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"Hey Linda! I just want to say how much I like getting your messages here in my email box. Thank you for the great information and interesting stuff. I hope you had a nice Christmas and here's to a wonderful 2011 SPRING!"

Pam Mercer
Bend, Oregon


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Garden Updates 2008

Garden Updates 2007

 

2011

1/01/11 - Heavy Snow on Trees and Shrubs

2/25/11 - Don't Rush the Season!

3/01/11 - Snow Fleas

3/10/11 - Your Lawn and Snow Mold

3/23/11 - Greenhouses are Here!

3/30/11 - Aspen and Poplar Leaf Spots

4/1/11 - Gopher or Mole?

4/7/11 - You are Living in Rhubarb Country!

4/20/11 - Perennial of the Week

4/23/11 -Thatch or Aerate Your Lawn?

5/1/11 - Sweet Woodruff - Perennial Plant of the Week

5/9/11 - Lupine: Perennial of the Week

5/16/11 - Jacobs Ladder: Perennial of the Week

5/17/11 - Epsom Salt and your Garden

5/23/11 - Creeping Phlox: Perennial of the Week

5/30/11 - Monarda: Perennial of the Week

6/6/11 - Lychnis Chalcedonica - Maltese Cross

6/13/11 - Yellow Loosestrife: Perennial of the Week

6/13/11 - Currant and Gooseberry Maggots

6/22/11 - Tall Garden Phlox - Perennial of the Week

6/26/11 - Catmint Subsessilis - Perennial of the Week

6/27/11 - Back Yard Mosquito Control

6/29/11 - Lydia Broom - Gorgeous Blooming Shrub

7/9/11 - Cranesbill Geranium - Cambridge

7/19/11 - Karl Foester Grass - Perennial of the Week

7/29/11 - Ornamental Strawberry - Perennial of the Week

8/12/11 - Miner's Lettuce Montia Perfoliata

8/12/11 - Pine Tree Disease: Saratoga Spittlebugs

8/23/11 - Pine Butterfly

8/30/11 - How Lightning Benefits Your Garden

9/1/11 - Transplanting Strawberry Runners

9/12/11 - Thatch or Aerate?

10/17/11 - Tree and Shrub Pruning

10/24/11 - Water, Water, Water

 

 

1/1/11 - Heavy Snow on Trees and Shrubs

We have had some heavy, wet snow hitting our landscape over the past few days and with this type of weather we need to take some extra precautions. Shrubs and
young trees are especially at risk for broken branches. Take a look around your yard and see if you can take a broom or other instrument and shake some of the
snow off of the branches. This cold weather can also cause some branches to snap. In the early spring you can remove any broken limbs and make a clean cut at the
breaking point

 

2/25/11 - Don't Rush the Season!

Yes, it is that time of year when we all get a little anxious for the spring season to begin.

I was out and about yesterday to see what the stores had to offer. As usual they are bringing in plants and shrubs that it is way too early to plant. The roses I saw in their plastic wrappings are inside. Now what does that tell you? For one thing they are going to start leafing out - ouch! If you purchase, what are you going to do with it? You sure can't plant it outside, it is 10 degrees today with about 4 inches of snow at my house here in La Pine. Remember that box stores receive the same plants for all of their locations. They also receive the same plants at their stores in western Oregon as they do on our side of the mountains, which means not all of the plants you see are hardy for our area.

On another note - don't believe everything you read in the newspapers. I read an interesting article on Zinnias but I have not had much luck growing them here in La Pine. Some years they might do great and other years the seasonal frosts kill them. Same goes for Dahlias.

I have several seminars scheduled for March and will be discussing Cold Climate Gardening for Central Oregon. Saturday, March 12 at the La Pine Library starting at 11:00 am. Bring your gardening questions, free to the public. Saturday, March 19 at the Bend Library starting at 1:00 pm. Bring your gardening questions, free admission.

Be sure to check out our events page for additional classes and events.

 

3/1/11 - Snow Fleas

On a warm, sunny winter day, take a look at the base of a tree where the snow may have melted down to expose some leaves, or where the snow is shallow or hollowed out a bit. There you will find a sprinkling of what looks like "pepper" or "ashes" on the surface of the snow. Once in awhile you will see an abundance of these literally covering the snow in a large area.

Snow fleas are actually tiny insects which come out on warm, sunny days to eat decayed plant material or sap oozing from the tree. They hop around acting like fleas and that's where they get their name, snow "fleas." They are not fleas though, but actually an arthropod called Collembola (kol-LEM-bo-la) or commonly called Springtails which measure about 1/8 inch long. They have a very unique catapult system to get around. Two "tails" on their back end are tucked up underneath their belly, held in place by tiny hooks. When the Springtail wants to move, they just release the spring-loaded tails, called furcula, which hit the snow and send them flying into the air. Since snow fleas can't control their flight or direction, they frequently land in the same spot or only a few inches away.

These are not just winter critters. You can find them any time of the year in the forest living in the leaf litter stuck to the underside of leaves or on the surface soil, chomping on bits of rotting vegetation.

Snow fleas do NOT bite and are considered harmless. If you feel that you do want to kill them you can use any brand of insect killing spray.

"Thank you for the timely information. I appreciate the news!"

Barbara Gosser

 

3/10/11 - Your Lawn and Snow Mold

Snow mold fungi are active at temperatures just above freezing in moist conditions. These conditions occur most frequently under snow cover or anything else that covers the grass, such as fallen leaves.

Damage from snow mold fungi usually becomes apparent as the snow melts and exposes the grass in late winter. Snow mold symptoms consist of roughly circular patches (at least 3 to 12 inches) of dead and matted grass blades. In severe cases, these patches join together and may not be recognizable as individual circles. I find that snow mold is usually more severe on the north side of the home where the snow lingers the longest. In the early spring as the lawn dries out from winter, take a lawn rake and fluff up the matted grass. This will get the air to circulate around the grass blades and dry out quicker. Mow the lawn to remove any needles and grass debris. Apply a fertilizer of 21-7-14 to the lawn.

If you do not see these snow mold areas become green along with the rest of the lawn then you may want to think about re-seeding the area. Since snow mold is a fungus, you will want to apply a liquid or granular fungicide prior to seeding.
The most important means of preventing or reducing snow mold problems in the lawn is the care of the grass at the end of the summer season. As long as the grass continues to grow it should be mowed.

Because snow mold activity is greatest beneath covers that maintain moist conditions, all leaves or other materials should be removed from the lawn. In addition, it is best to avoid piling snow deeply on the lawn.
 
For more Cold Climate Gardening information please attend one of my upcoming seminars.

Saturday, March 12 at the La Pine Library at 11:00 am.
Saturday, March 19 at the Bend Library at 1:00 pm.

"Thank you for this very helpful tip...we have quite a bit of lawn (sod we put in ourselves) and it is a big job keeping it in good shape. As La Pine has such a different climate than we are used to, we really appreciate your input! "
 
 Love, Karen & the CrossRhoades Gang

 

3/23/11 - Greenhouses are Here!

greenhouses at L & S Gardens in La PineWe have just received a few of the sweetest little greenhouses. They measure 61/2' x 6' x 6'. Very easy to put up and then take down to store for the winter. We put one up here in the nursery for you to take a look at. The cost is $199. To go along with the greenhouse you can also add metal shelving that goes on both sides of the greenhouse for a cost of $149.

I think you will really enjoy starting your seeds in this house or growing your tomatoes, etc inside. It has two doors that zipper open and closed, one in front and one in back. It comes with tie downs and metal stakes. Come in and check these out.

 

3/30/11 - Aspen and Poplar Leaf Spots

Foliage diseases can reduce the aesthetic value of aspen, cottonwood and poplar trees. Occasionally, a severe disease outbreak causes premature defoliation or dieback of parts of the tree.
 
Facts:
• Fungi cause most foliage diseases on aspen, cottonwood and other poplar species.
• Foliage diseases develop readily in wet, cool weather.
• Foliage diseases decrease a tree's aesthetic value and can cause premature defoliation.
• Severe outbreaks can affect the general health of the tree.
• To reduce future disease problems, rake up and dispose of leaves and prune out branches with cankers.Timely fungicide application can prevent severe outbreaks.

Aspen leaf spots. Howe to trat at L & S Gardens in La PineIf a tree loses its leaves early in the season, it may grow new ones and its health is not seriously affected. If it loses them in midsummer, however growing new leaves may prevent the tree from fully hardening off before cold weather or reduce the amount of stored food. This leads to increased danger of frost damage, reduced growth, and increased risk to other diseases or insects.
The fungus Marssonina causes the most common foliage disease on aspen. Marssonina leaf spots are dark brown flecks, often with yellow halos. On severely infected leaves, in wet weather, several spots may fuse to form large black dead patches. Spots also may develop on leaf petioles and succulent new roots.
 
Marssonina survives the winter on fallen leaves that were infected the previous year. With spring and warmer, wet weather, the fungus produces microscopic "seeds" or spores that are carried by the wind and infect emerging leaves. Early infections are rarely serious, but if the weather remains favorable, spores from these infections can cause widespread secondary infection. Heavy secondary infections become visible later in the growing season and cause premature leaf loss on infected trees (see attachment).
 
Fungicides, if applied early enough can prevent foliage disease. Spraying will prevent only new infections; it will not cure leaves already infected. Trees should be sprayed with a fungicide at bud break and then two or three times during the growing season at 12 to 14 day intervals.

 

4/1/11 - Gopher or Mole ?

gopher or mole? Find the answer at L & S Gardens in La PineI had a customer in yesterday and she wanted to know what happened to her tree. Her problem was that a Gopher had decided to have lunch and the roots of her tree were dinner.

Pocket gophers are herbivorous and feed on a wide variety of vegetation but generally prefer herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees. Gophers use their sense of smell to locate food. Most commonly they feed on roots and fleshy portions of plants that they encounter while digging. However, they sometimes feed above ground, venturing only a body length or so away from their tunnel opening.

Pocket gophers often invade yards and gardens, feeding on many garden crops. A single gopher moving down a garden row can inflict considerable damage in a very short time. Gophers also gnaw and damage plastic water lines and lawn sprinkler systems.
 
Moles, on the other hand are primitive mammals belonging to the order Insectivora, meaning insect eaters. They live most of their lives in underground runways. Their presence may be determined by the low ridges pushed up as they move just under the soil surface in search of food. The principal diet of moles consists of earthworms, grubs, beetles and insect larvae. Vegetation occasionally makes up a small portion of their diet.
If you see a fresh runway, take the back side of your shovel and smack it hard on the ground. Moles are sensitive to concussion. Smacking a shovel on the ground near a working mole often will stun or kill it.

If you have either of these critters in your lawn or garden and are planning a new garden, shrubs and/or trees, I would suggest that you line the garden plot with hardware cloth and line the hole for your shrub or tree with the same.

 

4/7/11 - You are Living in Rhubarb Country!

You’re living in Rhubarb Country, so let’s make the most out of this very versatile vegetable crop.

Growing and harvesting rhubarb boils down to simple dos and don’t's.
To get the most out of your patch follow these tips. Planting the rhubarb just right, makes for a bigger and better plant. Dig a hole as deep as the container you purchased it in. If planting from bare root dig the hole to the depth from which the plant came out of. Use a good garden compost or aged, well-rotted manure.

Feed your plants. Rhubarb loves well-rotted manure. But if you do not have access to manure, use a fertilizer that reads 16-16-16.

You do not want your rhubarb to put on a flower, remove them immediately. Actually it is not a flower but is a seed stalk. This happens when we go from cool weather to hot weather real fast. Plants that flower produce fewer stems the following year.

To pick rhubarb, grab the stems near the base of the plant and pull upward, twisting the stem as you pull. You can also cut the stems, cut as close to the crown as possible.
Wait a year to harvest after planting. The second year pick only a few stalks, the third year and beyond harvest freely. Never remove more than one-third to one-half of the stalks from any one plant during a picking.

When harvesting, choose stems that are 12-18 inches long and bright in color. As the season progresses, stem length shortens. Stop picking after 10 weeks so plants can store energy for the next year’s harvest.

Before taking the rhubarb harvest inside, cut off the bottoms of stems and remove the leaves, tossing them onto a compost pile. You will get the best flavor by using immediately after harvesting.

If you want to try some fantastic rhubarb recipes, join the Central Oregon Dutch Oven Society as they cook up dozens of recipes using rhubarb on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at L & S Gardens. The proceeds from the food sales will go to benefit the La Pine Community Kitchen.
 
Rhubarb Crisp

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup quick cooking rolled oats
½ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups Rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, butter and cinnamon; mix together until crumbly. Press half of the brown sugar and oats mixture into a buttered 8”x 8” baking dish, evenly spread rhubarb over crumb mixture.

In a saucepan, combine 1 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla. Cook together until clear, pour over rhubarb.

Top rhubarb with remaining crumb mixture.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes.
 
Recipe from Linda Stephenson’s Rhubarb Cookbook.

 

4/20/11 - Perennial of the Week

We are starting something new here in the nursery this year. Each week we are going to feature a perennial of the week. That perennial will be on sale. By the end of the season, if you were to plant each special, you will have a beautiful selection of perennials in your garden.

Candytuft at L & S GardensThis weeks special is Candytuft. This is a spring bloomer.

Candytuft - Iberis sempervirens

Slow spreading, mound forming evergreen ground cover growing from 8–12 inches tall. Prefers full sun and must have well-drained soil in order to over winter successfully. White flowers in mid-spring. Space 12–18 inches apart. Perennial. Hardy in Zone 4.

 

"Love the idea of Perennial of the Week!  Looking forward to having a beautiful selection by the end of the season.  Also, thank you for your emails and great info.  It's much appreciated!"
 
Rebecca Ross

 

4/23/11 -Thatch or Aerate Your Lawn?

It is time to fertilize those lawns, trees, shrubs and perennials.
 
Snow is gone from most of your lawns and the time to think about thatching or aerating is here.
If you lawn has spots that won't let the water penetrate then you will need to aerate. You will usually find these areas in high traffic spots. An aerator pulls plugs from the lawn so that water can be absorbed.
 
If your lawn feels spongy when you walk across it or seems unusually thick, then I would suggest you thatch it. Thatching removes accumulated grass and lets the fertilizer and water through to the roots. I suggest that when thatching you first go one direction, rake and then go across the other direction.
 
