Hot Color for the Cool Season- Plant Now!

It’s nigh time to put in fresh color! This time of year is great for replacing those tired summer bloomers with a variety of cold-loving plants…

Iceland poppies

Start things off just like you would in spring, by adding a fresh layer of compost to beds and in-ground planting areas. This will refresh the nutrients in the soil that were depleted this summer. If you are planting in pots it is wise to use all new Potting soil right from the bag. Regardless of where you plant, it helps to mix in a little  Starter fertilizer like Masterstart to get the roots stimulated.

anemones in mixed plantings

There are lots of beautiful winter-blooming plants that do well here, and will give you nonstop color all the way into next spring- pansies, poppies, violas, flowering kale and cabbage, calendula, primrose, cyclamen and more.

 We love to use these reliable bloomers in our fabulous mixed pots with bulbs beneath. For a lush look, plant something upright along with mounding and trailing plants to give a 3-dimensional effect. If you want it over the top like we do at King’s, make sure and stash flowerbulbs in the soil underneath so, come spring, they will sprout right up through the plants above to create a stunning double-decked flower arrangement.


Make a bold show of color in the ground and along borders by planting one kind of plant en masse, or put in groups of flowering plants near perennials to add splashes of color to established plantings. Underplant the rose garden for some action while the roses are dormant- plants will be full and colorful beneath when the roses bloom again in spring.

Just remember: you don’t have to wait until spring to enjoy beautiful flowers- plant now!

cyclamen for days







Flowerbulbs are here! Plant NOW for Springtime WOW!

It’s one of the best times of the year- flowerbulbs are here!

Bright yellow daffodils , vibrant tulips, fragrant hyacinth will sprout forth effortlessly next spring if you take a moment to put them in now. It’s easy to set up a springtime show with bulbs, especially when planted beneath cool season flowers like pansies, poppies, stock and snapdragons. The shoots will grow right up through the plants in spring, creating a fabulous double-decker effect – wow!

Let’s go over the basics:

Daffodils (narcissus) are abundant and reliable, the classic reminder that spring has arrived. The brightly colored flowers are most often yellow, but you also see them in different combinations of orange, white and even pink. The shorter ones are often fragrant.

Tulips come in so many different styles, heights and colors- fringed, lily-flowered, giant mammoth just to name a few. Some bloom earlier, some later, so you can extend the bloom time by choosing some of each.

Freesia have a sweet citrusy scent. Plant them among other bulbs or perennials; the flowers bloom their way up the gracefully lilting stems for weeks. Great cutflower.

Bearded Iris have evergreen leaves, and many of the newer varieties will bloom for most of the year. Gorgeous, seemingly delicate flowers are quite large, sporting a noticeable ‘beard’ on the lower petals.

Hyacinth are suited to a fair amount of shade. Full and colorful clusters of bloom are compact, upright and potently fragrant. Great for pots or in borders.

Crocus, usually the first to bloom (in late winter/early spring), look like delicate cups of color sitting right atop the soil. Stunning when planted in clumps or drifts.

Dutch Iris have been a staple at the florist for many years. Make a statement with a large number of bulbs planted ‘shoulder to shoulder’ in a large hole, or mix some into the perennial garden.

We’re also getting the more unusual stuff, like ranunculus, anemone and sparaxis. The earlier you buy, the better the selection, so come by soon to check ’em out…..





Want a Butterfly Garden?

It’s butterfly season, and we get lots of ’em

Everyone loves butterflies. Kind of like puppies, kittens or baby chicks- when you see them, it makes you go ‘awww.’

These are the ballerinas of the insect world, showing grace with every movement, fluttering and floating effortlessly about. Here in Sonoma County we are visited by many different types, and you can encourage them to visit your garden by planting certain flowers.

a butterfly’s dream

Young larvae will need food plants, while adults will go  for nectar. A shallow dish or other regular water source is also part of the plan, as they drink water just like the rest of us. Understand that pesticides are a no-no if you want  these beauties to keep coming around.

Although, ideally, a thriving butterfly garden is somewhat overgrown (in order to sustain a working habitat), you can successfully encourage them to visit your tidy flower beds, as long as there are plenty of worthy blooms to check out. Here are a few candidates:

These are a few of the plants that will be eaten by caterpillars, or larvae, who will turn into glorious adults:

Dicentra, or Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts- a lilting perennial that blooms in late winter early spring.

Nasturtium- a soft looking, low growing rambler with edible flowers

linaria ‘flamenco’

Linaria (toadflax)- sweet mini snapdragons

Sunflowers- we all know what those are!

Penstemon- soft spires of tubular bells; bloom continuously

Hollyhock- tall towers of open-faced flowers; love the sun

Foxglove- lush leaves and large bell-shaped flowers

Here’s a few selections that will provide plentiful nectar to mature butterflies:

stunning delphinium

Delphinium- fat, long cones of many long-lasting flowers. Showy!

Lavender- pleasantly pungent leaves and blooms. Low water, too

Honeysuckle- sweet-smelling vine for full sun or part shade

Lilac- clusters of late winter/spring flowers. Great cut flower

Coneflower (echinachea)- strong-stemmed daisies form prominent cones as they become spent

Sweet Pea- These potently fragrant vines bloom through the cool season

Butterfly Bush (buddleja)- honey-scented conical flower clusters

butterfly bush

Lantana- round clusters of bright flowers. Can be a groundcover or an upright shrub

Flowering Maple- tropical looking, pendulous flowers that resemble hibiscus

Dianthus- sweetly scented, plentiful flowers

A lot of these plants are attractive to other pollinators, and hummingbirds, as well as being drought resistant, deer tolerant. A good many are suitable for cutting bouquets, so you can enjoy the flowers as much as your butterflies do. We stock all these plants and many more, and we’ll gladly help you design your garden and decide just what you need.




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.


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


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.


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.


Fragrant Gardenias

It’s the best time for gardenias- the flowers are loving this weather….

I’ve always thought of the gardenia as the southern belle in my garden, loving the warm nights and summer heat so prevalent in the south. Visions of a flower-filled courtyard in the moonlight, a heady fragrance in the evening air. A lovely lady wearing one in her hair. A gentlemen’s boutonniere.

These glossy evergreen shrubs are happy to grow here in our climate. A few things about gardenias worth mention:

-Get the grafted ones. They were originally developed for nematode resistance in the southern states, but it was discovered that grafted plants will utilize nutrients more efficiently, making them greener, more floriferous and vigorous.

– Food. Give them acid fertilizer regularly and you will be rewarded with many more flowers. Liquid food every 2 weeks, or granular monthly is best during the growing season (March – October).

– Plant them with acidic Planting Mix. It has great drainage, right out of the bag. Use it straight in containers, or mixed 50/50 with your native soil in the ground. While you’re at it, throw in your first dose of fertilizer.

-Flowers are most prolific when the nights are warm, so pick a nice warm spot. I like to put them near a walkway or window to best enjoy the wonderful fragrance. And yes, I bring the flowers inside- how could you not?

We like to stock these plants most of the year, but now is the best time to see them in bloom. Once you smell those flowers….come on by to see what I mean. Our staff is ready to tell you more if you have any questions.



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