Garden of the Month: July 2018

995 Park Street-

The selection committee for the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month program has had its eye on D’Anne and Steve Shaw’s charming garden at 955 Park Street for a very long time.  The first time we approached them, they said that the back yard was not ready for prime time.  The next year, the giant incense cedar in the front yard was felled.  The year after that, they were remodeling the house.  Every year something happened because these homeowners are never idle.  Finally, the time has come:  This is the July 2018 Garden of the Month.
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The wedge-shaped garden is gorgeous, both front and back.  D’Anne and Steve both love color and work hard, each averaging ten hours per week despite their busy careers.  They share responsibility for design and maintenance.  They consider it a work in progress, continually making changes.  The garden is entirely organic and is a designated pollinator garden.  Don’t miss the Pollinator Garden tour on July 15 (https://www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=17460).  The Shaws were part of the tour last year but have made way for new gardens this year.IMG_3600

Steve reports that he was introduced to gardening as a child by his father who taught him the value of hard work from an early age and gave him a deep appreciation for gardens.  Three pretty Gingko trees were given to D’Anne in one-gallon pots a long time ago and she cared for them in the pots for years until settling on this property. IMG_3609

You will see how much they have grown and thrived in the 18 years since being planted in the ground.  The unusual round metal arbor in the corner of the front yard was made for them for their wedding.IMG_3605

Among the many beautiful flowering plants are roses, hydrangea, peonies, lilies, foxglove, columbine, ground orchids and dahlias.  Walk or drive by to see how prettily these things and many others look together.IMG_3607

Article by: Ruth Sloan

Photos by Larry Rosengren

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Garden of the Month: June 2018

128 S. Laurel Street:
Luna Bitzer has been gardening at 128 S. Laurel Street for 22 years and it shows. She lives in the historic home there with her husband Joe. He built the charming garden shed and occasionally helps with heavy lifting, but mostly Luna does all the work herself, including some extraordinary tasks such as installing the paver walkway to the front door—using just a shovel—and forming stairs between levels in the terraced yard.

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While she has had some help over the years with specific improvements, such as the all-female group of friends who helped build an arbor, or the Bitzers’ children who helped maintain a pond, she devotes a very large amount of time to keeping the property healthy and beautiful. In summer and fall, she averages 20 hours per week working in the garden. In the winter she takes some time off and in the hottest months of summer she works fewer hours outside. This is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for June.

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Among the biggest trees that dot the third-of-an-acre city lot at the corner of Almond Street are an ancient black oak (Ashland’s 11995 tree of the year), Douglas fir, silver maple, and blue spruce. When this garden was on the AAUW tour ten years ago, Luna created a list of plants with nearly 150 names. Luna’s current favorites include Howard McMinn manzanita, microbiota decussata (a low-growing evergreen cypress), agastache, hesperaloe and several varieties of viburnum, ornamental grasses, and hardy geraniums. Cotoneaster franchetii forms a hedge along the alleyway.

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Luna says that the installation of a deer fence in 2013 changed her life as she no longer has to worry about what she plants or where. The garden is constantly evolving. What was once a pond that she created is now a shady raised bed, and most of the lawn has been converted to a berm that is rarely watered. The hot tub was removed and the deck rebuilt with a roof for outdoor dining. In all, it is a totally enchanting garden.

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Article by: Ruth Sloan

April Gardening Tasks

April 14th is National Garden Day!

  • Use a soil thermometer to help you know when to plant vegetables. Some cool Pansy_Redseason crops (onions, kale, lettuce, and spinach) can be planted when the soil is consistently at or above 40°F.
  • Spread compost over garden and landscape areas.
  • Prune gooseberries and currants; fertilize with manure or a complete fertilizer.
  • Fertilize evergreen shrubs and trees, only if needed. If established and healthy, their nutrient needs should be minimal.
  • If needed, fertilize rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas with acid-type fertilizer. If established and healthy, their nutrient needs should be minimal.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs after blossoms fade. Early-spring bloomers, such as lilac, forsythia, and rhododendron, bear flowers on wood formed the previous year. The best time to prune them is late spring — immediately after they finish blooming. If pruned later in the growing season or during winter, the flower buds will be removed and spring bloom will be decreased.
  • Fertilize cane berries (broadcast or band a complete fertilizer or manure).
  • Remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, as soon as they fade. This  channels the plants’ energy into forming large bulbs and offsets rather than into setting seeds. Allow foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to brown and die down before removing.  Do not remove bulb foliage while it is green; the green leaves nourish the bulb and next year’s flower buds, which form during summer. Cut or pull off leaves only after they yellow. Do not braid leaves to get them out of the way. Braiding reduces the amount of sunlight the leaves get and hinders growth.  Allow smaller bulbs (like: muscari and puschkinia) to set seed, so they self-sow and form ever-larger drifts.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses to a few inches above the ground, in early spring.
  • Prune and shape or thin spring-blooming shrubs and trees after blossoms fade.
  • Plant gladiolus and hardy transplants of alyssum, phlox, and marigolds, if weather and soil conditions permit.
  • Fertilize Lawns. Apply 1-pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Reduce risks of run-off into local waterways by not fertilizing just prior to rain. Also do not over-irrigate and cause water runs off of lawn and onto sidewalk or street.
  • April is a good time to dethatch and renovate lawns. If moss was a problem, scratch surface prior to seeding with perennial ryegrass.
  • If necessary, spray apples and pears when buds appear for scab. And spray stone fruits, such as cherries, plums, peaches, and apricots for brown rot blossom blight.
  • Plant balled-and-burlapped, container, and bare-root fruit trees.
  • Plant container and bare-root roses.
  • Prepare garden soil for spring planting. Incorporate generous amounts of organic materials and other amendments.
  • Divide and replant spring-blooming perennials after bloom.
  • Plant fall-blooming bulbs.

