Author Archives: Wendy

Insect repelling color bowls!

Did you know that you could keep your back yard bbq zone free of mosquitoes without using any nasty chemicals, smoggy candles, or expensive zappers? What if I told you that you could repel mosquitoes from your area just by planting some of your favorite annuals and perennials? Like the citronella geranium for example… if that sounds familiar, it’s because it is! Yes, the citronella that is used in common repellants comes from a variety of scented geranium that you can find right here at Johnson Brothers.

We’ve put together some beautiful insect repelling planters that make the perfect center piece to any patio table. By combining a few herbs with other annuals and perennials you can quickly create a planter that is not only gorgeous to look at, but also functional for outdoor activities

Insect Repelling CB PM

If you want to enjoy this scenario ^^^^^   without the issue of mosquitoes you’re in luck! We have put together a list of our favorite insect repelling plants so that you can get inspired to create some beneficial planters in your own space.

Insect Repelling Plants

  • Bee Balm
  • Ageratum
  • Artemisia
  • Citronella Geranium
  • Marigolds
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Various varieties of mint
  • Rosemary
  • Cat nip
  • Cat Mint

These are our favorites for keeping the bugs away, but there are lots more that have similar effects and are much larger that could be planted in a flower bed for permanent relief from natures little annoyances.

We built a insect repelling color bowl, perfect as a picnic table topper, that contains Citronella Geranium, Marigolds, Ageratum, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, & Lemon Thyme.

We call this the whole package…beauty & brains!

Do’s and Dont’s for growing Citrus Trees

I know many customers, like myself, LOVE Oregon for its distinct seasons; we are fortunate enough to truly experience a difference between all four! However, with distinct seasons that means one of which is winter; mostly soggy, sometimes frozen winters–which creates a problem if you like to grow plants that prefer a hot, dryer climate. Despite popular belief, there are quite a few “tropical” plants that you can actually grow here in the valley and enjoy all year round! They may just require a little extra special care during our chilly times, you know like hot cocoa, ear muffs, and a warm blanket…

But, in all seriousness, you CAN grow TROPICALS in Oregon! No, cocoa and a blanket are not the answer, but citrus care is still very manageable. This last Sunday we had the pleasure of hosting John Neeway of WeHoP who gave us the low-down on how to grow citrus! Yes, I said citrus… you know, the pride of warm sunny areas like southern California and Florida… we can do that too!

Four Winds Growers - Meyer Lemon


First thing that you need to know, don’t plant citrus trees in the ground here–unfortunately we can’t just plant, water, and walk away.. BUT we can plant in a large pot and enjoy it outside from May-September! You’ll want to use a fairly large pot and probably place it on a rolling, or another easily moveable, plant stand so that transitioning is easy every year. Obviously citrus love the sunshine, so outdoors for as long as possible is the way to go, but during our chilly times a bright window does just fine. Plus, one of the perks of having your citrus as a houseplant is that when it blooms, you get that fresh delicious citrusy scent without the use of candles or cleaners.

Four Winds Growers - Lime in flower

Next thing to make sure of, is that you treat this plant as it would be treated in nature, which means adapt to its year round sunshine schedule as best you can.. Think cactus or succulent care; very well draining soil (NOT POTTING SOIL) and infrequent watering. John recommends using a coarse bark and sand mixture so that little to no moisture is retained around the roots of the tree. If your tree starts to drop it’s leaves rapidly, chances are you’re over watering–definitely err on the side of borderline dehydrating it to death than trying to water on a weekly schedule. *Outdoor planting mediums are preferable to potting soils, and amend with sand, perlite, or coco fiber as needed. Avoid any mix that contains wetting agents or fertilizers!

When fertilizing your citrus, the key is to use a high nitrogen slow release granular formula quarterly, and NOT a water soluble variety; as the soluble kinds tend to burn the roots of your tree. Feel free to supplement with minerals such as iron & manganese as needed. If you start to notice the leaves of your citrus yellowing, this is an indicator of not enough food.

The only other trick to happy healthy Oregon grown citrus is to watch for bug problems. During the times that your citrus is nestled in the house for the winter it becomes especially susceptible to insects. Often times with these pests you don’t notice them until the damage is already being done so don’t hesitate to take preventative action. Horticultural oil or good ‘ol soapy water are the perfect treatment, applied every few weeks or as needed to keep ants, scale, and fungus gnats at bay.

Four WInds Growers - Scale on Citrus


So for those of you who may have missed out on our care class, that’s the basics of Citrus care here in the pacific northwest. Feel free to stop by the nursery and chat with our staff about your care questions or come and pick out the newest fruit in your life! We’ve got multiple varieties of lemons, limes and more, to choose from.

Big thanks to Four Winds Growers for supplying us with their wonderfully grown citrus plants time and time again, as well as all the media for John to come and teach us your skills! Check them out for ourself to find even more varieties for your citrus collection at

Get your garden off drugs with Gardener & Bloome organics

11178306_10153247983568766_7162902230157459950_nWe want to help you kick that drug habit for good, in your garden that is. This past weekend we showcased our favorite organic line, Gardener & Bloome. We gave away a ton of organic fertilizers and soils in our effort to send your gardens to rehab. Sure conventional fertilizers have their purpose, and we’re definitely not against them by any means, but there’s a place for everything! We want to educate you all on the benefits of keeping your edible gardens organic!

There’s the obvious, that you don’t want to put synthetics or chemicals onto the food that you will be eating, but it is also important to not put chemicals into your soils either. The Gardener & Bloome line offers many different soils and amendments that can safely and naturally enrich your garden beds without the use of harmful synthetics or chemicals. The Harvest Supreme is our favorite for edible garden amending. It can be used as a top dress or mixed in with last years garden soil to give it that boost of nutrients your plants need to thrive this season.

As far as fertilizing goes, we always encourage the use of compost, but if you need something more we recommend Gardener & Bloome organic fertilizers. We have liquid concentrates as well as granular options for just about any area of your yard and garden. For vegetable beds we like the Tomato, Vegetable, and Herb granular fertilizer. It’s very low maintenance and easy to apply, this granular can be mixed into the soil pre-planting and/or broadcast over the top of the soil to be watered in after planting. G&B fertilizers are fortified with calcium, humic acid, and other nutrients to provide just the right balance to make the fertilizer easily accessible to your plants. While organic fertilizers can take a little longer to show results, they also last a lot longer than conventional fertilizers meaning less work for you! G&B organic granular fertilizers only need to be spread every 2 months or so throughout the growing season giving you more time to enjoy what gardening is all about!

