Everything listed under: truckee garden

  • Early Spring Mountain Gardening Classes 2017

    Every spring here is different. 
    We gradually open the nursery as it is appropriate to bring in hardy plants, to uncover and display the ones we have and to encourage planting as the snows melt and the snow storms abate.  We've been open 4 days a week since early April and go to 6 or 7 by early May if warming continues. We will have more snow, of course.  We are bringing a few loads of hardy perennials, color and vegetables each week. With some big loads of trees and shrubs arriving the week of 5/10. We usually offer classes in April and then begin again July through October. These are some early offerings.
    • April 24 - Garden Resurrection and Repair (Spring Cleaning) - 4:00PM @ Lake of the Sky Garden Club, Art Center in Tahoe City. Eric (a long-time certified arborist) was invited to speak after this particularly destructive winter. (visit our webpage). 
    • April 29 - Spring Gardening (w/ focus on basic pruning and damage repair) - 11AM-12PM @ Villager Nursery - Rob & Eric are offering this very basic class.
    • May 4 - Container Vegetables and Productive Tomatoes - 5:00-6:00PM @ Villager Nursery - Villager staff have been instructing mountain gardeners on successful varieties and techniques for over 40 years. (May the Forth be with You!). Hand-Out Here 
    • June 2-3 - Villager / Kellogg / G&B Free Planting Days - Friday & Saturday - You buy the plants and pots and We (Eileen, Gisele, Mike & Duncan) plant them for you using premium Master Nursery Gold Medal potting soil and authentic, organic G&B Fertilizers. Organic gardening specialist and educator with G&B Organics, Gisele Schoniger, will be here Friday and Saturday to answer ANY and ALL compost, mulch, organic landscaping or soil biology questions you can conceive of. 
    • NEWS - the late July 2017 Lake of the Sky Garden Tour has been cancelled "due to the unusually harsh winter". It would have been in Incline Village this summer. For information about joining this very active garden club check the website here.
    Visit & LIKE our Facebook page for random details, frost warnings, or specials on plants & fertilizers and check-out our website for good how-to resources.Ideas on pinterest. Photos on instagram. (check out Joey's @highsierrawildflowers on Instagram) 
  • February & March

    I was just looking back at the rains, snowfalls, low-temps, high-temps for the Feb & March. We didn't see much sun. I grew up in California and in the Sierras.  I'd been to Utah, Coloradoo, the midwest in winters and my memory was of extreme cold, squeaky snow, frozen fingers. I'd been plenty cold skiing and sledding as a kid in the Sierra, but out there, I didn't want to play outside.  Someone who'd moved to Truckee from the east to ski told me years ago that the Sierra winter is 2-3 days of snowfall followed by a week of sunshine, and throughout my life, that been largely true, I just didn't know that it was unique. This winter did not feel that way. I recall shoveling, a lot. The crawl-spaces flooded. Trees bent, broken or up-rooted. I hate to admit that I didn't feel much like getting out and enjoying that white sh*t.  

    We did have some beautiful spring-like days in March, which is normal, followed by more and more winter, which is also normal.  For folks that have moved here after spring 2011, this "spring" might seem unfair but I assure you it is by-far the norm. 

    From a gardening, landscaping and ecological perspective, the soils have been well insulated, are warm and many plants have been able to produce roots all winter long. Hardy seedlings are emerging beneath the melting snow and the ample soil moisture promises an amazing summer of wildflowers. I just walked along one well traveled road with five pounds of native wildflower seed mixed with Biosol.  Like those bulbs and sunflowers on Glenshire Dr. that Katrin and I planted, I hope to see these for years to come. 

    Voles, who do not hibernate, have been eating and breeding all winter, well hidden from their normal predators. We're just starting to see what havoc they have wreaked. 

    I'm enjoying raking my lawn in narrow paths AS the snow melts, just a little, every couple of days and it is a very manageable job.  We're expecting our first load of compost, including topper, in early April and I'll spread that around on the freshly raked turf.  I have SO much pruning and clean-up to do. I'm trying to follow the snow-melt to stay on top of it. If you lost plants, we are very sorry.  We did too and so did most folks. Snowshoing through the woods you can see that this was a harsh winter ALL around, MANY native trees and shrubs suffered damage as well.

    The snow-plow loaders pushed piles and ramps of snow thirty feet into my yard and I've yet to see the tops of many plants while the rotary plows that came through on some very cold nights literally shattered my blue spruce. I've seen the same on native fir. These plants all have root systems to support them, plenty of moisture in the soil and a determination to live and grow. Plants may develop a little "character" that stays with them forever and we'll be able to look at the dog-leg in a tree 20 years from now and say - "Ah! That's from the winter or '16-17".

