Monday, March 31, 2014

APRIL 2014

Xeriscape. Whether you are converting an existing landscape or starting from scratch, xeriscaping is the way to go. Please do not mistake 'xeri' for zero. XERIscapes are lush and beautiful incorporating a wide variety of water efficient plants to create an oasis-like feeling. ZEROscapes use a few yuccas and cactus in a sea of heat retaining rock.
There are several steps in creating a successful xeriscape. The first is planning and design. During this step you will analyze your site and your outdoor living requirements. Draw a site plan that includes: existing features such as windows, trees, patios and driveways; views that you want to screen or protect; full sun, part shade and full shade areas; utility lines; the contours of the land that may allow you to take advantage of runoff. next decide what functions you would like your site to serve. The possibilities are areas viewed by the public (front yard), leisure areas (patios, the back yard, play areas for adults, children or pets, wildlife habitats), service areas (sheds, garbage receptacles), flower and vegetables garden areas and transitional areas that blend other use areas together. 

The next step is the plant step. Group plants according to their water needs. You may want to start with a mini-oasis near your home and decrease water use as you get further away. Decide the shape, size, water use and function of the plants you want and come to the nursery with that list to browse. We carry many drought tolerant native and non-native plants and provide you with a detailed planting guide to carry you through this step. Keep in mind that all native plants are not drought tolerant. Some exist naturally as understory plants or in riparian areas and tend to be moderate to even high water users.
Step three is improving the soil. If you plan to include beds or turf you will need to add Back to Earth Compost to the entire bed or turf area. For individual plants just improve the planting hole. The addition of this organic matter will provide nutrients and enable your soil to better absorb water.

Step four is to create appropriate turf areas. Decide how much grass, if any, will provide a functional benefit. If you need to plant a small lawn choose waterwise Buffalo and/or Blue Gramma. Existing turf areas can be replaced by colorful ground covers or mulch.

The fifth step is efficient irrigation. Install the appropriate irrigation system for the most effective watering. Turf areas are best watered by sprinklers, beds with bubblers and trees, shrubs and ground covers by drip emitters. If you must water by hand invest in a galvanized oscillator, water wand and a metal bubbler to cover all of your watering needs.

Step six is the one I write about all of the time. MULCH, MULCH, MULCH. Mulches cover the soil and reduce evaporation, maintain an even temperature and minimize weeds. Mulches include bark, compost and rock.
The seventh and final step is proper maintenance. Successful xeriscapes are "low" maintenance not "no" maintenance. Watering, fertilizing, pruning and controlling pests and weeds will ensure that your xeriscape develops into a healthy landscape. By following these steps and planning for the end result you want to achieve you will save time and money. Start today.

Acer ginnala. The Amur Maple is a deciduous shrub that grows at a moderate rate to a  height of 15 feet and can be pruned into a small tree. This Manchurian native blooms with small clusters of fragrant yellow flowers in early spring followed by red, winged seedpods. The toothed leaves are three lobed and 2-3" long. Being a true Maple the red fall color is spectacular. It is very cold hardy to at least 30 degrees below zero and a moderate water user. Plant this shrub outside a window where you can enjoy the fragrant flowers and fall color or, in tree form, off a patio for light shade.

Monday, March 24, 2014



SOILS: We have sold Uni-Gro Potting Soil here in Grant County for 19 years. It drains well to encourage root production but also holds a fair amount of moisture. We think it is the perfect potting soil for everything from seed starting to flower pots and Earthboxes. We also carry 3 Fox Farm soils. Ocean Forest Potting Soil, Coco Loco Potting Mix and Light Warrior Seed Starter. We have all of our regular Soil Mender products including Back to Earth Compost Blend, Top Soil and Composted Manure. Because we were able to buy some of our soils at a lower price this year, we are going to pass those savings along to customers and offer our Fox Farm and Uni-Gro Potting Soils at a reduced price.

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 & Bat Guano.

POTTERY: Malaysian pottery is the most winter tolerant and we just received a load of new patterns and colors. Some have attached saucers. Also available are Chinese, Italian Clay, Vietnamese and Plastic. It is always a good idea to seal your terra cotta pots with Pottery Sealer and we have it! Something new that many customers request are Macrame & Fabric Plant Hangers. Some in nice bright colors as well as earth tones. Ceramic Birdbaths have also made a comeback. For your convenience we stock Plant Caddies in several different sizes. These items make heavy plants mobile so you can move them seasonally or to clean.

