Friday, August 28, 2009

Coming up . . .

Time to prune hydrangeas?

Many flowers are still looking good now, and many gardeners like to leave the dried blossoms on the plants over the winter. Others prefer to clean up the garden or take the flowers inside to enjoy.

To ensure that you get flowers next season, cut back flower stems just above a bud. You can do that now or in spring. Either way, cut out any dead stems, weak or damaged stems, or any others that don’t fit the shape you want.

No hydrangeas to prune? What about . . .

Fantastic Fall Containers
Join Al’s Experts Josh Clark, in Woodburn, and Lora Keddie, in Sherwood, as they demonstrate how to transition the colors in your landscape to the rich tones of fall starting with containers.
Al’s Garden Center – Sherwood or Woodburn; Saturday, August 29th; 10:00 am.

Rain Garden 101 Workshop
Learn how to construct your own rain garden and about the critical role they can play in urban stream restoration. Learn how to assess a site, choose the best location, select appropriate plants, and maintain a new rain garden. The class is free, but advanced registration is required. Register online with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District.
Metro's Natural Gardening Series at Saint Paul Lutheran Church (3880 SE Brooklyn St.); Saturday, August 29th, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Gardening on Slopes
Richie Steffen (Coordinator of Horticulture at Seattle’s Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden) explores good plant choices for a broad spectrum of steep situations from full sun to dark shade. Considerations and tips for establishing plants and maintaining these difficult sites will also be discussed.
Joy Creek Nursery; Sunday, August 30th, 1:00 pm.

Cover Crops
These are the unsung heroes of the garden – supplying multiple benefits for a minimum of labor! Eric Sears will highlight the different types of cover crops and their benefits. He will also discuss how to plant and dig in cover crops. There is a cover crop for every situation, and they give an organic boost to the overall health and vitality of the garden!
Portland Nursery – Stark; Sunday, August 30th, 1:00 pm.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer winding down?

Don’t turn your back on your garden just yet. There’s lots to enjoy. My ever-bearing strawberries are still producing, and the tomatoes are in their prime.

I grew some of the blue potatoes (they’re more purple, actually) in a container, this summer, and harvested them early. I got a pound and a half of potatoes from a two-ounce start. Pretty good!

If your vegetable garden is still producing, too, consider one last shot of plant food. There are still weeks and weeks left for vegetables to increase in size or ripen up. So, if you haven’t added some fertilizer in the past month, help them out.

Fish-based plant food is one natural product that is available pretty quickly to garden plants and can make a difference fast. You can also use a fast-acting synthetic plant food – just mix with water.

Flowers in the garden and containers continue to bloom and bloom. Keep them watered when temperatures go higher and trim off faded flowers and scruffy leaves. Most will last well into fall. Consider a bit of plant food for these plants, as well.

Summer may be winding down, but our gardens are still going strong. Let's enjoy them!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Coming up . . .

Are you caught up in your garden – everything planted, fertilized, watered, and weeded? If you are, there are a lot of events to attend with gardeners who share your interests.

Landscape to Improve your Home’s Value
Designer, Ron Phillips, will discuss how to improve your home’s street appeal with skillful plantings. Then Vicki Burr, an experienced realtor, will share strategies to make your home stand out in this tough housing market. Bring large photos of your home and landscaping for on‐the‐spot professional assessment and suggestions.
Farmington Gardens; Saturday, August 15th, 1:00 pm.

Ground Cover Solutions
Ground covers can help prevent weeds and erosion, create a low-maintenance landscape and benefit wildlife. They also work well in container plantings and borders. Come learn about Stepables and other low-growing plants from Megan of Little Prince of Oregon Nursery.
Seven Dees Nursery – Cedar Hills; Saturday, August 15th, 10:00 am.

