Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Perino's Garden Center

The Mardi Gras Gardener and I were recently in New Orleans (Metairie to be exact) to see relatives and go to the Orpheuscapade.

In a weird twist of fate, we actually ended up on a float in the Orpheus parade throwing beads, which was a crazy experience. The papier-mâché flower designs on the floats were amazing and worthy of a post of their own later on.

While staying in Metairie, we were only a few blocks walk away from Perino's Garden Center (3100 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, LA 70002). In between my Fat Tuesdays frozen daiquiris (I highly recommend the Pina Colada or the White Russian), Alan and I went to go see what they had in store.

As a pacific northwest gardener, it's always interesting to see what a southern nursery has in stock. There is clearly a lot that we cannot grow in Portland. A lot of the plants are still recognizable though, but most likely to be grown as houseplants.

I'm afraid I didn't pay too much attention to plant names, so some of the plant pictures will lack plant names.

A tour of the plants in pictures below:

Bird of Paradise


Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata' (Variegated Flax Lily)

"Macho" Fern in the second row.

Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata'  (Variegated Shell Ginger)
Ligularia reniformis (Trqactor Seat Plant)
I thought the no-tip stands were cool!

Callistemon viminalis 'Hannah Ray'

The recent cold got to these Rojo Bananas
A grove of Citrus.
Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine)

Indoor garden plants and Orchids.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Chief Joseph Needs a New Home (Part 1)

Here we are only at the end of January and it seems so much is already happening in the garden.

Since winter has been almost nonexistent, I've already got a lot of my fall leaf/spring plant cleanup done and I've been mulling over what my projects are for this year.

I've walked around the garden a lot trying to have a critical eye, looking at everything. There are some areas and even an entire flowerbed that I just don't think ever came together and might need to be re-thought.

I've also noticed a few plants that I clearly planted in the wrong spot. Case in point is the Pinus contorta 'Chief Joseph' that was planted in 2011.

February 2014
Gardeners go crazy for this pine tree because of its golden-yellow winter color and its ability to shine in the winter landscape. In summer, the foliage turns to a medium green. It's slow growing to maybe 8' tall. This tree also causes "sticker shock" when you see how expensive they are. I bought a tiny little guy in 2011. I don't remember what I paid, but at the nursery it would be easy to drop $100 for a decent sized specimen.

For whatever reason at the time, I though Chief Joseph would be nice near the kitchen door planted between a tiny Hakea lissosperma (Mountain Needle Bush) and a Vaccinium ovatum 'Thunderbird' and behind a Magnolia.

Silly me, I thought that the Hakea would not live to be 10' tall and be able to poke me every time I tried to get in my back door!!!  Apparently "Mountain Needle Bush" wasn't enough of a clue to me of its ability to cause pain. I probably should have moved the Hakea, but I wasn't going to deal with that!

Chief Joseph crammed in the back

Hard to see Chief Joseph behind the Jane Magnolia

The Leaning Tower of Hakea
The recent winter winds helped me out by pulling out the rickety bamboo pole I used to stake the Hakea up and it was consequently now leaning away from Chief Joseph. What a great opportunity to relocate it without needing chain-mail body armor. 

I kept offering to give Chief Joseph away to Alan if he would help dig it out. He gave me some lame excuse about not having room for it in his garden.

On a recent tour of the garden to show Alan what was popping up, he suggested I dig out a new bed along the long side of the side garden. The light bulb went on. Create a bed extension with a stepping stone walkway and Chief Joseph would be the star!

It didn't take me long to get out there and start digging sod. I was very proud of myself to not over do it with the digging. Younger me, would have dug the entire bed, installed the edging, transferred existing plants, gone to the store to buy new plants and then bark mulched everything.

This time, I got about half way done digging sod and whacking off as much dirt as possible, which was heavy and damp, to throw in the yard debris bin and then stopped.

I concede that I had to at least dig and relocate the pine tree into it's new home and get it watered in, just to see what it would be like. 

Assistant Yvette with "that look".
Assistant Yvette approves!
The next step will be to dig the other half of the sod from the preliminarily outline and then go back and refine the shape and get the edging in. The final bed will probably end up bigger than what I outlined, but there is nothing wrong with that. 

