Thursday, February 28, 2008

844!!!! But Who's Counting

As the sun is rising on another absolutely gorgeous late winter day in Fallon, my thoughts turn to the task at hand for this morning. We are scheduled to get over 800 of our hand picked trees and shrubs today and my heart is racing with anticipation. Last week two trucks arrived with smaller shipments, but this is the big one that will fill the new shade tree lines. Thank goodness there is yoga in the RiverHouse this morning to help my back and my mind settle into this task for today. Hope to see you soon, Susan (pics to follow later today)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Tree Lines Completed....

I've made a few references to our new Stonehenge project to friends and family, so thought it was time to mention what I was talking about. When Robert and I went to the tree growers a couple weeks ago he noticed that their trees were not blowing over in the wind as ours sometimes do. Upon closer inspection he noticed that they were using a strong black "clip" to hold them on to what appeared to be a type of heavy duty wire. As I was spending my time looking for great trees, he was trying to figure out if we could incorporate this same method at the nursery. We asked for a clip to take home with us, and they did one better, they gave us the name of the company that they buy them from. Turns out is was a orchard clip, used to hold up the wine vines on heavy 12 gauge wire while growing. Robert hasn’t been with me on the last 4 years of tree searching, usually the girls and I go, so it was great to have him this time. We have been needing to replace some of the tree lines that we installed the first spring we had the nursery, 2001, as they have not held up well to the height of most of the larger trees we picked out.

We arrive back home and Robert immediately starts to try and figure out how he can make this new found system work for us. He contacted the company they had given us, only to find out that they only dealt in extremely large commercial quantities, but he found one eventually that would sell us what we needed. He started to tear out the flowering tree lines and this is where the "Stonehenge" project started. When he first started installing the posts he came back into the store and asked me to take a look and make sure that it was what I wanted before ripping out and replacing the others. I walked out and said "well.......actually.......no.........what I really want is for the two large shrub beds to be gone, the area leveled, and the tree lines moved here. That way the shrub beds can go over where they get a little more shade in the afternoon and it frees up more area for large shade trees." The look I received was pretty classic Robert, but the next thing I know I hear the bobcat running and I look out the window of the green room to see him ripping out the shrub beds! Over the next two days he and Cody removed all the old RR ties, leveled the ground, and started placing the poles for the new shade tree lines. After Michelle and I laid it all out, on an angle to make better use of the wind block protection, and the posts were planted, it just reminded me of Stonehenge.

So now the lines are up, the first of the shade trees have been placed, and last weekend Jay Davison used the crab apple that we had planted in the area in the spring of 2005 as his demonstration tree for pruning. Over the next few days the lines will start to fill up, and the path that was placed down the middle will give us our own little forest to walk through on a hot sunny day. Hope to see you along the path sometime soon. Oh, and thank you Robert! It’s going to be a wonderful new addition to the nursery.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Here come the trees......here come the trees

Yesterday we started unloading the first of the fruit trees for this year. Peaches, plumcots, nectarines and fruiting mulberries now fill the back area by the rose garden. Over the next couple of weeks we will see the addition of all your other favorites. These trees are actually grown "For Us" by Kitchen’s Gardens. Located on the other side of the hill by Auburn, their growing grounds are very similar to our altitude and climate, well maybe not quite as cold, but the perfect temperature for the trees acclimation to our valley. In the late summer of last year we gave a list to Stacey & Rollen of what trees we would like to see this year. They buy in the bareroot and plant them up for us and water and talk to them until it is time to deliver them over the hill to our nursery. They are planted in peat pots, and if we lived in a wet location you could just plant the whole pot into the ground. Here we have to take the extra step of removing as much of the pot as possible once it gets into the ground. We will go over all of the planting how-to’s when you come in.

The other thing I was really excited to see when he arrived ~~ we had asked them to grow another crop for us. We have not been able to fill the requests the past couple of years for Flowering Almond Shrubs. These beauties, in both pink and white flowers, can fill an area with abundant flowers in early spring. While some growers now consider them "out of style", we still have many people searching for them. They are a perfect plant for our dry alkaline soils similar to a forsythia as far as blooming time and hardiness. They just bloom a whole lot more. Small tiny flowers envelope the entire stem from top to bottom. This picture shows Rollen standing next to the huge specimens that he has planted up for us. I know that at least 4 will be gracing my property this year. I have wanted some for quite awhile myself since admiring them around town in some of the older more established landscapes. They were only able to get their hands on 40 for us, so if you want me to hold one, just give us a call or email us.

