Monday, July 14, 2014

Sale!

ALL OF OUR ANNUALS, HERBS & HOUSEPLANTS
ARE ON SALE FOR 50% OFF! 
WE HAVE SOME REALLY NICE GERANIUMS, 
ANNUAL SALVIAS, A FEW HANGING BASKETS 
AND MUCH MORE. 
COME IN AND TAKE A LOOK! 

By the way, we carry several styles of rain gauges. You really need to be able to tell your friends how much you got!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

JULY 2014

We will be closed July 4th through the 7th to celebrate our independence! Hope you have a safe and fun-filled holiday!

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THINGS TO DO:
Think about your pollinators. I have been suffering from "blogblock". When considering a subject to write about then looking back and seeing that particular topic was pretty comprehensively covered in an earlier post. That is why I often link you to a previous post. So I have been thinking about questions and conversations we have had from/with customers over the last few weeks. One concern that keeps popping up is the use of systemic insecticides, that contain neonicotinoids, on shrubs, annuals, perennials and vegetables. This was mentioned in  June 2013 ("Attract beneficial insects") via a link a friend sent me. These insecticides are synthetic derivatives of nicotine that attack insects' nervous systems. Because they are systemic they contaminate the entire plant including pollen and nectar. Any systemic insecticide, especially those with neonicotinoids will stay in the plant for AT LEAST 8 weeks killing anything that comes for a drink of its nectar. First, we would personally never use any kind of a systemic anything on our plants.  We never use any nonorganic pesticides of any sort on the perennials and shrubs that we grow. Second, there are very few, if any, large commercial growers that don't use some sort of nonorganic pesticides. Our grower does not use any systemic pesticides. The insecticides he uses have little residual effects and once the plants are delivered to us we treat them organically. I am not sure the other places in town that sell plants (your superstore, your hardware store, your grocery store, your farmers' market) can say the same thing about their plants. I understand the economics of this practice. It is pretty easy to mix some of this stuff into the soil before you plant and not have to worry about ANY insects. But that is really the point isn't it? Not worrying about ANY insects.

 
A variety of beneficial pollinators on our lovage and parsley.






Control insects on houseplants. (Reprinted from blogpost March 2012 & newsletter July 2002) If you have houseplants that you move indoors in the winter and outside to a shady spot in the summer I am sure you have noticed how insects seem to flourish indoors. Most insects love the warm, dry, still environment of a house. Be it a greenhouse or your home. Houseplants can be affected by a wide range of insects. Keeping them healthy by not overfertilizing or overwatering is one of the keys to preventing problems. Check them frequently for pests and you will be able to stop a problem before it gets out of hand. Be sure to check the undersides of the leaves and the leaf crotches since this is where trouble usually starts. Aphids are small tear-drop shaped sucking insects that can be green, black, reddish, yellow or wooly and cluster on the new growth. The leaves will look distorted. Wash aphids off with water or use Safer's Insecticidal Soap which will dry them up and kill them. Scale are also sucking insects. They gather on the leaves and branches and can be recognized by their hard, brown covering. This covering is waxy in nature and protects the insect inside which makes them hard to control with contact-kill insecticides. Your best form of attack is Horticultural Oil which will coat and smother them.  Spider mites are another nasty sucker. They are microscopic and the first signs are dull, stippled leaves, webbing and the plants may be stunted. Misting your plants or spraying them with water in a kitchen sink or shower will help deter them since they prefer warm, dry conditions. Safer's Insecticidal Soap or Horticultural Oil are the best sprays for control. Mealybugs are of recognizable size but hard to detect because they cluster on leaf stems, branch crotches and roots. They have round, white, fuzzy looking bodies and can eventually kill a plant. For small infestations rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab will take care of it. For larger problems use Horticultural Oil. Whiteflies look just like their name implies. They are tiny, winged white insects that flutter above the plant when disturbed. They attach themselves to the undersides of the leaves and are one of the most difficult insects to eradicate. Be persistent. Alternating Horticultural Oil and Safer's Insecticidal Soap every other week is effective. Increase air circulation and wash leaves off with water. A homemade spray of 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap, 1 cup cooking oil, 1 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 quart of water can be used every 10 days. Don't forget the undersides of the leaves. All of these sucking insects excrete a shiny substance called honeydew. It is often the first sign of a problem and left unchecked can encourage the growth of Sooty Mold. This looks like soot covering the leaves and is more unattractive than it is dangerous. First control the insects that are creating the honeydew and then wash the sooty mold off with a damp cloth. Fungus Gnats are very active when conditions are moist and/or humid. They look like tiny flies and lay their eggs on top of the wet soil. They are more annoying than damaging. Most importantly let the surface of the soil dry out between waterings. Yellow Sticky Traps will catch the adults and Mosquito Bits will kill the eggs.
Always follow label directions when using any of these insecticides as some plants may be sensitive to certain oils and soaps. If it is possible, when all danger of frost has passed, move your plants to a bright shady or part shade location away from strong winds. This will allow natural predators to intervene. One more word of advice (I make mistakes so you don't have to); although a feather duster is a good way to clean your plants it is also a good vehicle for your pests to hitch a ride on. 

