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1920 Northwest 18th Avenue
Northwest District, OR, 97209

503-490-6866

Pomarius Nursery is a retail nursery, open to the public, in Northwest Portland, Oregon.  We are renowned for our garden design services.

News & Events

Summer Vegetable Gardening

Pomarius

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Growing summer vegetables here in the Pacific Northwest can be a bit tricky, not just for new gardeners, but for experienced gardeners as well. Our frequent warm and sunny days in early spring lure us out to shop for plants, and with tomato and basil starts for sale right out front at many big box stores it is easy to be tempted into a purchase. The hard truth is that without some kind of protection for these plants until summer arrives, their health and productivity is likely to be reduced. This year was the perfect example; we had five 80-plus degree days in May with nights above 50 degrees, but, as Western Oregon’s weather is prone to do in spring, we had returned to cool temps and chilly nights by month’s end. Summer vegetables do not like these conditions, and their growth may be arrested as a result. Perhaps even more importantly, plants in less than ideal conditions are more prone to disease throughout the growing season. The good news is that these issues are easily avoided by waiting to plant your summer vegetables until nights are consistently 50 degrees or above, which on average happens in the month of June.

What does that mean? It means that it is absolutely not too late to plant summer vegetables! June is actually the ideal time to plant many crops, including tomatoes, squash and zucchini, melon, peppers, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, basil, and many other herbs. If you have summer crops that you planted early and you fear they are struggling, consider replacing them with new starts. Keep in mind that if you purchased a tomato plant that had been sitting outside of a retail store in chilly, spring conditions, it was likely affected by the cold for days or even weeks before you purchased it. Starts that are available for sale now have surely seen more sun and warmer temps that those that were offered for sale back in April.

Now that you know it is not too late to plant a summer garden, be sure to prepare your planting area by adding compost and an organic fertilizer (follow the package instructions). We recommend and carry planting compost and fertilizer from E.B. Stone. If your soil is not heavily compacted, such as in a raised bed or undisturbed area of your yard, there is no need to rototill or dig excessively to loosen the soil, in fact, excessive disturbance to the soil is becoming increasingly discouraged as we learn more and more about its complex web of life. Using a tool like a flat fork (which looks similar to a pitchfork but with flattened rather than rounded tines), simply insert the fork approximately every 6 inches and gently rock it back and forth. Not only is this technique easy on the soil's organisms, but it does a fine job or dispersing the compost and fertilizer into the top 6 inches of soil for planting. Now, simply plant your starts and water them in thoroughly. With the benefit of warm temperatures already having arrived, you’ll be enjoying fresh food from your garden in no time!

 

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Here are just a few of the unique varieties of summer starts available at the nursery:

Tomato ‘Dancing with Smurfs’: A blue cherry tomato with red flesh. Incredible taste and high levels of anthocyanins which are responsible for the deep indigo color and are believed to offer a wide array of health benefits. Developed through traditional breeding, these draw their color from wild tomatoes found on the Galapagos Islands.

Basil ‘Fino Verde’: A compact, small-leaved basil bush growing 18 - 24 inches tall. Leaves are spicy sweet and add classic flavor to pasta and soups. Also sprinkle the leaves on salad or rice.

Cucumber ‘Diva’: Simply delectable, with thin, tender skin, crisp flesh, and a flavor that combines sweetness with a crisp cucumber bite impossible to find in supermarket varieties today. No wonder it was a 2002 All-American selection!

Pumpkin ‘Snowball’: Short vines with glowing white, 10” x 7” fruits that hold their unique color. Very productive and are not only decorative, but edible.

Tomato ‘Patio’: A favorite of those who enjoy container gardening or have limited space. Medium-sized fruits are delicious for fresh eating. Grow in full sun for sweetest flavor. No stalking required.

Yoga Series...

Pomarius

Vinyasa in the Garden

with SARAH ROBINETTE

 

Pomarius is teaming up with Sarah Robinette of Tiny Bench Yoga for a morning of vinyasa in the garden. Enjoy 75 minutes of movement on the Pomarius garden patio. Participants are welcomed to browse the nursery, sip on complimentary tea, and take advantage of a special event rate of 20% off plants after class.  Click on image to register via Eventbrite. 

Drought-Tolerant Favorites at Pomarius

Pomarius

Much attention has been brought to drought-tolerant plants in our area over the last several years, and rightly so. Not only are these plants easy care, but many are absolutely stunning additions to the garden. A variety of natives fit the bill, including arctostaphylos, lewisia, ribes, and mahonia, all providing ease and beauty in the garden while simultaneously attracting native pollinators. In addition, a tremendous variety of water-wise plants originating from California all the way to Tasmania have been popularized over the last decade, and many have proven to thrive in Portland's climate, including but not limited to ceanothus, leptospermum (tea tree), callistemon, and grevillea. We've reached a magical moment where a Portland gardener could plant an entire, sunny yard with a tremendous variety of plants and trees and have no problem getting away with watering just a handful of times throughout the summer, with wonderful results. What a time to be alive!

We've culled together a grouping of several of our most tried-and-true drought tolerant plants for you to peruse. We hope you see something you can't live without and will visit the nursery to pick up something new. Our summers certainly don't look to be getting any cooler, so any movement toward a drier garden is undoubtedly a smart one.

