Is the weather changing? It certainly feels like it. The high winds of the other day seem to have blown the last of the winter away. We are set for a few days (at least) of nice weather. I hope that you all have spent the last few weekends getting all the weeds out of your gardens. Now you can go out and visit your local garden center and pick up all those great color plants to get your garden in shape for the summer!
This week we featured...
Spring Pond Care
The weather is warming and that can create a few problems for your pond or water feature. We stopped by Tsugawa Nursery (360-225-8750) to get some tips from Doug King to learn what you should be doing now to get ready for the season. Doug gave us his ‘4 It’s’ of spring pond care. They are Kill it, Sink it, Eat it, and Starve it. First you want to kill the algae in your system with a treatment of Algae Fix. Next you want to sink it with Accu-clear. This will drop all the algae to the bottom of your pond or pool. This is actually the bottle of ‘instant gratification’. If you are having a party you can use this and your pond will be clear in just a day. Next you want to ‘Eat it’ with Microbe-lift. This is a bacterial pond clarifier that introduces bacteria to your system so it can eat all the nasty stuff at the bottom of your pond. Finally you can starve it with a good selection of pond plants. You should be cleaning up your plants. Get rid of the dead and damaged foliage; it will just add nutrients to your water that will foster the growth of algae, but be careful of the new growth and the flower buds. Now is also the time to fertilize your pond plants. Use a pellet fertilizer that will release over time. You can also start monitoring your fish. Remember that you need to be careful about feeding them right now. If the temperature of the water is below 45-50 degrees they won’t be able to metabolize the food that you feed them, so you will want to feed them a wheat germ product until the water warms up and they can process the protein in a regular food. The warmer weather will also mean a bloom of algae and mold in your system. You can control it with a variety of natural and organic products. For more information on pond maintenance you can always check with the experts at Tsugawa Nursery.
The spring is here and that means the return of the Rufous hummingbird to local gardens, but did you know that we have had the Anna’s hummingbird here all winter too? The Rufous are just returning to the area for the summer. To learn more about these birds and how to keep them in the garden we stopped by Backyard Bird Shop (503-635-2044) and talked to Scott. He showed us some of the feeders that they have in stock and how to use them (and protect them) so the birds can enjoy them all summer long. One of the questions we have had in the past is one that they get at the stores as well, ‘doesn’t having a feeder create a problem for the birds by getting them to rely on a non-native source of food?’. Scott told us that the hummingbirds use the feeder as only one of the sources for food. The birds usually have multiple sources for feeding and that includes flowers and small insects. They know better than to rely on one source of food, they are pretty smart that way!
He then pulled out a little swing. It was the Pop’s Hummingbird Swing. This cute little swing actually serves a purpose. Birds will sit on it near the feeder to protect their food source. It really works. Your chance to get a free one is this Saturday at any of the Backyard Bird Shop locations. The first 5 people who stop by and mention that they saw it on Garden Time will get one for free! Don’t worry if you don’t get a free one, they have plenty for sale!
Portland Nursery Rhodies
Rhododendrons are starting to hit their peak right now and that means it is a perfect time to get out and pick one for your garden. Rhodies are great garden plants here in the northwest. They like our naturally acidic soil. Sara at Portland Nursery (503-231-5050) pulled a few of the rhodies out of their collection including the native azalea ‘orientalis’, which features smaller leaves and smaller, delicate flowers. All rhododendrons like morning sun and afternoon shade, but the rule of thumb is that the smaller leafed varieties can handle a tiny bit more sun than the large leaf varieties. When planting use an acid based fertilizer and soil and you should be good to go. Stop by Portland Nursery to check out the selection.
Hulda Klager Author
We have been to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens (360-225-8996) many times over the years and are always amazed at the amount of color and varieties that are on the grounds. We recently had the opportunity to learn more about the woman who started it all. Author Jane Kirkpartrick has written a book called ‘Where Lilacs Still Bloom’ and it is a novel based on the life of Hulda Klager. Jane has taken information about the garden and combined it with interviews with friends and family to write a fictional narrative about Hulda. This novel is from Hulda’s point of view and it fills in the details of her life. She was an amazing woman! She overcame long odds many times in her life and the garden is a testament to that. It is amazing how hard times did not sway her, but only made her a stronger person. This book is coming out at the perfect time! The gardens are celebrating Lilac Days for the next couple of weeks while the blooms are at their best. Take the time to stop by and see her living legacy, and pick up a copy of the book if you want to get a feel for the woman that was Hulda Klager!