Fertilize. As of right now (Love this website: Wunderground) we have a significant chance of precipitation beginning on Tuesday. Hallelujah! I may be getting 2 hours a day of my life back.  I have been reading articles that indicate that evenly moist soil (from rain) aids in the uptake of fertilizers. So if this monsoon does happen it is a perfect time to feed all of your plants. In deciding what fertilizer is best for you look at the numbers or chemical analysis on the fertilizer bag. Nitrogen, the first number, is for green leafy growth. Phosphorus, the second number, encourages healthy blooms, roots and fruits. Potash or Potassium is the third number and it is for overall hardiness, strong stems and branches, and disease resistance. We carry Fox Farm's Happy Frog  granular and liquid fertilizers. The granular products contain mycorrhizae which are beneficial fungus that attach to plants roots and aid in the absorption  of nutrients and water. You can choose from Fruit & Flower (5-8-4), Tomato & Vegetable (7-4-5), All Purpose(5-5-5) and Rose Food (4-4-5). These are organic based and easy to use since you sprinkle them on the soil and water them in. The liquids are mixed with water and applied to the root area. They include an all organic Big Bloom (0.01-0.3-0.7), Grow Big (6-4-4) for vegetative growth and Tiger Bloom (2-8-4) to encourage flowers and fruit set.  The Fox Farm liquids contain micronutrients, earthworm castings and kelp. We also have Yum Yum Mix (2-1-1) which is a very balanced, organic, all purpose, vegetarian (no animal products) blend. Another all purpose is Chickity Doo Doo (5-3-2.5). It is composted chicken manure and contains 9% Calcium. The other fertilizer that we have always sold is Gro-Power which is formulated with our southwest alkaline soil in mind. There are two different blends which contain 6-7% humic acid derived from compost. This helps break up compacted soil, encourages biological activity and promotes water conservation. Sulphur is also added to control the Ph and unlock available iron. We recommend using Gro-Power Hi-Nitro for lawns at a rate of 7 lbs. per 1000 square feet. It can also be used to fertilize any evergreen trees or shrubs by applying 1/2 cup for every 5 feet of height. The analysis of the Hi-Nitro is 14-4-9. This means it is highest in Nitrogen which, in addition to producing dark green vegetative growth, increases protein content in food crops and helps plants use moisture more efficiently. For all of your flowering trees and shrubs, fruit trees, perennials, annuals and vegetable gardens you can use Gro-Power Flower & Bloom (3-12-12). It is low in Nitrogen but high in the primary elements Phosphorus and Potash. Use Flower & Bloom at the rate of 2 lbs. per 100 square feet of bed area or for individual plants apply 1 cup per 8 feet of height or width whichever is greater. It is also a wonderful winterizer. Just let us know what you are feeding and we will find the fertilizer that is right for you.

PLANT OF THE MONTH:
Perovskia atriplicifolia. Russian Sage is a very popular perennial around here and for good reason. It grows fast, is drought tolerant once established, cold hardy, and deer and rabbit proof. The abundant lavender-blue blooms are borne in spikelike clusters that form a cloud above the foliage. They are a magnet for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Native to the mountains of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Tibet it grows quickly each year to at least 3' tall and 4' wide. The gray leaves are finely divided giving it a lacy appearance. Plant this perennial in full sun with bright yellow or magenta companions. It is very versatile and would be at home with evergreens or in a xeriscape. To rejuvenate cut to the ground anytime after frost.
Perovskia atriplicifolia

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Proven Winners

We just brought in some new Proven Winners that we grew at our home nursery!

