Everything listed under: Mountain Gardens

  • October 2018

    So, our "Fall Sale" ended on the 14th.

    We have brought in so many trucks of fresh material throughout this year's fall planting season.  We have ANOTHER truckload of aspen arriving Wed / Thurs 10/17-18 and then another truck full of conifers, maples and native plants arriving on the 22nd.  It continues.

    Along with the aspen on this week's truck, we have more of the amazing, hardy, fast-growing, fall-coloring, and extremely large Acer ginnala (Flame and Tartarian Maples - Acer ginnala var ginnala = Amur Maple / Flame Maple; A. ginnala var. tartaricum = Tartarian / Hot Wings Maple).  We have dozens of these in a variety of sizes and we'll be offering them at 20% off through the month.  

    Eric cannot resist interesting hardy perennials and native wildflowers, thus, we have an abundance, possibly an over-abundance, and so, we will continue to have the 4", 6-pack and mud-flats of hardy perennials at 30% off (in order to reduce the winterizing work we have to do). Also, we'll offer 20% off all the #1g and up herbaceous perennials.  We reserve the right to give random deeper discounts for large purchases.

    AND, walking around the nursery, looking at all the amazing plants we have, I noticed a couple more we have an over-abundance of:  Physocarpus (nine bark), Syringa (Lilac - we brought in 100's for spring blooming), Spring Snow crabapples (an absolute cloud or solid blooms EVERY spring), and, still, for Glenshire folk, Pinus monophyla (Piñon Pine).  ALL these will be 30% off through the end of the month....

    One, more thing.... In our "challenging" soils, when you go to the trouble to dig a hole for a tree, shrub or perennial, add compost and organic fertilizer... DON'T waste the hole by filling it in without at least tossing in a few bulbs.  This time of year, we say, NEVER waste a planting hole!

    Winterizing Class with Rob VanDyke 10/20

  • "Shoulder Season"

    "Shoulder Season" in the travel industry came to mean the periods between high season and low season. In Truckee, since we have high season and high season, it should maybe be called "waist" season. The lake seems to experience this between seasons lul more than Truckee does these days. In the nursery, our busiest season is spring. We rapidly ramp-up from late April until early July when our business slowly tapers off into fall when, because FALL IS FOR PLANTING, we have a little bump in activity that quickly fades into the shoulder season: October and November when folks are otherwise occupied (gathering acorns or maybe wood). We reduce our hours and close on Sundays (we have to gather acorns too).  We still have planting projects and many landscapers are still active until the soils freeze or deep snow makes it impractical to dig. We plant a lot of bulbs and wildflower seed and the shoulder season is the best time for non-irrigated restoration / revegetation work.  The autumnal thermal overturn is just around the corner when soils begin to freeze and stay frozen (the perfect time to spread Biosol...everywhere). 

    "Ecology books speak of the "autumnal thermal overturn" when the average air temperature stays colder than the average soil temperature.  We hope for a good deep frost before the snows come because it is makes digging harder for voles.  'If ice skating is good the voles won't be as bad next spring'.  Deep in the soil the earth is consistently warm and once the blanket of insulating snow covers it, the soil begins to thaw allowing roots to continue expanding".  Wildflower seeding on top of the first 3" of snow is a technique that has worked very well for many."

    Winterizing the gardens and tying-up young plantings also occupies a bit of time in the shoulder season. Fall lawn care is essential. We stake and wrap the lower branches of trees and shrubs for the first 2-3 winters to protect their important "photosynthetic potential" (energy producing leaf surfaces) that feed the trunk to improve caliper and help develop good taper.

    Now is still a great time for planting all sorts of plants, we usually have some daily or weekly specials we post to FB or the chalkboard based on something we notice that we have a LOT of or that's just cool or interesting.  We ave begun to put the nursery away for the winter, tucking the pots into shade, giving them an anti-transpirant and tossing around plant-skydd animal repellent. Rob and crew will be out wrapping trees and shrubs once leaves fall and after that, we'll go cut a few Christmas trees.

