Garden Buddies 2016: Games in the Garden

 It is always fun to play games in the garden.

Join Jenny while she shares some of her favorite outdoor games kids can make by themselves or with a little help from their parents. No expensive specialized equipment needed. Fun and laughter involved!

 What:    Games in the Garden
 When:   July 9th, 2016 @ 10AM
 Where:  Farmington Gardens
               21815 SW Farmington Road, Beaverton OR 97007
 Cost:     Free but Registration is Required
 Phone:  503.649.4568

Lessons are geared toward children aged 5-10 but all ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. We encourage our Garden Buddies to dress appropriately for hands-on activities.

Watering Wisely

Silver Sage Will Upstage Its Companions

Everybody loves to be admired.

'Silver Sage' does and starts many conversations about her attributes!


Salvia argentea can be a very dramatic accent in any garden. Whether grown alone in a pot or as a border in the front of a bed, the leaves demand attention. They are covered in silky hairs and can grow as wide as 8 inches and almost as long. They beg to be touched.


Use the plant as a cool contrast against other bright colored flowers in your sun garden or have it as part of a white garden.The leaves are almost white when young and mature to a silver gray and then a greenish gray toward the end of the season.

The downy rosettes can take regular moisture but must have excellent drainage - especially during our wet winter months. Add some sand or gravel to your soil if planted in the ground.

The thick leaves allow it to be somewhat drought tolerant once established. Their unique texture is another reason this is a must-have plant for your garden.

Although called 'Silver Sage', it is not edible. It is a member of the salvia family and, in its second year, will produce 2 foot high spikes of the trumpet shaped flowers we associate with salvias BUT as it is a biennial, producing seeds causes the plant to die back. Make sure you cut the flowers back before that happens and you can trick the plant into behaving like a perennial.

You will find it worthwhile to keep this cuddly conversation piece,                 'Silver Sage' salvia, around year after year.

What's Blooming 06.06.2016

Strong performers in this high heat!

  Tiny flowers on million bells 'Holy Moly'                 Superbena 'Sparkling Ruby'

        Small hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'                                Variegated hosta 'Francee'

                       Rose 'Iceberg'                                          Rose 'Mustard and Ketchup'

  This Spathoglottis performs well in containers.            Our lion loves his hydrangeas.

Buying a new tree, especially a larger one, is exciting. You can make a significant change to the look of your landscape very quickly. But taking proper care of the tree takes commitment. While in the pots, we maintain a daily watering routine - sometimes more during hot dry spells. This is not always easy for the home gardener.

Once you get your tree home, you follow the planting recommendations of digging a hole as deep as the pot and twice as wide. You amend the soil that you are putting back around the roots.  It is nice and loose so the roots can grow. Finished! Not so fast!

THE HEAT IS ON!       Water Wisely Tips Part 2 - Planters

You already know that planters and baskets require more care than plants in the ground.

There is usually less soil to retain water or for the plants to grow into over the season-especially your lush, closely planted ones. Roots fill in spaces where once water could be absorbed.

♦During these hot spells you may need to water your pots and planters TWO or MORE times a day.

♦Check that more than just the top few inches has absorbed water. Give time for the water to drip down through the entire root area. Sometimes it starts running directly down the inside exterior of the pot and never reaches the central area of the planter. The water follows a path of least resistance. In this case, it is good to set the pot in a deep bucket or tray of water and let it wick up to the root zone.

Place your pots on trays to hold water and prevent it from running off. During these especially hot days, hold your spray nozzle over the pot until the water runs out the bottom and then fill up that bottom tray with even more water!

Caution! Never let your plants stand for days in water. Too much water is not a good thing! Daily temperatures and moisture retention guide your watering habits.

♦The direct sun heats up the pots themselves, especially dark plastic ones. Roots can get overheated. Smaller pots may be moved together to a shadier area during these hot days. Yes, even the sun loving plants will do fine for a while out of the intense hot sun. Massing them helps create a mini greenhouse effect. They then will lose less water through transpiration. This is also good to do if you are going on vacation and are having a neighbour water for you. They will thank you!

