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Six Shades of Lilac

Lilacs aren’t just your Grandmother’s plant anymore.

They come in a wide variety of shades and even different colors. Who knew we now have yellow lilacs?  The flowers can be single or double. Full size growth varies from 5 feet to 15 feet! You have quite a number of choices to make.

What has not changed is their fragrance, an unforgettable sweet scent.

Because lilacs are hardy, easy to grow and self perpetuate with their suckering habit, they seem to last forever. They might even be one of the last plants standing at old abandoned houses. Use them for privacy between neighbors or as a background tree in your garden.

Plant different lilacs with different bloom times and you can extend your ‘lilac’ time over several weeks. They are great as cut flowers. Butterflies love them too.


pink and white lilac blossoms lilac blossoms white lilac blossoms
Katherine Havemeyer Purple Glory Ellen Willmott


Click on images for a larger view


yellowish lilac blossoms wine lilac blossoms double bluish lilac blossoms
Primrose Charles Joly President Grevy


These are the earlier bloomers. More to come.

Information on care and pruning is found on our information sheet.

Winter Damage

It’s spring and you may be wondering why we are talking about winter damage. It is because we have had unusually lengthy cold spells this year during periods of little rain.

How has that affected the plants? Plenty! You may be seeing a lot of die-back on plants you have had for years. The shrub that you put in late last year is not budding out. Some vines don’t seem as vigorous. The plants in your pots are more brown than green.

brown tipped leavesPlants needed time to acclimatize to the winter weather. We had sudden drops in temperature that lasted for two or more weeks at a time, and it happened early in the season! This caused damage to plants that had put out new tender growth late in the fall. It also did a number on the early blooming shrubs like the Camellia, particularly the sasanqua. Those buds froze and you will now have to wait while more are formed for next year’s flush of blossoms. Daphne, evergreen clematis, and some rhododendrons fall into this category.  Pay extra attention to them this year to ensure strong growth.

Even some of the broadleaf evergreens are showing damaged top leaves of a choisiadamage. The dry, cold winds sucked the moisture from them. This was most evident in the choisia but luscious new growth is coming out now. You can remove any damaged leaves. It won’t hurt the plant and on some, may aid new leaves to form at that spot.

The lack of rain early in the season also left some plants dehydrated and less able to cope with the stress from the cold. Remember plants need regular moisture in warm temperatures as well as cooler ones.

The air temperature was much colder than the soil temperatures. Because of this, potted plants lose about two temperature zones of hardiness. If the pots were small or the plant roots close to the outside edges, there was a good chance the roots froze. Time to start anew.

Some shallow rooted perennials were also killed by the cold as were some plants marginally hardy to our area, especially in the higher elevations. These can be removed.

What else can you do about this?

At this point, wait and watch for new growth coming from the ground as with the hardy fuchsia. Your Kaleidoscope Abelia may look dead but be patient. It may surprise you.

Test the viability of any shrub by making a tiny scratch on the bark with your fingernail. If there is green underneath, there is a good chance of it coming back. If not, prune back any dead branches. Prune any evergreen vines back to new growth.

Once your patience has worn thin, it may be time to take the opportunity to try new and different additions to your garden. Change is good.

This is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. Their roots can be established before the dry of the summer and definitely before the cold of the next winter!


What's New and On Sale

Select evergreen


25% OFF


                             Azalea 'Pink Clusters'                     Azalea 'Cherry Drops'


                              Azalea 'Hino White'

1g regular $6.99 Now 25% OFF       2g regular $14.99 Now 25% OFF

More varieties and colors available




                       1g $5.99 reg $12.99    5g $14.99 reg $32.99


Clematis montana 'Rubens'


Fragrant, rosy flowers bloom profusely on clematis montana 'Rubens' in the spring.

This showy vine grows to 20 feet and requires a structure to climb on or over; that would include a trellis, an arbor, even a wall/fence. Because the 'Rubens'  blooms on old wood, pruning to shape after blooming is all that is required.

Clematis montana 'Rubens' is happiest in full to part sun in well drained soil. It is a tough, drought tolerant plant which some growers consider deer resistant.

The bronzy green leaves let clematis montana 'Rubens' make a great statement even when not in bloom.

