The spring has finally arrived. This past week we all enjoyed a wonderful streak of 2 warm and sunny days, and it looks like we will be getting more in the coming week. Time to get out and finally enjoy our gardens. While you are out there, make sure that you are looking for signs of pest problems or diseases, and make sure you diagnose those problems correctly! If you tackle them now, you will have healthier plants for the rest of spring and summer.
We wanted to give a heads up to our viewers in the Portland area for the following 2 weekends. KPDX, our station in Portland, will be airing German league soccer on the 13th and 20th. That means that our show may have a late start on those 2 weekends. If you tune in and see soccer, just wait a few minutes and we should show up shortly. If we do start late, be aware that our program will only run until 10am before the next program starts. If you miss the program, or parts of it, remember that you can see the whole program or selected stories any time at the GardenTime website. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
This week we featured...
Plant Problem Assessment
I mentioned earlier about getting out and assessing your plants in the early spring for pest and disease problems. We met with Russell from Bartlett Tree Experts (503-72ARBOR, 503-722-7267) to wander through a local garden to see what problems the homeowner would be facing right now. We started at a rhododendron and saw a number of problems. First was some frost damage. The flowering tips of the plant were a dark brown or black and some were not. These dark buds were completely gone and would not be blooming this year. Then we noticed the leaves. There was a yellowing on the edges of the leaves. This is a nutrient issue. It is called chlorosis and is usually attributed to a lack of iron, magnesium or zinc, but Bartlett would do a soil test to make sure they are addressing the problem. The other issue happening with this plant was a problem specific to azaleas and rhododendrons called Azalea Lace Bug. This tiny bug is usually on the underside of the leaves and that is where it breeds and lays its eggs. The top side of the leaf will show the damage as a stippling, or whitening, of the leaf. These bugs are hard to get rid of and you can either knock them to the ground when they are nymphs, where they won't survive, or you can treat with a chemical application. You would not want to treat a plant while it is blooming since that would affect the bees and other pollinators. To determine the best course you can contact Bartlett. One more problem was happening on this poor Rhody, it was Root Weevil. These little beetles live in the soil at the base of your plants and then climb up during the night to munch around the edges of your plants leaves. You will notice the notching around the edges during the day and the beetles are gone. Once again, there are natural and chemical treatments for this bug, it is best to check with your local garden center or a qualified professional at Bartlett for the best treatment for your problem.
We also noticed a couple of other problems in this garden. Aphids were starting to munch on the roses. These little bugs will sap the strength of your plants even if they don't do long term damage most of the time. Lady Bugs and Praying Mantis are the natural predators to these guys, and sometimes even just a spray with a garden hose will take care of the problem. We also saw some healthy boxwoods. These can get a couple of different problems including mites and boxwood blight. There was also a maple in the yard that had the starting of verticillium wilt, a fungal disease that lives in the soil. We saw these symptoms on one side of the plant while the other side appeared unaffected. Though this is a difficult disease to control, they will help keep the plant healthy so you can enjoy if for at least a few more years.
As you can see the spring not only brings out the blooms, it can bring out the pests and diseases too. For help in your garden finding and treating these problems, contact the staff at Bartlett Tree Experts.
National Public Gardens Day - Leach Botanical Garden
The 12th of May is National Public Gardens Day. This celebration of public gardens is a great way to get out and enjoy our public gardens. A lot of these gardens are offering great deals and events during the day. The Rogerson Clematis Garden in Lake Oswego is offering guided tours, the Oregon Garden in Silverton is offering '2 for 1' admissions and Hoyt Arboretum is offering 10% off gifts in the gift shop. One of our best local gardens is Leach Botanical Garden in SE Portland. They are offering $5 off any purchase over $25, but that isn't the only thing going on!
