Friday, April 1, 2016

The Beauty of Willows

Jim (the owner of Bluestem Nursery) has a brother who lives in Ohio. Frank not only also grows willows and ornamental grasses, but he loves to photograph them.
On March 27 he took the following pictures of Salix rubens 'Hutchinsons Yellow' with Salix chaenomeloides (Japanese pussy willow):
Frank said, "The pictures really don't do justice to how beautiful this tableau has been."
I can't imagine them looking even more beautiful in person!! Thanks for sending them Frank.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Solving a Lawn Problem in San Diego - March 2013 Update

From George Baboi:

"Well, over a year has passed since I used your Enviro-Turf lawn here in San Diego. As you may recall, first 4 months Nov., Dec., Jan., and Feb 2012 were outstanding as far as water reduction in using your product. Following that time, I still paid close attention to the water usage in the summer months and then in the fall.

Here is some good news, during hot summer months, I still used anywhere between 30% to 42% less water than the previous grass. Probably could have gone even more in water reduction since we had such hot summer, but I was nervous with not knowing the grass and did not want to stress it too much. Actually, I know for sure I could have used less water especially during the 3 months of June, July and August when we had a very hot and humid weather. Reason I say that is because I used too much water and start to develop some fungus inside the grass which was not very good. After I found out my reason for fungus, and done the appropriate correction, my grass start looking very well again. The only issue I had, in those areas where I had fungus, I lost some grass, but in the winter I have receded with some left-over product from you from the year before.

So everything looks outstanding now, not to mention still a 35% to 50% water reduction depending of the season. It looks so good, that compliments keep on coming. When they hear of how much water reduction your grass has taking advantage of, I get lots of interest. The only problem I had, due to a nice green looking grass, is the wild jackrabbits that are making trails through the grass at night and living droppings behind them. Hmmm.. but not anymore, found a solution for that also... works very well !!!!"

We are so happy for you George! And many thanks for all these updates and the beautiful photos!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Solving a Lawn Problem in San Diego - Update

George, in San Diego, sent us the following info regarding recent water usage for his Enviro-Turf lawn:
"Here is the water usage for January and February, a total of 63 billing days.
  • The water consumption (average gallons per day) was 190 compared with 380 gallons per day during the same time period last year on a different type of grass.
A 50% reduction in water usage with Enviro-Turf lawn. FANTASTIC!!!
Last year's bill for January / February was $223.05. Despite this year's 50% reduction in water usage, the bill for Jan / Feb was $238.86. Just think how much the bill would have been if not for the 50% reduction. I think you can see the motivation to switch to Enviro-Turf lawn.
Will send you two month's usage also in high usage months such as July and August to get a complete picture of your product. But I suspect will be also a significant reduction."
George's beautiful low maintenance lawn:

For more info or to purchase Enviro-Turf lawn seed, please visit our website.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Solving a Lawn Problem in San Diego, California, Part 3

So now I expect you are waiting to see the results of George's efforts to find a lawn that requires much less water than any of his previous lawns.

To summarize what is in Parts 1 and 2, in blog posts below:
"The main reason for replacing the grass was its water consumption and here in Southern California (San Diego) we have the highest cost rates for water from entire United States. So the motivation was strong to find alternatives for customers that still want natural green in their backyards, or go to some artificial solution."
And the results:
"The grass was seeded Oct 1st, 2011. To date the results are OUTSTANDING, from looks to water consumption. First month water usage was 42% lower than same time last year regardless that I watered more than normal to get the grass going, and the past 2 months the water consumption was 58.6% lower than same time last year...Wow !! Very Very impressed and a happy customer."

the new front yard lawn


part of the back yard

more of the beautiful backyard

Want some Enviro-Turf seed for yourself? Visit the Bluestem Nursery website.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Solving a Lawn Problem in San Diego, California, Part 2

George B, a customer in San Diego, has reported great success with our Enviro-Turf, a low maintenance lawn seed. In the previous post (see below) he talks about his motivation behind the change to Enviro-Turf, and shows pictures of his old lawn.

