Thursday, December 18, 2014

Building on the Past and Planning for the Future


It is almost here.  Really....2015. We cannot believe it. It seems that 2014 steamrolled through with a mighty force, and there was nothing we could do to slow it down.

In 2014 Loma Vista Nursery's container farm added an additional 4,000 sockets to our newly constructed Pot-in-Pot tree production. Our team of growers are scouring the country to learn as much as they can about this type of production and we are also doing a lot of trials at the nursery to determine how to produce the best container tree possible. We now have a total of 15,600 container trees and our availability for spring and summer 2015 looks strong. There will be a lot of two inch trees coming ready in early summer.

 





2014 was also a banner year for perennial production at Loma Vista.  Jessi, our perennial grower, started producing our perennial plugs from unrooted cuttings.  This opened the door for increased production, better supply and fresher crops throughout the year. 

 

Heuchera house
 


For 2015, we plan to finish even more one gallon perennials from URC's including many new varieties from Darwin Perennials and Ball Horticulture. After seeing these varieties in the trial gardens at Ball over the summer, I could not wait to get them on to our production plan. Check out our 2015 order form for a list of these varieties. 


 

Carnival Watermelon Heuchera

 

Loma Vista Nursery opened its second Landscape Distribution Center in fall of 2013.  The new location made it through its first spring with no major catastrophe.  This was quite an accomplishment and all due to the excellent team of people we have on board at the new site. We are looking forward to a strong 2015 at the new location which will be driven by new housing and construction in the area.


 

Kansas City LDC
 

Lastly, we were able to make a big change in our field tree production in 2014 that will enable us to be much more efficient in producing high quality balled and burlap trees. Formerly, our tree production was located on two farms that are separated by about 20 miles of highway. Logistically, this was not the best scenario. In 2014, we built a large retention pond for irrigation and fenced another large section of property and started preparing the soil.  This fall, we were able to sell the Baldwin City property and will now have all of our field production at our Willow Springs, Kansas farm.  This farm is about 700 acres total and is located just south of Lawrence, Kansas.  The soil is the best we've come across in the metro area (over the past 24 years we've had tree farms in various sections of the KC Metro). We can even grow some nice blue spruce here!


 

Spruce field
 

Our team has been energetically preparing for 2015 and we will kick start the new year on January 4th at the Western Nursery and Landscape Association trade show.  We are pretty excited for the show to be hosted in downtown Kansas City at the Crown Center Exhibit Hall. This is where I remember the show as a child.  Every year I would get to go see my dad and uncle at the show and we would always have lunch at the Crayola Café. The trade shows at Crown Center make up a few of the many great memories I have from growing up in the nursery business.


From everyone at Loma Vista Nursery, we appreciate your partnership in 2014 and look forward to 2015. We wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.


Sincerely,



For more details or to register for the Western Trade show visit www.wnla.org.  View the online schedule for details about Loma Vista's learning centers on the trade show floor.  We hope to see you there. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Propagating Tiger Eyes



Tiger Eyes SumacTiger Eyes Sumac - image courtesy of Ledge and Gardens

Rhus typhina Tiger Eyes has been a difficult plant for us to propagate at Loma Vista Nursery using the softwood cutting method that we use for many other plant varieties. After doing some research on the subject, and interviewing the head grower at Bailey Nurseries, we are beginning a propagation trial using root cuttings.

 

Tiger Eyes Root Cuttings
 
Bailey Nurseries has experimented with different methods of propagation and have found that they have the highest percentage of rooting with root cuttings and softwood cuttings taken from the stems of the newly planted root cuttings.  With this particular plant, the pieces of root are very small - 1/16" to ¼" in diameter and 1" to 1 ½" in length.  We are taking root cuttings this fall and again in the spring and potting them in March.  We are also beginning a trial stock planting of Tiger Eyes to use as a source for the root cutting material. 

 

 

Field for Tiger Eyes
 
Preforma Plug Tray
Performa tray - image courtesy of Garden City Plastics


At the same time we will be trialing the type of plug Bailey's uses for this particular cutting - a Jiffy Preforma plug.

 



What we hope to determine:

1.       Can we set up a stock plant field to produce root pieces for propagation?

2.       Will planting root pieces or taking cuttings from shoots emerging from the root pieces produce a higher rooting percentage?

3.       Will taking root cuttings in fall or spring produce higher rooting percentages?

4.       Is the extra cost of purchasing Preforma plug trays justified by the higher rooting percentage?

5.       Can we propagate this plant without the additional expense of heating a propagation house by using a house that is bottom heated for overwintering of boxwood cuttings?

