Archive | August, 2012

A Front Yard Facelift

30 Aug

By John Curtis – Landscape designer at Dennis’ 7 Dees

Have you ever thought about how to modernize a tired looking front yard?  The same one you have been walking past for so many years and wondering what could be done to freshen it up.  Here is an example of a front yard renovation project that gives a new look to an older style home.

The first goal was to create an updated look to the front entry.  Another was to improve the handicap access of the front walkway.  Because the entire front yard lawn sloped towards the house there was also a seasonal drainage issue that needed to be addressed.  Water would accumulate around the front of the garage and entry during periods of heavy rain.

The design plan called for removal of the dated brick planter and entry walkway.  The brick planter was replaced with a simple soil mound and large boulders.  The brick walkway was replaced with a modern concrete paver pathway which was built up on both sides as it approached the front porch.  This eliminated the steps and created a smooth surface and transition to the front porch that is easy to negotiate.

To solve the drainage issue, a decorative ‘dry creek bed’ was constructed with perforated drain pipe underneath to intercept any seasonal water build up and carry it away from the front of the garage and entry.

The owner had previously taken out some large trees and opened up planting areas that had been mostly shady in the past.  Now these areas had a sunny, southwest, exposure and needed new plantings to fit the change in sunlight conditions  The plantings were designed with a mix of evergreens, seasonal perennials and ornamental grasses to give a long lasting display of colors and interest throughout the spring and summer.

By implementing these landscape improvements, the entire look of this 1950’s ranch style home was successfully updated and the handicap access and drainage issues were effectively resolved.

Home-Grown Tomato Tasting Festival

29 Aug

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, September 15th @ Lake Oswego & Sunday, September 16th @ SE PowellThere’s no better way to end summer than with a beautiful harvest of fresh, juicy, colorful tomatoes. Each September our Lake Oswego garden center host an annual FREE home-grown Tomato Tasting Festival to celebrate this wonderful summer fruit and for the community to enjoy the delicious varieties available in the Northwest. We partner with our growers and a few employees pitch in to provide 50+ unique sizes, shapes, colors & flavors. For this first year we will be expanding this event to our SE Powell location.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 15th 10am-4pm at Lake Oswego & Sunday, September 16th 10am-4pm at our SE Powell garden center.

Tomato guru, Nicole Forbes, cooks up yummy salsas & tomato recipes for all attendees to enjoy and to inspire those with too many tomatoes to handle. For the first year ever we will not only be tasting all the wonderful fruit but will have a few select varieties for sale as well.

Attendees will have a chance to vote for their favorite variety and plan their crops for next year. Stay tuned for this years winners!

Interested in entering our Salsa contests? Call Nicole Forbes at 503.777.1421 for details!

Hydrangea quercifolia – Oakleaf hydrangea

27 Aug

 By Stacie Palmer – Planscaper at Dennis’ 7 Dees

Snow Queen

Let us introduce you to an autumn superstar: oakleaf hydrangea. You may be under the assumption that all hydrangeas are alike; myth debunked!

Native to the North American southeast, oakleaf hydrangea thrives in partial sun and rich, porous soil that has good drainage. Although oakleaf hydrangea is more tolerant of drier soil than mophead and lacecap hydrangeas, it is a plant that prefers regular water—definitely while establishing in the garden. Note: it does not tolerate ‘wet feet,’ so ensure that you’ve properly amended soil for optimal drainage. Fast growing, this rounded deciduous shrub introduces delectable texture, color, and presence.

From its deeply-lobed, large deep green leaves, to its elongated creamy-white flower panicles, gorgeous fall color, and cinnamon-color bark, this extraordinary shrub offers literally 12 months of interest. Better yet, there’s a variety for both large and small gardens!

fall color!

Spring arrives and we revel in oakleaf hydrangea’s amply-sized foliage. Late summer the flowers arrive! As summer progresses, the flower panicles transition from white to rosy/pinkish-mauve, and persist on the shrub well into fall–if you can resist cutting them for a bouquet! Summer winds down, the nights become cool, and plants prepare for slumber. It is at this time the foliage magically transforms into a feast for the eyes, rich with color. Green leaves evolve into an absolutely stunning crimson with purple and/or bronze tones. Enjoy the show, for winter is not far behind. Once oakleaf hydrangea drops its leaves, exfoliating cinnamon-colored bark is revealed. The plant’s unique texture holds us over until spring arrives and the cycle begins anew.

