New transplant, any help welcome, and hello!

jclepine(8b)July 12, 2012

Hi. I am a new transplant from the super-short growing season of zone 4 Colorado high up at 8250 feet above sea level. Due to Japanese beetle, I was advised to leave my outdoor plants behind. Well, that or go through the expensive process of having them cleaned, treated with poison (I never use poison), paying the inspector for time, gas and certificate. I decided to start fresh.

I miss my Rocky Mountain GW group--we met twice a year and were very helpful and friendly with each other. Are there any "local" meets here?


I love dirt, plants, bugs. I enjoy getting my hands dirty! I'm in Toledo, Oregon, I think zone 8 and it is constantly damp. I'll bring things inside (used to doing that since I grew tomatoes) and I'm very capable managing frost and unexpected snow. I used to have endless sun so, wow, I am a little bit surprised at how much shade we have here!!

Okay, here come the questions:

I miss my roses, but they were Canadian hardy so they are probably happier back home. We are five miles in from the harsh coast winds so I'm sure roses will do fine here. I love David Austin roses (I sure missed those back in the rockies!) but I'm also happy to work with whatever I can find at the nurseries. I remember when I lived on the coast before, some multi-coloured roses turned out spotty. Are there any I should avoid or does basically anything grow? I love yellows like Graham Thomas and Harrison's yellow and, oh what is it called??...Persian? I'd also be interested in an orange colour if they do well here.

I prefer perennials, everything from iris, anemone sylvestris, campanula persicifolia, geraniums (cranes bills), mints, sedums, sempervivum, delosperma (not invasive in CO), rhubarb, shasta daisy "becky", lamia, coreopsis, lavender, gosh, you name it!

I would love to try some old favourites like Anemone sylvestris and Campanula punctata but they are slightly invasive, or so it seemed. Up there, there was pretty much zero threat from those two due to the very short season and the cold temps. But, I know everything grows here so if they are not good ideas to plant, please let me know. Also, is Delosperma okay to plant here?

I'd love to put in some iris, especially Steppen Wolf (sp?) but am not sure which ones do best here. I like the bearded, the Siberian, the natives like Douglas but I'll give a try to whatever does best.

I'd love to put in some edibles, too. I was thinking a fig would be nice.

Any ideas are welcome!! Mainly, I'm just saying hello and making sure I don't plant anything invasive. And, no, I wouldn't plant morning glory! I don't know about the purple and blue ones but the white ones clearly are invading where we've moved to! I tackled bindweed the entire time I was in CO....grrr. And, yes, I'm the kind of person who would plant wisteria everywhere...unless I shouldn't! Oh, but I do want to. Are there any varieties that work here without sending up shoots everywhere?

Oh, and no need for berry suggestions. We are on my brother's property and there are already tons covering everything! Blackberry, raspberry, white raspberry (salmonberry?) and thimble berry. Oh, I sure love those thimble berries! Now that I think of it, I do miss our whortleberries. We had Vaccinium scoparium back in CO but I don't know if it would do well here. I'm guessing there are other species more adapted.


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Toledo is very coastal. You might even be zone 9. You will see more 80-degree days than the beaches, but cool and clouds will rule much of the year.

So rhubarb will do fine. Not sure if figs will ripen in a coastal environment.

Never heard of white raspberry, salmonberries are yellow-orange, occasionally reddish. You are right about thimbleberries, stockpile and juice them if possible. Your closest whortleberry now is the evergreen huckleberry of the coast range.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:53AM
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Thank you! I had a feeling my local whortle berry would not do well here.

I was wondering about the fig because they were not selling them at a nursery on the coast but they were selling them in Corvallis (or Philomath?). I might not even try one.

They are salmon berries then. We had the occasional white raspberry in CO but it was smaller and paler than the ones here. I'm really happy how many thimble berries there are compared to two years ago on our last visit! Can't wait for them to ripen.