Article by:
Terra Gardens Nursery & Bark
Salem, OR

Home Grown Potatoes

Growing your own potatoes is an easy and rewarding gardening experience.growing potatoes
Plant starts in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked.
Potato plants can withstand a light frost, but protect against a hard frost.
Potato plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to produce.
Harvest potatoes in 2-4 months; this depends on your area’s growing season.
Purchase good quality seed potatoes to insure a healthy crop.

Oregon Territorial Seed company in Cottage Grove, Oregon offers some interesting  seed potato varieties:  http://www.territorialseed.com/

  • Dark Red Norland Potatoes
  • Blue Potatoes (Late-season 110-135 days)
  • Yukon Gem Potatoes
  • Desiree Potatoes
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Mountain Rose Potatoes
  • Purple Majesty Potatoes

The Rogue Valley Grange Co-ops may have some of these varieties available, too.

Seed Prep:  Seed potatoes are tubers which can be planted whole, but you will get more plants if you cut seed potatoes into sections. Each cut section should contain one or two sprouts; these sprouts are called  eyes.  Each section should have enough potato “meat” around each eye for successful growing.  Therefore,  cut seed potatoes into 2 to 3 inch chunks, with 1-2 eyes in each chunk.  Set these pieces on a protective surface like newspaper to allow cut edges to dry before planting,  usually 24-48 hours.

Planting:
In the ground – Dig a trench 8 inches deep. Plant each seed potato section, 1 inch deep and 12 inches apart. Planting rows should be spaced 3 feet apart.  Place the seed potato cut side down with eye(s) pointing up.  As the plants grow, and when leaves are just starting to break the soil’s surface,  mound another 2 inches of soil on top of the plants.  Repeat this step until the trench is filled with soil,  continue filling until the trench is mounded .    Note:  If your space is limited,  or  if you want only baby potatoes,  you can decrease the spacing between the plants to 7 inches.

Planting in Containers – Note: Containers must be able to drain.
Growing in containers is the same principal as growing in the ground.  Place  6 inches of moistened soil in the bottom of a container.  Plant prepped seed potatoes cut side down with eyes up.  Cover with 2-3 inches of soil. As the potato plants grow keep adding 2-3 inches of soil over the plants.   Repeat this step until the container is full of soil.  You can even stack additional containers on top of the original container, filling those with soil in steps.  The height limit is approximately 3 feet.

Planting in Straw
With this method you don’t have to dig potatoes, you simply pull them out of the straw. Because straw starts to break down as the growing season progresses,  you will need to add straw to maintain a consistent straw depth. In short: Top off your potato bed with straw during the growing season.

Prep potatoes as described above.  Lay out a loose layer of straw 6-inches deep, and place seed potatoes in the straw, cut side down, eyes up.  Cover with 2 inches of straw. When you see the leaves peaking out of the straw, cover them with 2 inches of straw. Then, repeat this until you reached your desired height.

Care:

  • Potatoes should be watered regularly, but do not over water.
  • Keeping tubers covered prevents greening. Potatoes exposed to sunlight turn green, causing the flesh to taste bitter.
  • Feed potato plants regularly throughout the season with a liquid fertilizer.

Harvesting:

  • New potatoes can be picked when foliage is 1-foot high.
  • All potatoes are harvested after plant foliage dies.

Heuchera ‘Silver Scrolls’

Heuchera ‘Silver Scrolls’Silver scrolls Heuchera
Common Name:  Coral bells
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Saxifragaceae
Height:  plant 8-12 inches, flower stalks 24-in
Spread: 8 to 12-inch
Bloom Time: June to July
Flower: Pinkish White, Showy
Sun: Filtered sun to part shade
Soil: Rich humus, Well-draining
Water Needs:  Average to Moist
Foliage Colorful!  Emerge silver flushed with burgundy, matures into silver with dark purple veins.
Uses: Edging, Woodland gardens, Containers, Foliage Garden Interest, Perennial beds, Mass plantings for ground cover
Attributes: Deer Tolerant, evergreen in warm climates.
USDA Zone: 4 to 9