  • Happy Fall 2016! (and Fall Sale details)

    Fall begins Thursday September 22 with the autumnal equinox. I'm in Ouray, CO w/family collecting native seed and appreciating the fall colors (as I have many times over the years).  We have no internet at the house and the cell service is spotty so a "hot-spot" doesn't really work.  I've run into town for the day and parked at Mouse's to use their wi-fi (thanks again) to write a newsletter / sale-flier. The Newsletter highlights our MANY truck-loads of plants over the past 3 weeks and a Fall Sale. My communication with the shop has been rare as well so please forgive them if they didn't know I was writing this.

    Starting Saturday, 9/24, Villager Nursery will offer 40% 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 a whopping 30% OFF until 10/16. ALL of our huge selection of Trees & Shrubs are 20% OFF plus Danny's special selection: 

    Danny's Sale Selection: a large handful of 30% OFF specials…

    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 similar 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 #5g trees.

    Native Green Multi (& Single-Trunk Canada Red) Chokecherries: Our native Prunus virginiana var. demissa  and the Rocky Mountain P. virginiana var. melanocarpa. The cultivated variety ‘Canada Red’ has a purplish leaf in summer. It is a fast growing species with fragrant and abundant spring flowers and bitter fruit that makes great jelly (I know!) As fast-growing a tree as Aspen.

    Marilee and Dolgo Crabapples: Marilee Flowering Crabapple has large pink buds and abundant, enormous double white flowers without fruit on a narrow tree 20’ tall and only 10’ wide.  Dolgo is a large (30’+) shade tree with fragrant white blooms and large edible crabapples (1 1/2” dia.) fruit.

    Fruiting Apple & Cherry 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.

    Hedge and Bigtooth Maples: Acer campestre, hedge maple, has been used for dense screening for over 1000 years in Europe. It is hardy and relatively fast growing with Aspen-gold fall color.  Acer grandidentatum is native to the dry, cold eastern shores of the Great Basin. Bigtooth maple in the Wasatch range has incredible fall colors and is also grown to produce maple syrup. It is being planted en masse in Brickletown (see pic. in the newsletter)

    Hardy Vines:  I’m not in the nursery today but I know we have several of my favorite hardy Clematis including western native C. columbiana. Hardy Kiwi (vigorous vine, yet to see fruit), Hops (plant in the back-40), Hardy (USDA z.3) Honeysuckle and a few even more interesting options.

    There is also a coupon for Biosol, a coupon for hardy deer-proof Bulbs and Buy-3, Get 1 Free special on ALL Composts, Potting Soils, Manures  and Bark Mulches. 

  • We want your garden to succeed.

    More on Odds - As I mentioned previously, we are not just master gardeners (we teach master gardeners), not just arborists though ISA certified, not just contractors though licensed, we have university degrees in Horticulture, Botany and Ecology within which we frame and sort all the information we constantly gather. We have very keen eyes for interesting irregularities and trends in native and planted landscapes. We have many decades each, experimenting (succeeding and failing) professionally (and personally - in our own gardens).

    AND we have YOU and thousands of other clients who, over the years, generously share many and varied experiences with us, increasing our knowledge of scenarios, causes and effects, which we then use to formulate hypotheses. We test, retest, evaluate and ultimately derive conclusions which we use to help more clients with questions and issues.

    Mother Nature has very poor survival rates for most plants. Plants survive by luck and by millions of attempts - 99.999% failures. Our job is to dramatically increase odds toward 99.999% successes.  We try. We certainly have success rates in the high 90%'s though we always strive for 100%.  Nothing makes us happier than an entheusiastic client who comes in the nursery HAPPY about their plants... nothing.  We LIVE for that! 

    We and our staff all know that we never guess, we truthfully tell you the best plant for a given situation, even if we don't have it, we remind you of what you do need and don't sell you anything you don't need. We don't like killing plants any more than we like wasting resources.  We want to increase your odds of success. We want you to succeed.Red Fir Forest


  • 2014 Garden Tour Preview

    Pre Tour CollageRob, Druann and I were allowed to attend the docent / hosts preview tour of the gardens. Our thought being that we could offer insight, ID plants or answer questions the garden club members might have but this is a pretty savvy group and there was not too much we could offer.  There were several plant ID questions that will likely come-up during the tour so I jotted down a few comments here.  You can also visit our Facebook page where it is much easier to post photos and make comments than it is on our web-page.Eric @ Garden Pre Tour

  • Colder NIghts - Frost Warning

    5/13: Frost potential the next few nights. Row-cover over tender plants. According to noaa, Truckee's "frost free period" is July 15-August 15 when we have a statistically lower than 15% chance of frost on each night.  Facebook Post

  • Truckee-Tahoe Growing Season

    Truckee's "Frost-free Period" according to NOAA is July 15 to August 15. We have many years with far longer periods without frost and some years with far less.  With foresight and effort, Villager Nursery gives clients the tools to be successful in this challenging environment.  Hardy and mountain native trees, shrubs, perennials, wildflowers and bulbs can be planted from before snow-melt to after snow-fall.  

