One week away! That is how far we are from the 10th anniversary of GardenPalooza. This year we have a ton of things planned! We are having giveaways for lots of gifts and we will be giving away over 4,000 violas during the event while supplies last. Just find William and Judy (and our friends, David and Robin, from the Fusion show) and pick up your free flower. We will be there the whole day on the 14th, so stop by and say hi. Don’t forget to spread the word.
We are also getting warmer and sunnier days too. That means everyone is getting out in the garden. Make sure you take it easy and don’t over do it with your chores. Remember, gardening should be fun, not painful. In fact, take a break every once in a while and check out our Facebook page and the website for lots of good tips.
This week we featured...
Spring Hydrangea Care
The blooms are still a couple of months away and you may think that it is too late to do some pruning on your blooming hydrangeas, but Kristin from Hydrangeas Plus (866-433-7896) said not to worry. You can still do some light pruning and not ruin your blooms for this coming season. The key is the word ‘light’. You don’t want to just buzz-cut your plants. You may be removing blooming wood. If you need to prune, look at leaving a couple of leaf nodes (branching areas on a stem where new growth occurs). Most hydrangeas bloom on old wood, the stem that is at least one-year old and you don’t want to cut that wood too severely. This is also a good time to fertilize your plants in preparation of the spring growth. A good basic, balanced (10-10-8) will work great. You can also add 2 ingredients to the soil to help maintain bloom color or to try and change the color from pink to blue or back. Aluminum Sulfate (acid) will change the soil chemistry and promote blue colored blooms. To get a pink color in your bloom you will want to add garden lime (alkaline) to the soil at the base of the plant. If you have questions you can give them a call or check out their website for more growing tips.
Gardening is putting people back in touch with the soil, but not everything is earth-friendly in the garden! We know that in our own garden we have had hundreds of plastic containers over the course of 20 years of gardening and they are a real pain to get rid of. There is a new product on the market that will help reduce all that waste and will also give your plants a healthier start too. The EarthPot is a bio-degradable container that breaks down over time so you don’t have all that waste when you are gardening. Melanie joined William at Portland Nursery on Stark (503-231-5050) to show him all of the different varieties of vegetables that you can buy in these cool containers. In these ‘living pots’ you can get everything from tomatoes to basil. These pots allow the plants to grow healthier. They allow for more air and water to get to the roots and there is no transplant shock either since you plant the whole container in the ground. If you want to start your own seeds for your garden they even come in packages with just the EarthPot and soil. Check out their website for a list of local garden retailers where you can get the EarthPot.
Everyone is growing fruit these days, but knowing how to take care of those plants after they have become established is tough, especially berry plants. Pruning is necessary to promote good plant growth and better harvests, but where do you make the cuts and how much should you cut off? We stopped by Jan McNeilan’s house to see how she takes care of her berry plants. We started at her raspberries. She showed us how she cuts back the old, dead growth and tops the new growth to promote new berry shoots and canes. Then we moved to the Boysenberries. These are a ‘cane’ type of berry, named for the shape they have on the training wire once you prune them. Here you want to cut off all the old growth and ‘train’ the new canes off the ground and onto the support wires. Any canes left on the ground will root and start new plants. You want to avoid this! This will put all the plant energy into the new plants and not into fruit production. Here too, you will want to cut out all the dead and dying canes. You can even be a little rough during pruning, the plant will respond with new vigorous growth! This is also a great time to fertilize your plants. For more tips on growing berries check out these publications on growing caneberries and growing Raspberries.
The true sign of spring, daffodils! We start our new season in the fields of daffodils and visit with Barb Iverson from Wooden Shoe Bulb Farm (1-800-711-2006) to talk about how they can add an early touch of color to your garden. We talked about care and feeding of these early bloomers and how you can use them in your yard or garden. Daffodils are incredibly hardy and are one of the bulbs that can handle really cold temperatures. They are only tender when they are freshly planted. Wooden Shoe cuts and ships daffodils all over the country so they have to know how to make them last! Barb also gave us a tip for using daffodils in arraignments. They ooze a sap that will block other flowers from taking up water. Let the daffs sit in water for a couple of hours and then rinse them off and use them in your flower arrangements. Once they are done blooming, you should let them die back naturally. The green foliage will feed the bulb over the next year so you will get some great blooms again next year. Daffodils are also great at keeping deer away from your prized tulips; surround them with daffodils. Deer hate the ‘daffs’ and will ignore your tulips to avoid the daffodils. If you have anymore questions about daffodils or tulips you can contact Wooden Shoe or stop by this weekend for the start of their 27th annual Tulip Fest. One of the new additions to the fest this year is the addition of the ‘field cam’. Now you can check the cam on the Wooden Shoe website and see the field conditions before you leave the house! Stop by and pick up some daffodils and tulips to bring spring into your own home!
Rose Companion Plants
Your roses can be the most beautiful flower in your garden, but if they are standing alone in your garden, you may be missing out. We stopped by Heirloom Roses(503-538-1576) in St. Paul and talked to Cheryl about the importance of companion plants for your roses and how they can compliment the natural beauty of your roses. One of the first things you should think about when choosing a companion plant are the requirements for your rose. They like lots of sun, good drainage and they get fertilized a couple of times a year. If your companion plant can’t handle those conditions you should think about another plant. Then you should think about color, texture and form. You can look for different plants that will bring some interest to your garden and more attention to your roses as well. Cheryl pointed out that the ‘naked knee’ look that tall roses get can be avoided if you look for a good mix of texture and blooms that you would get with another plant. Think about including plants that are 2 feet or shorter to help avoid that ‘naked’ look. You can also bring in plants that attract beneficial insects to take care of pest problems. Alyssum, yarrow, onions, garlic, basil, marigolds, parsley and mint are all good plants for bringing ‘good’ bugs into the garden. You may even find some plants are good for deterring deer, like lavender. But Cheryl advised caution with one plant… nasturtiums. They are an aphid magnet and may bring aphids into your garden causing more problems for your roses. If you are looking for a list of plants that are good partners to your roses check out this list from the Heirloom Roses website.