Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 2015

Here is a copy of a comprehensive guide to pruning your trees. Yes this is a repeat but I think it covers the subject pretty well.
PRUNE DECIDUOUS TREES. It is the time of year for you to evaluate your deciduous fruit and shade trees and see what, if any, pruning needs to be done. It is easy to see the shape of your trees when they are void of leaves. Pruning stimulates growth but this growth will be delayed until it warms in spring. Be sure that you have sharp clean pruning tools so that your cuts are precise and will callous over naturally. You will want to first remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches. Then prune off any limbs that are crossing, rubbing or heading toward the center. Once you have removed the obvious problems from your tree, look at the overall form. Try to keep all of the branches heading up and/or out from the center and thin the rest to a pleasing shape. I know that some of my trees in high wind areas ( ok, that would be all of trees in Grant County) tend to grow heavier on the leeward side. We quite often have to thin that side to keep the tree looking symmetrical. When removing a branch always cut it back to a place of active growth. This will be the trunk, another branch or a bud facing in a desirable direction.  Always prune slightly in front of the branch collar and these cuts will heal over. Never leave stubs as they will die back to a place of active growth inviting disease.  Removing any branches that are not heading up and/or out will allow air and sunlight to penetrate the center of your trees which increases fruit and flower production while decreasing insects and diseases. You never want to remove more than 1/3 of the total structure of a tree in one year. And last but not least NEVER TOP A TREE!!!! A topped tree will either die because it can no longer supply itself with food or produce dangerous, ugly, weak growth. See The Mutilation of Trees in Grant County. Always plant  a tree that will not outgrow the space provided for it. Keep in mind that pruning is done to benefit the health and aesthetics of the tree. It is not something that should be done automatically every year.

Here is another repeat:
PRUNE SUMMER FLOWERING SHRUBS AND VINES. In general, summer flowering shrubs and vines should be pruned this time of year. Again, evaluate these plants individually to see if any pruning needs to be done and start by removing any dead, damaged or diseased branches. Buddleja (Butterfly Bush) does not need to be pruned until it has been in the ground at least 2 years. After that thin it by removing 1/3 of the oldest, woodiest growth all the way to the ground. This practice will encourage new growth and since Butterfly Bushes bloom on new wood this will improve flowering. Caryopteris (Blue Mist Spiraea) blooms on current season's wood as well. Cut it back to 1' and lightly prune after flowering to encourage another bloom. The Dogwood that does well in our area, Cornus (Red Twig Dogwood) should be pruned in late winter so you can enjoy the red color longer. New stems will have a brighter red color so thinning it by 1/3 will allow for new growth while keeping the height. If you want to keep it as a small shrub you can cut it all the way to the ground before the new growth starts in spring. Cotoneasters  need little pruning just an occasional shaping. Euonymus, Ilex (Holly) and Photinia (Red Tip) can be shaped now. If you are using them as a hedge you can even them off or as an accent shrub prune any crossing, rubbing, dead branches all the way back. Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon) should have the old, weak, dead wood thinned out and to promote larger flowers cut back the previous year's growth to 2 buds. Nandina (Heavenly Bamboo) will stay full and bushy if you cut any tall leafless canes all the way to the ground. Spiraea should have the older, woody branches thinned out. Campsis (Trumpet Vine) can become top heavy if left to grow wild. Once one or more strong trunks have developed thin branches to 2-3 buds. Polygonum (Silver Lace Vine) needs to be thinned and the prior year's growth headed back to encourage flowering. Parthenocissus (Virginia Creeper) can be left until it reaches the desired size and then simply pruned to keep its shape. Wisteria should be allowed to develop a permanent framework and then pruned regularly. Cut back the flower-bearing laterals, easily recognized as the short fat-budded spurs to 2-3 buds. In summer prune the long vining shoots before they twine where you don't want them. Keep any that serve a purpose in the general shape you want and tie them to your support. Clematis is a little more tricky depending upon when they bloom. So here is a link to a good article covering all varieties. Pruning Clematis 
These are a few of the more popular summer flowering shrubs and vines. Spring flowering shrubs and vines should be pruned after flowering. Roses should not be pruned until the first few leaf buds begin to break in spring, usually late March. Prune the woody Salvias (Sage) after new growth starts in spring by cutting them back to active growth. If you have specific questions about pruning please leave a comment or email me at
And after you have pruned these landscape plants you can: 
APPLY DORMANT SPRAY. If you have had problems with scale, spider mite, whitefly or mealy bug on your fruit or shade trees and ornamental shrubs you may want to treat these landscape plants with All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil. This product can be used during the growing season but is also effective when used in winter to smother the eggs of these pests. Spray Oil can also safely be applied to many houseplants. Lime Sulfur Spray can be used in fall as the leaves drop and again in early spring to help control powdery mildew and several kinds of scale. It can be mixed with Spray Oil at a rate of 4 oz. Sulfur and 1 1/4 oz. Spray Oil per gallon of water and sprayed when winter buds swell before opening to kill insect eggs and fungus spores. Liqui-Cop is a copper fungicide that is effective against shot hole fungus, fireblight, black spot, bacterial leaf spot, peach leaf curl and many other fungal diseases on fruits and berries. Be sure to follow label directions carefully as application timing and quantities vary by the plant being treated and the insect or disease being controlled. Rake up and destroy any leaves of affected plants and spray the ground surrounding them.
PLANT WILDFLOWER SEED. If you purchased wildflower seed from us last year we probably had a conversation about when to plant it. There are two schools of thought on this. The first would be to plant it in the spring when the seeds are naturally germinating. You need to rough up the ground a little by running a leaf rake over it, sprinkle the seed and then cover it lightly with a fine top soil (like our Soil Mender Top Soil). This will hide it from birds and help hold moisture when you water it. And you will be watering it at least once a day to get it to germinate. When the seeds begin to sprout you can water more deeply and less often. Fertilize with a Fox Farm liquid or granular fertilizer according to package directions. The second and really most ideal (in my opinion) time to plant wildflower seed is now. Annuals and perennials naturally sow their seeds in fall and the winter chill (and hopefully moisture) improves the germination rate come spring. The idea is to be a little bit psychic and throw them out just before the first snow. Since this is your reminder the second or third snow is fine, too. When they do start to sprout in the spring follow the directions above for spring planting, as this will get them off to a good start. If you are a consummate deadheader don't forget to leave the spent blooms in the fall so they can reseed and soon you will have a beautiful self-sufficient wildflower garden.
Nandina Domestica. The Heavenly Bamboo is really stunning right now. This evergreen shrub will grow at a moderate rate to 4-6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It is not a true bamboo but is given this common name because of the canelike branches and lacy foliage. The leaves are dark to light green in summer and it blooms with small white flowers. In fall the berries turn red and the colored foliage lasts all winter. This shrub is cold hardy to 10 below zero, a low water user and will adapt to full sun or full shade but colors better in the sun. It can be planted as a screen/hedge or an accent.
Nandina domestica. You can see that this sunny, South side colors up better than the North side in the second photo.

Nandina domestica used as a screen for our patio.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays!

and the best of everything in the New Year!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just so you know we are still alive and well I thought I would do a quick post to wish everyone a Joyful Turkey Day. I will be making Salt Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Oregano. I couldn't get the link to work so you can find the recipe at This has been my 'go to' turkey for a few years now (used to brine) and it always comes out moist and juicy and flavorful. There is some fresh oregano hiding under the frozen tops in the herb garden and the lemons add a brightness that can't be beat. A glass of Pinot Noir, a few sides and you have plenty to be thankful for!

We had a wonderfilled roadtrip to the Northwest in October. Went to a trade show in Reno as we do every year to place orders for next season. Lots of the popular items plus a few new ones. Headed north to Bend, Oregon. Bend is a great town of 85,000 inhabitants and almost as many breweries. 

It is high desert with a similar climate to Silver City and a lot of the same plants. They don't receive much rain because it is on the East slope of the Cascades but the Deschutes River runs right through town and they do have major winter. 

There was some great fall color and did I mention breweries?

From Bend we drove through the Cascades  

 and out to the coast

through the redwoods

to San Francisco.

Gained inspiration from the Japanese Garden at Golden Gate Park

and toured the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.
All in all an excellent vacation!

Don't forget Small Business Saturday is November 29th this year. Get out and support all of the great locally owned small businesses we have here in Grant County.

Water, water, water!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Steve and Regina

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The end...for now.

The nursery is now closed for the season. We will reopen on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015. As always thanks to our customers for your patronage. You have given us 19 successful years here in Silver City. We appreciate your business, of course, but also the knowledge you have shared...and the jokes! Have a great winter and we look forward to seeing you in the spring.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

End of the Season Sale!!!

It's that time again! 




$5.00 ROSES

Everything must be purchased and picked up the same day.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

September 2014

Plant cool season vegetables and annuals. Last month I wrote about planting the vegetables that like to mature when it is cool from seed. This month you can plant them as transplants. We just received some lettuces, kale, broccoli and cabbage as well as pansies, violas, dianthus and snapdragons. Pansies and violas will flower all winter long and dianthus and snaps are basically perennial. This is our last truck of the season so when they're gone, they're gone!

