The summer is almost gone. That's what I used to think as a kid and we got closer to Labor Day. School was always right after the holiday and so that weekend became the big blow out weekend for fun, usually at the State Fair.
Now kids are headed back to school before the holiday and it seems like the year is rushing by. Yet, summer is still with us until the middle of September. So, get out there and enjoy it! You can start by heading to the Swan Island Dahlia Festival this weekend.
This week we featured...
Finished Fiberon Deck
For the past month we have been featuring the replacement of the Garden Time producer's deck with the wonderful Fiberon composite decking material. Well, the job is finished and we get to unveil it this week on the show. First we met with Josh from NW Outdoor Living and Renovation (503-995-0174). He was the contractor who installed the new deck. Judy asked him about the install and how easy it was, and it was easy. Once the sub-structure was installed the decking went in like a breeze. There were a few little issues with siding and installing the recessed lighting, but that is why we recommend a licensed and bonded contractor. Josh and his crew were able to take care of the minor problems with no effort. He also recommended that you get a contractor if you are doing a deck with any height at all.
We then moved over to visit with Derek from Fiberon about the product and how to maintain it. The Fiberon product is incredible, and it is meant to last. The decking itself is guaranteed for 25 years and is so easy to care for. You just wash it with soapy water twice a year. We also talked about the lighting packages that you can get. This deck came with recessed step lighting and small decorative lights around the top 'picture frame' board. They also have rails and other packages that you can get for any installation. The Fiberon product is a top quality product and the producers will be enjoying it for decades! If you are interested in working up your own design or would like to find a retailer near you, you can check out the Fiberon website. We got our Fiberon at Conrad Lumber (503-625-7535) on Tualatin-Sherwood Road in Sherwood.
Swan Island Dahlia Varieties
The fields are blooming and the festival is on! If you have never been to the Dahlia Festival you have missed one of the most spectacular shows of the summer. 30 acres of blooms greet you as you drive up. But that is only part of it... Nick Gitts from Swan Island Dahlias (800-410-6540) showed us the different styles of dahlias and high-lighted a couple of the different varieties. We saw the different styles of flowers including pom pon, orchid, single, collarette, cactus, decorative, Waterlily, and laciniated. The Dahlia is one of the most versatile of blooms. We can't think of another type of flower that can look so different! Nick also talked about things that the home gardener can be doing now to help their own dahlias. He recommended watching for spider mites. These tiny pest can start attacking your plant at the base and you may notice some yellowing of the leaves at the base of you plant. The other thing you can do is to give them lots of water right now and to 'deadhead' or remove the old blooms, the watering and deadheading will promote more growth and even more blooms!
He also filled us in on the special events that they have planned for the 2 weekends of the festival. If you stop by on August 26, 27, 28 and September 2, 3 and 4 (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) you will also get a chance to see over 15,000 blooms in 400 different cut flower arraignments. You can also enjoy food, music, cut flowers and informational talks to help you grow dahlias like the experts. And it is all free. Take some time to head down to Canby (not Swan Island) for the annual Dahlia Festival.
Love Your Summer Lawn
The summer can really beat up your lawn, so to get some tips on how you can love your lawn in the summer we met with an expert at Oregon Turf and Tree Farm in Hubbard. Jack Karlin is with the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance and he was loaded with great information on lawns and their care. First he talked about starting with a quality seed or sod. The Alliance tests and certifies seed, so they can ensure the quality. Then he recommended some tips with fertilization, watering and mowing.
First, you fertilize around mid-March with a nitrogen rich fertilizer and then cut back on the fertilizer for the rest of summer. You don't want a huge amount of growth during the hottest time of the year. That is stressful for your lawn. Then we moved to mowing. You want to make sure that you have a nice sharp blade so you are not shredding your grass as you cut it. A clean cut is the best for your lawn. Plus, raise up the mower in the summer. Let the grass grow a little longer to retain the moisture that you are applying. Finally we talked about watering. The healthy lawn will not need a ton of water during the summer, even if it gets really hot. You can judge how much water you need by paying attention to your lawn and by following the 'weekly watering number' at the Regional Water Provider Consortium at www.conserveh2o.org <http://www.conserveh2o.org> . He also recommended that you don't water in the heat of the day or during windy conditions to avoid excessive evaporation.
For more tips on watering you can check out the RWPC website!
Little Baja Container Tree Watering
Our tip of the week is from our friends at Little Baja (503-236-8834). Little Baja are the experts in containers. They sell terra cotta, concrete and glazed containers for the home gardener. One of the biggest questions they get this time of year is how do I keep my plants from dying. Wayne told us that the problem is water. When a tree or large shrub is in a container they are reliant on you to keep then watered. They cannot pull water from an extensive root system in the ground. Plus, when you water them, they need LOTS of water. A little bit on the top won't make it to the roots. You have to give a large tree about 1-2 gallons of water every day during the heat of summer. This is especially true if you have a tender tree like a maple. An evergreen tree with needles will dry out slower and can make it by if you miss a day, but a maple if left alone can be damaged permanently.
Also, it does make a difference on the type of container you use in the garden. Concrete and glazed pots help to seal in the moisture, but a terra cotta pot breathes. That is what makes them so great for your plants (they stay healthier in Terra Cotta), but that also means that they can lose moisture faster too. The key is to pay attention and make sure your plants stay well hydrated. If you have any other questions about pottery, or statuary, stop by and ask our friends at Little Baja.
Impact NW Garden Party
Impact NW is a great organization. They support people in Oregon through a variety of programs that touch young and old. Once a year they have a big celebration at Portland Nursery (503-788-9000) on Division. This year the event takes place on the 9th of September from 5-9pm. George the manager at the Division location joined us to talk about how Portland Nursery has sponsored Impact NW for well over a decade. This party is just one way they show their support. They also support the organization all throughout the year.
We then moved over to talk to Liz and Andy about the event and the mission of Impact NW. Liz told us about the big part that gardeners can play this year, the container contest. There is an expert division and a community division that people can enter with prizes for the selected winners. This year Campania International is donating a number of pots for people who want to enter. Also, soil is being donated as well. If you want to enter, all you have to do is go to the Impact NW website and once you are registered, a container will be reserved for you. Then on the Labor Day Weekend you can come to Portland Nursery on Division to build your container. All you need to do is buy the plants. If you buy a ticket to the event on the 9th you can see if your container is a winner! Also at the event you can bid to win a bunch of prizes including tickets for travel on Alaska Air, Disneyland, vacation homes and a lot more! All this goes to forwarding the mission of Impact NW. Andy told us that 30,000 people are served each year by Impact NW and they couldn't do that without help from people like you!
If you are interested in getting involved in either the container contest, or by buying a ticket to the event, you can go to the Impact NW website.