Villager Nursery

  • Truckee Gardening Season

    Our gardening season and our "growing season" are not the same. We were gardening in February this year, planting shrubs we didn't get to in the fall as well as seeds and bulbs we forgot we had.  MANY clients were preparing their raised-beds and planting beet and radish seeds. The could have been plating seedlings of chard and kale as well. The best spinach I've ever had was grown from seedlings I planted in early April that then laid covered with snow for 2+ weeks. Our growing season, according to NOAA, is our "frost-free period", when we have less than a 10% chance of ≤ 32°F on any given night, is July 15-August 15.  July 31 is the middle of our growing season.

    Our "average" temperatures are derived from wildly fluctuating daily temperatures at all times of the year. The average gives us a rough guide with which we make wildly fluctuating guesses at how cold it might get on any given day.  That said, it is a tool, much like the USDA zones or the useless-to-mountain-folk Sunset western zones (see Northeastern for a more useful tool).  I've posted this pic of our chalkboard before but it "bears repeating".

    Here is a graph of an "average" winter (temperature-wise). Jan15, 2013-Jan 14, 2014. For interest, note where the "average" nighttime low is ≥32° and where the average daytime temps average ≥70°F.

    I think that, without a greenhouse, our "average" mountain gardening season in Truckee is about March 15 - November 1 (or 15).  It is a matter of taking advantage of clear and warm conditions, choosing the right plants and crops and being able to protect the harvests of others (see RowCover). If you have an unheated greenhouse you can add 3-6 weeks on either end of that gardening season for some veggies. 

    I have planted hardy annuals in February MANY times with great success (pansy, viola, dianthus, calendula, stock, primrose) and I have also planted dormant trees and shrubs in December, January, February and March with excellent success.

  • Thank Heaven, a little more winter!

    I'm not going to lie, the nursery has better "numbers" in drought years. It's not just because we ardently promote drought tolerant landscaping nor the fact that we are avid native plant promoters; it's just that our season is longer, the snow melts sooner, and people have more time to spend in their gardens.  That said... NONE of us at Villager want dry winters.  We love wildflowers and lush meadows and obviously fear the threat of fire.  So... we are happy that winter snows have made a nice late showing.  Himmel sei Dank für Schnee!

    I often explain to clients that tossing wildflowers, like hydroseeding, is termed "Spray and Pray" because we spread the seed and pray that weather conditions will be favorable for both germination of the seed and for seedling survival.  Folks that planted seed this Feb and March (my favorite time for s&p), should be delighted come May as the warmed soil combined with all this moisture are making for excellent wildflower success.

    And for real success... We received 8000lbs of Biosol this week, at the request of dozens of clients (before winter returned).  We have about 7400lbs remaining in case your garden melts-out.  We started-off loving all-organic Biosol for its apparent vole-repelling properties but have continued to use it vigorously because it makes vegetable gardens, trees, shrubs, perennials, bubs and, of course, lawns, lush, healthy and strong throughout the growing season.

  • Seedlings are up

    On Tuesday 3/4, Jose and I planted several non-GMO and USDA certified Organic seeds into a variety of mediums in several window-sill starter-kits just to see if there is much difference side-by-side.  We used BlackGold seedling mix, coir expanding pellets (similar to peat-pellets), and rock-wool.  We, of course, watered them in with seaweed. Put them on heat-mats and under T5 fluorescent lights.  Maxicrop or Dr.Earth - no difference  I Just came back to town from a few days away and the seeds are sprouted and well-up (3/10).  Tomato, Pepper, Cilantro, Basil (like CRAZY), as well as native Birch. Check-out the BRIEF veggie planting overview.


  • Truckee Tomato & Town Meeting Day

    In Vermont, Town Meeting Day (the first Tuesday in March, after the first Monday) is a state holiday. It is the epitome of REAL Democracy with many towns still conducting business "from the floor".

    Lewis Hill was a garden writer from Northern Vermont.  We have long, loved his Cold-Climate Gardening wherein he writes that "in northern Vermont the first Tuesday in March, New England's Town Meeting Day, is the traditional time to plant tomato seeds inside".  "They like heat, lots of light and exactly the right amount of moisture."  Northern Vermont has many climatic similarities to Truckee / Tahoe and, as it turns out, March IS a good time to start tomato seeds indoors in Truckee. We plant the growing young plants into containers outside in mid May. The Villager is open Thurs-Sat in March. We are here to provide you with all your cold-climate seed starting supplies from organic and heirloom short-season seeds to organic seedling potting soils, trays, heat-mats, lighting and all the rest.  We have a fresh supply of houseplants and more pottery on the way.  (Since we're NOT in New England, maybe we should adopt St.Patrick's Day as our traditional day for seed starting, being green and all, and the timing is still appropriate... though were also NOT in Ireland).

    Our goal at the Villager is, as always, to share our passion for gardening and to see our clients and friends SUCCEED in this endeavor we love so much.

    The Villager offers classes and workshops on vegetable gardening in Truckee each spring along with classes and talks on many other mountain botanical, garden and landscape topics; check the calendar page (updates by mid-March) for this year's class and events schedule.  We are always open to suggestions!


  • 3rd Dry Winter... so far

    We all hope this force-field around the Sierras will vanish soon and let in our moisture.  That little bit of drizzle and snow was beneficial for sure but not nearly enough for landscapes nor for our snow-dependent businesses.  I count on nordic skiing to get me in shape for working all summer and I've been once... in Utah.

