Arbor day is here! The 22nd marks Arbor Day and the Garden Time crew is celebrating at Capitol Subaru in Salem. We will be there between 11 and 3. Check out the story below for more details and then stop by and see us!
Yesterday marked the first day that parts of the state of Oregon finally
reached 70 degrees for this year. No one had to tell us that this was a
winter and spring to remember (or forget). We all knew that. Let's hope
that we can start getting warmer and finally enjoying spring!
This week we featured...
Dancing Oaks Spring Unusuals
You mention Dancing Oaks Nursery (503-838-6058) and the image that comes to mind is all the cool plants they offer. Thinking about that we paid a visit to their nursery near Monmouth. Leonard met us there to show us some of the cool shade plants that they have for the spring garden. He had pulled a table full of really unique plants (more than we could ever cover!) and we got started. The first plants were epimediums. The first one was a small one with dainty white flowers called 'Bandit'. This one grows slowly in clumps and has a nice dark edge around the leaves. The next one was a little bigger, 'Pink Champagne', and it had striking red leaves with chandelier-like blooms that were pink and red. This one is also a clumper, but larger clumps. The third plant we saw was a native to our area. It is called 'Birds bill' or Shooting stars. It has a small bloom that points down with the petals drawn back so it looks like a shooting star falling to the ground. Its leaves come out early in the spring and then the flowering stalk with the wonderful blooms. Then by May the leaves will dry up and they go dormant for the summer, until next year when they perform for you all over again. If you are looking for a ground cover that will stay evergreen then the next one might work for you. The Saxifraga or 'Strawberry Begonia' will mix into your other ground covers and in the late spring will produce an 8 to 10 inch flower stem. The leaves have a rich green and red color to them so they look nice even longer. Another plant that hugs the ground are the wood anemones. These are smaller plants that throw up striking blooms this time of year. The one we saw was the Wind Flower with white double blooms. The great thing about this one is the bluish center to each bloom as it matures. The next plant will seem familiar to a lot of gardeners. The Solomon Seal is a great plant that might be overlooked in the spring garden, but this is the best time of year for it. Right now the long stalks of leaves are producing white flowers that dangle from the red stems. These are some of easiest plants to grow in the shade garden. Plus, once the season is done and fall rolls around, you get cool yellow leaves with those red stems. The next plant is not so easy to grow but well worth the effort. The podophyllum, or May Apples, are a cool group of plants. This one was 'Spotty Dotty' and she has a spotted leaf that features burgundy spots against a lime green foliage. If you want to try one that is easier to grow, it has a darker green leaf. You may also notice a dangling flower and fruit under the leaf, but the main show is on the top side! Our final plant was a Pigsqueak! No really! That's the name. Actually it is a Heartleaf Bergenia. The leaves are low this time of year, but are dark and evergreen all year long. During the spring however, they send up this wonderful flower stalk. This variety called 'Sakura', had a double flower with large pink, paddle shaped petals.
These are just a few of the wonderful spring plants that are not your normal varieties. If you are looking for more, check out Dancing Oaks (where they also do mail order) or your local independent garden center.
Hulda Klager Lilac Festival 2017
It is that time of year, Lilac time. We took the short trip up I-5 to Woodland Washington to check out the lilacs at the Hulda Klager Lilac Days (360-225-8996). This year the blooms were just coming on! The cold weather has held the plants back, but now they are starting to pop! Last year they were a month ahead of their normal time, but now they are ready for the Lilac Days festival.
The 2017 Lilac Days will run from this weekend through Mother's Day. Hulda Klager hybridized many lilacs and became known as the 'Lilac Lady' in the Woodland area. She opened her garden to the public for an open house in the spring during the 20's. She passed away in 1960.
The Hulda Klager Lilac Society now runs the garden and opens it every year for this festival. They have spent a lot of money in the past few years to improve the gardens and grounds. The improvements include restoration to the historic home, the water tower and the addition of signage. New seating areas and even an expanded and improved parking lot. They charge a small fee during the festival. That, and the proceeds from the gift shop, keeps this garden going all year long. Another way that the group raises money for the garden is through a lilac plant sale. Of the hundreds of varieties of lilacs in the garden you will find a great selection available for sale. Some are blooming in pots and when you take them home they can make an instant bang in your garden. All these funds are used to continue to improve the garden, including the ample covered seating! Take the time and visit it when you get a chance, it is spectacular!
