I could get used to this! The weather has been great the last few weeks and I think I’m getting spoiled. I have been out in the garden more this spring than I have in years! I have even had some quality time in the hammock! Don’t worry, the Rose Festival is coming and usually that means a little rain (I hope not), but they are predicting another nice weekend before the chance of showers returns. Before you head out and enjoy the sunshine check out this week’s show!
This week we featured...
Burl’s Spring Plants
Some of the most unusual plants we see when we are shooting the shows are found at Rare Plant Research (503-780-6200). Burl Mostul, the owner, always has some very cool plants! He was getting his nursery ready for the big Annual Open Garden and Nursery which is happening this weekend, May 19th and 20th from 11am to 4pm and he pulled a couple of plants out for us to look at. The first one was Dalechampia dioscoreifolia which is a member of the euphorbia family. It has a really cool lavender bloom that looks like a pair of wings. It isn’t hardy here so you should buy it and enjoy the freaky blooms for this entire summer. The second plant was a bulb from South Africa. This is one of Burl’s favorite bulbs called Scadoxus Multiflorus ‘Katherinae’. It has long slender leaves at the base but grows a long flower spike that looks like a burst of fireworks at the top. It is hardy here if you don’t let it sit in water over the winter. The next plant was a simple Canna. This one was a species called Canna ‘Edulis’. It looks like most other canna, but it doesn’t have the huge blooms that other cannas have. What it does have is longevity. The plant uses little or no water all summer long and keeps on producing flowers for months. Nothing spectacular, just a consistent performer! Finally we looked at a variety of banana, Musa sikkimensis ‘Red Tiger’. It is as hardy as the musa basjoo which a lot of gardeners have in the northwest, but it has some great red coloring on the leaves! If you are interested in seeing more of these plants you can check out the Rare Plant Research website or stop by this weekend and see them in person.
Solexx is having a big 25th anniversary bash! We have always liked the greenhouses made with the Solexx material because it is so affordable. That is a major reason it has been on the market so long. To help Solexx celebrate the big anniversary, Greenhouse Catalog (800-825-1925) is joining them at their facility in Brooks to have a party. Michelle joined Judy to show her one of the kid’s projects they will have to offer during the day on Saturday. They made some ‘dirt babies’. To make these you need a knee high nylon stocking. You put a table spoon of grass seed in the stocking (they actually stretched the stocking over a glass jar to make it easier to fill). And then you add some soil or moist coconut coir. Then you tie off the end and dip the nylon tail into some water. This will draw the water up to the soil and seed, and after a week or 2 you should see some ‘hair’ growing on top. If you stop by this weekend you can also get all your questions answered about growing your own food at home in a Solexx greenhouse! Check out their website for more information and to see some of their products!
Tsugawa Spring Vines
Growing a garden is great, but sometimes it can become too flat or too tall; too flat from all the ground cover types of plants and too tall from the trees and other tall shrubs. To help bring structure to your garden you may consider vines! We stopped at Tsugawa Nursery (360-225-8750) to chat with Brian and check out some of the climbing vines that are showing off right now! He had a huge selection of different vines to show us. The first one was the spring favorites, Wisteria ‘Violacea’. This one can get huge! It has the great purple flowers in full bloom. Put this one on a heavy duty structure and prune it heavily every year to keep it under control. It may take a few years to get established and bloom. Next we saw the climbing hydrangea ‘Mirranda’. This one has great variegation on the leaves and can handle dry shade. The next plant was a jasmine, but it had great light green color. The Jasmine ‘Fiona Sunrise’ also has great fragrance once it blooms. The next plant wasn’t really a vine. Blue Potato Vine ‘Glasnevin’ grows more like a stiff stem that you can weave into a structure for support. It will give you some incredibly blue flowers with a golden center. Next we looked at a couple of Honeysuckles. ‘Goldflame’ has a bright pink flower with a golden center and ‘Mandarin’ has similar flowers that are a lighter rose with golden centers. They can also be pruned into a smaller shrub form. We had two more plants to go. The second to last one was a Golden Hops ‘Aureus’. This one will take over a trellis pretty quickly, but will die down to the ground every winter, only to return in the spring. Finally we looked at variegated Virginia Creeper ‘Star Showers’. The foliage starts out as a lime green and dark green combination and then becomes a bright cream color with the dark green edges. As we mentioned before, getting the right structure can make all the difference. You want to make sure that the structure can support the weight of the vine you choose. If you have questions about vines or about picking out the right structure you can stop by Tsugawa’s or any of your local independent garden centers.
Growing a garden is not dependant on the amount of space you have. You can grow a garden just about anywhere. To prove the point we stopped by Portland Nursery (503-231-5050) on Stark and chatted with Sara. She had brought out a cart loaded with plants. She had them grouped together in 2 areas to give us visual demonstration. The plants were group into companion plantings. The first one was a group that included tomatoes, onions, cilantro, basil and chives. It was almost a ‘salsa’ themed pot of veggies. The second one had an assortment of lettuce greens, mustard, and strawberries. Great if you are into leafy greens! Sara reminded us that you will want to use an organic potting soil and fertilizers. If you were wondering when to plant things or what plants will work well together you can find a handout at either Portland Nursery location or on their website at http://www.portlandnursery.com/plants/vegetables-herbs. Remember, you are growing food for your table so pick out varieties that you like. If you have any questions you can always stop by Portland Nursery!
Jan’s May Tips
It is the middle of the month and time for tips with Jan. We met her at the side of her house to check out a difficult planting area. This area is near a concrete pad were there was spilled motor oil. It was also a little dry from the overhang of the house and it gets hot, intense sun during the middle of summer. In this area Jan found that the columbine were growing really well. This is a place where the plant told Jan where it would grow well and she just followed the lead from her plants and added more to that area. She also brought us up to date on a hanging basket she over-wintered. It hung in her basement for most of the winter with little or no light and had become overgrown and scraggily. She had cut it back about a month ago when we did our previous tips of the month. It is growing well and even has a flower bud on it.
Next we moved to the vegetable garden and took a look at Jan’s new raised beds. These beds were simple and easy to make. Jan only used a few cedar boards to make them. It was very easy, just cut them to length and screw them together. They don’t have to last forever, but they will last a long time! Most of them were planted with vegetables already, but she had left one open to show us how she adds kitchen scraps and garden clippings to fill the bottom half and then tops it off with compost. This allows her to recycle her scraps and saves her money on buying garden compost to fill these raised beds. We ended our visit with a tip for making your tools easier to handle. Jan showed us how she puts pipe wrap around her tools to make them easier to hold. You just need to secure it with duct-tape. For more garden tips you can always check the OSU Extension website.