Everything listed under: cold climate gardening

  • Late Winter 2019

    We have closed the shop for the past 4 mid-winters (Christmas-March). I've used the time to catch-up on bookkeeping, administration, filing, orders, articles, hand-outs and a few projects (and have a little free time). We probably won't continue our winter closures in the future (we're here and watering the house plants anyway) and this winter there was certainly NO rest. This week (3/25-30) we emptied the inside of the shop and we're painting the floor. We intend to put it all back together next week and start re-opening a little by 4/4 (10-5). We'll leave a number of items in the POD for an early spring garage sale. Many indoor lighting and hydroponics supplies for 50% off (or more).  

    We'll work on removing the snow from the soils area to bring in our first loads of Topper, Gromulch and Bumper Crop. We have pallets of pottery, statuary, gifts and fertilizers arriving starting next week. There is a truckload of fresh tropical houseplants arriving in mid-April (delayed due to floor). Our 2019 seeds actually started arriving in February. We have seed starting supplies - starting soils, trays, tray covers, peat-pots, vermiculite, perlite, liquid seaweed, etc...  It IS time to start a few types of seeds if you want the "full experience" and the thrill of growing food or flowers from seed to harvest. It's also the least expensive way to go about it. If you choose to wait, we will have seedlings of appropriate plants available for sale as planting timing dictates.
    Late winter seedingStart these seeds indoors from late February through April. Plant these seedlings outdoor starting in mid-late April: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Calendula.  Plant seedlings in early May: celery, leek, lettuce, onion. Start seeds in March for planting mid to late May (with frost protection): pepper, eggplant, tomatillo, and tomato. Hardy annuals and perennial seeds can be started now for planting into the garden in early May.

    While it is fine to plant trees, shrubs and bulbs ANYTIME you choose, and plants are always happier in the ground than in pots, it is important to never dig or work "wet" soil. Disturbing mud, destroys soil structure, the arrangement of the soil particles into aggregates of various sizes and shapes that allow for aeration and drainage (air is as important to roots as water is).  FYI: Soil texture is determined by the ratios of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter that determine a soil's water and nutrient holding capacity as well as it's workability and more.

    IF you have some bulbs (as I do) that you did not get into the ground in fall, plant them as soon as the soil is workable (remember: moist but not muddy). They will not keep much longer.

  • Education & Villager 2015 SPRING Classes

    Villager 2015 Spring Classes - When I first worked with Villager Nursery in 1984 (~8 years after the existing florist was purchased) we began giving classes & sending out informational newsletters. Education in natural sciences gave me a strong bent toward environmentally conscious organic landscaping including natural pest controls and using as many drought tolerant and mountain-native plants as possible. Rob joined us just 2 years later and taught us the wonders of bat guano, worm castings and many organic fertilizers.  The tradition of education and working WITH our ecosystem, continues to this day. We are very disappointed and concerned about the drought AND we have been promoting drought tolerant landscaping and native plants since 1984. Most folks water far more than they need to. Back to the reason for this post, our SPRING class schedule is here if you'd like to see it. For MORE info sign-up for our VERY occasional e-mail newsletters and visit us (better yet, do LIKE us) on Facebook.


  • October Sales & Clean-Up: October 5-13, 2013

    October Sales & Nursery Clean-Up: October 5-13, 2013

     

    50% OFF 4” pot size Hardy Herbaceous* Perennials like Shasta Daisy, Peony, Daylily, Coneflower, Catmint, Hardy Grasses, etc... and including Perennial Herbs and Vegetables like Thyme, Asparagus, Sage, Mint, Lovage, etc... Last chance for these youngsters cheap.

    30% OFF all larger qt., #1g, #2g, etc... hardy herbaceous perennials. (Herbaceous plant: is a non-woody plant that has leaves and stems that die down to the soi  level at the end of the growing season. There is no persistent woody stem above ground.)

    30% OFF All Vines (including Hops, Clematis and Virginia Creeper), All Hawthorne,  All Ninebark, All Oaks, All Snowberry, All Spiraea, Roses (except native R. woodsii), AND ALL MAPLES !!! including the hardiest of all: Tartarian and Amur (Flame) Maples.

    50% OFF all Remaining Blueberry and Blue Elderberry

    "Orphans" - we’ve brought out many more plants with a crook or broken top that are not quite retail salable but will grow with compost and fertilizer. Trees, Shrubs and Perennials.  These orphaned plants are a value: Perennials in 4” pots are 50¢ and #1g are $1.00

    20% OFF Tough-as-Nails Trees and Shrubs  including Crabapple, Maple, Serviceberry, Cranberry Viburnum, Thimbleberry, Burning Bush, Dogwood, Willow, Chokecherry, Potentilla, Mock Orange, Mountain Ash and 20% off (and without tax) prolific Currants, Gooseberries, Hardy Grapes and Raspberries. Apples, Pears, Cherries, and worthy of its blooms alone, Hardy Apricot from seed collected near 8,000 ft in Ouray, CO.

