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!

Dig it in, pot it up

Apologies for not updating our website newsletter for over 2 weeks. It isn’t only the weather that has been brisk lately – business has picked up and we are in “go” mode at the Depot: helping customers, planting seeds & shifting up seedlings, participating at the master Gardener spring seminar in Redmond, bringing in more good plants from our vendors and then caring for it ALL! This of course has left an energy deficit whereby our brain cell’s are clearly seeking sleep, not more computer time…

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Spring lettuces in the coldframe

Here’s an image that will inspire you to sow some lettuce seeds. ‘Spreckles’ and Red Romaine, happily growing side by side in the cold frame. The ‘Spreckles’ lettuce is sometimes referred to as”deer-tongue” lettuce, and it re-seeded itself with abandon out in the veggie garden so we transplanted a few seedlings into the cold frame to speed up growth and in under 2 weeks we’re ready for the first fresh salad! (We carry the Botanical Interests seeds for these 2 varieties as well as some yummy salad blends.)

Now onto some fragrant photos…clockwise from left, these perennial Dianthus are hands down our fragrant favorites in the greenhouse this week. Next, a ‘Lemon Lights’ hardy azalea. It is softly fragrant and because these Azaleas are hardy to zone 4, with a little extra mulching they’ll do even better. The sweet little pink flowers on the ‘Cocodile’ ivy geranium are the icing on the cake. The leaves are really unusual. They are available in a 4″ size and we also have some growing-on in Down-Under Pots that will be ready next week (a great Mother’s Day gift, hint, hint!) The last image is of  some ‘Daddy’ petunias (don’t ask us, we didn’t name them!) but they are really fragrant (especially the dark blue one.) These are available in 4 packs along with many other colors.

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Container and hanging basket alert!

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Getting ready for the Planting Party!

Get a head start on summer at our annual Container Planting Party in our greenhouse, Sat. May 2nd from 11am -2pm. Bring your baskets, pots or whatever containers you love and we’ll provide our special container mix and if needed, we’ll provide some design guidance as well. Plant up your containers using gorgeous annuals from our greenhouse. The cost is the cost of the plants and any containers you buy from us (if you need them). Remember this is a party, so bring a friend! Light refreshments provided. PLEASE RSVP by calling 541 475-2068 to reserve a space at the potting table!

It’s sowin’ time again!

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Pansy ‘Fizzy Lemonberry’

Seed sowing, that is. Spring is not being gentle but rather is pouncing on us this year. Many experienced gardeners think we’re almost 2 weeks ahead of schedule planting-wise, so yes, it’s high time to get your indoor sown seeds growing so you can get a jump on our short high desert growing season!

We have a few ways to get you in the spring gardening mood…

One, we’re offering a free Seed Starting class tomorrow, Sat. March 8th at 11am-12:15pm.
Two, we just received our initial order of seeds from Botanical Interest Seeds (https://www.botanicalinterests.com/) and we are sold out of a couple of varieties already (yeah, the 63 ‘Buttergold’ se corn is a HIT!) , but, not to worry we can re-order your favorites in short order.
Three, Plants!! Our greenhouse has some lovely cold-hardy spring herbs & flowers that will really lift your spirits; most of the bare root trees are here, and lastly, come check out the ‘Jersey Knight’ asparagus crowns. They are H-U-G-E and will surely get some asparagus on your table next year.

We’ll see you soon down the garden path!

~ Karen & Marilyn

PS: We’ll be participating as vendors in the Trade Show at the ‘Living on a Few Acres’ (LOAFA) event on Sat. March 14th from 8-5 pm at the Deschutes Co. Fairgrounds in Redmond. This event consists of 3 tracks of seminars going all day and it encompasses everything one could encounter on a small farm in Central Oregon, from alpacas, to hay, to wine!  For more info call (541) 548-6088