Saturday, December 1, 2007

Fallen Leaves

Ahh, autumn leaves, the colors are beautiful. I should say were beautiful. The Oregon rains have begun in earnest & the beautiful autumn leaves are now on the lawn & driveway. I could let them lay where they are, but it is destructive to the grass & unsightly on the driveway. I’ll leave them gratefully, on the flowerbeds to decompose & add organic matter to my clay soil.
Armed with rakes, brooms, garden debris totes, shovel & lawnmower, I am ready for leaf clean up. A great way to ‘rake’ the leaves off the lawn is to mow them. Set the lawnmower blade a bit higher, unless the lawn needs to be cut. Make sure the grass catcher is attached to the mower. The leaves are picked up, chopped up & bagged.
It makes this job a lot easier & faster! I just took the full grass catcher & emptied it on the perennial beds or empty vegetable bed. The leaf mulch will protect the soil from getting compacted by the winter rains. They eventually break down & are a good source of compost for the beds.
Now to the driveway. I had an idea. Why can’t I use the lawnmower on the driveway? I swept the leaves into rows & set the lawn mower blade to the highest setting. I rolled it over the leaf rows. It wasn’t a total success or total failure. I’ll take what I can get. I had to sweep the rest & deposited those leaves in the composter to break down this winter.
I need to research a machine to vacuum, chop & bag leaves from solid surfaces. I don’t know if there is one out there.
Please let me know of one. I’ll put it on my Christmas list.

Take care,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

‘Fuyu’ Persimmon

Yeah! My ‘Fuyu’ Persimmon tree finally has ripened fruit.
This is the 4th season for this tree. I had almost given up seeing & tasting persimmons from my very own tree. If you’ve never seen or tasted persimmons, please take time to read this blog. The trees alone are worth growing in your garden. They grow to 30 feet tall & wide but can be kept smaller as fruit trees should. In summer, the foliage is shiny green. The fall leaf color is a beautiful blend of yellow, orange & red tones. The best part, once the trees are mature, is the orange fruit that hangs on the tree. The fruit is noticeable when it is growing during the summer, but it’s best seen when the fall color display is over. The fruit hangs on the tree after the first frosts to finish it’s ripening. The effect is very pretty.
‘Fuyu’ persimmons are squatty shaped like a flatter tomato. The fruit is a very unique taste. The texture is kind of like an apricot but flavored like an apricot-cantaloupe. It’s hard to describe. You can eat them when firm or a little soft.
I love to slice them & serve with a baguette or crackers and a sharp cheese like gorgonzola. The sweet persimmon & tart cheese tastes great together.
I have also used persimmon in cakes. I even cooked them in a Risotto with Gorgonzola. It wasn’t a pretty dish but very tasty. I haven’t tried it yet, but you can dry them too.
If you’re into trying new foods, just look at your local produce store & pick up a ‘Fuyu’ persimmon. You may even want to plant a tree!
Take care,

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.

This tends to be a time of year when we nestle into our homes, open our doors and hearts to Family and Friends, and see people a little less harshly than we might usually...
I was thinking the other day...What would these wonderful seasonal holidays be without the gifts brought to it by this delightful industry I work in?
Starting in October, there would be no bales of straw for decorating, no garland of brilliantly colored leaves, no pumpkins, squash and decorative corn swag. As the fairer holiday, Christmas, approaches; the tree, the evergreen boughs and holly would vanish. There would be no pungent fragrant narcissus blooming, no large, brightly colored amyrillis trumpeting their beauty. So much of what brings joy to our hearts during these holidays comes directly from nature herself; adding tremendous beauty and life to our world.
So if the winter tends to get you down. If grey, cloudy skies and continuous rain darken you vision...I invite you to go to one of the many independent garden centers. Get something that reminds us that we are all surrounded by nature and it's beauty. Let that one small plant give you joy. Because before you know it...Spring will be here and the party starts all over.

May each of you have the Happiest of Holidays, filled with love and laughter, and the Warmest of Celebrations with Family and Friends.

