Everything listed under: Tahoe Nursery

  • Free Planting Days

    6th Annual Free Planting Days May 30th and 31st Friday AND Saturday, 10am - 3pm

    You buy the flower or vegetable plants and decorative pots at the Villager (or bring up to 3 pots from home) and then  Mike, Gisele AND Duncan will plant them-up for you using premium Master Nursery Gardener's Gold potting soils and bio-active, organic G&B (Gardner&Bloome) Fertilizers

    (We'll also use water-holding "flubber-nuggets" gel.) Come join the fun and create colorful baskets and planters to enjoy all summer. -Maximum pot size 18” in diameter, no window boxes or whiskey barrels please.

    Don’t have the time for one of the Villager’s free Saturday or Wednesday seminars? Kellogg Garden Products expert Mike McLain and organic-gardening specialist and educator with G&B Organics, Gisele Schoniger will both be delighted to answer ANY and ALL compost, mulch, organic fertilizer, soil biology questions that you can dream up.     Sunset is at 8:20pm 5/30.

  • Truckee Gardening Season

    Our gardening season and our "growing season" are not the same. We were gardening in February this year, planting shrubs we didn't get to in the fall as well as seeds and bulbs we forgot we had.  MANY clients were preparing their raised-beds and planting beet and radish seeds. The could have been plating seedlings of chard and kale as well. The best spinach I've ever had was grown from seedlings I planted in early April that then laid covered with snow for 2+ weeks. Our growing season, according to NOAA, is our "frost-free period", when we have less than a 10% chance of ≤ 32°F on any given night, is July 15-August 15.  July 31 is the middle of our growing season.

    Our "average" temperatures are derived from wildly fluctuating daily temperatures at all times of the year. The average gives us a rough guide with which we make wildly fluctuating guesses at how cold it might get on any given day.  That said, it is a tool, much like the USDA zones or the useless-to-mountain-folk Sunset western zones (see Northeastern for a more useful tool).  I've posted this pic of our chalkboard before but it "bears repeating".

    Here is a graph of an "average" winter (temperature-wise). Jan15, 2013-Jan 14, 2014. For interest, note where the "average" nighttime low is ≥32° and where the average daytime temps average ≥70°F.

    I think that, without a greenhouse, our "average" mountain gardening season in Truckee is about March 15 - November 1 (or 15).  It is a matter of taking advantage of clear and warm conditions, choosing the right plants and crops and being able to protect the harvests of others (see RowCover). If you have an unheated greenhouse you can add 3-6 weeks on either end of that gardening season for some veggies. 

    I have planted hardy annuals in February MANY times with great success (pansy, viola, dianthus, calendula, stock, primrose) and I have also planted dormant trees and shrubs in December, January, February and March with excellent success.

  • Villager Test

    (January, 2013).  For the first time, since we took over the existing Villager Florist in 1975, we will try closing for a couple of months.  It seems to make sense. As a fanatical gardener and botanist, I can't help responding to interesting phone calls and e-mails on my own time so if you have a burning question, by-all-means, drop us a line.  I answered a phone message from a Truckee visitor who wanted info about the trees in downtown Truckee that no one could answer so the Town of Truckee recommended he call "the Villager Nursery...they know everything".  We love that kind of high praise ... and of course, it's true.  :)

    We have long used Lewis Hill's book Cold-Climate Gardening wherein it is written "on whatever it is they write it it on up there" that "in northern Vermont the first Tuesday in March, New England's Town Meeting Day, is the traditional time to plant tomato seeds inside".  "They like heat, lots of light and exactly the right amount of moisture."  The Villager will be open part-time by then and we'll be here to provide you with all your cold-climate seed starting supplies from organic, short-season seeds to organic seedling potting soils, trays, heat-mats, lighting and all the rest.

  • Reserving your tree = happy children

    We are so happy to select and reserve your Christmas tree of any size and hold or deliver it to your condo, home, villa or castle. For wild-harvested Silvertip trees, we bring along our order list and cut trees to suit ("14 foot and narrow - Nemo" or "21 feet and open enough for candles - Sully", etc...).  It can be challenging for us to find your perfect tree but we love the task.  We offer "dense" and "open" Noble Fir from 5-11 feet tall. Special orders for trees 12-15 feet tall, made before the end of October, will be tagged in the high-elevation plantation a month before they are harvested. The trees are cut and delivered within 36 hours to our refrigerated climate in early December. Reserved trees are tagged as soon as they are delivered (the pick-of-the-litter) and kept in cold, deep shade. 

