80 Main Street, Sutter Creek, California ~ ~ ~ Attempted Hours: Open Daily 11am-5pm, Closed Tuesdays

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Trip to the Nursery

Blue skies have returned and it is finally starting to feel like Spring in northern California. So, I am visiting one of my favorite places - Park Greenhouses in Ripon, CA. This wholesale & retail nursery is one of my favorite sources for beautiful, healthy plants.

When I arrive at the nursery, I check out a golf cart with Maria at the wholesale desk. Then it's time to head down the lane and see what is ready for market.

I LOVE going to nurseries - almost as much as a good antique fair! I always think of one more place in the garden to add one more plant - or maybe three! A wholesale nursery is even more amazing because of the volume of plants. At first it was so overwhelming and I would spend all day. It still takes me a couple hours but I enjoy every minute! One of the reasons I like Park Greenhouses is that I am able to pick out each and every plant that I purchase.

This is one of my favorite areas of the nursery. Hundreds of 1 gallon perennials line both sides of the road. In another month more plants will be in bloom and it looks like a living, growing rainbow. And, what shocks me most is that the variety of plants changes constantly. Some of my favorites today - blue Delphinium, Columbine, Shasta Daisies and so many others. Below is one section of columbine - so many plants - it's hard to choose only six!

When I am picking out plants, whether I'm planting them at home or selling them at the shop, I usually buy one gallon containers in multiples of three. Generally they are perennials (plants that come back year after year) so I want them to make an permanent statement in the garden. One plant is often lost - three plants (I usually plant in a triangle as opposed to a row) will grow together and make more impact.

As overwhelming as the outdoor areas are at this nursery - - - the greenhouses are really crazy!

This is just one table inside one of five greenhouses and it is filled with 4" Gerbera Daisies in a beautiful range of yellow, red, pink and orange. Another nursery tip - the size (2" - 4" - one gallon - six pack) refers to the size of the pot it is planted in, not the height or size of the plant.

Lots and lots and lots of little, tiny tomatoes.

At a wholesale nursery you see all stages of plants. These tomatoes are not for sale - yet. They are seedlings and will be transplanted several times into larger pots until they are ready for sale.

There are hundreds and hundreds of hydrangeas in one greenhouse. Pink is beautiful for Spring and makes a great addition to your Easter decor. I have to admit the pale blue hydrangeas are a favorite of mine and several were added to the cart! Hydrangeas are one of those plants that need a lot of water - try to remember that the Hy in Hydrangea means water - and they need to stay hydrated!

Here is a huge row of beautiful deep red geraniums. As you can see there are only a few blooms. This is actually the ideal stage to buy plants. I prefer one bloom so that you know what color you're getting with lots of buds. If you buy a plant at the nursery that is covered in blossoms more than likely you've already missed the show and you will get few new blooms after you take it home. So next time you're at the nursery look for buds - not blooms!

The most difficult part of going to a wholesale nursery? Making sure all your plants fit in the car for the trip home! As you can see I have filled my car with many of my favorites - Maidenhair Ferns, Delphinium, Hydrangeas, Columbine, Geraniums and many, many others!

These will get unloaded at the shop, priced, put out for display and watered. Always water your plants when you bring them home from the nursery, especially if they have been sitting in a warm car. One last quick tip - the best way to tell if a potted plant needs water - feel how heavy it is. If you pick up a plant and it is light as a feather then there is no water in the soil.

I hope you've enjoyed this quick trip to the nursery. Next post I will show you the windowboxes and containers I am planning to create with this carload of plants.

Enjoy the sunshine and get out and get your hands dirty!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Daffodils in Bloom

Since it has been so cold and rainy the last few days - well, actually weeks here in northern California - I wanted to share pictures of our beautiful miniature daffodils that are blooming right now.
Because of the weather it's hard to believe today is the first full day of Spring!

Pretty paper napkins, notepads and boxes of soap with daffodils and butterflies. They make a great Spring hostess gift or a treat for yourself or a friend.

I created the planter (above) using a vintage galvanized chicken feeder. After punching a few holes in the bottom of the feeder for drainage, I filled it with mini daffodils and scotch moss. The scotch moss has an almost florescent green color that is great for Spring. I love having the bulbs sit just out of the potting soil. They'll survive this way while they are blooming but this isn't a permanent home. After Easter I will allow the leaves to dry on the daffodils and then plant them in the garden. The scotch moss will probably be moved to a miniature garden.

The planter is sitting on a vintage green metal glider. Next to the glider is an old galvanized drawer that I sat on end to use as a side table. The lamp is one I made out of a salvaged post.

This big basket of mini daffodils greets my customers as they walk up to the front door of the shop. Minis daffodils are a great Spring flower. The bulb sprouts multiple flowers rather than one or two blooms like a full-size bulb. Also, if you dead-head the spent blooms it will continue to produce flowers for a couple weeks. The bulbs can be saved in a pot or planted in the ground 4-6" deep in full sun and the pretty Spring flowers will return again next year!

(All items in this post are for sale. Please call or email me for pricing.)

Thank you Maria!

I just wanted to add a quick post to thank my friend Maria for featuring my shop on her amazing blog Dreamy Whites. She is such a talented person and I know we all look forward to each and every post she does. I am honored that she was willing to take time from her busy schedule to photograph the shop and now, because of her help I truly feel like I am a part of this wonderful, crazy world of blogging. Thank you my friend, I look forward to many fun adventures together!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shop Pictures

My friend Maria from Dreamy Whites was nice enough to come by the shop and take some amazing pictures for me. Here are just a few (I have to learn how to make them larger!) and I will be sharing more very soon! Thank you Maria - you're an amazing photographer!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's starting to feel like spring in Sutter Creek. One of my favorite things to decorate with this time of year is blossom branches. Although they only last for a week or so they are a wonderful cure for Spring Fever. If blossoms are not available on your property I recommend asking a friend or neighbor for permission to cut - on occasion I will pull off to the side of the road and snip a few branches. Never cross a fence line - but I think blossoms growing on the shoulder of the road are just begging to go home with you! Another recommendation - carry a pair of pruning shears in your car - they come in handy for random harvesting of blossom branches, pussy willows or other roadside finds.

Warm sunshine streaming into the shop!

Real daffodils will be coming soon!!!