Nursery News

Plant Availability 2014

With this amazing weather and the promise of long summer days ahead, it’s easy to get excited about adding beauty and bounty to your yard! We have put together some projected availability lists for some of our plants such as fruits, rock garden plants, vines and shade & ornamental trees. Take a look and get inspired about the possibilities! Please call us to verify availability.












































































































Rooted In History: Plants, Memories, and the Shared Experience

By Jesse Eastman

hotchkiss-wisteriaOne of the many pleasures of my job is hearing customers’ stories about their personal connections to plants. For some, a plant is hope – a young fruit tree that will feed their family in years to come, a get-well gift for an ailing loved one, a fresh face for a worn-out landscape. For others, plants can be memories – a tree planted by a parent or grandparent, a houseplant that was a gift from an old friend, a flower from a seed collected on a memorable vacation. In all of these cases, there is a common thread – the power of living things to fuel our connection to the world around us.
I experienced this connection when my grandmother passed away two years ago. She was a woman who I have always associated with plants. When I close my eyes and think of her, she is standing in her yard, surrounded by flowers, and smiling with such radiance that every bloom seems to be leaning in to be nearer to her. She was an incredible artist, incorporating pressed wildflowers into her delicate watercolor paintings, capturing the beauty of her western Colorado surroundings in ways only plants could allow.

After her passing, the slow and sometimes painful process of spreading her belongings, the physical trappings of her long life, amongst family commenced. I ended up with some various pieces of art, some trinkets, a dresser, but the things that truly captured my nostalgia were plants. I was told that nobody would be taking any of the plants from her sunroom. Christmas cactus, a variegated jade, geraniums, all staples of my childhood memories, would be lost. The massive wisteria growing on the front porch might be lost without a caretaker once the house sold. I felt nearly as great a sense of loss at hearing this as I did when I heard my grandmother had died. My memories of her were so closely intertwined with these plants that I could barely separate them.

I quickly set to work to preserve these memories. I was unable to transport the plants home with me, but I could still carry on their legacy by collecting seeds and cuttings and growing new plants at home. I carefully clipped and wrapped stems from various plants and rooted and planted them when I got home. I asked my uncle, who lives next door to my grandmother’s home, to collect seeds from the wisteria once they could be harvested, and he sent me a care package filled with crispy pods packed with seeds not long after.

The Christmas cactus, jade, and other cuttings I took rooted quickly and grew well. It took nearly two years, however, for the Christmas cactus to bloom. When the first flower appeared, my excitement was overwhelming. I firmly believe these plants bring my grandmother’s presence into my home, creating a place where plants know they are loved and can thrive, and this bloom was a sign that she was there, silently watching over my botanical menagerie.

Out of 38 wisteria seeds I planted, only four sprouted. I am not even sure if this wisteria is hardy enough to survive here on the Front Range – Hotchkiss, where my grandparents lived in western Colorado, has a much milder climate than here, and I cannot tell what variety of wisteria this may be. Nonetheless, I will find the most well-protected spot possible where I can cultivate and raise this plant. Even if it doesn’t survive, I know my grandmother will be looking down and smiling, proud of my effort.

I believe people connect to plants because they are living things. A photo is a frozen moment in time, a keepsake never changes, but plants experience life with us. If we plant a tree with hope for what its future may bring, we have to actively cultivate that hope, stay focused on it, and only then will it fulfill its potential. My wisteria serves as a reminder of the wonderful woman my grandmother was, but only so long as I nurture that memory to keep it strong and vibrant. These mutually shared experiences between people and plants make life rich, give us a future that excites us, and keep us firmly rooted in the stories and lives that make us who we are.

