The Practical Gardener – September 2017

Speakers for each Month

September’s Speaker

Richard Snook is our speaker for September.

He will be speaking on: Bonsai and Small Trees

Richard’s background:
Masters in Landscape Architecture, Univ. of Massachusetts; BA in Botany, Univ. of Miami; managed my landscape design office in Bellingham for 7 yrs; moved to Vancouver in 2010; currently work at Cornell Farms Nursery & Cafe in Portland. I am an avid gardener and enjoy creating bonsai.

October’s Speaker

Lori and Richard Vollmer from Garden Fever

They will be speaking on: Putting Your Garden to Bed for the Winter

Fourteen years ago, Lori and Richard Vollmer fired-up their personal love of gardening and extensive retail expertise to create Garden Fever! It has become the NE Portland neighborhood place to go for veggie starts, berry bushes, unusual ornamental plants and shrubs, and good old-fashioned annuals. Also, it has everything you need for plant care, tools and gear, garden décor, outdoor furnishings, and gifts for gardeners.

People often ask nurseries, “What’s your specialty?” At Garden Fever, it’s simple –
It is a place where gardeners, novice or expert, can find good plants, good tools, good dirt, and helpful advice on sustainable gardening practices. And, it’s the gardening store Lori and Richard always wanted in their neighborhood.

Before Garden Fever, Lori was a buyer for a 13 store antiques and home décor chain in Los Angeles. After moving to Portland, she was housewares and gift buyer for Nature’s Northwest grocery stores and moved on to do store design and planning for both Nature’s and New Seasons Markets.

Richard has worked in retail operations management for 30-plus years and met Lori while they were both working in Los Angeles. At Garden Fever, he is C.F.O., C.O.O., and an integral part of the Garden Fever merchandise buying team.



President’s Message

Summer isn’t quite over yet … though so many think of Labor Day weekend as the end of summer (especially students). The 2017 autumn doesn’t officially begin in Portland until 1:01pm Friday, September 22.

There is still more gardening to do.

1. Autumn planting while the air and soil remain warm enough for root growth. For many plants, September can yield development of a root system giving them a head start on spring 2018 plantings.

2. Of course, this doesn’t include frost sensitive plants.

3. There is still time for vegetables: Cool-season crops such as lettuce, spinach and broccoli are still prime. Fast growing crops such as radishes can still be planted to harvest before the cold. Garlic and onions can grow over winter.

4. There is work involved such as dethatching lawns and some re-sodding if necessary.

5. Shrubs and trees weren’t prime for planting in the summer heat, but now is the time.

For seasonal advice, check on Fall & Winter Gardening on


Keep your hands dirty!
Happy Gardening,




tips-from-tomTips from Tom

It’s the beginning of the season to plant your spring bulbs so here’s a few tips to remember:

These gorgeous and profusely petaled flowers had fallen out of fashion as cut flowers because of their short vase life, but in 2004, David Austin introduced nine varieties of old-fashioned roses that will last as cut flowers for a week up to ten days.

Pheasant Eye Narcissus1. Add a slow-release organic fertilizer, such as blood meal or bone meal, to the planting hole to provide food for months.

2. Winter aconite, camassia, pheasant-eye narcissus and crocus are good bulbs to plant that will come up year after year.

3. Oak half barrels work well as a big container for a wonderful bulb extravaganza. Layer the bulbs with the bigger bulbs deepest and the tinier ones like crocus near the surface. Plant according to their blooming time and you’ll have blooms from early February through May.
Include tulips, Alliums, daffodils and crocus.

4. Ideas for newer bulbs that you might not have tried: Tulip ‘Ballerina’ is a scented lily-flowered tangerine tulip that would be good planted near the new copper tinted foliage of rose bushes. Another one to try is ‘Daytona’ which is a white fringed tulip that looks good with almost anything.



Plant for September

Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’

Pyracantha-Orange-Glow II

Bees love the clusters of white flowers that profusely cover this spiny evergreen shrub in early summer.

These are followed by long lasting bright orange berries in the autumn.

It is happy in sun or part shade and is tolerant of facing any direction, including north or east.

It is ideal against a wall at the back of a border where it will grow into an upright shrub.

The stiff stems make an ideal framework for an unusual hedge.

Plant in moist but well-drained soil. Add organic matter before planting and train as a wall shrub by pruning new growths at the end of the summer back to a basic framework.

Think of this plant as a wall shrub rather than a climber.


Past Speakers


Past Speaker
Our August meeting was held at club member Jenn Ferrante’s home.

The speaker was Linda Buetler. The Topic: Growing and Using Your Own Cut Flowers.

Linda created wonderful flower arrangements and several club members including our hostess received one as a door prize.

Linda has been the curator of the Rogerson Clematis Collection at Luscher Farm since July 2007. She was elected president of the International Clematis Society in June 2013, and will serve until the summer of 2018.

Thanks so much Jenn!


Did you know…?

This summer, club member Ruth Hoard discovered two 12’ California Wax myrtle (Morella californica) in her garden had leaf blight. (Phytophthora taxon fungus)
The disease had been found in the central Oregon coast in a few plants in 2007 but in 2009 became more severe and widespread.
The pathogen is favored by low temperatures and begins in winter. Ruth thought the brown leaves were due to the cold weather and snow that had fallen during the winter. The pathogen overwinters in the infected leaves. New leaves produced in the fall are very susceptible.
This is primarily leaf blight but branches experiencing repeated defoliation will die. Leaves will turn completely brown and dry with age. Roots are not directly affected.


Wax Myrtle in Ruth's Yard

Wax Myrtle in Ruth’s Yard

• Prune off infected leaves and branches;
• Remove and destroy fallen leaves;
• Do not over fertilize;
• Avoid overhead irrigation; and keep weeds away from base of plant to improve air circulation.
There is not a fungicide specifically registered for this plant. Since roots are not directly affected, Ruth chose to cut down the two crepe myrtles and try to keep new shoots healthy.
(The white spots on leaves are ash that has fallen from wildfires in area.)

new branches



Upcoming Events and Club Business

Save the date!


The September meeting is on Tuesday September 26th at the German American Society location.
7:00-9:00 PM

The October meeting is on Tuesday October 24th at the German American Society location.
7:00-9:00 PM

Please bring snacks to all meetings. They are greatly appreciated!

Please send photos of the 2017 Garden Tour to  so they can be included in the October Newsletter.


Out and About


The July meeting was held in the garden at the home of club member Marta Lansing.

The speaker was Dave Doolittle from Petal Heads.

Everyone had a great time.

Thanks Marta!



Please send photos of your garden, plants, and interesting garden related items etc. when you are out and about to: