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.)

SALE!! Live Evergreen Trees, Wreaths & More!!

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Take 25% off all of our evergreen holiday trees & wreaths, 30% off all glass & vintage Ornaments, 50% off all indoor holiday plants and Tillandsia (air plants) ✿…..WE CLOSE FOR THE SEASON ON FRIDAY DEC. 23rd* — hurry in!   *(However, please contact us if you need to stop in earlier/later in the day, or Sat. Dec. 24th, Christmas Eve, we’ll be happy to accommodate).

Just say “yes” …to Live Christmas trees!

Mixed evergreen wreath made @ Madras Garden Depot
Mixed Evergreen Wreath

Are you ready for a “living” Christmas tree? Some of the symptoms might be:

  • A strong aversion to retrieving the artificial tree stored in a dusty shroud of assorted plastic bags in the attic, or horrors! high up in the garage rafters. This symptom can also be combined with:
  • Sudden fatigue from thinking about trying to re-assemble the correct “branch”  into the correct hole in the metal tree “trunk”. (Can also include minor scratching to face and arms from unyielding bits of spiky plastic and metal from said “tree”.)
  • Mental weakness brought on from extreme troubleshooting of “pre-lit” features of some artificial tree varieties.
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy from having to rescue a toppled artificial (or cut) tree due to the antics of cooped up & curious household pets.
  • Depression from paying upwards of a week’s worth of groceries for a lovely cut tree, coiffed to solid green perfection. (Note: a special technique called “laying-on” must be used for ornament placement due to density of sheared foliage.) Patient soon realizes that in less than 3 weeks the cut tree will be relegated to the bowels of the garbage truck tossed into a bin at the landfill site, or onto the burn pile…. This is simply too depressing for some family members to have to cope with.
All this could lead to excessive Holiday binging brought on by a sense of frustration due to the un-realized goal of having the tree ready for the arrival of a influential, (and often overly critical), family member or guest.

'Chief Joseph' lodgepole pine and other live evergreen trees

‘Chief Joseph’ lodgepole pine and other live evergreen trees

…Of course all of the foregoing is in jest, but we would like to offer a wonderful antidote –  Live Evergreen Tree, or ‘LET’ therapy!
We have a broad selection of live Christmas trees, including a species that is especially attractive and can be somewhat hard to find, the ‘Chief Joseph’ Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia ‘Chief Joseph’. This is a dwarf conifer whose needles are a medium green in the summer, but change to a glowing yellow during the winter. How’s that for a splash of color in your winter garden? Come Spring, the needles turn green again.
These trees are native to eastern Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains. George Will of Sandy, Oregon discovered this lodgepole pine variant while hunting – and dug the specimen up with an ax. You won’t need an ax; we offer ball & burlap’Chief Joseph’ pines in 2 heights.
Very slow-growing, ‘Chief Joseph’ ‘ averages about 2” to 4” each year. After 10-12 years  it will probably be about six feet tall. This is a good tree for a small yard or an empty spot that needs a year ’round focal point. Culturally this tree needs well-drained soil (preferably planted in a berm) and full sun for the best winter color, but it will tolerate some shade at the expense of the bright yellow color. Hardy to -30°, zone 4


Our live tree inventory includes:

Firs:
Norway, Golden Spanish, Nordmann, Subalpine and Turkish Firs
Pines:
Austrian, Bosnian, Ponderosa, Scotch, Vanderwolf and White pines
 Spruce:
Colorado Blue, Colorado Green, Columnar Blue and Serbian spruce.
Other unusual Holiday trees:
Boxwood, Lemon Cypress (indoor only), Columnar Juniper….
As always, we offer free planting advice for all of our trees (a handout is also available if you want one), and for 2 or more trees purchased, we’ll throw in the correct amount of our organic fertilizer with mychorrizae.


Other Holiday plants & gifts inside the store….

Handmade wreaths (we take custom orders as well!), blooming Poinsettia, colorful & fragrant Cyclamen (perfect for a cool room or windowsill), 4 colors of Christmas Cacus, Tillandsia air plants, potted Amaryllis, ‘forced’ narcissus and hyacinth bulbs in vintage glass vessels, and a lovely selection of  vintage glass ornaments (such as the bluebird and mushroom pictured below)!


Come visit our booth!

@ the Madras Saturday Market Holiday Market, 2 days!!

Fri. Dec 16th, noon-7 pm + Sat.Dec. 17th, 9 am-4 pm at the Jefferson Co. Fairgrounds

Late Summer happenings….Hypertufa, again!

