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OAN Energy Seminar
January 30, 2008
Blog PictureI went to an Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) seminar on energy saving today. Heard about energy saving (putting in insulation, switching to more efficient indoor lighting, etc.) and energy production (solar, wind, etc.) for greenhouses and nurseries.

We already have energy curtains in our greenhouses, but are always looking for more things to do to cut energy cost/use.

They had speakers from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Energy Trust, and the federal government, talking about tax credits, etc. Since we really don't have wind much at the farm (rain shadow of the Chehalem mountains), that's out for us. However, solar does have appeal.

We do have a lot of sunshine, especially in the summer, and you can tie into the electrical grid via PGE and sell any excess energy you make back to them. So instead of a battery to store energy that you make in the summer and use in the winter, the utility company is essentially your storage device.

Pretty cool.

Ideas for V. Day - Fill Room with Flowers!
January 29, 2008
Blog PictureThis from today's Wall Street Journal - Valentine getaways...

Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is offering a seven-night package - wine country via helicopter, private wine tasting, dinner prepared by personal chef, $1,500 shopping spree, etc. Cost: $48,000!!!!!!

Meanwhile the Sofitel LA Hotel is offering a $13,000 package called "Crimson Cachet Getaway" - presidential suite for four nights, blindfolded champagne tasting, private dinner, spa retreat...

More packages - one called "Sweets for your Sweet" in Vermont - $319. A couple's massage, champagne, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. "A Little Romance" in New Mexico - "romance experts" assist with reservations etc.

Note to hoteliers: add the phrase, "your room will be filled with flowers," and make it happen! A LOT nicer that way.

What's Left for Valentine's Day
January 28, 2008
Blog PictureHere's a list of products we still have available for Valentine's Day orders:

Black Baccara roses

Supergreen roses (pictured)

Cymbidium stems

Karamel Antike garden roses

& miscellaneous other things...call us at (503) 628-1005 to order (wholesale only please) from Peterkort Roses - if you are located in Oregon or Washington, your local cut flower rose grower...

Plenty of snow in Hillsboro this morning but it didn't slow down Primitivo as he drove the market truck into Portland. I didn't have ANY snow at my house. Pretty much everybody made it in to pick up their order.

Jeff at Adams was working at assembling various football pools for the Superbowl. I am in although I am very ignorant about football and somebody always has to explain how the numbers on the pool work. It's bad, hardly even know who is playing...

Toby from Mt. Scott Floral is freshly back from her cruise. She described a fabulous stop in Belize where the wildlife viewing was wonderful.

Cynthia from Amano got a great deal on little baskets for the annual Fairy Festival where little kids dress up as mythological creatures and there are workshops in magic wand making, etc. Bruce at the market desk is having a garage sale to clear out the storage room. Come and check it out! The merch is on display at Teufel Holly Farm's booth while Barb is taking a short break from the market.

See you at the market Wednesday!!!


Cold in Oregon
January 24, 2008
Blog PictureBrrrrr!!!! It's been in the 20s at night for a couple of days, freezing everything hard. My clematis armandii looks weirdly shiny on the fence - probably a die-back year. Darn, I pruned it last year and it was set for a marvellous flowering this spring.

Here's a photo of my disappearing water dragon fountain, with the big Chinese pot I bought from Eric at Dragon Gardens next door at the Portland Flower Market.

It was aptly named a disappearing water fountain because we've been pouring gallons of warm water into it to keep it running. This morning I was up at 5:30 frantically filling it because the top had frozen over during the night and the pump was laboring.

Jim put the light there to help keep things liquid but it's just not strong enough.

At the Peterkort Roses farm, the roses and orchids inside the greenhouse are relatively cozy. Our big industrial boiler produces steam heat, albeit expensively, to keep the temp up. We are currently burning biofuel, something new this year, obtained from a local company which makes biodiesel and other alternative fuels.

In some of the houses we also have lights, another energy gulper, but they also produce heat. Most importantly, they help the roses produce beautiful high quality blooms in the middle of winter. The heat just keeps them from becoming dormant, producing few flowers. It's the light that really makes them happy.

We need to make more progress on energy saving ideas, but thank heaven we invested in the energy curtains to keep the heat from escaping. They are mylar blankets that are folded up most of the time to let light in, but at the turn of a switch they are pulled by wires across the top of the greenhouses inside the roof, holding the heat in.

Meanwhile, it is predicted to warm up. Hurray!!!!!

Valentine's Day Cymbidiums
January 23, 2008
Blog PictureOne of the fun things I used to do with Dad in the winter and spring was go with him to the orchid house and view the cymbidiums.