Big Lifeberry® Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum)
http://www.cho-animelo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/goji-berry-supplements.jpg 

'Sweet Summer Love' Clematis (Clematis)
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'Summer Shandy' Hops (Humulus)
 http://www.gardencrossings.com/_ccLib/image/plants/DETA-1993.jpg 

'Red Wall' Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
http://d2nyf3jb7mqz22.cloudfront.net/sites/provenwinners.com/files/imagecache/500x500/ifa_upload/red_wall_parthenocissus_quinquefolia_troki_2_0.jpg

'Miss Molly' Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
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Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 2014 & Garden Furniture Sale!


ALL OF OUR GARDEN FURNITURE 
including benches, tables and chairs 
are on sale through June or while supplies last
FOR 20% OFF!



 
THINGS TO DO:
Plant something. A tomato, a shrub, a petunia, a shade tree...anything can be planted now. We are starting to hear the old "Isn't it too late to plant?". Seriously? First it was "too early" and now it is "too late". I would really like to know when that 2 hour window of the perfect time to plant is open! What we always tell customers is if the plant (tree, shrub, perennial, whatever) is here and acclimated (outside, not coming out of a climate controlled greenhouse) to our area it is better off in the ground than it is sitting in the pot. That rule applies year round. Granted you have to water more often in June than you do in January but it is still ok to plant. I must say in the almost 20 years we have been in Silver City we have planted something in every month of the year with great success. When Steve was landscaping in Tucson they planted year round including when temps were 100+. So follow our "Planting and Care Guide" and keep it simple. Dig that hole twice as wide and 1 1/2 times as deep as the container the plant is in. Mix in 1/3 Back to Earth Compost Blend to 2/3 of your native soil (we know it is rarely good and sometimes terrible) and water in using Superthrive or B1. With all of this warm weather things will be growing and yes you will want to check them often for water needs. We can't tell you how often to water due to differences in soil drainage, planting mix preparation, weather, plant root maturity, etc. Stick your finger in or dig down about 2 inches just outside the rootball and when dry, water enough to wet all the way to the bottom of the root area and slightly beyond to encourage new roots.

Prune spring flowering shrubs. Forsythia, Lilac (Syringa), Spiraea , Pyracantha, Red Twigged Dogwood (Cornus) and other spring flowering shrubs will benefit from pruning now. First remove anything diseased, damaged or dead. Also prune out any crossing or rubbing branches. Forsythia, Lilacs and Red Twigged Dogwood all bloom on new wood. They should be encouraged to sprout new growth from their base by pruning 1/3 of the oldest, woodiest growth all the way to the ground. 'Snowmound' and other spring flowering Spiraea should have the branches that flowered removed and the new growth will then bloom next year. Most other shrubs can be pruned to a desired shape. If you have specific questions about how or when to prune one of your landscape plants, leave a comment here, email us or stop by the nursery and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Deadhead. I talk and write about deadheading often because I know it keeps your annuals, perennials and flowering shrubs blooming abundantly. You will also prevent invasive plants from self-sowing as well as adding a neat and tidy appearance to your garden. Flowers attract pollinating birds and insects. After pollination a flower will put energy into producing seed instead of flowers. If you interrupt this cycle by removing the pollinated flowers or those that are declining, the plant will continue to produce more flowers. When removing dead flowers from perennials trace the stem back to a new flower bud. If there are no new buds cut it back to the foliage or the ground. If spent flowers outnumber the new buds shear all of the stems down to the foliage and it will quickly rebloom. Annuals can be deadheaded by pinching off the flowers back to the next leaf. When cutting flowers to bring indoors these same rules apply.

Control Insects. Because of the mild winter insect populations are at an all time high. To refresh your memory on what to use to control what, here is a link to a post when we had the same problems because of a really wet winter. Go figure. Controlling Insects

PLANT OF THE MONTH:
Artemisia 'Powis Castle'. This versatile member of the wormwood genus is a valuable addition to any landscape. It grows quickly to a 2-3 foot high by 3-5 foot wide mound with finely divided silver, feathery leaves. The color contrasts well with reds and oranges and blends with softer lavenders, blues and pinks. Plant it in the middle of a perennial bed, giving it lots of room, as a foundation plant or on a bank or hillside to prevent erosion. This perennial is very drought tolerant, cold hardy to 10 below zero and absolutely nothing will eat the citrusy-lavender smelling foliage. To keep it bushy you can cut it back in spring to around 6 inches being sure to leave plenty of leaf buds.

