Wow, what a great fall week we have had, but I feel that it won’t be long before we are back into the rain and wind again. It has been a great week for getting things ready for fall. We have been out in the garden and starting to think about putting some of the tables and chairs away, but it’s hard when we have had such nice weather. Maybe just one more day in the hammock…. Still you should be thinking about covering some of your vegetables if you want to prolong the harvest (or get a greenhouse, there’s still time), or putting away your lawn and patio furniture. Don’t worry too much about your cutting back your plants. Cutting some plants, like roses, might promote some new growth and when the frost comes it will kill that new growth and could damage your plant. Let the plants in your garden acclimate to the cooler temps. Once that first frost hits you can trim them back if you want. Make sure your tender plants are protected soon before the frost.
If you are going to force bulbs for the holidays, start that now. Paper whites, amaryllis and hyacinths should be either planted now to be sure they bloom during December. Yup, soon those holidays will be here and you will wish you started early.
Also, with the colder days coming up, you may find yourself wishing for warm spring days again. Why not spend a few of those spring days with the Garden Time crew in Ireland! We have an informational webinar coming up on Wednesday the 21st at 6pm. Be sure to check out the information we have posted on the Garden Time tours page on our website and then sign up for the webinar to get all your questions answered ‘live’. It promises to be a fun trip so check it out.
This week we featured...
Bamboo is a great plant for the garden, but it can also look great in a container. To see an example of that we went to Bamboo Garden (503-647-2700) and talked to Noah. Bamboo can be kept in a container and that will help control the running nature of some of the bamboos on the market. Noah told us that even in a container, you should repot the bamboo and do some root pruning every few years or so. Otherwise the bamboo will continue to grow and could destroy the container or grow out of the bottom and into the ground. He showed us a container that they developed at Bamboo Garden to help maintain and control your bamboo. The container had an open bottom so you can easily remove the bamboo and root prune it and repot it with little or no problem. It also had a heavy duty liner so it the bamboo can’t grow into the wood container. This container is custom made and when painted black it complimented the gold bamboo nicely. If you are interested in bamboo or would like to grow bamboo in a container, the experts at Bamboo Garden can help you!
Gardening for the Homebrewer Book
Home brewing has become a hot topic in the last decade or so and it seems to be growing even more today. Beer was the go-to beverage for many years and now people are tackling other beverages as well. Whether it is a wine, gruit, cider, mead or perry, there seems to be a group of people that are interested in making it at home. We recently received a new book that was co-written by a good friend of ours, Debbie Teashon called ‘Gardening for the Homebrewer’. This guide for the brewer covers those basic beverages and so much more. Debbie stopped by Portland to explain some of the histories behind the beverages and to share a drink recipe with us. Along with co-writer, Wendy Tweten, she covers some of the rules for brewing at home and ways to grow the materials you need in your own garden. For the recipe, a garden mint liqueur, we needed some mint and cucumbers from the garden, along with some vodka and lemon zest (Click here for the recipe). The mint and cucumbers were ground up and placed in a container, then the vodka was added. This allows the veggies and mint to infuse flavors into the vodka. After a few days the mixture was strained and put into a bottle. William made a drink out of it by putting a couple ounces of the liqueur in a glass over ice and then adding 4 ounces of sparkling water over that. It was very refreshing. Debbie made a cocktail out of mint liqueur and milk. These were just a couple of ways you can use some of your garden bounty to make flavorful liqueurs and infusions. If you are interested in growing fruits, grains, herbs or vegetables for brewing or fermenting, this is the book for you. you will be surprised at the variety of things you can make from the garden! Check out Debbie’s website, http://rainyside.com, to get ahold of the book or to just enjoy great gardening information.
Portland Nursery Pumpkin Contest
This is the last weekend of the Portland Nursery Apple Tasting (503-231-5050). We stopped by and talked to Sara to find out what you can expect. She told us that the huge variety of apples are still available for tasting and purchase, plus they will still have all the other great activities happening at the Stark Street location. She also wanted to tell us about a new event they have planned for the weekend of October 24th and 25th at their 90th and Division location. This new event is all about pumpkins! They are asking people to bring their best carved pumpkin (G rated entries, please) to the Division Street location either Friday the 23rd or the morning of the 24th (before noon) and enter it for chance to win prizes. They will have 3 winners chosen in both a kids, and adults, category. The judging will be at 1pm on Saturday. It isn’t just about the contest. They will have some of the same activities at the store as they have at Apple Tasting. Fresh pressed cider, kids crafts, food and music are provided even if you don’t have a pumpkin entered. Stop by Stark Street this weekend for Apple Tasting, or next weekend for the pumpkin contest at 90th and Division. Both events will be a lot of fun for the whole family.
