Sunshine on the weekends, a Gardener’s dream

We sun starved Oregonians are enjoying this month’s weather.  It rains, while we toil at our jobs and it is sunny and glorious on the weekend.  (This is quite the opposite for those of us in the nursery business but I am not complaining).  Another fine weekend is predicted.  There are so many things to do.

Garland Nursery is celebrating it’s 75th anniversary.  We invite you to join us.  We have a nice line-up of activities.  At 11 am we will be inviting you to wander through our renovated rock garden.  Built by my great-grandmother and great-grandfather, it had fallen into disrepair.  Over a 2 year period, we have been revitalizing it.  It is a lovely space, with many old plants and a lot of new plantings.  Please enjoy this pleasant environment.  Following that, my dad, Don, will be leading people on a tour of the “heritage” trees on the property.  His grandfather, William Schmidt planted them and Dad has lots to share about them.  My dad is a wealth of knowledge and he is the connection to the family past.  I’m excited to steal away and go on the tour myself.  Not wanting to walk the grounds?  The Vicki Stevens band will be filling the grounds with groovy sound from noon to 3 or so.  Sit down and enjoy their great sound.

At 2, Willi Galloway will be be talking about her new book, Grow, Cook, Eat.  I had the pleasure of meeting Willi on Monday.  She is approachable and endearing.  Her writing is great as well.  Take a minute to peruse her blog:  She is a master gardener, writer and cook.  She will charm you with her discussion about using parts of vegetables we don’t normally think about eating and some plants that we don’t think of as edible.  I am a big fan of vegetables.  I really enjoyed that Willi wrote about eating the flowers of kale and broccoli.  Kale and Broccoli raab is yummy!  So come listen to her ideas for getting the most out of your vegetables.  She’ll be available after her talk to sign her new book.  I’m excited to get an autograph!

Speaking of vegetables…I am really looking forward to this year in the garden.  And from what I’ve seen from the people shopping at the nursery, so are you.  I mentioned in the previous paragraph that I love vegetables.  My husband and I have been trying to eat healthier lately and my love of vegetables has been helpful.  We are following a low carb diet.  You can sum up our diet by saying we eat meat and vegetables.  Before anyone takes offense, let me say that we are not strict adherents to anything and I am trying to buy local, sustainably produced meat and vegetables.  We are really enjoying our diet.  One of my pleasures on the diet is the vegetables.  I am eating kale, chard, lettuce, tomatos, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, broccoli raab, rapini, spinach, beans and more.  I even bought beets, although I have not cooked them.  I’m using a lot of herbs, too.  So I am most looking forward to planting my vegetable garden.  Already, I have onions, shallots, chard and lettuce planted.  I am hoping to increase the amount of lettuce and add in kale and spinach.  Then I am looking forward to planting tomatos, zucchini and beans.  I have written in the past about my raised beds and the garden at the nursery for what doesn’t fit in the beds at home.  This year, I am planning on trying some earlier tomatos, like Black Krim, Willamette and Juliet.  I really like to grow pole beans, as that maximizes my small space.  I like straight, small beans.  I haven’t decided whether to grow Emerite, which I planted last year or to try Kentucky Blue.  Customers have praised Jade as well.  It will be a tough decision.

I enjoy learning wherever I am.  It is surprising what you can learn and where you learn it.  I had heard from a wonderful French chef that Tarragon was an annual herb.  But I knew for a fact that “French Tarragon” lived through the winter, thereby making it a perennial in my view.  I wondered if what I was selling as French Tarragon was mislabelled.  So it was with surprise and humor that I found out from another wonderful local chef that French Tarragon only retains its spicy flavor during the first growing season, thereby explaining the need to plant it yearly.  So now I am on a quest to replant my Tarragon.  It is such a wonderful flavoring in spaghetti and on green beans.  And I am so glad that I love to talk with all the wonderful local chefs that we have in our area.  You never know what education you will receive.

What else am I loving this month?  The fact that what I consider as a March Azalea, Hino Crimson is blooming beautifully in April.  Okay, maybe the month is not important!  We have had a wonderful, slow fashion show of flowers this spring.  Every flowering plant and tree has held onto its beauty for the longest amount of time possible.  Each plant has taken center stage for its bloom and then the spotlight moves onto the next plant.  I’m sure that as soon as it turns warm and stays warm, we will see a “fireworks finale” of blooms but until then I am enjoying the show!  Happy gardening.


About Brenda Powell

I'm one of the owners of a family-owned retail nursery. I have a degree in horticulture from Oregon State University. I love to garden and read. My technically savvy but horticulturally challenged husband, Mitch, spends most of his time as slave labor in the garden. Thank goodness he adores me! My goal in this blog is to share my enjoyment of gardening, my love of nature, and my addiction to books. Did I mention I like to cook, too?
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