    Our soils are still warming and plant roots LOVE warm soil for growing.  Check our Villager-Nursery Facebook page for the most frequent updates and sign-up for our infrequent newsletters


  • Freeze-Drying Winter '11-'12

    January 2007 was similar to this December-January '11-'12. That cold dry year the ice skating was spectacular voles damage was minimal and many plants suffered.

    The process of preparing for winter in hardy plants goes something like this: Plants sense shortening days and cooling temperatures and produce chemicals to start the processes of dropping leaves or closing stomata (the holes they “breathe” through). Food is moved to the roots and important compounds in leaves are recycled and stored away. When freezing begins, water moves out of the cells and into the intercellular spaces (between the cells). This water freezes, but the cell’s contents, with higher concentrations of sugars and salts, have much lower freezing temperatures (like salt water or anti-freeze). As temperatures drop, more water moves out of the cells and solute concentrations in the cells increase, and freezing temperatures drop further. The cell membrane, which is inside the rigid cell wall, actually pulls away and makes room for the ice crystals between the cells.

    If temperatures drop too quickly, water cannot move out of the cell fast enough, ice forms inside the cells and in pores of the cell membrane. As you might imagine, jagged ice crystals inside the cells rip them apart and if enough cells die, the plant dies. This is damage we see frequently suffer in spring.

    This winter, before it finally began to snow, the days were sunny the nights were very cold, the north-east winds were blowing and several things happened.During the warmer sunny days, plant tissues warmed up enough to thaw and begin photosynthesis. Cells woke up and filled with water. At 3:00 PM in mid January, the warm afternoon sun had the plants thinking it was spring, just before the sun went down. The air temperatures were already below freezing and without the sun on the stems, leaves or needles, the temperatures plummeted and many plants suffered – This damage often shows-up as “freeze-cracking” , split bark or tissue damage on the southwest side of trees.

    In many other locations the dry wind and sub-freezing temperatures caused the ice between plant’s cells to sublimate (change from solid to vapor). When the ice around the cells was gone, the cell membrane was exposed and the little moisture remaining in the interior of the cells dried up – This is “freeze-drying”.

    This winter, some plants just dried-up. The soils became so dry that even roots died. I lost 2 of 7, 14 year-old currants. Sometimes there is no telling why some one plant dies and another survives. In the wild it is the same story, one manzanita is dead and 3 feet away another is fine and 12 feet further another is dead and so-on. It could have been one branch of a pine 30' away provided a few extra crucial minutes of shade in mid January or the one plant's roots just happened to be under a large rock... it is fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

    In home landscapes, many people may have saved their plants by watering in January and people with 3-4" of mulch throughout their garden suffered far fewer losses than most. NEVER underestimate the wonders of mulching.

    In the nursery, we lost huge numbers of plants in pots this winter. We tuck the plants together for the winter and put shade around them to trap snow but this winter they froze and dried. You cannot water a frozen container plant because the water freezes and suffocates the roots so we tried to lightly mist them and just raise the humidity but it was largely ineffective. We really need a cheap used snow-making gun for winters like this one (many larger nurseries in the mountain west have them.)

    We don’t have a huge variety of broadleaf evergreens that grow well here but there are a few. Manzanita, Huckleberry Oak, Live Oak and Ceanothus and Mt. Mahogany are some of our broadleaf evergreen natives. Many of these suffered this winter, especially those exposed to the north-east winds (see photo of fried manzanita and dead squaw-mat).  I have not seen damage on any Mountain Mahogany.

    I’ve also seen damage on Native Incense Cedar, Giant Sequoia, Lydia Broom, Hardy Holly, Hardy Rhododendron, Dwarf Alberta Spruce (it often suffers sun scald), Cotoneaster and Bear-Berry Manzanita.

    We are still waiting to see what has survived but many are pushing some new growth. Meanwhile, we've fertilized with Biosol and Dr. Earth and with seaweed to stimulate roots.


  • Truckee Spring - Mid-May

    Day-length pretty close to its maximum now, the soils continue to absorb the sun's radiation and the average temperatures are climbing.  May starts with an average low of 27°F and ends with an average low of 34°F.  Our night-time temps have been WAY above average for weeks an averages are just the mathematical numbers in the middle of the extremes of reality.  It will be nearly miraculous (or ominous) if we don't have more snow and a lot more frost.  That is not to deter gardening, God-knows I've been going at it since early April and am delighted at my gardens.  My comments are to remind you to be prepared to cover when the cold returns.

