Saturday, August 10, 2019


I can't let the 26th OSU Extension High Desert Garden Tour pass into history without making comments.

IT WAS WONDERFUL and I wish I could do it all over again.  Approximately 250 tickets were sold.  In the survey tally only two attendees complained that  it was too far---did they not look at a  map of Central Oregon and realize the tour was beyond the Bend City limits?

My friend and I opted to take advantage of the van transportation offered by the Oregon State University Extension Service .  Yes, it added an additional $10. to the ticket price but it was door to door delivery plus the opportunity to interact with 10 people you may not have met previously.

Over lunch in a downtown Madras restaurant we exchanged all the pertinent garden information with each other of who, where, and when and discovered we had more things in common than not.

It wasn't until I got home that I realized I had a book that tied in with the Plant Select reference brochure provided by the Madras Garden Depot at the information table at Garden #1.

"Pretty Tough Plants" was compiled by experts at Plant Select and released in 2017 by Timber Press.  Plant Selet began in the 1980's as an idea among staff at Denver Botanic Gardens at Colorado State University and members of the local horticultural industry.  The focus was to introduce new and unusual plants to fast-growing regions with a challenging climate, using fewer resources.

It was exciting to note that many of the gardens displayed choices from the "Pretty Tough Plants".  Perhaps that was why the tour seemed so satisfying to so many of us.  The plant choices were appropriate to the geography of the area.

Strolling through the gardens is a wonderful experience but the true depth of the experience is the knowledge gained from the labeling of the plants.  Adding the variety helps in making decisions  for your own garden.  Catmint is a great perennial but the variety I have reseeds to the point of being invasive.  According to Plant Select, Nepeta 'Psfike', Little Trudy is non-seeding, compact and very hardy.  The next step will be to pull out the old and plant Little Trudy.

I applaud the homeowners for making our day more enjoyable than we could have imagined with your interaction with your visitors and your willingness to share information.  Many thanks to the OSU Master Gardener Volunteers who hosted each garden.

Don't forget to check out the Gardening: Get Good At It -- Tending Arborvitae segment Tues August 13 on KPOV 88.9 FM "The Point" between 9-9"30 am

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