Garden News February 2022

Sweet Olive

Now’s the time to edit your garden!

By Margie Rose

Spring is right around the corner, and we may be inspired to add new plants in our gardens. The local nurseries will soon be overflowing with plants to tempt us. Beware though, not all of them are offered at the right time of year for this region, and they may not be the most suitable for our area or your space.

Take a walk through your garden and see what is thriving and what is in decline or demanding of too much time and care because of disease or insects. It might be time to edit out plants that need lots of attention.

More nurseries are offering natives—a great choice, especially if they are drought tolerant and adapted to our Mediterranean climate. We are experiencing drier springs and hotter summers. Being mindful of water needs is very important for our gardens, our time, and our budgets as water becomes more costly.

The internet is full of information about plants. Doing some research before shopping is so helpful. Having an idea of what plants you are interested in helps you make intelligent choices. Use your smart phone to google for info on that lovely thing you see at the big box store!

Sweet Olive
Sweet Olive, Photo by Kate Wrightson from The Spruce.

In my front garden my beautiful daphne, “Carol Mackie,” has been damaged by several heavy snowfalls and now looks like an octopus with many limbs on the ground from the weight of snow and ice. More than half of it was severely damaged and pruning left a sad misshapen half of the shrub. Its glorious fragrance for several weeks every spring will be sorely missed. I will replace it with a smaller variety of daphne that can be protected from heavy snow. There will be room for a Loropetalum chinense with burgundy foliage and bright pink spidery flowers in spring and some sporadic rebloom. This shrub keeps its leaves all year and is not bothered by pests or disease.

In my back garden my Lonicera nitida, ‘Baggesens Gold,’ had overgrown its place and was suckering madly, so I had it removed. It needed major pruning every year and had become an unattractive nuisance. Now there is a place for a sweet olive, Osmanthus fragrans, which blooms from fall into spring with a wonderful orange blossom fragrance. My first meeting with this lovely shrub was at the entrance to the Portland Chinese Garden and it was love at first smell!

Early season vegetables

Wednesday, February 9, noon via zoom, pre-registration required

Vegetable gardening is a popular summer activity when tomatoes and peppers thrive. However, seasoned gardeners know that spring and fall possess great potential for vegetable production when cooler air discourages diseases and pests, and rainfall lessens the need for watering.

Beginning with selecting the right variety of ‘cool-season’ vegetables, this class will cover soil improvement, planting techniques, fertilizing, watering, and harvesting.

More OSU Extension and Master Gardener programs

Scroll past the “upcoming events” to find a number of interesting short courses, including seed selection, shrub pruning, and bees bees bees.

Tree and native plant sale at Skyline Grange: pre-order now!

Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2, 9 am-5 pm, Skyline Grange, 11275 NW Skyline Blvd.

Native Plants:

There will be over 100 species of native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees to choose from, including native plants that thrive in sun, shade, wet, or dry locations. There will also be some species good for erosion control, pollinators, birds, wildlife, fire resistance, and drought resistance.

Our Native Pre-Order Form should be available by early February. You can request a form at or download one from our website.

This year, we hope to offer native plants as both pre-orders and in-person on sale days. We would encourage you to make use of pre-ordering in case we need to cancel the in-person native sales (for safety reasons).

Bare Root Plants:

Good selection of bare root fruit-bearing, shade, flowering, ornamental trees, and ornamental shrubs. Unfortunately, these are not available by pre-order and will only be available outside on sale days.

Spirea at Jackson Bottom

Native plant sales and more

Visit Clean Water Services page to find plant sales, conference information, and more to help you get going this spring.