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Sunflower Smiles at Portland Nursery
Now is the time to get Sunflowers in the ground!

Looking for an opportunity to include a math lesson with your gardening? Grow a sunflower! Each floret in the sunflower head is oriented to the next to produce a pattern of interconnected spirals that is mathematically the most efficient packing of seeds within the flower head. Once the seeds have formed, look at the seed head – the numbers of clockwise spirals and counterclockwise spirals are consecutive Fibonacci numbers. This is a sequence where each number is the sum of the last two -1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21 etc. Of course, in this digital age you may need to start with an explanation of what clockwise means! The reward for all this math is, of course, a treat – the seeds are edible as well.

Sunflowers come in a wide range of sizes and colors. Some are bred for cut flowers and may not produce edible seeds. These are usually marked as ornamental on the seed packet. Others can produce dinner plate sized seed heads on plants ranging from 2’ to 16’ tall. Some of my favorite ornamental ones are ‘Moonshadow’, ‘Autumn Beauty’ and ‘Sun Samba’. These all grow about 5 to 6’ tall. For edible seeds the standard is ‘Mammoth Grey Stripe’ growing to about 6 to 10’, but ‘Sunspot’ will need less staking at 18 to 24” tall and ‘Sunzilla’ claims to be the tallest at 12 to 16’. There are even varieties that are well suited to containers such as ‘Big Smile’, ‘Teddy Bear’ and ‘Elf’.

Whichever ones you grow do not plant too early! They need the soil temperature to warm up to 55-60 degrees otherwise they may rot. This is typically mid-May in our area. I like to plant from seed as they form somewhat of a tap root and often do not transplant well from starts if overgrown. They grow best in full sun with fertile, well drained soil, even moisture and appreciate a good mulching. Plant the seeds about 1” deep and far enough apart to accommodate the width of the variety you have chosen. Using an organic fertilizer at the time of planting is best as too much fertilizer while your sunflower is growing can cause stems to split. If you are growing taller varieties don’t forget to stake them before they get too tall. Edible varieties may need some protection from the birds with a light fabric like cheesecloth covering the head. Of course, I like to grow some just for the birds – it is fun to watch them hang upside down from the flower heads to get at the seeds.

When the flower petals have fallen off and the head turns brown on the back it is a signal that it is ready to be harvested. Cut with enough stem to hang in a cool dry area. Covering the whole flower with a paper bag will save any falling seeds. When they are dry you should be able to just rub the seeds off. Store in an airtight container and enjoy your tasty, mathematical marvels.

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4th Annual Bonsai Show
Show Day: Saturday • June 20 • 10:00-3:00pm • 9000 SE Division

We are seeking contestants for our Annual Bonsai Show! Anyone can exhibit one or more trees.

We have two categories of exhibitors: 1) Customer Entrant; 2) Bonsai Society Member Entrant. First, second and third place prizes awarded in each category. All entries will be judged by the public.

  • 1st Place: $100 Portland Nursery Gift Card
  • 2nd Place: $50 Portland Nursery Gift Card
  • 3rd Place: $25 Portland Nursery Gift Card

All entrants will receive a 10% off coupon (one per entrant) good at any Portland Nursery and will also be entered into a a lottery for chance to win one of 4 - $25 Gift cards (one entry per entrant).

Contest Entry Details

Deliver your tree to Portland Nursery at 9000 SE Division between 8:00-9:00am on show day, Saturday • June 20 • 10:00-3:00pm. CLICK TO FILL IN ENTRY FORM FOR BONSAI EVENT

Contact George Bowman, Portland Nursery, Division Street Location Manager.

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may20classes
Featured Events & Classes

There are new classes all month long. They fill up quickly. Please REGISTER TODAY! We have done our best to only list available classes.

See our Classes Page for all CLASS DESCRIPTIONS & DETAILS.

Growing Vegetables in Raised Garden Beds
5050 SE STARK • Saturday • June 6 • 1:00pm
Click here to register for this class.

Make and Take Summer Interest Containers
9000 SE DIVISION • Sunday • June 7 • 1:00-2:30pm
Click here to register for this class.

Intro to Clematis
5050 SE STARK • Sunday • June 7 • 1:00pm
Click here to register for this class.

Climate Change is Coming; is Your Garden Ready?
5050 SE STARK • Saturday • June 13 • 1:00pm
Click here to register for this class.

Mushroom Growing
9000 SE DIVISION • Sunday • June 14 • 11:00-12:30pm
Click here to register for this class.

Why Feed Your Plants Anyway?
5050 SE STARK • Sunday • June 14 • 1:00pm
Click here to register for this class.

Willow Furniture Workshop with Brian from the Willow Station
$125 material fee / item due on day of class. Select your item to build when registering.
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9000 SE DIVISION • Monday • June 15 • 10:00-4:30pm
Click here to register for this class.

Portland Nursery on Division: Bonsai Event
Portland Nursery and the Bonsai Society of Portland (BSOP) want to Rock Your Bonsai with a showing of Your Best Bonsai! Any customer can exhibit!
See the Bonsai Event Page for event details.
9000 SE DIVISION • Saturday • June 20 • 10:00-3:00pm

Portland Iris Society Show
9000 SE DIVISION • Sunday • June 21 • 10:00-4:00pm

Summer / Fall Help for Pollinators
5050 SE STARK • Saturday • June 20 • 1:00pm
Click here to register for this class.

Terrariums as Homes
5050 SE STARK • Sunday • June 21 • 11:00am
Click here to register for this class.

Harvesting and Using Lavender
5050 SE STARK • Sunday • June 21 • 1:00pm
Click here to register for this class.

Summer Jams
9000 SE DIVISION • Saturday • June 27 • 11:00-12:30pm
Click here to register for this class.

Hardy Orchids for the Garden
5050 SE STARK • Saturday • June 27 • 1:00pm
Click here to register for this class.

DIY Herbal Green Cleaning Products
9000 SE DIVISION • Sunday • June 28 • 11:00-12:30pm
Click here to register for this class.

Top 5 Pests of the Summer Garden
5050 SE STARK • Sunday • June 28 • 1:00pm
Click here to register for this class.


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