We also retail a Gardener & Bloomes organic liquid concentrate in three different varieties for those of you who like to water in your fertilizer, which is great for baskets and planters! Our favorite is the All Purpose liquid fertilizer, because it can be used on everything from containers to garden vegetables and even trees or shrubs. It’s molasses based for added nutrients and sugars that your plants need to thrive, and couldn’t get any easier than mixing directly into your watering can!


Come by to chat with our experts about any Gardener & Bloome product, or soils and fertilizers in general. We are always happy to help you get exactly what you need to be successful in all your gardening endeavors. Plus, ask us how you can save a dollar on ANY Gardener & Bloome product now through June 1st.

Hanging Basket Care

This weekend we debuted our hanging baskets for the 2015 season. This is the earliest we’ve had baskets available ever, so keep that in mind when thinking about size! By Mother’s day, they’ll be almost full size and in full bloom!

On Saturday, we offered a free basket care class so that you all can learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to basket care! We shared what we do to keep our baskets blooming clear through till fall and how you can be successful when caring for a hanging basket! Incase you missed the class and are wondering what you can do to maintain your hanging basket, I’ve got the most important tips right here!

Feed it!–A lot of people don’t realize how crucial fertilization is, especially for annuals. These plants go through their entire life cycle in one season, which is A LOT of growing in a short amount of time, and they need a lot of nutrients to support all that growth.

We recommend feeding your baskets BOTH a slow-release and a water-soluable fertilizer. Johnson’s MAXX slow release granules are perfect to be used every other month throughout the growing season along side FertiLome Blooming & Rooting water-soluble plant food every other time you water! Proper nutrition is just as important for your plants as it is for you!

Water!–Enough water is key to any plants success, but especially hanging baskets as they’re usually blooming through the hottest days of the year. Depending on the placement of your basket and whether it’s sun or shade tolerant, you may need to water your basket up to twice  a day on hot days.

It is important to know your basket and what environment it will need to thrive! An easy way to judge wether or not you need to water is by slightly lifting your basket, if it feels lighter than normal-it’s probably dry and if it feel heavy-its probably fairly damp. General rule when watering baskets is to water until the water begins to run through the bottom.

Maintenance–I know this is the dreaded word for a lot of people, but it needs to be done! Some varieties of annuals require much less maintenance than others; think about the level of work you are willing to put in and shop accordingly. For example, Petunias last much longer and look much nicer when regularly dead-headed in comparison to million bells which can simply be shaken to remove any spent blooms.

Wether or not the location for your basket gets full sun or shade is something to think about when purchasing a basket. You won’t want to put Begonias in the full sun or Geraniums in a shady spot, most baskets have a preference for either sun or shade and should be chosen accordingly for maximum success.

Pruning–I know it may seem scary to prune your basket or cut it back, but trust us, it helps! If you have ever wondered how our Petunia baskets have such a rounded full shape to them, when you’re used to Petunia’s being leggy and sparse, the answer is we cut them back…more than once!

Most plants, when pruned properly, get denser and fuller when they grow back. We cut back our baskets pretty hard to get them to come back thick and full, so when you see any runners or gaps in your baskets don’t hesitate to give them a good hair cut.

Insect Prevention–A lot of baskets fall victim to insect or disease damage throughout the season, these pesky problems can really take a toll on the look of your basket and may even kill it completely. Insect and disease prevention can be a crucial step to success with hanging baskets and can be easily dealt with. We recommend an all-purpose ready to use product called Triple Action Plus that is an insecticide, miticide, and fungicide! This will take care of almost any problem you run across and has all natural ingredients!


With proper care and maintenance you should be able to enjoy your hanging basket all through the season until fall! We want to set you up with everything you need to be successful, so keep an eye on our website for info on what/when our next free informational class is!

We are also currently offering a HANGING BASKET SUCCESS KIT for only $19.99, a $27. value! This kit includes our Johnson’s Maxx slow-release fertilizer, FertiLome Blooming & Rooting water soluble plant food, and FertiLome Ready to Use Triple Action Plus! This sets you up with all the tools you need to maintain beautiful baskets all summer long. Plus, we’re open 7 days a week and always love to offer any advice we can so don’t hesitate to send us a message, call, or drop in with any questions you may have!

Seedlings Garden Club for Kids- Easter Baskets

This last saturday was extra special, since it was Easter weekend we had some fun extra activities planned for the kids. For their Seedlings Garden Club for Kids project they planted some “Easter grass” in easter baskets. We also brought in some baby animals for a small petting zoo and put on an Easter egg hunt!

SGCK Easter Collage PMFor the Seedlings Garden Club project we planted some small perennial grasses in an Easter basket and then decorated them with Easter themed stickers and add-ons. This months project was very quick and simple, but the kids had a great time!

All you need is any small plant and any container you like! Plant your plant of choice in the container, and decorate as you wish! Here’s what ours looked likeSGCK Easter 5 PMAs I mentioned above, we had the pleasure of hosting some adorable baby animals for a small petting zoo! These little sweethearts really stole the show; we had a baby lamb, a dozen little chickies, and a two week old calf! The kids and their parents (and us employees too) LOVED having the animals out for an afternoon, it was such a treat!SGCK Easter PZ Collage PM To finish off the Easter festivities we held an Easter egg hunt in our perennial greenhouse, where we, I mean the Easter Bunny, hid over 1000 eggs! We had an estimated 150+ kids turn out for the hunt and it lasted all of 10 minutes before they had them all cleaned up and found!

Our Easter weekend was beyond successful, thank you all so much for your continued love and support! SGCK Easter PZ Emp Collage PM


String Gardens

GypsyBleu Collage PMThis last Saturday we had the pleasure of hosting Kathleen Nelson of GypsyBleu Arts & Florals for a demonstration of how to make string gardens. Kathleen came in and showed us how easy it really is to create something that is not only unique, but natural and beautiful as well.

String gardening is an old Japanese Art form known as Kokedama and can really bring some modern style to your space. They are very easy to create, can be done with almost any plant you like, and can be placed indoors or outdoors.


