Everything listed under: Truckee Native Plants

  • 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.

  • Fall is in the Air

  • Happy Birthday Villager

    December 1, 1975 - December 1, 2013

    We have continued to grow and branch and flower and fruit and hedge and adapt in order to offer our clients an interesting, useful and beautiful selection of plant materials and products that insure your successes.  "We've killed thousands of plants, testing them in our own gardens, so our clients won't have to."

    Our Founder, Jeanette Harper and a partner finalized the purchase of the existing florist in the Gateway center 12/1/1975 and celebrated with Champagne in the office of the Gateway Motel with Roxie Arche and Azad McIver (Our current location is Azad's old home and dairy). 

    Eric showed-up in 1984 and Rob a couple of years after that.  Quite a few nurseries have come and gone in Truckee in 38 years. Some only lasted a season some for a decade or more.  We needed to move our nursery from Gateway to our current home in 1999. The reality is that Truckee is a ridiculous place to run a retail nursery. It seems that you have to be crazy. We also happen to be fanatical botanists and ecologists hell-bent on providing education and materials to local gardeners to show them that they CAN succeed in this harsh climate.

    We've thought that we could just offer the 20% of the plants that 80% of clients ask for and we'd be probably be profitable ... But what about the other 80% of really cool unique native and hardy plants that people SHOULD be using..? And what about that 20% of customers who LOVE natives or thrill at really cool, unique plants, bulbs and seeds from the far coldest corners and peaks around the globe?  It's more interesting the way we've been growing.  We are continually aware that we have YOU to thank for keeping us rooted in Truckee.  Thank You!

    Villager Nursery: helping mountain gardens thrive since 1975.  Experience you can trust / Information you can use.

  • Garden Tour Notes and Cart-Load SALE

    The Lake of the Sky Garden Tour was across the north shore on Saturday. Thanks to all the incredible volunteers in the garden club who organized the tour, delivered the tickets and hosted the gardens.  And especially THANKS to the homeowners who dressed-up, tidied and added a little extra color here and there before opening their gardens to 1,000 enthusiastic visitors.  Some of us don't have much opportunity to visit lake-front gardens and that is always an added treat.  Highlights and reminders for me were Helenium spp. a VERY under appreciated and under-used wildflower-daisy that blooms mid-late summer in rich autumn shades. It is seldom eaten by deer.  Crocosmia 'Lucifer' dominated many gardens with it's RED.  Annuals can be perfect, mixed into perennial gardens for continuous color. Even a very small waterfall is a nice addition to a garden.  

    The Villager is having a BIG SALE this week.  25% off any plants or seeds you can put on a cart.  One time, one cart, one customer with coupon from the newsletter.  Plus other specials.  We received our LAST portion of the shrub-form #5g Chokecherries last week and they are going quickly. reg 44.99 for 19.99.  

    NOLO BaitWe also just brought in NOLO bait (Nosema locustae) a protozoan that kills ±90 species of grasshoppers (Melanoplus group), locusts, and mormon crickets (a type of grasshopper).  They are BAD this year and we have started seeing lots of damage.  They are attracted to and eat the bait, become infected, slow and die. Then the other grasshoppers eat them, and become infected and so-on. It is a slow acting and debilitating disease that offers long-term management of grasshopper populations AND there is some Nosema carryover to the next year. It is harmless to any other creatures.  (We have Corry's if you want Carbaryl).

  • Freeze-Drying Winter '11-'12

    January 2007 was similar to this December-January '11-'12. That cold dry year the ice skating was spectacular voles damage was minimal and many plants suffered.

    The process of preparing for winter in hardy plants goes something like this: Plants sense shortening days and cooling temperatures and produce chemicals to start the processes of dropping leaves or closing stomata (the holes they “breathe” through). Food is moved to the roots and important compounds in leaves are recycled and stored away. When freezing begins, water moves out of the cells and into the intercellular spaces (between the cells). This water freezes, but the cell’s contents, with higher concentrations of sugars and salts, have much lower freezing temperatures (like salt water or anti-freeze). As temperatures drop, more water moves out of the cells and solute concentrations in the cells increase, and freezing temperatures drop further. The cell membrane, which is inside the rigid cell wall, actually pulls away and makes room for the ice crystals between the cells.

    If temperatures drop too quickly, water cannot move out of the cell fast enough, ice forms inside the cells and in pores of the cell membrane. As you might imagine, jagged ice crystals inside the cells rip them apart and if enough cells die, the plant dies. This is damage we see frequently suffer in spring.

    This winter, before it finally began to snow, the days were sunny the nights were very cold, the north-east winds were blowing and several things happened.During the warmer sunny days, plant tissues warmed up enough to thaw and begin photosynthesis. Cells woke up and filled with water. At 3:00 PM in mid January, the warm afternoon sun had the plants thinking it was spring, just before the sun went down. The air temperatures were already below freezing and without the sun on the stems, leaves or needles, the temperatures plummeted and many plants suffered – This damage often shows-up as “freeze-cracking” , split bark or tissue damage on the southwest side of trees.

    In many other locations the dry wind and sub-freezing temperatures caused the ice between plant’s cells to sublimate (change from solid to vapor). When the ice around the cells was gone, the cell membrane was exposed and the little moisture remaining in the interior of the cells dried up – This is “freeze-drying”.

    This winter, some plants just dried-up. The soils became so dry that even roots died. I lost 2 of 7, 14 year-old currants. Sometimes there is no telling why some one plant dies and another survives. In the wild it is the same story, one manzanita is dead and 3 feet away another is fine and 12 feet further another is dead and so-on. It could have been one branch of a pine 30' away provided a few extra crucial minutes of shade in mid January or the one plant's roots just happened to be under a large rock... it is fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

    In home landscapes, many people may have saved their plants by watering in January and people with 3-4" of mulch throughout their garden suffered far fewer losses than most. NEVER underestimate the wonders of mulching.

    In the nursery, we lost huge numbers of plants in pots this winter. We tuck the plants together for the winter and put shade around them to trap snow but this winter they froze and dried. You cannot water a frozen container plant because the water freezes and suffocates the roots so we tried to lightly mist them and just raise the humidity but it was largely ineffective. We really need a cheap used snow-making gun for winters like this one (many larger nurseries in the mountain west have them.)

    We don’t have a huge variety of broadleaf evergreens that grow well here but there are a few. Manzanita, Huckleberry Oak, Live Oak and Ceanothus and Mt. Mahogany are some of our broadleaf evergreen natives. Many of these suffered this winter, especially those exposed to the north-east winds (see photo of fried manzanita and dead squaw-mat).  I have not seen damage on any Mountain Mahogany.

    I’ve also seen damage on Native Incense Cedar, Giant Sequoia, Lydia Broom, Hardy Holly, Hardy Rhododendron, Dwarf Alberta Spruce (it often suffers sun scald), Cotoneaster and Bear-Berry Manzanita.

    We are still waiting to see what has survived but many are pushing some new growth. Meanwhile, we've fertilized with Biosol and Dr. Earth and with seaweed to stimulate roots.


Contact Villager

Villager Nursery, Inc
10678 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161-4834
Central Truckee, exit 186 off I-80
(530) 587-0771
www.villagernursery.com
info@villagernursery

Founded 1975, Incorporated 1990

California Nursery License 1975
No. C 3976.001, Co.29CA
Contractors License 1977
No. 413907-C27 LS
ISA Certified Arborist: Eric Larusson
No. WE-7983A

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