George also sent us some great pictures of the transformation of his 7,000 sq ft lawn, and explained the steps he took to get rid of the old lawn:

1. Kill old lawn with Roundup, about 3 applications.

2. Wait for lawn to be dry completely

3. Remove dead lawn (by hand to about a depth of 8 to 10 in)

4. Let dead lawn dry

5. Rototill soil and let it dry

6. Remove by hand old grass roots without any soil (I had about 1.5 ton of dead old grass and very little soil)

7. Add about 2" of top soil and rototill soil to about a depth of 6 inches.

8. Rake and final grade

9. Apply "Enviro-Turf Seed"

10. Water as needed to keep the soil moist

Current lawn pictures in the next post.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Solving a Lawn Problem in San Diego, California, Part 1

Last year George B contacted us because he felt that our Enviro-Turf lawn seed might be the solution to his desire to have a less thirsty lawn in his hot dry climate in San Diego, California.

He sent us this info regarding his motivation behind his change to our Enviro-Turf:
"San Diego has one of the highest water usage rates in the country and for the past three years it has been going up and up much more than the inflation rate. Just in the past 12 months the rate went up two times. As an example this past December water usage was reduced by 56% over same period a year before, but the cost for water usage was reduced by 5.2% ONLY. Can you imagine how much would it have been if it was not for the 56% reduction in consumption?

But the story does not stop there. As the cost over the past 23 years has been going higher and higher, I replaced the entire grass 2 times from the original one (yours being the third time from the original during this period), and I modified the sprinklers 3 times with improved and more efficient type of heads. All in vain because no matter how much the reduction in water (few percentages) the costs still continued claiming

I considered at one point putting in artificial turf but nothing is like natural grass. So the solution had to be a grass that is still a grass, looks good, maintains easily, but most important, has a dramatic reduction in water usage. Enviro-Turf Lawn was the answer, and based on almost 5 months, I believe I hit the "jack-pot" with your product."

This was what the thirsty lawn looked like, despite regular watering:

The next post will show the steps he took to convert to Enviro-Turf and what his new lawn looks like.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gardening at High Elevation, in New Mexico

by Sara Douglas Scott

Gardening at 5000 feet in elevation in Albuquerque, NM presents some unique challenges:
· Negligible precipitation: 7-8 inches on average annually.
· Radical daily temperature fluctuations. A 40 degree swing in a day is normal, but up to 60 degree fluctuations occur from time to time.
· Intense sunlight and heat: summer temperatures of at least 90 to 100 degrees and blinding UV year-round.
· Soil lacking organic matter.
· Fiercely dry winds.
In my experience, grasses take this environment in stride. Not surprisingly, Albuquerque and much of New Mexico were once vast grasslands. Of the 29 ornamental grass genera offered by Bluestem, 20 of them (species thereof) are recommended in our New Mexico-specific gardening books and nursery catalogs/websites (see list below). The remaining 9 require either cool temperatures, significant moisture, shade, or acidic soil, or a combination thereof, conditions that do not occur naturally in most gardens here. New Mexico is a large state with many varied microclimates, however, and the intrepid gardener in a mountain or riparian setting, where it is cooler, moister, and/or shadier, might find success growing these more tender grasses (though some extra TLC could be required).

part of Sara's beautiful garden
With the exception of native New Mexican plants, ornamental grasses are the most reliable and hardy group of plants that I have used in my garden. One must remember, however, that they are not (typically) native and will require more thought as to location in the garden and water needs. Before ordering, be sure to consult local gardening resources (books, websites, nurseries, extension services, etc…) as to the particular species and its use and care. If you provide for the needs of the particular grass, however, you will be rewarded with year-round textural interest, a beautiful visual counterpoint for your perennials, and a lovely performance as the grass dances in the wind.

Ornamental grass genera, species thereof, known to grow in New Mexico or parts of New Mexico are (check local resources on particular species):

Thanks to Sara for submitting this information.