Archive | June, 2012

Red, White & Blue in a July Garden

28 Jun

By Stacie Palmer – Planscaper at Dennis’ 7 Dees

What, I asked myself, would be a fun, festive combination of plants? Red, white, and blue flowers fit right into the July garden, so what will they be? Why not ‘Lucifer,’ ‘Snowcap,’ and ‘Victoria’? Read on to learn more. . .

RED: Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is a perennial that grows from a corm, and is native to Africa. As could be guessed, Crocosmia grow the best in well-draining soil situated in full sun. Making their appearance mid- summer, bright red, tubular flowers are born at the tips of sparse branches, and open from bottom to top. Medium green and sword-like, ‘Lucifer’s’ foliage is pleated, and sits just below the profusion of crimson blooms. Up to 4 feet tall with flower, the habit of this plant is gently arching, making both flower and foliage great bouquet additives. Did I mention how irresistible the flowers of ‘Lucifer’ are to hummingbirds?

WHITE: Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Snowcap’ is a dwarf relative of the old-fashioned favorite, Shasta daisy. This perennial flower loves sun, isn’t picky about soil, and grows quickly. In late spring to summer, single white flowers with yellow eyes drench this plant. It, too, makes a nice cut flower. Because the stature is of a dwarf nature (12”-15” tall and wide on average and in bloom), ‘Snowcap’ withstands wind and rain more hardily than other daisies. What a great addition to the front of any bed—how about edging with a drift of ‘Snowcap’ daisies?! Butterflies adore them, yet rabbits do not.

BLUE: Ceanothus impressus ‘Victoria’ explodes like fireworks into a profusion of blue flowers in spring, then sporadically throughout the summer. Her foliage is dark green, glossy little ovals that are deeply veined and full of texture; what a fabulous backdrop for those flowers! This species of plant is native to Oregon and California, and exhibits tremendous drought tolerance once established. Other attributes include wind and salted air tolerance, as well as resistance to deer browsing. ‘Victoria’ needs fairly ample space in the sun/part sun (she matures on average at 6’-8’ tall and wide), well-drained soil is appreciated, as is protection from winter wind. This is one of the most popular and hardy (zone 7) Ceanothus varieties available in our region. Plant one (or several—great hedge or screen option!) and enjoy the plethora of beneficial insects and pollinators that will feast on the nourishing pollen produced by those incredible indigo blue blossoms! Because this is a plant that is quite tolerant of pruning, why not shape one over an arbor, or into the form of a small tree? What a unique focal point!

Recipe = ‘Victoria’ Ceanothus at the back of the bed, surrounded by a generous helping of ‘Lucifer’ Crocosmia, topped off with an abundance of ‘Snowcap’ Leucanthemum

Vacation Garden Preparation

27 Jun

You may have spent weeks, months or even longer planning for your trip.  Arrangements have been made for the pets, the newspaper and mail put on hold, your calendar is clear and you are ready to go!  Can your houseplants survive without you?  How long can your vegetable garden, patio containers and hanging baskets go without getting watered?

If you are fortunate enough to have summer vacation plans in your future you should be looking forward to some well-deserved and much needed relaxation.  Studies have shown that vacations are good for your health (and I would have to agree).  Leaving one’s home  however, can be stressful.   Preparing your home for a prolonged absence requires some strategic planning, especially if you have plants and/or pets that are staying behind.

Many well-watered houseplants will last for days to perhaps a week on their own.  If you’re heading out for only a few days, give them a final drink just before you leave and move them out of sunny windows or hot locations.  Outdoor potted plants will dry out faster, so give them a good soaking before moving them into a cool garage, basement or laundry room to slow down their water use.  If you have lawn sprinklers that are on automatic timers you can take advantage of them by moving your outdoor potted plants into an area where they will get watered when your lawn does.

Let’s assume your vacation is for longer than a week (to somewhere fabulous, of course).   How can you prevent your plants from suffering the consequences?  You really don’t want to be laying on that tropical beach wondering and stressing about your favorite hanging begonia basket!