He loved them!

Our collection, which is huge and takes up three giant greenhouses, was developed by him over the years. He knew the names of all the varieties, from the earliest "Bethlehem Early Times" to the latest "San Francisco The Beat."

As he got older and more forgetful he wrote many of the names down in a little notebook, which we treasure today, dirty and stained with water though it is.

Now my sister Karen is the manager of the orchid houses, and she has been patiently restoring plants which have grown too big for their pots, sorting through the varieties to group them all together, and repotting whenever she gets the chance.

Although we are known for our roses, Peterkort Roses also grows and sells cymbidium stems for Valentine's Day and afterwards, up through Mother's Day.

Are you searching for something different for your Valentine's Day customers? Our locally grown cymbidiums might be good. They last a long time in the vase and require very little primping to make them ready to go. They can also be used cut off the stem in small arrangements.

Call us right away to reserve your order - (503) 628-1005. Wholesale only, please.

The orchid shown in the picture is one of our favorites, it's called Yowie Flame 'Heather' - isn't that a great name????

Cymbidiums are often named after their parents - a cross is made between two cymbidiums - the pollen is applied to the flowers - eventually resulting in a seed pod. The dustlike seeds are sown in a flask containing the nutrient agar - it's like jelly - they grow into tiny plants. Eventually after several years, you get the children, which are all different.

When they flower you can see if you have a winner or not. If a cymbidium is good, duplicates are made by meristeming - otherwise known as cloning. Certain cells are cut from the plant and spun in a jar until they are dizzy - and a ball of undifferentiated cells is formed. These can be cut up into tiny pieces and "planted" in a flask of agar again - they regain their sense of gravity and start forming roots and leaves - that's the way you get a lot of identical plants in the orchid world.

I'll bet you didn't know I knew so much about this subject!!!!

Anyway, (longwinded today) call us to order cymbidium stems for Valentine's....

Impromptu Greenhouse
January 22, 2008
Blog PictureI had a brainstorm the other day to protect my ornamental geranium. I bought this geranium last spring at Marbott's Nursery and it grew like crazy until it made a big statement at the bottom of the porch stairs.

It's still there in a heavy concrete pot and I don't want to move it. I could pull out the plastic pot it's still in and move it indoors, but then it's water, water, water the rest of the winter and you have to wait until it's really mild to bring it out again.

So Jim rigged up a shop light with a 25 watt bulb which puts out a small amount of heat. I found a big clear plastic bag in the bag drawer and covered the plant and the light. He tied twine around the whole thing so the bag is fastened down and it's in a little inflated greenhouse with a little heater!

The goal is to keep it alive. Probably the long branches will die back, which is fine because they need to be cut back in the spring anyway.

We'll see how that works!

If you've found my blog, you are on the Peterkort Roses web site, a wholesale grower of cut roses and other flowers. Check out "What We Grow" for more information!

Blood, Sweat & Tears over Roses (Mainly Blood!)
January 19, 2008
Blog PictureJim & I had dinner with our friends Bill & Helen at P.F. Chang in Bridgeport Village last night - pretty good, the big horses outside are creepy though, like the movie Night at the Museum, you imagine them clattering through the deserted streets of the mall late at night...

Anyway Bill's dad who died last year had been a doctor in a small town in Michigan for many years. He loved roses, and used to pamper them by fertilizing them with...wait for it...expired blood from the local hospital's blood bank! Yuck!

Now that's organic!

We have experimented with a lot of weird fertilizers over the years for the roses but that was something we never tried. We always used cow manure and chicken manure, but the worst one that Dad tried was rat poop from a local lab where they used white rats in experiments. It had a really icky smell.

Pictured above is our garden rose called Yves Piaget. It smells delicious (amazing how roses can take water, air, and rat poop and convert them) and opens with a peony-like shape.

This rose was named after the jeweler Yves Piaget, a real person who lives in Europe. You can buy this rose bush for your yard - look at the Heirloom Roses or Jackson & Perkins catalogues.

For those new to our website, we are Peterkort Roses, the Pacific Northwest's only grower of cut flower roses. Check out "What We Grow" to see pictures of our beautiful flowers.

When I was your age we walked ten miles through the snow...
January 17, 2008
Blog PictureI was thinking today as I dropped off the carpool at the high school that Sam's experience and mine are pretty different.

Probably for a lot of kids and parent this is true...

In the realm of school work, I know so much more about what he is doing at school than my parents did. They simply had other stuff to do and lots of other kids to worry about!