  • October Winterizing and Fall Planting Blow-Out Specials

    Late October Nursery Sale thru 10/31

    Check-out the latest newsletter, for those on the e-mail list. http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102261798136&ca=c5638956-cc07-477b-a090-e8ee25d95775

    Details enclosed.  There are some really great deals. Really.  Check it out for coupons but some of the specials are here:

    October Sale Details   (all discounts are off regular individual prices)
    50% Off: Honeyberry, Twinberry, Mock Orange, Sumac and Oaks
    50% Off: Botanical Interests packets of vegetable and flower seeds
    40% Off: 4" and quart wildflowers & perennials.  Hardy vines including hop & clematis.
    30% Off: Woody trees* and shrubs including many spring flowering and fall coloring plants plus all sizes of perennials and groundcovers larger than quart pots. 
    30% Off: Outdoor pottery, birdbaths and redwood planters
    20% Off: *Quaking Aspen (full truck-load arriving this week).
    20% Off: All G&B Lawn (and others) and Dr.Earth fertilizers (apply with BIOSOL).
    10% Off: Hardy bulbs (excludes bulk bags and crates always @ 20% off)
    10% Off: Winterizing Tree Tape (Villager-Brown 1"x150'x8mil. plus others up to 20mil)

    Visit our Facebook page, our website References page and come by the nursery soon to shop the sale for the best choices.  If you found this newsletter on-line or via Facebook, sign-up to receive your very own.
  • Happy Earth Day (and Gawd we love Science)

    Happy Earth Day and a day for appreciation of science. My other degree (besides horticulture / ag.) is in cellular-molecular biology and I am happy to consider myself a scientist. The scientific method gives me a framework to observe, question, understand and organize all there is to learn in my mountain gardens, in this world and in this life. I am ever grateful for the amazing science, English and philosophy teachers I was privileged to study with. I am so fortunate to be in a position to keep experimenting and gathering data of my own and through all of you who share your methods and results with us on a daily basis. You teach us.  
     Growing up in the age of the Clean Air Act and the eventual Clean Water Act, I was ever hopeful that humans would or could "do the right thing". We have aimed, through the nursery, to "leave the world a better place". We promote, grow and offer native plants, bulbs and seeds that require a minimum of care. We use and encourage use of natural and organic fertilizers and composts to improve the soil biology, help clean the water and produce healthy, strong plants that will survive long after we've gone.  We think we have an amazing, intelligent, and curious clientele who largely share our intentions and we sincerely appreciate you all.  

     P.S. With that in mind, we do have a couple of positions available in the nursery this summer. As always we appreciate people who love helping others, who have a passion for plants (though not necessarily a deep knowledge of them as you can't help but learn while you are with us). If you or someone you know might be interested check here

  • NEWS: Lake of the Sky Garden Club 2017

    A message from the Garden Club: The 2017 Lake of the Sky Garden Tour (Incline Village) has been cancelled "due to the unusually harsh winter".  We hope to reschedule it for next year.

    If you or anyone you know is interested in this very active and fun-loving group, Pat Dolle is our Vice President for Membership: padndad@hotmail.com.  We meet the last Monday of the month (except May when we meet the third Monday).  We usually meet at the Corrison Loft, North Lake Tahoe Art Center (upstairs), 380 North Lake Tahoe Boulevard, Tahoe City. Social time is 3:30PM with the meeting from 4-5PM.  The meetings are informative mixtures of lectures, demonstrations, and workshops conducted by members or guest speakers.  In summer some meetings are held at outdoor locations.

    There appears to be no active webpage or simple Facebook page... for a garden club with SO many great pictures to share, that seems a shame.  Want to help?


  • Smart Mountain Lawns

     

    Our Truckee Donner PUD irrigation days are Tuesday and Friday and lawn's are our largest outdoor consumer of water yet they are not as bad as they are often made out to be. They clean volumes of air pollutants and dust and they produce vast amounts of oxygen and they give us an outdoor room where our children can run. (“Plant containers, trees, shrubs, groundcover, and vegetable gardens may be watered as needed when using automatic drip irrigation or hand watering.”) Please Share this.

