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!


  1. I am convinced there will be lots of gardens in heaven! Thank you for sharing, so ready for spring here in the Midwest. (amanda@fancylittlethings.com)

  2. I want to walk around that nursery! There is nothing like spring and going to get the flowers. I wish I could go to your shop! I love having my vehicle full of plants. Can't wait to see your next photos!


  3. I really enjoyed reading your post and looking at the wonderful flowers. Looking forward to seeing what you do with them. Linda x.

  4. Oh, I can't wait to get out and dig in the dirt! But, for now, it's been put off as we got a couple inches of snow last night, here in PA!

  5. Beautiful new garden blog I've discovered, we have alot in common. I do find there are not too many gardening blogs out there. Come join me for a cup of tea. I am your newest follower...

  6. I also can spend hours at a great nursery, so many plants, textures, colors and all so beautifully displayed. And that is why right now I have 2 flats of Pansies, and 3 one gallon Geraniums waiting to be planted.... ahh Spring how I have longed for thee. This truly has been a very LONG winter up here on the far North end of California.... thank you for a beautifully layed out and photographed blog!
    Blessings to you and yours
    Curtis & Sherrie