Plant a Cherry Tree
Fruit trees are here, including Cherries. We have a stunning selection.

Cherries fall into a couple of different groups. Gardeners grow sweet cherries for fresh eating and sour cherries for cooking. Many cherries need a complementary partner/pollenizer planted nearby, but some are fruitful and happy standing alone.

Here is a quick summary of our selection:

Bing Sweet Cherry – Sweet, crisp, dark cherry for fresh eating. Ripens in Early June. Pollenized by Black Tartarian or Rainier

Black Tartarian Sweet Cherry – Softer and earlier than bing – Sprightly Flavor. Ripens in Mid May. Interfruitful with all sweet cherries

Craig’s Crimson Sweet Cherry – Dark red to nearly black, medium to large size, wonderful spicy flavor, very firm texture. Ripens in Mid May. Self-fruitful

English Morello Sour Cherry – Late-ripening tart cherry for cooking. Ripens in Mid June. Self-fruitful

Lapins Sweet Cherry – Self-fruitful, dark red sweet cherry. Ripens in Late May. Self-fruitful

Rainier Sweet Cherry – Large, yellow with red blush. Sweet and flavorful. Ripens in Early June. Pollenized by Bing or Black Tartarian

Stella Sweet Cherry – Large, nearly black, richly flavored sweet cherry. Ripens in Early June. Self-fruitful

Utah Giant Sweet Cherry – Favorite sweet cherry in Utah. Larger, firmer, more flavorful than Bing. Ripens in Late May. Pollenized by Bing or Ranier

Royal Crimson Sweet Cherry – Bright crimson with superb flavor. Ripens in Early May. Self-fruitful

Have you Tried Growing Your Own Potatoes?

potato-russetPotatoes have arrived. Why not give your taste buds a treat by growing your own. They taste remarkably better fresh and growing them is easy; winter rains and colder temperatures take care of them for much of the season, and when harvest time comes they taste far superior to store bought.  Our most popular varieties, as well as specialty spuds, are in stock now.

Here is our Collection.

Colorado Rose
Bred for early, large yields. Beautiful oval tubers with white firm flesh, good for salads or roasting.

Russian Banana
3-4″ long and an inch in diameter, Russian Fingerling potatoes mature in 3-4 months from planting.

One of the most popular and high-yielding potatoes grown.

Adirondack Blue Potato
Tasty purple flesh with bluish skin. Good tasting roasted.

NORKOTA RUSSET (Coming Later this week)
Very similar to Idaho’s famous Burbank. The good old-fashioned baking potato with the rough skin. This one is much more disease resistant than the Burbank and very productive too.

YUKON GOLD (Coming Later this week)
This is an early potato that matures in 65+ days. Buttery yellow flesh is delicious. Variety makes a good steamer/boiler or use in salads.

Purple Viking
An improved variety with white flesh and russeted, patterned, purple skin.

Planting Tips

Preparing the Soil
Like most garden vegetables, potatoes prefer loose well-drained soil. We need to lighten our heavy clay soils by mixing at least 3″ of MASTER NURSERY PLANTING MIX into the top 6″-12″ of soil; you’ll need three bags for every 50 square feet of planting area. Also, incorporate two pounds of MASTER NURSERY 0-10-10 to encourage root and stem growth, and two pounds Iron Sulfate to buffer the soil pH.

Choose “Certified Potatoes”
Our potatoes have been inspected to assure they are disease-free and are ready to be planted in your garden. Choose from our improved selection which includes many of the popular new colored varieties.

Cut and Dry the Potatoes
Cut the potatoes into chunks 1 ½” square with at least two eyes. Spread them in a single layer (cut side up) and allow to air dry at least overnight. Cut surfaces are dry to the touch. The air-dried cut pieces are less likely to rot in the cool, wet soil. Dusting with sulfur before planting will further decrease the chance of disease infection.

Form rows that are 4″ deep and 2′ apart. Set the seed potato pieces in rows, cut side down, 12″ – 18″ apart. Do not plant if the soil is very wet, but be sure to water thoroughly after planting. Or plant in our fabric bags. Fabric bags are great to grow in, and harvesting is easy.

Hilling Up
The potatoes will form above, not below, the planted pieces. When the plants reach 5″ – 6″ tall, draw up loose soil (or a soil/straw mix) around the plants so that only 2″ of the stem is exposed. Hill soil up again in 2-3 weeks. Hilling up gives the potatoes a light soil to expand into as they grow.

Water & Feed
After growth begins, give the plants regular deep watering (once per week). Feed potatoes monthly with MASTER NURSERY TOMATO AND VEGETABLE FOOD, a balanced fertilizer. This along with the MASTER NURSERY 0-10-I0 and Iron Sulfate incorporated at planting completes the nutritional requirements.


