Thursday, June 16, 2011

Starting a summer container

Occasionally the growers of new plants send out samples to various garden folks. We can try them out and be able to comment on them, if a reader or listener asks.

Well, earlier this spring the Proven Winners folks did just that. They also sent along their book of “how to build a pretty container.” As someone who has very little eye for good color combinations (just ask my sister), I appreciate this. Their website also has dozens of container ideas – in case you have my sense of design.

So the variety they sent is Cherry Star, one of the Superbells®. That is, it’s a revved up version of the Million Bells®, which became so popular a while back – also called calibrachoa – sort of a smaller and less fussy/messy petunia.

Well, I saw it along side of a sweet potato vine in the photo and thought, “I can do that.” It is only a couple of weeks old and already looks like I know what I’m doing.

My lesson is – don’t turn down help and don’t give up on having nice-looking container combinations.

PS: the Cherry Star Superbells won’t be available until 2012, but there are many other current colors from White to Tequila Sunrise to Blackberry Punch.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Flowers and More Flowers

Judging the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade Floats was not easy. Each has its own special sense of design and unique approach.

Unusual combinations of flowers and colors enhance a display or provide a particular effect. Want a wildflower meadow - it's there. How about an ocean motif - it's there. Drama, whimsey, humor - all done with flowers, seeds, leaves, fronds, and floral material of every kind!

My favorite? Well, there was this little snail - all decorated up using beans!! This one won't eat your lettuce, though. It's a sea snail.

Check out the fabulous floats, plus all the bands and other Rose Festival events, of course.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More on the ANLD Tour

Random Acts of Gardening has a great review of the ANLD tour.

Catch it here.

And this is what you call "adding color to your garden"!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How the Professionals Do It

On Saturday, the 18th, you can visit eight professionally-designed gardens to see how experienced landscape designers resolved the challenges these homes presented.

For me, the real fun of garden tours is finding those new ideas that can enhance my own garden. The Association of Northwest Landscape Designers (ANLD) Behind the Scenes Tour has lots to offer in terms of intriguing uses of plants, structure that defines and showcases a home, and some really dramatic art work.

Whether houses are getting bigger or lots are getting smaller, there seems to be less room for outdoor living. This path to the back of the house is a welcoming and interesting change from the traditional concrete-sidewalk-to-the-backyard.

And if that entry way needs a dramatic touch, perhaps a multi-level water fall would be just the ticket.

You'll find solutions and ideas for your sloped hills, small spaces, freezing winds, and privacy demands. Garden designers and garden owners will be on hand to give you the scoop behind the polished finale.

You'll also find garden art throughout the gardens - many pieces made especially to be shown at this event.

Find out more about the tour here. Tickets are $20 - available online or at local nurseries (Portland Nursery, Garden Fever, Magnolia Manor, and Dennis 7 Dees). Proceeds support ANLD scholarship programs in our community.

Judging the Parade Floats

This year I am on the Judging Team for the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade Floats. What a treat! They are judged over three days, so it seems pretty comprehensive.

I look forward to seeing how the flowers and other floral materials are used to create the textures for all the characters, animals, structures, and more.

For a look at the floats from previous years, click here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Temperatures are trending up!

It may not be a steady trend, but can we really wait any longer?

Do you still have plants in pots? Afraid that the soil is still too cold and wet? Let’s get them into the ground and give them a chance.

If you think your garden spot is still too cold, cover the plants with a cloche (fancy name for any sort of cover to keep heat around plants). It could be a plastic tent, a bell jar, or even a large jar turned upside-down.

One gardeners favorite is the Walls O’Water, those blue tubes filled with water. Though these are generally used to protect early plants from cold nights, they could be used all season to add extra warmth to the soil. And Portland gardens surely need that.

Tomatoes and peppers come from areas in South America where temperatures never dip below the 50’s. In our area temperatures never get above the 50’s. A bit of a tough spot for these crops.

And the continuing rain isn’t helping.

I'll be in the studio this Saturday, 10 till noon, so let's talk!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TaborSpace Master Gardener Clinic

Come celebrate the newest Master Gardener Plant Clinic in the community space and coffeehouse known as TaborSpace in the Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church at SE 55th and SE Belmont. Today, Wednesday, May 18th, from 4 pm to 7 pm.

Tonight's Kick-off Celebration includes specially-selected Vegetable Starts to get your garden started - finally! Many of the varieties for sale are those recommended for successfully growing in the NW by vegetable expert, Willi Galloway.

Green Zebra Tomato
Juane Flamme Tomato
Legend Tomato
Purple Calabash Tomato
Stupice Tomato
Cherry Bomb Hot Pepper
Little Finger Eggplant
Purple Tomatillo

Portland Nursery loaded up 100 of these premium organic veggie starts and they are on their way to the TaborSpace Kick-Off celebration,.

So drop by TaborSpace tonight - join the 'Kick-Off' celebration, get your garden question answered, buy some beautiful veggie starts, enjoy some sweet and savory treats, and the company of the TaborSpace community.