An expert from a Boring nursery will shed light on year-round garden design
by: Jim Hart Jock Demme of Iseli Nursery in Boring stands in the midst of a three-acre demonstration garden, showing how some dwarf or slow-growing conifers and other perennials can make an attractive year-round plant display — especially good for small yards or patios.

Sandy Ditmar's life has been centered around plants and landscaping, and her 34 years with Iseli Nursery in Boring gives her the privilege of speaking to Clackamas County Master Gardeners with authority.

In fact, she'll soon be speaking to many people from the county, people with varied interests in the use of plant material.

But her focus in this presentation is the use of dwarf and slow-growing conifers and other evergreens in today's decorative and practical gardens.

Ditmar has been out of town recently, but a man who works closely with her speaks highly of her knowledge and experience in gardening. Jock Demme, who has been with Iseli for nearly 30 years, says Ditmar will share ideas with local gardeners about residential gardens.

Demme says Ditmar will likely suggest raised beds for better drainage and root-zone health. She'll also describe the combination of plants she likes to see with ideas on mixing conifers, flowering plants, deciduous trees, annuals, perennials and shrubs.

'That's what we call a complete garden,' Demme said. 'And for those with less space or no yard (apartments, condos), we have dwarf conifers in (decorative) containers. We plant them small, and they grow slowly over several years (before the need to transplant).'

For those gardeners interested in propagation techniques, Ditmar is prepared to describe the ways Iseli gardeners use asexual propagation and genetic selection to achieve and reproduce specific traits.

Iseli gardeners achieve their exceptional results mainly through grafting or root cuttings. They avoid seed reproduction, Demme said, because the DNA (and therefore the traits) changes each generation.

Ditmar also is likely to discuss or answer questions on the need (or lack of) to winterize plants in this area - a need that varies with the species, method of planting and site environment.

Demme recommends attending this presentation, which he said is wrapped around the theme of producing a garden with '12 months of color.'

'We (Iseli Nursery) trademarked that phrase (12 months of color) about 20 years ago,' he said. 'And that's what we bring to gardening. (Artistic gardens) have a representative number of evergreen, deciduous or coniferous plants.'

Artistic gardens also have a lot of color.

'There's a lot more than green in our evergreen plants,' Demme said. 'There are various shades of green and golden, chartreuse, yellow, bicolor (silver and green) and variegated (yellow or gold and green).

'In the growing season, this type of garden (the kind Ditmar will show) is spectacular because in addition to the conifers there are many colorful flowering and leafy plants. But in the dead of winter (now) it's still pretty colorful.'

Ditmar's colorful presentation is open to any interested persons, and there is no admission charge.

To see many ideas and colorful garden plants, visit the Iseli Nursery website at Iseli is a wholesale only nursery.

If you go

What: presentation on using dwarf and slow-growing conifers in gardens.

When: 7-8 p.m. Monday, March 12.

Where: Milwaukie Center, 5440 SE Kellogg Creek Drive, Milwaukie.

Who: Sandy Ditmar of Iseli Nursery in Boring is a guest speaker for the county's Master Gardener program.

Information: call Laura Eyer at 503-982-3522.

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