Archive | Featured Plants RSS feed for this section

‘Mum’s the Word

19 Sep

By Linda Kay Harrison

When the days become a little shorter, and the nights a little longer, hardy Chrysanthemums take notice and begin their magnificent fall display of color. Chrysanthemums are one of the most popular perennials in the world, because of their fall blooming habit.  When many other perennials are done for the season, the hardy Mum is just getting started.  A pot of bright colored ‘mums’ is sure to help ease the painful farewell to summer.


Hardy mums come in a wide variety of flower colors, including white, yellow, gold, bronze, red, burgundy, pink, and lavender. Mums grow to about 2 or 3 feet high, depending on the cultivar and growing conditions.  They are easy to grow and are long lasting as cut flowers.

Chrysanthemums work great in pots, but can also go right into the ground.  They need well drained soil, and plenty of sunlight.  They look great planted in masses, but don’t over crowd them, they need good circulation to avoid disease.  To keep your mums a tight and busy plant, it’s a good idea to cut them back to about 8 to 10 inches after they are done blooming, then when the new spring growth is about 4 to 6 inches, pinch or cut back the center of the plant to encourage side shoots to fill in.  Pinching just an inch or two every 3 or 4 weeks is enough.  Then stop pinching by early summer so that flower buds can set. Don’t forget a good fertilize for your mums.  We recommend Dr. Earth Bud and Bloom once a month from early spring to about July or early August for the best fall display.

Check out the beautiful selection of Chrysanthemums at any of our Dennis 7 Dees locations!

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.

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.

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!

When the ‘Dark Knight’ rises – it’s not always Batman

13 Aug

By Linda Kay Harrison

Whether you are in Gotham, or the Portland area, late summer is a difficult time of year for the garden.  Many perennials and shrubs are done blooming.  It’s hot and difficult to keep things watered.  So what can you put in the yard that can handle the heat and lack of water?  As long as we’re at it, is there something that will bloom in this heat?  How about fragrant blooms? Oh, and nothing too big, please.  Actually, low maintenance would be great too,…

Wow, that’s a lot to ask for from one plant!  Sounds like a job for a “super hero”.  And here it is!  The ‘Dark Knight’  Caryopteris!

Often called bluebeard or blue mist, Caryopteris is one of the few shrubs that bloom in late summer.  It blooms a lovely rich blue that completely covers the shrub in sweetly scented flowers.  The soft silvery green leaves are fragrant too when brushed against.  Blooms begin in early August and continue well into fall.  They are attractive to butterflies, bumblebees and other beneficial insects which makes it a friendly side kick to any landscape.

Caryopteris likes well drained soil and is drought tolerant. It rarely has any insect or fungus problems.   Caryopteris is as close to a maintenance free plant as you’ll ever find.  It maintains a nice mound or globe shape at about 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.   It can benefit from being cut back to a foot or 18” every few years, but that is just about the only maintenance ever needed.  ‘Super’ simple.

You might also check out the ‘Sunshine Blue’ caryopteris.  Same ‘tough guy’ aspects as the ‘Dark Knight’, but with lemon/lime colored leaves and paler blue flowers.

You don’t have to go batty trying to figure out how to keep your yard looking amazing. Let the heroes at Dennis 7 Dees help with ideas for all your landscape needs.

Espalier Fruit Trees

1 Aug

By Stacie Palmer of Dennis’ 7 Dees

What could be better than growing an orchard in the city?! Given that most gardens are limited in space and consist of a small urban lot, or apartment/condominium terrace, how in the world can we grow apple or pear trees? The answer: espalier apple and pear trees!

Espalier (ehs-PAL-yay) is a method of training woody plants by tying branches to a frame so that they grow into a flat, two-dimensional plane. Most often we see espalier shrubs or trees trained against a structure such as a wall, fence, or trellis. Not only does this method of training allow for smaller plants and greater crop yield at a height accessible for harvest, it also can take advantage of maximizing radiant heat for crop maturation (i.e. a plant trained on a trellis against a fence or building).

