Sometimes seed catalogs and magazines just don't do it. You need some new ideas for your garden but want to see them in real life, not in someone else's photograph.
At this time of year, many of the 24 Master Gardener demonstration gardens at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center are at their peak and could not help but inspire you. I'm suggesting you take a tour of them at 569 Hanley Road in Central Point.
Especially lovely right now is the Rose Garden, which has roses from minis to the climbing varieties and everything in between. Because the plants are labeled with both common and Latin names, you will be able to make note of the cultivars that suit your fancy.
The Lavender Garden is at its peak, too. In fact, it has the honor of being part of the Oregon Lavender Festival Tour, which includes lavender gardens all over the state, on July 14 and 15. The garden here is the only herb garden in the Pacific Northwest registered with the Herb Society of America. Covering about 4,000 square feet, it contains approximately 250 labeled lavender plants.
Daylilies are blooming in all their splendor right now, and some of the varieties are those developed by Master Gardeners. You will see colors and sizes of daylilies you never thought possible.
If you are concerned about water conservation — and we all should be — the Waterwise Garden will give you many ideas about plants that thrive in our climate with little water.
At the Kitchen Garden, you'll see raised beds of varying heights and made of different materials. It also features some different styles of planting, such as the square-foot method, and interesting trellises.
The Entrance Garden, at the front door of the Extension building, will inspire you to plant an inviting area near your front door. A few steps away is the Culinary Herb Garden, and right around the corner you will find the Succulent and Cactus Garden. Continue on the paved path to see the Rain Garden, Wildflower Garden, Native Plant Garden, and on and on.
Some are not technically gardens, but are places to learn about composting, greenhouses, propagation, vineyards and orchards. If you are an artist, bring your sketchpad or watercolors, or perhaps your camera. And don't forget a notepad and pencil, as you'll want to make notes. The grounds are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and on the weekend of the July 14-15 Lavender Garden tour, the gates will be open, too. There is no admission charge, of course, and plenty of parking is available.
The Plant Clinic is open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Wednesday mornings, the grounds are buzzing with volunteers tending the gardens, and that's a good time to get questions answered by the many Master Gardeners there.
Coming up: Drew Matthew from Grange Co-op will teach a class on ferns from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, July 9. Ferns native to the Rogue Valley will be emphasized, and attendees will learn the difference between ferns and other plants, as well as how to grow them. The class will be at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road, in Central Point. Cost is $5. Call 541-776-7371 for information.
Carol Oneal is a past president of the OSU Jackson County Master Gardeners Association. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.