Cooling Water Feature

Our Latest shipment of water plants has arrived, and we also have a beautiful assortment of stone, ceramic and concrete water features. Add the cooling effect of a pond or water feature.

Add water for a psychologically cooling effect.

Recirculating water features fit well into a landscape even if you are conserving water. Recirculating water means a fountain uses surprisingly little water, but the pay off in comfort and beauty can be big. The sight and sound of water calm the spirit and cools the view.

Water Plants have arrived

Come see our water plants, we have a nice assortment including floaters as well as bog/marginal plants and also submerged plants. We even have a California native stream orchid!

Gardens at the Fair

We’re proud to announce that Alden Lane Nursery has won Best of Show, Best Use of Color and the Award for Horticultural Excellence in the Alameda County Fair Professional Landscaping Competition!

Big thanks to landscape designer, Eric Teberg, for the fabulous design, and to Vineyard Landscape for the installation!

Lavender

Every Valley gardener should have a lavender plant to make their garden complete. You’ll want to enjoy the many benefits of this perennial of the perennials. We know and appreciate lavender for the lovely scent of the flowers and foliage as well as the gray to gray-green color it brings to our gardens. Scent the Garden with Lavender

In the Western world, Lavender has been treasured since the middle ages as a medicinal herb; food enhancement and sweetener and even an insect repellant — once it was discovered that fleas do not like the scent of lavender which is so appealing to us. In modern times, lavender is the basis for many balms and cosmetics. Its fragrance occupies center stage in soaps, perfumes, aromatic pillows, room fresheners, laundry detergents and a host of others.

With all that going for it, you need hardly be surprised to find out that it is a great looking perennial plant that is easy to grow, low maintenance, sun-loving, drought resistant and tolerant of benign neglect — which makes it ideal for busy Valley residents who need to leverage their gardening time. By the way, lavender plants also make great additions to cut flower bouquets and are an ideal colorful fragrant enhancement to dried flower arrangements.

Lavender is a Mediterranean native and adapts nicely to garden soils if they are improved with compost to make them fast-draining. Plant in an area that receives full sun – at least six hours. It makes an excellent low hedge, bedding border for a perennial garden or an accent in an herb garden. If you wish to save the flowers for sachets cut the flower heads or strip the flowers from the stems just as color shows. Dry them upside down in a cool, shady place. Try some of these varieties of lavender in your garden!

goodwin-creek
Goodwin Creek Lavender

GOODWIN CREEK LAVENDER
From the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon, this selection is noted for its extreme hardiness as well as its lovely foliage, flowers, and fragrance. Hardy, evergreen shrub to 2-3’ tall x 3-4’ wide. Ideal for accent, border, massing, low hedge or lavender spikes during late spring-summer and much of the year with regular deadheading.

PROVENCE LAVENDER
This fragrant darling from the Mediterainian has both subtlety and a robust spirit, It’s a hardy evergreen, 18″-2′ high and up to 3′ wide. The fragrant dark violet blossoms in June-July on 16″ stems. Attractive silvery gray foliage adds a nice contrast to other green plants

PHENOMENAL LAVENDER
This is “Must Grow” Lavender says Better Homes and Gardens! Very heat and cold tolerant with very little dieback. Known for its uniform, mounding habit and long stems of blue-purple flowers.
Grows 2-3′ high and wide prune after bloom to promote a repeat bloom cycle. Great for mass planting, border or accent, but avoid the edge of the lawn, too wet.

 

 

Tasty Tropicals

Vivid green kiwis, buttery avocados, red strawberry guavas, plump passion fruits . . . all grown at home. Wait – what? You mean we can grow luscious tropical fruits right here in the Tri-Valley? I thought our Sunset Zone 14 (USDA Zone 9) winters were too cold for tropicals!

While it’s true we are a bit too cold for many truly tropical plants which come from a climate with nary a frost, with a little imagination and shift in our thinking we can grow lots of similar fruits which can withstand a bit of cold below 32 degrees. Many of these are from sub-tropical regions of the world. Not only will you be adding delicious treats to your yard, you also gain gorgeous assets in your landscape.

Lots of theses plants will look right at home in a landscape themed with layers of palms, large-leaved shrubs, and bright, hot flower colors, straight from your most recent vacation to the tropics. Plant them in sheltered spots in your yard – up close to your house on the south or the east side is a good spot for the most frost tender. Most like a minimum of six hours of sunshine to produce well. And think frost protection for at least the first few years – cover with frost blankets over the tops and down to the ground, and/or wrap with small incandescent Christmas lights for extra warmth.