    Truckee, notoriously, runs short of quality (hydrated) cut Christmas trees in the last days before the holiday.  We actually sell most of our ~300 trees between the 19th and 22nd of December.  We try to have enough fresh trees but still occasionally run-out by the 22nd or 23rd as we did in 2012 (while 40 people picked-up their reserved trees the same days). We offered-up the ornament display tree in the store and the 18-footer out front on the 24th and were VERY sorry to not have enough for the families with small children who were so disappointed on Christmas Eve.

  • 5 Paths to Abundance in your Mountain Garden next Spring and Summer

    1. Plant Trees and Shrubs Now. Deciduous trees and shrubs including apples and berries will produce as much as 80% of their annual root system expansion in fall, AFTER they lose their leaves. Don't miss this opportunity for amazing growth in your garden.(Trees and Shrubs 20% off and Buy-2-get-1-FREE fruit trees and berry bushes)
    2. Plant Perennials Now. Perennial flowers, herbs and vegetables will produce many more roots this fall. They'll rest in your soil over winter and rise with our natural spring schedule to produce far more bounty next summer. (Flowering perennials 30% off, perennial herbs and vegetables 50% off!)
    3. Apply Biosol in Fall. Biosol is a humus rich, natural and organic, slow-releasing fertilizer that improves soil while providing essential nutrients for plants and the billions of micro-allies that help plants thrive. For gardens, orchards, flowers, lawns, meadows and forests. (see coupon in newsletter...or sign-up for the next one)
    4. Topdress Your Gardens.  Applying Gromulch, Bumpercrop or Black Forest Mulch over the soil between plants protects shallow roots, introduces composting microorganisms, ads humus and provides a perfect transition layer under coarser wood or bark mulches. Gardens with more mulch suffered far less in last winter's drought. (ALL mulches, composts and potting soils are buy-4-get-1-FREE through 9/17)
    5. Go into winter with moist soil.  Make sure that after the plants have gone dormant, you continue to water occasionally to keep soil moisture plentiful.  Your plants' expanding root systems need the moisture to keep on going long after the tops appear to be asleep.  We often say water one-last-time around Thanksgiving but you may need to water after that.
  • 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.

  • August Gardening News

    In This Issue...

    ·Top 10 Things to Do in August
    ·In the Shop·Mosquitoes and Hornets
    ·Mulch and Compost
    ·Gifts and Pottery
    ·Get Out & Enjoy
    ·Troubleshooting Tips
    ·The Easiest Perennials on the Planet!
    ·What's In Bloom Now...
    ·Upcoming Entertainment and Classes
    ·Garden Center Shop Hours

    ·Cart-Load Sale 25% Off all you can stack or balance on one cart.

  • Hierloom

    Every day (that we actually have people walking into the Villager from the snow) someone will ask us where we keep our "Hierlooms" and I always give a different answer.  Without labeling them as antiques or relics, we focus on providing only (and all) the toughest, hardiest and most productive plants, seeds and bulbs that will thrive in our harsh climate and poor soils. We do offer hundreds of cool heirloom plants (trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, vegetables and seeds)... we are avid, fun-loving gardeners and we relish anything unique but we also like improved, hardier, showier, and more vigorous new varieties as well.

    An “heirloom variety”, or “heirloom vegetable” is a cultivar (cultivated variety or selection) that was historically popular (for reasons of color, flavor, scent, habit, etc.), but which is not commonly grown in modern industrial agriculture or horticulture. Many heirloom varieties are open pollenated, some are hybrids, and many have been propagated over the years through grafts and cuttings (think: "great aunt Mildred's Christmas cactus that she brought over from the old country in 1855"). Growing heirloom vegetables in gardens is a hugely popular trend of recent years (I love 'Brandywine' tomatoes but cannot grow them without a greenhouse).  Many, many commercially grown varieties have excellent color, flavor, vigor and production but they are just not quite as old, fun or interesting as some of the heirlooms.

    Another example: only a handful of varieties (of the thousands) of potato are commercially grown. All the others are considered “heirlooms”.  Some old "fingerling" varieties are so widely produced now that they may no longer
    actually qualify as heirlooms!  (Eric's harvest 2009)

Contact Villager

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

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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