    My lawn tips: • Keep lawns small. Sheet Mulching is an easy method of reducing your extra turf without injuring tree roots. Mow tall and leave the clippings. Lawns mowed to ≥3" use less water, have far fewer weeds, require less fertilization and require less frequent mowing than short lawns. The longer blades photosynthesize far better (feeding and encouraging deeper roots) and they shade the soil surface (reducing temp's, moisture loss and impeding weed growth). • Aerate and Topdress (with a deep-tine or plugger aerator - Truckee Rents) twice a year (or at least once) and then top dress with your own mature compost or bags of Kellogg Topper (a fine screened mature compost). Aeration opens compacted soils and allows for deeper water penetration and better aeration (healthy soils, roots, microbes NEED oxygen). Topdressing compost adds humus that helps soil hold much more water, reserve nutrients and supports microorganisms that break-down lawn clippings, digest & excrete organic fertilizers and protect the lawn from pathogens. We apply 2cu.ft. over 200 sq.ft. and it defies logic that it helps as well as it does. It really helps lawns retain moisture through the summer. • Use organic fertilizers. We usually apply BIOSOL (food-grade organic cottonseed & soy meals that have been completely digested by fungi :) in fall. Biosol seems to minimize rodent damage under snow in "normal" winters and releases throughout the rest spring and summer. We use G&B Organic Lawn Fertilizer in spring (and at a lighter rate every time we aerate & topdress) to give lawn a little boost while the living microorganisms in the fertilizer go to work digesting the brown straw (no, it's not "thatch") left over after every winter. • Water deeply and infrequently. In a normal summer I'll water 3 days a week in July & August but 2/week June & Sept. and occasionally, as needed in the shoulders. This summer I'll water Tuesday & Friday. Break-up your irrigation on watering days. For example, if you put your gauge out on the lawn and found it takes 30 minutes to apply 1/2" of water, then water for 10 minutes at 5am, 10 min at 6am and 10 min at 7am. Like a light rain, the first watering, wets the soil, breaks the surface tension and allows the next watering to go deeper without running-off, the third, allows water even deeper into the soil. Do not water for 10 minutes at 5am, 10 min at hood and 10min at 5pm as the moisture will simply evaporate & transpire without getting to the deepest roots that you are really trying to encourage.  This is especially important if you have any slope to your lawn or if you planted sod (often grown in dense Nevada clay). Syringing is a technique, used in the hottest weeks, where we apply 1-2 minutes of water to the lawn, near the hottest time of day (on your lawn) in order to cool the grass blades, increase humidity and halt evapotranspiration (moisture loss) for a few hours which actually saves much more water than it uses. On those Tuesdays & Thursdays, in July & August, you might try this at ~about~ 2:00pm.  Watering late in the day is generally discouraged because moist leaf surfaces at night invite disease.  • If you have dandelions it is a strong indicator of poor soil (bluegrass in rich soil, will not allow many weeds). Aerate & top dress more frequently and avoid chemical fertilizers.  There is a relatively new natural selective herbicide (Natria) of chelated iron, that kills broadleaf plants in lawns without killing grass.

    Bluegrass can go many months without water in a summer dormant state and come back to life when moisture returns. Turf-type Tall Fescues are slightly more drought tolerant in a daily basis but will die in a month without any water. Fine Fescues Meadow Blend (meadow-like grasses) are shade tolerant and can stay green on once a week watering and once a month mowing. Native Grass Blend is six species we selected for relatively short growth, drought tolerance and the ability to thrive when grazed (or mowed occasionally). Clover added to a lawn at 1/4-1/2 lb / 1000 sq.ft. reduces the lawn's need for fertilizers, improves the color of the grass and the lawn as a whole, improves the soil, and is NOT a weed in lawns. Bluegrass is a weed, that's why it makes such durable turf.

     

  • Fall & Holiday Reflections on 2014

    We had another LONG autumn season and we all gardened and landscaped and harvested and planted well into November and even into December. The average air temperatures and nighttime lows were WELL above average for months and the soils were accumulating solar energy (warmth) for an extra long time. On top of that we had a few rain and snow showers here and there that added some moisture to the soil and kept relative humidity slightly elevated for some periods.  All-in-all a great fall for planting & growing. Deciduous trees installed this past summer and fall should have put-on tremendous root expansion and will be far better off come spring when they use those larger root systems to take-up resources.

    The PUD’s state mandated 2-day a week watering was a God-send for improved fall color. Too many folks water too much too often as it is, especially in late summer / early fall when we need to be letting plants know it’s time to begin acclimating to cold for winter. Some deep cold followed by very mild temps gave plants a long acclimatization period that meant excellent fall colors for us all to thoroughly enjoy.  We were able to see and appreciate, as we do with bulbs and perennials, early, mid and late fall color plants.  Amur maple one of the earliest and serviceberry one of the latest.

    We brought-in a truck-load of quaking aspen and shapely blue spruce late in October. The aspen (bomb-proof weeds that they are) are used to create snow-catch & shade for other overwintering plants and the spruce for living Christmas trees.  We almost sold-out of both with the extended planting season and I’m a fraud we disappointed a few living Christmas tree devotés.

    Harvesting high-elevation cut silvertip Christmas trees can and is done (by some) in October. It is ideal to wait until they have had quite a few days of extreme cold to insure they are fully acclimated to their normally harsh winter environment before harvest. It is also best to harvest as close to Christmas as possible. These two conditions mean that we often only have one to two days to get out there and do our thinning job before snows make it impossible to continue. This year we waited and waited and waited for cold, finally harvesting in the couple of days before Thanksgiving.  We did see a slight increase in needle-drop over the usual but still not much when compared to douglas fir.  Our plantation-grown noble fir were incredibly lush and dense after the heavy rains and snow they received in the northern coast range where they’re farmed.  The rains and warm snows throughout December kept them in their prime.  It also helps that we keep all but the few on display in deep shade under row-cover.

