December 2016

Hellebore Blooms in the Winter Garden

Now is the time to go out in your yard and prune back the leaves of your Hellebores, commonly called Lenten Rose. They are usually a bit shabby after the colder part of the winter. This takes away from those new blossoms that are blooming or budding out. Just be careful when pruning that you do not damage those blooms.

The result will be a bouquet of solid color. Don’t worry, fresh new leaves will soon be unfurling.

Do not cut back the hellebore foetidus as their blooms form toward the end of the leafy stalk.

This evergreen perennial foetidus ‘Wester Flisk’ is ready to go home with you and give you year-long texture as well as late winter clusters of blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also available in the green house are hellebores from the Gold Collection.

‘Jacob’ has very visual white flowers as they are outward facing, unlike older varieties which look down. Notice the red stems, an attractive variation from the standard.
variegated leaves of 'Snow Fever' hellebore

 

 

 

 

 

‘Snow Fever’ with a smaller, cupped blossom, has variegated leaves that are showy in the shade garden.

 

 

 

 

Hellebores, drought and deer resistant, are a wonderful addition to any shade garden.

 

Get Ready for the Frost and Cold

It is going to happen sooner than later.
Temperatures are going to go down much colder than some of your plants like.  Don't lose those more tender plants to the frost.

Most shrubs and perennials are hardy to our area but we do try to test our zonal limits in the Willamette Valle, especially with more tropical looking plants. Some of these perennials and vines are actually considered annuals here or are only marginally hardy.

What can you do to protect them?

Protect them with a frost cloth. When properly placed, Harvest-Guard blankets trap heat in and protect the plant from any cold, drying winds. It can raise the temperature under the protected area up to 7 degrees.

With some plants, you just need to be bring them  in the house or garage. They not only dislike the cold, they do not do well in our wet winters.

Plants in pots are at a disadvantage during the cold weather as their roots are not as protected as they would be if planted in the ground. You lose one zone of hardiness if the pots have become too small for the root growth and they no longer are insulated by the soil. This includes potted shrubs.

Move these pots to a protected area by the house or into the garage. An alternative would be to sink the pot in the ground in an area unused during the winter, like a vegetable garden. If you do not have room or the pots are too large, a small greenhouse could give them the added protection. It would also be a place to start seedlings in the spring.

Vegetable beds can be covered with Grow Tunnels – mini hoop houses over 10 feet long and 1foot 8 inches wide. You can both extend your growing season and get an early start in the spring. We carry two types: one allows the rain through and the other offers more protection from our Oregon liquid gold.

Want something larger? This year we carry 20 foot wide 4 mil plastic sheeting, 10 feet long PVC pipes and a variety of connectors to create your own Hoop House. We will gladly walk you through the construction process.

Mulching your hardy perennials for the winter is always a good idea. This gives protection to even your hardy perennials in case of a long and deep cold spell. Just remember to remove the mulch once the threat of frost has gone.

Cutting back herbaceous perennials, keeping the roots hydrated, and protecting the more tender ones will get you well on the way to overwintering your plants successfully!

Edgeworthia- A Plant for all Seasons

The attraction of shrubs with winter interest is usually subtle. Not so with Edgeworthia, sometimes called a Chinese Paperbush.

Let's start with the bark. The reddish color and texture tempts you reach out and touch. The round shape of the multi-stemmed bush concentrates the color of the branches. Edgeworthia chrysantha grows up to 5-6 feet but can be kept smaller with pruning after bloom.

The blue-green leaves are tropical-like with their simple fullness. They turn yellow before they drop to reveal the already forming flower buds.

The flowers are the best part of edgeworthia. The buds are white and covered with light silky hairs. They form on the tips of the branches and when the sun shines on them, they seem to glow. These buds continue to swell late fall through early winter. Because the flowers are in clusters, the bud almost looks like a single white flower but surprise comes mid winter. If you have been ignoring your shrub, you won't now. The yellow and cream blossoms open wide and seem to cover the entire bush. You can't miss their wonderful fragrance.

Easily cared for in moist, well drained soil and in full or part sun, edgeworthia will certainly be the talk of your winter garden!

Cozy up for the winter

It’s winter and your opportunity to curl up in your favorite chair and finally take the time to pore over your garden magazines.  Clip out any ideas or plants that catch your interest. Create a garden journal, a pocket folder or even better, load up your smart phone to have easy access to your favorites and inspiraton.

 

If you have a view from your easy chair out to the yard, make note of the structure of your garden. Are there bare spots? (Oh boy, the plant-fanatics are rejoicing!) Make a note to choose and plant something to feature there. Maybe there might be something that would be better subtracted or moved to a new spot.
 

If you are the type that cannot sit inside on a fine winter's day, walk in your garden and get a few things done:

If you have saved seeds, it’s a good time to check that they are properly stored. Mice and insects will seek out fat pumpkin seeds stored in a shed or garage.

Assorted greeneryGather up any blowdown or windfall,  Choose some with choice structure to make an arrangement of mossy branch, curly willow, greens or berries.

Make note of pruning that will need to be done. Do not prune if temperatures are at or below  freezing! Branches are too brittle then.

Water any plants that are under the eaves of your house.  Just remember to drain the hose after watering and re-place the freeze-protection cover on your hose bib. Remember too that winds and below freezing temperature are very drying---so supplement with watering if we have a rainless spell.

Launch a search and destroy mission against slug eggs. They appear as white “pearls” under rocks and wood.

Columnar junipers, arborvitae and cypress  will bend and possibly break under the weight of snow. Remove all fallen leaves that may have caught up in the branches that would catch snow. Tie up the top portions to keep them from opening up under the weight of ice or snow. At the nursery we use large rubber bands, but simple twine will work.

At Farmington Gardens, we hope everyone will have a spectacular gardening season.