Now that school is out and summer has officially begun, come learn how to prepare your garden for vacation.  If you love your plants, it will be well worth your while to spend a little time with our expert vacationer, Nicole.  She will share with you her tales of disappointment and triumphant stories as well as discuss what happens to your garden while you are away on that Alaskan hiking trip of your dreams…

You will learn of several methods to keep plants watered, as well as products to assist plants during periods of drought stress. She will also give you tips and techniques to avoid major disappointment upon your homecoming; returning from vacation is hard enough as it is!

“Vacation Garden Preparation” June 30th @ Cedar Hills 10 am *

“Vacation Garden Preparation” June 30th @ Lake Oswego 1 pm *

“Vacation Garden Preparation” June 30th @ SE Powell 3 pm *

Container Gardening on a Small Balcony – Part 2

27 Jun

by Linda Kay Harrison

My granddaughter, Koby, has been so excited about the raspberries and strawberries in our little balcony garden that I decided to add to it.  She loves to eat salad, so we added some buttercrunch lettuce, with pretty marigolds in the center.  I tore two small pieces of lettuce off one leaf and Koby and I both tasted it. She approved.   

Just a few days ago, we added radishes to our little ‘Garden of Eatin’.   Koby helped me plant them, … well, actually, I helped HER plant them. She loved sprinkling the tiny seeds, and poking them down below the surface of the soil.  As we were planting, she said, ”Lala, this will be a good sau-ad.”

Yes, I think it will.

 

Container Gardenin’ on a Small Balcony

18 Jun

by Linda Kay Harrison – Dennis’ 7 Dees Cedar Hills Garden Center

My 3 year old granddaughter, Koby, has been fascinated by the flowers and vines I have growing on the tiny balcony of our apartment.  It dawned on me that, being a city girl, she’s never experienced gardening, or even seen a garden.  To Koby, food comes from a grocery store, and flowers are often just seen from a distance.  So when I noticed that the strawberries at work, (the Dennis 7 Dees on Butner Rd.), had some big, almost ripe berries on them, I decided to grow some on my balcony for Koby.  So I chose two Quinalts and two Tristar strawberry plants because they are everbearing and tasty.  I also bought one Hood, because they are the sweetest strawberries I’ve ever eaten.  (It’s a shame Hoods are only a June producer, but they are so yummy I had to have at least one.)

When Koby saw that I had big red strawberries growing in a planter, her eyes grew wide with excitement.  “Mommy, look!  Grandma Lala has strawberries with leaves!”  To her, strawberries have always come in a clear plastic container from Albertsons.  She was pretty impressed that Grandma Lala could make them appear on plants.   We picked those first few ripe berries and she was hooked.  Knowing that my five little strawberry plants were not going to produce enough berries to keep a 3 year old’s attention, I also added raspberries.  Now, every day, as soon as she gets home from her daycare, she runs to the balcony to check to see if any berries have ripened since the day before.

Now, my little balcony garden , no… OUR little balcony garden has flowers, vines, strawberries, raspberries, and even a bonsai’d Virginia creeper.  I can’t believe how fun it is to share gardening with a toddler.

Go Grafted!

14 Jun
Seven reasons why grafted tomatoes are greater tomatoes!

  1. Increased production: 4-5 times the fruit of standard tomatoes!
  2. Extreme vigor for improved fruit quality.
  3. Superior disease resistance
  4. Tolerance to environmental stresses.
  5. Increased yields with a prolonged harvest.
  6. Greater resistance to soilborne pathogens and nematodes.
  7. Reliable production of larger and unique heirloom tomato varieties.

