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April fools! Actually, no foolin', we are now back to an hour long program! Every spring we transition to an hour long program because of all the gardening information and festivals that are taking place around our area when the weather starts to warm up. We will continue these hour-long shows until the 25th of June, our last Garden Time show for the year. Remember that you can watch the shows on your favorite TV station or you can check them out anytime on our YouTube channel and the Garden Time website.
We are also just a week away from our big GardenPalooza (Presented by Dramm) event. This year we are at a new location at Bauman's Farm and Garden between Woodburn and Gervais. This is an excellent location for our first event in 2 years. There is so much to see and do! We have a few preview stories in the show this week to get you ready for the big event. Check out our GardenPalooza website for more details, www.GardenPalooza.com.
This week we featured...
N&M Nursery - GardenPalooza Preview
GardenPalooza is back again for our 18th version of the event on April 9th and there are a lot of great vendors that will be there. Rosie from N&M Herb Nursery (503-981-9060) is one of the favorites and she has tons of great plants (and herbs) that are huge and well grown. To get an idea about what she will bring to the event we stopped by her nursery in Hubbard. Rosie has really been focusing on pollinators and so she pulled a bunch out for us to look at. We started with the cigar plant, Cuphea 'Vermillionare'. This has the bright cigar shaped flowers and has been hardy for a lot of gardeners when it is established. The hummingbirds adore it! We then saw the ever popular Angels Trumpet 'Charles Grimaldi'. This starts small but by the end of the season it can get huge. You will be rewarded with large night fragrant pendulous blooms. She also had a nice selection of lavenders including the Fernleaf Lavender. This is a favorite of all pollinators with its tall purple bloom stalks and has the wonderful lavender fragrance for us humans. Fuchsias are also great for the 3 B's (bees, butterflies and birds). Debron's Black Cherry has dark blooms that just cover the entire plant and attract hummers. Speaking of hummingbird feeders, Rosie has a planted basket called her 'hummingbird buffet'. The container has 7 different salvias that gives you a rainbow of colors for the entire summer, right up until frost! Next to that we also saw the Red Tiger Abutilon (Flowering Maple). The cup shaped flowers have deep red veins which the pollinators fight over. The next plant had clusters of deep purple tubular flowers and was called Iochroma 'Royal Purple'. It is like a hardy fuchsia. It will die down at the end of the season and then grow back the next season to be about 4-6 feet tall and bloom non-stop. With all these plants, you can get the best blooms by doing weekly fertilizing and lots of sun. These were all full sun plants.
We then moved to some plants that may not be known for their blooms but are just as spectacular! She had a couple of newer varieties of papyrus called King Tut and Baby Tut. These have the poofy bloom stalks and fine foliage and look great in the landscape or a container. The giant of the lot was the Gunnera, also known as 'dinosaur food'. These die back and then bounce back year after year with HUGE leaves. It can get 12 feet tall and as wide in a couple of years. It is a striking signature plant in any garden, but you need a lot of room. If you love fragrance the Heliotrope 'Fragrant Delight' is the plant for you. This one can fill your entire backyard with an intoxicating scent. Finally we saw the newest Hens and Chick Sempervivum called 'Gold Nugget'. This one gets big and when the weather turns cooler in the fall and winter it gets this golden leaf with orange and red accents.
These are just some of the plants Rosie will have at GardenPalooza on April 9th at Bauman's Farm and Garden. If you can't wait until then, you can always stop at her nursery at 11702 Feller Rd NE, Hubbard, OR 97032.
Spring is the time to divide! We're talking plants and one of the easiest to divide are the ferns. We stopped by Sebright Gardens (503-463-9615) and had Thomas give us some hands on instruction for how to do it. If you look at your ferns in the garden you will see the little 'fiddle heads' coming up. These tightly curled fronds are the new growth for the coming season. If you see them you can be careful not to break them off while dividing your plant. Thomas started by digging around and then underneath the plant. This will avoid those tender new shoots. Then, while working from the bottom of the crown, Thomas used a knife and his hands to tease apart the plant creating divisions, and with a little work, he came away with 3 new plants. By working from the bottom he was able to protect and preserve the new growth on top.
