Tag Archives: garden center portland oregon

‘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!

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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.

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