I Found my Thrill- Blueberries

 

Ready for picking

It’s berry time, and we’ve got a nice crop of plants that are so LOADED with berries you can barely see the leaves! They will give a harvest the first season and fruit will be produced for months, so they’re gonna give you you’re money’s worth right away.

Why we love blueberries-

Blueberries are an excellent and permanent addition to edible and ornamental landscapes because, thanks to modern breeding, they are very easy to grow. The handsome plants have dark blue-green foliage and attractive pink or white ‘ bell’  blooms in spring, which turn into yummy blue summer berries.

Some even have great autumn color, with a full spectrum of yellow, orange and red. All can be planted in the veggie garden or used in the landscape. All this and the bonus of luscious fruit loaded with anti-oxidants! Since they are a permanent addition to the garden, the yields of berries increase each year.

Planting

In our fabulous gardening climate, blueberries can be planted most anywhere from full sun to part sun. Just be sure the location gets at least a half a day of good sunlight. Since they are long lived, it is a wise idea to amend the soil properly when planting. A wide, fairly shallow planting hole, backfilled with half Master Nursery Planting Mix and half our native soil along with a dollop of Master Start fertilizer would be great. After planting, mulch with a bit of additional Planting Mix to help with moisture retention. Planting distance can be up to 5 feet apart or as close as 3 feet for a hedge effect. Or, intersperse them throughout the garden. Blueberries easily adapt to containers and to make it even easier, you can use Master Nursery Planting Mix straight from the bag. You could even add flowers and herbs to the container for a beautiful effect.

Blueberries are ornamental, too

Care

It’s so easy! The new blueberries are low maintenance, vigorous plants. They like routine water like your other garden plants and monthly feeding March through October with our Camellia Azalea food or our veggie food. Your berries will produce more and bigger fruit with a bit of winter pruning. First remove any dead wood, then thin out about a third of what remains. As the plant grows older, you can select six or so main erect branches to form its permanent structure.

Selection

We select and prefer the southern highbush varieties as they are particularly suitable for us. They love the warm days as well as the cool ones and thrive in our mild winters. Three plants are about the minimum for a family but there are, of course, no limits. Blueberries are self pollinating. So, if you remember 7th grade science, that means you only need one plant to get some fruit. However, the more the merrier in the world of the birds and bees. In fact, the fruit will be much more prolific if you plant two or more varieties. Also, by mixing varieties you can easily extend your harvest. Some of our favorites (but we love them all)…

 

Jubilee: Fruits early, nice and upright
Misty: Fruits very early with lots of berries
O’Neal: Another very early variety
Sharpblue: Fruits early to mid season and great to extend the season. Fast grower with big berries.
Star: Fruits early with large berries
Sunshine Blue: Mid season, a more compact plant and evergreen.

Plus others, of course, and please feel free to ask us any questions about blueberries or other parts of your garden. At least in the garden, we want you happy, healthy and successful.

 

Old-Fashioned Lilacs

Nothing sweeter than fragrant lilacs in spring. Just snip a few of the clusters and bring them inside- mmmm….

This is the perfect time of year to get lilacs from the nursery. Look for sizeable plants with even, vigorous new buds and thick, strong branches. The flowers are traditionally lavender, but you also see them in pink, white, blue, wine red and even dark purple with white edges.

There are several reasons we love them:

Butterflies and other pollinators love the flowers as much as we do.

Deer tend to leave them alone.

Watering is minimal once established; I have one mature specimen that does beautifully with no irrigation at all.

Sun Exposure is something lilacs thrive upon. Bring on the heat! You can also grow them in partial sun.

Size is not massive, and easily controlled by pruning right after the bloomtime.

These can be really versatile, too. Grow them as a hedge to get masses of color, or feature a single specimen as a focal point in your landscape. Mix them into your butterfly garden. Put a few in pots to brighten up the deck in springtime. Harvest the flowers for plentiful bouquets, since they last quite long when cut.

Ours are extra fat this season, having had exceptionally cold winters the last few years. Lots of flowerbuds, and great selection right now, so stop by!

Exotic Clematis

The vine of the times right now is clematis. Our customers are really snatching these up!

Winding, twining, lacy tendrils adorned with masses of tropical-looking flowers. Clematis is one vine that gets noticed…..

We love the look of this when it’s allowed to clamber up through climbing roses, creating a bouquet effect with the two types of flowers blooming together. Try it spilling out of a hanging basket, where it can mound, cascade and wind upward all at once. Use it to fill up sections of chainlink fence for a spectacular ‘living wall’ of color, or guide it up a post for a fountain effect. Add even more ‘wow’ when you blend several colors and styles in the same area.

 

Grow clematis anywhere that you’ve got some sun. It’s happy in the ground or in containers, especially when there’s something planted beneath that will keep the roots nice and cool. The only maintenance it generally requires is once a year pruning; some types don’t even need that. Provide the usual good drainage (as with most things you plant).

 

There are so many kinds available, most with large flowers- some can get 10″ across! We’ve got lots in stock right now, setting flowerbuds and ready to climb. Come check ’em out!

 

 

 

Peonies are Here!

We’ve got a nice big crop! Our peonies will bloom beautifully this season- no waiting for years to see a flower. Ready to spring forth with lush foliage and plump buds, and ready to take home now so you can enjoy the unfurling springtime show.

Never grown peonies before? If you like to cut bouquets you will LOVE them! You gotta see these things in bloom…..

‘Takara’ Itoh peony

We are thrilled to grow peonies every year. Lush plants that have ripe, colorful buds, exotic leaves and breathtaking flowers.

‘Pink Double Dandy’

The peony has always been my dream flower, with it’s distinctive petals and sweet old-fashioned perfume- almost too perfect looking to be real! A photo doesn’t do this beauty proper justice, and if you’ve seen these blooms in reality you know how breathtaking they are.

We’ve got several different kinds right now, grown in large enough containers so as to readily bloom this year. They’re long-lived perennials that can give you lifelong bouquets, and will thrive here in Sonoma County with minimal care when planted properly.

Fat juicy buds

To start, choose a spot that gets full (or at least afternoon) sun. If you’re putting your peony in the ground, work lots of rich compost like Paydirt into the hole, and add some starter fertilizer like Masterstart. This will not only add proper nutrients like nitrogen and phospherous, but will also break up heavy clay soil and promote good drainage. If you’d like to plant in a container, that’s fine- just use Planting Mix straight from the bag, but don’t forget that starter fertilizer.

‘Bowl of Beauty’ bush peony

The most recently developed peonies are exceptionally lush and leafy, with loads of flowers and a more extended bloomtime than old-fashioned kinds. These are the intersectional hybrids called Itoh (eye-toe), a vigorous cross between bush-type and tree-type. You really get the best of both worlds here- flower colors and foliage like the exotic tree peonies, but with the bushier habit and sun tolerance of standard bush peonies.

Cut flower aficionados are just wild about the blooms- extra-large, long-lasting, fragrant, and just downright show-stopping! When you cut a budded stem that is beginning to open, it will continue blooming in the vase for quite a while. Gorgeous!

Cruise on in to check out of our peony selection, and while you’re here we can certainly answer your questions and/or help you pick out the right one for your garden.

 

Giant-flowered Begonias

gigantic begonias 018The hottest flower bulbs in the nursery right now- begonias with extra-large flowers. We make sure to grow the very biggest and world’s best, from AmeriHybrid bulbs from California.

Large plants with succulent leaves, and downright gigantic flowers. Begonias like the kind you would see back in the day at the county fair, winning ribbons for their showy perfection….

We are the last place around that we know of, still growing and featuring this old-fashioned flower. It’s our pleasure to offer plump and premium American-grown begonia bulbs and help you grow them, too.

Have a shade garden, filtered light, north-facing porch? These babies will still bloom for you with low-maintenance care.They are also happy in morning sun, or catching the final few hours of the day. Put ’em in pots, hanging baskets, beds- but put ’em up close where you can enjoy the colorful blooms!

Plant begonias in the shade (or morning sun), in nice rich soil. They will sprout in early spring. The routine is pretty simple to make them happy as they grow: water them regularly, apply flower food regularly. They will give you consistent color into fall, no other strings attached….

 

Come by and see these super-sized beauties for yourself- we’re happy to talk tubers with you:)

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