    Bulb Specials: Bearded Iris $1.99 (reg 4.99 Plant NOW) / Hyacinth Bulbs for indoor or outdoor 10 for 8.99 (reg. 1.29ea.) / Giant Red Impression Tulips 10 for 6.99 (reg. 79¢ea.)

    Inside the store: 50% off Hydroponic-specific nutrients and Indoor Lighting and Growing Systems and kits.

    The newsletter has a coupon for $$$ of of Biosol.  Sign-up to receive infrequent news and notices.    Sign-up if you want the newsletter coupons.

    Buy 4, get 1 FREE  on Outdoor Composts, Potting Soils, Top Soil, Manures & Bark
    30% OFF Redwood Planters & Trellis, LARGE  Pottery (>$40), 30% OFF Outdoor Art
    Saturday 10/5 Only: Jose’s 30% off any Evergreen Sale: Pine, Spruce, Fir, Cypress, Cedar, Juniper, Broom, Mahonia, Ceanothus, Garrya, Rhododendron, Manzanita, Cotoneaster or any other you can convince us is “evergreen”.
    All sales limited to stock on hand and no double discounts. Discounts off regular retail prices....Sale Ends 10/13/13

  • Fall is in the Air, Nursery-Wide Sale 9/13-9/22 2013 !

    Fall is in the Air

    Nursery-Wide Sale 

    9/13-9/22 2013 !

    DETAILS: sale flier here and newsletter here

    "Seconds" - We're bringing out healthy plants with a crook or a sealing scar or a broken top that are not quite retail salable but will grow with compost and fertilizer. These orphaned plants are CHEAP!

    50% Off Fruit Trees is a SMOKIN’ deal!  Apples, Pears, Cherries, and worthy of their blooms alone, Hardy Apricot and Peach.

    20% off (and no tax) on prolific Currants, Gooseberries, Hardy Grapes, Raspberries and Blueberries and will produce more fruit per square foot than any other plant.  The JostaBerry and TastiBerry (gooseberry x currant hybrids) are specialty plants we grew specifically for Truckee.

    20% OFF Tough-as-Nails Trees and Shrubs - The whole LOT!

    75% Off Annual Color: Stock, Geranium, Cali, Petunia, Nasturtium, Tender Grasses, etc...

    40% Off Perennial Herbs and Vegetables like Thyme, Asparagus, Sage, Mint, Lovage, etc...

    50% OFF Packaged (not Villager brand) Seeds:  Lake Valley, Renee, etc..

    30% Off Bulk Wildflower Seeds: (not packaged) >4 oz.

    30% Bulk Grass, Pasture, Clover Seeds: (not packaged) >5 lbs.

    Bearded Iris $2.99 (reg 4.99)

    Hyacinth Bulbs for indoor or outdoor 10 for 8.99 (reg. 1.29ea.)

    Early Indoor Only Paperwhite Narcissus 10 for 9.99 (reg. 1.39ea.)

    Inside the store: 10% off fertilizers, repellents, pesticides, herbicides.

    Inside the store: 50% off Hydroponic specific nutrients and Indoor Lighting and Growing Systems.

    The newsletter has a coupon for $$$ of of Biosol.  Sign-up to receive VERY infrequent news and notices. Sign-up if you want the newsletter coupons.

    40% OFF Beautiful Hardy Flowering Herbaceous Perennials like Coneflower, Daylily, Sedum, Lupine, Daisy, etc........

    Buy 4, get 1 FREE  on Potting Soils, Manures & Bark

    30% OFF Redwood Planters & Trellis’

    30% OFF LARGE  Pottery

    30% OFF Outdoor Art

    Parking Lot “Orphan Plants” Clearance

    All sales limited to stock on hand and no double discounts. Discounts off regular retail prices....


  • Villager Test

    (January, 2013).  For the first time, since we took over the existing Villager Florist in 1975, we will try closing for a couple of months.  It seems to make sense. As a fanatical gardener and botanist, I can't help responding to interesting phone calls and e-mails on my own time so if you have a burning question, by-all-means, drop us a line.  I answered a phone message from a Truckee visitor who wanted info about the trees in downtown Truckee that no one could answer so the Town of Truckee recommended he call "the Villager Nursery...they know everything".  We love that kind of high praise ... and of course, it's true.  :)

    We have long used Lewis Hill's book Cold-Climate Gardening wherein it is written "on whatever it is they write it it on up there" 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."  The Villager will be open part-time by then and we'll be here to provide you with all your cold-climate seed starting supplies from organic, short-season seeds to organic seedling potting soils, trays, heat-mats, lighting and all the rest.