The plus side is that there will now be room for a new peony or two! 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Upcoming HPSO Talk "Gardening in the Pacific Northwest: What's trending"

Two great gardening people that I am happy to call my friends, Paul Bonine and Amy Campion, have written a book together called: "Gardening in the Pacific Northwest - The Complete Homeowner's Guide".

It's a guide of what sort of trees, shrubs and perennials to plant in the Pacific Northwest with a focus on specific plants that do well in our various climates. There is also useful information on how to deal with various soils, pests and other gardening problems in the Pacific NW.

Additionally, Paul and Amy are giving a talk on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at Portland State University Hoffman Hall at 1pm (doors open at noon).

They will be talking about the latest trends in Pacific NW gardening and what plants work best. The plant knowledge Paul and Amy have is amazing, so this event should not be missed.

Cost for HPSO members is $10 and non-members $20. Registration is required. (Go HERE for registration details).

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Church of Gesneriads

Last Saturday, Alan, Assistant Yvette and I, all piled into the car to go see Gesneriads.

Having told Alan I wanted to go see a Gesneriad Show, his response was "what the bejeesus are Gesneriads?!?" 

Gesneriads are another family of plants consisting of over 3,000 species and 133 genera. Yet another group of plants to occupy my time, energy and pocket book. As if I didn't have enough plant interests already, with the changing of the seasons, I needed more houseplants for indoor "gardening."

Most likely, you may already have a Gesneriad in your home and not know it!

The most common well-known plants in this group are African Violets (Saintpaulia), Gloxinias (Sinningia) and Cape Primrose (Stretocarpus). There are many other plants in this group, most tropical, and many making good houseplants. 

We've all had an African Violet at some point in our lives or one of those florist Gloxinia with the gaudy bright red or purple cupped flowers you get at the grocery store. That type of Gloxinia is on my "death list" of plants too easy to kill with love.

This summer, I bought several Cape Primrose (Stretocarpus) in the annual section of my local nursery. I had never seen them for sale as a garden annual before. Of course I bought three (red, purple and pink) and had them sitting in my kitchen window. They bloomed all summer and were a cheery pick-me-up to look at every time I stood at the kitchen sink. I recently divided them as they were getting too big and needed prettier pots to reside in than the black square nursery pots.

When I received notification that the Mt. Hood Gesneriad Society and Portland African Violet Society were having a Fall Show & Sale at the Tabor Heights Methodist Church, how could we not go to check it out?!?  

We did joke a little that we might get "smoted" walking into a church, but I was pretty sure the show would be in a meeting room and not at the alter.

The flyer said that the sale was "a great opportunity to buy from a huge selection of African Violets and other unusual Gesneriads..." and I was itching for a wider variety of Cape Primrose and hopefully a few other interesting new plants.

That's exactly what I got too! New plants I have not experienced before!

I enjoyed chatting with the folks at the show and saw a few "orchid people" from days gone by.

The plants were very reasonably priced and there was a nice selection to choose from.

Poor Alan waited patiently in a chair for me to make my plant selections. Assistant Yvee even had a nice Society member feed her tri-tip steak nibbles while waiting. Such service! 

Some of the plants I bought are featured in the next section of pictures:

Some of my bounty! Forgot to photograph the OTHER box...
Petrocosmea 'Whirlpool'
Episcia 'Pink Panther'
Streptocarpus (Cape Primrose)
'Jolly Sun Chaser' African Violet
Primulina 'Loki'
A Sinningia hybrid
Deinostigma tamiana
The familiar thing about many of my selections is that they generally grow in the same conditions as African Violets and like the same soil, moisture, don't appreciate water on their leaves, and enjoy filtered light. Many of them also propagate new plants with leaf cuttings. 

Sounds easy right?

Below are views of part of the sale area and some of the plants from the show. 

One of the several Show tables
Some of the "For Sale" round pink tables.
'Irish Ruffles' African Violet
'Boo Man' African Violet
'Jolly Frills' African Violet

'Cupid's Jewel' African Violet
Sinningia richii 'Robeson Lopees'

Petrocosmea forrestii

That ribbon is bigger than Assistant Yvette!
'Treasure Chest' African Violet
'A Call to Heart' African Violet
'Little Inca"