We will have a great group of garden plant and art vendors. Marilyn Russell Metal Art, Pith to Bark (birdhouses), Embroidery Expressions, Red Pig Tools, Recycled Glass Art, Rita Lee's Nursery (see their story in this week's show), Garden Thyme Nursery, Out in the Garden Nursery, Garden like a Girl (gloves and clothing), Soul Seeds (wreaths) and Secret Garden Growers. Plus you can stop by and see Ryan and Judy, and enter to win a $25 Portland Nursery gift card every half hour. There will be a kids area where kids can take home a planted crocus bulb. Capitol Subaru will also be giving away pansy 3-packs (while supplies last) and Subaru swag! There is a food cart and the Happy Heart Coffee Cart will be serving too. Bauman's will also be here with cider donuts.
Their pavilion is wide open and we will also have tents so people will have room and stay dry at the same time. Stop by and see us during this great event and say hi!
Rita Lee's Fall Garden Fest
Succulents and cactus have been extremely popular the last few years and luckily we have one of the best growers of these plants right here in our area. Rita Lee's Nursery is one of the best growers of these cool and unusual plants. We met with Heather at her nursery to see what she will be bringing to Subaru Fall Garden Fest today. Rita Lee's primarily grows indoor succulents and cactus, and she had a couple of tables full of the plants they were going to bring. One of the easiest to grow is the Mammillaria bocasana. It is a fuzzy barrel shaped cactus that blooms throughout the summer and into fall. It was beautiful. She reminded us that most cactus love full sun, so you will want to put them in a sunny area or near a south facing window. They also love the summer sun so they can go outside during the warmer days of the year. Morning sun and afternoon shade are a good start when they go outside so they have time to acclimate. They are tough, if you don't know their growing needs and conditions you can kill them with love. Too much of anything, including water is not a good thing for these wonderful plants. Of course, Heather and her crew grow hundreds of different varieties so you can always ask about tips and they are willing to share. Believe it or not, some of these plants love sun and other love shade!
Cactus and succulents are also not the easiest to propagate. Some can be grown from seeds and others from cuttings. That is why some can be a little pricy to start with. We recommend that you start simple and work up to the diva plants. If you have questions, you can stop by Subaru Fall Garden Fest to get them answered. Heather is bringing a ton of wonderful plants (some very cool and others very rare) for you to take home. Stop by early for the best selection!