  • Hardening-Off / Frost Protection / Floating Row-Cover

    Floating Row Cover is graded by "basis weight": measured in ounces of material per square yard (osy) or grams per square meter (gsm).  After MANY years of experimentation we have found the n-sulate, 1.5oz. spun-bonded poly row cover to be far more durable and versatile than any others. The n-sulate gives us 6-8°F of protection and allows 50% light.  We double the layers for extreme cold.

    I have used it over my garden for weeks at a time with water, light and air going through all day yet warmth staying in at night.

    Row cover is essential for cold-climate and mountain gardening. We offer it in 10x12' packages or by the yard (10'wide) from the Villager's bulk rolls. Always have a supply of frost protection fabric (1.5oz. N-sulate floating row-cover) on hand.

    Remember, "there is no such thing as cold", there is only heat and we are trying to preserve it.  There is also NO "average last date of frost"

  • Winter Watering Again?

    As far away as our spring really is, the days rapidly lengthening and our ground is warming.  When we had the florist and nursery together in Old Gateway I would annually plant up the planter-box at the front of the shop for Valentine's Day. (We will have cut flowers and be open the 13th and 14th for V-Day).  It is the beginning of the beginning of spring.  Viola, Primrose, Pansy, Dianthus and Calendula would take the next couple of months of cold and would be huge flourishing masses by May.  

    Regarding the lack of moisture, just be aware of the fact that we have had very little and you may need to water much sooner than normal.  Of course we are all hoping for a substantial change in the weather and a great mass of snow for what remains of the ski season and for the essential water reserves.  I really, really, really, hope that we don't have another cold, snowy May-June.

    We'll see what comes from the next few days of storms but in all likelihood, we'll be watering the south-facing portions of our demonstration gardens next week.

  • Labor Day and Early September Mountain Gardening Notes

    September really is a time of scurrying around.  Before I had the immense pleasure of raising children, my wife and I would leave this beautiful place every fall for the Rockies.  I have had family in southwestern Colorado (Ouray) since the early 70's and I LOVE the Colorado flora.   We would try to go for two weeks.  One week in Ouray, relaxing by the lake, fishing, hiking, botanizing and gardening for my Nana; and one week exploring the Rocky mountains. We would be the only people in the entire campground, MANY times.  Moose would walk through our camp and grizzlies would be browsing for berries two hundred yards away. I collected LOTS of seed over the years. I came to absolutely love fall.  (that was a change: growing up as a passionate amateur naturalist and botanist, I had always loved spring, things rising from the dead but fall was depressing, everything was dying...of course it meant going back to school which may have had some impact on my emotional bent.)

    I still love fall.  I love going hiking when no one else is around.  I love collecting seed (many of the native plants we have in the nursery are from our seed collections).  I love the warm days and chilly nights.  I love the hardiest of perennials that continue to bloom into the fall, in spite of frosts or even snows.  AND I love fall colors.  I think the show of fall colors is more dramatic and can be longer lived than the explosions of spring.  I love the colors of stems and the structure of bare branches.  I love rose hips,  persistent crabapple fruit and pendulous branches loaded with mountain ash berries.

    In spite of the FACT that fall is the best time for planting in our short season and to wait until spring costs gardeners a year's worth of root system expansion, we are slower in the nursery and I am looking forward to getting out and hiking and biking several more times.  By all accounts, the wildflowers in the high country are just beginning to explode and many just won't have time to bloom out before it snows.

    So... In the Villager Nursery... we have an amazing assortment of plants that deliver late and spectacular fall colors like Rudbeckia laciniata, R. triloba, Heleneum, Phlox, Physostegia, Aster, Erigeron, Eupatorium, Sedum, Campanula, Aquilegia (you know our native columbine blooms for about 3 months!), Spiraea douglasii, Potentilla, Hemerocalis, Clematis, and even more...     Under appreciated fall colors from Dwarf Birch (already going dormant), Skunk Bush (looks JUST like poison oak), Mountain Maple and Twin-flowering Honeysuckle (both have etherial, ghostly cream fall color... incredible in dappled shade), Wild Roses (the flowers are a flash-in-the-pan but the fall colors, the showy hips and the cranberry red stems are beautiful)... and AH!  Birch-leaf Spiraea (a Cascade native - perfect mounding shape, crisp white flowers in early summer and fluorescent red-orange - like GLOWING - fall colors)  AND the Villager only carries the hardiest of bulbs, specializing in wildflower bulbs, naturalizing bulbs and bulbs that animals are repulsed by.


  • May IS a Spring Month.

    At Villager Nursery we have always said, with regard to mountain gardening in Truckee, that "April is a winter month with many spring-like days and May is a spring month with many winter-like days" (sadly, June can have many of them too...).

  • Truckee's Gardening Season


    I saw a beautiful rainbow today.  A neighbor and friend stopped by while I was hedging my Amur Maples and said "drive down to the end of the street and look!"