 Arctostaphylos 'Sunset'

Arctostaphylos 'Sunset'

Arctostaphylos (Manzanita): Seeing more and more Manzanitas pop up around the Portland area couldn't make us happier. These majestic evergreens, once thought to be too fussy to grow in our climate, have proven wildly successful in our native soil. Very early blooms (late winter/early spring) provide some of the first food of the year for hummingbirds, and vigorous leaf growth follows. Perhaps the most well-known Manzanita in our area is 'Uva-Ursi,' a common groundcover for full sun, but the variety of Manzanitas that will thrive in our area is large and varied - some are even tree-like, growing quickly to 8 or 10 feet tall. Many varieties of Manzanita have extremely attractive, mahogany-colored bark, which is easily exposed by trimming off a few of the lowest branches for the first several years after planting. A few of our favorites varieties for bark color are 'Howard McMinn' and 'Austin Griffiths'. Other Manzanitas are most beloved for their tough-yet-attractive foliage, including 'Sunset', which features unique and lovely coppery-orange new growth, and 'Pacific Mist, a low-growing shrub with long, blue leaves and purple stems for contrast. If you haven't yet added a Manzanita to your sun garden, it's an easy choice. With such a wide variety of shapes and sizes, there is always a Manzanita that fits the bill. 

 Yucca inflorescence, with Yarrow and Tea Tree in the background

Yucca inflorescence, with Yarrow and Tea Tree in the background

Yucca: Yuccas are a wonderful addition to the drought-tolerant garden because of their unique architecture. Tall, rigid, semi-spheres of spikes look striking in groups as well as when paired with visually softer companion plants like lavender, sage, amsonia, yarrow, and leptospermum (tea tree). Yucca rostrata is perhaps the boldest variety that thrives here in the Pacific NW, forming a large trunk over time, which, by raising the foliage off the ground, allows the Yucca's spikes to form a striking blue sphere easily four or more feet across. 'Color Guard' is another favorite, with its bold, bright yellow stripes, and 'Golden Sword' is another dramatic option, with alternating blue, green, and pale yellow striping. Still on the fence about yuccas? Wait until you see the flower! After a period of establishment (typically just one to two years), full-sun yuccas will produce an incredibly dramatic flower stalk, or inflorescence, each summer, which is covered in dozens if not hundreds of gorgeous, creamy-colored flowers. We think yucca is worth growing for this dramatic show alone.

Sedum and Sempervivum: The tremendous variety of these hardy succulents available to us here in the Pacific NW makes it impossible not to find several must-haves. These plants are available in a range of colors and textures, feature polite spreading behavior, and couldn't be easier to propagate - what more could one ask for in the garden? One of our most beloved is the native Sedum 'Cape Blanco' with its powdery blue mounded foliage, which takes on a purple hue as the cooler weather arrives. Sedum 'Angelina', with its brilliant chartreuse needles, makes a lovely contrast to dark-leaved shrubs, and a new arrival at the nursery, Sedum 'Tricolor' features green and white variegation with pink leaf edges - a unique combination all in one darling package. Sempervivum 'Mrs. Guiseppe' is another favorite, with its taller-than-average blue-green rosettes spiked with purple tips. Sempervivum are often called Hen and Chicks because of the way they reproduce, which makes them ideal plants for containers. We love the way they quickly fill a space and politely creep over the edges in their unique way.

Salvia: Salvias are wonderful, extremely long-flowering plants that thrive in hot and dry conditions, making them a great choice for tough spots in the garden. While many Salvias are hardy in out climate, some not-so-tough varieties can be grown as annuals here and are well worth it. The variety of flower colors within this genus is incredible diverse, 'May Night' features dense spikes of deep indigo flowers and fresh, fragrant foliage. 'Heatwave Glimmer' boasts masses of creamy white flowers and a lovely purple-black calyx. The bright magenta, tubular flowers of 'Wendy's Wish' protrude from dusty pink bracts on maroon stems - those who don't believe themselves a fan of pink flowers may change their minds after setting eyes on Wendy. Plant any of these Salvias now and you (and your neighborhood hummingbirds) will enjoy their flowers well into fall.

 Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'

Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'

 

 

Upcoming Dates...

Pomarius

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Designing with Elements from your Garden & Containers

Saturday, June 9 | 11am

 

Interested in how to use garden & container elements in an arrangment for your home or special occasion?  Stop by Pomarius on Saturday, June 9 at 11am to learn what flowers, foliage, herbs, and vegetables facilitate the best design.  We'll also introduce some lesser known items that can be implemented into either your containers or garden to be enjoyed outdoors or indoors.  Check www.pomariusnursery.com for continuing educational seminars.  Free: Open to the public.

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Succulent Social

Thursday, June 21 | 6pm - 8pm

 

Join fellow plant & garden enthusiasts for an evening of succulents and conversation, focusing on this year's trend for succulent container design--driftwood.  Participants will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite design of the evening to be featured on the Pomarius Instagram page.  Come enjoy the nursery amongst new friends in the beautiful summer evening hours.  

Mother's Day: Sunday, May 13

Pomarius

In celebration of Mother's Day, Pomarius welcomes Becky Wasserman & Co, Burgundian wine exporter, from 10am-4pm. Treat mom to a glass of Champagne and enjoy a stroll through the nursery.  Soak up the sunshine and all the lovely new greenery & color.  Peter & the team have put together a wide variety of potted arrangements for those searching for the perfect special gift for mom.  

Enjoy a tasting flight, a mimosa or wines by the glass*, or take a bottle to go, while supplies last. 

Nursery OPEN to ALL 10am-6pm.  

Wine Event open to anyone 21+ wanting to participate (ID is mandatory).

RSVP for the wine event is encouraged: pomarius@me.com