Ornamental Grasses
When you consider the variety of size, texture, and color available in ornamental grasses, as well as the differing environmental niches they fill, there is a grass suited to almost any garden. Join Maurice Horn, co-owner of Joy Creek Nursery, to learn about the care, maintenance, and growing habits to enhance their enjoyment and, best of all, simplify the gardener's work.
Joy Creek Nursery; Sunday, August 16th, 1:00 pm.

Arranging Flowers from your Yard
Join Al’s Expert, Bruce Hegna, to learn how to make beautiful flower arrangements using the flowers from your own yard.
Al’s Garden Center – Gresham; Saturday, August 15th, 10:00 am.

Crape Myrtle Basics
Nothing beats the late summer bloom of the crape myrtle. Join Al’s owner Jack Bigej as he shares the basics about one of his favorite plants. Attend this class and learn how to grow and care for these beauties in your yard.
Al’s Garden Center – Woodburn; Saturday, August 15th, 10:00 am.

Planting Partners for Crape Myrtles
Join Garden Designer, Jane Luthy, to learn about great partners to plant with the late-blooming beauties. From beautiful blooms to fabulous foliage, certain plants make great planting partners for crape myrtles.
Al’s Garden Center – Sherwood; Saturday, August 15th, 10:00 am.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Coming Up . . .

Hot Weather Watering
Confused about how much water is the “right” amount for your landscape? Find out how much water (in inches) your lawn, shrubs, trees, and flowers will need each week. Visit the Regional Water Providers Consortium website to sign up for your Weekly Watering Number email, specific to your zipcode. And start watering more efficiently.

Protect your garden from pests without pesticides
Learn how nature can help you control pests, weeds and plant diseases. Hands-on activities include identifying insects and applying compost tea. Includes a complimentary quart of compost tea, while supplies last. Free. No registration necessary.
Metro's Natural Techniques Garden (6800 SE 57th Ave., Portland); Saturday, August 8th, Presentation 10:00 am; Activity time 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Permaculture Basics
A key element in permaculture is to have plants in the garden serve multiple functions, grow well together, and eventually create a self-maintaining system. Learn how to weave this practice into your garden. Leonard Barrett is a professional permaculture landscaper through Barrett Ecological
Portland Nursery – Stark; Sunday, August 9th, 1:00 pm.

Arranging Flowers from Your Yard
Join Al’s expert, Barbara Dinsmore, to learn how to make beautiful flower arrangements using the flowers from your yard.
Al’s Garden Center – Woodburn; Saturday, August 8th, 10:00 am.

Join Jim Siehl, of Blooming Nursery to find out why eco-roofs have become an important element in green buildings, understand why engineering is necessary to make them possible, and appreciate the plants that do the work. Green roof technology is advancing very rapidly with examples of different styles of roofs visible in the Portland Metro area.
Joy Creek Nursery; August 9th, 1:00 pm.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Go Behind the Scenes!

Every year hundreds of plant breeders and growers travel to Portland to show off their newest shrubs, trees, and flowers to garden center buyers, landscapers, and garden designers from around the country. The Farwest Show is one of the largest nursery trade shows in the country.

Later this month, 10 lucky winners will go behind-the-scenes at the Show to meet top, local growers and see brand new plants coming on the market. They will also tour the New Variety Showcase with the garden’s designers. And how can you enter to win??

The Oregon Association of Nurseries organizes this show (which is for wholesalers) as well as two events for home gardeners. In spring, it’s the Yard, Garden & Patio Show, and coming up in September is Le Tour des Plants.

Le Tour is a self-guided tour of nurseries in the Portland metro area (including southwest Washington) and throughout the Willamette Valley. There’ll be display gardens, ideas for fall planting, helpful hints, hands-on demonstrations, discounts, special drawings, and lots of inspiration!

To stay in touch with all the Le Tour des Plants activities through the Random Acts of Gardening blog and to enter your name for the behind-the-scenes tour of the Farwest Show, sign up to receive email updates and share what gardening means to you.

Deadline is Thursday, August 13th. Good luck!