Plant spring flowering shrubs. This is the time to think about the shrubs and groundcovers you see blooming early in the spring. Forsythia, Lilacs, Creeping Phlox and Wallflower are the most common. Since plants do about 80% of their root growth in late summer, fall and winter it is a good time to get them in the ground. If you plant now you will be rewarded with beautiful early spring flowers.

Store herbs. It is always sad to see your herbs die back in the cold. Now is a good time to preserve some of your favorites for use during the winter. Since leaves are most potent just before plants begin to flower, try to keep the blooms pruned off and harvest them as soon as you see flower buds starting. Cut the stems of herbs you want to keep in the morning before it gets too hot. Discard any damaged or yellowing leaves, rinse under cold water and drain thoroughly. I use my salad spinner for this. Drying is one of the easiest ways to preserve herbs. Tie together the cut ends and hang to dry in a well ventilated place out of direct sunlight. To keep dust from settling on them cover with paper bags or cheesecloth. You can also strip the leaves from the stems and dry them on racks or newspaper. Oven drying or using a dehydrator is quicker but more expensive and makes the herbs lose flavor. For best results dry them very slowly at 110 degrees. After drying remove the leaves from the stems and store in an airtight container in a cool dark place or they can be frozen. Soft leaved herbs such as basil, chives, fennel, lovage, mint and tarragon can be blanched and then frozen. Using 1 pint of water for every 2.5 ounces of fresh herbs, place leaves in a wire basket or colander and plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately immerse the herbs in ice water for 1 minute. Blot excess moisture and pack them tightly in freezer bags. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal and freeze. Considering the high price of most herbs in the grocery stores, a little work now can go a long way in winter.

Erysimum. Wallflowers are useful evergreen perennials for our climate. Cold hardy to zone 5, critter resistant and low water, we have two varieties in stock now. Most of you are familiar with Erysimum linifolium 'Bowles Mauve'. It forms a large globe 2' by 2' with narrow gray-green leaves and a profusion of iridescent, fragrant mauve flowers all summer. It is at home in a perennial bed mixed with yellows and whites. Remove spent flowers to keep it looking its best. The other Wallflower that we grew this year is Erysimum kotschyanum 'Orange Flame'. It is a groundcover that will reach 8-10" tall and 14" wide. The small leaves are light green and will be covered with fragrant orange flowers in spring. It would do well planted in the front of a bed, along a walkway, on a slope or spilling over the edge of a wall. Both of these Wallflowers attract butterflies and bees.
'Bowles Mauve' Wallflower
'Orange Flame' Wallflower

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fall is in the air!

Ahhhh Fall!
Apples, Football and Grasses. 
Grasses? Many of the ornamental grasses are coloring up and blooming now and here are the ones we have in stock.

Pennisetum 'Burgundy Bunny'
A red-tinted sport of the popular 'Little Bunny,' this dwarf Fountain Grass only reaches 12-16" tall and wide and its narrow leaves are mixed carmine and green all summer. Then it blazes scarlet from autumn until frost. It has cream-colored "bunny tail" blooms, would be perfect for containers, along a walkway or in the middle of a perennial bed. This irresistible miniature is hardy to zone 5 (-20).

Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’
The Japanese Bloodgrass is a spreading grass that grows to 18" by 12". The wide blades are green at the base with red tips that become more intense over summer and autumn. This grass rarely blooms and takes a little more shade than other grasses. Nice in a rock garden, near water or as a mass planting it is cold hardy to 20 degrees below zero.

Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'

The reddest of the Switchgrasses 'Shenondoah' will reach 2' by 2' at maturity with red seedheads above. Like Japanese Bloodgrass the green blades become more red in summer and fall. It is cold hardy to zone 4.

 Elymus arenarius
Blue Lyme Grass is a very fast growing, sometimes invasive, steel blue grass that reaches 2' tall. The beige flower stalks grow above the foliage and it will adapt to sun or shade and wet or dry areas. Plant it to hold a bank, along a dry creek or in a pot. Another cold hardy grass to -30 and it is evergreen!

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'
Maiden Grass is a fast growing, tall grass that will reach at least 4' tall with the seed heads reaching 6'. The fine green foliage will cure to bronze in winter and the blooms are copper colored turning cream. It is tall enough to make a screen or be planted in the back of a border. Drought tolerant and cold hardy to zone 5.

Cortaderia selloana
Pampas Grass is another fast growing grass with sharp-edged, thick, light green leaves and large white plumes. Give it plenty of room as it grows quickly to 6-10' tall and 3-6' wide. It can be used as a hedge, screen or specimen and is hardy to zero degrees.

All ornamental grasses are deer resistant. They can and sometimes should be divided every few years. For winter interest leave the foliage until the new growth starts in spring and then cut back.