    We had nearly 100 pre-ordered Christmas trees and most folks have already put-in their order for December 2015. Let us know if you are interested; the pre-orders get the pick-of-the litter. We cut a few extra 4-5’ white & red fir this year and since the Boy Scouts and Optimists were more-or less sold-out by the 22nd, we were happy to, as usual, provide trees for folks arriving to their second-homes or vacation rentals at the last-minute.  We tried to close by noon on the 24th but Jose stayed-open ‘till well past 2:00 helping folks.  Friends and colleagues with nurseries are surprised that we try to NOT sell-out of Christmas trees.  The B.S.A. and Optimists clean-up and leave their lots. They don’t have to see the faces of disappointed parents and children when you tell them the trees are all gone. We do see them and we’d rather turn a hand-full of thinned or plantation farmed trees into organic mulch than disappoint a mini-van full of kids excited for Christmas.  We provided 100's of yards of garland and 100's of wreaths from one to six feet across. (due to an ordering snafu, we have 3 rolls of fresh garland left - and we'll be open Friday-Sunday the 2nd-4th)

    SO, 2014 was fun, crazy, fast and in the past.  Cheers!   Here’s to you and yours, wishing you all a healthy and very happy 2015!!!


  • Solstice Summer Sale

    We've been trying to carve out a few minutes to make a Spring Promotion Newsletter, so here it is, a few days past Summer Solstice, a sale to last until nearly 4th of July.  Get your garden on if you have not yet... I planted my greens in early April but have not had a chance to start my Tomatoes yet - (It has become an tradition for me to stay home from the parade to plant mine up.)  They're all 20% off until the 3rd along with beans, cukes, peas, squash, peppers, lettuce, etc....  The mature composts from Kellogg as well as the garden enhancing Chicken and Farmyard composts are all buy-three-get-one-free now as well so side-dress away.  We put a couple of awesome #5g shrubs (maple and chokecherry) on special for your screening needs this week, because they are fantastic.  Ad 30% off of our Apples, hardy Cherries, and incredibly productive currants and gooseberries is a smokin' deal - you can use fruiting shrubs as ornamentals without worry, they're tough and attractive as well as productive.  Sales run through July 3.  Our 4th of July hours are roughly 9-10 and 12-2... depending on traffic and the parade when we are closed.  Please swing by and say hello if you're walking the route (or throw us extra candy if you're on a float).

  • Resurrection and Repair

    Here are a couple of our class handouts that deal with post-winter, early spring garden revival.

    Tree "Repair" and Simple Pruning

    Early Spring Gardening


  • Unusual Aspen Breakage in Mountain Gardens

    Comments on the storm of 28-29 December 2010

    This storm came into Truckee and Tahoe with a cold front.  It then turned very wet and gradually piled up as the temperatures dropped.  I have seen more broken tops in quaking aspen (Populis tremuloides) than ever before (several dozen while driving in town).  There seems to be more damage at lower elevations, probably because it did not rain at the higher elevations so the snow was not as sticky.  Aspen has a tendency to grow rather quickly when we water and feed it but it is usually fairly flexible.  The trees that broke did not have unusually rapid growth, they were average, healthy trees.  I am guessing that we will see lots of evidence of breakage in wild local aspen as well.  We regularly see very disfigured and broken aspen in the canyons of the southern Sierra where we collect seeds of Villager Nursery's favorite, and indestructible, western river birch (Betula occidentalis var fontinalis). 

    I had been waiting to prune my broken Aspen until a little later.  Any time after mid March should be fine (earlier and there will likely be drying and die-back from the cut). Cut just above, and sloping away from, the next substantial lateral branch, below the break,  that can assume the role of leader.  Do not cut to a small branch if there is any choice.  By large I mean 1/2 - 2/3+ the diameter of the main trunk.  As long as you are at it, go ahead and prune any competing leaders back to large laterals as well, it's called "subordination"of potential competitors. If pruned properly, the tree should "recapitulate" a new leader.  

    Aspen do best with one strong trunk and one stout and dominant leader.  The narrow, pyramidal form that young deciduous trees and most coniferous evergreens exhibit is called "excurrent growth". I find pruning for excurrent growth is relatively simple to visualize and practice.   Our first class of spring is usually, "Resurrection" after the ravages of winter.

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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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