Sunday, May 31, 2015

Au revoir

In case you haven't heard, Steve and I have sold the nursery and Country Girls Nursery will be taking over our space on June 30th. Before the rumors begin and to squelch some that have already started, we are NOT moving to France, are NOT retiring and Walmart has NOT put us out of business. We have had 20 successful years here in Silver City but we are 20 years older than when we started. Contrary to popular belief the thousands of bags of Compost, Top Soil and Potting Soil do not magically float into customers vehicles and trucks full of plants do not unload and arrange themselves...and they haven't for 20 years. We are moving to Bend, Oregon. And before you start with rain and grey skies, it is on the dry side of Oregon, high desert and about 85,000 people. There is only one Walmart and it is on the far South side of town so we are thinking we won't ever have to see it and certainly not hear the name every day. Other words we are looking forward to leaving behind are deer and Ace, quite often in the same context. We will both continue to work. I will hopefully get a job at a nursery of which there are several really good ones and Steve is thinking REI (so he can get a discount on his toys) or something similar. So there you have it. The real story. We have enjoyed our stay here in Silver City because of good friends and loyal customers and will be forever grateful for your support but we are off on a new adventure! We are planning a 'Meet and Greet' with Kendra Wolf and the Country Girls crew from 9-5 on Friday, June 26th and Saturday, June 27th. On Saturday there will be hot dogs and beverages from 11-2. Come and welcome them to their new location. Be nice, support them and help them transition into the nursery. You need a nursery here with the quality products, great advice and fair prices we have tried to provide since 1995.

We are stocked up and our Weeks Roses are absolutely beautiful! 
All trees, shrubs, roses, perennials, vegetables, annuals and ceramic pottery are 25% off June 2nd through the 13th!

This will be Silver Heights  Nursery's last blog post. If you need inspiration you can refer to earlier posts that will hopefully answer a lot of questions. Just search a subject in the upper left hand corner. Country Girls has updates on Facebook at

Our house is 'for sale by owner' so if you know of anyone who might be interested the information is at The number for a qualified buyer to call for an appointment to view this property is 575.956.3158

Thanks again for 20 great years! 
Couldn't have done it without you!

Friday, May 1, 2015

May 2015

Prune spring flowering shrubs. As I write this post on April 26th it is snowing. Crazy weather. And it is supposed to be 80 when I publish it on May 1st. Welcome to the high desert! Because we have had such a long warm spring many spring flowering shrubs like Lilacs (Syringa), Forsythia, Red-twigged Dogwood (Cornus), Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles) and Spiraea bloomed long ago and are ready to be pruned. Pruning now will encourage growth and since most shrubs bloom on new wood you will have more flowers next spring. Start by removing the 3 D's. Anything that is dead, diseased or damaged. Next prune out all crossing or rubbing branches and anything that is heading toward the center. Lilacs, Dogwoods and Forsythia should then have 1/3 of their oldest woodiest growth taken all the way to the ground. Spiraeas that bloom in the spring such as 'Snowmound' should be pruned by removing the branches that flowered this year. Flowering Quince blooms on old wood, so prune it to shape down to an outward facing bud on each branch. Although it is not a shrub, Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) can also be pruned after flowering. I sweep off the spent flowers with a broom and then cut the foliage back by 1/3 to 1/2. These are the most popular spring flowering shrubs in our area but these rules can be applied to almost any shrub that flowers in the spring.

