The Land of Awakening

 “Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.”  Lewis Grizzard

 

Spring will be here soon!
Spring will be here soon!

Being a good gardener, but a wretched typist, I make doubly sure that each of my cold fingers carefully touches my keyboard so I don’t have to go back and make (yet another) correction…yes, it’s very, very cold out, but we’re still planning on opening up tomorrow as we have been getting calls, visits and messages about bulk soil and bark, fruit trees and of course, dormant spray for that last window of opportunity to spray before the buds swell on the fruit trees and shrubs…

It has been a “good” winter here for us at the nursery. All of our outdoor’s over-wintered perennials, shrubs and trees have done so well! Last fall’s temperature’s gradually fell, inducing them into a perfectly cozy dormancy. I can count the losses on one hand. Our newly planted mound fared very well too considering the snow they were under for weeks. Amazingly, the most robust looking plants coming out of the winter were all of the little 4″ lavender plants and one of the wormwood varieties, ‘Powis Castle’ doesn’t even show a hint of stress. However, the viability inside our greenhouse was another story. Plants that should have been protected were not (I simply was not there to help them, due to family health issues), some plants were watered when they should have remained dry (oops, communication error!)  We also had a winter visitor, a cute cottontail “wabbit” who helped (her/himself?) to quite a few clematis vines, groundcover plants and hardy iceplants, so while they are not dead, let’s just say they were pruned within a centimeter of survival. So, we move on!

Red truck coming out of winter
Red truck coming out of winter

When you come visit us during the first week or so, please don’t be surprised to see just a few spring flowering plants. They will be coming in small orders until we get closer to April, and then BOOM! Speaking of orders, we are very happy to find plants for you, and asking us now will certainly increase the odd’s of finding them on someone’s list, so yes, ask away!

Our first event of the season will be ‘Wake up your Garden’ this Sat. March 11th, 11am-12:30pm. Come join us to get a great start in planning out your gardening season with some basic tasks and tips for improving soil, growing ornamental plants, fruits and veggies to THRIVE in our high desert. Your questions are always welcomed! If you are new to our nursery, please come meet us & find out what we do here at Madras Garden Depot. While here, you can’t help but get inspired! This will be a FREE event… Light (warm!!) refreshments served.

Wind Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, always laugh's at the cold!
Wind Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, always laughs at the cold!

 

Our next class will be: Seed Starting’, Sat. march 18th, 11am-12:30pm …learn about the joys of growing vegetables + flowers from seeds started indoors. This class will cover which types of vegetables grow best in our area, timing seedling starts, when to harden them off and how to plant and care for your seedlings, what seeds are better ‘direct sown’ and much more. We’ll give you tips for growing both vegetable and flower seeds. Using good techniques, you’ll be successful at growing your own produce and blooms from start to finish.This will be a FREE class with a limit of 15 participants. Please RSVP by Fri. March 17th. Warm refreshments served.

Tulips and Daffodils in our demonstration bed
Yes, tulips and daffodils in Madras!

Let’s keep in touch! To keep up to date with the going’s on here at Madras Garden Depot, and in the central Oregon gardening community in general, please consider “liking” us on our Facebook page (link below, or on R sidebar). You can check the Facebook page from time-to-time to see what’s new & wonderful and even send us messages, which we often see sooner than emails sent in to our work address. You can also sign up for our newsletter ( R sidebar.)

Holy snowflake, what a winter!!

Vintage print of peach & flower
Vintage print of peach & flower

….And the good news is that we had a very gradual fall with temperatures that gently eased our plants into a nice dormant state. Hopefully, if you noticed snow dumping off of roofs and piling up on perennials, vines or shrubs, that you attended to them before too much damage ensued. If not, be aware that some rehabilitative pruning could be in store. Except for “emergency” pruning, it’s usually best to wait until the first buds start to appear before you start cutting. By waiting, you will help keep that plant from further insulting frost damage on newly pruned branches. We’ll be sure to have a mini pruning clinic early in March to address these issues – please keep an eye out for the date.

A reminder, if you haven’t done any dormant spraying of fruit and deciduous trees and shrubs (such as roses & lilacs), it’s a good idea to get ready to do so. Optimally, its best to have a window of time where temperatures are above 40° for 24 hours, so we still have a few weeks to prepare. If you are looking for dormant oil/horticultural oil we have it in stock. We’re currently working in the office & nursery getting orders in and plants straightened out ,etc, so  don’t hesitate to reach out with an email or leave a voice message & we’ll get back to you for a time to meet up.

Our opening date for the 2017 season is Tuesday, March 7th. We’ll have our spring hours in effect, Tues- Sat, 9 am – 5 pm, closed Sunday’s and Monday’s. Please contact us with your requests as we are still sourcing many plants and can easily fit your request into an order. Please note, we will be bringing in our dormant fruit tree inventory in a bit later this season in an effort to get a wider variety of peaches and apricots which seem to be wildly popular these days.