    If you have new platings in a sunny location that has no snow you might consider dragging out a hose and giving those new plantings some water. This is a winter-watering blog from January 2012:  http://www.villagernursery.com/winter-watering-january-2012

  • Truckee Christmas Trees 2013

    The 2013 Christmas Tree season was interesting. We cut less than the usual quantity of wild silver-tips because the early snow turned to solid ice on the mountain roads and we could not make it back after our first trip.  We went out with our lists of pre-orders and special orders for 14, 16 & 20'ers and made sure we had them.  We had our oregon grower cut more "classic" (open) Noble fir ad those were VERY popular (they look like very dense and dark-green silvertips). I'm a convert from my beloved silvertips. I took the lights off of mine yesterday and the tree lost - maybe - a half-cup of needles. We had plenty of beautiful #1, A-Grade dense Noble Fir as well.

    We sold a few trees, as usual, before the 18-19th of Dec and then people arrived. We had over 75 pre-orders this year and those were tagged in the shade of the shop.  The Boy-Scouts and the Optimists were sold-out by the 20th and we were almost out on the 21st.  Reno was sold-out as well.  I went to our friends who have properties in the Sierra Buttes and we brought-in another truck-load of beautiful silvertips just in time on the 22nd but we were out by 1pm.  So we brought in more on the 23rd and they were gone by noon.  We LOVE having trees for last-minute arrivals but we had to turn away a lot of families. 

    We had a nice supply of various sizes of live Blue Spruce and a few people picked-up those.  We only had one returned for donation to the Truckee Cemetery in spring.  You can see some of the donated trees screening the freeway side of the Truckee Cemetery when driving by.


  • Holiday Newsletter

    Truckee Villager Nursery Holiday Newsletter (click here) with give-aways and a coupon plus links to holiday details (Christmas tree types, wreaths, garland, indoor bulbs, oraments & gifts etc...)

  • Villager Nursery Christmas

    We frequently remind our clients and friends to give your gardens one last watering at Thanksgiving (if we have not had any substantial snow or rain), this was just such a year.  We watered the containers well this past weekend, twice because once we get temps in the single digits or below zero there is no point. We spread the last 8 bags of Biosol on our landscapes and sadly people were coming in asking for more (get a bag or two in September and have at the ready for when snow is imminent).  Once we finally tucked away all the hardy trees, shrubs and perennials into the shade where they'll hopefully rest frozen all winter under a blanket of snow, we think about December.  Christmastime is here. 

    We waited until we had numerous cold nights in the low teens before cutting fresh Silvertip christmas trees this year. We have Silvertip from 3' to over 20' and the tallest begin to go quickly after Thanksgiving ...so order one in October if you can. (If you wonder how we select and cut, see the previous post).  Our fresh cut full A-Grade and Classic (open-tiered) Grade Noble Fir arrived to our refrigerated climate last week (4-11').  Our grower cut a few Wild Noble Fir for us this year for an interesting change.  They have amazingly beautiful foliage but equally amazing wide internodes (the space between whorls of branches) - perfect trees for folks who use actual candles to light their trees (do NOT try this at home!).  We bring in a handful of 9-10' Douglas Fir that we keep hidden but that are available.

    The Villager Nursery has two new wreath makers this year and we wanted to try a broad assortment of sizes and configurations.  We are offering MANY lush wreaths between 30-48" in diameter.  We have a few all-juniper wreaths this year.  Since 1984, our 23" FAT mixed wreaths help support a non-profit horticultural training center for adults with varying developmental disabilities. We also have mixed garland, noble fir and juniper greens by the pound, mixed or all-cedar garland by the foot or the roll, green, variegated  and winterberry holly bunches and fresh mistletoe bunches and branches. 

    Inside the shop we have natural ornaments, gifts for gardeners, great wildflower & gardening books, loads of poinsettias, crates of paperwhite narcissus bulbs (some in bloom), amaryllis and pre-chilled "prepared" hyacinths, houseplants, wildflower seeds (toss them over a little snow), indoor gardening lights and kits and two great cats (hops ad barley) to say hello!  (OH!, AND we'll have sleds for sale as usual for the "no sledding" Truckee sledding hill across the street.)

    for more info check-out these two links from our references page:

    2013 Villager Real Christmas Prices.   Chosing Living Christmas Tree?

  • "Leave Trees"

    When Villager Nursery staff head-out into the woods to cut local native Christmas trees we are helping our forests. Our small commercial permit is based on years or doing-the-right-thing. Our mandate is to reduce fuels, improve tree density and to enhance the production of healthy "leave trees".

    Christmas Tree Cutting Specifications

    Road Conditions and Access
    In the event roads are extremely wet due to rain or snow, you will be required to drive on forest service roads while they are frozen, usually before 10:00AM. 

    Red Fir Removal (it’s all about the “leave trees”)
    When Red Fir (Silver-Tip) and White Fir are the only trees in a group of three trees, always leave at least one Red Fir in good health. If one of the trees is a Jeffrey Pine of good form the Red Fir may be removed. We must leave Jeffrey Pine and Red Fir as leave trees within the fuel break. Where Red Fir occur in clumps, leave trees on approximately 14ft x14ft spacing intervals. When you removing trees, the remaining healthy Red Fir should be no more than 14 feet apart. No Sugar Pine shall be cut. No Western White Pine shall be cut. Leave all conifers ≥ 8” d.b.h. (8 inch diameter at breast height or larger). Stump height of cut trees shall be less than 6 inches. Cut all limbs from the stump. 