Start a new perennial bed. Creating a new perennial bed can be a very simple, satisfying undertaking that you will enjoy for years if you do some planning before you plant. And don't be surprised when it evolves over the years with new plants added as less appealing ones are removed. A perennial bed is a great way to reduce water vs grass. By preparing the soil properly, mulching well and watering effectively a perennial bed will use 25-50% less water than a lawn, depending on the plants used. First choose a location for your new bed. It can be a small, intimate area where you sit most often, a border along a walkway or a wall or an island in the center of your yard. Outline the area using a garden hose. Curving lines are more appealing than straight ones. When you have the shape and size the way you want it, and if it is a lawn area Here is a great article on several methods to remove a lawn without the use of herbicides. Prepare your new area for planting by working in Back to Earth Compost at a rate of 1 bag per 25 square feet. The addition of an all purpose fertilizer such as Chickity Doo Doo or Yum Yum Mix is recommended. Till or turn the soil to a depth of at least a foot; I know, you have hard soil/rocks/granite/caliche, we all do from here to San Diego-just do it. This will help the root development of your new plantings and make them more drought tolerant. Choose a theme for the area. Native, butterfly and/or hummingbird gardens can have color and interest all year long while using very little water. You will want to pick an anchor shrub or two for your bed. Butterfly Bush (Buddleia), Dwarf Burning Bush (Euonymus alata), Photinia, Bamboo (Phyllostachys), New Mexico Privet (Forestiera), Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) or an Ornamental Grass would all make a good starting point. Plant your anchor towards the back of the bed, anywhere but in the center. Taking into consideration the exposure (full sun, part shade, full shade) choose your perennials and work out from your anchor using plants that descend in height down to ground covers in the front. Groups of plants in odd numbers such as 3, 5 or 7 create the best impact when in bloom. Plant these groups in a natural formation, not straight lines. Be sure to include plants that flower in spring, flower in summer, color in the fall or have some winter interest such as berries, attractive seedheads or evergreen foliage. Late flowers or foliage plants should conceal gaps left by earlier flowering varieties. Be sure to mulch your new area to minimize weeds, conserve moisture and give it a finished look. A new perennial bed will take some work and planning but reward you with less watering and lots of visual interest.

Echinacea species. The Coneflower is a tried and true perennial that will give you color all summer long, attract butterflies and other beneficial insects and provide some winter interest with their attractive seedheads. There are several cultivars now in a variety of colors. 'Purple' is the most common with flowers ranging from pink to mauve, 'White Swan' is a pure white as its name implies, 'Magnus' has reddish-purple blooms and these three will reach 2-4 feet depending upon conditions. 'Pow Wow Wildberry' was bred to have darker red-purple flowers and a more compact habit at 16-24 inches. Our new favorite, growing to 2 feet, is 'Cheyenne Spirit' which is a mix of scarlet, gold, pink, orange, cream and red. All of these Coneflowers will grow to 18 inches wide, can take full sun or part shade and fit well in a perennial bed or xeriscape.
Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'
Echinacea 'Pow Wow Wildberry'

Saturday, April 25, 2015


 We are loaded with colorful annuals, perennials and hanging baskets!
Our Weeks roses just arrived and as always they are 10% off through Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Small Steps

Lowe's To Stop Selling Neonicotinoid Pesticides That May Be Harmful To Bees

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Home improvement chain Lowe's Cos Inc will stop selling a type of pesticide suspected of causing a decline in honeybee populations needed to pollinate key American crops, following a few U.S. retailers who have taken similar steps last year.

The class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, are sold by agrichemical companies to boost yields of staple crops but are also used widely on annual and perennial plants used in lawns and gardens.

Scientists, consumer groups, beekeepers and others say bee deaths are linked to the neonic pesticides. The bee die-off is worrisome for agriculture because honeybees pollinate plants that produce about a fourth of the food consumed by Americans.

Lowe's said it will phase out neonics in shelf products and plants by the spring of 2019, as suitable alternatives become available.

A study released by environment group Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute in 2014 showed that 51 percent of garden plants purchased at Lowe's, Home Depot and Walmart in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contained neonicotinoid pesticides at levels that could harm or even kill bees.

In 2014, the White House announced a plan to fund new honeybee habitats and to form a task force to study how to reverse the honeybee declines.

Last year, BJ's Wholesale Club, a warehouse retailer said it was asking all of its vendors to provide plants free of neonics by the end of 2014 or to label such products.

Home Depot, the largest U.S. home improvement chain, also asked its suppliers to start labeling any plants treated with neonics and that it was running tests in several states to see if suppliers can eliminate neonics in their plant production without hurting plant health.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 2015

