Saturday, April 25, 2015

Whats looking good, Now!

       I want to publish this more often but limits of free time prevail.  Here are a few photos I took this week.  Who says we can not have lots of color in Central Oregon?   The challenge is to choose the correct plants to provide color each week of the growing season.

Phlox



Phlox is a great ground cover for Central Oregon.   There is a native Phlox found in the desert to the rocky alpine areas in the Cascades. 







Pansies



I love pansies, plant and old wheel barrow with Pansies each spring at Snowshoe Inn.  I have had them survived 9  degree nights with a frost cover.  The one challenge is Deer, they love pansies.  I use a wire screen over mine and they do just fine. 




Narcissus





We are at the end of the daffodils season.  Blooming season can be extended by choosing many different varieties.  Some bloom early, others mid season and some late season. 





bleeding hearts





I have numerous bleeding hearts at Snowshoe Inn.   They do OK in town in damp shady locations but burn out when summer heat arrives.




sweet wood ruff
  



Sweet wood ruff is another damp soil deep shade site plant.  I also grow this at Snowshoe inn.  It does OK in town if kept damp. 







Oregon grape


There are two Oregon Grapes that do well in Central Oregon.  M. repens is our native, it is a low growing species.  M. aquafolium is our state flower.  It can grow up to 6 feet tall.  Both species grow will in shade.  When well established the flowers have a plesent sweet sent.  Yellow flowers yield to blue berries later in the summer.



Service berry





Service berry comes in two forms, shrub form here and tree form with is a nice small tree suitable for small urban lots.  It does best in partial shade.  Note the grazing height of our local deer heard.  If the service berry is caged to 4 feet you can have flowers to the ground.  In the fall it has great bright red fall color. 








crab apple


Crab apple comes in two colors, pink in photo and white.  The crab apple is the flowering cherry of Central Oregon.   Great tree for Central Oregon and can fit the urban landscape.  Also depending on cultivar you can choose large or small crab apples later in the summer.  If you with there are edible crab apples that make great jelly. 



tulips





In most cases not a good choice for Central Oregon, between deer and our aggressive squirrels.  these are located in a court yard, so far the squirrels have not found them. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Progressive tree work

Last week I had Dan Oliver make several Ponderosa pine trees into snags by removing most of there crowns.  The goal was to reduce the risk of wind and snow damage for the tree with multiple tops, reduce pitch drip in one tree infested with Sequoia pitch moth, open up the sky were several trees were too close to the house.  One tree that was leaning toward a neighbor's hot tub was left for now.   Here are some photos of the house after the tree crowns have been removed.

view from sidewalk along street

view from side of customer's home toward golf course

view from customers lot toward house

view from golf course cart path (can you see the snags?)

another view from golf course cart path (once again can you see the snags?)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter 2014-15, so far

This winter has been a bust as far as it goes for those who love winter snow sports.  High in the Cascades snow has fallen and stayed but last report was snow pack is about 30% of average by the end of January.  Precipitation is about normal and reservoirs are OK.  I have been looking at the long range weather predictions from the National Weather Service.  The out look for the remainder of  this winter is for normal precipitation but warmer than average.  This out look stays about the save through August 2015.   This does not mean that we will not get any more snow in the valley the rest of the winter but I would guess that any snow we get would be short lived.  Same goes for cold days.  I would expect some cold nights but on the average warmer than what we normally have here in Central Oregon  I have taken the opportunity to visit several of my customer's homes in January and do some very early spring cleanups.  Many of the properties with out trees and with south exposures are free of snow and pine needles are not frozen to the ground. 

January is the month I have chosen do have my arborist do tree pruning and tree removal.  This last week Dan Oliver from Oliver tree care worked on several trees for one customer.  The customer had one pine that had a forked top (danger tree), and several too close to the house and several that were infested with Sequoia pitch moth (so messy).  The customer choose to convert the trees to snags and allow them to become wild life trees.  By doing this the new snags will be able to provide habitat to many species that have very limited habitat.  Snag habitat was once abundant but forest management practices and urbanization, snag habitat has become rare and impacted the species that rely on that habitat.    Attached are a few photos of the Arborist at work.