Jim’s Sharpening Service Returns for 2014

JimSharpeningJim Stallard Sharpening Service is back at Fort Collins Nursery! Bring your shovels, trowels, spades, hoes, lawn mower blades, knives and scissors. Here is Jim’s Schedule for the 2014 season:

Friday, April 4 • 10 am – 3 pm

Wednesday, May 7 • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, May 14 • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, May 21 • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, May 28 • 9 am – 3 pm

Wednesday, June 4  • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, June 11 • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, June 18 • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, June 25 • 9 am – 3 pm

Wednesday, July 2 • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, July 9 • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, July 16 • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, July 23 • 9 am – 3 pm
Friday, July 25 • 9 am – 3 pm
Wednesday, July 30 • 9 am – 3 pm

Wednesday, August 6 • 9am – 3pm
Wednesday, August 13 • 9am – 3pm
Wednesday, August 20 • 9am – 3pm
Wednesday, August 27 • 9am – 3pm

From the Archives: A Season for Dreaming (TREEtalk Winter 1999)

EvergreenSnowBy Kathy Reid

When you live on a corner lot, you get to shovel lots of snow. The other day, as I scooped my way around the corner and down the north walk, I realized that even in the dead of winter I am tending my garden. As I work, I am carefully directing the shovels full of snow to some of my favorite garden plants. You could call it “snow mulching”, I guess. Certain evergreen plants will survive the long winter better if they are buried in a protective snow mound. So, as I scrape along, I purposefully pile a little extra around my handsome hellebore that will sport its strange greenish-white flowers while neighboring red tulips bloom next spring. Another scoop is directed at the Sarcoxie Euonymus that climbs the fence. I shovel on past a gangly Viburnum and make a mental note that it needs a little pruning. Push more snow, scoop it up. There was a bare spot in the planting here. I stop and consider what new, exciting plant I will add next spring.

I reach the end of the walk. The shoveling is finally done. I take one lap around the pond, just a frozen sheet now except for the small hole where the waterfall tumbles in. I study the tracks left in the snow by visiting birds and squirrels. A Tanyosho Pine stands guard above the waterfall while a huge Ponderosa Pine towers overhead, both looking very dramatic with the white icing-like snow spread over their dark green needles. These beautiful evergreens add such life and interest to our winter landscapes. A large, snowy mound at the pond’s edge catches my attention. It is a seedling aster that tempted me with hundreds of pink flowers in the fall, but it grew much too large in its chosen spot. I make another note that it needs to be removed in spring and replaced with something more manageable, perhaps a new variety of Penstemon for my collection.

My hands and toes are numbing so I head into the warm, cozy house and put on some water for tea. Echinacea tea is my choice these days. What a plant! Also known as purple coneflower, it is one of my favorite summer perennials, blooming for weeks and weeks behind the pond. And in the dead of winter, it makes a tasty tea that helps fight off those nasty winter colds.

My cup of tea in hand, my final destination for the afternoon is a soft, comfy chair near a big window. Outside the birds are feasting on hawthorn berries from the small tree at the corner of the house and sunflower seeds from my strategically placed bird feeder. The small wooden table next to my chair is piled high with magazines and catalogs, each and every one plant-related: Horticulture, Fine Gardening, The Colorado Gardener, and seed catalogs too numerous to mention.

Yes, this is the life of a Colorado gardener in winter. I revel in the contrast of our seasons. Winter is a break from the weeding watering. It is a time to enjoy the special beauty of a frosty landscape but most of all; it is a time to dream. While the plants of my garden sleep, I immerse myself in the pages and pages of colorful gardens at my fingertips. I feast upon the new plant offerings for the coming spring. And I dream, and I scheme, and I plan for next spring’s endeavors in my own little piece of the world.

Fairy Gardening Classes 2014

Our Fairy Gardening classes are hands-on 90 minute classes, ideal for parents/children, grandparents/grandchildren and anyone young at heart. Class fee includes: Instruction, container, soil, gravel, plants, accessories, and after care instruction. Children must be accompanied by an adult. (One child per registered adult.) 6 spots per class are available. Classes are $35 per spot. Click on a class below for a full description or click here to register.

January 11:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening

February 15:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening

March 8:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. – Luck O’ The Irish Fairy Gardening

April 12:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. – Easter Fairy Gardening

May 17:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening

June 14:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening

July 19:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.: Classic Fairy Gardening
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. – Miniature Gardening with Perennials *This class is not appropriate for children.

August 16:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. – Mini Cacti/Succulent Gardening

September 20:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. – Terrarium Gardening

October 18:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. – Festive Fall Fairy Gardening

November 15:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. – Whimsical Winter Fairy Gardening

December 13:
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Classic Fairy Gardening
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. – Whimsical Winter Fairy Gardening


Fairy Gardening: Make something ordinary extraordinary! With just a few houseplants, a miniature patio set, a pebble stone path and a touch of fairy dust and whimsy, you can have your very own fairy garden! A tranquil forest scene or a secluded garden set up will be sure attract fairies, good luck and other miniature wonders. These indoor gardens are perfect for anyone, young and old, looking for a touch of magic to add to their home.

Terrarium Gardening: Turn a simple glass container into your own self sustained, petite world! Learn how to properly put together a glass terrarium that creates the perfect growing environment for plants and also adds some life to your office desk, the nook in your kitchen or a child’s room. Come and find out why people are so hooked on this whimsical and easy way to grow plants!

Miniature or Theme Gardening: A slight difference in plant and accessory selection can open up a world of endless possibilities in miniature gardening. Most people are familiar with fairy gardening but there are many other options for creating tiny worlds within your own home. Using glass bowls and vases as terrariums can add a touch of class and elegance indoors. You can recreate a miniature version of your own yard or a natural space you admire through miniature perennial gardening that will come back year after year. Lava rock, cacti and succulents make terrific prehistoric paradises through dinosaur gardening! All of these alternatives to fairy gardening can be explored during our normal fairy gardening classes so let your imagination go wild and explore all the potential your “green space for a small place” has.

Winter Dreams of Springtime Bounty

By Jesse Eastman

GardenSketch3_WEBAccording to Greek mythology, Persephone, bride of Hades, returns to the underworld every year for a three month reign as Queen of the Underworld. When she goes, her mother, Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, despairs at her daughter’s absence, plunging us into a cold barren winter when no food can grow. Perhaps it is pompous of me to aim for something greater than god-like behavior, but I say that rather than despair, we should use these short dark days to plan for an ever more bountiful spring.

There is a wealth of knowledge that can be gleaned from a thoughtful and thorough reflection on the previous season’s garden. Better yet, take a careful read through your garden journal (if you keep one – if not, maybe 2014 is the year to start). Take a walk down memory lane and think about what you want to change in the New Year.

Often overlooked is the right balance of which vegetables to grow. I never seem to plant enough carrots, and I can never resist planting more tomatoes and peppers than I know what to do with. Even a small patch of potatoes can have massive yields, especially in well-cultivated soil that allows for good root penetration. Corn, on the other hand, needs ample space and many plants to ensure proper pollination.

Perhaps 2014 will open your eyes to cut flowers. Gladiolas, cosmos, dahlias, and sunflowers all make great arrangements that can easily brighten any room, and they serve multiple benefits in the garden. Not only do they bring a veritable painter’s palate of color to the garden, but they attract a wide variety of important pollinators whose busy work in the garden is essential for a good harvest. You could even mix in a few well-placed perennials with your vegetables and herbs – coneflower, iris, and salvia all make potent additions to any garden. Maybe daylilies with their subtly sweet edible blossoms could find a place between the tarragon and basil.

Planning next year’s garden doesn’t just need to be a process of fine-tuning. My father loves to tell me “the best gardeners in the world have killed more plants than anyone else.” The only way to improve as a gardener is to take risks. Choose something you have never considered growing before and give it a shot. Okra was my flying leap in 2013. It is a gorgeous plant – deeply split maple-like leaves and showy cream-colored flowers – and it loves our long hot sunny days. Turns out you have to pick the pods when they are very small, or else they get exceptionally tough and borderline inedible. I’ll try again this year, and I’ll be a little quicker to harvest.

