Villager Nursery Notes

  • SOME Sierra Mountain Gardening Spring Classes and Workshops - 2019

    2019 Sierra Mountain Gardening Spring Classes and Workshops.
    Educated and experienced botanists, arborists, plant-lovers and garden professionals share their knowledge and understanding to help your mountain gardens succeed.

    The folks at Villager Nursery have decades of personal and vicarious mountain and high Sierra gardening experiences to share. “We’ve killed thousands of plants in our own gardens so that our clients won’t have to”. Before beginning your own experiments in creating Mountain Gardens, learn from the many trials and triumphs of others.

    MOST Seminars are held in the nursery @ Villager Nursery, 10678 Donner Pass Road, Truckee. Pre-registration is requested and drop-ins are welcome. We like to have an idea of the number of attendees for class hand-outs or samples. Most classes are still free of charge. Some workshops occasionally have materials fees. Registration isrequested for workshops.

    Since classes are outdoors behind the shop, we may cancel or re-schedule if the weather is unbearable. Dress warmly and please bring loads of questions, pictures, ideas (and samples of plants for identification etc.. after each class). The setting is informal and we would’t keep doing it if we didn’t have fun. We have benches to sit on but you are welcome to bring your own folding chair.

    We post classes on Facebook and in our e-mails or check for more info.

    April 28 - Sunday, 10:30-11:30 am: Spring Garden Resurrection. Every winter throws it’s darts. If it’s not the apocalyptic ravages of Sierra cement or mad rogue plow drivers, it’s mid-winter freeze-drying and voracious mammals. There is much that can be done to salvage wrecked plants. We’ll discuss pruning, protections, preventions, fertilizers, nuts, bolts, splints, stakes and masking tape for woody trees and shrubs. Often lawns and groundcovers only need a little TLC to revive with vigor. You have our sympathy and understanding, some plants in some gardens somewhere, suffer every winter.

    May 5 - Sunday, 10:30-11:30 am: Spring Organic Garden and Landscaping Tips– “Dirt First!” Rob and Eric will cover the basics of sustainable gardening. Topics will include soils, soil biology, cultural practices, pest prevention, and natural pest control. We’ll discuss native and drought tolerant plants. We will also cover organic potting soils, bio-active fertilizers, natural soil amendments and of course... MULCH. These two have degrees and advanced study in Botany, Plant Physiology, Ecology, Entomology, Mycology, Microbiology, IPM, Organic Chemistry, Horticulture and much more. Along with native and plants and drought tolerant landscaping, organic landscaping has been a Villager mission since the mid 1980’s.

    May 11-12 - Remember your Mother* (AND the Mother of your children) – Have the kids plant up an herb or cut-flower garden or fill a planter box with her favorite color flowers (and bring her to the free planting days at month’s end). Remember to water well and clean-up after yourselves.*(and don’t forget Mother Nature nor Mother Earth)

    May 19 - Sunday, 10:30-11:30 am: Growing Edible Plants in your Mountain Garden and on your deck, aka: Organic Veggies, Herbs and Berries in Truckee - Growing some vegetables can be a little challenging in this climate but we, along with hundreds of friends and clients, have wonderful, productive gardens every year. Come away from the class with simple tips, techniques and ideas for a successful cold-climate vegetable gardens. We have specialty tomatoes and grafted selections grown for us in several sizes and Villager nursery has all the organic seeds, soils and nutrients available.

    May 31th & June 1 - Friday & Saturday, 10am - 2pm - 11th Annual Free Planting Days - Free Planting sponsored by Kellogg Garden Products - You buy the plants and pots(or bring up to 3 pots from home). We are THRILLED to have Gisele and Eileen plus special guests Mike (out of retirement) and Duncan (from the great north woods),who will plant them up FOR you using premium Master Nursery Gardener's Gold potting soils and bio-active, organic G&B(Gardner&Bloome)Fertilizers. Come join the fun and create colorful baskets and planters - No more than 3 pots, maximum pot size 18” in diameter. No window boxes or barrels. FYI: Sunrise: 5:37am, Sunset: 8:20pm today, make the most of it.

    June 9 - Sunday, 10:30-12:30 am: Container Flowers, Pots and Hanging Baskets Workshop – This is a hands-in-the-soil workshop. Bring gloves and your own container (or purchase one here). Use our finest potting soil, fertilizer and water-holding gel. With an eclectic selection of scintillating plant materials we will help you arrange and create your own unique, living showpiece. A small fee ($30) is applied toward your materials and your choices of plants or pots. Space is limited – please pre-register at 587-0771 - Class is limited to 12.

  • Early Spring in our Mountain Gardens

    Happy Early Spring.  Temperatures this week have been almost 20º above average day and night. April is, on average, a mostly wintery month. Today 4/26, the average high is 58º and the average low is 26º (and that average is based on a WILD standard of deviation i.e. 80º & 15ºF.)  - Villager Nursery is now open 7 days-a week.  Mainly because we have a class this Sunday (I forgot) - simply titled: "Tree repair & Early Spring Revival 2019"...I've called it "Post-Winter Tree & Shrub Revival"... or better "Garden Resurrection" (but Easter is so last week..)... oh, the class, that's Sunday, 4/28 at 10:30 with two clowns who own Villager: Rob Van Dyke and Eric Larusson, both slap-happy from trying to re-build all the broken benches, and bent displays to get the nursery up and running from scratch.  There are more classes for many weeks to come... stay tuned. Sign up for the newsletter, we never manage to send very many, but we try to make them worth your time glancing over them. (Spring Organic Garden and Landscaping Tips– “Dirt First!”), May 5, same time, same location: Villager @ 10:30.

    "Revival: Hand-Out: Tree Repair & Early Spring Revival 2019

    Image: Space for Life Museum, Montreal

  • 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.

  • Mid-Winter 2018-2019

    As I closed the gate for our mid-winter season I came back inside to change the message on the answering machine, adjust the holiday lights timers, change the hours on our gate and on the search engines and social media:  Bing, Google, Yelp, Facebook and this webpage (my business partner believes this is all magically done by elves). I look forward to trying to make sense of another crazy season as a nursery in the high Sierra and to plan and prepare for the next. It's a stupid business, really. No one in their right mind would do what we do unless they have a ridiculous passion for it... and we do. We also wouldn't have survived this long ("thriving" in the nursery industry is surviving to open the next spring) without the support and straight-up love of our clients and friends who share our ridiculous passions. Thanks Y'all!  

