Friday, September 25, 2009

Coming up . . .

Slugs are out there laying eggs for the coming season, and now is the time to fight them. No matter what method you use (bait, trap, or pruner), fall is the best time to reduce their numbers. If you want to know more, I'll be speaking on slug hunting at the Master Gardener Plant Sale this weekend.

Master Gardener Plant Sale
Fall is the ideal time to plant and the Multnomah County Master Gardeners have been growing plants all season to share with gardeners this weekend – all at great prices.
There will also be short talks on raising chickens, fighting slugs, cooking, and propagating your own plants. Here’s a chance to have all your garden questions answered and find some new plants. Find out more (see page 16).
The Learning Garden (S.E. 60th, between Duke and Flavel); Saturday, September 26th, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Welcome the Rain
Celebrate clean water and soak up some knowledge about downspout disconnection, green streets, and urban stormwater issues. Explore ways to help improve water quality for people, fish and wildlife.
Free workshops cover rainwater harvesting, how to build an ecoroof, naturescaping, tree planting, disconnecting your downspouts, and more. A special Bicycle Tour will highlight stormwater solutions in the neighborhood. Bring your helmet!
Sponsored by the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District - Rigler Elementary School (5401 NE Prescott St); Saturday, September 26: 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.

Landscaping with Edibles
Be inspired about ways to incorporate edible plants into any landscape. Your garden can be beautiful and delicious. Abigail Pierce will highlight growing edibles and ornamentals together.
Portland Nursery – Stark; Sunday, September 27th, 1:00 pm.

Low Water Gardening
This last winter was a good test for Mediterranean gardens. That a majority of plants survived in Joy Creek’s no-water borders is testimony to both the plants themselves and the soil amendments that make these borders possible. Autumn is the perfect time to plan and plant a dry garden to take advantage of the coming rains. Maurice Horn (co-owner of Joy Creek) will discuss how they amend the soils and make plant choices.
Joy Creek Nursery; Sunday, September 27th, 1:00 pm.

Creating a Pet-Friendly Garden
If pets are an important part of your life, come learn how to garden in a manner that is safe for your ‘best friends’ while still being fun and creative for you. Melinda Frey, from Raindrop Garden Design, and Anne Taylor, from Living Elements, will share tips for providing for your pet’s needs in an environment that is beautiful and inviting for all who use the garden. Please call to register: 503-649-4568.
Farmington Gardens; Sunday, September 27th, 1:00 pm.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coming up . . .

Le Tour des Plants, a festival of fall gardening, continues through the weekend. There’s still lots to see and do at nurseries up and down the Willamette Valley. Just yesterday, I picked up a few (okay, more than a few) fuchsias to tuck into the landscape. Thanks Ron and Debbie at Monnier's Country Gardens!

Ask the Professionals!
Get help with that tricky garden design challenge in your yard. Bring photos and talk to the Seven Dees landscape design professionals in a 15-minute, free consultation.
Dennis’ Seven Dees – Eastside, Lake Oswego, and Cedar Hills; through Saturday, September 19th, all day.

How-to-make-it Demonstrations
See how to make those light-weight, but look-tough, make-at-home hypertufa planters. Or learn how to build a green-roofed garden structure.
Egan Gardens, in Salem; Friday, September 18th, all day.

There’s Always Something New!
Take a look into the future of perennials at the Showcase of Hot New Plants from Terra Nova Nurseries.
Farmington Gardens; Friday, September 18th, all day.

Year-Round Edibles
Vegetable gardening doesn’t stop at the end of summer. Tracy, of Westwind Gardens will share the secrets of cool season veggies for a continuing harvest.
Dennis’ Seven Dees – Cedar Hills; Saturday, September 19th; 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

Winter Containers
Create a winter container combination that will delight you through the cold weather months. Joy Creek’s Ramona Wulzen will discuss the essentials for breathtaking containers throughout the winter.
Joy Creek Nursery; Sunday, September 20th, 1:00 pm.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sad Little Cucumbers

Last year there was a bumper crop of cucumbers. You could have one every time you left the house. Just pick it off the vine on your way to the car. This year three plants produced really nothing edible – as you see.

This seems to be a pollination issue. I wouldn’t think that this would be a problem in my yard. I have a crop of oregano which is covered with bees, throughout the spring and summer. That is my indication that they are around.

But perhaps they weren’t out and about at the right time, though. The male and female flowers have to be open at the same time. Female flowers only stay open for one day, and the female flower has to be visited 15 times, for full pollination.

Was it the weather? High humidity makes the pollen less “good.” Hot temperatures (we had those!) can damage the pollen.

