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

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.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Almost that time again.

We are starting to think spring! The weather is so warm and dry, dry, dry, the fruit trees are budding, I saw a Robin the other day and the wind is blowing but the calendar reads February 2nd. Don't be fooled and remember that our average last frost date is May 1st which means the last frost usually falls somewhere between the 15th of April and the 15th of May. As of right now we are planning on opening on March 25th for our 2014 season. This will be Silver Heights Nursery's 19th year here in Silver City and we couldn't be happier about it. We will always provide you with quality plants at fair prices and give honest advice.
Plant cool season vegetables from seed. February is the month to plant, from seed, many vegetables that like cool soil to germinate. Beginning on the 15th of the month you can plant Spinach, Peas, Leeks, Onions and Carrots. Shallot and Onion Sets can also be planted then. Towards the end of the month start Beets, Swiss Chard, Leaf Lettuce, Radishes and Turnips. You will want to cover these seeds with a frost guard  fabric (remay) or floating row cover when you plant to protect the seedlings from extreme cold and birds. You can also start seeds indoors now for cool season veggies to be planted outside around March 15th. Please see January 2013 'Start seeds indoors'.

ASPARAGUS (P)                     MARCH1-APRIL30
BEANS, BUSH (S)                  MAY1-31 & JULY1-31
BEANS, POLE (S)                   MAY1-31
BEANS, LIMA (S)                  MAY1-JULY15
BEANS, PINTO (S)                MAY1-31
BEETS (S)                              MARCH1-APRIL15 & JULY15-AUGUST1
BROCCOLI (S) (P)                   MARCH15-APRIL1 & JULY1-15
CABBAGE (S) (P)                    MARCH15-31 & JULY1-15
CANTALOUPE (S) (P)             APRIL15-30
CARROTS (S)                         FEBRUARY15-APRIL 1 & JULY1-AUGUST1
CAULIFLOWER (S) (P)           MARCH15-31 & JULY1-AUGUST1
CORN, SWEET (S)                 APRIL20-JULY1
CUCUMBER (S) (P)                 APRIL15-MAY15
EGGPLANT (P)                       APRIL15- MAY15
GARLIC (Bulb)                       SEPTEMBER15-NOVEMBER15
LEEKS (S)                              FEBRUARY15-MARCH15
LETTUCE, HEAD (S) (P)         MARCH1-15
-BUTTERHEAD (S) (P)           MARCH1-31 & JULY15-AUGUST15
OKRA (S)                               APRIL15-30
ONIONS (S) (Sets)               FEBRUARY15-MARCH15 & SEPTEMBER1-31
PEAS (S)                                FEBRAURY15-APRIL15
WHITE (SP)                           APRIL1- MAY15
PUMPKIN (S)                          MAY1-15
RADISH (S)                            MARCH1-APRIL30 & SEPTEMBER1-30
SPINACH (S) (P)                     FEBRUARY15-MARCH15 & AUGUST1-30
TOMATOES (S) (P)                 APRIL15-MAY15
TURNIPS (S)                          MARCH1-APRIL15 & JULY1-AUGUST15
WATERMELON (S) (P)           APRIL20-MAY20

(S) =plant by seed; (P) = plant live transplants; (SP) =plant seed potatoes or use pieces of organic potatoes
Last frost date in the Grant County area is April 15-May 15 depending on the year and microclimate you are in.
Grant County Extension Service has more free information at 2610 N. Silver Street, Silver City (575) 388-1559.

Maintain a healthy lawn. If you haven't thought about your lawn needs for a while now would be a good time to do so. A good raking will help remove thatch build-up. Use a heavy landscape rake or a rake made specifically for dethatching and rake in all four directions. This will help get oxygen to the roots and provide space for an application of gypsum and fertilizer later in the spring. For now, after you have raked, give it a good long drink of water and the very next day you will see a difference. 

Another word on watering. WATER!