If you are looking for outstanding late summer color you can't beat dahlias. Now is the time to plant dahlias to get that late summer 'pop' of color. We stopped by Swan Island Dahlias (800-410-6540) to get some planting tips for having a great crop of color later this summer! With his crew busy planting in the fields, Nick from Swan Island walked us through the planting process. First you want a good healthy tuber. Next you will want a well worked soil to plant them in. The loose soil will ensure that they don't have to fight their way to the surface. You will want a well-drained area since they can rot if they are setting in water. To plant them, dig down about 6 inches and mix some bulb fertilizer into the soil at the bottom of the hole. Place
the tuber in the bottom of the hole and loosely fill in the soil. In a couple of weeks you will start to see the new growth breaking through the top of the soil. Flowers will soon follow!
Grimm's Spring Mulch
Now is the time to apply a good layer of mulch to your garden. Jeff Grimm from Grimm's Fuel (503-636-3623) joined us to talk about the different types of mulches you can get for your garden beds this spring. We were looking to add some mulch to our garden this year and Grimm's came out and blew a unit of it into our garden beds. No shovels or wheelbarrows for us! Jeff told us about all the different materials they offer. In the spring you can get gravel for pathways, wood chips for under your swing set and bark dust in all different styles and colors. Garden Mulch, which is what we got, is VERY nutritious, protects your top soil, prevents weeds and retains moisture. They also have top soil which will improve your beds and they even have a fine mulch that is great for renewing your lawn when you over-seed. In the fall and winter they can also supply your heating needs with wood for your fireplace or woodstove and heating oil for your furnace. If you need it, Grimm's has it. Grimm's has all this and can deliver them in bulk or even blow them in, as we found out, so the work is done and you save your back!
Oregon Garden Eclipse
We've all heard about the solar eclipse that is going to happen in Oregon on the 21st of August. At around 10:15 the eclipse will traverse across the Willamette Valley and the Oregon Garden in Silverton (503-874-8100) will be ready! They will open their gates at 6am on the 21st and offer Bloody Marys and Mimosas for guests, and solar viewing glasses. Following the eclipse they will have a full day of fun in the garden with live music, food, beer and wine, and kids activities. Now if you are looking for a little vacation surrounding the eclipse, you can spend the weekend camping around the garden and in Silverton. Not only can you enjoy the garden, but also the Silverton Fine Arts Festival which is happening during that weekend. For more information and to book your campsite, check out the Oregon Garden website.
Subaru Arbor Day
Arbor day is here and if you are looking to celebrate, you need to look no further than Capitol Subaru (888-698-1973) in Salem. I know, a car dealer; but did you know that Capitol Subaru is one of the main supporters of the Salem Audubon Society? When Capitol purchased the land for their new dealerships it was a former rock quarry. They decided to let the lake stay and they planted native trees and plants around it. In fact they named it Capitol Lake. We met with 2 people from the Salem Audubon Society to talk about how important this area is for area wildlife. Michael and Tim from the Audubon Society of Salem joined us to tell us how wonderful it was to have this area available to animals. First of all this is a deep water lake and because of that it attracts a larger and more diverse mix of wildlife. In fact, Tim told us because of the depth you see a huge variety of birds. He has logged more than 48 different species of birds in the lake alone! Tim even told us about the page on Ebirds.com where you can check out the log on bird sightings by just entering 'Capitol Auto Group Lake'.
We then moved into the dealership to talk to Brian Schindler from Capitol Auto Group about the lake and Arbor Day. First we found out that Capitol is not only a supporter of the Audubon Society, but also a big donor to the Willamette Humane Society and the Salem-Keizer School Foundation, among others. They feel that they should be a contributing part of the community and support great organizations from the area. Brian also told us about the huge celebration for Arbor Day on the 22nd. From 11 to 3 you can stop by and witness the unveiling of an interpretive sign showcasing the top 10 birds you will see around the lake. You can also enter to win gift cards, enjoy free hotdogs and drinks, visit the Humane Society and Audubon booths, get free plants and pickup wildflower seeds and wrist bands. Plus William and Judy will be holding seminars on Drought Tolerant plants, Slug control, and how to build a pollinator friendly container.
Also, you can stop by and test drive the new 2017 Impreza! It is a great car and now that you know about the Capitol Auto Group commitment to community, you can feel good about driving one! See you Saturday!