Pee Wee fall color

Common varieties of Hydrangea quercifolia are ‘Snow Queen,’ which produces stacks of single florets, and grows to an average of 4’-6’ tall and wide. Looking for something smaller? ‘Pee Wee’ matures at a mere 3’-4’ tall and wide and has all the same unique traits as its larger cousin. Either variety makes a wonderful specimen/focal point, massed grouping, or foundation plant within a bed.

Pee Wee

Should you need to prune your oakleaf hydrangea, do so after it has flowered to avoid cutting off next year’s flower buds. Pruning of this plant is not required, yet some people do so to create what is generally considered a ‘tidier’ look. Keep in mind that flowers can persist on the plant well into early winter, adding to its seasonal interest. Flowers left on the plant over the winter can easily be snapped off the branches in early spring (done just below the origin of the flower, taking caution to not disturb the new growth about to happen). Carefully remove dead branches at any time.

Looking to bring the beauty indoors? Just as other species of hydrangeas, the flowers of the oakleaf make a wonderful addition to a fresh and/or dried arrangement.

Stages Of Bloom For Roses

24 Aug

The Redneck Rosarian

I often receive tweets on the #RoseChat Twitter stream regarding the stages of bloom for roses. I was out in the garden yesterday and came across a spray of blooms and it struck me that we have all stages of blooms represented here. I hope the photos below will demonstrate the three basic stages of bloom for roses. The one not marked, I would call “unfurling”.. Is that a word??? (yes, thanks Mr. Webster)

 

THIS WEEKEND ON ROSE CHAT RADIO:

We’ll be chatting with Kristen Smith, Plant Expert at STAR Roses & Plants. There new rose, ‘Francis Meilland’ has won top honors this year. The best part: It was tested under NO SPRAY conditions and still won! Wow! Can’t wait to hear more about this beauty..

Saturday 8/25/2012 – 9:30 am CST or anytime thereafter on-demand just click HERE to listen.

 

Oh, there was a great article published in…

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Delightful Ornamental Grasses

21 Aug

By Linda Kay Harrison

You probably have a spot in your garden or landscape that needs a little ‘something’, right?  Lots of people do, but are not sure what to do with it. Consider adding ornamental grasses.

Ornamental grasses are a wonderful addition to any garden.  There is a size and shape to fit almost any space. Some grasses have a graceful arching habit, while others are very upright and vase shape.  They provide an appealing texture and contrast to most garden plants. There are grasses for both sun and shade, and most varieties can also provide year-round interest.

Landscape project completed by Dennis’ 7 Dees at PDX Headquarters

Grasses also come in a wide variety of colors and textures. In addition to green, there are grasses that are tones of bronze, reds, yellows, golds, silvers, blues and even black. Some grasses have narrow, wispy blades, and some are bold, with wide leaves and fleshy stalks.

PDX Headquarters

Most ornamental grasses produce a plume or seed head that adds an element of interest beginning in late summer and that, if left uncut, will usually last through the winter.  The best time to cut back most ornamental grasses is late winter or very early spring, just as the new growth starts popping up.

Here is a brief list of some of our favorite grasses:

Sun grasses:

Blue Oat Grass

Fescue ‘Elijah Blue’

Liriope

Molina ‘Variagata’

Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’

Calamagrostis ‘Karl Forster’

Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’

Carex – ‘Prairie Fire’

 

Shade grasses:

Carex ‘Sparkler’ and ‘Evergold’

Japanese Forest Grass

Ophipogon ‘Black Mondo’

Juncus ‘Gold Strike’ and ‘Unicorn Rush’

Lazula ‘Aurea’

 

Evergreen grasses:

 

Blue Oat Grass

Fescue ‘Elijah Blue’

Liriope

Carex

Juncus

 

Grasses can add a contemporary look to containers especially when paired with annual succulents!

Dennis’ 7 Dees carries a wide variety of ornamental grasses and their knowledgeable staff can help you find just the right grass for that spot that needs that little ‘something’ special.

Breathtaking Water Features

20 Aug

By Drew Snodgrass – Landscape Designer at Dennis’ 7 Dees & one of the original Dees                                                                                                                                                                Ready to tackle a most rewarding landscape improvement? Water features are a breathtaking addition to the landscape but please consider avoiding the pitfalls that create high maintenance and a less than attractive final result.