    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:08PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

There's a native whitestem raspberry known as blackcap, after the fruits. Look for the Sunset Western Garden Book, many people here have liked and used that over the years. If you ever go to CostCo, there may still be a few copies in stock. I don't like the visual style of the current edition, and it has quite a few errors this time - but if you get an older (used) copy it won't be up to date either.

As with all references be sure to compare accounts, not just look at one source and think you have a topic covered.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 1:27PM
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Thanks, bboy. I've got one from about...ten years ago? I do double check everything and was just doing that for the white raspberry. Apparently, it is Rubus erythocladus.

I'll look at the blackcap raspberry; I'm really interested in growing as many edibles as possible. Our entire yard had been covered, front and back, in the Rubus strigosus with gooseberries filling in the gaps, and, I do miss them. However, we are pretty well covered in (no idea what it is exactly) blackberries here! Can't stand still too long or they'll grow until I'm buried in them! Okay, bad pun?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Figs would ripen in Corvallis where it is much hotter than Toledo.

The uncultivated, thorny blackberry plants prevalent here are the "Himalayan" (a misnomer), and the cut-leaf blackberry.

You might try to develop a taste for Salal berries--there should be plenty of those around.

"Salmonberry" is not a good common name, as the Thimbleberry fruit has a salmon-colored phase before going dark red. At least the thimbleberry is thimble-like.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 4:17AM
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Welcome jclepine ~~ You will enjoy gardening in your new location. The Pacific Northwest Garden Exchange here on GW posts free garden swaps. Most of them are in WA, but someone could organize one in Oregon, too. They've been a great way to fill gardens and meet garden friends. Plus what grows well is what is given away.

Your particular soil may be different, but most of the northwest is poor draining clay acidic soil and needs amendments to grow great garden plants. Xeric plants like lavender need raised beds or rot from winter wet. On the positive side you only need to water in summer and if you don't like to mow just let the lawn go dormant. You've already noticed our gray skies and shade (from tall trees?), which will likely be your biggest challenge. We have a lot of shade and though you can put some part sun plants in those spots they flop or don't bloom as well. If you're prepared for that it works out. Our shade is true shade, but our sun is less intense than CO, so you can plant hosta in full sun here with moisture.

If you prepare the garden beds this summer you can plant in fall and not have to water them. Most things do well with fall planting, but hardy fuchsias do not.

You asked about a few particulars, so I'll answer. For more questions, create a new post for each one & you'll get a better response. This forum is a bit slow, so hopefully your excitement will generate some more interest and activity.
David Austin roses - reportedly grow well, but I haven't tried
Delosperma, - should be good in well drained soils
Anemone sylv - again well drained soil
Campanula punctata - yes a spreader & deer like it
Wisteria - if a large enough structure & you tame it with pruning they do well

A few northwest gardening resources to get you started. This is horticulture heaven compared to CO.

comprehensive list of hardy, reliable plants

Top 10 Scary Perennials (invasives)

inspirations for the creative gardener

Albany, OR gardening & seed company featuring new, rare, and unusual vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

~~Enjoy the summer~~

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 12:02PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If you are interested in modern methods, including handling of garden soils have a look at this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Linda Chalker-Scott - Horticultural Myths

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Thanks all!! Wow, lots of work to be done.

I am pretty excited, Corrine, I'm ready to get going. I did not plant tomatoes this year because of the move and so don't have any started now that I'm here. So, I'm a little rev'ed up and itching to plant.

I'm actually still bothered that a fig wouldn't do well here. But, I'll just work around that and be happy with all the berries starting to come in.

Okay, I have an hour of free time so I'm going to investigate all those links.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 11:53PM
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I plant in summer, too, knowing I'll have to water that area. When I prepare the soil well with lots of compost I've been able to build new gardens in summer. TLC & a great excuse to be outside. Get all the sunshine hours you can in summer because you've heard about our gray days...

It's not too late to plant bush beans. They'll enrich the soil when the harvest is over. Many vegetables can be planted now to harvest over fall & winter.

I've also planted calendula now for fall blooms. The spring calendula blooms itself out by fall. Our fall weather is wet, but mild temps, so will bloom away especially where you're located.