Once they are divided they can be planted in hummus rich soil. They grow well in forest settings with lots of natural compost on the forest floor. If you create a nice rich soil with a lot of garden mulch, they should thrive. Remember to keep them well watered during that first year of growth and they should adapt well.
If you would like to add ferns to your garden, you can check out Sebright Gardens website. They grow over 100 different ferns as well as some other great plants! They will also have a lot of ferns, hostas and epimediums to share at GardenPalooza on April 9th.
FPG - Ladies Day
In the past, a lot of people marked the beginning of spring with a stop at French Prairie Gardens Ladies Only Night. This event showcased the newest plants on the market and a basket planting party with tasty treats and wonderful beverages, all wrapped up in a fun evening. During Covid the big event was cancelled like many others. Last year however, the event has returned, although with some changes. To learn more we stopped by French Prairie Gardens (503-633-8445) and talked with Katey about the event and how those changes have made it an easier event for everyone. They now call it Ladies Day and there are 2 days where you can stop by and still have all the fun! First Katey showed us the new hanging basket combos that they have this year. These combinations included small dahlias and coleus in the center as a focal point. One of the coolest new plants for them was called 'Cosmic Purple' and was part of the CrazyTunia collection. Some of the other basket combinations had mixes that were perfect for sun and some for shade.
If you come to the Ladies Day you will be able to see these combinations or make a combination of your own. This year the event is scheduled for the 9th and 10th of April and by reserving your space through their Facebook page or their website you get a 2 hour block to spend with your friends and family. Of course the baked treats and beverages will still be available too! So this spring renew your old 'Ladies Only' tradition, or start a new one at French Prairie Gardens.
Portland Nursery Native Pollinators
Bringing pollinator plants into your garden is always a great idea, but when you bring in native plants for our native pollinators, it takes your garden to the next step! Portland Nursery (503-231-5050) is one of our go-to stops for great plants and they have a huge selection of native plants to choose from. When we talk about native plants we are talking about plants that are from the Pacific Northwest and they thrive in our environment. These types of plants are not hybridized elsewhere and brought here. They naturally grow here. Native pollinators are the same. We're not talking about bees, butterflies and insects that have been brought here, we are talking about the critters that have been here for centuries. They have adapted to using the native plants for food and shelter, and are more likely to thrive with those native plants.
To see a couple of selections of native plants we chatted with Sara at the Stark Street location of Portland Nursery. The first plant was the Red Flowering Current (Ribes sanguineum). We have seen this one before and it is a winner in any garden. The chains of pink/red blooms hang down from branches and it is attacked by all sorts of pollinators. We have one in our garden and it is a favorite of bees and hummingbirds. Another great plant for your garden is the Native Columbine. It dies back completely every winter, as we saw at the nursery, but then bursts forth with weird 'spaceship' or 'shooting star' looking flowers. One plant that people may be familiar with is the Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium). This plant can look a little rough in the early spring, but the rest of the year is snaps out of it and looks great. Glossy green pointy leaves turn a rustic red in the fall and the blooms are a bright yellow, bringing a bright spot to those dark areas of your garden. Another great plant for the native garden and native pollinators is the lupine. Portland Nursery has found a great seed company called Willamette Wildlings and they have a great assortment of native plants seeds and seed mixes. We saw seeds for the lupines and native seed mixes that include deer friendly meadow and butterfly friendly wildflower mixes.
If you are looking for some great native plants and native seeds, stop by either location of Portland Nursery.
Bauman Farms - GardenPalooza Preview
As we have mentioned, GardenPalooza is back. After a 2 year hiatus we have returned with a new event at a new location, Bauman's Farm and Garden (503-792-3524). We stopped by Bauman's to talk with Brian Bauman about all the activities that you will find when you come out next weekend on the 9th. GardenPalooza is known for a great mix of garden vendors. That hasn't changed. You will find a huge group (over 35) of garden supply, art and plant vendors to choose from. Plus there is free parking and free admission. Being at Bauman's adds even more to the mix. You can bring the whole family because the petting zoo and kids area is right next to the garden vendor area. If you stop by and see Ryan and Judy at the Garden Time booth you can register for giveaways on the half hour. These include Portland Nursery and Al's Garden and Home gift cards, garden books and watering tools from Dramm (https://rainwand.com/). We will also have a drawing for a large raised planting bed from Garden Gallery Iron Works.
Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetable crops to grow. There are only a couple of things to learn about the potato and how you can produce a nice crop of potatoes. Judy started by talking about using a good seed potato to have the best chance of success. A lot of grocery store potatoes are treated with a sprout-inhibitor that prevents the potatoes eyes from developing while in storage and on the shelf. A seed potato from a garden center has never been treated with that sprout inhibitor. Then when preparing a potato for planting you can cut the potato into chunks as long as each piece has a developing 'eye' on it. That eye is the beginning of a new plant. Once the cut is made, let the potato set overnight so the cut ends can dry out.
Then we moved over to Ryan. He was ready to plant in a raised bed. Potatoes love good drainage and full sun. If they set in water or too much moisture they can become weak and diseased. They also love a nice soil. If you have compacted soil they will have deformed or small potatoes. The nicer the soil the longer the roots and the better your yield. That is why a raised bed would work well for your potato crop. What about planting them deep? You can plant them 6-8 inches deep or go a little deeper and pile soil up around the plant as it gets taller, but you could do either. As long as the soil and water is good, you should get a lot of great potatoes.
Planting a Fruit Tree
Growing your own fruits and vegetables is the hot topic this spring. Vegetables are generally pretty easy, but planting and growing fruit trees are a long term commitment. Ryan and Judy had a few tips on planting a bare-root versus a tree in a container. A container tree will have all of its roots attached including the small fibrous roots that will help it avoid transplant shock. The bare root plant has been harvested by a machine and its roots will be a little banged up by the harvesting. The benefit of these bare root trees is that they are cheaper! Planting a tree is simple. First, prepare a hole that is almost twice as wide as the root ball of the tree. Then score the roots if the tree is in a container. That means cut them along the sides so they will promote growth into the new soil. Then add a root stimulator and a transplant fertilizer to help get the plant off to a good start. We used the Espoma Bio-tone Starter . A lot of fruit trees are grafted on semi-dwarfing root stock. That means it will stay shorter than a normal fruit tree. We also saw where the graft was on the trunk. You have to remember not to bury this graft. It will cause the root stock to grow and that will weaken the tree. Once planted it will take a tree a year or two to produce fruit, so don't be in a hurry to collect those cherry pie recipes just yet... If you are looking to add a fruit tree or a fruiting bush to your garden, stop by your local garden center. Remember the planting instructions are the same for bareroot or container fruit trees and the experts at the garden center can walk you through the process.
Sometimes finding small trees for small spaces can be very difficult, but one of the recent trends in fruit trees features smaller trees with multiple varieties on one trunk. The tree that we planted was a small pear tree with 4 different types of fruit on it. In a future story we'll show you how easy it is to trellis or espalier a small pear tree on a wire between a couple of posts. By training a tree on a fence, wall or posts, you gain the benefit of the fruit production without the tree taking over your garden. We picked up this pear tree at One Green World and they had lots of traditional and some unusual fruit trees to choose from.
Spring Indoor Plant Care
Just like your outdoor plants, your indoor plants can use a little loving care too from time to time. With the approach of summer, a lot of gardeners look to moving their houseplants to their decks and patios, but before you move yours it is a good time to check them out to prevent long term problems. Spring cleaning is not just about your home, your indoor plants could use a little cleaning too. To get some tips and see some great indoor plant products we met with Carla from Espoma products at the Al's Garden and Home in Sherwood in their indoor plant area. She told us that this is the perfect time to clean your plants. Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust, and then while you're at it look for pest or disease problems. If you see problems, treat them accordingly. This is also a great time to repot if your plants are getting a little tight in their old home. Carla said she chooses 'watering day' to transplant her plants into larger pots. The plants are less heavy if you move them before you water. Then she recommends a great soil when you move them to a bigger pot with drainage holes in it. The pot should be about 2 inches bigger than the old one and the soil needs to be a quality potting soil. Using soil from your garden or beds can bring bugs and diseases with it, which can damage your plants. The Espoma Organic Potting Mix is a great start for new or transplanted plants. It has Myco-tone which is a combination of 2 mycorrhizae that work with your plants to give them a stronger root system for a healthier plant and it reduces transplant shock. Once your plant in in its new home we are going to give it a good watering and add a quality fertilizer. Espoma make a great line of targeted fertilizer mixes for specific plants. In addition to a nice N-P-K mix, their fertilizers have a great combination of beneficial bacteria. These bacteria help your plants acquire and process the nutrients in the soil and fertilizer so more goes to the plant and less is washed away when you water.
If you would like to learn more about these great Espoma products and get more tips you can visit with Carla at the GardenPalooza event. She will be there in a booth and is ready to help you with your plant problem questions.
Tsugawa Spring Conifers
The spring always holds the promise of different colors and textures, but you don't need to look for blooms to get those. You can look towards some of the new varieties of dwarf conifers. We found that Tsugawa Nursery (877-658-0566) in Woodland had a great selection of these interesting plants and we found Brian Tsugawa to show us a few. When we say dwarf, we are not talking about really short plants, though some do stay pretty short. Some of these can get 12-20 feet tall so be sure to read the tags when you are choosing one. The first one we saw was the 'Chief Joseph', a type of Lodgepole pine. The green needles of summer turn into a bright gold in the cold days of winter. They will hold that color through part of the spring and then go back to green again. The next 2 plants were from the same family, Japanese White Pines, but completely different. The Fukuzumi was an upright pine with twisty branches that had long needles. It looked like it could use a haircut with its weird twisting needles. The smaller one, Catherine Elizabeth, was smaller and more compact. Both are very slow growing, but the shorter one almost looked like a bonsai, it was so small. The next conifer was the Cryptomeria 'Golden Promise'. This tree also stays small and only grows a couple inches each year. The color of the new growth has a golden color edged in crimson. Even though it looks sharp and prickly, it is kind of soft to the touch. The final dwarf conifer was a Korean Fir called 'Ice Breaker'. The needles on this one are quite unique. They curl in tightly around the branches and have a silver glow to them in the sunlight. This one would be great in a container right up near your porch or patio.
These are just a few of the dwarf conifers that you will find at Tsugawa's. Don't forget they are loaded with other trees as well and they are the go-to place for Japanese maples as well. If you are looking for a tree of any size or shape, you just need to go to Tsugawa's.
This year we had a great lemon year! We grow an Improved Meyer's Lemon tree which is a variety that does well in our area (with some winter protection). This past winter we had over 30 lemons on our small tree. What do you do when life hands you that many lemons, you don't make lemonade, you make Limoncello! Limoncello is a lemon liqueur from the south of Italy. It is the second most popular drink in Italy and is very easy to make. We started by taking 8 lemons and zesting 4 of them and pealing the other 4 with a vegetable peeler. The key to great flavor is to getting as much of the outer skin and not a lot of the white pith underneath. The pith will make your Limoncello very bitter. The zest and peels were placed into a wide mouth quart sized canning jar. Then we added vodka to the jar and filled it to the top. Then we placed the jar in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks. Every few days we would turn the jars to mix the lemons and alcohol. This would release the oils from the lemon peels. After the month was up, we emptied the jar into a large strainer to separate the lemons and the infused alcohol. Next we made a simple syrup. This was 4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar. We went with a little less sugar so it wouldn't be too sweet. This was dissolved together in a pan over low heat. When everything was dissolved we let the simple syrup cool down. Then in a large bowl we mixed simple syrup and the infused alcohol together. That was strained and filtered through a cheesecloth and placed in bottles in the fridge for us to enjoy all summer long. We love ours really chilled so we also keep a bottle in the freezer. It is a great drink to sip on those warm summer days!