    We are now "mostly closed" until mid-March-ish, weather dependent but we are delighted to hear from anyone with mountain gardening related questions, bid-requests, or product needs.  Call the shop and leave a message or send us an e-mail and we'll get back to you in a few days.  We are in and out of the shop almost daily all winter as the boys (cats) need feeding and attention and there is 5 months worth of bookkeeping and organizing to get done in the next 3 months.  Bright Solstice, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. - e

  • Late December Truckee-Tahoe Christmas Trees

    Because we are "off the beaten path" of Truckee (far-west Brickletown & far-east Gateway) we usually BEGIN to sell Christmas trees on the Friday night that Bay-Area schools get-out for the holidays. Reno was completely sold-out last week. Truckee's Boy Scout & Optimist lots are mostly sold-out. Please visit them. When they're out, we'll still have loads of fresh, beautiful trees of all kinds along with garland, wreaths, greens and living potted trees as well.

    We offer fresh-cut and sustainably harvested silvertips, dense & open noble fir, glossy nordmann fir, fragrant fraser fir, aromatic grand fir as well as living, potted spruce, pine and juniper. We have many returning clients who pick-up trees from Thanksgiving until now but our main wave of Christmas Tree customers begin arriving in ernest this Friday through Sunday - in these 3 days, we'll sell MOST of our trees. Ready. Set. Go. 

    Our hours vary depending on clients, business traffic and weather. 

    Call ahead if you're heading this way after 5. We are planning to stay open later on Friday and Saturday.

  • The Holidays 2018

    Early December and it feels like Thanksgiving was a month ago. We were out on mountain ridges, cutting high elevation Silvertip Christmas trees the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and just before the first real snows of the season arrived Wednesday, Thursday & Friday. 

    We've had fresh-cut Christmas trees delivered from five growers and wreaths, garland and greens from three others. Fresh cut Christmas trees (See Christmas Tree Choices) are in short supply throughout the west and we are happy to get what we can.  So far everything has been fresh and lush and we are of-course keeping the trees frozen and shaded.  This year we have Noble for from Oregon and Washington, Fraser fir from B.C., Normann and Grand fir from Oregon, Red fir (Silvertip) from the high Sierra (two sources).

      Our sustainably harvested wild Silvertips are beautiful trees but only the second-best. Our commercial tree harvesting permits are all about the "leave trees".  We look for the healthiest, disease, parasite free, choice trees and then we thin the trees around them. This reduces competition for resources, eliminates fuels and leaves the forest healthier and safer than when we arrived. Our other Silvertip come from a forester on the ridges of the Sierra Valley who manages a couple of sections and allows the trees to "turnip" (a branch turns up) to form a new leader.  I LOVE helping folks with Christmas trees. We've cut back on our selection of 10-12' plantation trees because @ 300+ lbs, our aging bodies just can't take it. We do have Silvertips in every size up to 20'. 

  • 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

  • Fall Sale 2018 some details:

    Happy Fall 2018! (and Fall Sale details)
    Fall began Saturday, September 22 with the autumnal equinox.
    Starting Sunday September 23, Villager Nursery will offer 30% off all 6-pack, 4" and quart size herbaceous perennials and wildflowers... plant these now for a beautiful perennial garden next spring. The #1 gallon size and larger herbaceous perennials are 20% OFF until 10/14. 
    ALL of our huge selection of Trees & Shrubs are 20% OFF 
    Plus special selections at 30% off: 
      • Native Tundra Honeyberry: Lonicera caerulea, Honeyberry, Blue-berried Honeysuckle, Hacksap, a circumboreal species native to mountains and forests throughout the northern hemisphere, hardy to USDA zone 1 (≤ -50°F). Two varieties are required for pollination.
      • Native Single-leaf Piñon Pine: Pinus monophylla is the world’s only single-leaved pine. It is also a source of large piñon nuts and is of major cultural importance to Sierra and Great Basin indigenous people. It is said, “the Piñon is to the Great Basin people what the American Bison is to the Plain’s people”. We have some rare, beautiful #10g trees.
      • #10g 'Spring Snow' Sterile Crabapples: Spring Snow Crabapple has a solid mass of enormous white flowers without fruit on a perfect "lollipop tree' to 20’ tall and only 15’ wide.
      • Fruiting Apple, Cherry, Pear and Plum Trees: We offer many hardy varieties of fruiting apples primarily late-flowering and early fruiting. While it is best to have two varieties for pollination, nearby crabapples usually offer up enough pollen for fruit. Roman’s were responsible for propagating Montmorency Cherries in Europe. These “Tart” cherries produce fruit almost every year in spite of spring frosts.
      • Native Sierra Spiraea splendens var. splendens (of "broad ecological amplitude"). Cultivated varieties like 'Summer Song' are 20% off.
      • Hardy Vines:  Clematis including western native C. columbiana. Hardy Kiwi (vigorous vine, yet to see fruit), Hop vine, Honeysuckle, Porcelain Vine, Virginia Creeper, and a few even more interesting options.

      • Elderberry, Currant, Gooseberry, Grape, Blueberry and Honeyberry Shrubs. 

    AND 40% Off one of our best native screening shrubs:

     • Native Green Chokecherries: Our native Prunus virginiana var. demissa. The cultivated variety of P. virginiana var. melanocarpa ‘Canada Red’ (@ 20% off) has a purplish leaf in summer. Chokecherries are fast-growing with abundant and fragrant spring flowers and fruit that makes excellent jelly.  It also has nice orange fall color and can be hedged to almost any height.

    There is also a coupon for Biosol, a coupon for hardy deer-proof Bulbs and Buy-4, Get 1 Free special on ALL Composts, Potting Soils, Manures  and Bark Mulches. 

    Bulbs are 10% off individual bulb prices or individual packets.  10% off G&B Fertilizers.  And there's a coupon for $_ off Biosol fertilizer (also bring a bucket for 12lb Biosol @ 19.99).

    -A link to the newsletter.

  • A Fall Sale

    Fall Sale... there is so much to do... 
    Other than 10 years ago and last week, FALL really is the best time for planting here and we really have been bringing in truckloads of fresh crops every week. We also understand that fall is crowded with "chores" and that our eventual snows do curb planting enthusiasm. 
    So... Here's to Fall Planting Season and a Fall Sale at THE perfect time.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record (we do wind-up saying the same things over and over), there is no BAD time to plant here, though digging through snow (or worse, frozen soil) adds to the adventure of preparing a hole. We are ALWAYS planting for NEXT spring when plants will emerge at the right time in your garden in rich amended soil and a much larger root-system than they had in the pot when they were planted in fall. The plants will look the way they're supposed to look in our mountain gardens. When we plant in fall, the wait for spring is not so long. 
    Fall weather is also cooler and easier on us and the tops of plants (reduced moisture loss) while the soil is continuing to warm (encouraging vital and precious root growth) until mid-November. There is no better time to plant. Deciduous woody trees and shrubs produce ~80% of their new roots in fall, AFTER they lose their leaves, and another ~20% in late winter, before leaves emerge. Conifers produce most of their roots in late winter, under the melting snow. The bigger the root system the more vigorous, robust and drought tolerant the plant. A wide planting hole, ample compost, plenty of organic fertilizers and mulch on top of the soil, all promote roots and thus healthy, vigorous plants.

