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Happy Thanksgiving. I know we are a little early in sending your best wishes, but since we won’t see you until after turkey day, we thought we might be the first to send you greetings. As winter starts to creep in we have a lot to be thankful for, and viewers like you are at the top of our list.
As many of you know, when we get to the Thanksgiving holiday we also approach the end of our Garden Time season. Next week we will wrap up our 16th season of the show and will take our annual break until March 5th of 2022.
Also, as we approach the holiday season, gift giving is at the top of everyone’s list. This year why don’t you consider giving the gift of travel. Join Garden Time as we travel to Holland and Belgium in September of 2022. If you are a follower on Facebook, you’ve seen the pictures from our past tours and you know about all the fun and interesting places we visit. Come join us!
This week we featured...
Winter Bird Care
The change of the seasons signals a change for your local bird populations. Some of the non-migratory birds will be hanging around and may need a little help from you to survive the cold and wet of winter. We visited with Amanda of Backyard Bird Shop (503-445-2699) in West Linn to learn more about helping our feathered friends. A few weeks ago we talked about food and water needs, and we’ll review those later.
This week we talked about the colder and wetter days to come. That means the birds need some protection! We start with protection for their food. Get a dome to cover their seed, suet or syrup. You will see the visits increase if you provide a little shelter while they are eating, plus their food won’t get wet. Food can get moldy and rotten if you let it get wet. Feeding for hummingbirds also needs a little help to prevent their syrup from getting frozen on those really cold mornings. There are now heaters that you can attach to their feeders so they stay warm all winter long. The freezing is not bad for hummingbird syrup, it can also rob birds of an access to drinkable water. Backyard Bird Shop has a few different water warmers for your birdbaths. They even have a bird bath pre-wired for heat so you don’t need anything extra except to plug it in. A new item for sheltering your birds is the ‘roost pocket’. This little woven shelter can keep your small song birds out of the harsh elements during the really cold days. They are also really cute!
Now for a reminder about food and water. Here are some of the notes from our previous story…
We started with food. For seed eating birds you can use a black oil sunflower seed. This is a good basic seed that provides calories for high energy birds. We checked out the already shelled seed. It is a tiny bit more than the whole seed product, but there is less mess. For insect feeders you can set out a suet cake. Use different types of suet to attract different types of insect feeders. For most suet feeding birds they love insects and if you see a suet block with seed it is generally used as a filler in the suet. Once you have their food needs met, then you need to think about water. You should also remember to put out fresh water whenever you can, since the birds prefer that over standing, dirty, water. The one bird that has special needs in the winter is the hummingbird. They use lots of calories and so their food needs are more critical than other birds. You can keep their nectar in the feeder fresh by changing it every week or so. You can find a simple recipe for making their nectar at the Backyard Bird Shop website. Plus, they need to have a nice clean feeder so they don’t get sick over the winter. You can also welcome birds to your garden by incorporating different types of shrubs and trees. For a list of winter interest plants you can check with your local garden center. To learn more about attracting birds to your garden during the winter you can check with Backyard Bird Shop or The Audubon Society of Portland.
Holiday Plants Heritage
Ever wonder why we use holly in our holiday decorating? What is the story behind kissing under the mistletoe? Ryan and Judy covered the reasons why we use specific plants during the holidays. Holly’s origins are based on both Christian and non-Christian traditions. In one tradition, the holly protects the home from evil spirits. In another, the holly represents the crown of thorns of Christ’s passion and its berries represent the drops of blood. Christmas trees are a staple in just about every house during the holiday season. Though there are references to evergreen trees going back for thousands of years, the current traditions were starting to be established in the 1400s. The symbol of an evergreen tree represents rebirth, long life and strength. This is because it maintains its green color during the longest and coldest winters. Decorating became popular with Queen Victoria and started with fruit and candles. Now we use mass-produced ornaments and lights. The angel at the top of the tree reminds us of the good news of Jesus’ birth. Mistletoe has a longer history. It has various meanings that include fertility, immortality and love. Once again, these meanings are due to the fact that it stays evergreen in the winter. Of course the best meaning involved kissing. In proper English society you could not kiss your spouse-to-be in public. During the holidays you could kiss under the mistletoe, but you had to remove a white berry every time you did. Naturally, twigs with lots of berries were highly prized! Finally, the poinsettia. This plant is relatively new to the holiday tradition list. This plant has a history dating back to the 16th century. The story is that a little girl wanted to bring a gift to her church for the Christ child. She had nothing to give, but had a dream of an angel collecting weeds and leaves by the roadside, and giving them to the child. When she did it, they turned into the red blooms that we see today. The flower was named for Joel Poinsett a US diplomat who fell in love with them and started promoting them in the US. Paul Ecke, a plant grower and breeder from California, helped popularize the plant and it has been a holiday favorite since then.
So next time you are decorating your home, take some time and appreciate these wonderful holiday plants now that you know a little more about some of their meanings.