Try growing a couple of these juicy edible tropicals:

  • Avocados – yes, challenging, but can be done! Pick a sheltered spot, and choose one of the hardier Mexican varieties, like ‘Stewart’, ‘Mexicola Grande’, ‘Fuerte’, or ­‘Zutano’. They ripen 6 to 8 months after flowering.
  • Bananas – though you won’t harvest any fruit, what a great accent plant, and probably the best way to grow your own plates!
  • Guavas – so many sub-tropical varieties! They are beautiful, small scale, easy to grow, evergreen trees or large shrubs which deserve a place in every yard. Consider flavors like Pineapple ‘Nazemetz’ or ‘Coolidge’; Strawberry; Lemon; Chilean with its fine-textured little round leaves; or the stunningly beautiful variegated Chilean Guava.
  • Kiwis – funny fuzzy little fruits from down under grow on vines overhead. It takes two to produce and they need a few years to settle in. Or try self-fruitful ‘Issai’ hardy kiwi vines, which are fuzzless.
  • Limes – add some sweet/sour zest to your Mexican and Caribbean dishes. ‘Bearss’ lime is an all purpose juicy workhorse, while the smaller, rounder Mexican lime dazzles in cocktails and for eating fresh.
  • Loquat – easy growing and tropical looking with its coarse texture and serrated large leaves. Try loquat for virtually effortless clusters of fruit.        
  • Passion Fruit – exquisite, weirdo purple and white and green flowers like something off a space ship give way to green, then purple hanging orbs with sweet orangy-citrusy pulp inside. Try spooning it out.

To grow tropicals, practice good soil preparation incorporating lots of compost. We recommend Bumper Crop. Raise up planting beds, and add Sure Start at planting. Mulch well, and water deeply, allowing ­plantings to dry down a bit between soaks.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

 

Plants that Appeal to Kids – Kids Gardening

Kids Gardening 
Kids and gardening seem to go hand in hand. Dirt itself has a natural draw for children, as does the magic of planting a seed and discovering its power to change and morph and grow. If you have kids in your life, include them in the gardening process by planting with them or at least with them in mind. Here are some plants to include in your garden that can be of particular interest for kids!

Radishes
Radishes from seed are extremely quick to germinate and grow to fruition within just 3 to 4 weeks from seed packet to table, radishes are the fastest way to illustrate the harvest cycle from start to finish.

Marigolds
Marigolds planted from seed have child appeal partly due to the bright orange or yellow color and also for the distinct odor of the crushed leaf. Do you remember your first marigold? Marigolds are also interesting because as the flower fades, the center can be tugged away to reveal the seeds forming. These can be dried and planted again (and again), teaching in a simple way the circle of life.

Cherry Tomatoes
They pop in your mouth, bite-sized, juicy and growing at just the right height to harvest whenever a child needs a natural snack. The tomato called “Sungold” is a good choice; it grows like a vine and can cover a trellis or arbor in a season.

Cosmos
Cosmos grows to produce enormous (from a kids’ perspective) flowers with cartoon-like petals, some cosmos can also reach 6 feet high, which means you can plant a forest of them if given a large plot.

 

Sunflowers
Sunflowers are awe-inspiring both in the garden or as a cut flower on the table. Plant the huge “Mammoth gray” but don’t overlook the smaller branching ones like Autumn Shades that can be cut for a bouquet.

Gourds
Birdhouse Gourds are very large vines that need a hefty support. Amazing forts and shade-covered structures can be created with the vine. The gourds follow large white flowers and remain on the vine till frost. It can be dried and carved next year.

Pumpkins
It goes without saying pumpkins have child appeal. The value of a pumpkin planted and harvested from one’s own garden is immeasurably more memorable and valuable than one purchased from the supermarket.

Mint
Mint a little underfoot will fill the air with the fragrance of so many familiar sweets. Tuck some in a shady spot near the hose spigot where it will soak up the spills. Beware! It travels and spreads if you are not looking; best to grow in a pot.

 

Thyme

Thyme is easy to grow and full of the familiar scent of pizza. It is always good to show kids that their food comes from the earth. Vegetable and herb gardens drive this point home.

More
There are dozens more options for growing a kids’ garden. These suggestions don’t even need to be placed in a designated “kids’ garden area”. Pumpkins and tomatoes can grow right in with the roses and perennials. The basic idea is to enrich the lives of the little set and provide some memories that will linger with them!

Protect your Japanese Maples

maple-coral

The fact is the climate of Japan is more closely like that of Portland Oregon than our much sunnier and warmer Valley. As a result, your Japanese Maples may suffer from heat stress until they get acclimated to our Valley conditions. Fortunately, there are quick, simple and inexpensive ways to protect your Japanese Maples while they acclimate.

Most Japanese maples in our climate do best if located in a spot that receives afternoon shade and wind protection. The morning sun side of a house is usually ideal.

Feed Japanese Maples with Dyna-Gro Protect to improve heat tolerance.

Also, place a layer of mulch under your tree to insulate the soil – just be sure to keep the mulch 3” to 4″ away from the trunk to prevent crown rot.

cloudcoverAnd you can simulate Oregon’s more northern summer sky and cloudy conditions with a simple spray product called Cloud Cover®. Cloud Cover is completely transparent and will not cloud or cover up the colorful beauty of your Japanese Maples. It merely reduces evaporation through the leaf tissues.

 

Cloud Cover protects your trees from our hot, dry and sometimes windy summers like an invisible umbrella and each application lasts an entire month. But the time to apply it is now before your beautiful Japanese Maples show the crispy leaf edges and other signs of heat stress. Alden Lane recommends you apply Cloud Cover® during the summer months starting as weather warms in June and monthly thereafter.

 

Tropical Planting

Tropical plants such as Palms, Hibiscus, Lantana, Bougainvillea, Bird of Paradise, Rose of Sharon are a sampling of the plants that will transport you to the tropics – and most are water wise.

These hot summer lovers will add a splash of color and texture to your landscape. Train bougainvilleas up a south or west-facing wall. The warmth of the wall will encourage early bloom and offer cold protection in the winter.

Hibiscus are stunning in pots. What a great accent for your sunny porch or patio and since they’re in containers they’re easy to move away from winter’s chill.

Rose of Sharon is a hardy hibiscus producing lovely white, lavender or pink blossoms mid summer. No cold protection needed.

Lantana comes in trailing and shrub forms and will bloom summer through fall. Bring on the heat for these nonstop blooming sun lovers.

Whatever you are looking for we are here and very happy to help . . . so please come by and let us do just that.

mandavilla Mandavilla
Mandavilla vines are beautiful prolific tropical plants perfect for a container. They are ideal for a morning sun location. Expect Mandavilla to climb a trellis or cascade gracefully over the edge of a pot. Perfect for a patio or balcony.  Will need winter cold protection.
Bougainvilleas Bougainvilleas
We have gorgeous bougainvilleas to train up a south or west facing wall that will give you sheets of color all summer long. Choose from a wide variety of tropical colors. Don’t forget to ask for planting directions as they have sensitive root systems and will need winter cold protection.
Tropical Hibiscus Tropical Hibiscus
Bring shades of Hawaii to your plantings with glossy leaved tropical hibiscus, again in lots of vibrant colors like red, yellow and pink. We have these both in bush and patio tree forms, to give instant height to your garden. Plant these in a protected spot in the garden as they require shelter from the frost and wind. Hibiscus love sun and heat. Blooms late spring through the fall.
Rose of Sharon Rose of Sharon
A deciduous, frost hardy member of the Hibiscus family is the Rose of Sharon. It produces single or double flowers in the summer and makes an excellent single stemmed tree as well as a large shrub.
Banana Banana
Add drama with an ornamental banana. With its huge leaves of green or green and purple, it will instantly say tropical.
Canna Lily Canna Lily
And don’t forget the cannas with their large green to bronzy colored banana-like leaves, sometimes striped in orange and red, and bright flowers of red, orange, pink, salmon and yellow. Plant in clusters for an eye-catching effect.
Cordylines Cordylines
Add tropical texture with the addition of Cordylines and Phormiums. Both have sword-like leaves but attain different heights. Cordyline is an exceptional plant to use for height and texture in container plantings. Available with bronze/red or green foliage.
Phormiums Phormiums
Phormiums or New Zealand Flax are big dramatic plants with sword-like leaves. They produce red or yellow flower clusters on stems that reach high above the leaves. Available in foliage colors ranging from purple-red, bronze, purple and variegated with green leaves with a creamy white stripe. Available in varieties with varying heights from 3-9′

The tropical Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, and Banana are frost tender but can survive in the Tri-Valley area. They may freeze back to the ground in harsh winters but should re-grow. In sheltered spots or mild winters, they should be fine but we recommend the use of insulated plant blankets and non-LED type Christmas lights to add a little extra warmth on those cold winter nights. Planting in pots also means that you can move them into a more sheltered position at the end of the season.