Large crane speeds up and makes job safer

how is this for a why to go to work?

In crown of tree ready to start working

Bluetooth communication between crane operator and crew helps make the job much safer today.

Large sections of tree can be cut and lifted from tree to processing site

First cut

log sections are set in processing location next to chipper

limbs are quickly removed and chipped, log cut into sections for hauling away

found some damage to crown done by squirrels many years ago. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

First Snow winter 2014-15

Saturday I winterized a few irrigation systems.  Normally by now we have had or an Arctic high blast by now or one is in the forecast.  The NWS is predicting a winter warmer and drier than average.  This morning I thought I felt some snow on top of the hot tub when I opened the lid at 5 am.  When it was light enough to see this is what I saw. 

View to the north from Bearwallow road, just what I call powder sugar snow.
top of log steps to my patio lite covering snow

My bear had snow on his fore head,
I will get all irrigation systems winerized this week, and fall clean ups will start the following week.  Enjoy winter.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Winterize irrigation systems

October first is the traditional beginning of the season when irrigation systems are winterized.  It is an important profit center for many landscape contractors.  Several contractors have told me they make $1,000/ day winterizing irrigation systems.  I do it as a service to my customers and a few others.  I limit my list to 100 customers.  I can do all of these in a long week or a couple of easy weeks.  I own my compressor with gives me the flexibility to work with customers and the weather.    I monitor soil temperature each week and use this along with monitoring long term low temperatures forecasts.   Although grass tops stop growing about the 2nd or 3rd week in October, roots continue to grow until soil temperatures drop to below 40 degrees F.  If irrigation systems are turned off before the roots naturally stop growing it puts the plants into water stress.   Plants that go into winter under stress do not come out of dormancy in the spring with as much vigor as those who go dormant in a hydrated condition. 

soil temperatures so far this season are as follows:

October  2nd  55 degree
October  9th   55 degree

Enjoy the winter, I will

bob


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fall the best time of the year in Central Oregon

September, it is still summer but nights begin to cool and days are warm and clean.  Oh, I love this time of the year.  Last week I begin to notice vine maples and red maples are beginning to show some fall color.


Acer rubum
In Skyliner Summit
One thing I enjoy about my work is seeing the changes each week in the landscapes.  Color changes week to week and then it is full winter soon.  :) 

A sugar maple I planted for a customer several years ago.  What it the colors change quickly. 




 I keep getting more catalogs for spring bulbs.  Time to make those last minute orders.   For me living up Skyliners spring is a long time away but nothing says winter is nearly over than spring bulbs.  I have several thousand bulbs at my home. Snow drops, crocus, daffodils, and so many more.  By selecting multiple varieties and species I am able to extend the blooming season over a much longer time. 






Remember, enjoy every day and plan for the fun days ahead.

Bob

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Grooming Perennials, & dead heading

The beauty of a garden can be enhanced greatly by spending a little time dead heading and grooming perennials during the growing season.  It only takes a few minutes per plant with a little experience. 
 Rhododendron at peak bloom, looks so good.
 Same rhododendron a week later, not so attractive. 
After a few minutes of dead heading spent flowers and doing a little pruning to reshape plant.  Much more attractive  for the rest of the summer season.  We often buy plants in bloom and forget that the bloom only lasts a few weeks at most.  What about the rest of the year?







Many plants benifit from dead heading, here is a few photos of plants before and after dead heading.

before

afterwords  

 Lavender can become weedy if not dead headed soon after flowers peak, the benifit is a bouquet of lavender in the house that will last all winter.  :)

Before

afterwords 
Sometimes context suggest dead heading, in this case the Japanese spirea is past prime but others are in full bloom.  By dead heading the spirea it goes to the background and the flowering shrub comes to the foreground. 

Before

afterwords, much nicer?

FYI, none of the pruning / dead heading was done with hedge shears, all with hand pruners.  They do a much better job.