  • Moss-This can be collected live from the forest or bought from garden supply stores
  • Heavy Twine-Jute or hemp cording work best as they are heavy enough to support the weight of the plant when wet
  • Plant of your choice
  • Soil-Can be optional


  • Get your plant ready for planting as you normally would, loosening the roots and shaking off excess soil
  • Start to wrap or bundle your moss around the outside of the rootball of your plant, adding soil as needed. You’ll want to make sure that the moss covers all the way around as it will be acting as the container.
  • Separate a long section of twine and tie a slip knot about a quarter of the length, this will be the top of your hanger. Wrap the twine down around the bottom of your plant securing it like a sling.
  • With the other (much longer) side of the string start wrapping the plant making sure to go over the opposite string holding it in place. Do this until your excess string has been used up and your plant is steady.
  • Once you are satisfied with your string placement, secure the string by tying it off. Trim off any excess string and shaggy moss, then hang your new string garden wherever you like

String gardening can be done with almost any plants, including trees. This is a great way to grow herbs and greens and even strawberries. Make this your next weekend project and create something that will bring beauty and serenity to your space.

Find Kathleen on Facebook under GypsyBleu Arts and Florals to see her work and floral designs and visit us here at the nursery for all your string gardening supplies!

GypsyBleu Collage 2 PM

Seedlings Garden Club for Kids-Seed Starting

SGCK Seed Start GroupOn the first saturday of every month we hold our FREE Seedlings Garden Club for Kids from 9-5. This month, we started seeds indoors to later be planted outside. The kids got to choose a few types of flowers to plant in coconut fiber pots to go directly in the ground later in the season.

We had options like Sunflowers, Poppies, Alyssum, a few different wild flower mixes, and even Cat Grass to choose from. The kids always love being able to dig into the dirt and actually plant something so this was a nice break from our indoor winter activities.

This project is incredibly simple and can be done with any seed you like; it’s even a good time to start veggies indoors. Use anything from plantable pots to egg cartons! Plant the seeds a few centimeters deep in well draining soil and leave in a warm well light location until they sprout. Once last frost has hit move seedlings out to the garden or container where they will be growing  and watch your tiny sprout grow & thrive!

Seeds are a great way to delight and teach children all the joys of planting and tending a garden. It is such a rewarding feeling to see or harvest off of a plant you sewed yourself! Come on out to the nursery and get inspired to let your love grow!

SGCK Seed Start PM

“Kleen Up” your garden now

We’re excited to introduce a new product from Bonide that we think you’ll LOVE! It’s called Kleen Up and will get your space ready for whatever you have in mind.

If you have weeds and grasses cropping up in places you don’t want them, such as driveways, gravel, flower beds, garden beds, or in-between pavers this is the perfect product for you!

Kleen Up is tough and fast acting, it contains a systemic and a surfactant. This will kill ALL green plants from the roots up, BUT it has no residual after 7 days! Yes, that means after one week you are free and clear to clean up the dead debris and seed or plant ANYTHING.

It’s safe for use in vegetable gardens (after 7 days) because there is NO residual. This is made for a one stop, all inclusive clean out, not long lasting weed control because anything can be grown once its done doing it’s job.

Now is the perfect time to get any garden or planting areas cleaned out and prepped for the spring. Like I mentioned it will kill ALL green plants so be careful what you apply it to, but for large areas that need clearing this is perfect for the job

I can’t wait to get this product home and use it in my garden beds and over the gravel in my back yard!


No space? No problem!-Berry & Fruit Tree Container Gardens

In the midst of bare root week I thought I’d try to inspire some of you who may have lost hope. Growing your own fresh fruits and veggies is one of the most rewarding things for many reasons. It’s sooo much cheaper than buying from the grocery store, you will know where it’s from and whats been put into it, AND you can pick it right off the plant as you’re ready to eat it!

I know that growing your own produce is a little bit of an investment at first, and also requires the space to do it, but it is so worth it once harvest time comes along. However, if you’re like me and rent your home, the idea of planting fruit trees or bushes sounds like the worst idea! Why invest in plants that you’ll have to leave behind when you move! They can take a few years to even mature enough to produce and who knows if you’ll still be in the same home by that time.

If you’re renting and don’t want to up the value of someone else’s property OR just don’t have a ton of space to plant fruit LISTEN UP! You can grow your own fruit such as apples, cherries and blueberries in a small space AND easily take them with you no matter where you live! We’ve got varieties of many different fruits that can easily and happily be grown in containers! Yes, even apples, cherries, peaches and other fruit trees…

We offer a wide range of container comfortable fruits that will be happy and productive never setting a root in the ground. Our customer favorite currently is our Brazel Berries series that offers 3 varieties of blueberries and a thornless raspberry that are perfect for container gardening. We also have columnar and dwarf apple trees as well as a miniature peach, cherry bush, and a true dwarf grape. 

All of these plants will do great being confined to a pot, they WILL produce despite not having much space, and they’re self pollinating. If you want to really bring up your yield have at least two separate containers AND utilize the space in the pot around the base of your plant by sticking in some strawberries. They’re shallow rooting and won’t disturb trees or bushes when planted in the same container.

Don’t be put off from growing your own fresh fruit just because you’re renting your home or if you have a small yard or patio, YOU CAN DO IT!

We have a great selection of fruit trees and berries available bare root all this week, as well as a planting success kit on special that will set you up with everything you need. For $25 you’ll have a 3 cubic foot bag of soil, all natural root stimulator, and a 4 lb. bag of organic fertilizer. Attend our orcharding 101 class this Saturday, Feb. 28th from 1-2pm for info on how to plant, prune, fertilize, and raise your own fruit.

Rose Care 101

This last week was our annual Rose Week, and we had such a great turn-out! Thank you all for your continued support, we’re pleased to see so many of you out and gardening so early in the year.

On Saturday we hosted Chris from Week’s Roses to give a class on rose care 101! For all of you who may have missed it, i’ve attached our rose care sheet below to fill you in on all the details of rose care!

Rose Care 101

Rose Care 101 p2

Hopefully these are helpful for any rose care questions you may have, and please always feel free to call us anytime for expert advice!

Seedlings Garden Club for Kids-Valentine Planters

SGCK Vday Collage 2

This month our seedlings made valentine planters for houseplants! A pretty low-key project that can be done indoors and out of this crazy weather. We also had one of the largest turnouts we’ve had since summer, so thank you all for coming out and playing with us!

This project is a pretty basic craft project, and you can use whatever supplies you have laying around really.


  • Terra-cotta pots
  • Paints
  • Paint Brush
  • Stickers
  • Any Valentine trinkets that you like


Set up in an area that is ok to paint in, put down an old sheet or some news paper to keep the floor clean. Set up a paint tray (paper plate or tin foil) that gives you easy access to all the colors you may wish to use.

Paint away on your terra-cotta pot, whatever designs you like. Once the paint has dried you can apply stickers or other decorations.

After you’re completely done decorating your pot, put in a plant. It can be planted in the pot, or just set inside the pot as a cover. Give this beautiful hand-made valentine to your special someone!


Join us next month, March 7th, for the free Seedlings Garden Club for Kids, we’ll be planting up some seeds! Bring the kiddo’s and share the gift of gardening with them, it’s never too early to get kids interested in planting!

SGCK Vday Collage 3


Early Spring Color Starts Now!

If you’re looking to get a head start on bright spring color, the time is now! We have multiple options for semi-hardy annual color that you can get started now and have ready in full bloom by the start of March.

Sweet Pea’s can be seeded indoors now, or we have jumbo packs available for sale here at the nursery. They are fast growing and come in a wide variety of beautiful vibrant colors and are very fragrant! Sweet Pea’s work great as cut flowers and can be turned into beautiful bouquets. They are a wonderful season starter because they are so quick to grow and bloom.

If you plant your Sweet Pea seeds or starts now and then follow them up by planting Morning Glory seeds mid march, you could have continuous color through October! The Sweet Pea’s would be dying back right about when the Morning Glories would be coming into bloom. They both will quickly crawl up a net or trellis to provide a gorgeous backsplash of color to any patio or landscape.

The only thing watch out for with Sweet Pea’s is that, as their name suggests, mimic the garden vegetable pea. The flowers and the seed pods look almost identical to the vegetable peas that can also be grown this time of year to produce tasty peas for your kitchen. The problem is, Sweet Pea’s are NOT EDIBLE, they are in fact slightly poisonous (NOT ENOUGH TO KILL YOU, BUT MAY MAKE YOU SICK). The seed pods of sweet peas look like “pea pods” so make sure to separate Sweet Peas into an area away from the garden so as to avoid confusion. There are varieties of Sweet Pea’s that grow wild and tend be invasive (the bright pink ones all over the sides of the highways), the ornamental Sweet Pea is part of that family (Lathyrus), while the vegetable pea is in a different family altogether (Pistia).

Stop by the nursery today for a wide variety of Sweet Pea seeds and starts! We also have other options for early spring color that are available and blooming now!

If you forgot to plant your bulbs last fall we have tulips, daffodils, and other varieties available in containers that are going into bloom now.

Houseplant Care 101

We held a houseplant care class over the weekend and I wanted to share some of the highlights with y’all because it’s such good info. Especially for those of us who are going a little crazy waiting for spring, this is a great is a great way to keep busy and still manage to stay warm and dry indoors.

Just as for us, winter can be a stressful time for houseplants; low-light and dry air from heating can leave them more susceptible to disease and other issues. It’s a good idea around this time of year to give your houseplants a checkup and ensure they’re staying healthy through the winter.

  • Look for yellowing leaves— Houseplants may need less water than normal over the winter, as a lot of them go semi-dormant. In most instances yellow leaves mean too much water. If you’re noticing yellowing, remove those leaves and hold off on watering until the soil drys out. If the plant stays green at that point you know you just need to cut back on the water, if the yellowing continues despite dryer soil, you may have a lack of iron in your soil. Treat with a few doses of Ironite brand fertilizer to correct the deficiency.
  •  Dust the leaves— Most houseplants not only don’t like dust accumulation on their leaves, but it clogs their pores so to speak, so they are unable to transpire. Just take a soft dust rag or even a clean swiffer duster and dust both the tops and bottoms of smooth leaved houseplants.
  • Moisturize— Just as you need to moisturize extra in the winter due to the dry air from the heater and the dry cold outside, your plants need to also! If you notice any dry or brittle leaves or stems, provide a little extra moisture. Create moist habitats by filling trays with pebbles and water to set your pots on, using a humidifier, or even easier, just take them into the bathroom while you shower once or twice a week!
  • Check for pests— When plants are stressed out, it creates the ideal opportunity for bugs to move in. Check your plants for signs of pests and treat accordingly before any real damage is done. White mold-like fuzz indicates mealybugs, webs and red dots indicate spider mites, green or white piles on the underside of leaves indicate aphids, and small brown or amber colored “turtle shells” along the stems indicate scale. All of these can do real damage to your plants if not dealt with appropriately as soon as possible. We recommend Eight, an indoor insecticidal spray, or for major infestations Triple Action plus, which is an insecticide, miticide, and fungicide–this should knock out even the severest of problems!
  • Up-pot & Refresh the soil— When plants live in containers they only have access to nutrients that are available in that small amount of soil, and when they live in the same soil for years they tend to exhaust the nutrients. As your plants grow and mature, they often need to be up-potted into bigger containers which is a great time to refresh the soil. Even if they don’t need a larger container, it’s still a good idea to change out and refresh the soil every so often. This give the roots a chance to pick up and benefit from all the fresh nutrients rich soil has to offer, resulting in much happier plants!

Hopefully this provides you with some helpful tips, and gives you something to do to alleviate your cabin fever. You can also use this time of year to clean up any yard debris and do any pruning that needs to be done. Plan ahead now for vegetable and flower gardens that will be starting in the coming months. We also have the first crops of pansies, violas, and primroses out and available for that early spring color!


More on Fruit Trees

As a brief follow up to last weeks blog I want to touch on the fact that not only is this the time of year to be treating existing fruit trees, but also the best time of year to be PLANTING fruit trees! We should start to see our stock of bare root items in the coming weeks which include fruit trees, berries, rhubarb and asparagus. Items that are sold as bare root (as opposed to in a pot with dirt) are cheaper in price so they tend to go quickly!

Why buy bare root?

The option to go bare root is an optimal choice because when planted as bare root, rather than transplanted from a pot, the roots become acclimated much more quickly and tend to grow more vigorously. When roots become established in a container and are then transplanted it can put the plant into a temporary shock, or at the least, under stress which slows the growing process. Bypassing that stress period can result is a much stronger and ultimately larger plant (and it’s cheaper!!) so who wouldn’t want to go bare root?