    Selection Criteria for Leave Trees (the trees we leave to grow for timber)
    Select leave trees from healthy conifers that are free from disease and damage. Leave trees shall be taller and of good form (the best looking ones of the bunch). Selection of leave trees will be in the following order: 1. Sugar Pine, 2. Jeffrey Pine, 3. Red Fir, 4. White Fir. 

     Slash Treatment (the excess trunk and branches)
    ALL stumps shall be cut to 6” or less. Slash shall be lopped and scattered to a depth not to exceed 10 inches (less is better). Remove all branches from trunk, scatter branches and trunk.

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Seed Starting In and Out

Needless to say, we are a REAL nursery.  It is still VERY early season and we have a large selection of seeds we select for this climate.  We've been landscaping already.  Planting aspen and spiraea.  We have loads of nice hardy perennials that have over-wintered and are hoping to go into the ground ASAP.  We're setting up a few benches this week and opening the greenhouse.  We have hardy veggie starts and some of the hardiest flooming plants arriving next week. (for perspective, I used to fill planter box, in front of our old florist shop, for Valentines Day every year... pansys, violas, primrose, Dianthus, Calendula, English daisy and others can take 10°F - NO problem.)

Truckee Tradition: Sweet Peas.  Soak over night in clean water. Sprout on a moist paper towel in a plastic bag for 3 days. Plant in April 1st.  Still a little early for snow or snap peas.  Plant beets and radish through the snow if you still have any.  Lots of seeds need to be started indoors NOW.

Villager-on-Leaf-Cut-Out

Check-out our Facebook posts

We GAVE away 2, 50# bags of BIOSOL on November 12, 2013 drawn from new "Likes" or comments (from those who already like us) to the Biosol picture on the Villager FB Page. Look for it by 10/27/13.
(If you shared the post you were entered twice !!)

We hope we give you reason to "like" us for real too.


Moonshine-Christmas-2013_we
Moonshine-10_13_web

...your source for credible information.

Fall is in the Air Nursery-Wide Sale

Fall is in the Air Nursery-Wide Sale

Fall is in the Air Nursery-Wide Sale

September 13-22, 2013

Hot August Shade Sale thru 8/11

Hot August Shade Sale, through August 11. (see flier) or (sign-up for future notices)

25% OFF Trees and Shrubs:  any deciduous Tree or Tall Shrub that will grow ≥6’ tall (and give some shade)   (Conifers are all excluded as are the small Spiraea, Potentilla, Currants, Thimbleberry and woody groundcovers.“Deciduous” often equates to great fall color!

- OR -
If you buy 2 of the same species and size, you get the 3rd (of the same species and size) FREE (that's 33.3% off!).  If it is not the same, It is still 25% off.
We have an incredible selection of the hardiest trees and shrubs for shading, flowering, screening and for fruiting.  Among others, the sale includes Aspen, Maples, Hawthorne, Mountain Ash, Willow, Chokecherry, Apples, Apricots, Pears, Cherries, Elderberry, Ninebark, Viburnum, Twinberry, Serviceberry, Chokeberry, Dogwood, Roses (except ‘Nearly Wild’), TALL Spiraeas like: Spiraea douglasii, S. vanhoutii and S. ‘Halward’s Silver’, Tall Snowberry, Mt. Mahogany, Buckbrush and Buddlea.

75% off ALL remaining vegetables including Asparagus, Kitchen Rhubarb, Tomato, Pepper, Lettuce & all the other Veggies.  ALSO:  All ANNUAL herbs including tender perennials like rosemary.  (excludes thymes, mints, chives, sage...)

Blue Ribbon Blend Potting Soil:  OMRI listed, HIGH quality, organic materials w/ nutrients and beneficial mycorrhiza to promote vigor and fight disease. Excellent aeration, drainage AND moisture holding capacity.
1.5 cu.ft. bags.       Regular Price: $12.99        Sale Price: $10.99

Tomato Growing Kits...  for now or next summer  (Sorry OUR sample garden is not for sale).
Hydrofarm self-watering "Tomato Barrel" with tomato-support (and your choice of 3, 4" tomatoes) - $29.99  (a few newly potted-up pots available - add $6.00 for the soil = 35.99)
#10 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage (and your choice of 3, 4" tomatoes) - $19.99
#15 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage (and your choice of 2, #1 tomatoes) - $24.99
#20 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage (and your choice of 2, #1 tomatoes) - $29.99

Gromulch, Amend, Topper & Bumper Crop:   Buy 4, get 1 FREE
2 cubic feet,  $8.99 ea   -   Buy 4 Price: $3.60/cu.ft.

Garden Tour Ticket Earns 20% Off

Lake of the Sky Garden Tour

This year "The" Garden Tour is is in Incline Village on Saturday 7/27 from 10-4 and it sold-out more than a week ago.  Rob and Eric will be out there enjoying the creations, asking questions (and answering a few), listening to what you love and wonder at, and learning from everyone there.  The proceeds from ticket sales benefit local gardens and garden projects as well as funding scholarships for botanical and horticultural studies.
In support of the garden tour fund-raising, the Villager traditionally offers a one time 20% Off discount (any one purchase) to anyone who shows their ticket, on Saturday and Sunday, and we will again.