Fertilize. Since everything has decided to bloom and grow and forget that May 1st frost date you might just as well encourage and feed that growth with a little fertilizer. I have posted about fertilizers before but think it might be time for a refresher course. As you know there are usually three numbers on the front of a bag of fertilizer (N-P-K) as well as some trace elements listed somewhere else. The first number is nitrogen and produces dark green vegetative growth, increases protein content in food crops and helps plants use moisture more efficiently. P stands for Phosphorus and it stimulates rooting, fruiting and flowering. The last number is Potassium or Potash and helps promote disease resistance, overall vigor, winter hardiness and increased caliper in the trunks of trees. By knowing what these numbers stand for you should be able to decide which fertilizer you need. For anything fruiting or flowering you will want something with a higher middle number, an evergreen would benefit from a little extra nitrogen and something that just seems to lack vigor might like some potassium. We carry a wide variety of organic fertilizers. Organics work better than chemicals because they feed the soil and the soil feeds the plants. Chemical fertilizers feed the plants with high doses promoting fast, weak growth that insects and disease find very inviting as well as killing all of the beneficial organisms in the soil. Chemicals like Miracle-Gro create little plant junkies that need that fix very often to survive On the other hand organics create a healthy environment for plants to thrive with less feeding. Fox Farm has a granular All Purpose (5-5-5), Fruit & Flower (5-8-4), Rose Food (4-4-5) and Tomato & Vegetable (7-4-5) as well as liquid Big Bloom (.01-.3-.7), Grow Big (6-4-4) and Tiger Bloom (2-8-4). Two all purpose fertilizers are Yum Yum Mix and Chickity Doo Doo, they can be sprinkled around on everything and watered in.  If you want single nutrients, good sources of nitrogen are Blood Meal and Alfalfa Meal, phosphorus can be found in Bone Meal, Bat Guano and Soft Rock Phosphate and Potassium is available in Greensand, Sul-Po-Mag and Seaweed Extract. With any fertilizer, always follow package directions carefully. Come in to the nursery and chances are good we can find a fertilizer that fits your needs.

Read the Label. I am kind of a label reading freak. Grocery store, clothing store, bath store, I am always seeing 'what's in it'. So when a customer brought us in this label from a plant she got at Home Depot I really couldn't believe it.

I wrote about these systemic insecticides here and here and that Home Depot and probably many other big box stores are wearing this as a badge of honor and touting it as a healthyhome/garden is really the moral of the story the label.

Lavadula. Lavender comes in a wide variety of species but the most reliably hardy for our area are angustifolia and intermedia. Both have narrow gray leaves, 2 inches long and flower on long spikes in July and August. Angustifolia is also known as English Lavender and is the most widely planted lavender used for perfume and sachets. 'Hidcote' is a variety that reaches 20" tall and has deep purple flowers. 'Munstead' is a dwarf 1 1/2' tall with lavender-blue blooms. The species intermedia is a cross between L. angustifolia and L.latifolia. 'Grosso' and 'Provence' both reach at least 3 feet tall and wide and have deep purple flowers. These lavenders are drought tolerant once established, cold hardy to 20 degrees below zero, adapt to full sun or part shade and attract beneficial insects when not treated with neonicotinoids (just seeing if anyone is paying attention). Plant them in an herb garden, near a patio where you can enjoy the fragrance or as a low hedge.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Ready or Not!

We are ready to roll this year. Or at least as ready as can be expected for March 24th. Can't believe this weather but as you know there will be several more frosts before it's all over. We have stocked up on cool season annuals and vegetables that can be planted now and have a load of shrubs and trees coming in soon. 