Dig early or “new” potatoes when plant tops begin to flower, dig mature potatoes when tops die down. Dig carefully to avoid bruising or cutting them. Store in a dark place at approximately 40 degrees.

As always, check with one of our staff members if you have any further questions.


What you will need:

  • Master Nursery Planting Mix
  • Master Nursery Tomato & Vegetable Food
  • Master Nursery 0-10-10
  • Iron Sulfate

Dahlia Bulbs Now In Stock

Spring bulbs are arriving now and in the weeks ahead. These include corms, tubers, and rhizomes for most of the summer blooming flowers such as gladiolus and dahlias.

Dahlias are beautiful because they are bright and often very large and have the added benefit of attracting pollinators. They also have a long blooming season and make an ideal, long-lasting cut flower. 

This beautiful sun-loving perennial bloomer is the official flower of the City of Seattle and also the national flower of Mexico. We have sought out Dahlias in a wide variety of heights and forms to suit any garden or landscaping theme.

Plant large dahlias 3 to 4 feet apart; plant smaller dahlias 2 feet apart. Plant dahlias in a spot in the garden with full sun or morning sun. Give them soil that drains well. Select tubers now and plant them as the ground begins to warm in spring (store in a cool spot until ready).


Dig a big hole, 8-10″ deep and improve the soil with a generous amount of Gold Rush soil amendment. Add Master Nursery Bone Meal and mix in the bottom of the hole and plant the bulb (actually a tuber) on their side, 4″ deep with the cut stem, if visible facing up. Nurture them with water and an additional feeding of Rose & Flower Food as the buds form in summer and also feed monthly through September. Watch for a spectacular summer display that will continue right into fall.

Water in and then only water when you see leaves emerge. Dahlias then appreciate moderate watering, which should look like a nice thorough soaking 2 to 3 times a week after the weather warms.

For best appearance and to keep the blooms coming, snip off the faded blossoms.

In fall, many gardeners dig up their dahlia tubers to store in a cool, dry spot for winter. We are in a mild winter region, so ours planted here at the nursery bloom year after year without lifting and storing.

January Pruning – What to Prune When

pruning[1]We have officially entered pruning season. Most leafless plants are fair game for pruning right now. Exceptions include ornamental flowering cherries, plums, and lilacs that bloom once a year in spring and are leafless now. Prune these just after they bloom otherwise you will be cutting off next spring’s blooms. Most other plants, including roses, fruit trees, Shade trees can be pruned in December and January. Say “can” as opposed to “must” be pruned because many plants are happy with little or no pruning.

Take advantage of our upcoming free pruning classes, listed below.

Upcoming Pruning Classes

Learn the basics to shape deciduous trees and shrubs, prune fruit trees properly, or get any of your pruning questions answered. Call 925 447-0280 to register for classes.

  • Join us on Saturday, January 13th for our ever popular ROSE CARE & PRUNING SEMINAR led by the Mt. Diablo Rose Society from 10 – 11:30 a.m.; and by Gerry, Alden Lane staff member, on Saturday, January 20th from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. They will cover proper pruning techniques, feeding, and general care. Call (925) 447-0280 for more information.
  • Saturday, January 20th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. GRAPE PRUNING with expert, Jim Ryan.
  • Sunday, January 28th from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. for the last ­PRUNING BASICS CLASS. Learn the basics to shape deciduous trees and shrubs, prune fruit trees ­properly, or get any of your pruning questions answered.
  • Get your Maples Ready for Spring! – Join Japanese Maple expert Barry Hoffer on Saturday, February 24th from 1-2:30 p.m.  He will discuss proper pruning, in-ground and container planting, along with root pruning. There’s something for everyone. The cost for this class is $5.00 per person. Call (925) 447-0280 to reserve your spot in the information packed class.




Tips for Pruning Roses

obj6306geo2742pg239p7[1]The suggested time for pruning roses is January in Northern California. Even though your roses may still be leafy, budded or blooming it is time to force them to rest. Pruning them back now, removing every single leaf and dormant spraying with copper will provide a healthy beginning for the coming season.

Here are some tips in advance of our pruning classes.