With a vision to aid gardeners in reliably producing more food in less space, we are excited to provide Ezra’s Organic Tomoatoes to our customers.
What are grafted tomatoes?!
Due to limited growing space vegetable top grafting was originally developed in Japan to allow growers to produce a large amount of produce in a small space. This technique gives vegetables increased disease resistance, vitality, and productions throughout the season. Ezra’s Organics accomplishes this by grafting a robust wild rootstock (bottom of plant) to flavorful heirloom and hybrid tomatoes (top plant). The result is extremely prolific tomato production, without the diseases that plague many popular varieties. Stop by your neighborhood Dennis’ 7 Dees Garden Center to pick one (or a few) up today!
How to Plant Grafted Tomatoes
In order to enjoy all the benefits of your grafted tomato, you need to plant it slightly differently than a regular tomato. Grafted tomatoes are quite different from the average, regular tomato. Because each plant consists of two plants, fused together, they require some different care and in turn, they give different results. Ezra’s Organics grafted tomatoes have root systems that are 4-5 times larger than a regular tomato.
Be sure to Keep the graft line above the soil – This is the single most important factor in planting a grafted tomato. The superior performance a grafted tomato offers is only possible when you plant the tomato so that the graft line is always above the soil. We usually plant regular tomatoes quite deeply and that works well. However, in order to ensure the benefits of the graft, you must not bury the graft line when planting. Take a close look at your stem and find the graft line. Keep it in mind as you transplant and make sure it stays above the soil. If the graft line is buried, the scion (top part of the plant) will grow its own roots and the benefits from our superior root stock will be lost. Just keep that in mind and you are on your way to success!
Photos & info courtesy of Ezra’s Organics

Landscaping with Northwest Natives

12 Jun

WHY LANDSCAPE WITH NATIVES?

  • Natives are beautiful and provide year-round interest
  • Many are low-maintenance and low-water
  • They help provide habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife
  • Planting natives preserves our natural and cultural heritage, and gives our neighborhoods a sense of regional identity.

    Arbutus menziesii – bark closeup

TIPS FOR DESIGNING WITH NATIVES

  • Match the right plant to the right place
  • Pay attention to the mature size of the plant
  • Choose plants with interest at various times of the year, including bulbs, conifers and winter blooming shrubs.
  • Think in layers: tree canopy, under story plants, ground covers
  • Always be sure to choose nursery grown stock from responsible suppliers.

Need help designing your native plants garden? Planscaper® is landscape design for do-it-yourselfers. Contact your neighborhood Dennis’ 7 Dees garden center for more information.

CARING FOR NATIVES

blechnum spicant – Deer Fern

  • They are ’low-maintenance’ (when planted in an appropriate spot) not ‘no maintenance’.
  • Just like other garden plants, water regularly until established.
  • Mulch to conserve soil moisture and reduce weeds
  • Most natives need no fertilizer
  • Do amend soil with compost
  • Cut back deciduous grasses and perennials in late winter before new growth begins. It’s nice to leave them up over the winter for birds and insects.

GREAT NATIVES RESOURCES

Gardening for Wildlife Flashcards by The Berry Botanic Garden

Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and MacKinnon

GET INSPIRATION FROM NATURAL PLACES AND LOCAL GARDENS

Some places to see native plants in garden settings:

  • Bishop’s Close at Elk Rock SW Portland
  • Berry Botanic Garden SW Portland
  • Leach Botanic Garden SE Portland
  • Hoyt Arboretum SW Portland

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE NORTHWEST NATIVE PLANTS

Deciduous Trees

  • Vine Maple/Acer circinatum—multi-trunked, delicate, small, great fall color, sun to shade with moderate water

    Acer circinatum – Vine Maple fall color

  • Pacific Crabapple/Malus fusca—small, light green oblong foliage w/saw tooth edges, clusters of white to pinkish flowers in spring followed by sour fruit beloved by birds, full sun, moist soil
  • Cascaria/Rhamnus purshiana—small, foliage is oval-shaped with deep ribs, dark green above & lighter underneath, flowers are greenish-white, small—although they’re hidden, butterflies will seek them out, purple-black fruit loved by birds, grows in sun to shade and dry to moist soil