If you are going to do both of these jobs this season, aerate first and leave the plugs on the ground and then go over it with the thatcher. The thatcher will shake some of the soil on the plugs back into the lawn.
 
If you rent a thatcher or aerator be sure to disinfect the unit before using it on your lawn. A spray bottle of bleach will do the job. Be sure to get in and around all of the blades. Many people only rent this type of equipment when they have a lawn problem. Weed seed, fungus and other residue stays on the machine.You don't want to bring one persons lawn problems to your yard. Or ask the dealer where you rent the equipment to do this for you.
 
We have a new business in town or I should say they have added to the existing business. Peak Performance and Repair on Highway 97 next to the Sugar Pine Cafe is now renting lawn and garden equipment. You can call Mark or Sean at 541-536-3893.

 

5/1/11 - Sweet Woodruff - Perennial Plant of the Week

I love flowers and herbs that establish themselves readily in the garden, but one of my favorites is better suited to the woodland than the formal bed and that is Sweet Woodruff our Perennial Plant of the Week. Our one gallon container is priced at  $8.99 but on sale this week for $6.99.

The beautiful sweet woodruff, Galium odoratum, is a shade gardeners delight. Fast growing, quick to establish, beautiful, white spring flowers and attractive foliage through to snow, this treasure is seldom bothered by pest or disease. Its dried foliage has a sweet scent that has been described as a fresh-cut hay and vanilla fragrance, and it is used frequently in potpourri.

Best of all, place her in the woodland, along a path or at the edge of the trees and let her amble along her own way. Sweet woodruff prefers a slightly acid soil pH of around 5.0, and loves moist, well-drained soil in the shade. As with other woodland plants, she likes rich, humus with lots of organic matter and dried leaves. Plant her under deciduous trees with just a bit of filtered sunlight and she will bloom her best. But she's not picky, she will take some sun as long as she doesn't dry out, and she will even grow well in full shade.

"When I first started growing Sweet Woodruff many years ago, the grower told me that it is used in Germany to add to Rhine wine and   strawberries for a refreshing drink.  Sprigs were added to the wine   and then fresh strawberries were added to the glass when serving.

The thing I love most about Sweet Woodruff is that the deer don't   seem to bother it....which is a BIG issue with me.   I let out a yelp   this morning when I discovered that the wire cage I'd placed over a   healthy bunch of tulips as they were emerging had now been knocked   off and the tulips mowed to the ground."

Karen Sisters

 

5/9/11 - Lupine: Perennial of the Week

How to Grow Lupine Plants:

Lupine grow best in full sun to partial shade. They are fast growers.  In our soil you will want to add a good garden compost.  They prefer cool weather.  
Keep the soil moist to feed their quick growth.Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week.

Tip: Deadhead spent blooms to prolong the blooming period.

Lupines are an old-fashioned flower. A member of the pea family, they are native to North America and Europe. Good looking, easy to grow plants have hand-print shaped leaves. Established plants will grow well for years. The most popular home garden varieties grow 3' - 4' tall. You will find the Russell Hybrids in a variety of colors such as white, red, pink, blue, yellow, lilac, violet, and apricot.

Lupine plants produce attractive, sweet, pea-like blooms on large showy spikes. Flowers bloom from mid spring to mid summer. To promote the blossoms be sure to fertilize with a fertilizer high in the second number, this is your root and blossom pusher. 

Lupine flowers are great in flower vases alone or in arrangements.

Propagation:

Grow Lupine from seed. Sow Lupine seeds directly into your flower garden after all danger of frost. Or, broadcast seeds in an open field or meadow to grow as wildflowers.
Sow seed and cover lightly with 1/8" of garden soil.  In the flower garden, space plants 12" - 14" apart.

 

5/16/11 - Jacobs Ladder: Perennial of the Week

Snow and Sapphires is a variegated Jacob's Ladder, with a stronger and more reliable habit than other selections, and more free to flower. Plants form a low mound of ferny dark-green foliage, each leaflet edged in creamy-white. Taller stems of rich violet-blue flowers put on a grand show in early summer. Our plant of the week takes sun to part shade, grows about 12 inches tall and 16 inches wide and likes a damp soil. This is a nice selection for the cutting garden.

This variety was introduced in 2003 and was quite expensive. Prices have come down since it has been available for awhile and we are able to offer it to you this week for $6.99 per gallon.

We have a great selection of trailing petunias ready for your hanging baskets.

I will be teaching a hanging basket class on Saturday, May 21 at 1 pm. I will supply the basket, soil and your choice of three trailing petunias. Cost is $25 and you do need to sign up.

 

5/17/11 - Epsom Salt and your Garden

There is evidence that the fruiting of tomatoes and peppers is improved by applying Epsom Salts, which contains sulfur and magnesium.

Apply one tablespoon of granules around each transplant, or spray a solution of one tablespoon Epsom Salts per gallon of water at transplanting, first flowering and fruit set.
You can find this product at drug and grocery stores very inexpensive.

House plants:  Mix one teaspoon per gallon of water and feed to the plants every two to four weeks.

Garden Start up: Sprinkle approximately one cup per 100 square feet (10' x 10') and mix into the soil before planting.

Tomatoes: Apply one tablespoon per foot of height for each plant every two weeks.

Roses: Apply one teaspoon per foot of height for each plant every two weeks.

Evergreens: Apply one tablespoon per nine square feet  (3' x 3' ) over the root zone every two to four weeks.
 
It is amazing that the same product one uses to relieve sore feet can also produce remarkable results in growing peppers, tomatoes, roses and evergreens. Epsom Salts is a natural mineral that was discovered in the well water in the town of Epsom, England. The salts chemical composition is hydrated magnesium sulfate (about 10% magnesium and 13% sulfur.) Magnesium is important when it comes to seed germination and is also important in the production of chlorophyll. Magnesium strengthens cell walls and helps plants absorb nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. Sulfur helps plants produce required vitamins, amino acids and enzymes.

 

5/23/11 - Creeping Phlox: Perennial of the Week
 
Perennial of the week - Creeping phlox is one of the most popular ground covers for spring blooming. It forms a mat of semi-evergreen foliage in many different colors, 4-6 in. high. Blooms steadily mid to late spring. Once it blooms give it a light hair cut and this will promote another bloom. This second bloom will not be as heavy as the first bloom of the spring.Such a great plant it even thrives in poor soils. I have a lavender creeping phlox in my yard that covers 3 sq. ft.

Is your Rhubarb ready to harvest? I'm in desperate need of Rhubarb for our festival. We are raising money for the La Pine Community Kitchen from the sale of food at our festival June 4. Last year we sold bags of fresh rhubarb. With the cool weather we have our rhubarb has not grown as much as I would like. If you have some ready and would like to donate it please call me at 541-536-2049 and I will arrange to have it picked up or you can bring it into the nursery.

 

5/30/11 - Monarda: Perennial of the Week

Our perennial of the week is Monarda. Some of it's common names are Beebalm, Oswego Tea, Bergamot or Horsemint. Regular price is $8.99, this week $6.99.
 
Monarda can be found in the Lamiaceae family or better known as the mint family (deer do not like this plant).
 
Flowers: Monarda comes in a variety of colors, pink, red, purple, white and grows from 2 to 4 ft. with a width of 3 feet.  It's growth habit is moderate to fast;  with upright stalks and spreading clumps.
 
Foliage: Opposite, ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 3-6" long, serrate margins, smooth (glabrous) to hairy (villous-hirsute), distinctive scent to bruised leaves, 4-angled stem characteristic of family.
 
Soil: tolerates most, prefers moist
 
Light: sun, spreads faster in shade
 
Landscape Habit:
Bees and hummingbirds LOVE this plant.
 
Other interest: native to eastern N. America; genus named for Nicolas Monardes, a 16th century Spanish botanist; name Oswego Tea is from early explorer John Bartram who found settlers near Oswego, NY using leaves for a tea;  it should not be confused with the bergamot tree, Citrus bergamina, which yields the oils used in Earl Grey tea and aromatherapy; name Beebalm is from its attractiveness to bees.
 
Other culture: division usually needed every 3 years as centers die out and to prevent excessive spread; allow air circulation and provide sufficient moisture to reduce mildew; remove spent flowers for prolonged bloom.

 

6/6/11 - Lychnis Chalcedonica - Maltese Cross

Maltese cross blooms in June with glowing, scarlet-red flowers that attract hummingbirds. It may bloom the first year from seed if started early indoors.

Lychnis chalcedonica is an heirloom flower that has been grown in American gardens since colonial times. Cut it back to 4" when the flowers fade to encourage repeat blooming. It will grow to a height of 3-4'. Regular price $8.99 this week $6.99

 

 

 

 

6/13/11 - Yellow Loosestrife: Perennial of the Week

Lysimachia punctata Golden Alexander: Common name - Yellow Loosestrife. This perennial plant makes a wonderful accent in the garden. Will take full sun to partial shade. Leaf is a deep green with variegated yellow leaves. The flower on this plant is a deep yellow. Yellow loosestrife grows to about 24 inches tall, likes average moisture and a soil that is neutral to alkaline, but it is not fussy. In our area it will bloom about mid summer. Regular price is $8.99, this week $6.99.


 

 

6/13/11 - Currant and Gooseberry Maggots

I want you to be aware of the currant and gooseberry maggot. I have had several customers this past season describe a fly type insect that bores into their gooseberries. After consulting with our bug man, he says that it is a maggot. The maggots are white with a tapered head. The maggots develop inside and feed in the berry, making them inedible. Infested fruit often drop prematurely, but others remain on the bush. Infested berries show a discolored area where the egg was inserted. Infested fruit often turns red before they drop.

