Tag Archives: garden center

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!

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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.

Anti-Mosquito Tips For Your Yard

13 Jul

By Linda Kay Harrison

There are few things in life that are as enjoyable and memorable as a warm summer evening out in the backyard,… and there is nothing that can ruin one as quickly as mosquitoes. Nothing sends us running indoors quite like that annoying little buzz in our ears that we know will turn into itchy welts later.

The reality is that mosquitoes are more than just annoying.  Mosquitoes carry many diseases that can cause serious health issues.  So how do you go about driving away these tiny pests once they’ve made their appearance?

Here are some great ‘environmentally low-impact’ tips:

  • Start by checking your yard for any sources standing water.  Female mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs at a time, and do so in multiple water filled locations.  Sources of standing water can be ponds, birdbaths, flower pots and sauces, kiddie pools, the dog’s water dish, even low spots in your lawn
    • For ponds that you can’t drain weekly use mosquito dunks that are safe for fish and plants.  You can also use a product that contains Bacillus Thuringiensis, BT, which is a bacteria that kills mosquito larvae, but will not do harm to animals or humans.  Dennis’ 7 Dees has both of these products.
    • You might also add a spitter or fountain head to create movement in the water.  Mosquitoes use standing water to incubate eggs.
    • Stock your pond with fish that eat mosquito larvae like Shubunkins, Koi and Sarasa Comets.  These fish can eat up to 500 mosquito larvae a day.
    • Attract birds to your yard. A good bird population can make a huge difference in mosquito population. Many common backyard birds eat mosquitoes, so try putting out a bird feeder and a bird house. Don’t forget the hummingbird feeder. Over 10% of a hummingbird’s diet is small insects like mosquitoes.
  • Although some might say they’d rather have the mosquitoes, attracting bats to your yard is an excellent way to get rid of mosquitoes.  One bat can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour! That’s a good reason to consider putting a bat house in your yard!
  • There are several plants you can use in your landscape and patio pots that will help you get rid of  mosquitoes naturally.  And most are beautiful and low maintenance.
  • Try planting crocosmia, monarda, fuchsia, honeysuckle and trumpet vine to attract hummingbirds.
  • Echinacea, coreopsis, and sunflowers attract finches and other insect-eating birds to your yard.
  • Some plants repel mosquitoes with their scent. Sassafras and sweet basil repel mosquitoes for short distances, so these are good choices for the pots in and around seating areas, decks and patios.
  • Other plants you might use for their repellant qualities are:
    • Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)
    • Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
    • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
    • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
    • Marigolds (Tagetes spp.)
    • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
    • Garlic (Allium sativum)
    • Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
    • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.)
    • Lavendar (Lavandula angustifolia )

If you’re just itching to get outside, don’t let mosquitoes spoil the fun! Instead, let the knowledgeable staff at Dennis’ 7 Dees help you find everything you need to take back your yard this summer!

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