 

 

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Upcoming class….Come join the gang at Madras Garden Depot for the 2nd of our annual August Hypertufa container classes,  Saturday August 20th from 10am-1:30pm. Each participant  will make up to 3 hypertufa rock-like planters, which you can take home an plant up – for class participants we’re offering 20% off on 4″ succulents the day of the class!

..So, what is hypertufa ??

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12″ x 4″ Hypertufa planter with miniature Delosperma (Hardy iceplant) and an Alpine Primrose. made in 2013, it is kept outside 24/7.

Hypertufa is a recipe of cement and other inorganic & organic additives and the final product greatly mimics quarried stone. Rectangular stone troughs have long been used for planting small, hardy alpine plants, but more xeric (water-thrifty) rock garden plants such as sedums & sempervirens can also be used. Each hypertufa container is uniquely different & beautiful! They are made to withstand freezing temperatures and reside outdoors, but you can bring them inside on a sunny windowsill and plant with tropical cactus and succulents – think of what a neat Christmas gift this would be!

Our cement mixer makes mixing the recipe’s a breeze, we’ll use different tints and stains in the mixes and we have an abundant inventory of forms to use, and, if you want to bring a form along to use, feel free to do so.  Remember to wear grubby gardening clothes and please bring your own sturdy rubber gloves and be prepared to get dirty & have FUN!
Cost: $35 fee includes all materials & lunch. This is a very popular class, please rsvp to (541) 475.2068 – we have 3 more spots available!


…And from the Madras Garden Depot Dept. of Wildlife:

Praying Mantis and grasshopper
‘Hilda’ the resident Praying Mantis devouring her (ex) beau one one of the Panic Grasses in our Ornamental Grass section of the nursery. Photo: Horst Meister 8.17.16


 

Seen at the nursery:

 


 

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!

A New Year’s inversion diversion!

 

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We acknowledge that even we are getting a bit weary of the gloom outside. It’s been like this for a week or more, argh…

We welcome you to the world of the temperature inversion…So in light of that, (or really due to the lack of light!) if you would like a “diversion from the inversion” please check out this neat-o coloring book from our seed supplier: Botanical Interests Coloring Book

Hope you enjoy the coloring book and if you are thinking of spring and all things seeds, we’ll  have our seeds ready to purchase in our store at the beginning of March. If there is a particular variety you are looking for we can easily get it for you – just send us your wish list.

Stay warm out there!

We have the local cheer!

Freezing fog & Christmas trees
Freezing fog & Christmas trees

When you decide to ignore the cold fog do some Holiday shopping, consider a visit our nursery where you will find a nice assortment of indoor flowering plants such as cool-weather loving Cyclamen and Zygo (Christmas) cactus & Rabbit’s Foot Fern to bring on Holiday cheer!

HolidayFlowering2015

There is also a small group of hanging glass mini-terrariums containing little air-plants called ‘Tillandsias’ starting at $12.

Teardrop terrarium with Tillandsia
Teardrop terrarium with Tillandsia

Unusual varieties of winter-blooming Amaryllis are getting ready to bloom in a warm room and are available potted in various clay pots starting at $15  Pointsettias will arrive soon on Dec. 8th!

We just set out the fresh-cut Noble Fir Christmas trees. These are “naturally grown” trees (un-sheared & un-sprayed) that have been hand selected by us from 2 family farms in Oregon City & Boring. Want a tree to really show off your ornament collection? These are the real ‘old fashioned’ trees! Prices start at just $8.00 for a table top sized tree!


And on the wreath theme…Our handmade wreaths composed of (legally) hand collected greens from the forest are now available as we make them here inside the store. Know that they can be made up “just for you” by special order…please contact us soon to find out more & get on the wreath list!

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Lastly…a surprise! We have some really cool new garden & nature inspired jewelry items in our indoor gift area – all made “locally” in Oregon & California.
  • Vintage lockets made by Verabel, each one different and unusual starting at $36
  • Made in Madras: earrings and necklaces of semi precious beads and crystals starting at just $10
  • One of a kind Enamel Bluebird pins by illustrator Elizabeth Graeber to make anyone happy, $10

We have also added a line of artisanal soaps made in small batches with all natural ingredients and scents by a great little company, Three Sisters Apothacary. We picked our order up in person and had a nice chat with the owner about the trials, tribulations & joys of operating a small business. For something different , included in the offerings are 2 different kinds of shampoo bars for dogs!


 On Saturday Dec.12th, we will once again be participating as vendors at the Madras Saturday Christmas Market being held indoors from 9 am-4 pm at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. All of the vendors are truly local, so please support YOUR local economy by doing a little or a lot of shopping at the Market, and please come ‘bye & say “hello” to our booth.

Please tell your friends and neighbors, thanks!