Ketzel Levine is a garden writer from Portland that has a great book called Plant This. Her writing style is entertaining and her selection of plants tends toward the more rare, fragrant, evergreen, etc. Love all of them, but they're not easy to find.

Here is a link that might be useful: her online plant profiles

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 12:05PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Summer is the best time to work soil, you don't want to do it when the ground is wet.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 4:18PM
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Jennifer, you want to be cautious about too many generalizations about this area :-) Soils differ from location to location and are not uniformly consistant. For example, many areas in the Puget Sound region sport lavender farms and many gardens are designed to be xeric or low water use, simply because our summers - the prime growing season - tend to be very dry. Good drainage is good drainage regardless of where you garden and can be achieved in the PNW just as easily as anywhere else. But you will have to make that determination about your soils and what they might need yourself.

One of the very best resources for gardeners in this area is Great Plant Picks, a program that evaluates the best plants for this area (west of the Cascades, from British Columbia to southern Oregon). Input is provided by assorted local horticulturists, wholesale growers and nurserypeople and often involves extensive growing trials. Various listings are available - sun, shade, foliage, by plant type, size, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Great Plant Picks

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The soil survey map for my county looks like a patchwork quilt of different types.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 11:29AM
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Hmmm, I see....

Thank you again, all, for so much valuable information!

I am wondering about that "evergreen huckleberry". We have a ton of, to the best of my ID skills, Vaccinium parvifolium, which seems to be commonly named tall huckleberry and red huckleberry.

This is great news to me as I was missing the Vaccinium scorparium of the rockies, what we called whortleberry.

The fruits are pretty much the same taste and we are picking them tomorrow so we can make a sauce and some muffins with them. Yay!

Is there another one out there? Or, is this V. parvifolium the same as the evergreen version mentioned in the first reply to my original post? I am not normally a greedy person, but, yeah, I want them all...allllll

And, yes, Bboy, I certainly will not work the soil when wet. Back in CO, everything is clay. Might as well just dig it up and make some pots while I'm at it!! I think the soil here is not so bad. It does seem to have a touch of clay but nothing like I had to work with before. Waiting to work the "soil" was not fun as it was sopping wet from snow melt through June.

Frankly, the soil here seems quite loamy, must be all the trees and their bark and needles?

I'm also wondering if we're gonna need to put in a french drain! The ground is so damp! I'm guessing I'll just do raised beds and maybe add a touch of sand. Haven't decided yet. Once my father is back home and done with his treatment, I'll be able to focus on the garden. For now, I've got my one new plant to look at and love.

We bought a small Acer palmatum dissectum attropurpurea (um? a?) I never remember if it is attropurpurea or um! It follows a lovely downward arching pattern and has a fancy, new ceramic pot. Makes the deck look nice but doesn't really put out any tomatoes or carrots!

Well, I thank you all for the suggestions. I'm off to check out Plant Picks.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Yes, red hucks are a very desirable wild berry. They are not evergreen.

Red hucks do not taste anything like wild blueberries or huckleberries. Raw fresh berries have a green apple flavor.

When cooked or baked, they take on a cherry flavor, just like a cherry pie. They freeze well, but do not rinse red hucks and let them sit around, even in the fridge: They will get mushy. Best to store/freeze in the original harvested state and rinse just prior to using.
Evergreen huck is Vaccinium ovatum. Ripens to nearly black, smaller on average than a red huck fruit. There is little or no red phase on an e-huck fruit, they go from mostly green to mostly dark.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 11:53PM
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Thank you, Larry! I really need scientific names to understand things. I get so confused, having lived in different places, when people in one region call things one common name and people in another region use the same common name for an entirely different plant!

V. ovatum. Okay, I might look for that one. Frankly, it could be up on the hill part of the property, we just haven't explored there yet.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 1:03AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Often seen growing with salal. Some places around Puget Sound have a salal-evergreen huckleberry-madrona vegetation that dominates acres.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 10:42PM
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