As usual our roses will be in at the end of April. Here is a list of some things the nursery has in and old;
RUGS: We are now carrying Jellybean 21” by 33” machine washable accent rugs. Use them indoors or outdoors for a spot of color. They are made from 35% recycled material!
BIRDBATHS: Classic Ceramic and Hand Painted Glass. Either will add an accent to your patio or landscape.
SOILS: We have sold Uni-Gro Potting Soil here in Grant County for 20 years. It drains well to encourage root production but also holds a fair amount of moisture. It is the perfect potting soil for everything from seed starting to flower pots and Earthboxes. We also carry two Fox Farm soils: Ocean Forest Potting Soil and Coco Loco Potting Mix as well as their Mega Mulch which is a blend of coconut fiber and coir that can be used as a ground cover/mulch. All of our Soil Mender products including Back to Earth Compost Blend, Top Soil and Composted Manure are in stock.
FERTILIZERS: Our fertilizers are all organic or organic based. They work by creating healthy soil and therefore don’t need to be used as often as chemicals like Miracle Gro. We have Fox Farm’s Grow Big, Big Bloom and Tiger Bloom liquids and their granular Tomato & Vegetable, All Purpose, Fruit & Flower and Rose Food. Yum Yum Mix is back again as well as Gro-Power for lawns and vegetables and Chickity Doo Doo. We also carry Fish Emulsion, Seaweed Extract, Bone & Blood Meals, Rock Phosphate, Earthworm Castings & Bat Guano.
WEED BARRIER & SHADE CLOTH: We are carrying 2 different Coolaroo Shade Cloths this year: 70% Sandstone and 50% Black. The Weed Barrier is Dewitt Professional Grade. Both of these products are 6 feet wide and sold by the linear foot.
TRELLISES & SHEPHERD HOOKS: Redwood and Decorative Metal.
EARTHBOXES: Yes we are selling this popular Ultimate Gardening System again this year. The original EarthBox® is a great value! You name it, you can grow it! Poor soil conditions and small backyards are no match for this patented container gardening system, developed by commercial farmers. Just add plants, water, and sunlight. Grow tomatoes and other robust vegetables and aromatic herbs in any small space—a balcony, patio, or even rooftops. This gardening system is self-watering, sustainable, easily moveable and portable, and can even be used to grow indoors.
HOSES & ACCESSORIES: We have Gilmour Hoses “the last hose you will ever buy” along with zinc Shut-off Valves, Y’s, Couplers, Water Breakers and the water wands we have grown to love, Dramm One-Touch.

Just found out yesterday that our credit card machine isn't working and they need to overnight (HA! we live in Silver such thing) a new SIM card and then we need to do a new download, blah, blah, blah. So we are looking at likely Thursday the 26th before we can take credit or debit again. We gladly accept cash.

Also, in case you haven't heard, Silver City passed a new 'bag ordinance'. This means we can't use our T-shirt bags for carry out anymore. Since we can't justify the cost of heavy duty plastic bags or cardboard carry out boxes that fall apart after one use with wet plants in them you will need to BYOB. We will still have trunk liners and a few recycled boxes but please keep your own plastic garbage bags or a rug or an old shower curtain in your trunk to minimize the mess.