Gifts for the Gardener
Every year, friends and family members of gardeners are in need of some ideas for gifts for those with a green thumb, and at Garden Time we would like to make you the hero with a few suggestions! This year we visited Portland Nursery (503-231-5050) on Stark Street and chatted with Sara about what you can find for gardeners of any age. First, we talked about those little beginning gardeners in your family. Sara pointed out the garden stepping stones that you can find at their stores. Sara has tried a few of these garden projects with her girls and they love them. She recommended that adults help with these project to make things go smoother when you are doing them with the little ones. She also recommended small tools and gloves so they can ‘help’ with chores in the spring and summer. And who doesn’t love birds in the garden? For those people there are numerous feeders and houses for all types of birds. We saw a very inexpensive hummingbird feeder that would be a perfect gift. Of course the gloves and pruners are a must have for any gardener. Those are the tools that every gardener needs and uses the most during the gardening season. You will also find a great selection of watering tools, from watering cans to those cool and colorful watering tools from Dramm! We also took a look at a couple of books. During the cold winter months you can have your favorite gardener curled up with a good garden book or 2. This will help them plan for the future garden, or dig deep into a wonderful story. For the space limited gardener we found a wide selection of different terrariums. These small enclosed gardens are great for the indoors during those cold winter months.
As we wandered the store we also found some other ideas too. For the DIY gardener you will find all the supplies for them to get their spring garden going a little sooner than most. We had a ‘Germination Station’ for them to ‘get growing’ indoors for a jump start on the outdoors this spring. Let’s not forget plants! You can get a wonderful indoor plant or even an ‘air’ plant that would require little or no care. They also have a wonderful assortment of planters for those who have too many plants (can anyone have too many plants?) and not enough containers. Portland Nursery also has a nice assortment of ‘bee friendly’ supplies including a cool looking ‘mason bee/native bee’ house. If you are still running out of ideas, why not a gift card. Most local garden centers offer them and it shows you are thoughtful without getting them something they already have! These and many other great gift ideas are available at your local independent garden center.
A Holiday Vintage Flea
The current decorating trends are pushing antiques as a hot item, but they can also make great gifts for that hard to satisfy person on your holiday shopping list! Flea markets have always been known as the place to be for some of these valuable, ‘buried’ treasures that you can use in your home or your yard. Today, November 20th, there is one place where you can get your holiday shopping and flea market fix at one time. Margie’s Farm and Garden is hosting ‘A Holiday Vintage Flea’. A Vintage Flea is a vintage/flea/antique market with anything from antiques and mid-century vintage to crafts and castoffs. Kathy joined us to tell us about this holiday event which is the biggest they have ever had, with over 70 vendors! At the event you can find cool furniture that had been repurposed, homemade crafts, and one-of-a-kind items, in addition to the antiques. You will also find a lot of holiday décor items to get your home ready for the holidays. There will be food and other holiday treats as well. This is a great event for the one-stop shopper! This is a wonderful FREE event to kick off your holidays. Check out their website or Facebook page for all the details!
Everlasting Christmas Trees
In the past there was always a stigma attached to artificial Christmas trees. Recently there has been a name change, to Everlasting Trees, and a change in attitude too. Gone are the plastic, bottle brush looking trees, to a more durable, realistic tree. To see the latest on the market we stopped by Al’s Garden and Home in Sherwood (503-726-1162) to talk with Mark Bigej. Mark pointed out that this year there is a Christmas tree shortage. This is due to market conditions and the heat bomb we experienced this past summer. Some trees fried in the heat and some just didn’t make it. This has pushed the price up and made the everlasting trees a reasonable choice for some homeowners. Some of the reasons for choosing an everlasting tree. They are easy! You pull them out of storage and just put them up. Some of them even come pre-lit so you don’t even need to put on lights. They are fire resistant and never need water, so they never dry out. Plus they are not as messy as they never shed their needles.
Now if you are a traditional live tree person, Al’s also has a large selection of fresh cut trees for you to buy too. They can also flock your tree to add that snowy/wintery feel to your decorations. So for the best trees, real or everlasting, stop by any of the 4 Al’s locations.
Olio Nuovo Olive Oil Festival
The taste of fresh olive oil can’t be beat. Whether it is in a salad dressing or cooking, the flavor is intoxicating. And the freshest olive oil is right here in the Willamette Valley at Red Ridge Farms. Durant at Red Ridge Farms (503-864-2200) is in the process of harvesting and milling fresh olive oil just outside of Dundee. We paid a visit and received a personalized tour of the production facilities from one of the owners, Paul Durant. We visited one of the fields where we saw how they are growing quite a few different varieties of olives. Once they are harvested the local olives are combined with selected high quality olives from California and Southern Oregon. The olives are then milled for their oil. Most people think that the olives are pressed, but they are actually ground up whole, heated and the oil is spun off using a centrifuge. The new oil is called ‘Olio Nuovo’ and appears cloudy. After a few months the sediments settle to the bottom of the storage container and the oil is clear.
Your chance to see this process in action is happening this month at Durant at Red Ridge Farms during their Olio Nuovo Festival. You’ll also get a chance to sample this flavorful oil and taste the difference between it and commercially produced types of oil. You can also pick up olive trees for your own garden. This festival also features some of the great wines that Durant Vineyards produces as well. Stop by for a chance to step back into Italy this weekend. Check out their website for the times of all the events!