Because dwarf fruit trees are trained by growers into espalier form, they are genetically smaller in size, and thereby more adaptable to small spaces. Once the desired shape has been created, pruning is aimed at preventing excessive foliage growth, forcing the tree to instead focus energy on fruit production.

Both apples and pears have similar cultural needs.

1) A site in a warm, sunny location where the soil is well-drained and rich with organic material.

2) Good air circulation

3) Regular deep watering to supplement rain, as needed, while fruit is developing.

4) Presence of a minimum of two differing varieties of apple or pear for cross-pollination

5) Winter chill

6) Commitment to disease and pest prevention (and treatment, should the need arise)

When we put all of this information together, we get espalier 4-in-1 or 6-in-1 apple or pear trees! Growers have grafted onto a disease-resistant root stock, either 4 or 6 different varieties of apple or pear. Viola! That takes care of the need for multiple varieties for pollination AND the trees are already trained in espalier form. We can expect grafted espalier apple and pear trees to reach approximately 15 feet in height and 8 to 10 feet in spread/width. Just think of all the functions such a plant could provide: focal point on a warm house or shed wall, screen the recycling and garbage bins, living ‘fence’ between areas of the garden, etc. Imagine harvesting 4 or 6 different types of apples or pears, full of nutritious, sweet goodness from your very own orchard in the city!

With all good things comes a caveat: there is definitely a maintenance commitment. An espalier fruit tree must have its form maintained on a regular basis; the longer you let it go, the larger job it becomes. In addition to pruning, one must maintain a regimen for pest and disease prevention (and treatment, should the need arise). Keep in mind that maintenance of a fruit tree differs from that of other woody ornamental plants. Our staff, as well as OSU Extension Services are fabulous resources available to you.

Let’s Talk Succulents!

6 Jul

Aloe

Oregon seems to have two types of environments, moist shade, and dry sun, with very little in between.  I’ve written previous post about plants for shade, but what about those hot dry areas?  Well,… let’s talk succulents!

‘Succulent’, literally means ‘juicy’, and is a term used for many types of plants like sedums and sempervivums that have a wonderful ability to hold moisture in their thick, fleshy leaves and stems.  This ability to retain moisture enables them to grow in hot, dry conditions with a lot of sun and very little water. Most are hardy to zone 3 or 4, and some are even evergreen. Succulents are perfect for rock gardens, xeriscapes and other dry areas with poor soil. However, they do not like clay soil, so be sure amend clay for better drainage. (Note: never mix sand with clay soil. Sand + clay = concrete.)

Cobweb Sempervirens

Ogon Sedum

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of species of sedums, and many cultivars within each species.  They come in an amazing variety of textures and colors and usually have lovely, delicate blooms during different parts of the summer.

In addition to rock gardens and dry soil areas, succulents are fantastic for planters.  They look great in an old tin bucket or glass milk jug.  I’ve even seen them spilling out the top of an old boot.  They make great wreaths and topiaries, too.  With succulents, you are limited only by your imagination.  Just make sure they have plenty of sun, good drainage, and take care not to over water them.

Living Roof

 

Chicks & Hens

Succulents are also used for ‘living roofs’ which are becoming more and more common every year.  Living roofs on buildings have several benefits. They remove pollutants from the air and replace it with oxygen.  They use the rain rather than have it become a bothersome run-off.  And succulents are perfect for living roofs because they can withstand long periods without water, and have shallow roots, so it doesn’t take a lot of soil to grow them, keeping the weight on the roof to a minimum

Oh, and two more words on why succulents are so wonderful,… DEER RESISTANT!

Join us for a hands-on succulent container gardening workshop on the following dates: Saturday, July 14th – 10am @ Lake Oswego – Register Now! Saturday, July 14th – 10am @ Seaside – Register Now! Saturday, July 28th – 10am @ Cedar Hills – Register Now!

 

%d bloggers like this: