Thursday, April 25, 2013

Robots at the Container Farm

Using automation in the workplace isn't just for producing cars and bottling beverages. Robots are now working side by side with some of our employees in Ottawa!

Robots at the container farmWith the yellow tape as a reference marker, the operator sets up the parameters for the robot to work within. Safe for our employees to work with side by side, the robots have built in sensors to avoid obstacles and people. They are battery powered and can operate in a variety of weather conditions.

Why spend money on robots? We are passionate about investing in our company to keep costs down and pass on value to our customers. It isn't always easy to continue investing while in a tough economy but we feel it is the wise thing to do. Our focus at the container farm continues to be on producing quality plants at the lowest input cost. And, meeting this focus with a volatile workforce is a challenge. In addition to our local workforce, we also added three robots to assist with labor in the hoop houses and container yard.

A time consuming task at the container farm is simply spacing the plants. After the plants are potted up, they are moved on a trailer to the container yard. The robots are then used to get the plants on the proper spacing for optimum growth. Overwintered plants must also be moved to proper spacing in the spring. Mid to late fall, the inventory will be moved again, pot to pot, for overwintering. 

Using the robots for the manual labor of spacing the plants allows our skilled workforce to focus on other job responsibilities. Our employees' plant knowledge and nursery experience can be better utilized for pulling orders, pruning, determining fertilizer needs, insect control, and watering.

Join us for a tour of the container farm and see the robots in action. Call your sales representative or the nursery at 913-897-7010 to set up a tour or email us at
Mark Clear, Owner, Loma Vista Nursery

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Late April Bud and Bloom at Container Farm

Though spring seems to be slow in arriving this year in Kansas City, we do have many plants in bud and bloom at our container farm. 

The Double Knock Out and Knock Out Roses are full of buds with some flowers.  Here's a photo of the 1KO Double Knock Outs.  They have great height (15-18" tall) and form and are ready to make an instant impact in the garden center or landscape.  The Knock Out Roses are fast growing, disease resistant, and flower non-stop from spring until frost. 

The Oso Easy Roses held up so well through both last year's heat and even this year's cooler spring temperatures.  And, Oso Easy Paprika Rose continues to be a stellar performer.  Loaded with buds and blooms, the flowers of Oso Easy Paprika will work well with a variety of colors of perennials and foliage plants. 

All of the azaleas are loaded with buds and ready to ship:
Exbury Lights Series
Girard Series
Gable Series
Poukhanense - shown to the left

The flower buds of the lilacs are starting to open and show color.  Dwarf Korean, Miss Kim, Common Purple, James MacFarland and Proven Winners' Bloomerang (show to the right) are available in a variety of sizes. 

A few Cherokee Chief Dogwoods are still available. The flowers are lovely!  Other container trees with buds and blooms and ready to ship are Pears, Roses, Crabapples and Redbuds.

I always save the perennial and groundcover houses for the end when I visit Ottawa.  These are my favorite crops and I could spend hours in this section of the nursery.  The Kobold Liatris are pot full and the flower spikes are starting to show color.  Below are images of many of the perennials ready to ship:

A few of the Gallery Red Lupines are flowering.  The Gallery Pink, Blue and Yellow are still putting on buds.

Crimson Pixie Lily is starting to flower.  Butter Pixie and Orange Pixie are still budded.

Jethro Tull Coreopsis is starting to put on buds.

Shade loving Brunnera

Beacon Silver Lamium Crop 
Johnson Blue Geranium

Early Sunrise Coreopsis

Butterfly Blue Delphinium is loaded with buds

Royal Candles Veronica

East Friesland Salvia

Fireworks Clematis

Coming Soon - 8" Combo Containers with Caramel Coral Bells and Chocolate Chip Ajuga
Susan Mertz, Director of Marketing, Loma Vista Nursery

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stop and smell the roses

Spring tree harvest has come to end and we are wrapping up shipping these loads to our customers. With my focus now completely on the container farm, I spent a recent afternoon touring there with a customer to see the plants ready for spring shipping.

Up and down temperatures and a lot of rain has made it difficult for landscapers and garden centers to get the ball rolling. The flood gates will open and soon the typical craziness of spring will hit us all. Hopefully, we will take a little time now and then to stop and smell the roses. 
 BewitchedAt the container farm, the hoop houses full of budded roses is an impressive display. And, the fragrant viburnums are coming on strong and loaded with buds. The tree roses look great and our new selection of garden roses should be ready to ship soon. Red Beauty Holly, a recent addition to our inventory mix, is shown below. The #7 containers have very good height and form.

ILEX Red Beauty #7

Our spring perennial crops are pot full and many are starting to flower. The quart size perennials and groundcovers including sedums and coralbells are also very nice.

Northern Red Oak liners

Oak tree seedlings are growing strong in one of the propagation houses. This is just a sample of what we are growing.

Give me a call if you would like a tour of the container farm. If you don't have available time, our bud and bloom notes can be helpful in putting together an order and selecting plants that will make an instant impact.

Enjoy this upcoming spring for that is what we all got in this business for! 
Steve Bridges, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Container Trees

Did you know that Loma Vista now grows a variety of shade and ornamental trees in containers?
Although we continue selling balled and burlapped trees from the field, we understand there are certain advantages to container grown trees.  One major advantage is their size.  Thanks to their managable size, they are less expensive to ship and easier to  house at your nursery.  Plus, the average do-it-yourself homeowner will have an easier time tossing a #15 or #7 tree into their minivan on any given Saturday morning. 
Another advantage is the availability. Because we aren't at the mercy of dig season, which is greatly impacted by the weather, the window of availability for container trees opens up.

