Thank you to all the great fans that came out to the GardenPalooza, presented by Dramm, event last weekend at Fir Point Farms. We all had a great time and we gave away over 800 boxes of Black Gold fertilizer. Some estimates put our attendance at over 8,000 garden lovers and we can believe it! Now if you didn’t get a chance to come out to the event, you can still enjoy some GardenPalooza savings. Check out the www.GardenPalooza.com website and click on the coupons page. Some of the vendors have offers for shoppers that go to their locations. Hurry some of the offers expire soon. Also, Black Gold has an offer for you. If you go the ‘Happy Spot’ you will find a $3 rebate certificate that you can use when you buy any Black Gold product. The joy of GardenPalooza continues! We will see you all at our Fall GardenPalooza on the 21st of September at Fir Point Farms. Check out the site in a few weeks for more details.
This week is our second 1 hour show of this season. We have packed it full of great gardening information and you will see a couple of ‘home’ stories in the second half of the show. We will continue this pattern for the rest of the spring, we hope you enjoy it. We are also offering a special prize for people who have Facebook accounts. If you ‘like’ us on Facebook we will collect those names and draw a winner in a week or so for a $25 gift card from Al’s Garden Center. Check out the link on our home page to link to our Facebook page. Good Luck!
This week we featured...
Bees for Beginners
Recently we have heard a lot about colony collapse in honey bees. That has a lot of people interested in bees and in hosting hives at their homes. To learn what someone should do to get started we stopped by Ruhl Bee Supply (503-657-5399) and talked to John Edwards about what you need. First of all, how many hives should you have? John recommends that you should keep no more than 3 hives if you live in the city. You should also check with the city and county where you live to learn about any regulations (they have a handout at the store that covers most of the metro area) and you should also check with your neighbors. Someone could be allergic and you wouldn’t want to create any problems. Next is the type of hive you should get. There are many different types of hives. John showed us the traditional hive which has starter combs that the bees can use. These are upright and can be expanded by adding ‘supers’ to them. There are also hives that look like they are lying on their side. These have simple slats in them that the bees use to build combs without a starter comb. To find the one that is right for you, you should check with the staff at Ruhl Bee.
We then moved to equipment. John showed us a smoker. This is used to make the bees less aggressive. The smoke will lull them to sleep a little bit. Then you should look at some sort of protective gear for your face, arms and legs. Finally, John recommends a class (they have them at Ruhl bee) or a very good book. You really need to do your research first, so you can have a healthy and happy hive!
3 Cut Pruning
With end of winter and the storm season coming to a close we have seen a bunch of damaged trees around town. A lot of these trees have bent or broken limbs from the wind and snow. To help you take care of the small branches and to preserve the health of your trees we decided to share the technique called ‘3-cut pruning’. This technique should be used if the branch is on the lower part of the tree and smaller than the size of your arm. Anything bigger or higher in the tree should be tackled by a certified arborist. We started by cutting off most of the small branches from the end of the broken limb. This reduces the weight of the limb to reduce the risk of injury when you are cutting it off. Next go to the trunk of the tree and, on the underside of the broken limb make a cut of about 2-3 inches deep. Then go to the top side of the limb and go further out on the limb and cut through the limb. The limb should start to fall, but the cut on the underside of the limb will keep the bark from pealing back into the trunk and the good bark that the tree will need to heal. Make sure to be careful when you get to the end of the cut so the limb doesn’t fall on you or your feet. Finally, you will now have a small piece of wood to cut off to finish the project. Around the base of the limb where it meets the trunk you will notice a wrinkled ‘collar’. This is important to keep when you cut off the final piece of wood. Cut the last part of the limb off as close to the collar as you can without cutting this collar. Once the limb is gone the tree will start to grow over the wound where the limb once was. If you notice rotten wood in this cut area, call an arborist, it could be a sign of deeper damage. In a few short years your wound area will be covered with new bark and your tree will continue to grow in your yard for years to come. If the job seems too big for you and you are looking for a certified arborist, check out our friends at Collier Arbor Care (503-72ARBOR).
Pest Patrol – Box Elder Bugs
You have probably seen these little pests on the warm side of your house. The box elder bug is very active right now as it comes out and gets ready to mate. The box elder is relatively safe. They don’t eat fabric of furniture, but they may stain items with their excrement. We recommend not spraying if you don’t have to. Pesticides will kill some of the beneficial insects along with the box elder bug. We recommend using a large vacuum to remove them or just sweep them off the house or outside if they are in your home. Be careful and use caution if you are going to use a ladder to reach bugs on your eaves. Check with your local garden center if you have more questions.