The arrival of the fruit trees also signals much ~ much more to come....and today it starts. I am heading down to the nursery in a few to help Marlea with the unloading of the first major truckload of flowering trees that we picked out at the nursery in California last week. More on those and our new "Stonehenge" project later. See you soon, Susan

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tree Shopping, Spring 2008

So..........many trees, so little time. Robert and I have just returned from our semi-annual tree buying trip to California. By visiting the growers directly it allows us to find some incredible new varieties that we may not have known about, as well as pick out our own trees. Straight trunks, large calipers, no cracks or splitting bark, and gorgeous canopies are just a few of the things we are searching for. Traveling up and down the hundreds of acres of trees with our sales reps it also allows us to pick their brains on what varieties we might be missing that do well in our area. They are also very familiar of what alkaline soils can do to certain trees, and steer us away from them. We found some amazing trees this time. I think I like going in the winter better than our summer trip because you can see the branching pattern on the trees so much better. While the area is absolutely beautiful when everything in leafed out and flowering as it is in the summer (think Southern California trees when you are visualizing the flowers as they also grow all of those varieties) the winter trip allows me to really get to see everything so much better.

In this picture I am standing in the bucket of a 25 gallon Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia L) that had the most amazing branching pattern. I am 5'10", and as you can see it is easily double my height. I picked up 10 of these, one of which I am told by Robert is going into our own backyard.
We also got a great deal on a large lot of 5 gallon Ash trees (Fraxinus americana), a perfect shade tree for this area.

Today we started a huge undertaking to make way for all these beauties, and when I get the pictures downloaded tomorrow.......well.....you know how it goes............the story continues. See you soon, Susan

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dr. Earth ~ ready ~ set ~ go!

Many of you have might have met Mike McLain at our nursery sometime during the past 7 years. When I first bought the nursery he stopped by to introduce himself as our sales rep for all of the Kelloggs products, (Amend, Gromulch etc) but more importantly of Dr. Earth Organics. He assisted me in finding the right mix of products for our area while "gently" persuading me to try what Dr. Earth had to offer. I have thought many times where my own garden would be if not for these great organics. Not very far! I am a convert, and if you have ever asked my opinion of what you should be using in your garden, hopefully you are now a convert also. I could go on and on about what Dr. Earth has to offer in the way of mycrohizza, and the perfect mix of micro organisms so desperately needed in our valley. Our Dr. Earth section is now freshly stocked and overflowing with all of their products and you won't go wrong with a one of them.

But this is only partly about Dr. Earth. What I really want to say is a huge public thank you to Mike! Through his quiet demeanor and steadfast commitment to organics and the environment he has taught me, and all of us at the nursery so much. He has a commitment to his products and takes the time to teach us about the value and importance of each one. If you are lucky enough to see his smiling face when you visit the nursery, take a moment to ask him a few questions. You will be glad you did. I am off to the store in a few, the wind is kicking up and it looks like we may get a little bit of moisture today. Hope to see you there soon. Susan
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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Harriet's Early Morning Surprise

Imagine Harriet's surprise when I went to let her out the back door of the gift shop and she laid eyes on these beautiful creatures. They were very content munching away on some of the over wintering perennials not ten feet from the door ~~ guess we will have more to plant in the display gardens in the spring. Before I could get back to the office and get my camera they had high tailed it down to the river. When I looked over to the left there were 6 or 7 more over behind the gazebo in the River Garden. Such an amazing sight. Now, I know that those of you that have to deal with these creatures eating your plants every day probably don't feel the same. But on a cold morning in February it was a wonderful way to start the day. And Harriet, she decided to sleep inside today. Take care and stay warm. Susan

Friday, February 1, 2008

Signs..signs...everywhere is signs...

If you have been into the nursery lately, you might have noticed the new signs that are beautifying our establishment. Thanks to the creative effort of Michelle, and the wonderful talent of Jim Moore, we have new signs gracing the front of our building and over at the RiverHouse. These are hand carved wooden signs and they are truly works of art. I want to publicly thank Jim for making them for us. They are so beautiful and warm my heart just looking at them every day as I drive in. I hope that as the days go on we will be able to add many more addendums to the RiverHouse sign. I am thinking a Children’s Art Studio, perhaps some type of music program ...who knows. Send your ideas over, you may be sitting on a great one and just don’t know it. We love the feedback. Take care, enjoy the sunshine. Susan

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