We met with Virginia, who is a volunteer at the garden and leads tours of the Stone Cabin on the grounds near the Manor House. This cabin may look familiar if you are a fan of the Grimm TV show. It was featured in some episodes and in the open to the show. This cabin was the home of John and Lilla Leach as they built their home across Johnson Creek. The Leach's were wonderful supporters of local causes and were avid outdoorsmen. This cabin is cute on the inside and rustic on the outside. With details that made it a great weekend home for them while building their permanent house. You will be able to learn more about the history and tour the inside during the day of the 12th.
We then moved over to the area above the Manor House to talk to David Porter about the other things happening at the garden. He told us about the wonderful expansion happening at the garden. They are in the
early stages of this major building project. Eventually they will have new welcome center and facilities off of SE 122nd. That will include new gardens for children, an alpine garden and terrace with a fire place. The
other eye-catching addition is a c anopy walk which will take people through the tree tops to observe the forest from a different point of view. You can check out the design here.
All this is being paid for through a fund-raising drive. They currently are at $9.5 million towards their goal of $10 million to complete the project. If you visit this free garden, feel free to make a donation to this wonderful place so it can grow and survive for future generations!
Portland Nursery Strawberry Pot
With the push for edibles in the garden the last few years we had the idea of bringing those edibles to your doorstep. We stopped by Portland Nursery on Stark Street (503-231-5050) to get some ideas from Sara about planting strawberries and how to choose a strawberry pot to bring your fruit and vegetables to your deck or patio. First we pulled a strawberry pot out of their inventory, which was no problem with all the pots they have in the garden center. We learned that you need to plant in layers. You don't just fill the pot full of soil and shove plants in! You fill your pot with soil up to the first holes and then place your plants in and then move to the next layer. We also learned a little bit about strawberries. 'June-bearing' gives you one crop. 'Ever-bearing' and 'Day Neutral' gives you 2 or more good crops of berries through-out the summer if you treat them well. There are a couple of other things that growers do to get a good crop... plant new berries every 3-4 years. For a list of varieties and culture, check out their Fruits and Berries page. You should also maintain good watering and apply fertilizer a couple times a year. Sara had a great idea for making sure that your berries are well watered. She, and General Manager Suzy, had a PVC pipe capped and drilled with holes. This was placed in the center of the pot and would allow for the water to reach all levels of the pot so all the plants would get a drink! Finally, remember that you can plant everything from trees to other fruits and vegetables in pots. Smaller varieties of fruit trees are very popular right now and you can even find single trees with multiple varieties on one trunk. These are great in containers. Sara even told us about people who plant tomatoes in pots on their deck! Sounds like a winner to me!
Wooden Shoe Extends Their Season
The cold winter and spring has one silver lining! It first meant that the annual Tulip Festival at Wooden Shoe (1-800-711-2006) in Woodburn had a late start to their blooms, but now it means more fun in the sun! They have decided to extend their festival for one more week. You can now enjoy the blooms through the 7th of May. They will have a full day of events for this last weekend including all the favorites of games, food and flowers. They will also have a bike race on Sunday and a Mother's Day brunch on the 13th. Be sure to check out their website and then head out for one last day of tiptoeing through the tulips.
Bonide Moss Control
Moss and the Northwest, they just seem to go together. We just have the right conditions for moss to grow. Tom Combs from Bonide joined William in a local backyard to talk about moss and why we have it here. The 3 main reasons for moss are moisture, shade and soil condition (soil pH). So even if you get rid of your moss now, it will come back if you don't change the 3 conditions for it being here. If you like your moss, you can just leave it, but if you are looking to get rid of it, and do that in a natural way, you can use the Moss Max product from Bonide. This is a natural product and we know that because of the light brown/tan shoulder on the label. This product can be sprayed anywhere you have moss, either on your lawn, roof, driveway or deck and patio. You will want to wait to use it until temps get above 55 degrees and at least 3 hours of dry weather to get the best application. Because this is a natural product and doesn't stain like other chemical methods, you can use it anywhere, even to remove moss and algae from boats, RV's and your siding. If you are looking for a good all-natural product to remove moss this is it, and if you are looking for solutions for all your plant problems, you can get it in the palm of your hand! Just download the Bonide Problem Solver app for your I-phone or droid device.