Inspect the fruit as they mature for any discoloration, and remove them from the plant.
For management I would recommend a product containing pyrethrine or a spinosad.
Both products are approved for organic production. Apply when adults are observed and prior to egg laying, which should be within the next couple of weeks.

You can also use floating row covers to protect plants during adult emergence. Do not use this technique on infested plants.

 

6/22/11 - Tall Garden Phlox - Perennial of the Week

The tall garden phlox is one of my favorite late summer blooming perennials. It comes in a mix of colors ranging from purple to hot pink. Yes, there is also a white on called David. This perennial grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches.

Because the plant is a mid to late summer bloomer, dead heading will not extend the bloom. But dead heading will make the plant look better and will make the remaining blooms look better. So do remove any spent or fading flower heads. Just snip them back so you can’t see the stems that supported them without removing any other blooms.

Heavily growing phlox will start as a small gallon plant and will expand to 12 in the second year. After that it slows down a little but will eventually occupy an area 18-24 inches wide.

If you want one of those magnificent shows seen in garden magazines, you’ll have to plant several specimens 12-18 inches apart to give a full “blowsy” look. You can give it 4-5 years in one spot to get it up to 30 inches or so wide. After that, you’ll find you want to divide it to improve the blooms and give it a renewed life.

 

6/26/11 - Catmint Subsessilis - Perennial of the Week

This is not your average catmint. Nepeta - catmint subsessilis is a very fast grower. Blooms are purple to a light lavender. Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to light afternoon shade. Plants may be cut back before first flowering to promote more compact size. Shear flower spikes after initial flowering to promote continued bloom. Plants bloom all summer long. Plants will grow 2 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide.

These plants are in 1 gallon pots with a price of $8.99 - this week $6.99 !!

 

6/27/11 - Back Yard Mosquito Control

With the 4th of July weekend coming up I'm sure we will all be having a BIG BBQ. What could be more irritating than those pesky mosquitos. I have been using one of the best sprays that I have found that makes sitting on the patio pleasant without the bugs - CUTTER Backyard Bug Control works just great.

You just attach it to your hose and spray right over your plants and shrubs. Also there is a rebate form attached to the bottle!!

 

6/29/11 - Lydia Broom - Gorgeous Blooming Shrub

Many of you are asking what that gorgeous plant is that is in bloom all over Bend. That would be Lydia Broom - Genista Lydia.

It grows about 12” tall and 4’ wide.  The profuse yellow flowers  completely smother the plant, making this small shrub a highlight of the spring garden. The plant has distinctive cascading evergreen stems that mold beautifully around boulders and drape gracefully over ledges. Genista lydia is a slow but steady grower, putting on 3-5” of growth at the tips of the branches each spring, eventually forming an impressive groundcover-like shrub. Nice for use on hot, sunny slopes when planted close together on 18” centers. We have these on sale in 2 gallon containers, regular $21.99 NOW $15.00 .

 

7/9/11 - Cranesbill Geranium Cambridge: Perennial off the Week

Our perennial of the week is the Cranesbill geranium - Cambridge
The term geranium is confusing. The first geranium most gardeners encounter is not a geranium at all, but Pelargonium, a relative of the perennial geranium. True or hardy or perennial geraniums belong to the genus Geranium. You will sometimes see them referred to as cranesbill geraniums, because their seed pods do somewhat resemble a crane’s bill. The foliage is often toothed and remains attractive. The flowers float on top of the plant, in shades of white, pink, magenta, purples and blues.

They spread 1 to 2 feet over a period of time, like sun to part shade, moist but not soaked soil.

Original price $8.99 - this week while supply lasts is $6.99.

 

7/19/11 - Karl Foester Grass - Perennial of the Week

Thought I might throw in a grass for this weeks special. We have some BEAUTIFUL 5 gallon Karl Foester Grass, regular $18.99 NOW $12.99. We call this instant landscape.
 
This reed grass is a vertical masterpiece and provides wonderful contrast amongst low shrubs and perennials. Often used in naturalized areas, its ultimate size is directly related to the amount of moisture. Even though Calamagrostis can grow in fresh-water bogs, it also does well in drier areas.

One of the first grasses to start growing in the spring, C. 'Karl Foerster' is an early bloomer, which is an asset in areas with a short growing season. The blossoms (seed heads) change color through the season and remain on the plant until winter snow brings them down.

The seeds are sterile, which means the plant won't self-seed.

I especially like this grass because of the way it adds movement to the landscape with the gentle swaying of the stems.

Description: cool season; clump forming
Foliage is green; medium blade width; 90-120 cm (36-48") tall.
Flowers in June through July; 150-200 cm (60-80") tall; flowers often remain erect despite heavy snowfall.

