2014 has been a Great Year so Far; Even Without the Winter Rain.
So far, the year is off to a great start and as we progress into the year, the prospects look even better. However, it has been surprisingly warm this winter and dry too. Where is all the winter rain? Not here in Southern California that’s for sure.
This past year of 2013 is reportedly the driest year since record keeping began in 1849… scary. The average annual precipitation for San Diego County is 10.34 inches. In 2013, we received only 5.57 inches. The water situation is just as grim in the north as well. This does not bode well for the many nurseries and farms scattered throughout the state. Water restrictions will undoubtedly cause an increase in prices not just in nursery stock but in food as well. After all, the majority of produce and nursery stock for the entire country is grown right here in California. The state of uncertainty in regards to the cost and availability of water is weighing heavily on the minds of all employed in our industry. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any end in sight and it seems all we can do is pray for rain.
In an effort to move on to a positive subject, this warm winter weather has kept many evergreen plants from shutting down into their dormant winter state. If this warm winter trend persists, plants currently unavailable will finish faster and likely be up to size by the spring rush. Let’s just hope Mother Nature does not send us a cold front to snap back all the tender new growth.
Now, on to the plants for February:
Our Cassia crops are outstanding. Everything has been rounded out and shaped so the plants are short, full and of course… full of flowers; perfect for a retail environment.
It is worth noting the Outback and Green Cassia numbers are not as deep as the Feathery Cassia. So if these two are of interest it would be wise to order them soon as they will sell out quickly.
The crop of 5g Octopus Agave is up to size and striking as usual. While the Octopus Agave is well suited for heat and drought, it is susceptible to frost damage at temperatures hovering below 24° F. For those of you at risk of a cold snap, it might be best to wait on bringing these in unless you can supply some protection from the cold. Our 15g crop is coming up right behind so keep an eye out for them in spring.
Artemesia ‘Powis Castle’ is a fairly new variety for us. In fact, I believe we only started growing it about a year and a half ago. It has proven to be a very good seller and based on the numbers currently available there is concern we do not have enough for the year. So again, if these are of interest best to get them while you can.
Our last crop of 5g Buxus ‘Winter Gem’ Globes were well received among our customers. So much in fact, that we tripled our production numbers in 5g and even started producing 15g as well. As usual, our pricing is very reasonable and the quality is good. There is likely a void in the market for this item due to the already depleted supply from last year and the length of time to finish the crop… they take a very long time and a considerable amount of pruning and shaping.
The foliage of ‘Emerald ‘n Gold’ Wintercreeper Euonymus typically changes to deep purple this time of year but due to the unseasonably warm winter we have been experiencing, they are still variegated gold and green. Regardless, the plants are full, nicely shaped and readily available in the 1g size.
Euphorbia rigida has always been in short supply, especially this time of year. However, it looks as though we will have good numbers for this coming spring. We should have all the sizes available as well… 1’s, 5’s and 15’s. The 15g crop is particularly nice; the long grayish-blue spiraling branches will soon be topped off with domed chartreuse flowers. Silver Spurge will tolerate poor rocky soil so long as drainage is good and is cold hardy between 0 and 10° F.
Juniper topiaries are always in demand. Our Pom Pom Hollywood Junipers are expected to go quickly as there are only 2-300 available. With spring right around the corner it might be a good idea to stock up on these a bit earlier than normal. Another topiary exuding character is the Pom Pom Blue Pfitzer Juniper. Numbers are a bit deeper on these so we do not expect to sell out anytime soon.
For those of you near the coast, our ‘Ruby Glow’ New Zealand Tea Tree are just starting to bud up and should be in full bloom shortly. The plants are good size with a nice shape and sell very well in the late winter, early spring.
New Zealand Flax is another great coastal item. While many growers bank on the variegated varieties, we stick with the plain old ‘Rubrum’. It can handle a bit more heat than the variegated forms, so it fits in better with the areas we sell our plants to.
While a great many growers are canning up bareroot fruit trees, Pomegranates have always been one of those crops with an above average mortality rate. T-Y has been propagating ‘Wonderful’ Pomegranate for some years now and we currently have good numbers available in all sizes. Pricing is competitive with bareroot, you get a container after you bump up and you eliminate the risk of the plants dying because they were not field dug. In general, the ‘Wonderful’ Pomegranate is what you would buy at the grocery stores because it is the variety that is commercially grown. For this reason, it is one of the most sought after.
Blue Pincushion is an attractive perennial that exhibits blue flowers which hover over dense tufts of gray green leaves from spring to fall. While it needs regular water, it full sun and is cold hardy below 0° F. This floriferous perennial is currently available in 1 and 3g sizes.
The Windmill Palm is the most cold hardy palm we grow. For this reason, it is the best seller of all the palms we sell. No wonder when one considers the ability to handle temperatures slightly below 5° F. Customers in the northwest such as Oregon and Washington use the windmill palm to add a tropical effect to a landscape dominated by conifers and deciduous shrubs.
Well that’s going to do it for this month. Keep a look out for our ads in Nursery Management and updates to our Website and Facebook page. You can see our current ad here… page 14. Cheers!
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