These types of reflections will make us better gardeners, and by reliving our horticultural exploits, we are reminded of the pleasures we derive from our labors. So while Persephone is hanging out with Hades and Demeter’s distress gives us a moment of respite from the toils of the soil, let us pour a cup of hot cocoa, pull out a pen and paper, and indulge in a daydream.

 Like us on facebook and tell us what new plants you’ll be trying in 2014 for your chance to win a $25 Gift Card to Fort Collins Nursery!

Winter Houseplant Care: A pinch of planning for a pound of pride

by Gerry Hofmann

LemonNow that the weather is definitely ‘fallish’ & even sometimes a bit like winter, many gardeners turn their attention to the cousins of our outdoor landscapes, namely houseplants. They manage to tide us over the cooler winter months quite nicely, if we just give them a little preventative attention.

Some plants have had a summer vacation of their own outside, enjoying the extra light & air for a few months. If you had any in this category, a couple of things to watch out for can keep trouble at bay: spraying them with tepid water, including the undersides of the leaves in the kitchen sink to dislodge any dirt.  It may also be a good idea to knock the smaller ones out of their pots to check for insects looking for a free ride inside.  Give them a good drink while you’re at it, since inside heated air is very drying, which will draw water out of the soil, too. Some leaves need removing if they have gotten sunscald or show evidence of slug or insect damage. When you trim, clean the scissors or clippers (ideally with rubbing alcohol) between cutting different plants so you are not transmitting anything from one to the other.

Most houseplants species originate in the hot, humid tropics. They are happiest in those conditions; however, that can be a tall order to replicate with our over-heated homes. Restoring some of the humidity with frequent misting along with situating plants near kitchens & bathrooms will replicate some of that.

Before looking for brand new houseplants, investigate where you are most likely to site them. Are the spots on the south or west side, where strong sunlight extends? If so, you may find the most success with succulents. These are thick-leafed plants, which are utilized to store water within.  About the only way you can kill a succulent is to overwater it.

Speaking of watering, many people take the ‘more is better’ approach with sketchy results. Especially in sealed-bottom pots, where the extra water has no place to go, too much watering prevents the roots from accessing oxygen. Basically, the plant drowns. The best way to prevent this is to limit watering to 1-2 times a week, deep-watering when you do. Smaller plants may need water more often than larger ones. (If you find a plant wilting long before this, it may be root-bound. That means that it has used up a lot of the materials in the soil, making a bigger plant & roots along the way. Find a bigger pot for it.) The easiest way to check for water is to check the soil moisture just below the surface dirt; if it doesn’t stick to your fingers, it’s pretty dry. You can also just lift the pot (unless it’s too big) to check the weight, a dry plant weighs considerably less……after a little practice you will be able to tell quite easily.

If you are in the market for a larger plant & have a sunny spot, consider a citrus plant. A lemon tree, for example, can bring an aura of the warm Mediterranean into your home, which is especially welcome during the oncoming winter months. Citrus plants are relatively care-free & pest-free and may even yield some bonus fruit. The blossoms of many smell quite sweet too. Fort Collins Nursery has a wide variety of citrus plants, including: oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, kumquats, tangerines, key limes, and more!


Get Your Holiday Greenery at Fort Collins Nursery

HOH_WinAWreath_webWhether it is fragrant garland, a Colorado Christmas tree, or a beautiful hand decorated wreath to adorn your own door or that of a friend, Fort Collins Nursery has what you need for Holiday decorating. We pride ourselves in carrying the freshest Holiday Greenery including…

  • Wreaths
  • Garland
  • Sprays
  • Centerpieces
  • Boughs
  • Cut & Live Christmas Trees

This year we have “spruced” up our wreath offering by bringing you new and updated styles at reduced prices; the Traditional, Festive, Celebration, and Deck the Halls wreaths. Our Fort Collins Nursery wreaths can be shipped within the United States, so send someone you love a touch of Colorado today! Order your wreaths online by visiting our online store: Fort Collins Nursery Online Store!