OG - Digging in the Garden
Spring is here and The Oregon Garden (503-874-8100) needs your help! They are hosting their first ever 'Digging in the Dirt' event on the May 13th. They invite people to purchase a $35 ticket and then they will put you to work. I know that sounds a little crazy, but there are perks for joining in! You show up with your ticket, plant a few plants and then you get to listen to live music, plus enjoy brunch and bottomless mimosas served in the Discovery Pavilion in the Rediscovery Forest. You will also get a plant to take home, a free return pass to the garden so you can see your plants in bloom and an additional 20% off at the gift shop and the Garden View Restaurant. You definitely get your money's worth for just planting a few plants for all visitors to enjoy. Go to their website to get your tickets, but hurry, they are limited!
Clackamas County Spring Garden Fair
Spring is about planting and getting new plants for your garden. One of the best places to get your plants is at the Clackamas County Master Gardeners Annual Spring Garden Fair. This is the 33rd annual event and you can see nearly 100 different vendors there. To see what one of those vendors is bringing to the sale we stopped by Out in the Garden Nursery (503-829-4141) to talk to Carol. She had 4 plants that she will have there, in addition to many others. The first one was a Rodgersia (Rodger's Flower) called Hercules. This plant had huge broad foliage and a pink flower, but needs a little room to grow. The next one was giant as well. The Persicaria polymorpha or Giant Fleece Flower. This one will get upwards of 5 feet or taller. It has big foliage and big fluffy white flower in late summer into fall. The third plant was much shorter. Geranium 'Kaya' has beautiful lacy foliage, which is golden bronze in the spring and blue flowers in the summer. The final plant was an old favorite, Aralia 'Sun King'. This one does have a flower, but what people get it for is the bright and striking foliage. This one stays about 3-4 feet tall but just 'wows' when planted with contrasting foliage plants.
If you come to the sale looking for these plants, you will find so much more! There is a raffle of some great prizes, a plant taxi (so you don't have to carry everything!), a free plant check, a potting station, free soil testing, and a silent auction for some cool plants, just to name a few. You can also learn some gardening tricks at their 10 minute university. The event is $5 to enter and free to 16 and under. There is also free parking. Stop by and fill up those empty spaces in your garden.
Rose Garden Construction
If you have tried to get to the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park you know that here is quite a bit of work going on up there. The Japanese Garden recently finished a big construction project and now the rose garden is having one as well. To get an update we stopped by the garden and talked with curator, Harry Landers. We stood near the Royal Rosarian garden and saw the entire main walkway torn up. Harry told us this walkway was getting a major makeover to improve it and make it ADA accessible. There was beautiful stonework and an all new walkway being installed just in time for the Centennial Celebration of the rose garden. This makeover is targeted to be completed by Rose Festival time. This centennial celebration includes a new rose just for the occasion, the Centennial Sunshine Rose. This light yellow hybrid tea rose has a spicy fragrance and grows 4 inch blooms. It will be available soon and will cost $40 with proceeds going to the garden. The rose is just part of the celebration. In August the garden will be hosting a private 'Wine and Roses' Gala on the 19th and a Community Celebration Day on the 26th.
Even before the celebration begins you can still come up and enjoy the garden, and even now with all the construction going on. It is recommended that you take the free Washington Park shuttle that circles the
garden. One way to do that is to ride MAX to the zoo and then grab the shuttle for a quick trip to the garden. No hassles with parking when you do that! Be sure to check out their special website for updates on the celebration and then come up and see all the great changes.