RAIN BARRELS: The Algreen Agua Rain Water Collection and Storage System combines the timeless aesthetic elegance of ceramics with the durability of modern plastics. This 50-gallon rainsaver is constructed from tough, roto molded plastic able to withstand extreme temperatures and will not chip, fade, or crack over time. The rain barrel comes with a 4-foot garden hose with shutoff nozzle and corrosion-proof screen guard. The hose hangs neatly on the attached hook. The rain barrel doubles as a planter and measures 23 x 33 inches.

FURNITURE: Some classic, some modern, we have Bistro Sets and Garden Benches.

WEED BARRIER & SHADE CLOTH: We are carrying 3 different Coolaroo Shade Cloths this year: 70% Sandstone, 50% Green or 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 finally selling this popular Ultimate Gardening System! 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. Proven in the lab and on the farm, you get “great results no matter what color your thumb is,” because this maintenance-free growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork, and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden—with less fertilizer, less water, and virtually no effort. Just add plants, water, and sunlight for an easy garden that requires no digging, no weeding, and no guesswork! Grow tomatoes and other robust vegetables and aromatic herbs in any small space—a balcony, patio, or even rooftops! This revolutionary SIP (Sub-Irrigated Planter) compact size allows you to grow healthy, fresh—even organic!—food where it never grew before! Unlike other raised bed gardens and planters, the EarthBox® gardening system is self-watering, sustainable, easily moveable and portable, and can even be used to grow indoors. Now that’s one smart garden!

Another customer request has been heavy duty hoses. We have Gilmour Hoses "the last hose you will ever buy" along with Shut-off Valves, Y’s, Couplers, Water Breakers and the water wands we have grown to love, Dramm One-Touch Wands.

STAKING SYSTEMS: Tomato Cages, Redwood, Bamboo and Steel Stakes as well as 4’ by 6’ Bamboo Fencing. This fencing can be used to grow beans, cucumbers or squash, stake sunflowers and fence your garden.

SETS & ROOTS & CANES, "OH MY": Again this year we are offering Onion Sets, Asparagus, Rhubarb and Horseradish Roots as well as Raspberry, Blackberry and Grape Canes. Healthy plants, ready to go into the ground or a pot.


Again this year we will be giving away a $25 gift certificate to one of our luck blog subscribers. The winner will be notified by email on May 31st, 2014.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 2014

I can't believe it is March 2nd and so many plants have been fooled into blooming. This weather is crazy and there are still no freezing temps in the 10 day forecast. But like I said last month we have a long way to go before we can safely say it won't frost again. I am afraid some things will be so far along they may even be killed by the freeze to come.
We have had a lot of questions about watering and quite honestly if you are just starting to think about it now it may be too late. As I have said time and time again "Plants do 80 % of their root growth in late summer, fall and WINTER so it is especially important to keep them hydrated during this time". Here is a link to a comprehensive post on watering that everyone should read and reread as often as questions arise Water, water, water.
Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford')

March 1st!!!!!!

Flowering Crabapple (Malus 'Prairiefire'), starting to think about it.
Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata 'Emerald Blue'), right on schedule.

Divide perennials. Now that a lot of 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 into your soil 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. The rain we got yesterday will make this job a little easier so get out there soon and get this chore done. It may take a year for your newly planted perennials to start blooming well again but it will be worth the effort.

Prune roses.  After the first few leaf buds begin to break on your roses it is time to prune them. Here is a link to our Rose Guide Roses.

Plant cool season vegetables. When we open on the 25th we will have lots of cool season veggies for your planting pleasure. Check out last month's 'Silver City's Suggested Planting Times' for when to plant what or pick up a copy at the nursery.

Pyrus calleryana. I couldn't resist making this tree my plant of the month. The Flowering Pears around town are just gorgeous right now. Although they are not the smartest plant, flowering in February, they sure are a satisfying shade tree. Explosive spring flowers, shiny, dark green leaves and beautiful, red, orange and purple fall color...what's not to like? They even sometimes produce small, inedible fruit that birds enjoy. The 'Bradford' variety will grow at a moderate rate to 35 feet tall and 25 feet wide. It has a nicely rounded crown with strong horizontal limbs. Plant it where it has plenty of room to reach its full potential and give it a moderate amount of water. It is cold hardy to 20 degrees below zero.