Post-flood Yard and Garden Cleanup

by Bridget Tisthammer

We are thankful for all your kind words of concern and encouragement during our recent flooding event. The waters have receded and we’re busy cleaning up. As you can see, we’re almost back to normal. The flood was devastating, but there’s nothing on the property that we can’t fix!FallNursery_Wagons

In the meantime, you may be dealing with some flood damage in your own garden. If you have a vegetable garden that was covered by flood waters, here are some tips to help you sort through the damage.

Throw away any vegetables that are eaten raw, such as leafy greens like lettuce, cabbage and spinach; and soft fruits, including strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Some leafy crops, such as chard, beet tops and spinach, must be cooked thoroughly before eating. Use the sanitizing procedure described on this page before cooking.

Sanitizing Procedure: 1. Diluted Bleach Solution: Mix 1 tablespoon bleach (without scents or thickeners) with 1 gallon  potable water. 2. Wash crops in potable water, using a vegetable scrub brush to get in crevices. 3. Place the vegetables in the diluted bleach solution for two minutes. 4. Rinse again with potable water.

Sanitizing Procedure:
1. Diluted Bleach Solution: Mix 1 tablespoon bleach (without scents or thickeners) with 1 gallon potable water.
2. Wash crops in potable water, using a vegetable scrub brush to get in crevices.
3. Place the vegetables in the diluted bleach solution for two minutes.
4. Rinse again with potable water.

You can also save root crops like carrots, potatoes, beets and radishes by washing them using the sanitizing procedure.

Throw away any soft-skinned vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans eggplant and summer squash, which were in contact with flood water. You can wash and sanitize hard-skinned crops such as watermelon, pumpkin and winter squash using the procedure described here.

Unfortunately, no one can tell us for sure what contaminants were in the flood water—it could contain chemicals, oil, sewage, bacteria or parasites. For this reason, do not try to grow anything in your flooded garden for 90 days.

Was your turf damaged by the flood? Tony Koski, turf specialist with the CSU Extension Service, provided the following information:

As soon as flood waters have receded, clean up any debris that the waters deposited on your lawn. This includes rocks, glass, metal, wood and piles of leaves. If you have a layer of muck—that thick, black gummy soil that the waters carried down from fire-affected areas—you can try to remove it by shoveling and washing with a garden hose and jet sprayer. Depending on how much muck you have, this may not be possible.

It may take two to three weeks for your turf to dry out, depending on the weather, your soil and how quickly the area drains. At this point, you can measure the amount of muck on your lawn to determine the next step.

If you have less than one to two inches of muck, and your lawn was covered by water less than four days, it has a good chance of recovery. Check for new shoots of grass to determine if your lawn can recover. Once regrowth begins, it will slowly continue until the lawn has completely filled in. Be sure to aerate your lawn this fall. When you see some regrowth beginning, go over the lawn three to four times with a core-type aerifier. This will help break up soil layering problems and improve soil oxygen levels. Then fertilize the lawn, following the label instructions, in October.

You can also overseed after aerification if you see any thin areas in the lawn or if parts of the lawn aren’t showing new growth. Use a seeding rate of five to six pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet. Rake the lawn lightly to move the seed into aeration holes. Water the lawn to keep it moist, but not soggy.

If you have two inches or more of muck, the chances of the lawn recovering are slim. You may have to resign yourself to the fact that your lawn (or at least part of it) will need to be reestablished. One option is to remove as much of the muck as you can down to the level of the lawn. This may not be practical due to the size of your lawn or the amount of muck to be removed. An easier option may be to rototill the muck and damaged grass into your soil as deeply and thoroughly as possible. Avoid allowing the soil to remain layered—to have a layer of muck, a layer of dead grass and a layer of soil. By thoroughly mixing the three layers into one homogenous layer, you are creating a new root zone for the new lawn. After you have leveled and firmed the new soil mixture, you can seed or sod the lawn.

