Summer is trickling away… and we’ve spent most of it on the road. First we took a vacation and then we just finished up our tour of Europe. It only shows us that the time we spent in the garden, even in the heat, was special. As we approach Labor Day next weekend, we hope that everyone had a chance to spend some quality time in their gardens with family and friends. Now we will sit back and watch the slow changing of the seasons and get ready for the next phase of our gardens to take place.
This week we featured...
Little Baja Statuary
We have all seen statues in the garden, but what do those statues mean? To learn more we stopped by Little Baja (503-432-8959). Some of the most popular of the statues are animal shapes. Some people will use animal statues to remember a pet that has passed away while others adopt the Native American’s belief that an animal statue can bring characteristics of that animal to a garden. A wolf or bear statue might welcome the spirit of that animal to your garden. Gargoyles have a long history of being in the garden. Since the middle ages gargoyles are believed to protect against evil spirits. I wonder if they would scare away the moles in our garden? Gardens are a place of thought and prayer, and for some people that brings in a religious theme. Bringing in angels and statues of the Madonna can help to bring tranquility to the garden. One of the most popular is a statue of Francis of Assisi. He thought all animals were brothers and sisters to us all and he is often pictured holding a bird. Some believe he could talk to the animals as well. Fairies and gnomes are long believed to live in gardens and having a statue of one is thought to bring luck to a home. If you don’t take care of the fairies and gnomes they are rumored to cause mischief and take things from your garden. Eastern and Asian art is also a popular theme. Buddha in all his forms can be found in many gardens and can help bring luck, tranquility and whimsy depending on the type of piece you find. Asian art can also be functional as well. Some of the pagodas can hold candles and can be used as lanterns for night time strolls through the garden. If you would like to see all the different varieties of statues and find one for your garden, check out the selection at Little Baja… now, I think a gnome took my pruners and I need to go find them.
Late Summer Plants
It is late summer and the plants in our garden are looking a little tired. For some plants that thrive in the heat we stopped by Sebright Gardens (503-463-9615) in Brooks. Kirk had a cart of plants in their display gardens to share with us. The first one was a fern, but not just any fern, this one was a lace fern with fine textured foliage. It is a hardy fern that can handle the heat and the cold. The next couple of plants were hostas. The first one was ‘Atlantis’, a large specimen that has huge thick leaves. It gets a nice yellow edge to the leaf in the summer sun. The second hosta was ‘Stained Glass’. This one had a wonderful fragrant bloom that you don’t always get with a hosta. It had yellow leaves with a green edge and the leaves just keep coming through the season, so if one gets damaged, you just cut it off! The next plant was a Rose Mallow (in the hibiscus family) called ‘Starry Starry Night’. This plant gets those tropical looking blooms, but it also has great burgundy foliage too. The next plant was really different! Roscoea purpurea ‘Cinnamon Stick’ is a hardy plant that had cool purple and white flowers at the end of long red colored stems. They looked like cinnamon sticks! The final plant we looked at was the Abutilon or Flowering Maple. This variety was called ‘Jerry’s Red Wax’ because the flowers are so thick and full they look like red wax. These are great summer performers in the garden and come in a ton of different colors and sizes.
Sebright is also part of the Cascade Nursery Trail sale this Saturday at their nursery. This is a great group of smaller nurseries that grow some wonderful plants! Stop by, enjoy some tasty food and wine, and take home a great plant!
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 pests 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 25, 26, 27 and September 1, 2, and 3 (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.
Stur-D Fence Post Bracket
They tell us that this coming winter may be a bad one, again! That means it is time to get out and fix that fence! Most broken fences are because of damaged or rotted posts. This damage and rot is usually at the base of the post where it makes contact with the top of the soil. That means that the rest of the post is perfectly fine and doesn’t need replacing. To help fix this problem we met with Chuck the owner and co-creator of the Stur D Fence Post Bracket (503-941-5228). This is a steel support bracket that will fix your fence post without digging up the old cement. It is really easy to do. You start by digging a hole next to the broken post (6 inches away from the post) and just outside of the old cement ball. Dig down about 18 or 19 inches deep. Attach the Stur D bracket to the post. You pre-drill the holes and then use large lag screws to secure the bracket to the post. Fill the hole at the bottom 1/3 full of water and add a sack of concrete and mix it in the hole. Then level and secure the post for 24 hours until the concrete sets up and you’re done. It was just that easy!
If you are looking for this quick and easy fix that will add years to the life of your fence, you can check out their website or your local Parr Lumber location!
TOW - Veggie Water for Plants
Our tip for this week is about water and containers! We recently steamed some vegetables for dinner and when we were through we decided to share the leftover water with our thirsty container plants. We let the water cool down and then poured it on our plants. This water contains some of the nutrients from our steamed vegetables and helps keep our container plants happy and healthy.