6.       Can we wait until temperatures are warmer and supplemental heat is unnecessary to use root pieces for propagation?

If all goes according to plan, we hope to use the newly planted stock plants to produce all of the 1550 Tiger Eyes on the 2016 sales forecast.  Wish us luck!
 
Patricia Osborn, Propagation Manager, Loma Vista Nursery

Friday, December 12, 2014

Effect of the 2014 Big Chill


The temperatures this fall have truly been harsh when compared to the average.  Fortunately, September and October gifted us with a nice, gradual decline in lows, allowing the plants to be better prepared for the deep freeze.  This gentle slide before the bottom fell out prevented many of our plants from experiencing major winter injury.   
Some of the more borderline plants may have some tip dieback from the cold blast, but we are not anticipated major crop damage anywhere on the nursery.   

Perhaps the most significant issue we are dealing with as a result of the Arctic air (I refuse to say the P. V. term) is the leaf retention.  I speculate this phenomenon is due to the lack of moisture in the "freeze dried" leaves and does not allow proper abscission.
 

Normally we have to manually remove leaves on about 1/3 of the plants we lay down and cover in straw.  This year we are essentially at 100%.  There is not any negative impact on the plants, the leaves just need to be removed so they do not rot, causing stem injury during the winter.

 

All in all the beauty of this colder-than-normal fall is the temperatures staying consistently low over time.  This is allows the plants to remain fully dormant during a period that can have many temperature swings.  


Remember to keep your newly planted material and evergreens well hydrated during the dry winter months to ensure good establishment and strong growth in the spring.  

By Ben Cecil, Operations Manager, Loma Vista Nursery

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Plant Care Tips


With temperatures plummeting into the single digits mid-November, we scratch our heads and try to figure out when to call it quits on fall planting.  But, with a warm front settling in on us, digging will resume and trees are getting dug for fall planting and spring inventory. 
  

   

When the foliage drops in the fall, plants that have been protected are now exposed to the conditions.  These plants, along with new plantings and evergreens, require protection in the winter.  Last year we had big losses on northern exposed plants from extreme dry cold that pounded us early January and into February.  These plants would have had a much better chance had they been cared for with supplemental watering.  Winter kill can also be reduced with the use of anti-transpirant such as Wilt Pruf.
    

Wilt Pruf 

Anti-transpirants help plants retain moisture.  Watering intervals are tough to gauge. When we are warmer and temperatures are above freezing, give two deep waterings a month.  Once we drop to freezing and stay there for an extended period of time, back off to a deep watering once a month.  Plants don't use as much water when temperatures drop but still need the moisture of a deep soaking.  It's important to reapply an anti-transpirant periodically during the winter months. 
  

Ilex verticillata 

Plants with great winter interest are the Ilex verticillatas with the long lasting berry set.  Aronia holds foliage for a long period of time.  Pragense Viburnum is another deciduous plant that holds foliage for a long time and is effective for screening.  Bark also gives winter interest; one of my favorites is Rhamnus.   

Have a great fall planting season!

By Don Mann, Certified Arborist and Certified Chemical Applicator, Loma Vista Nursery

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Childhood Memories


Greetings from the Polar Vortex!

During my childhood, my family would take frequent trips to my grandparents' house In Garnett, Kansas. They always had a huge vegetable garden and many flower beds. But, the plant that I will always remember the best was a large weeping willow tree that sat next to their house and hung over their long driveway.

Weeping Willow
Image by Gerhard Greunau

I do wish I had a photo of that tree. It was one of the tallest weeping willows that I recall ever seeing. While it was a darker green than the Salix alba Tristis plants we have in our propagation houses, I instantly remember my grandparents' tree every time I see the cuttings.  Above is an image of a tree that reminds me of that willow from long ago. 

 Salix in Propagation 

Our quart size trees in the propagation area are ready to be potted into larger pots for future crops.  We have both container and field grown willow trees available for spring.  Contact your sales representative to place your order.   
What can I say? I just love these trees!

By Mark Gates, Inventory Manager, Loma Vista Nursery

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Wonderland


It is that time of year when evergreens stick out beautifully against most deciduous ornamentals, unless using the brilliant color of dogwood varieties such as Arctic Fire. If you are closing shop, think not! Expand your winter sales by sprucing up yards for the dull of winter. A landscape should not look bland just because plants are not actively growing. Invest in the holidays and keep your clients' homes looking their best when family and friends are over to visit.
 