    We are still bringing in fresh plant material weekly with more trucks arriving from our growing-grounds these next two weeks. There have been quite a few people asking. The inventory and selection is AMAZING and now, the PLANTS ARE ON SALE!  Sign up for our newsletter for details (I'm still finishing the newsletter).
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Seed Starting In and Out

Needless to say, we are a REAL nursery.  It is still VERY early season and we have a large selection of seeds we select for this climate.  We've been landscaping already.  Planting aspen and spiraea.  We have loads of nice hardy perennials that have over-wintered and are hoping to go into the ground ASAP.  We're setting up a few benches this week and opening the greenhouse.  We have hardy veggie starts and some of the hardiest flooming plants arriving next week. (for perspective, I used to fill planter box, in front of our old florist shop, for Valentines Day every year... pansys, violas, primrose, Dianthus, Calendula, English daisy and others can take 10°F - NO problem.)

Truckee Tradition: Sweet Peas.  Soak over night in clean water. Sprout on a moist paper towel in a plastic bag for 3 days. Plant in April 1st.  Still a little early for snow or snap peas.  Plant beets and radish through the snow if you still have any.  Lots of seeds need to be started indoors NOW.

Later Winter / Early Spring Weather, Usually. (4/16)

"Usually" is problematic when used to describe our weather. Averages here are based on WIDELY varying data points of moisture, snow-depth and temperatures and the average lines really seem to be shifting.  The 20th century was "the wettest of the past millennium, when Americans built civilizations in the desert".  Our "spring" has always been elusive.  We have had "false springs" frequently over the years in February or March and they USUALLY end when we went back to winter in March or April and the genuine warming trend began in ernest come May.  That is our mind-set and our experience. We have seen the nursery blanketed in snow every month of the year including July and August and in 1993 we had only a dozen nights above freezing ALL summer. Frost is part of gardening in Truckee, we have low relative humidity and that allows our temperatures to really dip (excepting Donner lake and the Tahoe basin of course). 

Winters 2012-2016 were dry and that usually means freeze-drying of many plants. 15-16 winter was not that cold and we did have several storms that gave us measurable precipitation in the form of rain, keeping the soils (and roots) moist.  We are not seeing excessive drying this year, even in the containers, though to be fair, we've watered 5 times this winter... unprecedented.

 Most plants emerged early and/or broke dormancy weeks or even a month earlier than "usual".



10th Annual Kellogg Free Planting Days June 1-2

10th Annual Villager / Kellogg / G&B / MNGC Planting Days are Friday AND Saturday, June 1-2 - 10am-2pm - (There is a large turn-out each year).  It is always a busy weekend in the nursery and we REALLY appreciate the incredible efforts of Kellogg's folks. You receive FREE Potting Soil, Free Organic Fertilizer, Free Planting Labor, Free Advice, Free Organic Gardening Information, FREE time plus great conversation and wonderful smiles from some of my favorite people: Eileen Stram, Gisele “G” Schoniger & we might see Duncan McNeil or Mike McLain...

Here's How it Works:

1. You buy the plants and pots from Villager Nursery (or bring up to 3 pots from home).
2. We (Eileen & Giselle) plant them for you using premium Master Nursery Gardener's Gold potting soil and authentic, organic MNGC Fertilizers while you wait and / or wander the nursery.

Maximum pot size 18” in diameter, please. No window boxes or wine barrels.
Come join us and create colorful baskets and planters to enjoy around your home.   

Love's Labour's Lost - Shakespeare @ Sand Harbor 7/8-8/27-2017

Love's Labour Lost
Plant Select Logo

Plant Select® is a collection of plants designed to thrive in the cold, dry intermountain regions and the high plains. Many of the plants thrive in the High Sierra and many are from much higher elevations. The program began in 1997, a collaboration between Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and nursery professionals. We started trying a few of their selections in 1998 by way of Central Coast Growers.  New plants (<10) are introduced each year. The inductees must pass a five-year, 7-point smart selection process:

  • • Thrive in broad range of conditions
  • • Flourish with less water
  • • Tough and resilient in challenging climates
  • • One of a kind/unique
  • • Disease/insect resistance
  • • Long-lasting beauty 
  • • Non-invasive 

 Smart plant features include: 

  • • Beauty
  • • Durability
  • • Adaptability
  • • Drought-Tolerance
  • • Reliable propagation and uniformity
  • • Lower negative environmental impact and higher positive impact
  • • Endurance, allure and easy care, all at the same time


Lawn Question

Q: I would like to know what are the best organic lawn fertilizers and what are the prices?

A: It depends, to some extent, on your original soil preparation and your type of grass but GENERALLY:
At snow-melt we top-dress with a very light layer of fine compost, Kellogg's Topper  (8.99 / 2cf / 200 sq.ft. and we often have it on sale 20-25% off) It is hard to believe that small amount helps but it makes a HUGE difference.  At the same time we use Dr.Earth Supernatural Lawn Fertilizer (44.99 / 40lb / 4000sq.ft.) (and depending on the soil - a summer application might also be warranted)   Then we use BIOSOL fertilizer in fall, as late as possible ($54.99 / 50lb / 1800sq.ft. and we often offer a $-off coupon in a fall newsletter).  They are both great organic fertilizers by themselves but when used together or alternately, the results are phenomenal (for lawns, gardens, orchards, raised beds, herbs, vegetables, etc..).   We started using Biosol back in the mid 90's because it is pretty effective at repelling voles under the snow, BUT, the first year I used it, my lawn recovered from winter faster than ever before and the lawn remained green and lush all the next summer (I did not fertilize again until the following October).  Dr.Earth has a fat compliment of beneficial microbes along with organic materials for them to eat.  Biosol is made from dead Penicillium fungus and dead bacteria and what appears to happen is that the Dr.Earth microbes love eating Biosol and so improve its release of nutrients.
If you have been using chemical fertilizers then the soil will be more / or completely / sterile and it can take some time (months / year) to build-up the populations of beneficial microbes.
Consider this: Plants take in CO2 to build cells and produce sugars and over 80% of those sugars are moved into the root system and a large percentage of those are actually exuded from the roots into the evolutionary strategy to feed and promote the beneficial microbes around the root system that, in turn, help feed and protect the roots.    Lawn Handout

Q: What are your thoughts are on bothering to take the time to aerate a lawn this late in the season? I haven't aerated my lawn in several years. I wanted to do it earlier this summer but never found the time. Should I bother now or just wait until next spring?

