Gardeners can have a ball in the fall.

That is the message of Le Tour des Plants on Sept. 15 and 22.

Thirty six members of the Oregon Association of Nurseries will be having a series of events to make sure people are busy gardening this month.

'We want more and more people to realize that fall is a great planting season,' said Bob Bowman, manager of Dennis' Seven Dees Nursery in Lake Oswego. 'It may be the best time.

'We want to raise awareness that the fall is the best time for shrubs and lawns. Usually you think of planting them in the spring.'

Also participating on the tour is Lavender at Stonegate in West Linn, and owner Sarah Bader is looking upon it as an excellent chance to promote her nursery.

'It's my first year on the tour,' Bader said, 'and it seemed like a good opportunity. I just joined the OAN, and this is a great way to get my name out there.'

This is the second year for Le Tour des Plants, and Bowman said, 'Last year went fairly well. It was the first year and it was a start. I have the feeling that more people will participate this time.'

The tour will be a golden opportunity for gardeners, since the OAN says this is the largest organized garden tour in the nation and the only tour of its kind in the Northwest.

While making all 36 stops on the tour will be difficult, gardening enthusiasts will certainly find a participating nursery in their area.

Three classes are set Dennis' Seven Dees:

n 'What Lies Beneath,' Sept. 15, Saturday, 1 p.m. - Soil structure is the topic. Key points will be how to tell what soil type you have, how to improve clay soils and how to achieve the balance of nutrients and beneficial organisms that will give your yard what it needs to thrive.

n 'Fall is the Season,' Sept. 16, Sunday, 1 p.m. - Reasons why fall is the other great season in garden plants for fall and winter interest, bulb planting for early spring color and many other things you can do in your garden this season.

n 'Bringing Back Our Birds,' Sept. 23, Sunday, 1 p.m. - Topics will include using your garden to create habitats for songbirds and hummingbirds, plants that provide food and shelter for birds and gardening practices that encourage birds to find homes in your garden.

Several classes will be held at Lavender, including:

n 'Wreath making class,' Sept. 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Learn how to make a lavender wreath.

n 'Lavender care and uses,' Sept. 18, 10 a.m. - Learn how to care and prune lavender.

Dennis' Seven Dees Nursery is located at 1090 McVey Ave. in Lake Oswego. For more information, call 503-636-4660.

Lavender at Stonegate is located at 22615 SW Ulsky Road in West Linn. For information, call 503-638-5218.

For general information about Le Tour des Plants, visit and click on the Le Tour des Plants logo.

The Oregon Association of Nurseries is based in Wilsonville and represents more than 1,600 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers.

Oregon's ornamental horticulture industry is the state's largest agricultural commodity, with annual sales of over $877 million.

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