Seasons greetings!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The rains have started

Time flies too fast plus I have been busy & lazy.
The dog days of summer were here & gone. I turned around & it is November.
There was a weird storm a few weeks ago & I lost my ‘Negronne’ fig tree & ‘Brooks’ Prune.
There was hail & thunder & lightening, strange weather but not a really bad wind or even a power outage.
Next morning it was clear with the sun peeking out. I looked out my kitchen window and my view was obscured by the leaves & branches of this fig tree.
I thought maybe the downpour had really saturated the huge fig leaves & it was over weighted.
I went outside to check it out & the tree was leaning at a 45 degree angle.
It wasn’t cracked, but pulling itself out of the soil.
I also noticed my ‘Brooks’ prune listed a bit. My house sits at the bottom of a hill. I have strived to improve the drainage but I guess I hadn’t done enough.
It is sad when trees have to be taken down.
As gardeners always say or what I tell my customers, you have a new plant opportunity.
Since putting in the new gravel patio & pathways this summer, I worked around existing plants. The fig was right along the path & had to be trimmed to not over step. Figs are a rambunctious plant to espalier!
Now that the Fig is gone, I will plant a Shrub Dogwood ‘Midwinter Fire’ (Cornus). It will love the extra water that comes down the hill & its’ yellow & red branches will be a pretty accent for winter. This plant needs to be cut totally back ever few years for a new brightly colored winter look. The Dogwood will be fast growing shade for my ‘Lemon Daddy’ Hydrangea. It will need PM shade, next summer.
I also bought a Sundance Mexican Orange (Choisya). I will plant this where the ‘Brooks’ prune tree was. The chartreuse, evergreen foliage will echo the Hydrangea foliage & have flowers with orange-blossom fragrance.
I will add compost to the soil & hopefully improve the drainage to prevent root rot.
I will miss the figs & plums from these trees. I have another fig called ‘Desert King’ which has green fruit with a pink inside. It is a great producer & I sometimes get 2 crops when the late summer & fall is hot. The prunes should be available at the local Farmer’s Market. All & all it is a quiet fall with regular chores in the garden.

Goodbye for now. I’m off to rake up leaves.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

William's Fall Garden

Hummm, another year in my gardens has already slipped by. This will be the last Fall I enjoy here as I am selling my property to move out to the country. It is an odd mixture of excitement and sadness. I have lived here longer than any place in my life and created a rather extensive set of gardens. So, I have tried to savor this Fall especially and acquire all I can from this thing that is, like summer, going away. It seems that Fall always brings me a touch of melancholy…Summer, which I love more than any other season, is always filled with laughter and beauty. Fall though is filled with it’s own special beauty. As I walk throughout my gardens I see the pendulous blooms of various Fuschias, bravely swaying in the breeze. The gently blossoms showing no lack of vibrancy for the colder, insueing weather. And Begonas…grandis, sutherlandii, even the annual waxleaf, are still bursting with color. They too seem unconcerned that nature has put on warmer clothing. Happy with the act of just being themselves. If anyone tells you that the bloom is off the lily during fall, you have but to look at the Amaryllis belladonna….she needs no warmer outfit as her beautiful four foot stalk, topped with multiple soft pink blossoms, seems to almost taunt winter to arrive and steal her glory!
I am filled with gratitude to live here in the Northwest. Gardening really can be year round…and if you find yourself overwhelmed by change. Or if the race of life seems to misdirect you on your path. May I invite you to find yourself again by walking in your own yard or going to any of the open gardens available to us in Portland. They say we are a reflection of our environment. I can think of no better reflection then that of nature.
Happy Fall to each of you.
Always my best, William

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Garden Project - Part 2

Well, I have been remiss to have not updated you on the new patio for my yard.
I actually finished by 4th of July & actually had S’mores on that evening!
I was very excited about the hardscape design by Trish Jensen. It was just what I was imagining. I set to work. I took down the raised beds & finished killing off the weeds & old creeping thyme. I used weed barrier to block out the sun & help smother the plants.
It was then a bit easier to dig them up. I composted a lot of the debris & also sent some to the town green garbage. I rented a small rototiller to help smooth out the soil. That was a lot of fun. I liked using a rototiller to help with the work. I did not want to hire a bunch of people to get the semi-hard work done.
I kept raking the soil until I got a nice surface. I also used a hose to help define the path & patio edges. (I read that tip in a magazine.)
I hauled out the ton of small & medium sized rocks I had chucked under the deck. I knew I would need them in the future! I used these rocks to define the patio & pathway edge. I played around with the shape until I was satisfied with the look.
Now was the time for the weed barrier. I went back & forth with the idea of using weed barrier under the pea gravel. Many articles said that fabric may show itself through the gravel. It was also mentioned that weeds come in anyway.
Well, I decided to use it as I have a drainage problem in some areas & did not want muddy spots. (It is showing through in spots but I just re-rake the gravel to cover it.)
I picked out pea gravel for the patio surface, as I like the look. It is a bit hard to walk in some spots where the gravel is too thick. (I still need to rake out these areas.) I also hired 2 young guys from the neighborhood. Chris & Daniel were a BIG help.
They are pleasant young men with strong backs. Between my husband, Ben, Chris, Daniel & me, the schlepping of gravel took only about 3 hours. I couldn’t believe my project was almost complete.
Next step-plants, containers & lights.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

A New Design

We all have romantic notions about relaxing in our gardens. What do we do?
We sit down with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and within minutes we are critiquing the garden design, deadheading flowers or pulling weeds. I want to break that cycle & put in a patio with a fire pit and really relax in my garden.
I know about plants. I know about perennials, shrubs and veggies. I know which flowers are for cutting & which flowers hummingbirds & butterflies love. But, what do I really know about garden design? I’m not a designer.
I know what I like & don’t like. I have looked at photos & have visited a lot of gardens.
I do have basic ideas about the new area in my back yard.
1. I want a patio area with lounging-type chairs & a fire pit. I have a covered deck for sunny days but it’s kind of small & it feels cut off from the garden.
2. I want to take apart the 4 raised beds that have grown my vegetables for the past 5 years. The area has gotten more shade from the ‘Negronne’ Fig & ‘Brooks’ Prune trees to be very productive.
3. I want to remake the paths with a hard surface. The garden border needs an edge.
I want a little more definition to the area.
4. I need to re-grade the whole area to let winter rainwater drain more rapidly.
I don’t think that’s too much for an early summer project.
With all these ideas, I decided to contact a real garden designer. I had met Trish Jensen at the Silverton Garden Club where we both are members. Trish has 18 years of garden design experience. She also was raised in a garden nursery environment. Her Dad, Bob, was a grower for many years in the Silverton area.
Trish came over & listened to all of my wish list. She walked the garden, took notes and measured the area. About a week later, she came back with a sketch. Since I don’t need help with the plant selection, Trish said the drawing was pretty easy.
Her ideas are just what I had in mind but better!
She drew a wider, more centered stair leading to the new pathway from the wooden deck. She suggested the new patio area be closer to the ‘Brooks’ Prune and added a new garden bed to screen the wooden fence. She widened the herb bed next to the house to incorporate the few summer vegetables I like to plant.
Trish suggested ¼ minus gravel as a material for the garden paths and pavers or stone for the patio. Rocks that I have dug up from the garden can be used to help define the pathway border. Trish also thought about up lights for nighttime interest. The fig tree, the ‘Oshiobeni’ Japanese maple & the Vine Maple can have lights installed underneath for a final touch.
Tune in soon to hear how the project is shaping up. Here is the contact info for Trish... Trish Jensen, “The Home Gardener”, 503-873-3828.


Friday, May 4, 2007


For me it is both the best and worst time of year. The best part of spring, well that seems obvious. What isn’t growing? Blooms are popping out everywhere; leaves are breaking their dormancy on rare and unusual trees that I had forgotten I had even planted! The worst part of spring for me is the weeds. They too seem to revel in this, the busiest season of all. After years of pulling and spraying and cursing; I finally started using pre-emergence (preen, miracle grow, and organically, corn gluten). After two years of a faithful spreading in spring and fall I can finally say that the weeds are under control. Good mulching in the late winter and early spring has also helped to stem these ubiquitous little creatures. As my personal and business life becomes more and more hectic and complicated I am thankful that I chose to use these products as now I can actually walk thru my gardens and find the peace that I have always thought a garden should bring to each individual. So if you are finding yourself taxed by the seemingly merciless growth of weeds, I would encourage you to begin the process of using pre-emergence. I invite you to go to an independent garden center close to you and talk with the staff there about these products. They really can save time and money and a lot of frustration. They have saved my sanity (at least some of my it) and have allowed me to enjoy my gardens more in this wonderful season we call spring. Happy Gardening and we will see you on Garden time!
Best, William