Garden Time Goes to Ireland
For the last few weeks we have been promoting the Garden Time tour to Ireland. Well, a lot of you have had questions about the trip so we decided to take a few minutes and go over some of the itinerary for you. We will fly over to Dublin on the 16th of June, arriving on the 17th. Then on the 18th and 19th of June we will be touring 9 different gardens around the Dublin area. One of those gardens is the Powerscourt Gardens, which was just listed as one of Europe’s Most Picturesque Gardens by Travel+Leisure. The other 8 gardens are just as exciting to see! Check out the complete list of gardens here.
That is just the beginning. We get to spend day 5 exploring Dublin either with your choice of a walking tour or a bus tour, with plenty of extra time to explore on your own. After that we leave to travel around the country with stops to see the Waterford Crystal factory, and the Blarney Castle. At the castle you can choose to kiss the Blarney Stone or tour over 60 acres of gardens, avenues and waterways. One of the most famous gardens is the Poison Garden with poison plants from around the world. We then travel to Killarney and head to the Ring of Kerry, one of the most scenic areas in Ireland. Then it is off to Limerick and a visit to a traditional farm to see what ‘farm to table’ is like in Europe.
We move on to the Cliffs of Moher. There the 700 foot high cliffs are stunning and a must see for all visitors. We then head back toward Dublin through Galway, Kilbeggan and Tullamore, part of the Irish Whiskey territory, with a tour and a tasting included in the visit.
The trip is REALLY well organized. We have traveled with Collette tours in Costa Rica this past January and all our viewers were impressed with the way it was run and the quality of the accommodations. We are expecting the same great service this time, and the price can’t be beat. Our trip is running at about $4,900 per person, and that includes your round trip airfare, all the hotels and 15 of your meals. We received a notice last spring of another tour to England sponsored by a large plant society and their cost was nearly $9,000 and that didn’t include airfare! You can see why we are excited about this trip!
Plus, a lot of people are using this trip as a jump off point for other trips too. Some are going to Scotland and other locations in Europe. One couple has booked a cruise in the North Baltic after our tour. Why not, since the airfare and return point can be covered!? Carolyn Horne our travel adviser is great at lining that up!
If you have more questions about the tour you can sign up for a webinar which is taking place on the 21st of this month at 6pm. This a ‘live’ question and answer session that you can follow on your computer. To sign up for this webinar you can click here, or go to the Garden Time Tours page for more details. We are filling up fast with nearly 2 dozen people signed up so far! Also, if you sign up now you will be saving $250. The price will go up in December! We hope you can join us for a fun tour of Ireland and some exciting gardens.
Fry Road Vegetables
Fry Road Nursery (541-928-7038) in Albany is known for the great selection of fuchsias that they carry, but most people don’t know that they carry a huge amount of other plants and shrubs for the home gardener, including some unusual edible plants. John Stewart joined Judy in the nursery to show her some of the more interesting plants they carry. The first plant he brought out was one that a lot of people have in their garden, the canna. This one was Canna edulis ‘Achria’. This one is mostly grown for the root which is starchy. The leaves and seeds can also be eaten. Some unusual peppers were next. The Rocoto is a tender perennial pepper that can live up to 10 years or more if protected and can produce a huge amount of slightly spicy peppers. Yacon (Polymnia sonchifolia) was next in line. This one is also grown for its roots which have a water chestnut flavor. The juice from the plant is even boiled down to make an agave-like type of syrup. The tubers should be harvested in the fall after a frost, which will sweeten them up. The stems and leaves are also used as a medicine in some cultures. If you have a lawn the next plant might turn you off. It is an oxalis (the clover in your lawn is also oxalis), but not the bad kind. This one is called New Zealand Yam (Oxalis Tuberosa) and was called a ‘jewel of the earth’ by the Incas. The tubers on this one are a staple in Peru. The Chinese bring us the next plant, the Chinese Artichoke, also known as Crosne (Stachys affinis). In the fall after it freezes you can harvest the tubers. They are small, white tubers that taste like Jerusalem artichoke only smaller. We then moved to another plant from the Andes, the Ullucus tuberoses ‘Ulluco Golden’. It has colorful, candy striped, tubers that form in the fall. The foliage is also edible and taste like iceberg lettuce. The final plant was another one that you might have in your garden, the colocasia, commonly called ‘elephant ear’. This one was a cultivar that is use to make poi in Hawaii and is also used as a leaf vegetable as well.
It is amazing all the different types of vegetables that are used around the world. We are just scratching the surface as vegetable gardeners if we rely on the old stand-bys. If you are looking to try something new, stop by Fry Road or give them a call.