STIHL Battery Tools
If you have a big yard or garden you know how tough it is to find battery operated garden tools that last, so you are stuck with smelly gas powered equipment to get the job done. However, the newest and most durable battery powered garden tools comes from a leader in garden equipment, STIHL. We joined our friend Wayne Sutton to learn about these new tools and what they can do in the garden. He brought out 3 different sets of tools that are brand new to the market. These new tools are grouped in these 3 classes; occasional, frequent and extensive. Occasional is for those that have simple needs around the garden. This series is called the AI series, with the 'I' standing for 'integrated'. This group of tools (blowers, trimmers and edgers) have the battery built in. No need to worry about a separate charger. The second group are for the frequent user and are called the AK series. These have a removable/exchangeable battery so you can use the same battery in multiple tools. This group has enough juice for you to do your yard and all the neighbors as well! You will find tools like blowers, trimmers and edgers, and even a chainsaw that can be powered by this battery. The final group were for 'extensive' users. This is practically a 'pro' line of tools labeled the AP series. These tools have enough power to tackle a football field if needed! It can even power a lawnmower! These new generation lithium ion batteries can really hold a charge. Plus you won't have to mess with the smelly gas of a combustion engine. To see all these great tools be sure to visit the STIHL dealer nearest you. You can find the closest one at www.STIHLdealers.com .
FPG - Hanging Baskets - Mom's Day
We are getting close to Mother's Day and that means it is time to get your hanging baskets, but how do you take care of them once you have them. To learn some care tips we stopped by French Prairie Gardens (503-633-8445) in St. Paul and chatted with Katie. French Prairie grows all their own baskets from tiny cuttings and they pick their own unique mixes of flowers. Like most growers they grow 2 types of baskets for their customers, sun and shade. There is a big difference between the two. As Katie told us the shade baskets don't like 'sun on their heads'. That means light sun (possibly morning sun) and then shade in the heat of the day. The sun baskets are different. They like full sun most of the day. She warned us that we have to keep them well watered since they are in baskets and can dry out faster. Plus most of the varieties of plants they use are heavy feeders, and that means they like lots of fertilizer. They fertilize their plants at the farm once every 2 weeks with a balanced 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer. If you follow these simple rules you will have great color all summer long. If you are looking for some really great hanging baskets stop by the farm and pick some up. While you are there enjoy in a little time in the country with a pastry from the bakeshop and check out their expanded retail space.
A perfect time to get those baskets is during their great Mother's Day brunch at the farm. Mom's will be treated to a wonderful meal and then you can wander the garden center and get all your spring and summer plants. The brunch happens on May 14th from 9 to noon, but call now to buy tickets and reserve your spot!
Kindergarden - Planting Peanuts
Did you know that you could grow peanuts in the Northwest? You can and it is easy to do. So easy in fact that a kid could do it. We recruited our helper, Dean, to assist Judy in doing some planting. The first thing to remember is to get raw peanuts, not roasted! The roasted peanuts will not grow a plant. We found some at Backyard Bird Shop (503-303-4653), where they have them available as squirrel food. We had Dean shell the peanuts to give them a head start on growing. You can leave them in the shell but then they will take longer to germinate. We then filled a container with Black Gold Natural and Organic potting soil. This is perfect soil for any edible you plant. We covered the peanuts with soil and watered them well. Dean told us to keep them well watered and to place them in full sun. We had some that we started and they were about 3 inches high after 2 weeks. It will take them 100 to 120 days to be mature enough for harvest. We advise that you keep them indoors until the weather gets a little warmer since they really love the heat! The interesting thing about peanuts is that they are pollinated above ground and then the pollinated flowers extend and grow underground where they produce the seeds or peanuts. Very unique!
This is a great product for your kids to do, unless they have a peanut allergy! If they don't, give it a try and see if you can grow peanuts!
TOW - Preserving Woody Stems
The spring is the best time to bring in cut flowers for display in your home. The problem is that the blooms don't last long enough, especially the woody stemmed ones. Judy and William shared a tip we learned at the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens (360-225-8996). This tip will make your lilacs last longer after they are cut. They told us how they smash the stems with a hammer. You want to crush the stems about 1-2 inches up the stem before you put them in warm water. The smashed stem allows the flower to draw more water and thus it will last longer. This technique works well for almost all woody stemmed plants. You can also cut it along the length of the stem and accomplish the same thing.
If you are looking for some great lilacs for your garden, check out the Lilac Days event at Hulda Klager's garden in Woodland, Washington!