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Happy Father’s Day weekend! Here we are at the end of June and I was hoping that my Father’s Day gift would be an incredible stretch of dry weather. Oh well, there’s always the fourth of July to look forward to.
As you all know by now, next week is our last episode of the Garden Time TV show. The Garden Time magazine will also wrap up on July 1st. It is a sad time for all of us. We wish we could have continued to produce the show, but it is time to dial back on the work load. However!!! We taped our first Garden Time podcast on Wednesday of this past week. It will require less work and we can take our time producing them without the weekly deadline. Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to July!
Salvias are a great garden plant and there are so many different varieties that you can choose from it can be hard to pick just one. We stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) to talk with Ron about a portion of the varieties that they offer. The Junction is the retail arm of Blooming Advantage, a great grower of garden plants. That means they carry about every type of salvia that Blooming advantage grows! They have over 5 acres of nursery space, so if you check out their tables you can find even more choices! Pollinators love salvias and the more you have in your garden the more pollinators will visit. These plants are popular with bees, hummingbirds and even butterflies.
Ron started by talking about the culinary salvias, also known as sage. These are fragrant and tasty. Some, like the ‘La Crema’ also have wonderful variegated leaves so they look great even when they are not in the kitchen! One of the best for fragrance is the pineapple sage. It smells like pineapple when you brush the leaves.
We then moved to the less hardy types for your garden and containers. Less hardy may mean that they will not survive the cold winter months, but they are still incredibly beautiful and deserve a place in your garden. We looked at a bunch of them including the small ‘Summer Jewel’ with its pink blooms and the ‘Mirage Deep Salmon’ with its salmon colored blooms. Another two that were covered in blooms was the red bloomed ‘Free Speech’ and the pink and white ‘Stormy Pink’. One that had a little spreading habit is the ‘Oriental Dove’ with its tiny lavender blooms. We then moved to a taller variety of salvia that some have found to be hardy, the skyscraper series of salvia. We saw the ‘Skyscraper Orange’, but there are other colors too. Other taller varieties include the ‘Black and Bloom’ with very dark bloom stalks and striking ‘Eveline’ with curly pink blooms that were so different from the other blooms. ‘Mistic Spires’ is a little shorter but it too was covered in bloom stalks! We then moved into the hardier plants with some that can survive to -20 and lower. ‘Blue Hill’ and ‘Sixteen Candles’ are two of these hardy ones that you can choose to use in your garden and they have the added benefit of repelling deer. The final one we looked at was called ‘Little Kiss’ and was a smaller version of the very popular ‘Hot Lips’.
The key to salvias and their getting more blooms is to deadhead them as the summer goes on. That means you remove the old bloom stalks as they fade and new ones will emerge with even more blooms! A second key is to give them full sun. They love the sunshine, just make sure they are well watered, but not sitting in water.
For more information on salvias and to see a huge selection, stop by Blooming Junction this week!
It is June and that means Strawberries! The cooler weather has slowed them down a little bit, but now that the weather is getting warmer, they are starting to go crazy! Bauman’s Farm and Garden (503-792-3524) is loaded with tons of fresh fruit and now is the time to stop by and get some for canning or eating. If you are canning, they even have a kit with everything you need to make your own jam. If you are into eating a lot, they have the berries and even the shortcake to go with it, and this Saturday, June 18th, they have a treat for dad. In honor of Father’s Day they are giving a free strawberry shortcake to every dad that stops by. Go to Bauman’s for the berries and get a free shortcake for dad. Remember they will be closed on Sunday, so stop by today.