How to plant bare root?                                                                                                                                  

Planting bare root is no more (or less) difficult than any regular planting just add an extra step or two to ensure optimal root growth.

  • First you’ll want to soak your bare root plants in water to stimulate the roots (NEVER let bare roots dry out). We recommend using Root Stimulator in the water to really encourage strong root growth in the early stages.
  • When prepping your hole for planting you’ll want to dig it about 2-3 times wider than the current root base. The more pliable the soil around the roots the easier time they will have in early growth. You’ll also only want to bury the plant only a couple inches beyond the roots once the trunk starts.
  • While you’re filling in your hole, you DO NOT want to be packing the soil too tight, adding in any amendments, or fertilizing at this time. The soil should be snug but not hard packed so that the new root growth can easily maneuver through the soil.
  • Once your plant is secured in the ground you’ll want to give a thorough watering also using a root stimulater, and then apply a layer of mulch to protect and insulate your roots. When applying mulch you want to make sure to not put it too close the the base or trunk of your plant but actually leave a couple inches of breathing room.
  • Keep your mulch and soil damp with regular waterings but NOT soggy; during the wetter months of spring you’ll only need to water every couple weeks depending on the rain. Once the weather gets hotter and dryer you’ll want to water more generously on more of a weekly basis.

Feel free to call and check in on our availability of bare root fruit trees, and other items. As I mentioned they do tend to sell out quickly, so don’t wait too long as this is the optimal time of year for planting fruit trees other woody plants. We will also be showcasing our fruit trees during the last week of February but if you’re really wanting the widest variety in your selection start checking in as early as next week. We currently have asparagus and some berry varieties in stock already, and will be posting updates on Facebook as other bare root items begin to hit the sales floor!

Fruit Tree Dormancy Care

Last Saturday we had the pleasure of hosting Richard from Horizon Distribution, one of our product distributors, to give a session on fruit tree dormancy care. He went into detail about some of the products we carry and when, how, and why to apply them to your fruit trees.

Here are the basic instructions from the class incase you weren’t able to make it:

  • Now is the time you should be beginning treatment, and then follow up with continued treatment and prevention going into spring once the leaves & blossoms come on.
  • Make sure to prune off any suckers, as they “suck” all the energy and nutrients away from other branches that are trying to produce your fruit. Suckers not only include branches coming from the base of the trees at the ground level but also any new growth that you’ll see going straight up in the air, as opposed to a sideways or a cascading grow pattern.
  • Fertilize regularly by applying the fertilizer directly onto the ground around the drip line, don’t concentrate your fertilizer around the trunk as the feeder roots are more expanded. Fertilizer should be applied approx. 3 times throughout the growing season, an easy schedule to follow is: April Fools Day, Fourth of July, and Labor day. However, during the summer time if temperatures are extreme and your trees are being watered more than usual you may want to add in an extra feeding at the beginning of August to account for the added water.

This is our dormant spray schedule that we distribute, however it is important to note that Lime Sulphur is NO LONGER AN APPROVED SUBSTANCE for fungal control. This is not due to it being harmful to the environment or foods that are being consumed, so If you have Lime Sulphur fungicide feel free to use the remainder of your stock as is it a highly effective organic fungicide. The product we recommend to replace Lime Sulphur on this schedule is simply called “Fruit Tree Spray” by Fertilome, which is a mixture of Neem oil and pyrethrins, another form of natural fungal treatment.

That being said, adhere to this schedule and when instructed to use Lime Sulphur, simply replace that with a pyrethrin based fungicide.


Seedlings Garden Club for Kids-Mason Jar Terrariums

SGCK January Collage PMThis is our first year staying open during the month of January and I have to say, so far it’s been pretty successful! So thank you all for your continued support through this dreary month! We are continuing our FREE monthly Seedlings Garden Club for Kids in 2015 and have quite the line-up planned so don’t miss out! However, as always, if you can’t make it feel free to turn to our blog for that month’s project instructions…

This month we made Mason Jar Terrariums, and it was a huge hit. This project is so simple and can be done easily at home in any kind of glass container, with or without a lid.


  • Mason Jar, or any glass container (Lid is OPTIONAL)
  • Small Gravel (fish rocks, or pea gravel would do)
  • Activated Charcoal (OPTIONAL)
  • Fresh Potting Soil
  • Small Plants
  • Items of interest (OPTIONAL)


First you want to clean out and sanitize your glass container so that no existing bacteria can contaminate your new plants.

Then, IN THIS ORDER, you want to add enough small gravel to cover the entire bottom of the container to allow for drainage. Cover the gravel completely with charcoal (about 1/4 inch), this will filter the water draining down and keep your terrarium smelling fresh. Then cover the charcoal with potting soil, using anywhere from 1-4 inches of dirt depending on how large your container is.

You’ll then want to add your plants. Terrariums with lids help ferns, mosses and other “leafy” plants thrive by keeping moisture inside. They create their own “atmosphere”, by water evaporating out of the soil, collecting inside the container and on the lid, which then drops down into the soil again. Terrariums without lids are best for cacti and other succulents, which thrive in low humidity.

Lastly, finish off your terrarium with any items of interest, such as decorative rocks, tumbled glass, figurines, etc…


If you have a lid on your terrarium you’ll really only need to water it initially, because it will continue to water itself with the humidity trapped in the container.

If you have a terrarium without a lid, you’ll want to water every week or so as needed for the types of plants you chose.

Join us next month, Saturday February 7th, for valentines day planters. We’ll be painting up some decorative pots with lots of hearts and love for your special valentine.

Make this years resolution eco-savy!

If your resolution this year involves being more eco-friendly, working towards sustainability, or you just want to know exactly whats going into your garden; consider adding ‘actively composting’ to your resolution list for 2015!

Composting creates less waste in your trash and recycle bins, it’s a great way to ensure nutrient rich soils in your garden (for FREE), and it’s actually super easy to maintain! If you don’t have a compost “bin” thats OK, you can construct one using old trash cans or plastic totes, 2×4’s, or even nothing.. thats right “nothing”… just have a compost “pile”.

We asked the experts, Botanical Interests, for the 411 on the best tactics for creating rich healthy compost right in your own space!