Evergreen Trees

Tsuga heterophylla – Western Hemlock-

  • Western Hemlock/Tsuga heterophylla—large, tall, delicate down-sweeping branches hold feathery sprays of foliage resulting in a graceful appearance, grows in part shade, tolerates range of soil: dry to moist
  • Pacific Madrone/Arbutus menziesii—small to medium, oval dark green glossy foliage is held by amazing stems with branches of color-changing bark: young trees sport smooth, chartreusegreen bark, while mature trees are cinnamon-brown and peeling. White, urn-shaped flowers give way to orange-red berries. Grows in dry, sunny locations
  • Western Red Cedar/Thuja plicata—very large at maturity, pyramidal in shape with slender drooping branches of dark green sprays of foliage, part shade to full sun, moderate water (tolerates quite moist soil)

Shrubs

  • Red Elderberry/Sambucus racemosa—small, deciduous, lance-shaped & divided green foliage, white pyramid-shaped flowers followed by red berries, part shade to sun with moist soil
  • Red Flowering Currant/Ribes sanguimeum—medium to large, deciduous, dark green maplelike leaves and drooping clusters of pink flowers in the spring, tolerates clay soil, drought tolerant once established

    Sambucus racemosa – berries

  • Coast Silk Tassel/Garrya elliptica— large (can be trained as small tree), evergreen, elliptical leaves with wavy margins are very dark green on top and woolly grey underneath, long flower tassels (catkins) occur mid-winter into spring followed by purple fruits (on female plants) that persist through the summer if the birds don’t eat them! Grows in part to full sun and can withstand drought once established

    Philadelphus lewisii – Mockorange

  • Wild Mock Orange/Philadelphus lewisii—medium, deciduous, loose habit of upright arching branches, soft green foliage is a stunning backdrop for its large, fragrant white flowers in early summer, part to full sun and moist to dry soil (more vigorous with regular water)
  • Snowberry/Symphoricarpos albus—small, roundish green leaves, flowers in spring and are pink bells borne in clusters which turn into white fruit late summer and persist through winter— great food for birds, tolerates shade and little water but flowers more with sun and regular water

Perennials

Tellima grandiflora

  • Western Columbine/Aquilegia formosa—32”, low-growing, twice-divided blue-green foliage, late spring into summer striking large nodding, spurred, orange-red and yellow flowers are borne on erect stems up to nearly 3 feet above the foliage—hummingbirds can’t resist them! Full sun to part shade, moist, fertile, well-drained soil
  • Pacific Bleeding Heart/Dicentra formosa—18”, blue-green, feathery, fern-like foliage appears in spring, clusters of pink heart-shaped flowers are prolific, naturalizes readily in mostly shady areas with relatively moist soil

    Dodecatheon poeticum

  • Shooting Star/Dodecatheon—2”-12+”, in spring a short clump of soft green oval foliage appears then gives rise to a bare stalk that hold 1 electric pink-lavender arching flower a few inches to over 1 foot above the leaves, sun to shade, well-drained moist soil

    Dicentra formosa – Western Bleeding Heart

  • Fringecup/Tellima grandiflora—15”, semi-evergreen heart-shaped foliage bears long stalks that are adorned with spikes of numerous tiny white or pink flowers mid-spring through midsummer, part sun to full shade, moist, rich soil
  • Columbia Lily or Tiger Lily/Lilium columbianum—48”, whorls of lance-like foliage below tall stalks that hold flowers of recurved orange petals with brownish speckles in summer, part shade to full sun and relatively moist soil

    Trillium ovatum

  • Pacific Coast Trillium/Trillium ovatum—12”-18”, in spring stout bare stems give rise to whorls of 2 green, spade-shaped leaves and 1 large white flower that ages to rose-purple, dies back and goes dormant in summer, naturalizes if left undisturbed, part to full shade and rich, welldrained, moist soil

 