Hughes Waterlilies and Lotus
If you have a pond or water feature you may think your plant palette is limited for beautiful blooming plants, but you are wrong. Two of the most popular plants for water gardens and ponds are waterlilies and lotus, and there is one place to find a huge selection, Hughes Water Gardens (503-638-1709)! We met with Eamonn Hughes about both of these great water palnts. We met him in the Waterlily house at the nursery to talk about the different kinds of waterlilies and lotus that we can grow in the Northwest water garden. There are 2 main categories of water lilies, tropical and hardy. The hardy ones will survive any winter weather that we will get here, as long as you place them in the right area of your pond or water feature. They need to be moved to a deep area in your pond. They are safe as long as we don’t get 6 inches of ice, which would be very unusual. Once spring rolls around you would just bring the plant up to the shallow areas of your pond again and fertilize it for the new season of growth.
Tropical water lilies can be wintered over as well. They just need to be brought into a sheltered area like a garage or shed where they will stay warmer. Just be aware that they might not survive even if you protect them, just enjoy them for one season and consider any other seasons as a bonus. They really like a warmer water temperature of around 65 to 70 before they really take off. The tropicals will also give you more bang for your buck. Where a hardy lily will give you one or two blooms a week, the tropical ones will give you one or two new blooms every day if conditions are right! Waterlilies are not just for a pond either. Some of the smaller varieties will do well in a water bowl on your deck.
Lotus are very hardy for our area and can survive down to zone 4 (Chicago type weather) but they need warm water to produce blooms. If you have a shallow pond you can achieve the required temps pretty quickly in the summer or you can use a water bowl to warm things up for these plants. Bloom colors and flower styles have become more varied over time. Eamonn had a deep red colored one he just brought in from China and a huge double petaled blooming pink one. The coolest part of these, for kids and adults alike, are the water repellent leaves. The water beads up and you can swirl it on the leaves.
To learn more about waterlilies and lotus, and how to grow them, just stop by and ask the great staff at Hughes Water Gardens.
Jan’s June Tips
We dropped by Jan’s for our final tips of the month for June. We were surprised when we stopped and Sally and Michael, some very dear friends, viewers and Garden Time tour alum, were waiting to see us and join us for our shoot! For years Jan has given us great gardening information based on science and university research, and this month was no different. We started in her greenhouse to talk a bout vegetable planting. It has been a cold and wet spring and that has delayed the planting of vegetables in most gardens. Jan still had plants on her greenhouse benches, and it is fine. The weather is now just getting up to the right temperature and soon those plants will get in the ground. The harvest may be delayed, but she will see plenty of produce from these plants later in the season. We also talked about strawberries. Yes, they too are late. Once again, just be patient and shop your local farmers markets if yours aren’t ready yet. One thing that the rain may have affected are the blooms on your fruiting trees and shrubs. The blooms may have been knocked down by rain, or it may have been too cold for the normal pollinators to visit them, so be aware that you may have less fruit to choose from in your garden, or it could be fine, time will tell. If you do see tiny apples and pears on the ground that could be normal ‘June drop’. This is when unpollinated fruit drop off the trees and is noticeable on the ground. It is normal and nothing to worry about.
We then moved outside to check on the famous lemon tree. It was not looking too great, but it will bounce back. This tree became famous on our show when Jan received it from Sally and Michael years ago. It had a lot of bugs and Jan had left it outside for the winter. It survived and we have been following the journey of its recovery and fruiting. Jan also showed us her datura that she recently moved back outdoors. It had a lot of blooms in the greenhouse and as things warm up outside, it will be covered with blooms again!
Our final tip was about clothing… actually Jan had Ryan holding up a rhubarb leaf and it was huge! Jan had added a lot of nitrogen earlier this spring and that resulted in a big harvest of rhubarb.
We want to thank Jan for being a great resource of garden information and a very dear friend. We hope you all have enjoyed her tips as much as we have! For more garden tips you can always check out the OSU Extension website.
Garland Patio Plants
The spring may have been cold and wet, but you can warm up your deck or patio with bright and exciting plants! To get an idea about how to do that we stopped by Garland Nursery (800-296-6601) and talked with Lee Powell. He had pulled a cart of cool textures and warm colors for us to look at. Many years ago Lee had told us his advice to customers, build your plant palette on your cart then it is easily transferable to your garden.