Azaleas Can Fit the Spot

The large size of the blossoms of these azaleas is in direct contrast to the tiny evergreen leaves. Because of this, ‘Cherry Drops’, ‘Hino Crimson’, and ‘Hino White Dwarf’ are sought after for use in large gardens or small. Whether massed, used as a low hedge or on the edge of a woodland garden, the abundance of their early spring flowers makes a pop of color. Hummingbirds love them.

Cherry red azalea blossomsAzalea ‘Cherry Drops’ grows slowly to a 3’ by 3’ mound with cherry red blossoms. This one has the largest flower of the three.




Azalea ‘Hino Crimson’ also is a slow grower to 3’ by 3’.crimson red azalea blossoms  The crimson red blooms cover the bush solidly like a blanket. Often used in Asian gardens, ‘Hino Crimson’ can also be used in bonsai. It has even made it on to the Great Plant Picks, a list of outstanding plants for the maritime Pacific Northwest.

white azalea flowers

Azalea ‘Hino White Dwarf’ is the only one of these three that is wider than high. At 1’ tall by 2’ wide, this shrub is small enough to form a base for the others or can even find a place in a rock garden. The clean white flowers are outstanding.


Azaleas are easy to grow in the Pacific Northwest as they like the cool winters and acidic soil. Mulching and regular water in the summer keeps them fresh and allows new buds to form for the following spring. Dappled shade or morning sun and afternoon shade are perfect.

Pictures do not do them justice. Come by and see their true colors while they are blooming.

What's New

(Click on images for a larger view)

red and purple anemone four heads of kalanchoe
         Anemone 'Harmony'               Kalanchoe tomentosa


rhubarb leaves dark and light pink daisy-like senetti

           Senetti Daisy


purple rhododendron blossoms reddish panicles of 'Valley Valentine'
               Rhododendron impeditum         Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'


                                              King Edward II full with reddish-pink hanging blossoms

                                              Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward II'

All items availability subject to prior sale.

Endurance in Sport, Endurance for Life Fundraiser

Garden to Table: Cooking With Home Grown Herbs



Growing an herb garden is one of life’s greatest pleasures; the good news is that herbs can be grown just about anywhere.  They can benefit and are complimentary to many vegetables not only in your garden but also on windowsills, in pots tucked here and there around your deck or lawn borders, and even in sunny spots indoors. 

Please join us in this herbal adventure, where you will learn about herb pestos, oils, sauces, butters, and dips.  We’ll talk about which herbs are complimentary to each other and how to harvest, store, and dry for maximum use. 

Here’s what we’ll be cooking and tasting:

• Herbed Yeast Rolls Slathered with Herb Butter
• Grilled Fish with Charmula (a Moroccan Herb Sauce) served with Herbed Yogurt
• Orzo Pasta with Herb Garden Pesto & Drizzled with Basil Oil
• Whole Grain Salad with Herbs, Apricots & Pistachios, served with Herbed Goat Cheese
• And yes, there will be a dessert – with herbs.


When: April 12th, 2014 @ 10:30 AM

Where: Farmington Gardens

             21815 SW Farmington Road, Beaverton OR 97007

Cost: Free but please Register


Phone: 503.649.4568

Don't Get Your Bloomers in a Knot 2

These rains tell us we are in a ‘real’ Oregon spring. Have you noticed that no matter the precipitation, Oregonians, in general, and Gardeners, in particular, just put on their rain gear and keep on doing what it is they like best?

If you like to have something blooming in your landscape all year long, now is the time to visit and see what is flowering. Let’s continue with the spring blooming shrubs and trees. All the following like an acidic soil, perfect for our area, and are considered evergreen.

(Click on images for a larger view)


red camellia Tom Knudsen
Camellia japonica
'Tom Knudson'

Camellia japonica ‘Tom Knudsen’ is an early bloomer. Spectacular, dark red blooms with even darker red veins stand out against glossy, dark green leaves. This camellia likes filtered shade and grows at a moderate rate to 6 to 8 feet, making it a great understory shrub.



yellow blossoms of Oregon grape
Mahonia aquifolium

Mahonia aquifolium, a native and our state plant, is also known as Oregon Grape. The dense clusters of yellow flowers are easy to spot, even on the most gray day. The holly-like leaves can open bronze before turning a dark bluish green. Some change back to a brown-bronze color in the winter. Try pairing this with some ferns to create your own little piece of Oregon. Edible, but tart, blue berries are formed by autumn. Cook with them or leave them as food for the birds.