Or maybe it was just me. Uneven watering can lead to uneven growth.

One idea I did have. The cucumbers were surrounded by bean plants. This seemed like a good use of space. The beans would go up the trellis and the cucumbers would sprawl on the ground. I wonder whether the bees just couldn’t find the cukes!

There’s always next year and thank heavens for the Farmer’s Markets!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Coming up . . .

Fall Gardening Festivities

Le Tour des Plants is really an incredible opportunity for gardeners and would-be gardeners to find new plants, ask the experts, and get some good deals on plants and garden accessories. Pick any day from Saturday, the 12th, through Sunday, the 20th, to go exploring nurseries from SW Washington to Corvallis.

Thirty-one retail nurseries are participating to show off gardening – many offering special pricing for fall planting. They are also holding a really astonishing array of classes – rain gardens, green walls, worm composting, dividing peonies, growing kiwis, pruning hydrangeas, and much, much more.

How about expert-guided tours of places you always wanted to see or never knew were there?

Did you know there’s an olive grove producing olive oil right here in Oregon? Red Ridge Farm will show you how it’s done.

Our own J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. has one of the largest collections of deciduous tree cultivars in North America – open to the public for only the second time ever. Trying to choose a tree for your home? See what it will look like 5 or 10 years from now.

There will be daily tours of the largest fuchsia display/test garden in the US at Monnier’s Country Gardens.

Check out all the tours on the Le Tour website.

There will be entertainment and food to sample at nurseries along with the plants. Opportunities to get design help and planting information. And surely someone has just the plant or pot you were looking for at a great price.

Pick up your Le Tour passport at local nurseries or check out all the activities online. Fall is a great time to garden and Le Tour makes it fun!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Coming up . . .

Though generally considered to be the last “summer” weekend, don’t let this Labor Day holiday end your gardening season. There are fall vegetables to start, plants to divide, fall flowers to plant, and roses left to bloom. Our Pacific Northwest climate means we can have good-looking landscapes year-round. Take advantage of our luck.

Living Wall Hangings and Miniscapes
Demonstration and inspiration for vertical gardening and knock-your-socks-off container plantings with Mulysa Melco.
Dennis’ Seven Dees – SE Powell; Saturday, September 5th, 1:00 to 2:00 pm.

Late Bloomers
Paul Bonine, co-owner Xera Plants, sees autumn as a time of reinvigoration and discovery with a multitude of plants reaching their peak. Join him and find how these can enliven your late summer landscape.
Joy Creek Nursery; Sunday, September 6th, 1:00 pm.

Dahlia Festival
Want to know how to divide your dahlias? This is the place to ask. Wondering what all the dahlia fever is about? This is the place to find out. Or would you like to just wander through fields of rich color in diverse forms. See the dahlia fields any day through September, but demonstrations and displays can be seen this weekend.
Swan Island Dahlias (995 NW 22nd Ave., Canby); Friday to Sunday, September 4th through 6th.

Native Plants, Garden Gems
Northwest garden writer, Lisa Albert, will speak on integrating the wide range of native plants into your existing landscape to take advantage of their beauty and variety.
Multnomah County Master Gardeners (Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church at 5441 SE Belmont); Tuesday, September 8th, 7:00 pm.

Big Bugs and Multiplying Hydrangeas

Last Saturday, caller George of Molalla sent us a photo of this insect – the Prionus beetle. It’s gigantic, isn’t it? Jean, our behind the scenes bug gal, identified it right away.

This intimidating specimen is not exactly uncommon in Oregon, but not found running around just everywhere, either. This is the adult stage. It appears in July or August and lives for about 60 days. Unfortunately, in those two months they lay lots of eggs.

The good news is that they don’t attack people or houses. The bad news is that they do attack tree roots – fruit trees and ornamental trees. They are a problem for hops growers (some of which are near Molalla).

Porch or driveway lights attract them at night, so that’s why they showed up on the doorstep.

Gardener Joe was interested in taking cuttings of his hydrangea. Now is a good time, but cuttings can also be taken in spring.

A branch that doesn’t have flowers on it may root faster. Take a cutting with two leaf nodes (where the leaves come out). Cut off the leaves from the bottom node – closest to the ground. Dip it in rooting hormone – just ask in the garden center. Put it in perlite. Keep the perlite well watered, but not sitting in water. Mist it with clean water every day.

Putting the whole thing in a plastic bag can help keep the cutting moist, but may also encourage disease. I usually put the cuttings in a plastic bag, but don’t close the top.

Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees, and Vines with Stem Cuttings is an extension publication that has lots of discussion and photos to study.