We started with some smaller plants like the Alstroemaria ‘Elaine Orange’. This had a huge amount of salmon colored bloom stalks. As these die back you can just pull the old stalk out of the ground and a new one will grow up in its place. That was next to the New Zealand Rock Lily. These small grass-like plant had a tiny splattered dot variegation and was incredibly soft to the touch. The flowers are not too great, but the foliage alone makes it a keeper for the garden. The next plant was the Pittosporum ‘Golf Ball’. It has tiny bright green leaves with a dark stem and it grows into a ball shape, thus the name. Next was a favorite for those looking for a true tropical type of plant, the canna. These all have great tropical looking leaves with cool flower spikes. This one was a new one called ‘Tropicanna Black’. It has very dark leaves and a bright orange flower in the summer. Next was a plant known for its great texture, the Ligularia ‘Last Dance’. It has large leaves that love the shade and it also has yellow flower spikes. It likes water and if it dries out it will tell you with its droopy leaves. The next plant was a spectacular shrub, a hydrangea, called ‘Fire Island – Seaside Serenade’. It was covered in blooms that were cream colored with red edges. It is a stunner! There were other smaller plants in the front of the cart and they are plentiful and popular in the garden. These included the selections of small dahlias in pots and the heucheras. The heuchera we saw was ‘Carnival Watermelon’ and it had leaves that were a nice warm peachy color. Behind the heuchera was a Melianthus, also called Honey Bush. The texture on this one was unique and one of a kind. Another great texture plant is the Colocasia, or Elephant Ear plant. This one had a darker leaf and has the typical, tropical feel and is shaped like an elephant ear. We ended our plant selections with the popular and non-hardy Mandevilla. This one was called ‘Merlot’ with its bountiful dark red blooms, and with regular feeding, it will just keep blooming until frost.
If you are looking to warm up your deck, patio or garden, stop by and see the ‘hot’ plants at Garland Nursery.
Zebith Art Book
A few years ago we met a botanical artist, Zebith Thalden, whose drawings reminded me of catching bugs when I was little. She was holding classes at Leach Botanical Garden. Since then she has grown busy with classes and writing. In fact she is finishing up a new book with her drawings and how people can learn to draw like her from Timber Press. It is due out next year. Zebith is someone who excels at capturing insects and plants on paper and canvas. Zebith is an incredible artist who has pictures and sculptures so incredible that you would think that it was the real thing. Earlier she had told us about her childhood when she first started to notice how colorful and detailed these creatures were. It was when she was sketching a beetle that she noticed that it was teaching her all about color theory, proportion, the golden mean, and many other concepts. This love of bugs has even led Zebith to becoming a champion for these little creatures. So how do you start to do your own drawing of bugs? First, you can go to her website and get a feel for her drawings. Then get a sketchbook and a HB pencil to start. If you want to start drawing in color you can pick up some Prismacolor pencils. Then head to the garden. Take your time and observe. When you find an insect you want to draw, draw it first. Since they are on the move you will want to make sure you get it first. Then, once you have a good start on drawing the bug, start to fill in around it with the background plants. These tips she shares in her classes and soon in her new book.
If you would like a little more information and instruction you can attend a class with Zebith. Check out her scheduled classes on her website. She will keep people updated on her progress of the book on her site too. A few minutes drawing with Zebith and you’ll get excited about bugs too!
Dwarf Iris Book
Many of us are familiar with the tall bearded iris that you can find at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, but there are many other types of iris that people may be less familiar with. Our good friend, garden hybridizer and author, Kevin Vaughn invited us to his garden about a month ago to tell us about the underused and overlooked dwarf and median irises. These are varieties that will bloom earlier in the garden, well before their taller cousins, and are just as floriferous. Kevin told us that these smaller varieties are made for the new American landscape. They are smaller and, with most of them, can grow well in containers and pots. They are very hardy and get a lot of blooms for the small area they fill.
