Monday, March 31, 2014

April 1, 1989 we took a big step leaving behind a regular paycheck to do what Fausto had been dreaming of for many years. I won't say it wasn't scary and I won't say it hasn't been hard but what I will say is that it has been a ride.

With the help of family, not just at the nursery but at home caring for the kids when hours were long, working side by side watering plants, stocking shelves, helping customers we have grown the business. This business helped put our kids through school, participate in outside athletic teams, and show them some pretty amazing vacations. It has provided for many employees and their families. Some learning from us and going on to start their own companies.

We took a San Diego business which was already 79 years old and have continued growing it to what it is today. There have been really great years when housing market was booming, no talk of water rations, and people were investing in their homes. There also have been very lean years, when housing market died, water rations were not being talked about but were a reality and feeding your family was much more important than planting a new tree.

Yet we open the gates each day believing in what we do. We have always told ourselves do your best, provide more than the basic plants, teach others, and don't be afraid to get dirt under your nails. We have gone home with aching backs, sore feet, bumps and bruises and yet each morning we get up and do it again. It must be in our blood and in the fact that you are customers keep coming back to us.

As we head into another chapter of our company's history we look forward Believing.
Believing Fausto's design magic will continue to go from his thoughts to paper to reality. Tiger will continue taking his crew out into yards and turning them into oasis for homeowner and business owners to enjoy and relax in. Believing that with our continued hard work and honesty we will be serving the gardeners of San Diego for more years to come.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Birds and the Bees

Officially spring is 9 days away yet the birds and bees are out and about every day at the nursery.

Last week we had to call in a beekeeper to remove a swarm of bees that had set up house on a lemon tree, usually after 10 hours they move on but this group wanted to stay. Not a possibility as the tree is for sale and was sitting on a pathway.

Without any problems the bees gladly moved into the bee box and 24 hours later were transported to their new home. In exchange for the bees we received a jar of honey, nice trade.

We will have more swarms as the season goes on, please be careful if you are walking about and see them. My understanding is they are so focused on finding a new home for the new queen they won't bother you unless you begin waving your arms and bother them. We need the bees to keep the flowers blooming and the fruit trees fruiting. Now think about it if you were a bee wouldn't you enjoy living at the nursery? Sunshine, protection, water and no insecticides.

Blackberry finally got a name, she is our black 10 month old hen. She and Ash cruise the nursery looking for insects, nibbling on plants, and hoping for treats from anyone who has something to eat. Please watch your children if they are walking about with food in their hands, Blackberry thinks since the child is just her height that the cookie in their hand is for her. Both hens lay one egg a day, and getting the meals they get along with plenty of exercise and sunshine the eggs are beautiful and tasty. Sorry we can't share them with you, we are not set up to sell dairy products.
So as we get ready to celebrate spring, we are grateful for our birds and bees at the nursery. If you are having an off day grab yourself an ice-tea and come sit for a bit. Watch the hens and I can almost guarantee you will feel better.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Gerbera Daisy for your Valentine

Valentine's Day is coming up, Friday February 14th.

One year I made the mistake of telling my husband I didn't want roses for Valentine's Day. He took it to mean I didn't want any flowers and thus there were many years without. What I was meaning to say was that I didn't want cut roses on the one day of year when they are brought over from other countries and do not have any staying power.

My favorite cut flower had always been the carnation, it lasted for quite a long time and had much more fragrance than roses which are stored in such cold storage and grown for their longevity, which really isn't very long, that many varieties used by florist have lost their fragrance.

Then one day my husband went out into the nursery and cut me a bouquet of whatever flowers were blooming, now that was one that I loved and it lasted much longer. Thus began my planting of "cutting" flowers. Our garden had lilies, alstromerias, daisies, sages, yarrows and other herbs. A few of my favorites were cosmos and Gerbera Daisy. The cosmos stood tall and danced in the breezes, when cut they were perfect fillers to my vases. Gerbera Daisy is such a bright cheery plant and ranks as the 5th most popular cut flower in the floral industry.

This is a wonderful month to get Gerberas planted in your garden, they work wonderfully in containers and can be enjoyed as a plant inside with plenty of sunlight. Plant in full sun to partial, keep soil moist but not wet. Here in San Diego they are perennial, so don't toss them out when the blooms stop. This week we have a shipment coming in that will be assorted colors all blooming and standing tall.

If roses are on your Valentine's request how about giving one that will keep giving?  Yes the rose bushes in stock now are still dormant or just beginning to leaf out, but if you plant it this winer your Valentine will be cutting roses all Spring and again in the Fall, plus you get the added bonus of choosing one which is fragrant and beautiful.


Monday, January 27, 2014

What's ugly now turns pretty later.

January the month when the nursery is filled with sticks and strange looking pieces which sometimes are hard to distinguish top from bottom.

Dormant season, a time for many plants to shed their leaves and go into a resting period. This is a perfect time to get these plants into your garden for rewards in the spring and summer months.

One area that has been seeing a surge in planting is the edibles, and this year will be no exception. More of us are aware of where our foods come from, we are going back to the time when we ate fruits and vegetables when it was their time in our zone. We have been spoiled with just going into a local grocery store and picking up a bag of grapes, but wait it isn't grape season here so where are those grapes from?

To help you and your family eat healthier and wiser we have brought in a very nice assortment of fruits and vegetables that you will want to plant in your garden.

We all need our greens and two which you want to plant this month and next are Asparagus and Artichoke. You have to be a bit patient with these guys but the rewards are worth it.



Berries provide us with antioxidants and go well with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pop them into your cereal or bake into a muffin or pancake for breakfast. Mix into salad with lunch and top a pork roast at dinner. So versatile.