Designed by Drew Snodgrass of Dennis’ 7 Dees

  1. Plan for success, determine the look you want whether simple or small, such as a column spoutingwater or a waterfall as large and elaborate as you want and have room for.
  2. Verify pump and electrical needs and where best to place and draw power.
  3. Locate the feature and orient it for maximum viewing appeal. My very strong recommendation is to make it safe and easy to maintain.
  4. You should not have to empty your water feature for cleaning. A skimmer vault, bottom drain and bio falls will make maintenance as easy as dumping out a collection bag on a regular basis. Water is drawn to the pump through a recessed collection bag and filter plate where surface debris is collected before it has a chance to settle to the bottom of your pond and decompose. The bottom drain circulates the water, also drawing it through the collection and filter plate in the vault. Algae will still grow on rocks but the water will be clear.
  5. For safety, fence out unwanted visitors as necessary or you can have a very shallow water feature with 1-4” of water while kids are small, but dig the pond as deep as you will ultimately like. Fill with river rock and surface the river rock with pea gravel to the desired depth. Later you can remove rock to the new desired depth as time goes on.
  6. If you want fish, (they’ll feed on the algae),you should allow for 3’ of water depth plus 6” of pea gravel covering the floor. Bridge in hiding places above the pond floor.
  7. Vertical sides will deter raccoons and shelving the sides of the pond makes it easier to stack rock to hide the liner. Keep the look as natural as possible and remember you must hide the liner completely.
  8. If you want water plants plan for them as you build your pond. Buy a pot the size of the plants you want. Research the ideal depth of water for the plant. Set the empty pot where you want the plant and hide all but the top as you rock in the liner.
  9. After cleaning the pond thoroughly, fill it, add de-chlorinator and then add the plants when water PH is ready. Cover the roots with the pea gravel.
  10. Once the water feature is complete you should consider adding lighting. Lighting spillways with underwater lights from the base of falls or from the sides, pointing toward spillways and away from views is important, (See the effect, not the fixture or source).

Although this sounds like a fun DIY project it really is lots of work and the easiest way to do any or all I’ve suggested is call Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping, (503)777-7777, get a great design, free estimate and have us install a beautiful and low maintenance end result.

The photos included in this article are of some of my water feature installations. . Water features are one of my favorite elements to incorporate into the landscape.

Drew Snodgrass, CLP, Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping

Roses are Red & More

16 Aug

Not sure which type of rose is the best for you? Here is a brief explanation between the different varieties available. It’s wonderful living in Portland, the City of Roses, as all of them have a perfect place & purpose in our beautiful city!

Dennis’ 7 Dees has a thousands of roses and hundreds of varieties

Shrub  – low growing rose buses that are generally disease resistant and continual bloomers. Good addition to any garden.  Blooms June-November.

Shrub Rose

Floribunda –   matures to 4ish feet on average. Florabundas are characterized by clusters of blooms. Repeat blooms through summer. Many are disease resistant. Variety of colors available.

Grandiflora – taller variety that can be single stem or clusters. Perfect for the gardener who is looking for some height in their garden as these grow to 5-6 feet. Similar to classic hybrid tea with a little more height.

Grandiflora

Hybrid tea– the classic rose for the rose gardener. Large single stem cut rose. If you enter rose shows this is the one that will win the queen of the show. Available in a rainbow of colors. You will find your hybrid teas to the most fragrant in the garden!

Rugosa– old fashioned rose that is hearty to -5 and does well at the coast. Emits the classic spicy rose fragrance. These roses will thrive in the garden without a whole lot of maintenance.

David Austin (English) Hybrid Tea X Rigosa – David Austin has taken the classic old fashioned rose and hybridized it to repeat bloom while conserving the classic fragrance. A modern rose with the fragrance and look of old European varieties.

David Austin – English Rose

David Austin – English Rose

Tree– on a 36” graft. Great addition to the patio for a small tree that blooms all summer. Also an excellent choice for a container.

Tree Rose

Patio– short version of a tree rose. A bit lower graft.

Mini – under 2’ tall. Perfect plant for the gardener that loves roses but has limited space. Although this variety is small, it produces plentiful booms.

Miniature Rose

Climbers – for the arbor or fence you are looking to smother in color. Comes in a variety of colors and many varieties bloom all summer. Ask our staff how to make your climbing rose bloom prolifically from top to bottom.

Ground cover – low growing rose. Many varieties are nearly disease free. Used commonly on hillsides and slopes that are hard to maintain. Bloom & bloom & bloom and then bloom some more!

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