I toured the North Willamette Research and Extension Center this morning to take a further look at the Arctostaphylos trial being conducted there by Neil Bell, Community Horticulturist, OSU Extension Service for Marion and Polk Counties. This trial began in 2011, and after a summer of establishment, the plants have not been watered or fertilized since, with gives a great evaluation of their drought tolerance and adaptability to a low care landscape. Over the past 6 years, the plants have experienced a wide variety of seasonal conditions. There have been a few losses, but what remains are plants that seem well adapted to conditions in Western Oregon and Washington and of course many other regions throughout the US. Arctostaphylos, or ‘Manzanita’ do very well in arid climates, and this trial confirms that they can also adapt to wetter winters like we have in the western valleys of Oregon and Washington.
Because we drive past the NWREC every day on our way to Little Prince, the Manzanita planting caught our attention. Mike, our head grower and Ryan walked through the trial field in the fall of 2015 and chose 18 varieties based on their merits. They were looking for plants that had outstanding curb appeal, were somewhat compact and mounding and had attractive foliage with colorful bark. By 2015, these varieties had obviously survived the past 5 winters. As I’ve noted in the past few newsletters, we now have our first crops available for sale in 4.5” pots. Personally, I think this is the most exciting group of new plants we have here at Little Prince. Being evergreen, they are a great plant to bring in now for winter interest in the garden center. They also make thoughtful gifts for the plant nerds in your customers lives.
It’s so exciting to see the greenhouses filling up with a lavish palette of plants for late winter and spring. We also have numerous varieties that look great right now and are entirely appropriate to offer and sell now. Please check out all the varieties I’ve pictured this week. We are still delivering weekly to Seattle and are generally able to make Portland deliveries work Tuesday and Wednesday. South Willamette Valley deliveries are still on Thursdays.
Finally, I want to share a scrumptious recipe that I hope you find as mouth-watering as I do. Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk Recipe is so yummy, especially on a rainy fall day. It’s really simple, with a prep time of about 20 minutes. I actually have a chicken in the oven right now here at Little Prince. Serve it with French bread or rice, or for a healthier option, dip broccoli flowerets into the delectable juices formed during roasting. Anyway, try It! Have a fabulous week.