Remember the more you water, the more nutrients are lost as the water goes through the pots. Fertilize regularly.

Cooler days will come. They always do. By paying attention to the daily temperatures and checking the soil conditions, your planters can be looking lush for the whole season.

The Heat is On!  Water Wisely Tips Part 1

soaker hose

  • Try not to let your planted landscape dry out. It is more difficult to jump start than to maintain a consistant moisture level. The plants, without their cells full and strong with water, can be weakened and more susceptible to disease and insects. Be proactive!
  • Long, deep watering is better than short frequent spurts of water. Get the water down to the roots. Create a well with mulch to hold water by the root area. Mulch around your plants to avoid evaporation once moist.
  • Water early in the morning especially if you water overhead. This allows the plants’ leaves to dry off during the day and avoid any fungal diseases from spreading. It also gives them a store of water for the day’s heat.
  • Water in the cool of the evening if you are able to get the water directly to the soil around the plants. There is less evaporation than at midday and more water gets to the roots.

Soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system work the best for allowing the water to percolate down to the roots. Water isn’t wasted through run off. Our new tree Dew Right bags work well on newly planted trees.

If your garden is on a timed sprinkler system, remember that newly planted trees and shrubs usually require supplemental water the first year as their roots have not yet spread out into your planted area. Give them extra water.

With this heat, we perspire while plants transpire. Water naturally is given off through their leaves. The warmer the temperatures, the more this occurs. We counteract this by drinking more liquids. Remember to give your plants more water than usual.

  • That means, depending on the plant, you may have to water more than once during these hot days.

One last note.

If you have neglected to give regular, long, deep waterings and your tree or shrub has some browning leaves, don’t worry. Continue on a good regime. The plant has been stressed and may drop some leaves. New leaves will be produced when the plant rehydrates.

Tips for watering planters in this heat coming next!

Garden Buddies: Frogs and Toads


See what kinds of frogs and snakes like to make our gardens their homes?                        Why are they good to have and how we can encourage them to stay?                  Make-and-take a "reptile refuge" for your garden.

 What:    Frogs and Toads
 When:   June 11th, 2016 @ 10AM
 Where:  Farmington Gardens
               21815 SW Farmington Road, Beaverton OR 97007
 Cost:     Free but Registration is Required
 Phone:  503.649.4568

Lessons are geared toward children aged 5-10 but all ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. We encourage our Garden Buddies to dress appropriately for hands-on activities.

Tropical Leaf Wins in the Size Category!

The huge paddle shaped leaves create the scene.


Not a real banana but sometimes called a Red Abyssinian Banana, ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' is a real mover in the garden. If you want a fast growing plant, this is definitely one to try. What a focal piece it will become!

The leaves are more green on top and red streaked underneath. The solid red midrib causes your eye to follow along the length of the leaf which can grow up to 5 feet in one season. The whole plant can quickly grow 8-10 feet tall.

Plant in the ground or in a large container. 'Maurelii' needs full sun and does well with part shade from strong afternoon sun. Site it away from harsh winds which can tatter those exotic looking leaves. Give the plant plenty of water and regular fertilizer. Mulching helps with keeping it damp.

You can create a tropical atmosphere in your garden. Try matching it with similar leaved cannas, airy bamboo, large fatsia, or the exotic flowers of hibiscus or mandevilla.


Technically, ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' is a tender perennial in our zone but you might be happier considering it an annual. Just enjoy the luscious growth during the summer.

For those of you with the room and light, you can use it as a houseplant but after being outside all summer, this can be a daunting task due to the sheer size.

What's Blooming 5.29.2016

So much color! It was hard to choose just a few.

          Weigela 'Sonic Bloom Pearl'                           Penstemon 'Red Riding Hood'

            Weigela 'Wine and Roses'                                  Veronica 'Royal Candles'

               Weigela 'Maroon Swoon'                                 Lupine 'Gallery Red'

              Rose 'Cherry Parfait'                                           Rose 'About Face'