A: If golf courses know anything about lawns, you could follow their lead and aerate agressively late in fall.  Since MOST of OUR microbial decomp. occurs in winter, under snow, it is a time of nutrient cycling.  Late October: Aerate (back, forth, diagonally, repeat), fertilize w/ a little Dr.Earth and a lot of BIOSOL, topdress with a little fine compost, wait for snow, wait for spring... If it is a sod lawn, aerate twice a year.  (and if it were my lawn, I'd overseed with a little more clover and plant more Scilla bulbs in it for snow-melt spring color).

Big Springs Gardens

For a beautiful drive, an amazing setting, a beautiful ornamental garden that blends seemlessly into an awesome natural garden and for an incredible lunch, brunch or BBQ you really should not miss Big Springs Gardens this summer.  About 1 hour north of the nursery, through the Sierra Valley, over Yuba Pass and down toward Sierra City you pull off 49 onto the frontage road and into paradise.  When you first walk into the garden you see the lake with blooming water lilies and the Sierra Buttes in the background (and reflected in the lake).

Big Springs Bridge & Iris"Nicknamed 'Monet in the Mountains', Big Spring Gardens has attracted more than 20,000 visitors up Highway 49 for brunch or barbecue and a stroll through 113 acres of amazing gardens and Sierra forest. Its beauty draws many painters who -- like legendary French impressionist Claude Monet -- find unmatched inspiration in the mix of flowers and water. With the 8,600-foot Sierra Buttes as a backdrop, its high country setting just makes it more precious." - By Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee

Don Phillips, the inspired and energetic creator of the gardens (who turned 88 last October) said, "The way the world is going, we need some tranquil places where people can come and relax and enjoy natural beauty", "And I'm having fun."

Big Springs Gardens offers not only a natural spring, streams and waterfalls, thousands of plants and flowers, two miles of walking trails, gourmet food and even a replica of Monet's famous bridge. Big Springs Gardens is open June 15 through September 30, 2012. Gardens open at 10:00 AM and there is an admission fee of $12 per adult and $8 for children ages 6 through 12. Children 5 and under are free.

With 132 seats on the restaurant terrace overlooking the gardens, reservations are limited and now being accepted through August. Go online to or call (530) 862-1333.

The BEST street tree in downtown Truckee

The best street tree in Truckee is an accident.  At the far west-end of commercial row, next to Spring St. and in front of Heather River's new BeSpoke, is a beautiful multi-trunked cherry tree.  It was originally a half-hardy ornamental flowering cherry but that died and the rootstock grew(that's how many trees are grown: hardy vigorous rootstock with a wimpy showy scion atop it).  The hardy vigorous rootstock, Prunus avium 'Mazzard' took off.   

Prunus avium means "bird cherry" in Latin (though the common name "Bird cherry" usually refers to Prunus padus, a tough-as-nails chokecherry-like tree).  Prunus avium is a wild cherry throughout Europe from Great Britan and Norway to Morocco, Turkey and Iran.  It is a common landscape tree in northern Europe.

The cultivated variety (cultivar, c.v.) 'Mazzard' is self-fertile and this occasionally has fruit (it blooms fairly early in this warm location and the blooms likely frost).  We asked one of our growers 2 years ago to cut down some of their trees in the field and let the "Mazzard" cherry "suckers" come up. Those SHOULD be ready mid July but this initial crop will be small (pre-orders available.)

We were on Cottonwood's deck last night (after taking this picture) and the waiter told me that a man had offered him a $20 tip if he could tell him the name of the flowering tree at the end of commercial row. I told him that including myself and most of the Villager staff, there was no-one else in town who would have a clue.  Now all three of you that see post this will know as well.


The 27th annual Far West Nordic Auction/Raffle Party was held at the Olympic Village Lodge in Squaw Valley.   This is Far West Nordic’s largest fundraiser for its Junior Nordic Programs.

THANK YOU to everyone who attended and especially... To everyone who purchased tickets from Katrin or in Katrin's name.  Thank You, Thank You.  

The Party was a blast, as always.  The food was great, the Black Diamond and Great Basin Brews were refreshing and the excellent wines from Truckee River Winery and Coppola Wines went well with the meal.

There were a TON of raffle prizes and an amazing array of silent auction goodies...  I bid on quite a few and won only one, myself.  Mark Nadell did his usual awesome job as the Snow Queen Auctioneer and there were some incredible get-aways and equipment to bid on.

Nordic folks are good people. I'm so glad I was there.

May in the Nursery

Topper Special Continues.  It makes the lawn look good right now.  Getting a few more class hand-outs into the references section every few days. Trying to repair, replace, renovate, recycle, re-purpose, reduce and reuse benches, tools, plants... after the ravages of yet another winter.  More to come.  Get your veggie gardens started! Attend some gardening seminars and workshops and have fun in your yards.

 The Orphanage will be up and running, ebbing and flowing for the next couple of weeks.  Check it out. (May Day Newsletter)

2011 Nordic Junior Olympics

The 2011 Junior Olympics

The USSA Junior Olympics serve as the national championships for cross country skiers ages 15-20. There are three age classes of competitors: J2, ages 15-16; J1, ages 17-18; and  OJ, ages 19-20.

Katrin Larusson achieved an 8th, a 9th and a 12th place finish

June at the Villager 2010

June 11, our first busy day.  We are all looking over our shoulders expecting a huge dark cloud to slap another foot of snow and icy wind at us.  "Gun Shy" is really what we are.  I went hiking / fishing on the north fork of the American river a few years back (the last time I went) and we saw or almost stepped on some 20+ rattlesnakes in 2 days - my nerves were fried to the point that I'd jump every time I heard a grasshopper or a twig snap.  I kind-of feel that way this spring.  BTW - this is Erica earlier in the month - and this is why I grow tulips.  They are GREAT annual cut flowers.  If the deer eat them after I cut the blooms, I don't care.

April at the Villager

In April, we are like big wave surfers.  We have to get up to full speed before the wave arrives.  Our busy season is May and June.  We'll be helping all of our wonderful (I mean that with ALL sincerity) clients who'll need us and great plants.  We endured all the new transplants to Truckee coming by in March, as they do every year, asking "Where are all your plants?"... "It's spring". We patiently explain that March is winter; they leave thinking what a sad little nursery we are.  