Grapes, nature's candy. Such an easy fruit to carry with you, just pop in your mouth no mess no peeling no wrapper.                                                                                                                                            

Monday, December 02, 2013

Christmas tree buying San Diego Style

Where, how, and why……Christmas tree buying San Diego Style

Where? Mission Hills Nursery beginning the week of Thanksgiving until December 24th, or sooner if we sell our 1,000+ trees earlier. Don't wait too long to pick your families beautiful fresh cut Christmas tree. Our trees are grown by a family in Mossy Rock Washington, freshly cut and trucked down to us within 48 hours

How? Just stop in and select the perfect tree for your home or office. This year we are bringing in Noble Fir, Fraser Fir, Douglas Fir, Nordman and Natural Nobles. A Natural Noble has not been sheared over the years and grows with an openness between the layers. Perfect for hanging your large ornaments.

Why? We are San Diego's oldest retail garden center and we operate 12 months a year, so we don't just show up on a corner during the holiday season. We stand behind our trees. We give each tree a fresh cut and put it in a stand with water to keep it fresh. We can deliver your tree to your home or office and take it inside, you just add water and ornaments. We then can pick it up, after you have removed the ornaments and water. How simple is that?

What makes it San Diego Style? On December 7th we will have Casanova Fish Tacos

 set up out in front of the nursery cooking their award winning fish tacos. Now that says San Diego. Casanova will be selling their fish tacos, and shrimp tacos from 11:00-3:00 or longer, you keep buying he will keep cooking. Buy lunch and shop, how much funner could your Saturday be?





We support local businesses and Casanova buys his fish locally, win win scenario.

Monday, November 18, 2013

We are Thankful

As we count down the days to Thanksgiving we want to stop and give Thanks to everyone who works with us.





Juan keeps the nursery clean and watered. Enrique changes the display areas, carries out those heavy bags and trees and now rings up sales transactions on the register. China who is the queen of the bedding area, designing container gardens with love and speaking of love has a following with Socks the cat and our two hens. She keeps the vegetable area filled with seasonal varieties.

Unless you have our crew maintaining your home or business garden you may never have met Ulysses and Henry. They are on the truck keeping yards neat and tidy, from small yards to downtown high-rise complex and everything in between.

If you have gotten a delivery you most likely have met Richard B, he is our trusted driver who will be working more hours as we go into the Christmas tree delivery season.

On the inside you find knowledge on trees, shrubs, fertilizers and more by chatting with Richard L who is also on our holiday decorating crew. He loves to shop and display his special finds.
A growing area for the nursery is maintained by Casey, not sure the difference between a cactus and a succulent? Just ask. Casey also has a broad knowledge of herbs and their uses, she does grow some of the unusual herbs and vegetables in her own home garden.
Our newest member is Emily who you will find at the cash register or off doing any other task we assign her.

Then of course there are our growers and vendors to Thank. We have seen our industry go through many changes with some of the big growers either going out of business or downsizing their operations. Plants come and go and we try to stay up on the latest trends that we feel you will appreciate. Our lines of fertilizer and insecticides have moved to almost 100% organic along with our soils, both for in the ground amendments and container gardens.

Last but not least we want to Thank You our customers. Many of you have been with us from the day we took over almost 25 years ago, you have seen the nursery full and at times almost empty as the economy rose and fell. You have seen Tiger run around and jump from the pallets of soil to begin taking over the daily operation and growing it with his own passion.

Each night as the computers are shut down and the gates locked we say Thank You for allowing us to open again another day.

When we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner we will be thinking of all we have accomplished in 2013 and acknowledging what we have planned for 2014.

Fausto, Toni, and Tiger along with our families wish you and yours a Bountiful Thanksgiving.




Monday, August 26, 2013

Time to Plant Seeds


Seed + Soil = Plant

What to plant now? As the summer is winding down, it’s time to start thinking about your cool season vegetable garden. Plant seeds now for greens like arugula, bok choy, chard, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, and spinach, and vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, radish and turnip.



If you sow directly in the garden bed, remember to first mix in some Soil Booster or Planting Compost for the best results.  For container gardening, I recommend the Recipe 420 Potting Soil by EB Stone as both a seed starter and planting medium.  As a certified organic potting soil, Recipe 420 is an excellent choice for growing edibles, and contains diverse nutrients and beneficial microbes to protect and nourish young plants.



I’ve found the easiest way to sprout seeds for transplanting is to use the Jump Start Mini Greenhouse.  The small 4”x 10” box holds a dozen peat pellets, and converts into a highly effective greenhouse by simply snapping the clear plastic lid over the tray holding the pellets. I used the mini greenhouse to start my bok choy seedlings outside on a south facing window ledge. The greenhouse design traps heat and keeps enough moisture in for ideal sprouting conditions. Even though I forgot about my seed experiment and cracked open the lid a week later, I was delighted to find 12 perfectly sprouting plants!

Additionally, greens like bok choy can be sensitive to transplanting; they prefer not to have their roots disturbed.  Transplanting my seedlings outside to a 15 gallon container filled with Recipe 420 Potting Mix



was a breeze—the thin “skin” that holds the peat pellet together peels off easily, allowing for a seamless transition from starter plug to planting site.

Stop by the nursery and browse our new assortment of cool season seeds from Botanical Interest. 




Look for a variety of Beets from Renee’s Garden, as well as some new Kale varieties like striking Triple-Curled and versatile Portuguese.  And don’t forget San Diego Seed Company’s local seed selection—all their seeds are especially suited to grow here in Southern California.  Have fun in your garden!