Here are a few examples of trees we are currently growing in containers. Check out our availability for additional Spring varieties and quantities. Or give us a call for Fall availability.

 Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry - Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

Small, multi-stemmed tree, 15-25 feet. Early flowering with white flowers that are slightly fragrant. Edible purplish-black berries in summer followed by orange-red colored leaves in the fall.

Cleveland Pear - Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland'

Narrow, upright, somewhat pyramidal. Moderate grower with early spring white flowers, red fall color.

Ruby Tears Crabapple - Malus 'Ruby Tears'

 Malus Ruby Tears

This First Edition Crabapple has a weeping form with burgundy-green foliage and pink flowers. Mature height 8-10'.  

Give us a call if you would like to arrange a tour of our container farm.

Caitlin, Steve, Lyndsi (913) 897-7010.

Caitlin Hupp, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bud and Bloom at the Container Farm

Loma Vista's container farm quickly transformed from winter to spring last week.  The temperatures are evening out, the plastic has been removed, and it's time for the mini huts to come down.  The next step will be spacing the plants.

Friday was a beautiful afternoon to walk the container farm and see our new crops and all the plants in bud and bloom.  Proven Winner's Double Take Scarlet Storm Quince is new at Loma Vista.  Large showy flowers, no thorns, and little to no fruit production are a few of the attributes.  The shrubs are full of buds and flowers. 

The lilacs are coming out of dormancy and the flower buds are swelling.  The image to the right is the Common Purple Lilac.  Meyeri (Dwarf Korean), Patula (Miss Kim), James MacFarland, Bloomerang and Vulgaris are the shrub forms with flower buds emerging.  The container tree form lilacs with flower buds are Meyeri and Snowdance. 

We're also seeing bud and bloom on many of the fragrant viburnums.  Burkwood, shown to the left, Carlesii and Juddi are all full of flower buds.  Pink Dawn is now flowering. 

Long time favorites, Cistena Plum and Forsythias, are full of flowers.  Our #5 Cistena is shown to the right.  Forsythias in flower include Show Off Starlet (1PW) and Bronx (#3). 

The Gardenii Fothergilla, available in a #3 container, have buds just starting to open.

#3 PJM Compact Rhododendrons  are also ready to ship, full of buds and flowers.  The Capistrano Yellow and Vulcan Rhododendrons have tight buds.  All the azaleas are full of flower buds - Bloom-A-Thons, Bollywood, Herbert, Stewartsonian, Ashley Marie, Hot Shot, National Beauty, Pleasant, Rose, Lights series (Golden, Mandarin, Northern, Orchid), poukhanenese and yedoense. 

Our rose crops are looking great.  Loaded with buds, here's the 1KO. 

We're also seeing the first flowers of the season on the Knock Outs, Home Runs, Oso Easy and Drift Roses.  These will be full of flowers in time for Mother's Day promotions. 

Shown below is Proven Winner's Mango Salsa.  It's available in a 1PW, both farm direct and at the LDC. 

Here's a sneak peek at one of the many tree roses that will be ready to ship soon.  This one is Pink Promise, a great addition to a garden center Pink Day campaign.  Pink Promise is the official rose of The National Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  The soft pink flowers are lightly scented. 

Other tree roses coming on include Iceberg, Bewitched, Paradise, Mr. Lincoln, and Sunny Delight. 

Our spring 2013 crops of perennials are pot full and ready to ship!  Some have started flowering.  Bleeding Heart, Spring Charm Arabis, Columbine, Paprika Yarrow and Creeping Phlox have buds and blooms. 

We'd love to show you what's growing at the nursery!  The container farm is open to tour for landscapers, re-wholesale nurseries and garden centers.  To arrange a tour, please contact your sales representative or call the sales office at 913-897-7010. 

Landscape architect tours are available on the 3rd Friday of the month.  To make arrangements, please call Lyndsi at 913-897-7010. 

Susan Mertz, Director of Marketing, Loma Vista Nursery

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Garden Peonies

Did you know that the peony is named after Paean, a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing? When Asclepius became jealous of Paean, Zeus saved him by turning him into the Peony flower.

At Loma Vista Nursery, we grow seven different varieties of Peonies.

Dr. Alexander Fleming

Dr. Alexander Fleming has double pink flowers with inner petals that are curled to give it a sphere like shape.  Very fragrant. 
 Festiva Maxima

Festiva Maxima has large, pure white, double flowers with occasional specks of crimson at the center. The flowers are held up by strong, erect stems. Fragrant.

Karl Rosenfield
Karl Rosenfield has large, double bright red flowers. 

Edulis Superba

Edulis Superba is a double lavender pink peony. The center petals are different shades of pink. It is one of the most fragrant peonies.


Pink Dawn

Pink Dawn has single to semi-double large rose-pink flowers which are lighter as they move towards the center. This peony has gold stamens and a light fragrance.

Sante Fe

Santa Fe is a two toned peony. Its blooms are cerise-pink on the outer edges and creamy white on the inside. It has very sturdy stems.


Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt has large, double rose pink flowers. The inner petals are ruffled and have silver margins. Fragrant.
Good background companion plants for Peonies are Lilacs, Hibiscus, Clematis and Evergreens. Knock Out Roses, Daylilies, Iris, Campanulas, Coneflowers and other sun loving plants will give color all season long.
Kate Williams, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery