The cool winds keep blowing and that is a good and a bad thing. The cool winds and rain have pushed the bloom and planting times back so it is harder to get out and start your vegetable garden, but they have also made the blooms last longer and the colors are more vibrant than they would normally be at this time of year. Still we can’t wait for the weather to warm up and we can start enjoying the outdoors. It was even harder this past week. We were at Al’s Garden Center and they had a new shipment of outdoor furniture and it was sooo comfortable that we didn’t want to get out of the chairs… please… hurry up summer!!!
This week we featured...
Hanging baskets are ready in the garden centers and lots of you are buying them for your decks and patios. To learn about the different types of baskets and how to care for them we traveled to French Prairie Gardens (503-633-8445) in St. Paul. Stacy joined us to show us the wide assortment of baskets they have and to give us the details on care. There are 2 main categories of hanging baskets. First we talked about shade baskets. These baskets are ones that have varieties of plants that thrive in shady situations. When we talk about shade we are talking about ‘no hot afternoon sun exposure’. These baskets like early morning sun and good moist soil. They love these conditions and will get full with lots of colorful blooms and thick deep foliage. Some of the plants in this basket included, ‘Swingtime’ fuchsias, impatiens, bacopa, and verbena. Then we moved to sun baskets. These plants like the hot sun, but because they have the sun and heat they may require more water. Just like you in the garden, the more sun, the more water! Favorite plants for this type of basket include petunias, bacopa, verbena and ‘million bells’ calabracoa. As far as care issues you will want to make sure that they don’t dry out. If they do you will have to immerse them in water for an hour or so to re-hydrate the soil. You will also get more blooms if you fertilize them with a water soluble fertilizer at least once a month. Now is the perfect time to get your baskets and your local garden center is packed with them. We found a great selection at French Prairie Gardens.
Tualatin River Bird Festival
There is a jewel in the metro area and it is free for everyone! The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge near Sherwood is a place where wild birds and other wildlife can take a rest, and find a home in the middle of human development. This weekend they are inviting everyone to come out and join them for a celebration of their flying residents! The annual Tualatin River Bird Festival has over 50 different events scheduled for this weekend including a visit from Joe Wiegand, a renowned Teddy Roosevelt impersonator. Teddy was the ‘father’ of the national refuge system. You can also bring the kids out to meet ‘Teddy Roosevelt Bear’ who is a mascot for the refuge. The refuge is a great place any time of year and this weekend is a great way to learn about it during this great festival. Stop by and take part in some of the activities and after the festival is over you can stop by anytime for another visit.
SLUGS!!! These little pests will devour your new plants and vegetables. If you are looking for way to keep them in check, William met with Norm from Lilly Miller to cover some of the different ways you can deter them. Norm told us that 80% of the slug bait manufactured is used here in the Northwest. First he covered beer traps and copper tape which gives them a shock. Then we talked about the Corry’s product that has a great track record of success, the Deadline liquid product, pellet products and the Corry’s meal. All of these products contain Meta, the most effective way of controlling slugs. William also talked about the non-chemical methods of control. Norm then covered a couple of the broad range applications. First was the Worry Free product that is safe for pets and wildlife. There are various ways to handle slugs including chemical and natural methods, and if you have pets or small children you need to make your choices wisely. Take the time to find the method that’s best for you and check with your local garden center if you need help.
If you are looking for a small tree to use in your landscape, check out the newest varieties of crabapples that have been recently introduced. Tony from Farmington Gardens (503-649-4568) talked to William about the varieties that will do well in our area. The ones he hi-lighted included ‘Royal Raindrops’, ‘Pink Spire’, ‘Lollipop’ and ‘Firebird’. The old styles of crabapples were known for getting scab and rust, plus they could get 30 feet tall or higher! These newer varieties are more disease resistant and they have been hybridized to stay smaller. Right now they reward you with beautiful blooms and later they will reward your garden wildlife with small fruits too. Check out all the varieties at your garden center to find the right one for your yard.