There is nothing like a walk through your garden and getting a whiff of something wonderful. The foliage on fragrant herbs can do that for your garden, and sometimes they are more fragrant than some of the flowering plants you can find. To learn about some of these fragrant herbs we stopped by Garden Fever (503-287-3200) in Northeast Portland. We talked to owner, Lori Vollmer about some of her favorites. One of her top plants are the ‘mints’. These can scare people because they can be very aggressive. Her remedy is to put them in pots or containers. You simply need to just brush by them and you get the smell and they remain under control. You can also use them in drinks or teas. One of the mints that you can put in the garden is Corsican Mint. This is a ground cover that releases its fragrance when you step on it. It can slowly spread, but is easily controlled. She also had oregano, woolly thyme, rosemary and a large lavender. Some of these can be walked on and others are designed for containers. Either way you will get the wonderful scent that will last much longer than your normal blooming plants. For more ideas on fragrant herbs for your garden, stop by your local independent garden center or visit Lori and her staff at Garden Fever!
Tool Shed – Dramm Tools
Spring is here and it is time to start checking out your tools to see if they might need replacing. This applies to all your tools. If you have a poor tool it can really make your job harder and that will take all the fun out of gardening for you. We found an easy way to find some really excellent tools. We just looked for the colorful Dramm display at our local garden center. Dramm makes a huge line of quality tools. We first started with the watering tools. Dramm has been the leader in watering tools for decades. Judy started with the handheld watering tools. The watering wand will help you reach all those tall hanging baskets and when you pair it with the shut-off valve you can save a ton of water too. Then we saw the hand held sprayer. It had a choice of 9 different settings so you could go from a powerful stream to a light mist; perfect for any garden job. William then showed us the large yard watering tools. The first one was the stationary watering station. This one was like the handheld version because you could turn a wheel to get the perfect pattern for your lawn or garden. If you had a large area they also make an oscillating sprinkler. And don’t forget the wonderful heavy duty hoses if you need to replace your old one.
Dramm also makes a great line of pruning tools. They carry pruners from the big ‘loppers’ to the smaller pair that is used for fine cutting of flowers. They also have a gardening apron to carry everything in, so you don’t leave your tools around the yard! We found a great selection at Cornell Farms, but Dramm tools are available at most of your local garden centers.
Pruning Woody Perennials
Your woody perennials are over grown, but you are afraid to cut them back because you don’t want to kill them! William and Judy showed how easy it is to trim your woody perennials back without doing any harm. We tackled rosemary and cut it back into a hedge. You can do this with most types of woody perennials, one of the exceptions is lavenders, and they have their own rules for pruning. Just know that you can generally cut back ‘hard’ on perennials. I have even seen people cut their rhododendrons to a stump to have them return in a couple of years with some great blooms.
Annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest
William and Judy visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm for the Annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest (1-800-711-2006). This event showcases the fields full of beautiful tulip blooms. This year the early warm weather has the fields looking spectacular! Now that is has cooled down a little, the blooms are really holding their color. Barb Iverson took Judy out to the fields and we were surrounded by incredible blooms! Barb says this is the best bloom she has seen in years. One area that we found interesting was the small display areas out in the fields. These areas featured all of the bulbs that they have planted in the field. You can take a look at these bulbs and compare them side by side. Once you figure out what you want, you can order them for next year. Also, if you are confused about which ones to get, you can order special prepackaged mixes of bulbs. This guarantees that you will have a nice combination of bulbs that will continue blooming for months. The flower fields are just hitting their peak and the farm is full of events and it is still a must see for anyone, even non-flower lovers. Every weekend they are packed with different activities including a wooden shoe carver, pony rides, arts and crafts, wine tasting and other entertainment for a small fee. The rest of the week has a discounted fee, so you can save a little money by coming out on the weekday! Even when the weather is a little damp, the fields never disappoint. You can even check out their ‘field report’ link on their webpage for the most up-to-date bloom report. Bring a camera; this is a scene you have to capture on film!