Friday, April 27, 2007

Opportunity calling

This is a great time of Spring. I love to see the new plants coming up, leaves on the trees coming out & seeing what made it & what did not. It's part of gardening. Seeing old friends arrive back after the winter & missing the ones who will not be returning. As I heard one day at a plant sale, this is called opportunity. I now have an opportunity to try some new plants & a new design in my back yard.
I'm taking out 2 of my 4 raised veggie beds. The bed with the asparagus is definitely gone. I'm bummed that my asparagus didn't make it. This would have been the 3RD year. The year to harvest. I think the bed, eventhough raised, collected water from a higher bed. I'll have to re-think an asparagus patch. This whole area does get alot of winter water. My yard is the lowest on a sloping street. I'm going to stop fighting the lay of the land.
I am going to put in a mini patio with a fire pit & containers.
I will re-position the remaining vegetable beds & landscape around them.
I will also take out a sickly looking miniature rose bush & a sickly looking Nandina (Heavenly bamboo).
I am getting my ideas down on paper. I will be shopping around for plant ideas while visiting Garden Time sponsors & other nurseries we discover.
I hope to keep you filled in on my progress. I also think I will keep on track because you will be looking over my shoulder. Let me know if you're working on new garden projects.
Take care.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Judy's Spring Day

Yeah! A dry & sunny day.
I’m getting a bit picky on the kind of day I will play in my garden.
I won’t go out if it’s a steady down pour anymore.
Today was a perfect garden weather day.
I had a To-Do list of just 5 tasks. I’m trying to work smarter in the garden & not over do at one kind of job.
Task 1 – I finally trimmed back a few winter damaged branches on the Silver Dollar Eucalyptus. It’s about 10 ft tall & helping to shade some Rhodies in the back yard.
While I had all the trimming tools out, I did shape the crown a little. It looks much better & I even brought in some stems for a flower arrangement.
Task 2 – I am still in the process of deadheading perennials. I cut back the old flowering stems of Asters, Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium) & Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’.
These plants are just emerging so I didn’t damage any new foliage.
I had taken care of the earlier emerging perennials weeks ago so I’m still ahead of the game.
Task 3 – I am a bit late on stringing up my 4 Clematis that form a wall of foliage & flowers at my back deck.
They are Tall! 2 plants were already 3 ft. high.
I use fishing line strung from an eyehook at the top of the eave to a tent stake pushed in at the base of the Clematis.
The vine then travels up the line & flowers in June & July. I have a beautiful green screen all Summer.
Task 4 – Weeding, the Zen of my garden tasks. I know that sounds kind of strange, but that’s what it feels like.
I have a weedy patch to work on & my mind concentrates on that process. I don’t think of anything else but weeding. I used to get anxious about the weed issue. I’ve relaxed my stance on weeds, sometimes too much, but I do get to them before too long.
I work smarter by bending correctly & taking more breaks. And that leads to...
Task 5 – I took a walk around my garden. This wasn’t really a ‘task’,
I needed a break from weeding. I checked plants out, what was coming up and what was finished blooming. I saw the new little figs forming on the ‘Desert King’ Fig. I also saw the huge flower buds on my orange Oriental Poppy and I picked lettuce for dinner. I did made a few mental notes for the next ‘Task’ List.
Enjoy your task list too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Welcome Eugene…

