As most of you now know, we have returned to a half hour program this weekend. This is something we do every year and we hear from a lot of you that you wish we were an hour long program all year long, and as much as we would love to do that too, it just cannot be done financially. We don’t have the advertiser support once we finish up the spring. Don’t worry, next spring we will return to an hour long program for 13 weeks again. For now we are thankful we can continue on for the rest of the season, THANK YOU SPONSORS!
We are a few days away from the 4th of July and that means summer is in full swing. You can now find tons of different kinds of berries available on the market. Be sure to check with your local farm market or fruit stand. This week we get to feature one of those great markets with a visit to Smith Berry Barn as we preview their annual berry festival.
This week we featured...
Wavra Summer Color
The spring garden is starting to fade and the hot days of summer have started to arrive. Those hot temperatures can really beat up a garden, unless you have a good collection of summer plants in your garden that you can enjoy during the upcoming months. To get a sampling of some great plants we stopped by Wavra Farms and talked to Diane. She had pulled out quite a few plants for us to look at. The first was a plant that a lot of people equate with spring, the Gerbera daisy. The newer varieties (like Sophie, the one we saw) love the heat and if you put them in full sun they will reward you with tons of blooms. Another plant that loves the summer and also will give you structure in the garden is the Agapanthus. The variety that we saw, ‘Headborne Blue’, will give you very tall blooms all summer. It likes the sun and also wet feet. You can use this one around ponds or marshy areas where it will thrive. If you are looking for a tropical look, you can’t go wrong with Canna. There are lots of varieties of this plant, but they all will give you tropical blooms and large leaves. If you take care of them, they will return year after year too. The next plant is normally a spring bloomer, but now blooms much later in to the summer. The Astrantia ‘Star of Billions’ is loaded with tiny blooms and it will keep going through the entire summer if you keep it fertilized and deadheaded. The white blooms have an added benefit, they really pop in the late nights of the summer garden. The next plant is a summer favorite of a lot of gardeners. This new variety of salvia is a big improvement though, over older salvias. Rockin ‘Deep Purple’ has tall bloom stalks that will have hummingbirds fighting in your backyard for a feeding space at the flowers. Deadheading the old bloom stalks and promoting new stalks will guarantee that those hummingbirds will stay happy in your garden. Abutilon, or flowering maple, was next in line. This variety ‘Fairy Coral Red’ is a newer addition that has a more ‘upturned’ bloom for the bees and hummingbirds. Abutilons do need a little more protection in the winter, so having one in a container that you can move into a greenhouse or near your house on the deck or patio will improve your chances of overwintering. Next to the abutilon was an old favorite of gardeners, the Cleome. This plant was a favorite in your grandmother’s garden and with newer varieties coming out, it is seeing a resurgence in modern gardens too. This variety, ‘Senorita Rosalita’, is going to stay a little lower and is covered in delicate, prolific blooms. The final plant was a hydrangea, but not just any hydrangea, this one is a fan of summer shade. ‘Let’s Dance Diva’ has a lot of soft pink lacecap blooms that will brighten any part of your shade garden.
If you would like to brighten up your garden and create a welcoming atmosphere for outdoor entertaining, stop by Wavra Farms and Nursery, or your local independent garden center for some of these beautiful plants.
Summer Color Trees
When you mention landscape trees a lot of people will automatically think of boring, plain green trees, but there are options for shade and color in some trees that will knock your socks off. Rick Naylor at French Prairie Perennials in Aurora is known for his interesting and unique trees and shrubs that he uses in his Visualscaping jobs. He pulled 4 different trees for us to look at. Three of them were maples and one was a dogwood, but they all were beautiful. The first one was a bright little hedge maple called ‘Carnival’. This one was small and grows really slowly so it is great for containers or shady areas in the garden. It is really bright with light green leaves and cream colored edges. The second tree was a full moon maple named ‘Moonrise’. This one is a real chameleon as it changes color through the season. It starts out a bright pumpkin orange in the spring and then it will get shades of red and chartreuse while maintaining some of the orange color too. This one gets pretty tall so find a nice place in the garden to spread out. The third tree was native to the Esk Valley of New Zealand and is a cross between a maple and a sycamore called ‘Esk Sunset’. This one has a lot of things happening with its leaves. They have a variegation on the top of the leaves with green and cream coloring in different patterns. The real show is on the underside of the leaf with a bright pink coloring. This is great if it catches sunlight or a nice breeze. The sunlight creates a stained glass look through the leaf and if it is windy you get flashes of pink with the variegation. The final plant was a dogwood, but it wasn’t a shrinking violet with its bright foliage. The Pagoda Dogwood, also known as Cornus ‘Variegata’, is also known as the wedding cake tree, because of the layers of colorful branches. It is a slow grower and does better in mainly shady areas where it won’t burn in the sun. It is great in containers!