If you live in the Northwest you have moss. This is one of the biggest problems facing the homeowner and with the warmer weather around the corner you may have the urge to renovate your lawn for the summer months ahead. But first you have to get rid of the moss. We talked to Norm McCreight of Lilly Miller about moss and why we seem to have so much of it in the Northwest. It is a condition that we get from a lack of care. If you take care of your lawn and help the grass grow, then you can help keep the moss from taking over. Norm gave us some tips on getting rid of the moss and what you should do to keep it from coming back. We also featured the Moss Out product. William started the story by spraying a patch of the lawn and by the time we finished the story the moss was already turning black! We also learned that if you have a moss control that contains iron you should be careful to not let it get on buildings, patios or clothing. The iron will cause a stain. If you want more information about the Moss Out product, check out their website, and BEWARE OF MOSS.
One of the easiest perennials to divide is the hosta. We paid a visit to Sebright Gardens (503-463-9615) to learn how to do it from Thomas Johnson. Sebright grows over 300 different varieties of hostas so they know what they are doing. Thomas told us that you should see the points of the new growth poking out of the ground before you dig them up. If you are seeing the new leaves starting to unfold you should wait a couple of weeks so you don’t damage the new growth, but that is the only warning he gave. He just got his hands dirty and pulled a plant apart, but you can also wash the clump and then just tear it apart by hand. It is so easy that you can chop up a clump of roots with a shovel and still not kill the plant!
Newberg Camellia Festival
We made the short drive out to Newberg to learn about one of the newest of festivals in the Northwest. Newberg, the camellia city, is hosting their 5th Annual Camellia Festival this Saturday, April 13th from 10-4 at the Chehalem Cultural Center. They are partnering with the Oregon Camellia Society who is having their annual show at the Cultural Center. If you love camellias this is the place to be. We visited with Bryan Stewart to learn about all the activities that they have planned for this weekend. He also told us about the Asian themed events they have happening like the Taiko drummers and a Japanese rock band that will be performing at the event. The day starts with a fun run and then people can catch a trolley which will be giving tours of the historic area of Newberg and areas showcasing the camellia, or they can just hang out at the center for a full day of fun. We also heard about the Camellia Trail in the city. You can pick up a map at the Cultural Center and tour the neighborhoods and look at the camellias in gardens and city parks. During the festival you can also check out the plant sale, see local art and photography and visit the library for children’s arts and crafts. For fans of Hello Kitty, she will be at the festival courtesy of our friends at Uwajimaya. If you are in the Newberg area you really need to stop by and check them out!
Terra Casa Spring Décor
Spring is the time to refresh your indoor décor and we found some fresh ideas at Terra Casa (503-577-8242) in Damascus. Judy met with Kathii to see what is new for 2013. One of the first trends Kathii told us about was table linens. People are finding table linins as an easy way to change the look of their tables for entertaining. These can be switched out so you can go from formal to casual very quickly. Another trend is bird houses and storm lanterns. Both look similar and can provide a place for decorating with flowers or objects, or even with a simple candle. That brought our attention to the battery candles that they now carry. These look like a real flame, flickering in the candle! They can also be placed on a timer that shut off after a couple of hours. Of course if you don’t like the bird house look you can bring in fresh flowers from the garden and display them. The new accordion vases are very striking and totally functional.
Next we moved to a different part of the store to check out larger décor pieces. A lot of people are afraid they don’t have the space for a larger piece in their home. Kathii recommends that people with limited space should focus on one large piece and then decorate around it. She showed us a large candelabra that would work by itself and also a grouping of 3 large containers that worked well in a tight corner. If you feel like you are ‘décor challenged’ stop by and see the experts at Terra Casa.
Naomi’s New Lamps
Bringing light to your home doesn’t mean a simple fixture with a basic light bulb; there are so many more options! Naomi’s Lampshades and Lamps (503-636-1884) in Lake Oswego has a history of helping people find that distinctive fixture or 2 that does more than just provide light. Bea joined William to show him some of the newest lamps on the market. We saw some of the newest lights can provide directed light with focusing shades and fixtures. You can point the light pretty much anywhere! You can also find some interesting ways of turning them on and off. Some have the basic switch, while others can be turned on and off by twisting the base, or even just touching the lamp. If you are looking for something unique or if you have something you would like to incorporate into a lamp, Naomi’s can help. Stop by the little red cottage of Boones Ferry Road and check them out.