Summer in the garden can not be beat. It is still summer for a couple more weeks. I have been enjoying the nice weather and better yet, I’m enjoying all the fruits and vegetables in our garden. Last week I picked all the pears off our small espaliered tree. We had over 24 pears this year! This weekend I’ll be checking out the table grapes we have growing. They are almost ripe for the picking, so to speak! We are also starting to get a fresh crop of raspberries starting to turn yummy. They will produce until the frost.
Get out and enjoy these remaining warm days and that garden you worked so hard on building!
This weekend William and Judy are in Dallas for the Fall Fling. Sorry if you missed the deadline for registering. Still you can mark your calendar. The 15th they will be appearing at Garland Nursery (1-800-296-6601) for a seminar, and then on the following Saturday they will be at our annual Fall GardenPalooza event at Fir Point Farms. This year we are having beer and wine tasting in addition to over 2 dozen plant and garden vendors. Check out www.GardenPalooza.com for more details!
This week we featured...
A Lot of people think that you can’t grow an olive tree in the Northwest. Well, that is not true. If you have the right variety they can actually do quite well. We talked to someone who should know. Paul Durant of Red Ridge Farms (503-864-8502) grows olives and produces olive oil for sale in their gift shop. He has trialed a lot of different varieties in his fields and there are some that do better than others in our area. One of the varieties they found early was the ‘Arbequina’ which does well in our cooler climate. Recently Red Ridge has paired with McEvoy Ranch, a grower in California, to bring in a couple other varieties as well. The two that we featured were the Frantoio and the Leccino. These two also do well in our climate and will produce olives with different flavor characteristics. A couple of points that Paul made that will insure your success included checking out the roots of the plants you purchase. Their plants are well established and when you pulled them out of the pots they had very good root structure. Also, you will need a couple of different varieties so that your pollination is successful. They need another variety to cross pollinate with. If you have any other questions you can contact the farm or stop by the nursery and gift shop just outside of Dundee. They always have a bunch of events going on not only with their olive mill, but also in their winery. Check them out!
It is time to crack open a cold one as we showed you how a perennial vine gives your beer its bite. We went to the Rogue Hop Yard (503-838-9813) near Independence Oregon, to check out the annual hop harvest. Rogue Ales produces some of the best beers in the world and a lot of the ingredients they use in their beers are grown right here in the Northwest. We first met with Natascha in the fields to talk about the plant. Hops are a perennial plant that return year after year, and are used to flavor beer and also as a preservative. They only grow the female variety of the plant so that it doesn’t produce seeds, just the flower cones that they will use in their beers. She showed us how this prolific vine is cut in the fields. It is a ‘bine’, not a vine, which grows to over 21 feet tall on a trellis system, and requires specialized equipment to harvest.
We then moved to the processing facility where the cones are separated from the bines. Josh, walked William through the steps that they take to do this. After the cones are separated from the bines, they go to a large dryer where they go from 80% moisture content to about 9%. They then move to a cooling building and are packed into 200 pound bales. These bales are then shipped to Newport where they are used in the brewing of some really great beers. On selected Rogue beers you will see the Chatoe Rogue label. This label means that it is brewed from all Oregon products. So the next time you lift your glass in a toast, you could be toasting with an Oregon grown product.
Small Space Trees
With Northwest gardens getting smaller, people are looking for smaller plants to fit in the limited space and it can be real hard to find trees that will fit in these spaces. We stopped at Garland Nursery (1-800-296-6601) near Corvallis, to see what types of trees Lee Powell recommended for the smaller garden. The first one he recommended was the Harlequin Glorybower (Clerodendron trichotomum). This one has some very fragrant late season blooms and is also call the peanut butter tree because when you crush the leaves between your fingers it smells like peanut butter. The second tree was the Crape Myrtle. The variety that he brought out was ‘Tonto, but there are other small varieties of this plant that will work well in a small space. It blooms late in the season and has some great bark for winter interest when the blooms fade. The smallest tree was next. Azara is so tiny that some people consider it a bush. It has small glossy leaves and tiny, fragrant blooms which appear in the spring. William thinks the blooms smell like Cadbury Chocolates. Redbud ‘Avondale’ was the next tree. This one blooms in the early spring with ‘red buds’ all along the stems and branches. It also has some nice fall color when the leaves start to drop. Japanese Maples come in all shapes and sizes and you can find lots of smaller varieties at most of your local garden centers. One that Lee brought out for us was ‘Ariadne’. It has great foliage that gets some great fall color late in the season. Finally we saw the Rose of Sharon ‘Minerva’. This variety blooms in August and September with a beautiful double pink blossom. This tree doesn’t mind a heavy pruning every year that will keep it nice and tight in form and structure. There are other Rose of Sharon plants that do just as well in the garden, so make sure you check at your local nursery for the right one for your garden.
These were just a few of the selections that you will find at Garland and most of your other local nurseries or garden centers. You can have a tree in a small space; just ask your local plant experts!
Kindergarden – Lettuce Bowls
This week our kindergarden segment comes to you from the Children’s Hospital Garden at Legacy Emanuel in North Portland. This therapeutic garden is especially designed for children and their families and is open 24/7 in the center of the hospital.
Registered Horticultural Therapist Teresia Hazen invited us out to show us how to plant a lettuce bowl. A family that was visiting the garden lent a helping hand as we walked through the steps. First you get a planter and fill it full of potting soil. Leave about an inch and a half of room at the top so the water stays in and the soil doesn’t wash out. Have your kids sprinkle the lettuce seeds on top of the soil. They are small seeds so make sure that they get spread out evenly. Next cover the seed with a tiny layer of soil (about ¼ inch) and water them in. In a few days you will see the seeds sprout and in about 3 weeks you can harvest fresh lettuce. Cut the plant with a scissors at the base and let it re-grow; you will be enjoying lettuce for many more weeks to come. This is a great project for the whole family and it will get your kids excited about getting out and gardening!
Sedums are known as a low growing plant and a lot of people will use them in a rock garden as an accent plant. Recently William got an idea from his friend Dawn Hummel about building a sedum tower. He used some old bricks and then built 2 towers at Viscaya (503-761-7757), his nursery on Division Street in Portland. The first one was just a stack of brick with the sedums at the top. They only had a little bit of soil, but that is all they need! The second tower was made with cinderblocks that were offset as they were stacked and that allowed him to place little 4 inch pots in the holes of the bricks to create a stair-step pattern of sedums all the way to the top. In both cases the sedums were brought up off the ground and it allows you to enjoy their unique structure even more. Stop by his nursery and check them out!