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Encourage kids' imagination in gardens

By Kym Pokorny When grubby little hands grip your pant leg as you head for the garden, put them in the soil and they may dig up a lifetime of learning and pleasure. “One of the keys to getting kids interested in gardening is to get them...

 

Slug it out with spring’s slimy pests

By Kym Pokorny Follow the glistening trail and you’ll find the gardener’s most familiar, frustrating and certainly slimiest pest, the common slug. It’s spring, after all, and as soil temperatures start to climb, slugs rise from...

 

Mason bees & fruit trees share 2-way street

By Kym Pokorny For mason bees, the wait for their first meal is a long one, six months if it’s a day. There’s no TV, no smart phone, not even a book to while away the time as these solitary bees hang out in their tight cocoons waiting for...

 

Plant two times the flavor with edible flowers

By Kym Pokorny Pop some flowers in among the beans and lettuce and you’ll have two times the chance for an edible harvest. “Edible flowers look great in the garden and on the plate,” said Brooke Edmunds, horticulturist for the...

 

Onions for big summertime bulbs

By Kym Pokorny Get onions in the ground in spring and avoid heartbreak when it comes time to harvest big, beautiful bulbs this summer. Plant as soon as the soil is dry enough to work, said Jim Myers, a plant breeder at Oregon State University. March...

 

Put rose pruning and planting on the calendar

By Kym Pokorny Valentine’s Day is coming up and that means it’s time to pay attention to your loved ones and your roses, too. On the west side of the Cascade Range, mid-February is generally time to start thinking about pruning,...

 

Invent your own festive wreath

By Kym Pokorny Wreaths hung on the door with care call out a festive “Happy Holidays.” Share that message in a special way by making your own circle of cheer with plants clipped from the garden or gathered from friends and neighbors....

 

“WOW” taken down

By Ada Weeks WALTERVILLE: We know summer is over when the spectacular floral hanging baskets are taken down from their custom metal supports on light poles at the Walterville Shopping Center. These beauties have delighted both local folks and...

 

Trees for fiery foliage

By Kym Pokorny When trees get dressed with the colors of fall, it’s time to go shopping. “If you’re specifically interested in fall color, it will soon be the time to start looking,” said Neil Bell, a horticulturist with Orego...

 

Spiders earn their keep in the garden

By Kym Pokorny In corners and along baseboards, on ceilings and spun between shrubs, spiders crawl through our lives this time of year. “Spiders are on the move right now because they’re looking for a mate,” according to Gail...

 

Ten all-around great shrubs for water-wise gardens

By Kym Pokorny Hotter-than-usual temperatures and longer stretches between measurable moisture this year mean plants need more water from the end of a hose. Choose plants that require less water and you’ll save time and money and help sustain...

 

Espaliere trees for easy picking

Training a fruit tree into an espalier takes a good dash of dedication   By Kym Pokorny Espaliered trees bring fruit down to eye level. They allow for easy picking and take advantage of small spaces. But don’t kid yourself into thinking...

 

Cut down on chance of disaster

Cut down on chance of disaster with fire-resistant landscape By Kym Pokorny Drawing a line around the house with fire-resistant landscapes can mean the difference between a home consumed by flames and one left standing. “Fire specialists love...

 

Cool it down in the garden

By Kym Pokorny The forecast promises high temperatures this summer, so take care to protect plants for the long, hot haul. “Already this year, I’ve noticed soils are drying out more and sooner than I’ve seen since I moved to Portlan...

 

Drought hits Douglas-fir trees hard

By Mary Stewart Many Oregonians have noticed widespread damage in landscape and forest trees this spring – and weather may be the culprit. “Browning or dieback is often caused by weather-related stress, sometimes in combination with...

 

Fight the ‘big four’ foes of roses

By Kym Pokorny Charmingly warm weather coaxed roses into bloom early this year, which means dealing with the usual diseases and pests earlier, too. When it comes to one of the county’s most popular perennial plants, the “big four”...

 

Going sweet on potatoes

By Kym Pokorny When he was nine years old and riding with his brother on the back of a two-seater tractor on 30 acres in southern California, Gary Jordan planted sweet potatoes one at a time. “It took us weeks to do,” said Jordan, a...

 

Be prepared in the garden in case of a cold snap

By Kym Pokorny Spring seems to have arrived early in western Oregon, but never count on the weather. Though this year is shaping up to be mild rather than wild, anything can happen. There are still more than two months until April 15, when you can,...

 

Learn correct fruit tree pruning

By Kym Pokorny Anyone who buys or inherits a fruit tree faces the intimidating crossroads of how, when and if they should prune. “It’s one of the most difficult things for people to understand,” said Ross Penhallegon,...

 

Stink bugs head indoors for winter

By Kym Pokorny When leaves fall and days get shorter, stink bugs go on the move looking for a warm, dry place for winter. Often that means sharing our homes with these prehistoric-looking insects, whether we know it or not. This year, it’s...

 

Flirting with the kiss of death!

Just how poisonous is holiday mistletoe? By eNature Almost all of us have come across American Mistletoe, the white or green-berried parasitic plant hung in doorways during the holiday season to elicit kisses from those standing beneath it. Reputed...

 

Choose an unusual conifer for a live Christmas tree

By Kym Pokorny We buy live Christmas trees with the best of intentions, promising ourselves to plant them in the garden as soon as the holidays are over. But resolve has a way of fading like resolutions after January. Moved outside without the care t...

 

Choose dry, well-seasoned wood for the best fires

By Kym Pokorny Conscientious Oregonians have been storing up firewood for the inevitable cool days of winter and the experienced wood-gatherers know that dry, seasoned firewood burns most efficiently, provides the most heat and smokes the least. In...

 

OSU to study diseases affecting nursery plants

By Peg Herring Oregon State University plans to use a $3 million grant to study two groups of bacteria that result in millions of dollars in losses annually to the nation’s nursery industry. Researchers will study Agrobacterium tumefaciens and...

 

Use prevention methods to fight fruit tree diseases

By Kym Pokorny Face next season’s fruit tree disease and pest problems by making a preventative strategy now. Since late winter is a good time to plant bareroot trees, the first line of defense is to choose a resistant variety. Otherwise, look...

 

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