What You’ll Need:

  • Body armor – safety or prescription glasses, a hat, and a long-sleeved sweatshirt will go a long way insulating you from thorny branches. A good pair of leather gloves such as gauntlet types will do a superior job of protecting your forearms
  • Pruning shears – sharp hand shears along with a long-handled lopper and a pruning saw are helpful for hard to reach or extra large wood
  • Pruning seal – sealing cuts prevents the cane borer insect from invading and killing stems
  • Copper dormant spray like Monterey Liqui-Cop to control over-wintering diseases

For specific variety and form (bush, miniature, tree & shrub) pruning tips, come in and one our rose experts will be happy to help. In the meantime here are some pruning basics. For the most part, roses produce flowers on current season growth. Therefore, the more new growth you have, the more bloom potential you’ll enjoy. Pruning is one way of stimulating new growth.

If your bush form roses have grown sky high lop off the top one-quarter to one-third of the plant so you can more easily and safely do the ‘fine pruning.’ For bush and tree forms you always want to maintain evenly spaced canes (stems) around the outside of the plant. The number of canes that you leave depends on the vigor of the plant. Three to seven is the rule in the case of bush roses. Tree roses rarely sprout new ones as they age so encourage and maintain those well-spaced branches. The final height of the stems depends on the variety and vigor of the plant.

We have gotten away from pruning roses to within an inch of their life (6-12 inches). The general rule is to prune back by at least 1/3rd, and no more than 1/2. Leaving the canes a bit longer provides the plant with extra energy for the coming season’s performance. Prune to an outside bud where a leaf was to ensure that the next branch will grow in an outward direction. On both tree and bush roses remove all twigs and stems that are crowding the center of the plant. The extra sunlight will warm the bud union and encourage more young stems to grow that will eventually be selected to replace the older canes. The light also stimulates increased flower production.

The bud union is the area where desirable buds from the specific rose variety join the rose rootstock .

Always remove any stems coming from below the bud union. These suckers are vigorous and can over-grow the desirable rose. If your white or pink rose is producing small red flowers, it has been taken over by the rootstock rose.

Maintain a nice compliment of permanent climbing rose canes that you will arch against the fence, wall or train over an arbor. The stems that grow off these permanent canes are pruned back to four buds. The resulting new growth will produce a mass of flowers. There are always exceptions to the rule so touch base with our rose experts for just the right pruning guidance.


Landscaping with Roses

In today’s gardens, the rose is the most popular flower. Did you know over 50 million homes have at least one rose bush in their garden? That leaves a lot of homes that have not yet jumped on the Rose Band Wagon! Our valley has some of the best growing conditions; it has been dubbed, ” The Valley of Wine & Roses.” In past decades roses were grown commercially in Livermore and Pleasanton.

The good news, roses are sustainable and artful landscape additions.

Roses add such beauty, fragrance, curb appeal and color to your garden. Roses will also attract most needed beneficial bees to the garden for pollination. Don’t be afraid of the bees, left alone they are harmless and valued in the garden.

Most roses will bloom the first year and grow under many different climatic and soil conditions. However, when given optimum conditions, roses will thrive for years to come.

Don’t be afraid to experiment using roses in your landscape. Some uses might include:

  • low growing types for planting along beds or lawn,
  • a pathway leading to your front door,
  • mass plantings of floribundas, miniatures or even hybrid teas for a magnificent blast of color and beauty,
  • hybrid tea roses to create a beautiful and colorful cutting garden to fill your vases with all season long,
  • a climbing variety to grow up a trellis or over an arbor,
  • tree types, making a great backdrop and companion plant to other shrubs and perennials in your garden,
  • and roses which thrive in containers on a porch or deck.

Whichever you choose, all lend themselves to a very casual or formal looking landscape. Oh, my! So many options! Next time you are wondering what can I plant, consider using roses. We’re ready to help you select one, two or even three that will suit your style. You’ll be glad you did!

See our 2018 rose list here.

January Garden Checklist

With and without winter fertilizer – Note the yellow lawn in the foreground

checkbox Feed the lawn monthly even during cold winter months. This not only maintains its attractive green color all winter it also minimizes rust disease and other problems resulting from malnutrition. Masters Fall and Winter Lawn Fertilizer is specially formulated for the winter season.

checkbox 2018 Roses are arriving every week! Come select early to get growing.

checkbox Choose your Camellias now! Seeing is believing, so choose now while they are in bloom. The selection is great and you’ll be able to pick just the right color for your winter garden.

checkbox Move your living tree outdoors. Care for other holiday gift plants such as azaleas and camellias by placing them outside where they will thrive in cooler temperatures.
Brighten the garden with colorful bedding plants. Refresh your garden containers with primroses, pansies, Iceland poppies and more. Check with the staff for helpful advice and ideas.

checkbox The Berries are looking awesome this year! In stock now . . . we have a great assortment of Blackberries, including Olallie Blackberries, Raspberries, Huckleberries, Gooseberries, and Blueberries. In addition to all of our berries, we also have Currants, Olives, and Grapes. This is the best time to shop for the best selection.