Friday, February 27, 2015

March 2015

Silver Heights Nursery will be opening for its 20th year on March 24th, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 until 5. We have a few new items this year as well as Back to Earth Compost, Uni-Gro Potting Soil, Fox Farm Products, Organic Pesticides and all of the quality plants and honest advice you have come to expect from us.
March is a month when the weather begs you to get out and plant something...and you can plant those cool season veggies and annuals...but don't be fooled into getting too carried away. Our average last frost date is May 1st. Which means our last frost will fall somewhere between April 15th and May 15th. So there is a good chance of freezing temps, snow, hail and wind for two more months. There are however a few things you can do this month that will get you outside on those sunny days.
PRUNE ROSES. When and how to prune your roses depends upon what type of rose you have. Early spring is the best time to prune Hybrid Teas, Floribundas and Grandifloras. Just as the new growth starts, remove any dead, damaged or diseased wood back to where the cane is healthy and white. Prune out weak, thin or spindly growth. Open up the center by removing any crossing or rubbing branches. The increased air circulation and light penetration will reduce disease and insect attacks. Dig down to remove any suckers that originate from below the soil line. Pull them off in a quick downward motion. This will remove growth buds that would have produced additional suckers. Then thin your roses to 4 to 7 strong, healthy canes and remove 1/3 to 1/2 of last year's growth. Climbers and Ramblers often bloom on 1 or 2 year old wood and should be pruned after they bloom by cutting the main shoots back by 1/3 and removing any small woody growth. Lateral branches my also be taken back to 3 to 6 inches if they have gotten out of control. Repeat flowering Climbers should be pruned in early spring and spent flowers removed to hasten the next bloom. Shrub, Hedge and Rugosa Roses need only be cleaned up occasionally by taking out all dead, damaged and crossing/rubbing branches. Miniatures and Groundcovers can be cut back by 1/2 to keep them fuller but most can also be left alone. When you prune use high quality, sharp pruning tools and cut at a 45 degree angle sloping away from an outward facing bud. When removing spent blooms or cutting flowers for arrangements, make your removal cut back to an outward facing leaf with 5 leaflets. This is where a new flower will come from. After pruning your roses rake up all of the debris around them and dispose of it and if you haven't used a dormant spray yet it would be a good time to do so. 
DIVIDE PERENNIALS. Once your herbaceous perennials, those that die all the way to the ground in the winter, have started to grow you will want to divide those that need it. If the clumps have begun to die out in the center, their blooms are less abundant and smaller than usual or just seem overcrowded, they will benefit from division. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), Daylillies (Hemerocallis), Coneflowers (Echinacea), any members of the mint family, that square-stemmed sometimes invasive Lamiaceae group that includes Mentha, Salvia, Monarda and many herbs can all be divided now. Division is the act of propagating a plant by dividing it into several individual plants, complete with roots and buds of their own. To get started have the area you plan to plant your new divisions into or the containers you will pot them in ready so you don't leave the roots exposed too long. Mix compost and bone meal into your soil for planting in the ground or use potting soil in pots. Dig up the root system using a trowel, spade or in the case of large clumps a garden fork. Brush off loose soil and remove any dead leaves and stems. Wash the soil from the crown so you can easily see the buds. Divide the clump into sections that contain several buds or shoots and healthy roots discarding any old, woody growth. Replant and water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. It may take a year for your newly planted perennials to start blooming well again but it will be worth the effort.
And for those days when inside sounds better:
START SEEDS INDOORS. If you are planning your summer garden there are many warm season vegetables that can be planted from transplants in May so now is a good time to start them indoors from seed. Remember, the quality of the seed you use is important. We carry Lake Valley and Pagano Seed. These seeds are all untreated and contain no genetically modified or engineered organisms. We are not open now for you to purchase them from us but a lot of you stocked up before we closed. If you do need seed before we open I would recommend Johnny's Seeds or Territorial Seed online. Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant and other small seeded vegetables can all be started now and will be ready to transplant outdoors in 8-12 weeks.  (Large seeded vegetables like Corn, Squash, Cucumbers and Beans do best when planted directly in your garden once danger of frost has passed.) Fill a seed tray with good potting soil like Uni-gro that drains well. Firm the soil gently and plant the seed according to package directions. Most vegetables germinate well at a temperature between 50 and 70 degrees so the top of a refrigerator or a warm window sill is fine but don't forget that window sills can get awfully cold at night. After planting, water the soil well to ensure that all air pockets have been filled. Keep the soil moist, not wet, using a watering can with a fine rosette or simply misting with a spray bottle. Once the seeds have germinated they will need lots of light. A sunny window, heated greenhouse or fluorescent grow lights work best. When the seedlings develop their second set of leaves it is time to transplant them. Using your fingers or a spoon dig up individual seedlings keeping the rootball intact. Plant them in 3-4" pots filled with potting soil. Water thoroughly to settle the soil and fertilize regularly with Fox Farm Liquid Grow Big or granular Fox Farm Tomato & Vegetable and Superthrive. Keep them in bright light and water when needed. You may want to transplant these vegetables again into larger containers as they outgrow their pots. One week before you plan to plant your vegetables outside you will need to "harden them off" or get them used to direct sunlight, wind and changing temperatures. Set them outside for a few hours every day gradually increasing their exposure to sun and cold. Once they are ready for the real world plant them into your garden. Does this sound like too much trouble? We'll have plants ready to go when it is time to plant them outside.
COME TO THE COOP'S FLEA MARKET. Saturday, February 28th the Silver City Food Coop will be hosting a Community Flea Market at 614 N. Bullard St. from 10 until 4. And since we have spent the winter 'cleaning out' we will be there selling some used household and garden items. Come down and support this event!

VIOLA cornuta. Most of you know these cool season annuals as 'Johnny Jump-Ups' and because they are Alpine wildflowers, when planted in the fall they will give you color all winter long or in the spring for an early splash. The viola is just a smaller version of a pansy with 1" flowers but seems to tolerate more shade and cold than their larger cousins. They bloom in every color of the rainbow and take very little water. Plant them in September to let their roots get a good start before the cold hits, in full sun or part shade, fertilize regularly with Fox Farm Big Bloom or Tiger Bloom and keep deadheaded. They look good in pots, along a sunny walkway or mixed with evergreens. Because they like the cool weather replace them with something more heat tolerant (think petunias, marigolds, vinca, alyssum, etc.) once it gets too hot. Quite often these annuals will reseed and give you little surprises here and there throughout the year.

Violas planted 9.15.2014