 

7/29/11 - Ornamental Strawberry - Perennial of the Week

Our perennial of the week is the Ornamental Strawberry (fragaria chiloensis).
Perfect plant for rock gardens, soil erosion, edging in the perennials bed. With a height of 6 to 8 inches and a spread of 1 to 2 feet this makes for a perfect ground cover. Dainty white flowers and then producing a very small red strawberry.

Regular price $8.99 NOW $6.99.

All Trees are 40% off marked prices. Lilacs are 20% off marked prices.

 

8/12/11 - Miner's Lettuce Montia Perfoliata

I have been wanting to send out this information on a plant that I noticed in my gardens this spring. I can't believe I haven't paid more attention to it before this. I just considered it a weed and removed it from my gardens.

This plant is one of those things in life that you can go for years without noticing, and then find it hard to imagine how you could have missed it. It is hard to hike anywhere around here in the spring without coming across it. The trail up to Paulina Peak is thick with it between late May through July. It appears first in the sunlit areas, but the best stands are under shade. I just found a whole bed of it under our travel trailer. As the days get hotter, the leaves turn a deep red color as they dry out. Once you get to know it, you will begin to notice the first shoots, even in your own yard after the first heavy rains.
Lettuce? Yes, you can eat it--raw in salads or boiled like spinach. Early settlers and Indians collected and ate it. It is said that California Indians used to place it by red ant hills to pick up formic acid as a dressing. I would be worried that the ants would eat it.
I rarely pass the young plants without pulling off a leaf to nibble on. It tastes a lot like raw spinach to me, not as delicate as lettuce. It has none of the peppery kick of the the somewhat similar garden plant nasturtium Tropaeolum majus, which is also in the Purslane family.

Take a hike around your property and see if you can find some of this low growing plant. It usually gets about 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Miner's lettuce is probably one of the most recognized wild edibles, yet many of you have probably never heard of it.

Let me know if you find some on your property and what you think of the taste.

 

8/12/11 - Pine Tree Disease: Saratoga Spittlebugs

This pine tree plant disease is caused by one of two species of spittlebugs. The pine spittlebugs or aphrophora parallela which may cause serious injury to white or scotch pines or the saratoga spittlebugs, a. saratogensis which typically kills off only the branches of jack pines. These insects may kill branches or the entire tree if infestation is strong.
Pine spittlebugs at maturity are grayish brown. They may first be noticed by the frothy spittle which surrounds their body. This is caused by drops of undigested sap that then mix with air, being excreted by the insects as they suck sap from twigs and the main body of the trunk. Often these frothy bubbles of spittle can be seen also on the twigs near the base of individual needles or needle clusters. Needles often turn yellow and drop off while black mold that has a sooty appearance begins to appear on nearby branches.

Female saratoga spittlebugs lay their eggs on plants beneath the pine trees rather than at the base of buds. The rest of their life cycle follows a similar path with adults migrating to feed on trees in late June, and then returning to the low growing plants beneath the trees to lay eggs again in the fall.

At the first sight of spittlebugs or spittle, spray the infested area with a acephate containing insecticide. Repeat applications of insecticide again in two weeks. It is best to use a high pressure sprayer with these insects as the spittle can sometimes protect the insect from the insecticide.

Chemical insecticides approved for spittlebug control on trees and shrubs may contain compounds such as permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, imidicloprid, carbaryl, acephate and others. Check the label of your tree and shrub products for any of these active ingredients.  

 

8/23/11 - Pine Butterfly

This morning it looked like white clouds had descended on our end of the county and southern Klamath county. There were millions of white butterflies on pine trees from our nursery, into Crescent and up to elevations of 7000 ft.  We received dozens of calls and many of you came into the nursery to find out what that white butterfly was. The Crescent Ranger District and Ralph Berry, entomologist, both confirmed that this is the Pine Butterfly. After doing some research - this is what I found.

These insects are native to the region and do have a history of being heavy defoliators. High populations such as this could mean more widespread noticeable defoliation next year, but we won't know until next spring because insect populations are regulated by many factors, including weather, parasites, predators and disease.

With this large population of  pine butterflies we will see more eggs laid and then the eggs will mature to caterpillars in the spring and then they will eat the needles of the pine trees. The infestation should not kill your healthy pine trees. I would recommend if you have a concern, that you spray with insect spray in the early spring when the weather starts to warm, otherwise let's see what goes on.

 

8/30/11 - How Lightning Benefits Your Garden

As many of you know I started trailing after my Dad in his gardens about the time I learned to walk. Dad was always giving me bits of gardening advice even though I didn't have a clue as to what he was talking about.

One of the bits of wisdom he told me was how lightning affected the newly planted grass seed. He said that if your seed was planted a day or two before a lightning storm you could actually see the grass sprout. Until today, when a customer sent me the following information, I did not really know the science behind this concept.