PLANT OF THE MONTH: Gazania krebsiana 'Tanager'.  We have had several customers tell us that the Gazanias we sell as warm season annuals have overwintered for them. And in a mild winter I am sure that is true but most are just zone 8 plants meaning they are only cold hardy to 30 degrees. A relatively new introduction (2003), 'Tanager' is hardy to zone 6 or 10 degrees BELOW zero and in protected areas of zone 5. This evergreen perennial has dark glossy green foliage with silvery undersides that develops a purplish tinge in winter and forms a small mound 4" tall by up to a foot wide. It blooms throughout the spring, summer and fall and ours were actually flowering on a 60 degree day in January. The daisy-like flowers are fluorescent orange and look as though they were individually painted. It is a very drought tolerant plant that does best in full sun and would look good in the front of a border, along a walkway or in a pot where the detail of the flowers can be fully appreciated. It is a Plant Select variety and we have found all of their recommendations to be very successful here.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Happy New Year everyone! We hope your holidays were filled with warmth and joy. Here are a few things to start thinking about for January.

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, that are 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 that 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.
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
APPLY DORMANT SPRAY. (reprinted from October 2013) 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.
Two plants that I decided to bring indoors for the winter that have surprised me with their vigor and color are Cyclamen and Gerber Daisy. Both of these plants like cooler weather so quite often they languish in the hottest part of the summer outdoors. We have Cyclamen available in spring and they can be used outdoors in a shady spot and then brought indoors for the winter or kept as a houseplant year round. Mine was pure white in the summer from the lack of sun but now that it is getting that southern exposure it is deep rose and the flowers seem to last forever. These plants are tuberous perennials with marbled, heart shaped leaves and usually bloom December through April. After which they will go dormant for a couple of months, leaves will be sparse and they will need little water. Be careful not to get water directly on the crown as this can cause it to rot.

 In years past I have just discarded my Gerber Daisies after the first frost but decided to see what they would do inside through the winter and I have not been disappointed. It has been blooming non-stop since I brought it inside in October. Gerbers seems to be quite happy in a south window and like to stay on the dry side. I would keep it away from any blowing heat though and watch for scale and spider mites. These are two plants that will give you nothing less than spectacular winter color, so lose the poinsettias and try something new next year!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Thankgiving!

As most of you know I am a fall color freak. So when we were landing in Chicago upon our return from vacation the oranges, yellows and reds made me long for the hardwoods of my Midwest childhood. Well until the 32 degree 'Windy City' greeted us as we waited for my sister to pick us up. Then I remembered what had driven me to move to Tucson in 1976. When we returned home we were assuming that the autumnal hues would have peaked long ago but were delighted by the electric yellow of the Cottonweeds (not a misprint) as we drove through Silver City. And we could see the bright red of our Bradford Pear from Highway 90. Today we are enjoying the first of (I hope) many winter snows and fall color is a distant memory. If it does turn warm and dry this is your friendly reminder to water this winter. If there has not been any significant precipitation for 3 weeks use that moisture-meter of a finger and dig down a couple of inches around your plants. If it comes up dry, water thoroughly to keep those growing roots hydrated.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Steve and I both hope you take time to enjoy this day any way you choose to do so! Don't forget SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY on the 30th. We are lucky to have so many great small merchants here. Please get out and support them!

In December the Evergreen Garden Club is hosting their Enchanted Christmas Tree Tour. Susan & Fidel Hinojosa have been kind enough to open their historic home at 615 A Street in Silver City for this event. 

Saturday, December 7th                    Sunday, December 8th
4:00 PM - 8:00 PM                              3:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Saturday, December 14th                   Sunday, December 15th
4:00 PM - 8:00 PM                               3:00 PM - 7:00 PM

There will be 25 Decorated Trees and a Miniature Christmas Village.
Tickets are only $5.00 for adults and $1.00 for children 12 and under. They are available at Alotta Gelato, AM Bank, Aunt Judy's Attic and at the door. 

Proceeds benefit Children's Charities in Grant County.

This is really a wonderful Holiday experience! Hope to see you there.