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 d├ęcor. 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