Have you ever looked at your garden soon after a thunderstorm has passed? Did you notice that the plants looked brighter, fresher and greener? Many gardeners have probably wondered what causes this. Perhaps it is the fresh rainfall or maybe the slightly cooler temperatures or maybe the humidity.

While all of these things have an affect on your vegetable and flower gardens and yes, the grass also, lightning is known to be a major factor in naturally fertilizing plants, therefore giving them a quick boost of life.

Air is comprised of 78% nitrogen and about 20% oxygen. Nitrogen is an element that plants need for chlorophyll production (which aids photosynthesis), foliage development and overall growth.

It is usually the main ingredient in fertilizers. However, the nitrogen in air is not in a usable form for most plants. So how do plants get nitrogen that is in the air?

The intense heat and electric charges produced by lightning causes the nitrogen molecules in the air to cling to the oxygen molecules. This bond forms nitrogen oxides. The nitrogen oxides will either fall from the sky or be collected by the rain drops bringing a form of nitrogen that can now be used by the plants.

The plants now receive a supercharged dose of available nitrogen, causing them to become brighter, healthier and greener.

 

9/1/11 - Transplanting Strawberry Runners

To maintain your strawberry patch in peak production season after season, you will need to transplant some of the innumerable runners that from from the main plant.
They can be moved anytime they are growing a new plant that have put down their own roots.

Clip off the runner between the mother plant and the newly rooted plant. If the runner continues beyond the new plant clip that off. When you lift the new plant take some good amended soil with it so as not to disturb the roots too much.

At the new location dig a hole large enough to accept the new plant with it's soil (work in some bone meal at this time). Drop the new plant into the hole and tamp the soil down to remove any air pockets, then water well. Do not cover the crown or the plant will die.
Make sure you do this right away or wait until spring. The plant needs time to set some good roots before winter.

 

9/12/11 - Thatch or Aerate?

Looks like the weather is going to cool down and it will be a perfect time to either thatch or aerate your lawn. This is a rule of thumb that I recommend.

If when you walk across your lawn and it feels real spongy, then you should thatch. You have built up a thatch layer that is causing the sponginess. If you have areas in your lawn, places that gets frequent traffic or you have dry spots that just won't take the water, then you should aerate and possibly follow with thatching.

After thatching or aerating put on your fall fertilizer. I recommend either a  timed release 21-7-14 or a 16-16-16. I have both in stock.

I talked to Mark at Peak Performance here in La Pine on highway 97 and he said to tell him Linda at L & S Gardens sent you and he will give you a discount on your thatcher or aerator rental. You can reserve your machine by calling him at 541-536-3893.

Make sure that they disinfect the machine before you take it to your lawn. You do not want to bring weeds and a possible fungus to your lawn.

 

10/17/11 - Tree and Shrub Pruning

Now is the perfect time to be pruning your trees and shrubs for next year. What do you want your planting to look like in the spring?

We know that the leaf trees and shrubs have gone dormant because of a lack of leaves. As show in the drawings, you want all branches of your trees to go out from the trunk. You do not want branches that cross over each other. All of the energy from your trees and shrubs have gone into the root system by pruning now you will not be removing next years energy growth.

Prune your shrubs the way you want them to look in the spring. I have pruned my lilacs and potentillas to manage their size.

You DO NOT want to fertilize any of your trees and shrubs at this time of year. We may get some nice weather which could cause them to produce some new growth and then the freeze will kill the new growth.

Be sure to rake up all of the leaves under your aspen trees. Aspen leaves can produce a spore fungus which will cause black spot in the trees the following year. I suggest you put these in the burn pile.

 

"Yesterday I was just wondering if now is the time to prune and here comes your email. You're a great resource and I really appreciate you sending out these emails. It helps a lot..."
 
Cathy Platin
Spring River Gardens

 

10/24/11 - Water, Water, Water

What beautiful fall weather we have been having. According to the weather man that is soon to change to cool days. You have probably turned off your irrigation and rolled up the hoses. With the cool weather we ASSUME that we no longer need to water, that is NOT so. We have had very little moisture this month and some very nice warm days. You will lose plants faster if they go into the winter dry than if they go in wet. Give your yard a big drink of water right now. As the season progresses with no moisture you may want to take a five gallon bucket of water out to the garden and water the newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials. Established trees and shrubs will probably be fine, but a drink will not hurt. Remember - NO fertilizing of plants, trees or shrubs.

If you are planting fall bulbs you will want to work in to the ground with the bulbs either bone meal or bulb food as you plant.
 
Even though we are closed for the season, I'm always available to answer your gardening questions either by e-mail or by phone.

 
"You are SUCH a great resource in Central Oregon.  I've learned sooooo much from you, even though a very seasoned gardener myself.  Having lived for years in the Willamette Valley did not prepare me to be a gardener here in this climate.  Your tips have helped me so much.  Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you!"
 
 
Kristina Davidson


Garden Updates 2011

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Garden Updates 2008

Garden Updates 2007

 

 

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