Garland Root Crops and 80th Anniversary
Root crops get a bad rap. Everyone wants peas, tomatoes and cucumbers, but root crops give you a better bang for your gardening buck. For one thing, except for potatoes and sweet potatoes, you can eat the roots and the foliage! Carrots, beets and onions can all be enjoyed from the ground up, and even though you can't eat the tops of potatoes, they are a favorite of nearly everyone, and the top vegetable in the world. We talked with Kate at Garland Nursery (1-800-296-6601) in Corvallis about root crops and she started with onions. She had a clump of Walla Walla's which can be planted and then thinned for flavor and garnish. Then you can enjoy the big onions once they mature. Next we looked at the scallions. These are larger and make great garnish for salads. Then we looked at regular onions in a tray pack. They can be separated so each tray pack could have dozens of onion starts to use. We also saw garlic already planted, so you can just drop them into the ground and harvest them in summer for cooking and baking. One other root crop that Kate had was Horseradish. This is a simple root that you want to keep in a pot if possible. If it gets out it can take over a garden, but there is nothing better than fresh grated horseradish on your summer dishes. They also have the regular selections of beets, turnips and carrots to choose from. If you want to learn more about root vegetables you can stop by on Sunday to see a presentation by Kate for the Garland 80th celebration.
We then moved over to the barn to learn more about the 80th celebration that is happening this weekend. Brenda told us about the history of the family and the many incarnations of the farm and nursery. Then Erica shared some of the great events that are happening including live music, wine for purchase, great specials, and some exciting drawings. They will even have a cake cutting! If you can, stop by help them celebrate 80 years for serving the local gardener!
Orenco Woods Stick Sculpture
We have introduced you to Patrick Dougherty before. This wonderful 'stick' artist has built sculptures in Corvallis at OSU and the Children's Museum in the past few years. Now he is back and creating a new structure in Hillsboro at the new Orenco Woods Nature Park. This one is really unique! In a park that is new and developing, his new structure draws people in and invites them to become part of a mini-forest in the park. The sculpture features many faces peeking out of the trees, in awe of the beauty of the forest, in fact, their mouths are agape with surprise at the sight of the towering trees! Patrick uses tons of volunteers to create his works. In fact, he relies on them. Volunteers, and his son, help create these magnificent structures in a matter of 3 weeks! The only drawback to this sight is that it will probably be gone in a couple of years. These sculptures are natural, and nature will reclaim them at some point. The best time to see them is now! Stop by this weekend and help celebrate the opening of this great sculpture, and wonderful park!
TOW - Using a Sprayer Safely
In the late spring and early summer people start to pull out their sprayers. Whether they are applying weed control, moss control or other chemicals we thought it would great to give people a reminder about
sprayer safety. These are good tips to follow even if you are applying an organic spray. First make sure that there is little or no wind. You don't want drift from your sprayer to get into different areas than where you want it to go. Also, make sure that the temperature is not too hot or too cold. Most chemicals, either organic or synthetic, are most effective in warm weather. Of course you will always want to read the label for application to make sure that you are applying it correctly. When you are applying the product you should walk backwards so you don't spread the spray on your shoes to other areas in your garden.
As far as attire, you should wear long pants, long sleeves and closed toed shoes. Eye protection, gloves and a mouth cover or respirator round out your clothing choices. Follow these simple rules and
you can be sure that the spray will end up right where you want it!
RWPC Starting to Water Again
Spring is here and it is wet!!! But, that doesn't mean that you will have a wet landscape forever! We met with Steve Carper, our friend from the Regional Water Providers Consortium, to learn about efficient
watering and when you should turn on the garden spigot! He told us that there are a good, better and best way of gaging your water usage.
The first, good, way of gauging water use is through the measurement of water with cups you can get from the RWPC. These cups will help you gage the water falling on your lawn and garden. Then you can adjust your sprinkler with the use of the weekly watering number at the www.conserveh2o.org website. The second method is by using a rain sensor. This is a sensor that can tell if it is raining and can turn off your system when it is raining, and back on when it is dry. The 'best' system is the totally wireless system. Tis one can read weather data from local weather stations in your area to determine when you should water. It can also send reminders of when to set your system and offers remote control of your sprinklers.
These are all tools in controlling your irrigation system, but the best control is you! Check your soils and make sure that plants are getting what they need and not too much of a good thing! For tips on controlling you water usage, check the Regional Water Providers Consortium website.