I don't believe my mom ever, maybe once in a while, knew when I had tests. I know when Sam has tests, mostly.

The school has this software that enables parents to log on and track homework completed, tests, grades, etc.

I'm not sure how I would have reacted to that.

Probably badly!

Here's a cute picture of a chrysanthemum dog my sister in law sent me - good for the winter doldrums... (Dang, can't get it to work right, oh well believe me it's cute!!!)

Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden
January 14, 2008
Blog PictureWow what a mouthful - the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden is a great place to visit if you are looking for something different to do on the island of Hawaii.

It's close to Kona, in the upland area, on Route 11, about 12 miles from Kailua.

Here is a picture of me in my gardening hat next to a native Hawaiian hibiscus. This garden focuses on ethnobotany of Hawaii, so all the plants there are native plants which were used by Hawaiians for various purposes.

One of the big things they also have there is an archaeology preserve of the Kona Field System, a system of sort of stone terraces that were used in Hawaiian agriculture.

We also saw Koa trees, sandalwood trees, a taro plantation, bamboo, and tons of other stuff.

I saw a big box trap standing near the taro plantation and asked the attendant what they were trying to catch - the answer, wild pigs that have been running amok through the garden. They root up the plants and make a big mess.

This garden is part of the Bishop Museum. The Bishops were one of the big important non-Hawaiian families that still own a lot of property in Hawaii. Amy Greenwell was a member of the family, and was very interested in botany.

Wine Tasting at Every Day Wine
January 13, 2008
Blog PictureWe were ready for the weekend on Friday so we decided to go to Every Day Wine on Alberta with our friends Jerry and Tricia.

You bring your own food - we had checked it out once before and didn't know this, so we drank wine but were starving.

This time we had cheese, crackers, salami, and some (token healthy item) carrots. Yum! The wine was good too.

This place is right down the street from Origin, a flower shop owned by my friend Beka who is head of the Alberta business owners group. She is a kick. I just looked at her web site, (originflowers.com) and part of her motto is, "We'd love to set you up, get you out of trouble, or make someone's day for you."

After that we went to dinner at Fife, a great place where the food is always really, really good. It's on NE Fremont.

Meanwhile it looks like the rain is over for a little while and we can catch up on our weeding. (Ha ha ha). In the greenhouse the roses would appreciate a little sun. This dark weather gets them down too. Their growth slows way down and some of their new shoots end up with a "blind" instead of a rose. A blind shoot is a stem that has a few little leaves on the end, meaning that there is not enough energy to form a rose. It's the best the poor plant can do under the circumstances!

Pictured above is "Valley Song Maureen" - one of our cymbidium varieties, blooming now. Peterkort Roses has a large number of cymbidium plants which start blooming in late November and end their season around Mother's Day.

Yes, we will have cymbidiums for Valentine's Day. Give us a call at (503) 628-1005 to order. Wholesale only to the trade, please.

Cymbidiums Now Available
January 11, 2008
Blog PictureHey, it's cymbidium season again. We have white, green, brown, a few red, and some pink cyms. These are locally grown in our greenhouse - call us at (503) 628-1005 to order. Yes, we have them for Valentine's Day - supply is somewhat limited so call if you need them. Pictured here is San Miguel Christmas Song. It has scent!

Today I was disgusted with the dark, rain, etc. so I bought a flat of primroses from Koida's at the market. I am going to tuck them into the containers on my front porch.

Also conferred with Mary at Clackamas Greenhouses about cyclamen. I decided that the winter-bare area underneath the harlequin glorybower in the back yard would make a great location for some white cyclamen.

You can naturalize them, but mostly the hardy ones. I love the white ones with the beautiful patterned leaves, but they probably aren't hardy. They have beautiful cyclamen in all different colors at Clackamas and also at Alderbrook Gardens at the flower market.

It will be an experiment, I'll wait to spring to plant them though. Maybe they'll live.

Two things inspired this brain wave:

1. Kew Gardens in England - the garden at Kew Palace had a little pleached arbor of hornbeams, and underneath were the tiny lavender hardy cyclamen blooming, it was fantastic and we were there in October! Anything that will bloom in October gets my vote.

2. Before the holidays I saw lots of people at the market buying white cyclamen to decorate for Christmas. So beautiful. They were the large white ones, which I know better than to try to naturalize, but the look was so elegant.

These are the things that keep us going in January!!!!!