If you would like to see these great plants and more like them, stop by their nursery and gift shop in downtown Aurora. You can also find out more about their Visualscaping service while you are there and get the landscape you’ve always wanted.
Eugene Garden Conservancy Tour
There is nothing like a private garden tour! It is a great way to see private gardens that are not normally open to the public, and a chance to support wonderful organizations at the same time! We learned about one that is taking place in Eugene for our viewers in the southern Willamette Valley from Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms Nursery (541-746-3922). The Garden Conservancy in cooperation with the Willamette Valley Hardy Plant Group is hosting an Open Days tour of 4 gardens in the Eugene area on July 7th from noon to 4pm. 3 of these gardens are tied to Mosaic Gardens a local award winning designer group that is known for full and vibrant gardens. These are incredible gardens that are never open to the public. The fourth garden is located at the home of Northwest Garden Nursery (541-935-3915). The owners of this garden, Ernie and Marietta O’Byrne, have had their garden featured in tons of publications and most recently in their new Timber Press book ‘A Tapestry Garden’. It is a garden that can’t be missed.
Normally when we stop by Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (1-800-525-2367) it is to see the great tall bearded iris during their annual Open Garden event in the late spring. This time however we are there to see the wonderful new daylilies that they are growing. This is nothing new for the Schreiner family. They used to grow daylilies for years, but quit when their iris business started to grow. Steve Schreiner joined William in the fields to tell William that they decided to get back into growing when they were approached by Bill Marriott, an award winning hybridizer of daylilies, and saw the incredible ones that he was growing. Of the thousands that are available on the market, the Schreiners are only growing 500. These will be evaluated and will change if they are found to be ‘not up to parr’ for our area.
The wonderful plants are called daylilies, because the bloom only lasts one day. The good news is that the plant sends up multiple scapes (flower stalks) loaded with blooms. The key to success is full sun and good feeding. They like a well-balanced fertilizer (Steve mentioned 14-14-14) and good watering. They don’t like to dry out! If you would like to get some of these wonderful plant for your garden you can contact Schreiner’s until September 15th. They have them all listed on their website.
Smith Berry Barn Fest
It is time for the 15th Annual Berry Festival at Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) on Scholls Ferry Road. On the 4th of July from 11am to 4pm, you can stop by and enjoy fresh berry desserts, wine tasting, hot off the grill sausages and hot dogs, and live music. This is a family friendly event with Alpacas, farm animals and a ‘berried treasure’ hunt. You can also stop by the gift shop to pick up some gourmet products and sample a fresh berry milkshake. You can also go out and do a little u-picking of your favorite berries. With all the spring heat, the strawberries are gone, but there are tons of berries ripening every day! You can pick various varieties of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and loganberries.
We met with Joelle to learn about how to pick berries and a couple of new varieties that they are growing. Everyone has picked strawberries, but not too many people know when blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are ripe. Blueberries are probably the easiest to pick. You actually ‘tickle’ them off the plant. When blueberries are ripe, they are completely blue and easily come off in your hand with a gentle touch. When you are picking raspberries you shouldn’t have to pull too hard to get them off the plant. Ripe raspberries will leave the center plug on the plant when you pull them. Blackberries should come off easily too, but they will keep the center core with the berries when you pick it. You can taste one to make sure it is ripe and then look for similar berries in color and shape. Don’t forget to look under the branches. Sometimes the biggest berries are hiding under the branches!
Joelle talked about two of the newest berries they have. The first one was an ‘Obsidian’ blackberry. It is a cross between a Marion and a Olallie blackberry. It brings the best of both parents to the cane. Great taste and has fewer seeds! The other new berry is a thornless boysenberry. Very easy to pick! The most over-looked berry in their fields is the Tay Berry. Joelle told us that this one was a cross between and blackberry and a raspberry. It has a very interesting flavor that some people would call ‘floral’ We thought it was almost the flavor of rose petals. Very unique and very good! It is amazing how well the berries are this year and they all taste great! They have lots of new varieties that are ripe for the picking every day and you can check their website for a daily update on what is ripe in the field. Take some home to remember your day in the country!