From snow to rain, so much for the gentle transition into spring! This week we have pretty much seen it all. Now that the winds and rain have returned to the state I would like to think that winter is over. But, as we have learned, don’t count your chickens yet. All I want now is a little sun again.
Our seed starting is going well. We have little sprouts popping up all over. Soon we will have to transfer the tiny plants into larger containers to let them get a little stronger. We still have a few weeks before we can get them out in the garden. And even then, they will need some protection!
GardenPalooza is just 4 weeks away. This 10th anniversary year is going to be a great one! We are working with a grower to get a couple of thousand plants to giveaway. Mark your calendar for the 14th of April and check out the GardenPalooza website to see who will be at the event and check out some of the coupons that are listed. The will be more coupons posted as we get closer to the event.
This week we featured...
Portland Nursery Small Fruits
Adding fruits to your garden gets easier every year and recently the emphasis has been to grow fruits in containers. We stopped by Portland Nursery on Stark Street (503-231-5050) to see some of the different varieties they have in stock that are great for the small garden or even in a container. Ken, the assistant manager at the Stark Street store, walked Judy through some of the plants he thought would be great for our area. First we saw the ‘Welcome’ variety of the gooseberry. This one supposedly is a less thorny variety but we are not convinced! Ken then pulled out a couple of raspberries. Not all raspberries are red and these are definitely berries of a different color. ‘Anne’ is a golden colored variety and the ‘Black Cap’ variety is a totally different type of berry and if pruned correctly can produce a huge crop of darker colored berries. Ken then pulled out a grape variety, the Pinot Noir ‘Dijon clone 667’ wine grape. This one will have the wine maker in your family happy. It is disease resistant and produces one of the finest varieties of wine grapes available. When choosing a grape you need to remember that they are a vine and will need a little bit of room to grow. You will also have to figure out whether you want a table or a wine grape. Grapes should also be cut back pretty far this time of year. If it is warm you may notice that the cuts will ‘bleed’. Don’t worry, this is a natural thing and they will stop after a while. Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow in a container and Ken told us that now is the time to buy and plant them. Buying them now will let you get a lot with out spending a ton of money and you will have the choice of many different varieties. Finally, we talked about blueberries and the new dwarf varieties that are now available. Blueberries love acidic soils so they may not be a good choice around other fruits. They will be right at home around azaleas and rhodies, and other acid lovers. There were 2 taller varieties that he featured and 2 shorter varieties. The taller of the varieties included the ‘Sunshine Blue’ and ‘Northsky’. The shorter of the varieties included ‘Top Hat’ and the unique variety of ‘Augustifolia’. These shorter varieties also make great landscape plants. Other plants you can consider are kiwi, olives, and Pawpaw’s. Check out the selection at either Portland Nursery location or your local independent garden center.
Jan’s March Tips
Jan McNeilan returns with another season of garden tips from OSU extension. This month we found ourselves in her front yard looking at her rhododendrons. They had a bunch of tiny black spots on the underside of the leaves that looked like a fungus, spider mite or rust. This was the eggs and feces from the lacebug. The lacebug is a pest that lays its eggs on the under side of the leaves of plants like the rhododendron, azalea, oak and Indian plum. These bugs will generally not kill a plant, but can stunt the plant and limit the long term growth. To treat your plant you want to either hit the underside of the leaves with a strong water spray or a diluted horticultural oil spray.
Next we moved to the backyard to check out a Mahonia that Jan had in her garden. Mahonia’s are perfect for the Northwest. They perform well in the garden and will thrive in our local conditions. Jan’s was coming toward the end of its bloom cycle and she told us that this one had started blooming in the middle of January and was preferred by hummingbirds and other wildlife during that time. Finally, we talked about soil temperatures. This time of year we are all itching to get out in the garden and plant things. The problem is that, while the air temperature on some days many be warm, the soil temperature can still be too cold for young plants. Jan recommended that you get a soil thermometer and make sure your soil temps are in the 50’s before you put anything in the ground. For more information about gardening in the Northwest, you can check out the OSU Extension website.
Spring Fragrant Plants
In spring we are happy just to have color returning to our gardens. But Dani Ferguson of Ferguson’s Fragrant Nursery (503-633-4585) thinks we should also look at adding fragrance to our gardens. She pulled some wonderful plants out of her nursery to show us that were beautiful and fragrant as well. The first plant she told Judy about was the Azara microphylla or ‘Boxleaf Azara’. This one smelled like chocolate. William thought it smelled like Cadbury Easter eggs. The smell was incredible! Next we moved to Sweetbox or Sarcococca. This one is another sweet smeller! This one can be used as a ground cover because it only gets 18 inches tall and spreads out on the ground. We then looked at an evergreen clematis called ‘Snowdrift’. This one was in full bloom. It is a real climber. It will grow to over 30 feet and will cover up just about any trellis with these great fragrant flowers. Japanese Pieris ‘Flaming Silver’ was next. This one is an old favorite in the Northwest garden. This variety stays small and has evergreen foliage. The best part, besides the great smell, is the new foliage. It comes in as a bright red color. Finally we finished with a group of daphnes. All of these varieties are known for their great fragrance. The first one was Daphne Odora ‘Aurea Marginata’. This one is the one that everyone thinks of when they think of daphnes. It has a great upright structure and variegated leaves. The next one was ‘Daphne ‘Wilhelm Schacht’. This one is a low grower that is a rebloomer (up to 3 times a season) and has a wonderful purple flower. The next daphne was a white one called ‘Eternal Fragrance’. This one is great because it starts to bloom now and continues to bloom until the first frost. Imagine a full season of color and fragrance! The final one was another great repeat bloomer called ‘Napolitana’ It stays about a medium height of 2 foot by 2 foot.
If you would like to add some color AND fragrance to your garden consider these great plants. Stop by your local garden center or pay a visit to Ferguson’s.
Last week we talked to Norm McCreight of Lilly Miller about getting rid of moss in your lawn. Today we chatted about the moss you find on your roof. Norm told us about a couple of products that Lilly Miller makes to take care of the problem. We found out that the moss on your roof is different than the stuff in your grass and it might not even be moss. Norm explained that algae may be your problem. Also, if you fail to remove the moss from the roof you may be looking at expensive repairs in the long run. The moss will get underneath the shingles and allow moisture to get into wood supports. He recommends using the new Moss Out products the have been reformulated to be much safer than the older roof products. There are also some citrus based products that will be safe for your pets. Treat the problems now and when the weather warms up it will get rid of your moss and algae for good!