Visit to Watanabe Floral in Hawaii
January 10, 2008
Blog PictureOne of the off-the-beaten-path things we did on our Hawaii trip was to visit Hawaii's rose grower, Watanabe Floral. They are located in the highlands on the big island, up north, where you could see the snow on the mountain!

We drove up there on a cloudy day and when we arrived Richard C. met us and gave us the grand tour. He used to be located in New Hampshire where his family grew roses for several generations. (Now unfortunately sold off for development.)

They have been at this location for 3 years, but the Watanabe family developed these greenhouses back in the '70s.

It was interesting to visit a rose farm where they don't have to heat! But they do have problems with downy mildew, which we don't have very often.

Pictured is a lady grading roses. They merely remove the substandard roses from the bunch, bundle it back up, and then truck it down to the airport, where it is shipped to their location in Honolulu. More grading is done there.

Clearly what they do is very different from us, but they have the same locally-focused market. They are growing using the least resources possible, to produce extremely inexpensive roses. We are providing more inputs, buying new plants all the time, etc., to provide a high quality local rose product.

You get some perspective when you visit other people in the same business - plus a good break from the beach!

Yummy or Icky??
January 8, 2008
Blog PictureThis picture is Paphiopedilum "Insigne" which is available now for its short season. Call us at (503) 628-1005. We'll probably have them until Valentine's 2008 and then that's it for another year....

In reference to Yummy or Icky in the title above, I came across what in my opinion sounds like the weirdest recipe for eggnog: Cedar Scented Eggnog. Yes. I know it's not the holidays anymore but... You infuse the bourbon for the eggnog with cedar shavings! Yes! You bake them first, who knows why, and then steep in the bourbon for 48 hours.

The rest of the recipe is pretty much the standard fluffy eggnog. If you want to make it it was in the New York Times magazine. From the head bartender Eben Freeman of Tailor in SoHo.

We don't usually read the New York Times although it is a very good paper. This was a Hawaii splurge - it costs $7.50 over there! We never did find the Wall Street Journal.

I have a real love-hate relationship with food scented with items not normally used for food. Such as rose water or lavender. I am a real lover of custard, flan, creme caramel, etc. in all variations, but I once ordered a lavender flavored custard, and it was really gross. It tasted like Grandma's handkerchief drawer.

Here however is a recipe I love - right now (January 2008) you can find in the grocery stores a new type of orange called a Cara Cara. It is tastier than a regular orange and a bit redder. I thought it might have some blood orange DNA but the produce guy at QFC said it was grapefruit. At any rate, it is good for things like an orange tart since it slices very nicely.

Make this with Cara Cara oranges: Ambrosia - with a fruit knife peel the oranges so that the flesh is exposed. Then slice thinly. Layer in a serving bowl with shredded sweetened coconut. Good for a hedonistic salad or a nice refreshing dessert.

That's all for now - we're starting to think about Valentine's Day - if you have a standing order your price for those roses remains the normal non Valentine price. All other added roses are at the Valentine price - see me for a price list...


Bridal Show This Weekend!
January 7, 2008
Blog PictureThe big Portland bridal show is happening this upcoming weekend, January 12 and 13, 2008. It's always an exciting event for attendees and participants, with huge crowds expected and a lot of wedding flowers on display.

On that theme, here's an excerpt from the newspaper, West Hawaii Today, on December 23 (we were lucky enough to spend Christmas in beautiful Hawaii this year):

'Toilet paper' Bride Ties the Knot in Times Square Restroom

New York (AP)- If you're the kind to need a tissue at weddings, this was the place to be Wednesday.

Jennifer Cannon wore a dress made of toilet paper when she was married to Doy Nichols at a public restroom in Times Square.

"You may kiss the bride," the officiant said, "but please don't squeeze the Charmin dress."

Ha ha - the dress was made of toilet paper but according to eye witnesses looked really good, designed by Hanah Kim, winner of the 2007 Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest, sponsored by Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com

The picture with the article shows the bride in the dress, looking pretty good, holding a bouquet of (real) flowers and chatting on her cell phone.

I doubt there will be any toilet paper dresses at the bridal show!!!!

Pictured above are some Hawaiian cattleya orchids being sold for $2 each at the farmers market we went to. The first day we got there was Saturday, the market day, so we picked up Kona coffee, avocados, bok choy, custard apples, papayas, and other goodies to provision us for the week.

It turned out that Mike from Billingsley Wholesale was in Kona too the entire time we were there - but our paths never crossed! We agreed later - Hawaii is definitely paradise - and it was a shock coming back to the cold and rain.

See you at market! --Sandra

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