What’s New at the Bear
There are so many new activities at the nursery this spring that we will waste most of this newsletter talking about them. You could save some precious time by skipping this column altogether and rushing down to the Bear to see for yourself.
New Greenhouse. Every two or three years, we feel inclined to build a greenhouse whether we need to or not. This new house we needed. Dedicated to plants that provide food (it has been nicknamed the “Edibles House”) this new hut will house any greenery that can be eaten. Imagine finding all the herbs, vegetables, raspberries, strawberries, figs and mint in one location. Dusty was accidentally locked in the new greenhouse for three weeks and came out healthier and stronger than ever.
Organic Vegetables. Speaking of food, there is no healthier food than organically grown food. So for the first time this spring, all vegetables we sell are going to be grown in our own homemade compost with no chemical fertilizers. This carefully prepared compost packs a nutritional punch and will provide all the necessary nourishment for the young plants. All lettuce, spinach, broccoli, chard, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, and other vegetables will now be grown organically. And, yes, these well-tended, healthy, carefully grown plants will cost the same as last year- nursery grown plants at farmers market prices.
Bagged Mulch. Speaking of bagged products, we are now bagging the mulch at the Bear. Easier to handle and not as heavy as the commercial variety, our bagged mulch will match the color of the bulk mulch. Bark mulch is the best mulch for your landscape projects and is now available in an economic, easy-touse, bagged form. And since it is less expensive to do it ourselves, we can pass the savings on to you. Easier to handle, fresher, cleaner, lighter and less expensivehow can you resist?
New Pottery. Speaking of resisting, how can you resist looking at all the new pottery? There are new birdbaths (including a nifty hanging birdbath), new sizes and shapes of pots and new colors to choose from. Did you know that square pots are becoming more popular? (if they aren’t, they should be). There are also new display areas, artfully arranged by Lori, showing many combinations of pots, colors and mixes of ceramic and concrete pots.
New Hypertufa. Speaking of concrete, lightweight Hypertufa pots are sturdy, weather resistant and have an earthy feel that stands alone or mixes with glazed pottery. Our Hypertufa pots are made by hand at the nursery, so are guaranteed to be sturdy and last a lifetime. This year, there are many new shapes and sizes of pots, new fountains and some large containers. If you didn’t think there was such a concept as rugged elegance, come check out the new Hypertufa containers. These pots are suitable for any of your favorite plants.
New Plants. Speaking of plants, betcha you were wondering if we would ever talk about new plants. With a brand new greenhouse, you can be certain there will be lots of new greenery to fill the empty shelves. Since there is no such thing as empty shelving at the Bear, there must be lots of new plants. Aside from the aforementioned edibles, (Raspberries! Blackberries! Figs! Blueberries! Golden Creeping Thyme!) there are lots of unusual annuals, unparalleled perennials, vivacious vines, unique shrubs and extraordinary groundcovers.
Here are just a few: a fuzzy leaved yellow flowering salvia that is as cute as a lamb. A new annual salvia is blue and is suspected to be taking steroids (it denies it, of course). There is a butterfly bush that has red flowers and another butterfly bush that grows only two to three feet tall. There is a native vine that is evergreen to at least 10 degrees below zero, flowers and is well behaved. There are annuals Tina picked out that are surprises to all of us. There are new shade loving groundcovers, some with fuzzy leaves and some with shiny leaves. There is a hardy black veined banana and some other really cool tropicals. There are new heat and drought tolerant plants such as a pink Agastache and a red salvia that thrived in Texas last summer. (Can you think of any place hotter and dryer than Texas last summer?) There are new double flowering versions of our favorite zinnias. There is the darkest red geranium available. For you coneflower lovers there are two new choices; one is called Pow Wow Wild Berry. And then there is Joey, a plant that was described as cotton candy on a stick. There are more shade perennials, deer resistant plants and shrubs and, well, too many to talk about here. Stay tuned for the facts and figures in the next issue.
Arthur C. Powell
March 29, 1920-
January 14, 2011
Suddenly, like the petals of a spent rose blossom falling, my father passed away in January. If you ever wondered about the guiding force behind our nursery, you need look no further than my parents.
For over sixty five years they have built, planted, nurtured, harvested and entertained plants, family and friends in their gardens. After retiring, they chose a terrace level apartment in the retirement community in which they lived. For eighteen years they have cultivated a garden that is still a joy to the entire community. With a little help, Mom will carry on this tradition.
The desire to grow, to improve and share the world of plants was generated and enriched in my parents’ carefully groomed yard.
We will miss Dad dearly, but at the same time, realize that he is still here- in every greenhouse, in every plant and in every thought. Thanks, Dad, for all you have given us.
So Long, Evil Winter
It seems it would not be too presumptuous for me to speak for all of us in saying “thank goodness winter is over!” Living in the Ozarks is an invitation to enjoy endlessly fluctuating weather. In the nursery business, we tend to refer to it as the tease & freeze cycle- two days of glorious sunny, balmy weather followed by plummeting temperatures, rain, sleet and snow carried in on mindnumbing wind. It’s as if some cynical person in northern Canada has a dial they spin on a whim. Then our sensitive patterns are affected by someone in Texas who sneezes (ahh, a 60 degree pea planting day) or a fellow in South Dakota who bends over to tie his shoe (another week of cold wind and a foot of snow).
By the time you are reading this we hope winter is thinking of ending.
The Gift of Dirt
Tina gave me a thoughtful set of books this winter. They came together in one box (no waster of wrapping paper she) and burst out like informational gold on an obscure and misunderstood aspect of gardening.
The subject of all five books starts at the ground level and goes down. Life under our feet is the most
neglected part of our garden knowledge. My guess was she was also tired of tomatoes- books, that is, not the vegetable. Roots, Dirt, Compost, Teaming with Microbes and Secrets to Great Soil are the abbreviated titles. As you may have noticed, there is nothing about the green parts of plants in these subjects. One knows one is a complete dirtbag when considering the thrill of reading these books, one after another, without delay.
They have been scattered around the house like our dog’s toys and like those toys, are used and set down over and over. A couple are on the end table, one at bedside and another in the dining room. They have managed to become part of winter’s life. As the soil bacterium hibernates and the fall compost mellows, by the warmth of the hearth we try to learn about the mysteries below.
You may have noticed piles of hay, manure, leaves, grass clippings, nursery discards, old soil and a few disobedient houseplants lying around the yard last fall. Vigilantly layered, often turned and carefully monitored, these raw ingredients have been composted into the best soil ever seen in the Ozarks. OK, we may be exaggerating a little. Even our lawyers are concerned about mislabeling such a fine product, but we think this is the real thing. Soft and crumbly, our compost was heated to over 150 degrees to kill out the weed seeds and then simmered all winter to improve the microbe content. It is now ready for your garden. Tina, who is our marketing department, came up with the nifty name “GoGrow Compost”. For the first time, this ideal garden amendment is now available in bulk, by the yard or in easy-tohandle bags. Your garden will love it.
March is Garden Club Month
Water Garden Societies
All plants for members of ANY Garden Organization
Now through March 31, 2011
Bear Creek Nursery
“ Along with a selection of new annuals, perennials, herbs and grasses, the Bear offers many native trees and shrubs as well as a number of aquatic plants to enhance the pond. Landscape materials and a comprehensive selection of glazed & terra cotta pots round out the products available at your friendly neighborhood garden center. Sound advice is always available from the well informed staff, who will be happy to help you find just the right plant to compliment your garden. Landscape services are available year round.”