As always, we are here to help you in your quest to be a successful gardener so please feel free to contact us regarding questions related to the flood or any other gardening questions you may have.



Flood 2013 Update

by Heather Chappell

This bumper sticker has taken on a whole new meaning!

This bumper sticker has taken on a whole new meaning!

The water has receded and we have been able to get in, assess the damage, begin clean-up and ultimately, open for business. We have received so many phone calls and emails from concerned customers, checking in on us to make sure we are here and to inquire into the well-being of our staff. We can’t thank you enough for your support and well wishes. Our staff have experienced varying degrees of trouble related to the flood, but ALL are well, and that is what we care about most!

Our story started with a crawfish! One lonely crawfish made its way from the creek, about 30 feet, to the back door of our potting shed on Thursday morning, September 12th, 2013. Looking back now the little mud-bug seemed to be making the effort to sound the call for us. Our Production Manager, Brendan Anderson, found the creature and returned him to the creek, wondering, “What does he know that I don’t?” Turns out, a lot! By mid-morning on Thursday Dry Creek, that runs through our property, had risen quite a bit and by mid-afternoon the Poudre River, that we back up to, was running extremely high, fast and muddy. There appeared to be a lot of debris from the fires washing down the river at that time. We decided to move as much heavy material from the back of our property onto higher ground to avoid it getting carried out into the river, causing possible blockages to the bridge at Timberline and bigger issues for our neighbors along Mulberry and the town as a whole, should the flooding take place. We moved plants and benches away from the bridges, put electronics up on desks and tables in our offices and then our owner, Jesse Eastman, made the call, “that’s it now, everyone needs to get your things and get home to safety, we have done all that we can.”

Friday morning brought the news that we were flooded and that the nursery could not open. Jesse made it out here and took pictures, which he posted to our Facebook page. We were heart sick to see the damage, knowing the only thing to do was to wait.

By Saturday we were able to get in to the nursery. We roped off areas, opened for business and got busy cleaning up. Saturday was spent helping customers who came by, assessing the damage, moving more plants out of harm’s way, cleaning up areas we could get to and preparing for round two, should the flood waters rise again. We made a makeshift lunchroom in our classroom area as the employee lunchroom was flooded.

Sunday dawned with…. MORE RAIN! Jesse decided that given the ongoing flood risk and poor conditions, we would be closed on Sunday.

Thank you to our customers for keeping us going!

Thank you to our customers for keeping us going!

The rain began to slow, Monday came, and with it eventually sunshine. We brought in equipment and materials to begin filling in and re-grading areas that were swept away and begin putting order back to the nursery. As of this post, we still have areas closed off to the public and cannot predict how long it will take to have all areas re-opened. Although some areas are not open to the public, plants are still accessible to employees and we have many trees, shrubs and plants that are accessible to the public.

Finally, we want to acknowledge the unwavering fortitude and strength of our staff! Without their commitment and love for the nursery, we would not be where we are, only 2 days out from the flooding. They have worked tirelessly, both day and night, throughout these trying days to take care of areas that could be reached and get the nursery back to the place that you have come to love as well.

Thank you all so much for the offers of help and support. The best thing you can do for us right now is to come out to see us and shop with us. We are here, we are open and as always we are committed to serving you and helping you green up your life!









Dry creek flooding between the bridges.

Dry creek flooding between the bridges.

Dry Creek between the bridges after the flooding.

Dry Creek between the bridges after the flooding.

During the flooding, high water over the perennial bridge.

During the flooding, high water over the perennial bridge.

After the flooding, low water and destruction around the perennial bridge.

After the flooding, low water and destruction around the perennial bridge.