Garden Monkshood Sale:   Aconitum  napellus:  buy 2, get 1 Free, #1g size,  (of equal or lesser value) - through July31...  dumbledore's delight, garden wolf's bane, common aconite, devil's helmet or monkshood.  Aconitum is a genus with over 250 species native to much of the northern hemisphere.  Our most common and easy to grow species is Aconitum napellus, a Garden Monkshood, which is a frequent garden plant in cold locations throughout North America and Europe.  I have divided mine several times and the plants grow to 6' tall and 2' wide with dozens of flowering stalks.  Where the irrigation blasts them they often fall over if not staked but out of the spray, they seem to stand on their own.  They are very long lived. Like a shade loving delphinium with beautiful purple flowers. A. napellus prefers open woodland shade and moist well-drained soil.  We also have a few Autumn Monkshood that prefer more sun and bloom much later.

Villager Newsletter 7/25


  • Dumbledore's delight
  • Dumbledore's delight

Kellogg's / G&B FREE Planting Days! June 21-22

FREE Potting Soil, Free Organic Fertilizer, Free Planting Labor, Free Advice, Free Organic Gardening Information and great conversation and wonderful smiles from two of my favorite people on Earth: Mike McLain and Gisele “G” Schoniger.

We have these Tomato Growing Kit Specials especially for the Free Planting Days:

1) Hydrofarm self-watering "Tomato Barrel" (~7g.) with tomato-support and 1, 4” tomato - $29.99
2) #10 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage and 1, 4” tomato - $19.99
3) #15 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage and 2, 4” tomatoes - $24.99
4) #20 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage and 3, 4” tomatoes - $29.99
(I've potted up my tomatoes on 4th of July, during the parade, and had huge harvests!)


Mountain Gardening June 2013

Eric Larusson and Rob VanDyke are both VERY happy to be back and wish you a very happy spring.  Summer is a few short weeks away.

Rob & Eric out standing in their fieldThis is been a very odd spring in sooo many ways. The usual false spring that we get in March or early April never proved false, it just rolled into a very early spring with plants leafing and flowers blooming 3-4 weeks earlier than normal or average.  The two days of hard frost (23°F) in late May were severe enough to fry native balsamroot (the prettier than Mule's Ears yellow daisy) and many landscape plants.  Oaks were especially hard hit but should recover.  

If you got out in March or April and planted beets, chard, spinach, peas, asparagus, lettuce, radish, or kale you must be laughing at how smart you are by now.  This may be the longest growing season ever, barring a big July snow-storm.  

There were unfortunately no classes scheduled this spring.  Rob and Eric will offer gardening classes starting again in July so look for a schedule on Facebook and here (we are always open to new ideas for classes).  Eric taught a fun and well attended, all-encompasing class at Sierra College in early May and will be offering a Fall Gardening class there in October.

The 5th annual Kellogg / Gardener & Bloome Free Planting Days are June 21 & 22.  Our summer solstice (the beginning of summer) is on June 20 @ 10:04 PM. Our Sunset is within 3 minutes of 8:31(on the solstice) from June 12-July 14, nearly a month (solstice: sol = sun + stitium = to stop). Celebrate the solstice by planting a tomato pot.  we have been growing tomatoes VERY successfully in pots on our patios, decks and driveways for decades.  We'll have super specials on the pots, supports and on the tomatoes themselves - and of course the potting soil and excellent organic fertilizers from Mike and Giselle are free!  (Show-up early!)

Hydroponics Rack: 50% Off

Hydroponics Rack:  50% Off 

We have a rack FULL of indoor gardening and hydropinics supplies - all for 50% off.

Ask about Hydroponics Parts - Many 50% 0ff

Ebb-Flow systems, Trays, Reservoirs, Fittings, Drains, Pumps, Air Stones, PH Solutions, Farm Kits, Active-Air 2&3-way Meters, Hydro drain and fill fittings...

FAR WEST NORDIC AUCTION/RAFFLE

The 27th annual Far West Nordic Auction/Raffle Party was held at the Olympic Village Lodge in Squaw Valley.   This is Far West Nordic’s largest fundraiser for its Junior Nordic Programs.

THANK YOU to everyone who attended and especially... To everyone who purchased tickets from Katrin or in Katrin's name.  Thank You, Thank You.  

The Party was a blast, as always.  The food was great, the Black Diamond and Great Basin Brews were refreshing and the excellent wines from Truckee River Winery and Coppola Wines went well with the meal.

There were a TON of raffle prizes and an amazing array of silent auction goodies...  I bid on quite a few and won only one, myself.  Mark Nadell did his usual awesome job as the Snow Queen Auctioneer and there were some incredible get-aways and equipment to bid on.

Nordic folks are good people. I'm so glad I was there.

Big Springs Gardens

For a beautiful drive, an amazing setting, a beautiful ornamental garden that blends seemlessly into an awesome natural garden and for an incredible lunch, brunch or BBQ you really should not miss Big Springs Gardens this summer.  About 1 hour north of the nursery, through the Sierra Valley, over Yuba Pass and down toward Sierra City you pull off 49 onto the frontage road and into paradise.  When you first walk into the garden you see the lake with blooming water lilies and the Sierra Buttes in the background (and reflected in the lake).

Big Springs Bridge & Iris"Nicknamed 'Monet in the Mountains', Big Spring Gardens has attracted more than 20,000 visitors up Highway 49 for brunch or barbecue and a stroll through 113 acres of amazing gardens and Sierra forest. Its beauty draws many painters who -- like legendary French impressionist Claude Monet -- find unmatched inspiration in the mix of flowers and water. With the 8,600-foot Sierra Buttes as a backdrop, its high country setting just makes it more precious." - By Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee

Don Phillips, the inspired and energetic creator of the gardens (who turned 88 last October) said, "The way the world is going, we need some tranquil places where people can come and relax and enjoy natural beauty", "And I'm having fun."

Big Springs Gardens offers not only a natural spring, streams and waterfalls, thousands of plants and flowers, two miles of walking trails, gourmet food and even a replica of Monet's famous bridge. Big Springs Gardens is open June 15 through September 30, 2012. Gardens open at 10:00 AM and there is an admission fee of $12 per adult and $8 for children ages 6 through 12. Children 5 and under are free.

With 132 seats on the restaurant terrace overlooking the gardens, reservations are limited and now being accepted through August. Go online to bigspringsgardens.com or call (530) 862-1333.


The BEST street tree in downtown Truckee

The best street tree in Truckee is an accident.  At the far west-end of commercial row, next to Spring St. and in front of Heather River's new BeSpoke, is a beautiful multi-trunked cherry tree.  It was originally a half-hardy ornamental flowering cherry but that died and the rootstock grew(that's how many trees are grown: hardy vigorous rootstock with a wimpy showy scion atop it).  The hardy vigorous rootstock, Prunus avium 'Mazzard' took off.   

Prunus avium means "bird cherry" in Latin (though the common name "Bird cherry" usually refers to Prunus padus, a tough-as-nails chokecherry-like tree).  Prunus avium is a wild cherry throughout Europe from Great Britan and Norway to Morocco, Turkey and Iran.  It is a common landscape tree in northern Europe.

The cultivated variety (cultivar, c.v.) 'Mazzard' is self-fertile and this occasionally has fruit (it blooms fairly early in this warm location and the blooms likely frost).  We asked one of our growers 2 years ago to cut down some of their trees in the field and let the "Mazzard" cherry "suckers" come up. Those SHOULD be ready mid July but this initial crop will be small (pre-orders available.)

We were on Cottonwood's deck last night (after taking this picture) and the waiter told me that a man had offered him a $20 tip if he could tell him the name of the flowering tree at the end of commercial row. I told him that including myself and most of the Villager staff, there was no-one else in town who would have a clue.  Now all three of you that see post this will know as well.

Why Plant NOW!

There seem to be two extreme camps of gardeners visiting the nursery lately with very few in the moderate middle.  We have new folks stopping in asking "where are all the plants" because "it's OBVIOUSLY spring" and others, "informed" by horticulturally savvy neighbors,  who think they need to wait until late June to start gardening.  April IS a winter month in Truckee and Tahoe that happens to have BEAUTIFUL spring-like days... and we WILL have more snow AND we will have MANY more nights well below freezing AND it is a great time to start planting MANY hardy plants.  

Most conifers (spruce, pine, giant Sequoia) put on as much as 80% of their annual root-system expansion in early spring before top-growth begins.  Deciduous, woody trees and shrubs put on 20% or more of their root expansion in spring, as well, before leaves emerge.  Many hardy perennials that overwintered at Villager Nursery are a season larger and ready to bloom this spring on OUR schedule.  The advantages of early planting are TREMENDOUS.  Plant growth and success always boils down to the size and vigor of the root system.  Plant now, have bigger roots before spring really arrives.

Mid-March through Early May

As soon as the ground is thawed and workable (not muddy) plant asparagus, horseradish, ostrich fern, and lovage and rhubarb plants.  Starts of Swiss chard, spinach, caouliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabage and kale can be planted snow with a little row-cover protection.  Try eary seedings of beets, leaf lettuce, parsnips, radish, rhubarb, rutabaga, spinach, and Swiss chard. Don't forget to include calendula, dianthus, and viola for edible flowers. Cover the entire garden with n-sulate floating row cover to help plants harden and to protect from the hardest frosts.   Seed potatoes are arriving in late April, closer to the time for planting.



April 2012

"The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March."

I'm not really sure what happened to March.  I managed a few Villager Facebook Page posts reminding anyone out there (I think we have 30 "LIKE"s) that the second Tuesday in March (New England's Town Meeting Day) is THE day to start planting Tomato, Pepper and Eggplant seeds.  It's still fine now but sooner rather than later is good.  For more seeding times check here: Truckee Veggies.  We are finishing up our Class / Seminar / Event Calendar for 2012, so PLEASE check back.  The 2012 schedule will be on the Calendar page.  The 2011 calendar is still lurking there.  The small Narcissus have been blooming rain, freeze, snow, WHATEVER, since early March. Who, in their right mind wouldn't plant these in their garden. Pest-free, NOTHING eats them, they grow in ANY weather and they need no summer water.  Really, it is not too good to be true. 

April 1 is the traditional date to plant sweet pea seeds outdoors.  Pick a sunny spot. Soak the peas over night.  Put them in a wet paper towel in a sandwich bag for a few more days.  When the root tip is JUST emerging, plant them two inches deep in a trench amended with Amend compost, lime and Gardener&Bloome organic fertilizer.  Bury them just one inch deep and let the trench fill in over the spring.

I love this poem for so many reasons.  I had an incredible year-long class at HSU.  It was team taught by an English professor (Gage) and a Philosophy professor (Drew).  The title was something like Nature & Human Nature and we explored every permutation we could in a year while reading a wonderful selection of literature and study from Greeks, Locke, Rousseau, Faulkner and Lewis Thomas.  We read the Frost poem below and it really stuck with me and I have felt fortunate in my life to: " ...to unite, My avocation and my vocation,  As my two eyes make one in sight."

Happy spring.  If you get too anxious too soon remember that our weather is AT LEAST six weeks behind Reno's.  Go ahead and plant wildflower seeds ASAP.  Plant any plants that you (or we) have overwintered and are dormant.  Deciduous trees and shrubs will put on significant root system expansion before their leaves emerge.

We obviously have a huge selection of seeds and seed starting supplies (soils, trays, pots, pads, feeds).  

TWO TRAMPS IN MUD TIME 

by Robert Frost

Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake; and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn't blue,
But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut's now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don't forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The time when most I loved my task
The two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You'd think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip of earth on outspread feet,
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.

Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
The judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man's work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right--agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.


Upcoming Gardening Classes

4rd Annual Villager / Kellogg Planting Days !!!
Friday AND Saturday, June 22-23 - 10am-2pm - (We had a HUGE turn-out last year, but then, it was the first NICE weekend of 2011).  It is always a busy weekend and we REALLY appreciate the incredible efforts of Mike and Giselle.

Here's How it Works:
1. You buy the plants and pots (or bring up to 3 pots from home).
2. We plant them for you using premium Master Nursery Gardener's Gold potting soil and organic Gardner & Bloome Fertilizers.
Maximum pot size 20” in diameter, no window boxes or wine barrels please.
Come join the fun and create colorful baskets and planters to enjoy at your home.

June 22 - Friday, 11:30am-3:30pm: Mini-Seminars
1) 11:30-12 Natural Pest Controls,
2) 12:30-1 Frost Protection Techniques,
3) 1:30-2 Flowering Shrubs for Mountain Gardens
June 23 - Saturday, 9:30am-3:30pm: Mini-Seminars
1) 9:30-10: Hardy Herbs for Truckee / North Tahoe
2) 10:30-11 Soil Biology and Organic Fertilizers,
3) 11:30-12 Mountain Vegetable Gardening,
4) 12:30-1 Great New Plants for Planter Boxes,
5) 1:30-2 Fruits and Berries for Mountain Gardens.

June 30 - Saturday 9-12:  Cane Fruits and Berries for Truckee -  This hands-on workshop will be at the Truckee Community Garden.   Truckee Community Garden



February 2012

Fresh Cut Flowers for Valentines Day, fresh houseplants, seeds from six sources arriving, seed starting supplies in stock, longer days, gradual warming, panic over so much to do before spring arrives, planning for the best summer ever in the nursery.  New growers, new cultivars, new species to try in our landscape.... I gotta go.

We try to run down to Chico each February to enjoy the almond orchards in full bloom and a spring hike in upper park. Right around the 20th of the month is usually prime.  The fragrance is sweet, the bees are humming, the grass is green and it gives you that sense of renewal that only spring can offer.


January 2012 Newsletter

January 2012 nursery news, wildflower seed, Biosol coupon, Potting Soil special and more.

Ice Skating

The Consolation Prize (as our friend Ivan says) of this dry winter is ICE.   If you have not been out, you are missing the best "ice season" in many years.  People are locally enjoying Serene Lakes, Coldstream Ponds, Martis Lake, Dry Lake, and Prossor Lake as well as some of the smaller creeks (watch out for beaver dams). Check out the local Truckee/Tahoe Area Lake Ice Skating Facebook Page and for more photos see the Eastern Sierra Backcountry Ice Skating Page. I'm amazed by how many people still call or come by to ask if we have used skates (I think we had them from 2000-2003 and a year like this makes us wish we could still provide them).  The other major bonus of a long ice season is that the vole populations usually decline.  Without the protection, insulation and plentiful food that a snowpack preserves, the voles can't eat and can't hide from their numerous predators... let's hope. 

FALL SALE 2011

We are expecting snow and very cold nights 10/4-10/8.  We have 10x12' sheets of 1.5oz Frost Protection Fabric, reg. 16.99 on SALE for 12.99.  It works extremely well and we could not operate our nursery without it.  I have been trying to send an e-mail all day but the program servers are down.

 

FALL SALE and Road Construction Clearance 9/23-10/10*

20% Off Our Hardiest Woody Trees and Shrubs including Aspen, Birch, Alder, Mountain Ash, Serviceberry, Lilac, Spruce, Spiraea, Apples and Berries.

30% Off Our Huge Selection of Herbaceous Perennial wildflowers, cutting flowers, boarder flowers and groundcovers... including all grasses, water plants and hardy vines. (not dormant bulbs...they're just arriving).

Many tender perennials (perennial in low-lands but not cold-hardy) are 50% off or more.  

FRESH (3 deliveries this week) hardy bedding color to refresh your planters (not on sale).

30% Off Outdoor Garden Art and Statuary and Redwood Pots.

50% OFF RED-TAG Trees and Shrubs. Jose, Rob and Eric are tagging woody plants that need pruning or have a singed leaves or just look a little funky. They are healthy trees and shrubs, perfect for screening or a shelter-belt but just not quite up to snuff... aesthetically. Look for RED TAGS that say: "50% OFF"

Road Construction Clearance Specials Every Few Days:
This Weeks Clearance:

All #5g. Native Jeffrey Pines (reg. 34-39.99) THIS Week Only: $19.99, (limit 6/person. 9/23-9/30 only)

All #5g. Native (and cultivated varieties thereof) Flowering Bush Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), (reg 29.99-34.99) THIS Week Only: $19.99 (limit 6/person. 9/30-9/27 only)

*Sorry, not valid on special orders / no holds / limited to stock on hand / good thru 10/10/11



Lawn Question

Q: I would like to know what are the best organic lawn fertilizers and what are the prices?