    We are having a HUGE sale on our pre-packaged 10x12' 1.5oz frost fabric (packaged by "easy gardener") reg. 15.99 on sale for 10.99 through Memorial Day.  It is great to use when transitioning plants from the house or shade to the outdoors as well.  I just leave it over the plants for a few days.  It is also important to have on hand in for fall cold when I often leave it over the garden for days or weeks at a time.  AND as a bonus... WE use it top protect ferns, hosta, rhubarb, thimbleberry and dogwood from HAIL!  it works great.  If hail is called for, I cover plants before leaving for work.


  • Saturday, July 23, 9:30 - Free Mountain Gardening Class: Native and Historical Plants

    Mountain Native Plants, Historical Introductions and Wildflower Plantings
    When:  Sat, July 23, 9:30am – 11:00am

    Where:  Villager Nursery, 10678 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161 (map)

    Description:  Saturday, July 23, 9:30-11:00am- Mountain Native Plants, Historical Introductions and Wildflower Plantings – Learn to choose the best and easiest native plants for many situations.  Learn how to protect and enhance your existing native plant populations. Gather some seed collecting tips and ideas for wild berry jellies and jams.  Bring samples for identification after the class. We'll also cover a few of the historically important introduced species thriving in Truckee without care for more than a century.  Rob and Eric are your instructors for this one.  BTW - We HAVE the most outrageous selection of natives right now including Epilobium canum (Zauschnaria californica) from a Donner Summit seed source.  Thimbleberry from seed collected in a wild (and rare) patch of pink flowering Rubus parviflorus.  We have - about- 30 species of Penstemon, if you like showy, easy care, drought tolerant, flowers that are loved by hummingbirds.  AND Soooo much more!

  • Deep Cold Forecast

    Deep Freeze Expected Sunday Night

    ~19°F (5/15-16):  I'll use 2 layers of N'Sulate 1.5 oz Frost Protection Fabric (floating row-cover) over my newly emerging Bleeding Hearts, Siberian Rhubarb (the edible Rheum should be fine) and Salomon Seal, just in case. Be careful not to break the tender new growth - put stakes in the ground to keep the fabric above the plants. We're cutting loads of daffodils right now in case they freeze too deeply... 

    Hardy Plants

    MOST plants in our gardens should be fine. Plants that come up on our schedule are pretty tolerant of our extreme temperature swings in spring. I'm a little concerned about the buds on my crabapples and I noticed the beautiful Mazzard cherry tree at the west end of downtown is about to bloom. If you've pulled tomatoes or basil or fuchsia into your garage for protection, be sure to move them away from the door.

    We are turning off our irrigation again and draining the above-ground commercial valve, one more time. A string of incandescent Christmas lights under row cover over a planter box can save even tender plants.

    Don't walk on your lawn on frosty mornings or you'll have black footprints when the sun comes out.

  • Start Tomato Seeds Indoor in March

    (03/2010) March is counted as one of our winter months. March also happens to have the most beautiful sunny spring-like days. Rob likes to quote a famous VanDyke who said that "The first spring day and the first day of spring are often months apart".  We may have beautiful spring days for the equinox but frost-free days are a long-way-off.

    For years, just before Valentines day, I planted violas, dianthus, calendula, pansys, vinca, primrose and stock in a flower box outside the nursery.  Those plants always thrive, no matter how cold it gets.

    The first Tuesday in March is Vermont's Town Meeting Day. According to Lewis Hill (Cold Climate Gardening), it is also the traditional day to start Tomato and Pepper seeds inside in northernVermont (their climate is similar to ours in many ways).  We have used mid-March as our seeding time for decades with great success.   I heard recently that said Tomatoes are the "gateway drug" to vegetable gardening.  We all grow tomatoes here (in containers) with great success (and frost protecting cloth).  It's not THAT hard.  Our goal at the Villager is, and has always been, to share our passion for gardening and to see our clients and friends SUCCEED in this avocation we love so much.  

    We offer several vegetable gardening classes at the Nursery each spring; check the calendar page. It should be updated by mid March with this year's schedule.  

Contact Villager

Villager Nursery, Inc
10678 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161-4834
Central Truckee, exit 186 off I-80
(530) 587-0771
www.villagernursery.com
info@villagernursery

Founded 1975, Incorporated 1990

California Nursery License 1975
No. C 3976.001, Co.29CA
Contractors License 1977
No. 413907-C27 LS
ISA Certified Arborist: Eric Larusson
No. WE-7983A

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