Ferns

Athyrium felix-femina – Lady Fern

  • Deer Fern/Blechnum spicant—18”, evergreen, dark green, leathery fronds—fertile fronds are held above those that are tufted & sterile, moist shade
  • Licorice Fern/Polypodium glycyrrhiza—12”’ evergreen (semi-evergreen if summer air becomes too dry), glossy green fronds thrive in well-drained, moist shade
  • Western Maidenhair Fern/Adiantum alueticum—12”-24”, herbaceous, delicate fan-shaped leaflets of glimmering light to bright green hold onto black stems—glamorous!, moist, welldrained shade
  • Lady Fern/Athyrium filix-femina—3’-6’, herbaceous, erect frond of light to dark green lanceshaped fronds, moist, well-drained shade to part-sun (prefers shade)

Groundcovers

  • Vancouveria hexandra – Inside Out Flower

    Bunchberry/Cornus canadensis—6”, semi-evergreen to evergreen, deeply veined, mediumgreen, roundish to oval foliage, white flowers in late spring through summer give way to orangered berries that are a beloved bird treat!

  • Inside Out Flower/Vancouveria hexandra—12”, green foliage resembles duck feet, late spring into early summer nodding stems hold white, shooting star-like flowers that have bent back petals, shade to part sun and fertile, well-drained, moist soil
  • Beach or Coastal Strawberry /Fragaria chiloensis—4”, evergreen, glossy foliage is dark green above and silvery underneath, white flowers in spring, small edible red fruit in summer, sunny site with regular water
  • Mahonia repens – winter color

    Creeping Oregon Grape or Creeping Mahonia/Mahonia repens—to 12”, evergreen, 3-7 toothed leaflets make up a leaf of blue-green color (amazing winter color of bronze to purplishrose), small yellow late spring flowers, blue berries in summer (birds love ‘em!), full sun to part shade, minimal water needed once established

Something Old, Something New, Something Easy, Something Blue

5 Jun

by Linda Kay Harrison

“I love it because it reminds me of my grandmother’s yard when I was little.”

I hear that a lot about hydrangeas. There is something nostalgic and even comforting about a hydrangea in bloom, their big soft mop-heads bobbing gracefully in the breeze.

Hydrangeas have been a part of our yards and gardens since the early 1800’s.  No wonder they are so loved and well known.  And while some of those original varieties like ‘Pee Gee’, are still available today, there are many new cultivars that bloom longer, stronger, and more beautiful than ever.

‘Invincibelle’ Hydrangea

‘Incredi-ball’ Hydrangea

Some of the newer hydrangeas include the ‘Endless Summer’,  ‘Incredi-Ball’, ‘Invincibelle’, and ‘Pistachio’, just to name a few.  The blooms on these newer varieties can begin in May and continue through September.  Some varieties can produce blooms up to 10” across.  Others are so colorful they look like they’ve been finger painted by a kindergarten class.

Hydrangea ‘Forever Pink’

Hydrangeas come in a wide variety of sizes from about 3 feet up to 8 feet tall. With some afternoon shade, and good acidic soil, they require very little effort to keep looking lovely year to year.  Hydrangeas do benefit from a good ‘hair cut’ each year.  Since most hydrangeas bloom on old wood, it’s best to prune them right after blooming.

‘Pistachio’ Hydrangea

‘Nikko Blue’ Hydrangea

Colors vary greatly too, from white, blue, red, purple, green and multi.  In some cases, the color can even be controlled by the grower to “change” from pink to blue by changing the acidity of the soil.  Blue seems to be the most popular color for hydrangeas, and one of the most amazing blue hydrangeas is Nikko Blue.  It starts out a pale blue and becomes brighter with maturity.  Add a little sulfur to make the soil a bit more acidic, and the Nikko Blue is almost neon blue.

Stop by and let us help you find the right hydrangea for your own little piece of nostalgia.  At Dennis 7 Dees, we really do have “Something Old, Something New, Something Easy, Something Blue.”

Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’

‘Limelight’ Hydrangea

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