Thank goodness it snows after the false our spring (almost) every March and April.  We actually have some hardy annual color, hardy vegetables, strawberries, groundcovers and perennials available.  Believe it or not, April IS a great time for planting.  Deciduous trees and shrubs (woody plants), put on roughly 80% of their annual root expansion in the fall, after the leaves fall.  The other 20%, or so, occurs before leaves emerge in spring... that would be now.  Conifers (like spruce, pine, Modoc cypress, Microbiota decussata, that sort of thing) put on root expansion primarily in the spring with a little in late summer.  Planting conifers now gives you a tremendous advantage over planting later in the season.

OK, one last April note: Plant wildflower seed now.  Mix your seed with organic fertilizer and Topper compost then toss it down over the last few inches of snow.  Don't forget to water a little when the snow does melt.

July-August 2010

In the Mountain Nursery business the season starts when it starts: when the snow melts and we've had a reasonable period of time to recover from the last hard frost or heavy snow (usually early May to mid-May).  The busy season goes until the 4th of July when the rush to get things planted wanes and we all want to get out and enjoy this beautiful place we live in. 

The lights are still on and we have a whole tribe of very devoted and kind clients and friends.  Thank you to all of you who gave up a day on the lake to plant a few perennials, you'll be happy you did when they bloom next spring.  The water in the west slope rivers is still cold!  Not too much hail (thank you) but we were ready with our frost protecting floating row cover - it works great for hail protection, letting the water through but absorbing the shock of the ice.  We cover our thimbleberries and dogwoods especially.

August is sunflowers, black-eyed susans, Siberian catmint, Russian sage, and hollyhock... Big-ol' plants with rich colors.  Mid-season is August 1st. Check-out the NOAA Freeze Frost MapsFreeze Frost Probabilities info.  Our frost free period (less than 10% chance of 32°F or less) is July 15-August 15.  So we still have September, October and sometimes, part-of, November to get plants in the ground to rage next spring

these guys were munching Lupine in the off-ramp landscape after a Truckee Thursday in mid-July.

Cart-Load Sale

August 20-21. This Weekend Only, Saturday and Sunday, You get 25% off of all the plants you can fit on a blue Villager 3-wheel cart.  Really, ALL the plants you can balance, stack or pile on ONE cart... trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, fruits, vegetables, seeds, statuary, gifts or soils. Go for it!  Load-up. Bring your friends. Have fun with it. One cart per newsletter recipient.  One time only please. Offer not valid with any other coupons or discounts.  Feel free to forward your newsletter to friends.

This was a hoot when we did it last year... People were very clever in the way they stacked the plants and some of the carts were downright dangerous.  These are the 3-wheel carts only

Customer Appreciation Party - August 2010

Customer Appreciation Party Was A BLAST!

Thanks to everyone who RSVP's and those who just stopped by and those who brought friends and those who brought delicious treats and thanks to Jose and Celina for the Super-awesombroso Carne e condimentos delicioso...  (best guess Español).  And thanks to Johnny and Chuck for the great music, we won't do another party without live tunes.  (Sorry for the "rookie move" placing the beer and margueritas so far from the music).  note to self for next time: raffle for visitors, beer and food by music, lights, heater.

Labor Day Weekend Specials*

Check Here for the Newsletter

20% OFF ALL Hardy Trees and Shrubs including evergreens, aspen, lilacs, mountain ash, apples, blueberries and all the rest.

30% OFF ALL Herbaceous Perennials  including peonies, poppies, asters, daisies, sedums, and a wide array of native wildflowers (except bulbs...they're just arriving).

*Sorry, not valid on special orders / no holds / limited to stock on hand / good thru 9/5/11


We are expecting snow and very cold nights 10/4-10/8.  We have 10x12' sheets of 1.5oz Frost Protection Fabric, reg. 16.99 on SALE for 12.99.  It works extremely well and we could not operate our nursery without it.  I have been trying to send an e-mail all day but the program servers are down.


FALL SALE and Road Construction Clearance 9/23-10/10*

20% Off Our Hardiest Woody Trees and Shrubs including Aspen, Birch, Alder, Mountain Ash, Serviceberry, Lilac, Spruce, Spiraea, Apples and Berries.

30% Off Our Huge Selection of Herbaceous Perennial wildflowers, cutting flowers, boarder flowers and groundcovers... including all grasses, water plants and hardy vines. (not dormant bulbs...they're just arriving).

Many tender perennials (perennial in low-lands but not cold-hardy) are 50% off or more.  

FRESH (3 deliveries this week) hardy bedding color to refresh your planters (not on sale).

30% Off Outdoor Garden Art and Statuary and Redwood Pots.

50% OFF RED-TAG Trees and Shrubs. Jose, Rob and Eric are tagging woody plants that need pruning or have a singed leaves or just look a little funky. They are healthy trees and shrubs, perfect for screening or a shelter-belt but just not quite up to snuff... aesthetically. Look for RED TAGS that say: "50% OFF"

Road Construction Clearance Specials Every Few Days:
This Weeks Clearance:

All #5g. Native Jeffrey Pines (reg. 34-39.99) THIS Week Only: $19.99, (limit 6/person. 9/23-9/30 only)

All #5g. Native (and cultivated varieties thereof) Flowering Bush Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), (reg 29.99-34.99) THIS Week Only: $19.99 (limit 6/person. 9/30-9/27 only)

*Sorry, not valid on special orders / no holds / limited to stock on hand / good thru 10/10/11

February 2012

Fresh Cut Flowers for Valentines Day, fresh houseplants, seeds from six sources arriving, seed starting supplies in stock, longer days, gradual warming, panic over so much to do before spring arrives, planning for the best summer ever in the nursery.  New growers, new cultivars, new species to try in our landscape.... I gotta go.

We try to run down to Chico each February to enjoy the almond orchards in full bloom and a spring hike in upper park. Right around the 20th of the month is usually prime.  The fragrance is sweet, the bees are humming, the grass is green and it gives you that sense of renewal that only spring can offer.

January 2012 Newsletter

January 2012 nursery news, wildflower seed, Biosol coupon, Potting Soil special and more.

Ice Skating

The Consolation Prize (as our friend Ivan says) of this dry winter is ICE.   If you have not been out, you are missing the best "ice season" in many years.  People are locally enjoying Serene Lakes, Coldstream Ponds, Martis Lake, Dry Lake, and Prossor Lake as well as some of the smaller creeks (watch out for beaver dams). Check out the local Truckee/Tahoe Area Lake Ice Skating Facebook Page and for more photos see the Eastern Sierra Backcountry Ice Skating Page. I'm amazed by how many people still call or come by to ask if we have used skates (I think we had them from 2000-2003 and a year like this makes us wish we could still provide them).  The other major bonus of a long ice season is that the vole populations usually decline.  Without the protection, insulation and plentiful food that a snowpack preserves, the voles can't eat and can't hide from their numerous predators... let's hope. 