We made our first trip to Eugene this week. It was a blast to see all the great garden centers in the Eugene/Springfield area. We started our day at Northwest Garden Nursery. Ernie and Marietta were wonderful hosts and we spent too much time there because there was so much to see. We look forward to returning later in the year to see how their display gardens will change. Next we stopped by Gray’s Garden Center, where we chatted with Donna about birding. The hi-light of that stop was the trained jays. They dive for peanuts in the hands of the nursery staff. Very cool! Next stop, Bloomers Nursery. The hard part of shooting here was the increasingly cold rain! Bloomers is a great family business and we had most of them with us for the shoot in their wholesale fields. Still a fun (and wet) time AND we got to play on the caboose! Our afternoon found us at a brand new nursery, Oregon’s Constant Gardener. Scott is an old friend from Portland and he returned to Eugene to open the store with Ryan. They are focusing on hydroponics, but will move into being a full service nursery in the near future. We got to see their new growing room. They will soon have planters all around the store growing all sorts of flowers and veggies. The best part, they will be donating the excess food to the Lane County Food Bank. Our final stop for the day was Gossler Farm Nursery in Springfield. Roger Gossler and his family have been in the nursery industry for many years and grow a wide selection of plants! We got to tour some of the nursery (we lost William for a short time!) and did a story on magnolias. It was a long day, but a fun one! We found everyone excited about the show and we will see them all again real soon, we just hope for warmer, dryer weather next time!

Garden Time

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Welcome back…

Welcome back…

We finally return for the new season of Garden Time. Who said it was easier the second time around? William and Judy are up to speed but I seem to be having trouble remembering all the stuff I need to do each week. All week I have been a step behind! Monday was normal. It is our ‘shoot’ day, the day we videotape the stories for the show. This is the most fun I have during the week. I laugh so hard when William blurts something out and then Judy joins in! (And none of it will ever see the ‘air’.) After Monday I got buried fast! Adding KEVU in Eugene this year was cool, but it did add another element to the routine. Each station has its own deadline and that means multiple trips to the post office. Then this week it was promos, Happy Spot specials, events calendar, streaming video, tips of the week for the KPTV crew; every time I turned around it was something else I had forgotten about. Oh well, that being said, I wouldn’t want to do anything else!
As for this first show back, it is always easier when you have a good crew behind you. For me that includes William and Judy, the great sponsors for the show (there wouldn’t be a show without them!) and of course my family, Therese, Sarah and Hannah, who put up with my stress and constant worrying. I know it is all worth it when I get comments from the viewers. Gardening can be fun, and so can building a gardening show.

Welcome back!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Returning home

Can spring really be just around the corner? I have recently returned from a month of seminars and meetings all over the country. I decided to take a walk around my yard upon my return, expecting to see nothing but the remains of plants from last year. Much to my pleasant surprise many plants were already showing growth. My day lilies were pushing up growth thru the midst of the detritus from last year. My large stand of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ looked like a child had piled marbles right on the crown; the green, round, new growth already pushing upward. Many of the fruit trees in my orchard have already started budding as well. I do not know how it is that each year I still am delighted and amazed by nature. You would think that one of these years I would walk around and NOT be surprised by my gardens. It’s not as though I don’t know what is going to happen! Yet, I am still amazed as I was 25 years ago. Perhaps that is why I love gardening. Not only does it assist with the balance of the planet; helping create a sustainable environment, but also it helps me. Renewing my strength and encouraging me to get ready for the veritable cornucopia of gardening delights that will thrill and sustain me for the next year. What ever the reasons you choose to garden are. It seems that it is time to once again don the muck boots, get out the felco’s and compost and begin the process of celebrating the beautiful outdoors. I know I am ready, are you? Happy Gardening and I can’t wait to see you all again on the first show of Garden time, March 17th. Best, William

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Happy New Year!

As you enter the new year it is good to look back and review where you were when the year started.
A year ago I was leaving the Good Day Lifestyles show after we were cancelled. KPTV had given me a wonderful opportunity when they let me start the program 3 years before. I had started my own company when I was approached by some people in the garden industry to put together a new program to get local gardeners excited about gardening. I was a little hesitant, but I needn’t have worried. The support from viewers has been incredible! The Garden Time show has become the highest rated garden show in the Northwest and a great learning experience for everyone involved. I’m a photographer/producer/director by nature. So running my own company and starting a new show was a real eye-opener.
We are now planning on kicking off the new season of Garden Time in just a few short weeks. I have been contacting sponsors, talking with TV stations and penciling ideas down for this coming year. We have also been critiquing the stories we did this past year. We want this next year to be a great one! One of the big changes is the addition of the Eugene market in March. Gardeners and clients in the Eugene area heard about the show and requested that I take it down there! If you live there you can see it on KEVU starting in March. It is right around the corner.

Garden Time