A: It depends, to some extent, on your original soil preparation and your type of grass but GENERALLY:
At snow-melt we top-dress with a very light layer of fine compost, Kellogg's Topper  (8.99 / 2cf / 200 sq.ft. and we often have it on sale 20-25% off) It is hard to believe that small amount helps but it makes a HUGE difference.  At the same time we use Dr.Earth Supernatural Lawn Fertilizer (44.99 / 40lb / 4000sq.ft.) (and depending on the soil - a summer application might also be warranted)   Then we use BIOSOL fertilizer in fall, as late as possible ($54.99 / 50lb / 1800sq.ft. and we often offer a $-off coupon in a fall newsletter).  They are both great organic fertilizers by themselves but when used together or alternately, the results are phenomenal (for lawns, gardens, orchards, raised beds, herbs, vegetables, etc..).   We started using Biosol back in the mid 90's because it is pretty effective at repelling voles under the snow, BUT, the first year I used it, my lawn recovered from winter faster than ever before and the lawn remained green and lush all the next summer (I did not fertilize again until the following October).  Dr.Earth has a fat compliment of beneficial microbes along with organic materials for them to eat.  Biosol is made from dead Penicillium fungus and dead bacteria and what appears to happen is that the Dr.Earth microbes love eating Biosol and so improve its release of nutrients.
If you have been using chemical fertilizers then the soil will be more / or completely / sterile and it can take some time (months / year) to build-up the populations of beneficial microbes.
Consider this: Plants take in CO2 to build cells and produce sugars and over 80% of those sugars are moved into the root system and a large percentage of those are actually exuded from the roots into the soil...an evolutionary strategy to feed and promote the beneficial microbes around the root system that, in turn, help feed and protect the roots.    Lawn Handout

Q: What are your thoughts are on bothering to take the time to aerate a lawn this late in the season? I haven't aerated my lawn in several years. I wanted to do it earlier this summer but never found the time. Should I bother now or just wait until next spring?

A: If golf courses know anything about lawns, you could follow their lead and aerate agressively late in fall.  Since MOST of OUR microbial decomp. occurs in winter, under snow, it is a time of nutrient cycling.  Late October: Aerate (back, forth, diagonally, repeat), fertilize w/ a little Dr.Earth and a lot of BIOSOL, topdress with a little fine compost, wait for snow, wait for spring... If it is a sod lawn, aerate twice a year.  (and if it were my lawn, I'd overseed with a little more clover and plant more Scilla bulbs in it for snow-melt spring color).

Labor Day Weekend Specials*

Check Here for the Newsletter

20% OFF ALL Hardy Trees and Shrubs including evergreens, aspen, lilacs, mountain ash, apples, blueberries and all the rest.

30% OFF ALL Herbaceous Perennials  including peonies, poppies, asters, daisies, sedums, and a wide array of native wildflowers (except bulbs...they're just arriving).

*Sorry, not valid on special orders / no holds / limited to stock on hand / good thru 9/5/11


Cart-Load Sale

August 20-21. This Weekend Only, Saturday and Sunday, You get 25% off of all the plants you can fit on a blue Villager 3-wheel cart.  Really, ALL the plants you can balance, stack or pile on ONE cart... trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, fruits, vegetables, seeds, statuary, gifts or soils. Go for it!  Load-up. Bring your friends. Have fun with it. One cart per newsletter recipient.  One time only please. Offer not valid with any other coupons or discounts.  Feel free to forward your newsletter to friends.

This was a hoot when we did it last year... People were very clever in the way they stacked the plants and some of the carts were downright dangerous.  These are the 3-wheel carts only

Mountain Gardening Education

3rd Annual Villager / Kellogg Planting Daze!!!

WAS Friday AND Saturday, June 24-25 - 10am-2pm  (Mark your calendar for the 4th annual: June 22-23, 2012We had a huge turn-out... it was fun and our first busy weekend and we REALLY appreciated the incredible efforts of Mike and Giselle.

Here's How it Works:

1. You buy the plants and pots (or bring up to 3 pots from home).

2. We plant them for you using premium Master Nursery Gardener's Gold potting soil and organic Gardner & Bloome Fertilizers. 

Maximum pot size 20” in diameter, no window boxes or whiskey barrels please.

Come join the fun and create colorful baskets and planters to enjoy at your home.

HUGE BONUS:  Kellogg Garden Products expert and friend, Mike McLain AND organic-gardening specialist and educator with Gardner & Bloome, Gisele Schoniger will both be on hand to help plant and answer ANY compost, mulch or organic fertilizer questions you can dream up.

Villager Nursery, 10678 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161

villagernursery.com

Our ongoing classes run nearly weekly from May-Nov. If you'd like a class schedule, e-mail a request to info@villagernursery.com or please Check on-line @ www.villagernursery.com/calendar for additional information and sign-up.


Customer Appreciation Party - August 2010

Customer Appreciation Party Was A BLAST!

Thanks to everyone who RSVP's and those who just stopped by and those who brought friends and those who brought delicious treats and thanks to Jose and Celina for the Super-awesombroso Carne e condimentos delicioso...  (best guess Español).  And thanks to Johnny and Chuck for the great music, we won't do another party without live tunes.  (Sorry for the "rookie move" placing the beer and margueritas so far from the music).  note to self for next time: raffle for visitors, beer and food by music, lights, heater.