April 2012


"The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
 You know how it is with an April day
 When the sun is out and the wind is still,
 You're one month on in the middle of May.
 But if you so much as dare to speak,
 A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
 A wind comes off a frozen peak,
 And you're two months back in the middle of March."



I'm not really sure what happened to March.  I managed a few Villager Facebook Page posts reminding anyone out there (I think we have 30 "LIKE"s) that the second Tuesday in March (New England's Town Meeting Day) is THE day to start planting Tomato, Pepper and Eggplant seeds.  It's still fine now but sooner rather than later is good.  For more seeding times check here: Truckee Veggies.  We are finishing up our Class / Seminar / Event Calendar for 2012, so PLEASE check back.  The 2012 schedule will be on the Calendar page.  The 2011 calendar is still lurking there.  The small Narcissus have been blooming rain, freeze, snow, WHATEVER, since early March. Who, in their right mind wouldn't plant these in their garden. Pest-free, NOTHING eats them, they grow in ANY weather and they need no summer water.  Really, it is not too good to be true. 

April 1 is the traditional date to plant sweet pea seeds outdoors.  Pick a sunny spot. Soak the peas over night.  Put them in a wet paper towel in a sandwich bag for a few more days.  When the root tip is JUST emerging, plant them two inches deep in a trench amended with Amend compost, lime and Gardener&Bloome organic fertilizer.  Bury them just one inch deep and let the trench fill in over the spring.

I love this poem for so many reasons.  I had an incredible year-long class at HSU.  It was team taught by an English professor (Gage) and a Philosophy professor (Drew).  The title was something like Nature & Human Nature and we explored every permutation we could in a year while reading a wonderful selection of literature and study from Greeks, Locke, Rousseau, Faulkner and Lewis Thomas.  We read the Frost poem below and it really stuck with me and I have felt fortunate in my life to: " unite, My avocation and my vocation,  As my two eyes make one in sight."

Happy spring.  If you get too anxious too soon remember that our weather is AT LEAST six weeks behind Reno's.  Go ahead and plant wildflower seeds ASAP.  Plant any plants that you (or we) have overwintered and are dormant.  Deciduous trees and shrubs will put on significant root system expansion before their leaves emerge.

We obviously have a huge selection of seeds and seed starting supplies (soils, trays, pots, pads, feeds).  


by Robert Frost

Out of the mud two strangers came
 And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
 And one of them put me off my aim
 By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"
 I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
 And let the other go on a way.
 I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
 He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of oak it was I split,
 As large around as the chopping block;
 And every piece I squarely hit
 Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
 The blows that a life of self-control
 Spares to strike for the common good,
 That day, giving a loose my soul,
 I spent on the unimportant wood.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
 You know how it is with an April day
 When the sun is out and the wind is still,
 You're one month on in the middle of May.
 But if you so much as dare to speak,
 A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
 A wind comes off a frozen peak,
 And you're two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
 And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
 His song so pitched as not to excite
 A single flower as yet to bloom.
 It is snowing a flake; and he half knew
 Winter was only playing possum.
 Except in color he isn't blue,
 But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look
 In summertime with a witching wand,
 In every wheelrut's now a brook,
 In every print of a hoof a pond.
 Be glad of water, but don't forget
 The lurking frost in the earth beneath
 That will steal forth after the sun is set
 And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The time when most I loved my task
 The two must make me love it more
 By coming with what they came to ask.
 You'd think I never had felt before
 The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
 The grip of earth on outspread feet,
 The life of muscles rocking soft
 And smooth and moist in vernal heat.

Out of the wood two hulking tramps
 (From sleeping God knows where last night,
 But not long since in the lumber camps).
 They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
 Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
 They judged me by their appropriate tool.
 Except as a fellow handled an ax
 They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.
 They knew they had but to stay their stay
 And all their logic would fill my head:
 As that I had no right to play
 With what was another man's work for gain.
 My right might be love but theirs was need.
 And where the two exist in twain
 Theirs was the better right--agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
 My object in living is to unite
 My avocation and my vocation
 As my two eyes make one in sight.
 Only where love and need are one,
 And the work is play for mortal stakes,
 Is the deed ever really done
 For Heaven and the future's sakes.

Hydroponics Rack: 50% Off

Hydroponics Rack:  50% Off 

We have a rack FULL of indoor gardening and hydropinics supplies - all for 50% off.

Ask about Hydroponics Parts - Many 50% 0ff

Ebb-Flow systems, Trays, Reservoirs, Fittings, Drains, Pumps, Air Stones, PH Solutions, Farm Kits, Active-Air 2&3-way Meters, Hydro drain and fill fittings...

Fall is in the Air Nursery-Wide Sale

Fall is in the Air Nursery-Wide Sale

September 13-22, 2013

Why Plant NOW!

There seem to be two extreme camps of gardeners visiting the nursery lately with very few in the moderate middle.  We have new folks stopping in asking "where are all the plants" because "it's OBVIOUSLY spring" and others, "informed" by horticulturally savvy neighbors,  who think they need to wait until late June to start gardening.  April IS a winter month in Truckee and Tahoe that happens to have BEAUTIFUL spring-like days... and we WILL have more snow AND we will have MANY more nights well below freezing AND it is a great time to start planting MANY hardy plants.  

Most conifers (spruce, pine, giant Sequoia) put on as much as 80% of their annual root-system expansion in early spring before top-growth begins.  Deciduous, woody trees and shrubs put on 20% or more of their root expansion in spring, as well, before leaves emerge.  Many hardy perennials that overwintered at Villager Nursery are a season larger and ready to bloom this spring on OUR schedule.  The advantages of early planting are TREMENDOUS.  Plant growth and success always boils down to the size and vigor of the root system.  Plant now, have bigger roots before spring really arrives.

Mid-March through Early May

As soon as the ground is thawed and workable (not muddy) plant asparagus, horseradish, ostrich fern, and lovage and rhubarb plants.  Starts of Swiss chard, spinach, caouliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabage and kale can be planted snow with a little row-cover protection.  Try eary seedings of beets, leaf lettuce, parsnips, radish, rhubarb, rutabaga, spinach, and Swiss chard. Don't forget to include calendula, dianthus, and viola for edible flowers. Cover the entire garden with n-sulate floating row cover to help plants harden and to protect from the hardest frosts.   Seed potatoes are arriving in late April, closer to the time for planting.

