The Oregon Patch

Oregon Patch

This patch of ground up until last year was devoted solely to sunflowers, which came up
dutifully every year.  That is, until last year.  

Sunflowers would get several feet in height, start to wilt and die.  There were less than
a dozen survivors at the end of the year.  If you looked closely  at the base of the plant,
you would see that it was girdled by some kind of mold.  

Turns out it was the same virus that affected the Vincas.  Since we never rotated crops,
we set ourselves up for problems.

So, what to do.

We have had great success in increasing the bird population so we figured we would
look at berry producing plants, not necessarily from this area.  

I know, that is just asking for problems -  but I only spent $45.00

We setttled on some plants from the more arid regions of Oregon.

I ordered 2 Blue Elderberries, 2 Orange Currants, 3 Nootka Roses and 2 Little Wild Roses.
They were all bare root and planted in the spring.

The Little Wild Roses never made it to first base.  I talked to the seller about that and sent pictures.
To his credit, he said he would send me two potted plants in the fall, so the jury is still out.

Orange Currant
Dead Orange Currant
Orange currant I doubt will survive.  The stems are supposed to harden off at some point
but that hasn't been happening.  These have been tough to get started because they are
brittle and we do experience a bit of wind in the afternoon.  
This one snapped off a couple times so it now looks like a bush, but it appears happy.
The other Orange currant mysteriously died.  It appeared to be hardening off and the next thing.....
There is new growth coming up from the bottom though so we shall see.

Blue Elderberry
Both Blue Elderberries have survived after a pretty rocky start.  The stems are thickening up and they look pretty good.

The main stem on both these plants snapped off during afternoon winds  so they are now staked.  

Fairly healthy Nootka Rose
Dying Nootka
This Nootka Rose is fairly healthy.  I expected to have a little better luck with these guys than I have had.  I am not holding my breath.
One Nootka is dead and this one is on it's way out.  It has been so hot this year that I thing it is murder on new plants.   I also think I might change the watering to overhead instead of drip.  The plants are from Oregon after all

November, 2006.  The bit of green on the right is a Nootka Rose.  There's a bit on the left as well.  I wrote the supplier about the Little Wild roses and the rapidity of which they bit the dust.  He sent me two more plants - potted this time.  The Blue Elderberries (center back) did ok.  The currants (back left and right) I doubt will survive the winter.  We shall see come spring.  I'm wondering though if I shouldn't go with overhead watering next year to up the humidity a little.  After all, these plants are from Oregon.  

Over the years we have developed what we call the Three Year rule.  If something is going to die,
it will do so within the first three years no matter what you do. 

So, why spend a lot of money on something whose odds of survival are questionable in this type of climate.

Cheap may not always be the best answer, but is certainly one of the most cost effective ones.

Someone on the gardenweb forum put it best - do yourself a favor and adopt a 'Live and Let Die' attitude. 
Face the fact that most of the things you plant will probably die in the first season.

Through persistance, a little luck and at least three years  in the ground - you can achieve success.............. 

That is until Mother Nature decides we are getting a little big for our britches and and she sends our way a winter
of record subzero temperatures, followed up by a real hot  Strawberry Spring, followed up by freezing cold snaps,
followed up by lots of early rain, followed up by tons of grass hoppers, followed up by a summer dought with absolutely no rain.

Memorial Day Snow Shower
Memorial Day Snow Shower

Welcome to Nevada!