 

June Gardening Checklist

checkbox[1] Plant vegetable plants. Remember to protect them from hungry snails, bugs, and slugs with pet safe Sluggo Plus.

checkbox[1] Before your cherries and other summer fruit begin to ripen protect them from hungry birds with bird scare tape (shiny tape that moves in the wind), plastic netting, and plastic owls.

checkbox[1] Guess who’s Coming to Dinner?!!! Tomato hornworms as well as geranium budworms and other caterpillars are ready to munch on your garden. Control them with earth friendly Monterey B.t. Caterpillar Killer (available in concentrate or ready-to-use).

checkbox[1] Before you have trouble with blossom end rot in your tomatoes use Foli-cal. Blossom end rot creates a leathery brown patch at the bottom end of a tomato and is caused by insufficient calcium.

checkbox[1] Help the Monarchs! Add beautiful Butterfly Weed (Asclepias) to your garden. This is a critical nectar plant that will provide needed Monarch habitat.

checkbox[1] Remember to water plants under eaves and in hidden corners. Soak hanging baskets and container plants during the summer heat.

checkbox[1] Deep root water trees and shrubs. Begin deep watering with a Ross Root Feeder or soaker hose now and continue monthly through the hot summer months.

checkbox[1] The Alameda County Fair opens Friday, June 16th and runs through July 9th. Make plans to enter your prize-winning flowers and vegetables. Tickets can be purchased at the nursery.

checkbox[1] Spruce up the garden with pots of red, white and blue flowers! We have lots of colorful blooming plants to make holiday parties and barbeques all the more enjoyable. Shop early because the nursery will be closed on July 4th.

checkbox[1] Protect Japanese Maples from the summer’s heat. Supplement with Dyna Gro Protekt and spray leaves with Cloud Cover.

 

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

Raised Bed Kits &  EarthBoxes

Growing vegetables in raised beds solve several problems and make gardening more productive and more rewarding. Our heavy clay soil can be tough to work and slow to drain. Adding compost helps on both of these fronts.  Using a raised bed with well-improved soil allows one to garden in a deep friable earth that drains well, plants love and does not require too much bending over to maintain.

The benefits of raised bed gardening over conventional row gardening include being able to give your plants the perfect soil mix, allowing for easier weeding and the ability to block gophers (Using hardware mesh across the bottom of the bed). We sell redwood raised bed kits in 2 sizes, 2’x4’x16″ and 4’x8’x16″.

EarthboxWe also sell EarthBoxes which have many of the same benefits as raised beds… They are self-contained systems, so they use water very wisely and grow more produce in a smaller space.  We are all surprised at how much produce you can harvest from a single EarthBox.

Summer Vegetable Gardening

veggs[1]Nurture and Support your Growing Vegetables

Many gardeners have planted their vegetable gardens and are looking forward to tasty, mouth-watering tomatoes, snappy beans, sweet corn or crunchy peppers.  Take action now to improve the quality of harvest and prolong it, too!

First, fertilize the vegetable garden with Master’s Tomato and Vegetable Food or E.B. Stone Organic Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer. Remember it’s better to under fertilize than over fertilize. And never feed a thirsty plant. Water the garden thoroughly the day before feeding.

Water established tomato plants deeply and less frequently. These plants have deep roots and frequent watering encourages plant growth without much fruit production.

Water Cucumbers more often. Cucumbers need to be kept evenly moist to help prevent them from being bitter.

Train cucumbers, squash and pole beans to climb trellises or poles to save space.

When harvesting your first fruits, pick the fruit on the small size. This will give you a sweeter, milder tasting vegetable. For tangy peppers, pick when green, or wait until they are red for sweetness.

Control garden pests before they control you! Snails and slugs are out in force, as well as earwigs, cutworms, whiteflies, and tomato hornworms. Sluggo provides slug and snail protection and Sluggo Plus adds insect control. Both these products are listed for organic gardening. Captain Jacks (also organic) is suitable for insects and caterpillars and leaf-eating worms and Take Down for small sucking insects.

For those who have not yet planted a vegetable garden, It’s not too late!

June is a great month to plant a vegetable garden. Alden Lane has a good selection of vegetables in various sizes that will help you establish a garden quickly. Gallon size vegetables provide several weeks head start compared to seeds or seedlings.

Stop by the nursery and let us get you growing this season!