Garden Tour Ticket Earns 20% Off

Lake of the Sky Garden Tour

This year "The" Garden Tour is is in Incline Village on Saturday 7/27 from 10-4 and it sold-out more than a week ago.  Rob and Eric will be out there enjoying the creations, asking questions (and answering a few), listening to what you love and wonder at, and learning from everyone there.  The proceeds from ticket sales benefit local gardens and garden projects as well as funding scholarships for botanical and horticultural studies.
In support of the garden tour fund-raising, the Villager traditionally offers a one time 20% Off discount (any one purchase) to anyone who shows their ticket, on Saturday and Sunday, and we will again.

Garden Monkshood Sale:   Aconitum  napellus:  buy 2, get 1 Free, #1g size,  (of equal or lesser value) - through July31...  dumbledore's delight, garden wolf's bane, common aconite, devil's helmet or monkshood.  Aconitum is a genus with over 250 species native to much of the northern hemisphere.  Our most common and easy to grow species is Aconitum napellus, a Garden Monkshood, which is a frequent garden plant in cold locations throughout North America and Europe.  I have divided mine several times and the plants grow to 6' tall and 2' wide with dozens of flowering stalks.  Where the irrigation blasts them they often fall over if not staked but out of the spray, they seem to stand on their own.  They are very long lived. Like a shade loving delphinium with beautiful purple flowers. A. napellus prefers open woodland shade and moist well-drained soil.  We also have a few Autumn Monkshood that prefer more sun and bloom much later.

Villager Newsletter 7/25

  • Dumbledore's delight
  • Dumbledore's delight

Hot August Shade Sale thru 8/11

Hot August Shade Sale, through August 11. (see flier) or (sign-up for future notices)

25% OFF Trees and Shrubs:  any deciduous Tree or Tall Shrub that will grow ≥6’ tall (and give some shade)   (Conifers are all excluded as are the small Spiraea, Potentilla, Currants, Thimbleberry and woody groundcovers.“Deciduous” often equates to great fall color!

- OR -
If you buy 2 of the same species and size, you get the 3rd (of the same species and size) FREE (that's 33.3% off!).  If it is not the same, It is still 25% off.
We have an incredible selection of the hardiest trees and shrubs for shading, flowering, screening and for fruiting.  Among others, the sale includes Aspen, Maples, Hawthorne, Mountain Ash, Willow, Chokecherry, Apples, Apricots, Pears, Cherries, Elderberry, Ninebark, Viburnum, Twinberry, Serviceberry, Chokeberry, Dogwood, Roses (except ‘Nearly Wild’), TALL Spiraeas like: Spiraea douglasii, S. vanhoutii and S. ‘Halward’s Silver’, Tall Snowberry, Mt. Mahogany, Buckbrush and Buddlea.

75% off ALL remaining vegetables including Asparagus, Kitchen Rhubarb, Tomato, Pepper, Lettuce & all the other Veggies.  ALSO:  All ANNUAL herbs including tender perennials like rosemary.  (excludes thymes, mints, chives, sage...)

Blue Ribbon Blend Potting Soil:  OMRI listed, HIGH quality, organic materials w/ nutrients and beneficial mycorrhiza to promote vigor and fight disease. Excellent aeration, drainage AND moisture holding capacity.
1.5 cu.ft. bags.       Regular Price: $12.99        Sale Price: $10.99

Tomato Growing Kits...  for now or next summer  (Sorry OUR sample garden is not for sale).
Hydrofarm self-watering "Tomato Barrel" with tomato-support (and your choice of 3, 4" tomatoes) - $29.99  (a few newly potted-up pots available - add $6.00 for the soil = 35.99)
#10 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage (and your choice of 3, 4" tomatoes) - $19.99
#15 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage (and your choice of 2, #1 tomatoes) - $24.99
#20 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage (and your choice of 2, #1 tomatoes) - $29.99

Gromulch, Amend, Topper & Bumper Crop:   Buy 4, get 1 FREE
2 cubic feet,  $8.99 ea   -   Buy 4 Price: $3.60/cu.ft.


2014 High Sierra Mountain Gardening Spring Classes and Workshops.  Educated and experienced botanists, arborists, plantsmen and garden professionals share their knowledge and understanding to help your mountain gardens succeed.

The folks at Villager Nursery have decades (and decades) of personal and vicarious mountain gardening experiences to share.  “We’ve killed thousands of plants in our own gardens so that our clients won’t have to”. Before beginning your own experiments in Mountain Gardening, learn from the many trials and triumphs of others.

Spring Seminars and Workshops (April-June 2014) ... more classes in July-Oct.

Our Fall Classes: 

Sat. Sept. 27, 10-11 Autumn Gardening: Planting, transplanting, bulbs, seeds, soil prep & propagation.
Sat. Oct. 11, 10-11 Fall Color in your garden: Artistry & chemistry.
Sat. Oct. 18, 10-11:30 Winterizing your Garden: What to do and why to do it.

Mid-Winter Hours

For the remainder of January and through February, the Villager will be open Thurs, Fri & Sat.  Of course we'll be happy to help you if you stop by while were here (gate open and OPEN sign up) but those three days are our scheduled hours these two cold, short, mid-winter months.  We open-up again with all you'll need in early March in time to start seeds of tomato, pepper, eggplant and tomatillo (the first Tuesday in March).

Check-out our Facebook posts

We GAVE away 2, 50# bags of BIOSOL on November 12, 2013 drawn from new "Likes" or comments (from those who already like us) to the Biosol picture on the Villager FB Page. Look for it by 10/27/13.
(If you shared the post you were entered twice !!)

We hope we give you reason to "like" us for real too.

Dig.Drop.Done. Bulbs Demystified

Fall is for Planting.  While Fall is the BEST time of year for planting trees, shrubs and perennials it is also the ONLY time of year to plant spring-flowering-bulbs. 


I have ALWAYS been a fan of bulbs.  They are the simplest and most gratifying form of gardening, literally: Dig. Drop. Done.  Enjoy blooms in spring. "The flowering bulb is the little black dress of the flower world. It's one of the simple things that women can trust to make their lives beautiful. Flower bulbs are actually some of the most reliable and fail-proof blooms available."  Check-out the educational campaign, "Dig.Drop.Done".  "Books and websites are filled to the brim with numerous species, lengthy planting guides and tedious details on the ins and outs of gardening with bulbs. It's easy to infer that these plants must be time consuming and require a high level of gardening knowledge." - not true. Bulbs are easy.

Dig.Drop.Done. shows how easy flowering bulbs really are. At the heart of the Dig.Drop.Done education is a clean, easily navigable website for the the first-time planter or avid gardener. The site is simple, there is no need to know species names or soil conditions. Appreciating beauty is the only requirement.

