Blueberries are in.

My talk with the Auburn Garden Club went well. This is one of the most active garden clubs around. The topic was “What’s new and exciting in the garden center.” I was given lots of new introductions by Monrovia that I was able to share. The southern high bush blueberries, which are a more heat tolerant type good for our region, were especially well received. Blueberries are again popular this year as we are quickly selling out of our bare root types. These southern high bush types are completely taking over the California market from the low bush types.

What’s interesting is how the sales are being fueled by health conscious people looking for the antioxidants contained in the berry. We are also seeing some interest in fruiting Mulberries for the same reason. It’s funny because the fruitless mulberry just like the olive tree where once scorned as being to messy so sterile varieties were produced and sold over the years at the nursery.

Another reason the blueberries are selling well is people realize they can containerize them. Our soil is not the best for blueberry culture but by growing them in containers with our planting mix, which is just right for blueberries, they can be successful.

While the interest in home grown fruit and vegetables is increasing most people don’t realize that bare root season is the time to buy many of the fruiting trees and shrubs. The whole bare root season is a challenge. People just don’t know about it and most don’t want to shop at a garden center in the winter. Our pre-booking of fruit trees, which ends in November, is growing. The advantage to pre-booking is you can buy one or two of any fruit tree on our growers list. We don’t have to buy in unusual varieties that might not sell well during bare root season. So the selection of varieties is huge and people are still gardening in fall and more likely to buy at that time. We bundle the trees by customer when they arrive in winter.

The citrus were hit pretty hard by the cold we experienced a couple of weeks ago. Even though they were covered and under the deck the night temperatures got down to 19°F. Fortunately we don’t carry a lot of citrus at the nursery. We will wait and see if they leaf out in this spring. After two weeks of record cold I am now running around in a tee shirt as the temps are now in the 60’s. This is now the driest January on record. I am not going to complain as we could see gully washers this spring like the last two years. We’ll just make hay while the sun shines.