Tag Archives: Gardening

‘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!

Fall Bulbs for Spring Color

14 Sep

By Stacie Palmer of Dennis’ 7 Dees

September through November is THE time to plant bulbs for a succession of color next spring. Ideally, you’ll get your bulbs in the ground before it becomes sopping wet, and in time for root set prior to winter arriving. Why do we plant bulbs now? Spring-blooming flowers that come from bulbs need a period of cooling in order to flower; alas, NOW!

When selecting flower bulbs, choose as many as you have the space and energy to plant! When it comes to bulbs, more (versus less) is the key to big color and presence in spring. Inspect each bulb for a solid, healthy appearance, free of mold. Ideally you will get them planted as soon as possible after you make your purchase. Because life happens, plan to store your bulbs in a cool, dark place until you have the opportunity to dig.

Prior to planting, your soil will need to be enriched/amended . . .don’t skip this step! Work compost into the first 12-18 inches of soil—this is the amending part. You’ll also need on hand fish bone meal and/or Dr. Earth Bulb formula. Plan for about 2 cups bone meal for every 10 square feet of bed space. If using Dr. Earth Bulb formula, follow package directions. (In the spring a water soluble fertilizer solution may be used just when shoots emerge, then no more fertilizing).

The general rule of thumb when planting bulbs is to plant them two to three times deeper than the bulb is tall, with the pointed end UP. Regarding method of planting, you can either use a bulb digger or prepare large areas in which bulbs will be placed together. If some bulbs need to be planted deeper than others, no problem! Simply create mounds of soil within the larger hole, so that the more shallow bulbs are raised up to their needed soil depth. Another method is to simply toss your bulbs in the air, and plant them where they land. Not only is that fun, it also results in a more naturalistic look.

Equally important when planting bulbs is to provide them with nutrients, specifically a good source of phosphorous. For proper root and shoot development bulbs need phosphorous. Most commonly used is bone meal. This component is mixed into the soil just below where the bulb is placed. An alternate to bone meal is Dr. Earth Bulb formula (see above).

Whatever method you choose, once bulbs are placed at the appropriate depth, fill in the hole with soil, then water just enough to support root growth. A word of caution: over-watering newly planted bulbs puts them at risk of rotting long before they have the opportunity to bloom. This is also why you must take the time to amend your soil with compost: improve drainage.

The final step is to apply 2”-3” of mulch over the newly planted bed. Not only will the mulch help maintain optimal moisture level within the soil, it also minimizes fluctuation in soil temperature. Exception (there’s usually one, right?!): small, early blooming bulbs (such as Galanthus/snowdrops)—either apply a thin layer of mulch, or skip it entirely.

Go ahead, plan now to take advantage of bare spots in your beds that will be under trees and shrubs once they’ve lost their leaves. That’s prime real estate for bulb planting! Can’t wait until spring to see the blooms? Plant autumn flowering crocus (Crocus sativus ‘Saffron’) NOW! These sweet little lilac purple flowers each produce 3 fancy red stigmas, which is the source of saffron. Plant a couple dozen of them and harvest enough saffron to use in a few delicious meals.

Careful planning will result in bodacious blooms from January to June! Better yet, nearly all of the bulbs we commonly grow in our area are deer resistant! Round up your compost, shovel or bulb digger, bone meal, and fresh spring blooming bulbs. . .it’s planting time!

 

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.

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!

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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