July-August 2010

In the Mountain Nursery business the season starts when it starts: when the snow melts and we've had a reasonable period of time to recover from the last hard frost or heavy snow (usually early May to mid-May).  The busy season goes until the 4th of July when the rush to get things planted wanes and we all want to get out and enjoy this beautiful place we live in. 

The lights are still on and we have a whole tribe of very devoted and kind clients and friends.  Thank you to all of you who gave up a day on the lake to plant a few perennials, you'll be happy you did when they bloom next spring.  The water in the west slope rivers is still cold!  Not too much hail (thank you) but we were ready with our frost protecting floating row cover - it works great for hail protection, letting the water through but absorbing the shock of the ice.  We cover our thimbleberries and dogwoods especially.

August is sunflowers, black-eyed susans, Siberian catmint, Russian sage, and hollyhock... Big-ol' plants with rich colors.  Mid-season is August 1st. Check-out the NOAA Freeze Frost MapsFreeze Frost Probabilities info.  Our frost free period (less than 10% chance of 32°F or less) is July 15-August 15.  So we still have September, October and sometimes, part-of, November to get plants in the ground to rage next spring

these guys were munching Lupine in the off-ramp landscape after a Truckee Thursday in mid-July.

June at the Villager 2010

June 11, our first busy day.  We are all looking over our shoulders expecting a huge dark cloud to slap another foot of snow and icy wind at us.  "Gun Shy" is really what we are.  I went hiking / fishing on the north fork of the American river a few years back (the last time I went) and we saw or almost stepped on some 20+ rattlesnakes in 2 days - my nerves were fried to the point that I'd jump every time I heard a grasshopper or a twig snap.  I kind-of feel that way this spring.  BTW - this is Erica earlier in the month - and this is why I grow tulips.  They are GREAT annual cut flowers.  If the deer eat them after I cut the blooms, I don't care.

2011 Nordic Junior Olympics

The 2011 Junior Olympics
http://www.jo2011.com/

The USSA Junior Olympics serve as the national championships for cross country skiers ages 15-20. There are three age classes of competitors: J2, ages 15-16; J1, ages 17-18; and  OJ, ages 19-20.

Katrin Larusson achieved an 8th, a 9th and a 12th place finish

May in the Nursery

Topper Special Continues.  It makes the lawn look good right now.  Getting a few more class hand-outs into the references section every few days. Trying to repair, replace, renovate, recycle, re-purpose, reduce and reuse benches, tools, plants... after the ravages of yet another winter.  More to come.  Get your veggie gardens started! Attend some gardening seminars and workshops and have fun in your yards.

 The Orphanage will be up and running, ebbing and flowing for the next couple of weeks.  Check it out. (May Day Newsletter)

April at the Villager

In April, we are like big wave surfers.  We have to get up to full speed before the wave arrives.  Our busy season is May and June.  We'll be helping all of our wonderful (I mean that with ALL sincerity) clients who'll need us and great plants.  We endured all the new transplants to Truckee coming by in March, as they do every year, asking "Where are all your plants?"... "It's spring". We patiently explain that March is winter; they leave thinking what a sad little nursery we are.  

Thank goodness it snows after the false our spring (almost) every March and April.  We actually have some hardy annual color, hardy vegetables, strawberries, groundcovers and perennials available.  Believe it or not, April IS a great time for planting.  Deciduous trees and shrubs (woody plants), put on roughly 80% of their annual root expansion in the fall, after the leaves fall.  The other 20%, or so, occurs before leaves emerge in spring... that would be now.  Conifers (like spruce, pine, Modoc cypress, Microbiota decussata, that sort of thing) put on root expansion primarily in the spring with a little in late summer.  Planting conifers now gives you a tremendous advantage over planting later in the season.

OK, one last April note: Plant wildflower seed now.  Mix your seed with organic fertilizer and Topper compost then toss it down over the last few inches of snow.  Don't forget to water a little when the snow does melt.

Villager Nursery Early Spring Hours

5 days/wk.

Villager Nursery
Early Spring Hours

Tue-Sat 10:00-5:00 

(Closed Easter)
(often more, 

as weather suggests)

If you need help with plans, bids or consulting, please

 

  with your questions of for an appointment.

You can also call and leave a message at 530-587-0771

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Contact / Credentials

Villager Nursery, Inc
10678 Donner Pass Road,
Truckee, CA 96161
Central Truckee, exit 186 off I-80
530 / 587-0771
www.villagernursery.com
info@villagernursery dot com
No. C 3976.001, Co.29
CA Contractors License 1977
No. 413907 - C27 LS
ISA Certified Arborist: Eric Larusson
No. WE-7983A
Villager Florist - Gateway 1950
Small nursery added 1975
Landscaping added 1978
Incorporated 1990
Moved to current home 1999

California Nursery License 1975
Villager Nursery, Incorporated is a California corporation, a retail/, re-wholesale nursery and grower in the business of selling plants and all related outdoor and indoor garden and landscape supplies and accessories.

Upcoming Events

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Schedule of Classes, Seminars and Workshop

Christmas Trees, Wreaths and Garland

Fresh Christmas Trees (we harvested a fresh crop 11/29) - Fresh Cut: Silvertip (Abies magnifica), White Fir (Abies concolor), High Brix Noble Fir (Abies procera).  Living Potted: Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens), Engelmann Spruce (Picea engelmanii), Black Hills White Spruce (Picea glauca ssp. densata).  Mixed and Port Orford Cedar Garland and Wreaths from 19 to 72 inches.  Door swags, mistletoe and greens by the pound.