3 Steps to Composting Success
Composting is both an art and a science. But don’t let the science scare you. Composting can be boiled down to a few key steps.

1.Layer upon layer of “stuff.” A compost pile is like a sandwich-every layer has a purpose, but the layers work best together. The first layer in your compost pile should be about 6 inches of dry, brown materials like leaves, corn stalks, and broken sticks and branches. Because this hodgepodge isn’t compact, air can circulate in between all the materials. A 6-inch “green” layer is next, including grass clippings, kitchen waste (but not meat or fats), and vegetable scraps. Then add a 2-inch layer of manure or already decomposed compost and finish with topsoil. Repeat the layers, adding water to the dry layers, until you have a 4-foot tall pile. Why layers? They create insulation (more about heat below) and a balance of carbon and nitrogen, the two elements needed to feed microorganisms that will run around your compost pile decomposing every bit.

2.Temperature and moisture…check! While the layers are decomposing, the bacteria and microorganisms heat things up-literally. But that’s good because heat means that the microorganisms are doing their job of eating the material. Purchase a compost thermometer from your local garden center or just hold your hand over the top of the pile to feel the heat radiating. If it feels cool (under 50ºF), the pile is likely too dry. Add water until the material is moist. You want those microorganisms to keep working, and they only do when they have water.

3.Turn it. When it’s 140º-160ºF in the center, the microorganisms haven eaten everything in the center, and it’s time to “turn” the pile and mix the layers together. Use a pitchfork or a rototiller to get the compost blended. How often you should turn your compost varies depending on where you live. In areas with cold winters, your compost pile could take all winter before you need to turn it. In warmer climates, you may need to turn it every few weeks.
If you notice a weird smell while your pile is decomposing, it could signal an issue. Keep “a nose” out for: the smell of ammonia (from too much of green stuff) or the smell of rotten eggs (from not enough air circulation). If you notice your compost isn’t fermenting at all, your pile is probably too dry.

You’re compost is ready when the material is dark and crumbly. Work the compost into your garden soil before sowing or use it as a seed-starting mix. One of the biggest benefits of using compost is improved soil structure, which allows the soil to retain water and nutrients so plants can take in what they need, when they need it. Making your own compost also has the added benefit of reducing land fill waste.
Come chat with our garden coaches today for tips and ideas on how you can utilize and benefit from natural compost in your garden! Strive to make 2015 the best it can be for your family, your community, and your planet!
From all of us at Johnson Brothers, Cheers to the New Year! Lets work together to make it the best and brightest yet.

Christmas Update — Holiday Store Hours

Hello All! I just wanted to give you a quick update on what our store hours will be through the coming weeks.

Many of you may be used to us closing our doors for the month of January and opening back up with early spring delights such as roses and fruit trees… Well this year WE ARE STAYING OPEN and have a full schedule of fun activities for you to enjoy!

This week we will be closing early on Wednesday, Dec. 24th at 3:00 PM. Our gates will remain closed Thursday, Dec. 25th & Friday, Dec. 26th so that our employees can enjoy the holiday with their families.

WE WILL BE OPENING for regular business hours beginning Saturday, Dec. 27th through Tuesday, Dec. 30th

We will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 31st & Thursday, Jan. 1st for the New Year.

Beginning Friday, Jan. 2nd we will resume normal business hours and remain open from that point on!

Even though we have been closed for the month of January in the past we encourage you to join us in the new year, as we have big plans!

Were kicking off the new year on Saturday, Jan. 3rd with our monthly Free Seedlings Garden Club for Kids! Were making terrariums so don’t miss out!

Saturday, Jan. 10th we are hosting Richard from Horizon Distribution who will be giving a class on pruning and spraying your fruit trees.

The weekend of Jan. 17th & 18th were celebrating the Gardeners Month Off with refreshments, prizes, and super deals!

And to finish out the month we will be highlighting houseplants the week of Jan. 19th through Jan. 24th

Keep and eye on our website for more details about our exciting year coming up!

We look forward to welcoming 2015 with all of you, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Living Christmas Trees–The obvious choice

Living Xmas Trees3 PM

Old-school Christmas tradition has the tree going up late Christmas eve, new-school tradition has it going up the weekend after thanksgiving.. who knows when the right time to put up the tree really is? Long story short, if you still haven’t got your tree up its not too late! There are still Christmas tree lots all over town and plenty of options for artificial trees at any department store. We want to give you a different option this year, a tree that keeps on giving long after the lights and festivities of Christmas have faded–living Christmas trees!

We offer a wide variety of potted evergreen trees that would make the perfect addition to your living room for the holidays. Once Christmas is over instead of tossing your tree or boxing it up until next year, why not plant it in the yard or keep it in a container on your patio? This is a great way to commemorate a special Christmas, maybe your first Christmas as husband and wife, 10 year anniversary, baby’s first Christmas.. you’ll likely have the tree for years and years to come as a special memory of its Christmas glory.

Living Christmas trees are pretty easy to take care of, maybe not as easy as the artificial trees but still pretty easy. The first this you want to do is make sure you transition your tree slowly into the warm household temperatures. You don’t want to have a living tree inside a warm house for more that 2 weeks or so, so when you’re ready to bring it inside transition it slowly. Put it in an unheated garage or shed for about 2 days and then bring it into the house for Christmas time. **After Christmas you’ll also want to leave it in the garage or shed for a few days before putting it back outside in the elements.

While your tree is living inside with you you’ll want to make it comfortable, make sure it is not directly under a heat vent or right next to the fire place, as it will dry out. Watering your living tree while it is inside may be easier than you think. The best way to go about this is to constantly keep ice cubes in the container, just don’t stack them against the trunk. The ice melts at a slower pace, allowing the roots to soak it up as it melts leaving little to no extra run off. This also keeps the roots nice and cool while its sitting in your cozy warm home. You’ll still want to have a drip tray underneath to protect the floor just incase. **If your container is too large for a standard plant tray try using a water boiler tray from your local hardware store.

Aside from the transition periods and the ice you’re all set! Decorate with lights, ornaments, snow, pop corn, whatever your Christmas spirit calls for! These trees don’t mind being dressed to nines at all. If the container is too large for your normal tree skirt consider using aluminum flashing, also available at your local hardware store! You can find it in silver or gold and its sold by the foot, secure it at the back with some packing or duct tape and you have a shiny festive cover on the bottom of your tree.