Pieris, often called Andromeda or Lily of the Valley shrub, can take more sun than the camellia or mahonia. Choosing just one is difficult as they differ in size, bloom and leaf color. All have the same whorls of leathery leaves and panicles of tiny hanging bells.


variegated leaves and new growth red leaves 'Flaming Silver' pink blossoms of 'Katsura' pieris white blossoms of pieris 'Snowdrift'
'Flaming Silver' 'Katsura' 'Snowdrift'


Pieris japonica ‘Flaming Silver’ has a fiery red new leaf which ages to green with a white silvery edge. Growing slowly to 5 to 6 feet, this pieris has white blossoms.

Pieris japonica ‘Katsura', on the other hand, has rose pink blossoms and may only grow to a 3 x 3 foot mound over five years. This one has more of a wine-red new foliage which ages to a dark green.

The pieris taiwanensis ‘Snowdrift’ also grows to the 6 foot height but has solid glossy green leaves and very showy clusters of white blossoms.

Each one has its own growth habit and color. You decide which fits best in your garden design. Our knowledgable customer service staff is always available to help.


Don't Get Your Bloomers in a Knot!

Visiting a garden center at this time of year can be downright dangerous! Spring fever has hit. The bright green of new growth along with the pop of color from the blossoms make us wide-eyed; hearts race with excitement. It is a dizzying feeling that can be overwhelming when making choices of what to take home with you.

Our customer service staff are able to help with those symptoms. They know about putting the right plant in the right place so be prepared to answer questions!
Soil conditions and the amount of available sun are among the first.  They will try to help you narrow down your garden design. Yes, you do have one!

What is your color scheme or preference? Do you like all one color or a variety of contrasting ones? Pastels? Whites? Bright or strong primary colors?


white flowers of fothergilla flower of quince 'Victory' white flower of magnolia 'Royal Star'
Fothergilla 'Mt Airy' Chaenomeles 'Victory' Magnolia  'Royal Star'

There are beautiful, early blooming shrubs and trees ready to catch your eye. Some bloom even before they leaf out, attracting you and pollinating insects with their shape, color and fragrance. Here are more questions to think about.

Do you want to make a statement with a mass planting or have something that is a showpiece and stands out alone? Do you want it to fade into the background after blooming or have year round interest? Do you want your shrub to be useful and feed you and wildlife? Talk with our customer service and check out what is blooming right now.

Fothergilla major ‘Mount Airy’ is bursting with fragrant, fluffy white flowers. Growing only to 6 feet tall, it seems to be creating its own mini fireworks. The bonus here is the outstanding fall leaf color.

Chaenomeles japonica ‘Victory’, a flowering quince, has scarlet red blooms. Cutting a few of its branches as early as January and arranging in a vase forces blooms for you to enjoy inside no matter the weather.  They can grow to 6 feet but are easily kept pruned back. The bonus is the small but edible yellow fruit.

Magnolia stellata can be much larger than a shrub over time but their outstanding almost pure white blossoms at this time of year beg mentioning. ‘Waterlily’ has larger blossoms with finer petals than  ‘Royal Star’. They are both definite showstoppers in the yard. No bonus needed!


Viburnum 'Spring Bouquet' buds and blossoms serviceberry buds on tips
Viburnum 'Spring Bouquet' Saskatoon Serviceberry

Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet’ is a rounded evergreen shrub. Another one that can be maintained with pruning, it can grow 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. Covered in clusters of flowers that seem to open at different rates, you get a bush with clumps of reddish buds and open white blossoms at the same time. The bonus is the cobalt blue berries formed by fall.

A lesser known bush is the Saskatoon Service Berry, amelanchier ainifolia. ‘Regent’ is a wonderful native. The racemes of white stand out at the tips of the branches before the shrub leafs out. Small blue edible berries ripen by mid summer and can be used in jellies and if you have enough, pies! Double bonus with this shrub is the red and yellow fall color.

All take full to part sun and good drainage. These are but some of the early spring bloomers. There are many more to come. Regular visits to the garden center can help with your choices and ease the symptoms of Spring Fever!