Check these out:  Bulbs 101  /  Meet the Ladies  /   Easy Bulbs Video  /  Dig.Drop.Done. Facebook

BTW: Biosol is our FAVORITE bulb fertilizer!


Mountain Gardening Education

3rd Annual Villager / Kellogg Planting Daze!!!

WAS Friday AND Saturday, June 24-25 - 10am-2pm  (Mark your calendar for the 4th annual: June 22-23, 2012We had a huge turn-out... it was fun and our first busy weekend and we REALLY appreciated the incredible efforts of Mike and Giselle.

Here's How it Works:

1. You buy the plants and pots (or bring up to 3 pots from home).

2. We plant them for you using premium Master Nursery Gardener's Gold potting soil and organic Gardner & Bloome Fertilizers. 

Maximum pot size 20” in diameter, no window boxes or whiskey barrels please.

Come join the fun and create colorful baskets and planters to enjoy at your home.

HUGE BONUS:  Kellogg Garden Products expert and friend, Mike McLain AND organic-gardening specialist and educator with Gardner & Bloome, Gisele Schoniger will both be on hand to help plant and answer ANY compost, mulch or organic fertilizer questions you can dream up.

Villager Nursery, 10678 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161

Our ongoing classes run nearly weekly from May-Nov. If you'd like a class schedule, e-mail a request to or please Check on-line @ for additional information and sign-up.

Mountain Gardening June 2013

Eric Larusson and Rob VanDyke are both VERY happy to be back and wish you a very happy spring.  Summer is a few short weeks away.

Rob & Eric out standing in their fieldThis is been a very odd spring in sooo many ways. The usual false spring that we get in March or early April never proved false, it just rolled into a very early spring with plants leafing and flowers blooming 3-4 weeks earlier than normal or average.  The two days of hard frost (23°F) in late May were severe enough to fry native balsamroot (the prettier than Mule's Ears yellow daisy) and many landscape plants.  Oaks were especially hard hit but should recover.  

If you got out in March or April and planted beets, chard, spinach, peas, asparagus, lettuce, radish, or kale you must be laughing at how smart you are by now.  This may be the longest growing season ever, barring a big July snow-storm.  

There were unfortunately no classes scheduled this spring.  Rob and Eric will offer gardening classes starting again in July so look for a schedule on Facebook and here (we are always open to new ideas for classes).  Eric taught a fun and well attended, all-encompasing class at Sierra College in early May and will be offering a Fall Gardening class there in October.

The 5th annual Kellogg / Gardener & Bloome Free Planting Days are June 21 & 22.  Our summer solstice (the beginning of summer) is on June 20 @ 10:04 PM. Our Sunset is within 3 minutes of 8:31(on the solstice) from June 12-July 14, nearly a month (solstice: sol = sun + stitium = to stop). Celebrate the solstice by planting a tomato pot.  we have been growing tomatoes VERY successfully in pots on our patios, decks and driveways for decades.  We'll have super specials on the pots, supports and on the tomatoes themselves - and of course the potting soil and excellent organic fertilizers from Mike and Giselle are free!  (Show-up early!)


Kellogg's / G&B 7th annual FREE Planting Days! May 29-30

10am-3pm each day.  YOU buy the plants and pots (or bring one... three from home) and we pot them up while you wait or wander.  FREE Potting Soil, Free Organic Fertilizer, Free Planting Labor, Free Advice, Free Organic Gardening Information, FREE time and great conversation and wonderful smiles from some of my favorite people: Eileen Stram, Mike McLain, Gisele “G” Schoniger & Duncan McNeil...

TONS of color and vegetable starts - plant a lettuce pot or an herb-garden or a tomato with one of our kits!

We have these Tomato Growing Kit Specials especially for the Free Planting Days:

1) Hydrofarm self-watering "Tomato Barrel" (~7g.) with tomato-support and 1, 4” tomato - $29.99
2) #10 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage and 1, 4” tomato - $19.99
3) #15 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage and 2, 4” tomatoes - $24.99
4) #20 gallon pot, saucer, tomato cage and 3, 4” tomatoes - $29.99

I've potted up my tomatoes on 4th of July, during the parade, and STILL had huge harvests! It's better to start earlier... like now.



Early Spring Hours

Villager Nursery Early Spring Hours

May is Spring in Truckee. Daffodils are finishing blooms in Glenshire and just starting in Tahoe Donner. A LOT happens over the course of May. In the nursery we are bringing-in the hardiest (cold tolerant) veggie-starts, annual color, and tough perennials that we harden-off for a few days. May 1's average high: 59°/ low 27º and by May 30: 69°/33ºF. These averages are based on wildly varying extremes. Snow and hard frost occur frequently throughout an average May. 

Our late-winter hours gradually increase proportional to increasing temperatures, exposed earth (melting snow) and the swelling of the buds on our trees.  

Now Open 7 days a week Mon

-Sat 10:00-5:00 and Sun-10-4. Please call to check with us as YelpGoogle and Facebook are infrequently up-to-date (it takes days for them to upload our changes).

If you need help with products, plans, bids or consulting, please 

call with your questions or for an appointment. 

 You can also call and leave a message at 



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 best to wait until the soil is no longer muddy.

Mountain Gardening Newsletter

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Contact / Credentials

Villager Nursery, Inc
10678 Donner Pass Road,
Truckee, CA 96161
Central Truckee, exit 186 off I-80
530 / 587-0771
info@villagernursery dot com
No. C 3976.001, Co.29
CA Contractors License 1977
No. 413907 - C27 LS
ISA Certified Arborist: 

Eric Larusson
No. WE-7983A
Villager Florist - Gateway 1950
Small nursery added 1975
Landscaping added 1978
Incorporated 1990
Moved to current home 1999

California Nursery License 1975
Villager Nursery, Incorporated is a California corporation, a retail/, re-wholesale nursery and grower in the business of selling plants and all related outdoor and indoor garden and landscape supplies and accessories.

Shop Local 2017

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Christmas Trees, Wreaths and Garland

2017 Fresh Christmas Trees - Fresh Cut: Silvertip (Abies magnifica), White Fir (Abies concolor), High Brix Noble Fir (Abies procera) harvested LATE Nov..  Living Potted: Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens), Engelmann Spruce (Picea engelmanii), Black Hills White Spruce (Picea glauca ssp. densata).  Mixed and Port Orford Cedar Garland and Noble Fir, Cedar & Juniper Wreaths from 19 to 72 inches.  Door swags, mistletoe and greens by the pound.

Upcoming Events

Schedule of Classes, Seminars and Workshop