Finally, we’re happy to once again be a part of Eagle Watch Feb.25-26, from 9-4 at PGE Round Butte Overlook park. We’ll have our own heated yurt and will be helping to identify helpful ways homeowners can support wild bird and pollinator habitats in their own yards with plants and flowers… we’ll have a few tempting spring flowering “treats” as well such as ‘Bellarina’ primroses, Checkered Fritillary Lilies and pansies & violas. These can be safely planted in containers on your porch or placed in pretty baskets or pots on cool windowsills.
If you have never attended Eagle Watch, you are in for a local treat, DO bring the kids +grandkids!
See you soon!

Twilight Open Garden – this Friday!

This Friday, August 5th from 6 – 8 pm there will be a free ‘Twilight Open Garden’ at the Moran residence in Yarrow, co-sponsored by the Madras Garden Depot & the Madras Garden Club. This garden is about 3 years old and was intentionally designed to display very hardy, but beautiful native and adapted ornamental plants that typically do not require as much water (and maintenance!) as a lawn. Besides using less water, the garden is maintained organically and many of the plants used also encourages and support pollinators, there is even an area set aside and dedicated just for bees and butterflies.

Looking west from Moran garden, Madras 2016
Looking west from Moran garden, Madras 2016

We have been helping the Moran’s for a few years now (well mostly Beckie, though Mike is a super-good sport hauling all the landscape rock & bark!) through every step of the development of this landscape, from the initial design and approval from the HOA, then providing on site guidance and plant selection. Along the way we somehow managed to become good friends, and Beckie, who was a certified Master Gardener before arriving in Madras, is currently the president of the Madras Garden Club.

penstemonopt
Yellow Pineleaf Penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’) This is a low growing, sun loving, deer resistant, EVERGREEN perennial!

Please come enjoy a warm summer evening out among your fellow gardeners from our community. There will be light refreshments available. Many of the plants will be identified with plant markers, but Karen from Madras Garden Depot will be there to lead the informal tour & answer questions at 7 pm. NOTES: If you do need to bring young children, please supervise them at all times during your visit; do not bring dogs; there are gravel pathways on some hillsides that are not accessible to the handicapped, but the garden is very easily viewed from paved sidewalks & alley that surround it on 3 sides; lastly, please do not park in the alley (there will be a sign identifying this ‘No Parking’ zone.)

- For details & directions to the Moran residence please call the Madras Garden Depot  or send us an email message.

*If you enjoy this type of event and would like to open your garden (vegetable gardens as well!) to a tour or would like to “nominate” someone you know who has an exceptional garden to share, please don’t be shy, go ahead & contact us ;)

 

Welcome back to green, (aka spring!)

1-1-20150427_212222On Tuesday March 1st we will re-open for the season, yay! It has been a very mild winter compared to 2014-15 and all of our plants are pushing new growth, some, like our hybrid (safe) Butterfly Bushes even getting a bit carried away with themselves so they’ll have to have a date with our pruners a little sooner than later.

So, how did your garden & landscape fare over the winter? If you haven’t done so already you can still get a dormant spray on those deciduous shrubs and trees – fruiting or ornamental. It’s also a great time to tidy up perennials by cutting back old, dead growth to within 3″-4″ of emerging new growth. If you didn’t apply any compost last fall, here is a perfect opportunity to do it before the foliage on your plants takes off. We have organic compost in bags and by the yard. Our plant based compost sold by the yard is also a perfect topdressing for your lawn. Apply about 1″ over the lawn and rake it in. You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make.Recently the days, and yes, even the nights have been over 50° but it does appear we’re headed back for some more normal mild frosts – yes, it is still February everyone!

eaglewatch1And February in Jefferson County also means it’s time to celebrate the eagles during the annual Eagle Watch Celebration weekend, coming up soon Feb. 27th & 28th from 10-4 at the Round Butte Overlook Park about 10 miles west of Madras. Madras Garden Depot has once again been asked to participate, and we’ll be set up inside a warm yurt prepared to share ideas about how to make the outside environment around your home friendlier to birds in particular and wildlife, (including pollinators) in general. So come say hello, and don’t forget, this is a very kid-friendly event!

1-eaglewatch2  Eagle Watch Celebration   

To get right into the swing of things up at the nursery, our annual seed starting class with Karen will be held on Sat. March 5th at 11 am inside our greenhouse. Learn about the joys of growing vegetables from seeds started indoors or sown directly in your garden. This class will cover which types of vegetables grow best in our area, timing seed sowing for optimum growth, when to harden them off and how to plant-out and care for your seedlings, and much more.
Karen will give you tips for growing both vegetable and flower seeds. Using the proper techniques, you will be successful at growing your own produce and blooms from start to finish.

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…And now for the Wait There’s More” message:  Every attendee who purchases seed propagation equipment or 2 or more packets of seed will receive 2 quarts of ‘Black Gold’ organic seedling mix & a sample packet of Cascade Minerals Soil Re-Mineralizer, absolutely FREE!