    It was a nice summer rain.  Made me want to expand on Truckee's Gardening and Growing Seasons.

    At the beginning of the year it is winter.  January gardening entails paperwhite bulbs and amarylis bulbs and some houseplants.  I do check-out the plants on exposed rocky ridges while skiing and marvel at the toughness of Heuchera, Artemisia and Eriogonum.


    February keeps us busy trying to force bulbs for Valentines Day.  On our south facing rock wall, we have had Crocus bloom by late February and be covered with snow and be still blooming when it melts out a couple of weeks later.  After several months of a warm blanket of snow, the earth warms-up and thaws out the frozen soils that we see in late fall.  I'll often pick-up some hardy bedding plants off the hill somewhere and plant up a flower box to show how tough pants are.  Dianthus, Calendula, Viola, Stock, Pansy, and English Primula can all take temperatures in the low teens.

    The first Tuesday in March is THE day to start tomato and pepper seeds indoor so they'll be big enough to put out in mid-May.  Lots of Crocus and rock-garden Narcissus bloom in sunny spots in March.  In low snow years, I have planted many trees, shrubs and perennials in March to take advantage of pre-leaf root growth.  Pulsatilla Anemone usually blooms late in the month.  The first time YOU see bare Earth in spring is a great time to spread wildflower seeds.

    April is frequently a gardening month.  April 1st is THE day to plant sweet pea seeds outdoor.  I usually try to plant spinach, chard, lettuce, carrot, beet (and more) seeds my mid April (This year some just rotted but warm weather usually arrives before mid June).  I also plant starts of spinach, lettuce, chard, onion, hardy herbs and hardy edible flowers like Dianthus, Calendula and Viola.

     May-June-July are the basic spring - early summer gardening months, everything comes into bloom, the days are long and we get frost here and there.  More plants bloom this time of year so they;ll have time to make seeds and store energy later on.  Our "Average Last Date of Frost", according to NOAA is July 15.  Our "Average First Date of Frost" is August 15.  So August 1 is dead-center, the middle of our season.

    August - September - October are a mirror of July-June-May and are the bulk of the late summer - fall gardening season.  The days are shorter but the soil is much warmer than in spring. It is of course the best time to get out and enjoy the mountains and lakes, to collect seed and to plant for next spring.  We are ALWAYS planting for "next year".  Plants only look their best when they've had a winter in the ground and can rise with our natural spring weather.  When we plant in the fall we don't have to wait as long for "next year" as we do when we plant in May.

    November often has beautiful days (who am I kidding? These are the Sierras; we get beautiful sunny days all winter as well). Autumn Crocus and Autumn Monkshood are often still blooming as are a few Asters and the tallest Rudbeckias.  Planting bulbs before the soil begins to form a frozen crust is a good idea.  As the sun drops lower in the sky and the days get really short, shady spots are the first to stay frozen.  Ecology books speak of the "Autumnal Thermal Overturn" when the air temperature stays colder than the soil temperature.  Though it can be hard on some plants, we hope for a good deep frost before the snows come because it is particularly hard on the rodents.  "If ice skating is good the voles won't be as bad next spring".  Deep in the soil the earth is consistantly warm ad once the blanket of insulating snow covers it, the soil begins to thaw.  Wildflower seeding on top of the first 3" of snow is a technique that has worked very well for many.

    Remember that most deciduous trees and shrubs put on the majority of their annual root system expansion in fall, AFTER they lose their leaves.  The secondary root push occurs in early spring, before the leaves emerge and before most folks get out and plant.

    So - were just into the second half of the gardening season with a few months left until winter.



  • Start Tomato Seeds Indoor in March

    (03/2010) March is counted as one of our winter months. March also happens to have the most beautiful sunny spring-like days. Rob likes to quote a famous VanDyke who said that "The first spring day and the first day of spring are often months apart".  We may have beautiful spring days for the equinox but frost-free days are a long-way-off.

    For years, just before Valentines day, I planted violas, dianthus, calendula, pansys, vinca, primrose and stock in a flower box outside the nursery.  Those plants always thrive, no matter how cold it gets.

    The first Tuesday in March is Vermont's Town Meeting Day. According to Lewis Hill (Cold Climate Gardening), it is also the traditional day to start Tomato and Pepper seeds inside in northernVermont (their climate is similar to ours in many ways).  We have used mid-March as our seeding time for decades with great success.   I heard recently that said Tomatoes are the "gateway drug" to vegetable gardening.  We all grow tomatoes here (in containers) with great success (and frost protecting cloth).  It's not THAT hard.  Our goal at the Villager is, and has always been, to share our passion for gardening and to see our clients and friends SUCCEED in this avocation we love so much.  

    We offer several vegetable gardening classes at the Nursery each spring; check the calendar page. It should be updated by mid March with this year's schedule.  

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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