checkbox Spray Your Roses Now. An application of dormant oil just after winter pruning on roses will help reduce pest populations by smothering over-wintering eggs. Spraying fungicides, as well, will halt diseases such as rust, blackspot and powdery mildew. Bonide All Seasons Spray Oil is listed for use on organic gardens.

checkbox Treat Hydrangeas for Bright Blue flower color. Apply Master Nursery Hydra Blue monthly until summer for bright blue hydrangeas.

checkbox Protect frost tender plants when frosts are expected. Spray with Cloud Cover and for added protection drape frost tender plants with Fast Start Plant Blanket Fabric. Try not to let the covering material rest on the plant. String non-LED Christmas tree lights on your frost-tender plants when a freeze is expected. The warmth from the bulbs will provide another measure of protection.

checkbox Prune most fruit trees, roses and other leafless trees and shrubs from December through January. WARNING: Do not prune spring-blooming shrubs and trees such as lilac, quince, flowering cherry etc. until the blooming period is over.


Roses Coming

Our 2018 Collection of Roses are Arriving!

Several trucks full of roses are making their way from our suppliers growing ground near Fresno to our rose department.  This week we are setting out over 1000 roses. How about blessing a loved one with a rose garden for Christmas?

Our roses are produced by a number of growers and our first are arriving now. Shrub roses, climbers and patio tree roses were off-loaded this morning and set into place. Tomorrow standard tree roses will arrive. Next week more growers will ship bringing the rose department to about 80% full for the year. The balance will arrive early in the new year.

Check back here for updates and more details as the collection grows.





Tea Camellias

Consider Growing your Tea.

A beautiful collection of tea camellias (Camellia sinensis) have shipped into the nursery, and are blooming with delicate white flowers now.

Who on your gift list enjoys a warm cup of tea to warm the morning soul, or soothe the afternoon stress? What could be more delightful than to give the gift of a living tea plant?  Bring beauty to a bright-shade garden and provide a very personal supply of tea leaves to a tea lover in your life. So why wait? Come in and finish your shopping!

Growing Climate

Camellia sinensis – or Tea Camellia grows in a broad variety of climates around the world. Tea is grown commercially in both tropical & temperate zones including China, Japan, and the US.

In our area, the Tea Camellia plant prefers a bright shade location.  The morning sun side of your house or under the dappled shade of a large tree would suit the plant well.

Soil should remain moist, not wet and drain should drain well.  It also needs to be kept on the acidic side. Therefore, plant all camellias in a mixture of Nurseryman’s Acid Planting Mixed 75% with 25% native soil. Feed with Azalea Camelia food and treat 2-3 times a year with Iron Sulfate to keep the pH on the acidic side.


Tea is harvested as the first flush of leaves emerge in early spring.  Another can occur when a second and possible third flush of leaves appear in late spring/summer. Flowers arrive in fall; ours are blooming now.


December Garden Checklist

Things to do this month

checkbox[1]Prevent Peach Leaf Curl! Protect fruit trees and deciduous shade trees from overwintering diseases and pests. Use Monterey Liqui-Cop, or Bonide Liquid Copper Spray now, (even before leaf drop)

checkbox[1]Protect frost tender plants when frosts are expected. Spray with Cloud Cover and enclose in frost bags. Drape larger plants with Fast Start Plant Blanket Fabric. Try not to let the covering material rest on the plant. String non-LED Christmas tree lights on your frost-tender plants when a freeze is expected. The warmth from the bulbs will provide another measure of protection.

checkbox[1]Poinsettias and cyclamen make wonderful hostess gifts and thank you’s to work associates. And don’t forget to treat yourself and decorate the home too.

checkbox[1]Prune most fruit trees, roses and other leafless trees and shrubs from December through January. WARNING: Do not prune spring-blooming shrubs and trees such as lilac, quince, flowering cherry etc. until the blooming period is over.

checkbox[1]Keep up your New Year’s Resolution . . . join the Livermore-Amador Valley Garden Club ( and the Mt. Diablo Rose Society (

checkbox[1]Think Strawberry shortcake! By mid-month we’ll have all the perennial vegetables and fruits. You can set out strawberries, rhubarb, raspberry, blackberry and many other cane fruits.

checkbox[1]If you like asparagus, horseradish and artichokes we have starts for those too. Come by and let us help you choose your favorites.

checkbox[1]Set out winter blooming annuals for a garden filled with color. Choose primroses, violas, pansies, Iceland poppies, ornamental cabbage, and kale.

checkbox[1]Sasanqua Camellias are perfect winter color for your shade garden. We have gorgeous blooming plants to select from.