Cornus Arctic Fire and Bright Edge Yucca
Cornus Arctic Fire 3PW, Bright Edge Yucca #5

Conjure up fond memories with your customers by asking a fun thing they recall doing around the holidays. I loved going out with my family to get our live Christmas tree when I was a young girl. Building on their responses will make it easy to suggest how to decorate their home for the holidays. Creating these strong relationships with your clients is priceless. Provide year round interest near entryways by using Yucca Bright Edge for a sunny spot or Ilex Honey Maid for a protected and partly shaded area.

China Girl and Honey Maid Holly
China Girl Holly Pyramidal #7, Honey Maid Holly #3

Other possibilities include planting a pyramidal form of boxwood or holly. We have some awesome looking China Girl Holly shaped into a pyramidal form, which will also do the trick by potting into urns and placing one on each side of a front porch entrance.

Decorating is something I thoroughly enjoy by creating color combinations, using flashy, bright and sparkly objects, and playing with textures and light. Coming up with ideas for winter containers, door swags and the like is really fun and can be thoroughly enjoyed by all. Click to view our winter containersPinterest board for design inspiration.

Winter Container Pinterest Board
Winter Containers on Pinterest

Make suggestions to prune branches from pines or spruces growing close to a client's house or intruding on other plants in the late fall or winter to use the freshly cut branches in indoor or outdoor containers. This is also a great time to collect any pine cones that can be wired into arrangements for the front porch, window boxes, door swags, or table décor. Encourage homeowners to purchase a live Christmas tree, already in a container, but make sure it is kept watered inside so it can be planted into the landscape at a later time. Adding a big red bow, lights or spray glitter, or outdoor ornaments can really make a dashing statement to a juniper or holly.

Sky High Juniper and Castle Spire Holly
Sky High Juniper 3FE, Castle Spire Holly 3PW

Call us so we can help you and your customer create the ideal winter wonderland.
By Sheila Balaun, Inventory Control/Customer Service, Loma Vista Nursery

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Shrubs for Your Plant Palette


Throughout the year, I try to make regular trips to the container farm.  Sometimes I have a specific goal in mind, but often I just like to drive through each section, taking note of what catches my attention.  If it turns my head, chances are it could turn heads at the garden center or in a landscape.  I especially like to keep my eyes on plants that are new to our production schedule.  The following are some of my favorites from this year.

 Lemon Candy Ninebark

Lemon Candy Ninebark

Looking for a compact accent plant?  Or maybe a colorful hedge? This ninebark fits the bill!  Not only does it boast that eye-catching chartreuse color that has been so hot, but it is also compact and has been found to be tolerant of urban pollution.

 Tutti Fruitti Butterfly Bush

Tutti Fruitti Pink Butterfly Bush

New to our production schedule this year, this compact butterfly bush was impressive!  Vibrant color, very fragrant, and a nice growth habit.  On my last trip to the farm, I was first lured over by the prolific blooms.  But then I noticed the abundance of butterflies.  And the fragrance!

Next Generation Cotton Candy Hydrangeas  

Hydrangea Next Generation Cotton Candy

Re-blooming, color changing, very sturdy stems.  What else do I need to say?!  This Ball Ornamental exclusive mophead hydrangea looked so great this year.  Every time I visited the farm, the crop would catch my eye with lush, dark green foliage, and standout color on stand up stems.

Little Quick Fire Hydrangea  

Hydrangea Little Quick Fire

I saved the best for last.  We all love Quick Fire for it's early blooms.  But sometimes bigger isn't always better.  Little Quick Fire is the compact version topping out at 3-5ft.  We have been pretty impressed with this plant.  And for an added bonus... the fall color! 

As you sit down to work on your bookings for 2015, you should definitely consider adding some of these new varieties to your palette.  Do you have any favorites to add to this list? 
 
By Caitlin Hupp, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery

Friday, November 7, 2014

November Plant Care Tips


Image courtesy of KC Royals
The Royals are American League Champions and we had a great battle for the World Series. The last time I saw the Royals in the spotlight I had just started in the nursery business and nursery jaws had not been invented yet.  We used skid loaders with a bucket or a set of forks or a log chain to load trees.  There were can cutters laying in the corner of the shed and I asked an older worker what the tool was.  He said that they hadn't used them in years but shrubs used to come in metal cans that resembled Charles Chips' cans. 

Fall color has been magnificent and the good color is going to be gone before you know it so make an effort to get out and enjoy it.  Fall tree planting will be underway shortly.  As soon as we get a good killing freeze, we will be digging all the fall favorites.  Fall dig is only for a few varieties of trees we grow and this includes maple, crab, juniper, sweetbay magnolia as most of the trees that are shallow rooted.  Spring dig trees include birch, redbud, oak, elm, lilac and ginkgo. 