Kevin found that these are so under utilized and misunderstood that he wrote a book about them! ‘Dwarf and Median Irises, Jewels of the Iris World’ is now available through Amazon and selected outlets on-line. We found ourselves excited about this new book and we hope that it will help cast a light on these beautiful blooming gems!
Waterwise Tips for Summer
Spring is here and it is wet!!! But, that doesn't mean that you will have a wet landscape forever! We met with Bonny Cushman, our friend from the Regional Water Providers Consortium, to learn about efficient watering and when you should turn on the garden spigot! She shared a few tips for gaging your water usage.
With all this spring rain, you can hold off on watering for now, unless you have new plants and/or sandy soil. You can check your soil by digging down a couple inches. If it is wet, then you can hold off on watering for now. What you can do in the meantime is check your system for leaks and adjust your sprinklers to see where their coverage pattern is. You may have to trim some plants to make sure that your sprinklers are not blocked. Now is also a good time to add mulch to your garden. A layer of mulch will prevent weed growth and provide nutrients to your plants, but it will also help secure moisture in your garden beds which can help reduce your usage of water on those hot days of summer. Your usage of water can also be monitored by creating a watering schedule for your garden. Some areas/plants many need more water and some areas less. Adjust your watering schedule to make sure that they are receiving the water that each area needs without over watering other areas. The RWPC can help with your watering if you sign up to receive the weekly watering number (https://www.regionalh2o.org/water-conservation/outdoor-water-conservation/weekly-watering-number). If you live in the Portland metro area you can get this weekly number to help you gage your watering to limit the overuse of this great resource. 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.
We ended our visit in Bonny’s front yard by the parking strip. A couple of years ago Bonny and her husband got rid of the old grass lawn and replanted it with drought tolerant plants. It is looking great! The plants have filled in and it looks incredible, plus the local pollinator population is happy too! We also said goodbye to the group of people that have helped us spread the waterwise message to you, our viewers. Kevin, Christine, Amy and Sarah also stopped by to wish us well. They, along with others (Jim and Steve) are still working with the RWPC and your local water providers to help you save water and money. Check out the RWPC website for more great tips.
Eric G – Deck Tips
Late spring marks the time for our annual migration to our decks and patios, and if you have a wood deck it also means the chore of cleaning and resealing your deck surface. This yearly project can be time consuming and expensive, and still, you may only extend the life of your deck by a couple of years at best. To get some tips on redoing your deck we stopped by the home of Eric Goranson, Eric G of the Around the House show and podcast. Eric told us about the benefits of replacing your deck with one of the new composite materials on the market. He mentioned that the typical wood deck will last only about 15 years, while a composite deck can last 40 years or more, with less maintenance. Eric showed us a new material from MoistureShield that he used. This new type of decking actually reflects heat! It can stay cooler in the sun and that means less pain for your bare feet and your pets paws on the deck surface. This surface is also sealed so it won’t stain as easily if you happen to spill something on it. The key to the longevity of your deck is directly tied to the supports you have underneath it. So when installing a newer composite deck Eric recommends that you don’t skimp on quality materials underneath the deck surface.
We also noticed a new piece on the edge of the composite board called Dexerdry. This is a barrier that you install when you put your deck down and it helps keep moisture and debris from leaking through the space between your boards. This is great if you have an upper deck with living space under it. The area underneath will now stay nice and dry. It can also be used in the main deck portion too, to prevent all that garbage from accumulating in those cracks.
These were great tips and you can find more information about home care and home projects from Eric on his Podcast and Radio show ‘Around the House with Eric G and Caroline B’. This is a great show that shares information for the beginner and pro alike. They are able to tackle big projects because they have the time to do ‘deep dives’ into the information and make it easy to understand. Check them out on your favorite podcast host or on their website.
TOW – Sprayer Tips
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 be 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!