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Artemisia 'Powis Castle' and Salvia greggii









Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 2014

First and foremost you need to know that our fruit, shade and flowering trees have arrived along with our beautiful Weeks roses.
As always all of our roses are 10% OFF through Mother's Day!!!




THINGS TO DO:
Choose a tree. A tree is a big investment. Not just financial but in time spent planting, watering, fertilizing & pruning. That is why you need to put some serious thought into choosing the right tree for your situation. A well placed tree can provide shade, break the wind, block an unwanted view, attract birds, be something nice to look at or all of the above. Most important is the size of the tree. Always choose a variety that will not outgrow the space you are planting it in. Keep in mind that the absorbing roots of a tree are usually within the top 3 feet of soil and extend to the dripline. The dripline is the imaginary line where rain would fall from the outermost branches. So plant any tree where the mature size and the roots won't ever encroach on a building, patio, wall or driveway.The next thing to think about is what function you would like your tree to serve. Shade can be provided by numerous selections and deciduous trees that are meant to shade the house are best placed on the south or west side. To shade a patio, smaller scale trees may be useful as well as fruit trees. Since fruit production in our area is so sporadic, we always tell customers to use their fruit trees as shade first and fruit second.The best choice for a windbreak is an evergreen tree planted on the west or southwest side since that is where the prevailing winds come from. Choose evergreens because our spring winds usually start before the deciduous trees have leafed out and our winter winds can be brutal. Blocking a view would be best served with an evergreen as well because you probably don't want to look at whatever it is in the winter either. Many trees attract Hummingbirds with their flowers and Songbirds with their fruit. And a well placed tree can provide you with some spring or summer blooms and beautiful fall color.

Come in to the nursery and we can help you decide which tree is the best choice for whatever your needs may be.



Plant containers. One of my favorite spring chores is planting my containers at home. The rule of thumb when planting your pots is that they should contain a thriller, some filler and a spiller. I think primary colors (blue, red & yellow) always look good together but any combination of colors and textures that suit your individual taste will do. You should start by filling your pots with a great potting soil like Uni-Gro. This has been a customer favorite for 19 years and we personally use it for our pots and everything we grow for the nursery. Plant your thriller in the center of the container. A thriller could be anything tall like a decorative grass, Spike, any tall Salvia, Marogold or Zinnia or even a vegetable. Next choose a filler or two. The filler is something of medium height that will be shorter than your thriller but taller than your spiller. Fillers include Nasturtiums, Gerber Daisies, Gazanias, Petunias, Annual Vinca, Impatiens, Marigolds and many others. I think they look best in mass to get the full effect of the color. So plant them around your thriller in groups of three or more. The final step is the spiller and you can use one or two of these as well. Sweet Potato Vine, Wave Petunias, Million Bells, Portulaca, Asparagus Fern, Bacopa and Mandevilla all work well. Plant these towards the front or if the pot will be viewed from all sides, around the edge. Water your pots thoroughly with a root stimulator like SUPERTHRIVE (Yes we have it back!) and fertilize regularly with Fox Farm Tiger Bloom, Fruit & Flower or Yum Yum Mix. I know the question will be "What can I plant that the deer won't eat?" and my perfect combination for that is Spike (thriller), Vinca (filler) and Nierembergia or Asparagus Fern (spiller). Have fun with this and remember that we get weekly deliveries of annuals and perennials so you will have a lot to choose from whether your pots are in full sun, part sun or full shade.


PLANT OF THE MONTH:
Pinus nigra. The Austrian Black Pine is a fast growing, long needled, dark green pine that will reach a mature height of 30 feet tall by 15 feet wide. It forms a dense pyramid and unlike other pines it does not shed its lower branches so it stays full to the ground. This conifer makes a great windbreak and can be mixed with Blue Spruce, Eldarica Pines and other evergreens or used as a specimen. It is very cold hardy (think Austria) and a moderate water user.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Evergreens and Very Cool Stuff

Are you feeling inundated with blog posts? Just had to let you know we got in some beautiful evergreens including Spruce, Pine and Fir.


Also all of our 'Very Cool Stuff' is on sale for 50% off! The 'Very Cool Stuff' is actually a brand name not a personal appraisal.


Monday, March 31, 2014

APRIL 2014

THINGS TO DO: 
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.

PLANT OF THE MONTH:
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.
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