November is the month to finish cleaning up the perennial beds.  The spent flowers from the Hydrangea paniculatas and Lagerstroemia should be removed so the plant isn't damaged by the weight of snow.  Do not cut back into the body of the plant.  To prepare your plants for the cold nights and days ahead, spray an application of Wilt-Pruf on broadleaf evergreens.  Water is critical on the year's new installs and plants not yet fully established.  Give me a call or stop by the nursery for more plant care tips. 
 
By Don Mann, Certified Arborist and Certified Chemical Applicator, Loma Vista Nursery

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An Edible Landscape


This fall has been absolutely beautiful!  Time to start thinking about new plants for next year and adding more fruit to the landscape.  Give your customers a garden to table experience with small and large fruits.  Loma Vista has several in production and now available for booking for your spring sales.  Hurry before they are gone.

 
LYCIUM bar Goji Big Lifeberry 1PW and 3PW

RUBUS Black Satin #1

RUBUS Darrow #1

RUBUS Willamette #1

VACCINIUM Top Hat #1

VACCINIUM x Northcountry #1

MALUS Gala #7

MALUS Honeycrisp #7

PRUNUS Black Tartarian #7

PRUNUS persica Early Elberta #7 and #10

PRUNUS salicina Superior #10

PRUNUS salicina Toka #10

PRUNUS x Bing #7

PYRUS com Bartlett Pear #7

 
Some of my favorite fruits are Blueberries and Raspberries!  Eat them fresh, freeze, can, make a smoothie! 

 

Fruit Smoothie with Yogurt
Image courtesy of fruitsmoothieswithyogurt.com

Apples, peaches, pears and cherries are a joy to have and harvest.  To insure a nice harvest, be sure to properly prune and spray for best crop production. 

   

Prunus Early Elberta #7

Reference Guides from K State:
Pruning Fruit Trees

Planning Your Fruit Garden

By Michelle Cadena, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Perennial Production


Gaillardia cuttingsIn the perennials, we are preparing for fall by cleaning and consolidating the houses. We are putting everything can to can so we can keep pots together and make room for our new perennials next year! Our propagation crew just finished moving all of the rooted cuttings out of their houses and into the perennial houses.

Here is a picture of our newest Gaillardia Sunset Sunrise that we did as an unrooted cutting.

This year we decided to incorporate unrooted cuttings purchased from a grower into our perennial program. Unrooted cuttings are main growing points that are cut off a mother plant. We receive these cuttings, stick them in soil and hopefully with the right mist and some luck those plants will root in about 4 weeks!  We are able to have a lot more flexibility with growing and have more plants available at different times by using unrooted cuttings.  I saw most of our new varieties in full production at Ball Horticultural when I went to their perennial garden trials in Chicago back in July. I was able to look at the plants in the landscape and see how well they would do for us and that is what helped us decide what we wanted to grow this next spring.

  
Achillea Song Siren Laura
  

 
 
For instance, there is a great new Achillea. It is called Achillea Song Siren Laura and has such great flowers that are red with pink centers. Below are pictures of plants I saw at those trial gardens and how they look as rooted cuttings in our houses here in Ottawa.

  

  
 

 Agastache Heat Wave

Above is Agastache Heat Wave.  It has light green foliage with a bright magenta/fuschia flower.

  
Heuchera Carnival Cocomint 

   
Heuchera Carnival Cocomint in the spring has beautiful white flowers that dangle over the top of those leaves.
    

 Heuchera Carnival Rose Granita

   
Heuchera Carnival Rose Granita is a new variety for us this year and I am so thrilled to be growing it. It is a deep purple and a hint of sheen in the leaves and this variety also has beautiful white flowers that dangle over the top of that dark foliage in the spring.

By Jessi Faircloth, Assistant Grower, Loma Vista Nursery

Friday, October 17, 2014

Demand for Dwarf Plants


 

 
Over the course of my visits with Landscape Architects throughout our region this summer, one common question or need has been a consistent topic - the need for more 3-foot by 3-foot mature size plants that do well in our area for projects of all types.
 

Little Quick Fire Hydrangea

 Probably my favorite new dwarf variety that we now have is Little Quick Fire Hydrangea.  This is a dwarf variety of the old favorite Quick Fire, both are a panicled hydreangea with a lacecap type bloom. This is one of the first hydrangeas to bloom each year and can handle more sun than other hydrangea varieties if it is irrigated regularly.




Purple Haze Butterfly Bush on Sale in September
Lo and Behold Purple Haze Buddleia
  The following is a complete list of plants that Loma Vista grows that fit this category, with plans for more introductions as new varieties become available in the future. 

Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Butterfly Bush

Lo & Bedold Butterfly Bush (Blue Chip, Purple Haze)

Caryopteris (Petit Blue, Sunshine Blue)

Red-twig Dogwood (Arctic Fire, Kelseyi)

Cotoneaster (Tom Thumb, Hessei)

Show Off Forsythia

Abelia (Kaleidoscope, Sunshine Daydream, Rose Creek)

Chardonnay Pearls Deutzia

Fothergilla (Blue Shadow, Mount Airy)

Azalea (Bloom-A-Thon, Girard, Gable, Korean)

 
Cool Splash Diervilla
Cool Splash Bush Honeysuckle
 

Cool Splash Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla)

Panicled Hydrangea (Little Lamb, Little Quick Fire)

Mop-Head Hydrangea (Invinceball Spirit, Cityline Venice, Endless Summer, Let's Dance Series, NextGen Series, Nikko Blue)

Pee Wee Oakleaf Hydrangea

Snow Day Surprise Pearl Bush (Exochorda)

Little Henry Sweetspire (Itea)

Pokomoke Crapemyrtle 

Spiraea (Goldflame, Crispa, Goldmound, Little Princess, Magic Carpet, Neon Flash)

European Cranberry Bush Viburnum

Weigela (Minuet, My Monet, My Monet Sunset, Spilled Wine)
 
By Chad Weinand, Business Development, Loma Vista Nursery

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Plants, Research and Trials


Longwood GardensBen Cecil, our Operations Manager, and I attended the 3 Brand Grower Meeting in September. The meeting was hosted at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania with tour stops at Terrain Garden Center and Conard-Pyle trial garden and new plant development labs.   

Longwood Gardens is amazing.  This should be on every plant enthusiast's bucket list.

The 3 Brand Meeting is for growers involved with the following brands:  Bailey's First Editions and The Endless Summer Collection of Hydrangeas, Star Roses and Conard-Pyle, and Plant Development Services, Inc. (Encore Azalea, The Southern Living Collection, Sunset Western Garden Collection).

This meeting proved to be a key opportunity for us to learn about the brands, marketing efforts, new plants, production practices, etc. and also to network with others growers and learn through information sharing.   
Rose Liners
Rose liners at Conard-Pyle
At Conard-Pyle we were able to view their extensive trial fields.  It was great to see varieties from multiple plant development companies across the trade planted side by side in the no-spray environment. We also visited Conard-Pyle's new plant development lab where they are using embryo rescue techniques and outsourcing gamma radiation (isolating, scrambling and crossing the genetics) to develop new and better varieties....this was way over my head but fun to learn about no less. 
With so many new plants coming on the market, it is becoming more and more difficult to decide what to grow and maybe more importantly, what not to grow.   We all know that sometimes the new variety on the market is the next best thing and sometimes it is better to stick with the tried and true varieties.  There are a lot of plants that we have been growing for the past 23 years that are winners.  A new plant must bring something more to the table than a current variety in order to make a change in production (either replace an existing variety or add a new variety to the product line up).  Some new varieties have improved disease resistance, better performance at the nursery, more drought tolerance, reblooming or other appealing aesthetic characteristics that meet a need or solve a problem that is not solved with the current plant palette.

breeder talk
Breeder showing Chocolate Fountains Albizia
Seeing the trials, going to the meetings and trialing the plants for ourselves at Loma Vista will enable us to best determine the winners and select the best varieties for our production and customers.  Right now we have approximately 45 varieties in our trial program at Loma Vista.  If you have varieties you'd like to see Loma Vista grow, please shoot me an email or give me a call.  Lyndsi@lomavistanursery.com, 913-915-0773 mobile.

Example pictures of Conard-Pyle's trial garden are shown below. Selections they are trialing are placed next to the nearest or most similar product on the market so they can compare the plants side-by-side under the same conditions. 


Moody Blues and Royal Candles VeronicaMoody Blues and Royal Candles Veronica - Moody Blues has more flower power.

 

Einstein and Hummingbird Clethra
Einstein and Hummingbird Clethra - Einstein has longer flowers but Hummingbird has much nicer foliage.
Rainbow Sensation and Ruby Fusion Weigela
Rainbow Sensation and Ruby Fusion Weigela - Rainbow Sensation is outperforming the new trial plant, Ruby Fusion.



More images of the Longwood Botanical Gardens:
 
Northwind Panicum

Northwind Panicum - an example of a newer variety that provides a solution that other plants we grew did not. 
 

 
Caryopteris in the trial garden

Caryopteris in the trial garden in a mass planting as a groundcover. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Container Garden
 


Container garden featuring caryopteris, one of my new favorites.
 
 
 
By Lyndsi Oestmann, Vice President, Loma Vista Nursery