After the holidays plant your tree in your yard, leave it in a large container on your patio, or you can even donate it to your local parks department.

Choosing a living tree for your Christmas tree this year can be a meaningful project for your family or a great way to give back to your community. All of our living Christmas trees are currently 50% off now through the 24th, so if you’re still needing to do that holiday decorating think Johnson Brothers for your Christmas tree needs and invest in the years to come!

Living Xmas Trees1 PM

Seedlings Garden Club for Kids–Nature Inspired Ornaments

We had our monthly Seedlings Garden Club for Kids this last saturday and this months project was making nature inspired christmas ornaments. Such a simple fun project that leaves you with a beautiful handmade treasure that you and your family can enjoy.

SGCK Ornament PM


  • twine, ribbon, or any type of string
  • a clear plastic christmas ball ornament
  • snow/glitter
  • pinecones
  • bells
  • mixed greens
  • holly
  • mistletoe (Caution: mistletoe is POISONOUS, although pretty and festive. If you have children involved in this project pay close attention when dealing with mistletoe and DO NOT let them eat any part of it including the berries.)
  • anything that will fit and that you want to include…


This project is very simple and involves little instruction. The ornaments we used were clear plastic and snapped together in the middle, leaving two halves when open.

Fill each, or one, half with any decorations you’d like to have; we used artificial snowmossmixed christmas greens, bells, and small cedar cones.

Then simply, snap the ornament closed and run a string through it using any kind of twineribbon, or cord whichever you prefer.

As I said this is a super simple project, but truly creates a handmade piece of beauty for your family to enjoy. Pictures, heirlooms, or anything else is easily incorporated to make these ornaments all that more meaningful. I hope that those who came out on Saturday enjoy this gift from their little ones and to all those who may participate on their own. Creating memories together with your family is the real gift!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

SGCK Dec Blog photo PM

We need your help!

If you get our emails, or have been reading the tips on what you can be doing in the garden during the winter months, you’ll notice that we can’t stop talking about birds! That’s because we need your help to make sure they make it through the next few rough months of winter weather!

Birds are an essential part of any outdoor setting and rely solely on what’s in their natural environment for food, shelter and protection. As you may notice, most of their food sources are done producing for the winter, and a lot of trees no longer have thick lush greenery to shelter and protect their homes. Yes, some birds migrate elsewhere for the winter but NOT all and that’s where you can help them survive the winter ahead.

By providing fresh food, clean water, and secure shelter you are helping keep our valley populated for the years to come! Seeds, nuts, and grains aren’t easily found during the winter so having a bird feeder does more good than you know (they’re also super fun to watch from inside). Having trays of fresh, clean and unfrozen water out during the day provides a drinking and bathing source for the birds that may otherwise not have an unfrozen or clean place to refresh. And most importantly bird houses give a warm safe place for the birds to seek shelter during the storms. Wind and rain really take a tole on the trees, which unfortunately also takes a major tole on the birds that live in them. By providing a bird house you could be the reason a new family can grow next spring.

So please, check your emails and look on our website for coupons on bird supplies including seed, suet, feeders, houses, and more so that we can make this winter that much easier on our feathered friends.

Holiday Shopping Guide

Your family and friends may, or may not, love gardening as much as you do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find the perfect gift for everyone on your list right here at your favorite local nursery… Come out and treat yourself to gorgeous new plants and also get some major christmas shopping done, boom the best one stop shop there is! Enjoy this brief holiday shopping guide to get a preview of what we have to offer, stop by the nursery for the full selection of plants, gifts, tools, and supplies.

For the gardener:

423Hellebores- These bright little beauties make a great gift to add color all winter to your loved one’s yard. There are many different colors and sizes to choose from starting at $14.99



372Living Christmas Trees- From small table top trees to large evergreens, living Christmas trees are a great eco-friendly gift starting at $6.99




Citrus Trees- These make the perfect gift for the “foodie” on your list, citrus grow great in a container and can be placed outside during the warmer months and brought in during the winter. We have various varieties to choose from including Meyer Lemon, Bears Lime, Marumi Kumquat and MORE starting at $19.99



Cyclamen- These dainty and easy-to-grow houseplants come in an array of bright colors and some varieties are even fragrant, they make the perfect low-maintenance gift and bloom almost all year round starting at $3.99



597Classics Tools- Vintage inspired wooden tools make a great gift for the gardener on your list. Choose from our wide variety of individual tools or beautifully packaged gift sets starting at $6.99



616Gift cards- Gift cards make the perfect gift for anyone on your list! Gift cards can be purchased in store or online and made in any denomination.



For others on your list:

585Sloggers- The sloggers brand is made here in the US and is both comfortable and functional! We offer varieties of boots, clogs, and sandals with styles for both men and women starting at $29.99



594Rosy Rings Candles- This soy and bees wax candle line is a beautiful gift for those hard to please people on your list.  With nature inspired scents such as Tomato Vine, Anjou Pear and Apricot Rose, these candles are long-lasting and beautiful. We offer many different sizes and styles starting at $5.99


595Plant Nanny- Plant Nanny watering globes release water through the included Terracotta Plant Stake.  As the soil in the plant dries, the stake slowly releases water deep within the plant. We offer a few different styles to appeal to everyones tastes starting at $7.99



599Organica Firepots- Organic firepots that can be used indoors or outdoors using a natural non-toxic fuel. Choose from a beautiful assortment of colors and styles starting at $13.99



367Hand-made NW Grown Wreaths- Beautiful, fresh wreaths to adorn your front door! Plus, we offer shipping in the continental US for only $25 (plus the cost of the wreath). This makes a special gift for your friends and family that live outside of Eugene starting at $18.99



364Home-grown Poinsettias- Nothing beats a beautiful Johnson Brothers grown poinsettia! Come and choose from the largest selection of poinsettias outside of Portland starting at $4.99



For the kids & pets:

596Melissa & Doug Kids Toys- Share the gift of gardening with your kids or grandkids with these fun and whimsical garden tools and toys for kids starting at $2.99



591Pawsitively Gourmet Dog Treats- Lovely hand decorated cookies for the pups on your list this Christmas! All the cookies are slowly oven baked and come in varieties such as Carrot Cake, Doughnuts, Cupcakes and more starting at $1.99




This list only touches on the great gifts we have to offer, come by the nursery to check out our variety of books, kitchen gadgets, decor and more! For more great info and coupons sign up on our website to receive our e-news letter!


Winter squash recipe

Most of you may not know this, but our very own Caleb Johnson is quite the chef. He is especially talented with using fresh herbs from the garden to create the best flavors in anything from beverages to decadent desserts and everything in between.

Today is our lucky day, he was generous enough to share with us one of his DELICIOUS winter soup recipes. This recipe is perfect for a frosty weekend at home or for entertaining guests through the holidays. And the best part is, its SUPER easy and a great way to utilize all those squash left over from this falls harvest!

This tasty winter squash recipe is best using strawberry crown or australian butter (or both) but feel free to substitute any similar winter squash to explore different flavors.


  • 8-12 cups vegetable stock (depending on size of crock pot)
  • 1 whole winter squash cubed (or 2 halves of two types of winter squash)
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbs or 3 fresh sprigs oregano
  • 2 tbs or 1 fresh sprig rosemary
  • 2-4 tbs salt to taste
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 8 tbs butter
  • 4-6 red peppers
  • 1 cup  heavy cream or substitute silken tofu
  • 1/2 to 1 full cup brown ale


  • Turn your crockpot on high for a cook time of 3-4 hours or on low for a cook time of 7-8 hours and add all 8-12 cups vegetable stock.
  • Cube the squash into 2 inch pieces and add to stock along with garlicoreganorosemarysaltpaprikacumin, and butter. Let stand in crockpot for 3-4 hours (or 7-8 depending on cook temp).
  • After the mixture has cooked down, blend with an emulsion blender in the crockpot to puree. **If you don’t have an emulsion blender you can use a food processor or blender.
  • While the mixture is cooking roast red peppers in the oven on broil covered with vegetable oil until they’re tender and the skin can easily peel off. Let cool and remove the skin. Puree the peppers and add into the crockpot mixture. You can also add 1 or 2 jalapeños if you’d like a little extra kick.
  • After all ingredients have been pureed add the brown sugarbrown ale, and any additional spices to taste.
  • Lastly add in the heavy cream or silken tofu (silken tofu will need to be pureed in) to give the creamy texture to the soup. If your crockpot is on high turn it down to low, and leave soup to stand with all ingredients for an additional 1-3 hours as the flavors continue to blend.
  • Garnish as desired with herbs or cheese and sliced baguette style bread. Serve hot and enjoy!

Squash Collage PM


I hope you and yours all enjoy this wonderful fall recipe, from all of us at Johnson Brothers we hope this holiday season brings the warmth and love of close family, good food, and great memories!

2014 Holiday Garden Party Highlights

Last Friday, November 14th we held our annual Holiday Garden Party, everything went off without a hitch and a fabulous time was had by all! Our garden parties feature one night only specials, live music, food&drink, and FUN!

Some of this years highlights include:

Skip Jones Band providing live entertainment for our customers all evening long. Delicious  hors d’oeuvres & refreshments courtesy of Mezza Luna Pizzeria, Eugene Kettle Corn, The Lilly Family, and Linda&Sharyl–keeping our glasses full and the tables set with a beautiful spread.

HGP Collage PM2

We also offered a mail station for the North Pole for children to get their letters in to Santa, a wood burning fire pit for those brave enough to enjoy the outdoors, and 20% off of your entire purchase that evening.

HGP Collage PM3

I know I speak on behalf of our team here, when I say we had a blast putting this event together and getting everything decorated, so I hope you all had an equally great time enjoying it. Thank you again, to all our wonderful customers for brightening our days and making our business such a success! We can’t wait to see what exciting things 2015 has in store; from our family to yours MCHH PM



Do’s and don’ts of poinsettia care

poinsettia collage PMThe holiday season is finally upon us bringing with it the echoes of Christmas music and the daunting task of trying to make your poinsettias last until at least the 26th of Dec. They’re picky, they’re temperamental, but boy are they B-E-A-UTIFUL… and we all want one or two to dress the table or compliment the tree. Good news is we’re here to ease your mind and make poinsettias easy peasy this year with some fun info and the do’s and don’ts of poinsettia care.


  • Put poinsettias near cold drafts OR excessive heat. That means not too close to windows, doors, fireplaces, or directly in the path of the heater vent.
  • Expose poinsettias to temperatures below 50ºF. That means DON’T leave them in your car unattended -OR- transport them with the windows down if you can avoid it.
  • Over water your poinsettia, avoid this by ALWAYS removing it from any decorative container or pot cover before you water and allow ALL the excess water to drain before placing it back in the containers.
  • Fertilize your poinsettia when it’s in bloom. This is NOT the time of year poinsettias need to feed, they eat during their growing period.


  • Give your poinsettia access to plenty of light, at least 6 or more hours per day of indirect sunlight.
  • Provide comfortable indoor temperatures between 60ºF and 70ºF, usually if you’re comfortable your poinsettia is comfortable.
  • Water your poinsettia when the soil becomes dry to the touch, but NEVER let it sit in water.
  • Use a plant sleeve or large shopping bag to cover and protect your poinsettia when you transport it AND keep the time your poinsettia spends in your vehicle to a bare MINIMUM.

Given you follow these basic guidelines you should have NO PROBLEMS keeping your poinsettias alive, well, and in full blooming glory throughout this holiday season. Come see us for the largest retail poinsettia display outside of Portland with over 20 different varieties to choose from!



  • Poinsettias are NOT poisonous! Poinsettias are safe for both humans and pets, though not intended for consumption and actually remove pollutants from the air.
  • A poinsettia’s bloom is not the beautiful colored bracts, but actually the tiny yellow centers. The colored portions are just the leaves of the plant that happen to change color during the blooming process.
  • December 12th is National Poinsettia Day, in honor of Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett who first brought the poinsettia to the US from its native country of Mexico.
  • Poinsettias are the highest selling potted flowering plant in the country with over 34 million sold every year, distantly followed by Easter Lilies and Orchids.

We’ll be showcasing our poinsettias this Friday, November 14th from 4-8pm at our annual Holiday Garden Party. Swing in for one night only specials with music, wine, food, & fun for the whole family! As always, this is a complimentary event with no invitation needed; HOWEVER if you RSVP ahead of time using the link provided it will put your name in a drawing for a $100. JBGH gift card——–>