template for blog post pic.jpg

Lessons from the garden: Rest, Relax and Renew

written by Linda Hopper

Most of us live and work on the fast track. Between work, family, yard work, holidays, and other commitments our tanks are often running on empty.  We go-go-go.

But then - sometimes in the winter, when the garden is resting, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.  We are often stuck inside. Sometimes the winter blues set in.

We need to take a lesson from the garden – Rest, Relax and Renew!

Here are some ideas on how:

  • Take an extra nap

  • Read or meditate

  • Resume a hobby

  • If all else fails – find some garden books and look forward to spring!        

Spring will be here soon and we will be back on the fast track.

And then we will long for a day to relax…

Enjoy it now!



🍂This nursery gig 🍂

I hear often, “You have my DREAM JOB! I would love to work outside with plants all day! 🍃

Yes, yes, I do love that part, but as a business owner, that part is a small piece of the bigger picture of owning and operating a retail nursery business.

Running a business is no joke. There is so much that goes in to it—the marketing, the finances and accounting, the billing and estimating, the ordering, the inventory, tracking, bill paying, payroll, decision making, customer service, employees, Human Resources, emails and phone calls—oh the emails and phone calls, and the list goes on and on.

I’m definitely not complaining because being busy is a good sign in business... but, man oh man have we learned so much in the last 5 years.

And having Holtan has shifted priorities for us. We want to work a little less, so we can enjoy him a little more. Sometimes phone calls don’t get made, or emails don’t get answered because we choose family over business. We are grateful to have customers who understand. 

So thank you to all of our customers who have stuck with us over the last 40 years, and especially the last 5... as we have transitioned the business out of Dave and Linda’s hands into ours...

The nursery will continue to change as our family changes. I’m not sure what that looks like, but i imagine time will tell and I trust it will be right. I suppose that’s the beauty of this thing they call a “small family business.”

How fortunate are we that we get to choose what we want for our lives?

Is it scary? Yes.

Is it worth it? ALWAYS YES.

We are looking forward to trying some new things in 2019 and continuing to serve our customers with quality plants and the knowledge to care for them.

Thanks for being here!


The Great Comeback – Elms 

Forty to fifty years ago Dutch Elm Disease tore through and decimated entire stands of fully grown stately elm trees all across America.  At Natural Plus we lost a beautiful row of about 10 elms lining our driveway. 

But the good news is that elms are back! We all love a good comeback story, and this is one.

Over the years horticulturalists were able to identify several varieties of elms that were resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. These varieties have now been propagated and are available at local nurseries.

Elms have a unique upright vase or “fountain” shape. Leaves are oval with notched edges and yellow fall color.

Previously elms were often planted along streets and boulevards.  We now recommend diversifying your landscape so that diseases such as Dutch and now-Emerald Ash Borer- don’t take out your entire stand of trees.

We encourage you to add elms back to your yard and landscaping.

Some varieties of elms available at Natural Pus:

·      Accolade                  Grow 70’ tall, 40-50’ wide

·      Cathedral                Grow 40-50’ tall, 30-40’ wide

·      Princeton                Grow 60-80’ tall, 40-50’ wide

·      Valley Forge           Grow 60-70’ tall, 30-40’ wide.


Add elms back in to your landscape!



Prepare Your Plants for Winter

We all know that winter’s blast will soon be upon us. Every year we get out our winter gear, make sure the furnace is working, and winterize the house.  We also take extra precautions to take care of our animals over winter, but sadly we often forget to “winterize” our outdoor plants.

 A small amount of extra TLC for your plants in the fall will reward you greatly in the spring.  

Allowing plants to dry out in the fall and go in to winter unprotected often results in winter burn or winter kill. Here are a few steps you can take to help your plants get through winter.

  • Protect plants from wildlife. Add tree guards, fences, or whatever it takes to protect trees and shrubs from rabbits and deer. Rabbit or deer damage that goes all the way around the trunk of a tree will kill the tree.

  • When possible mulch the base of plants with mulch or leaves. This will help hold in moisture and keep them from drying out over winter.

  • Water plants once a week through Thanksgiving. (An inch of rain counts as a watering.)

  • Protect some trees from “sunscald”. Younger trees, especially some varieties of maples, are susceptible to sunscald on the bark. This later leads to cracking of the bark and a weak spot susceptible to breakage. To protect from sunscald, put tree guards on your younger trees over winter.  

  • · If plants are in above ground pots, they are very susceptible to winter kill as roots freeze and thaw throughout the winter. If possible, move pots to a shady, protected area and make sure plants are well watered before ground is frozen. Even these precautions may not be enough to protect from winter damage.

Get ready for winter – and don’t forget your plants!




The beauty of fall colors touches the soul. Take time to pause and enjoy this special time of year.  The reds, yellows, and oranges of trees in the fall all add to the fall splendor.

Here are some Natural Plus favorites for adding fall colors to your yard/landscaping:

Ornamental/Smaller Trees with Fall Color (10-30’ size):

·      Amur Maple           Brilliant red fall color, clump or single stemmed

·      Serviceberry          Orange/reds , berries for birds, clumps or singles

·      Hot Wings               Reds/oranges with bright red seed pods


Larger Shade Trees with Good Fall Color (over 30’)

·      Aspen                                               Quaking golden yellow leaves

·      Birch                                                 Yellow, clump or single stemmed

·      Ginkgos                                            Golden yellow (slow growing)

·      Lindens                                            Yellow, heart shaped leaves

·      Locust                                               Yellow wispy leaves

·      Maples: Autumn Blaze               Brilliant Red, fast growing

·      Maples: Burgandy Belle                    Burgundy Red

·      Maples: Emerald Luster                    Golden Yellow, fast growing

·      Maples: Rubrum                           Bright Red

·      Maples: Sugar                                Multiple varieties – oranges, reds, yellows

·      Red Oaks                                         Red

·      Witch Hazel                                      Fragrant yellow blooms in fall