Summer’s End

And the virtues of escarole

August went by in flash, as usual. Daily watering chores. Jam making. An ocean of applesauce. After a week’s vacation in a cabin by the Metolius, I somehow carved out time to think about the fall and winter vegetable garden. Space must be carved out, too, and I’m grateful for any crops that can go in after the pole beans and tomatoes are torn out in October. But starts of red Russian kale, my favorite for winter eating, need to go in as soon as possible. By October what you see is more or less what you get until growth starts up again in March.   Continue reading 

Pots Preferred

Agastache and salvia brighten things up

Not every garden in the Willamette Valley has super river-bottom silty loam. If your soil sets up like concrete when it’s dry it probably holds lots of moisture in the winter. Some wonderful summer blooming perennials have a problem with that. I’m thinking in particular of the many ravishing cultivars of agastache (ag-ah-STAK-ee) and salvia that have hit the market in recent decades. Lots of them need really good drainage to over-winter reliably in our region.  Continue reading 

Annuals Brighten Native Gardens

Annual plant species are a great garden addition

Annuals rarely get a mention in books and articles on gardening with native plants. That’s too bad, because a succession of annual species can add a lot of color to your springtime garden, and attract pollinators, too. Flourishing plants of farewell-to-spring (Clarkia amoena) can bloom for many weeks — a happy thing, because it’s one of the showiest natives we have, and an eager self-sower. Mine escaped into a well-watered blueberry patch last year, providing months of gorgeous rose-pink flowers on bushy plants, not to mention abundant seed.  Continue reading 

Lane County Propagation Fair

Come learn about propagating plants

The 2016 Lane County Propagation Fair will take place from 11 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday, March 26-27, at the old Whiteaker School, now the Whiteaker Head Start Building, 21 N. Grand Street. There will be outdoor workshops on a variety of topics on Sunday, March 27. This free annual event aims to promote local food security by supporting home orchardists, vegetable gardeners and native plant enthusiasts in and around the southern Willamette Valley.  Continue reading