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2015 Newsletter Print E-mail

Fifteen Years of Selling Plants

   As O’Brien Nurserymen sets its sights on its fifteenth season of being open for sales here at the nursery, we look back fondly on the journey and the friendships we have been lucky enough to develop with our customers. My personal journey in the nursery business began forty one years ago at Gardenside Nursery in Shelburne, Vt. They hired me after they became tired of my asking. The seed was set. They sold me my first Japanese Maple (again because of my persistence), taught me about conifers and pruning, and even laughed with me when we realized I didn’t know that gladiolus need to be planted a certain way. Forty one years and still learning.
   Nature is amazing. Every month it has something to wow us with. Just look out the window! As I sat at my kitchen table this February morning; off in the distance, circling in the sky, was a bird, a big bird. I thought: in the spring the eagles fly by once or twice. It is way to early for one of them. The bird circled closer and higher, then dove and turned, and there it was: white head, white tail! Yes spring is here . . . well, maybe not just yet.

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   We love to share nature with our friends and customers: the painted turtles in our ponds, the tree frogs which we rarely see, yet often hear, the garden spiders with their exquisite webs, and the praying mantis feeding in the garden. Oh yea, and the most important form of nature at O’Brien Nurserymen . . . .PLANTS!

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   As usual, a short introduction for the folks who don’t know us. O’Brien Nurserymen is a specialty nursery in Granby, Connecticut. We specialize in hosta, America’s #1 selling perennial. Our extensive display gardens feature over 1,900 hosta varieties as well as other shady characters including epimediums, woodland peonies, primroses, spring ephemerals, and tricyrtis (toadlilies). The gardens also include a wide variety of unusual dwarf conifers as well as over a hundred varieties of Japanese maples.
   O’Brien Nurserymen is open for retail sales on designated weekends from April through October. The sales area features over 1,200 hosta varieties in containers, ready to go. We also carry many other gems, such as coral bells, dwarf conifers, Japanese maples, daylilies, sedums and daphnes. We love to hear customers say, “We knew you had hostas, but we didn’t realize you had all this!”

                                                                                                                                        
   See the Garden Days link on the home page to see our schedule for the 2015 gardening season. The weekend titles are designed to let you know the diversity of plants that we offer. All of these unique offerings are available at all our special weekends. So there is no need to wait till the end of the year for the conifers and ginkgos!
   Some highlights month by month:  
   The month of April is a great transition month and flowers are a welcome sight. Hellebores lead the way. There has been much done by hellebore breeders in the last fifteen years and the results are outstanding. Lenten Rose flowers come in an array of colors, and now as doubles, semi-doubles, picotees and tricolors. We believe you will enjoy seeing these great plants in bloom and selecting your favorite for your garden.
   I like to say the month of May doesn’t exist, because all we do is work, sleep, and enjoy the beauty! As a gardener it is the best month of the year. When we hear Japanese maple, we think fall color. Yet many varieties of Acer palmatum and Acer japonicum feature awesome spring color. Acer palmatum ‘Noel’ is our own introduction of Japanese maple which features bright red spring color that settles to a variegated foliage for the remainder of the season. My late friend, Dennis Dodge, was the first to graft this plant and he named it for my previous dog, Noel.
  Although hostas are showing color in April, they unfurl and begin to grow out in May, it is not until June that they truly come into their own. Big ones, Little ones, Green ones, Blue ones! Need I say more?
   We carry quite an assortment of daylilies. If you have yet to see our daylily display it is worth the trip. In July, on our daylily weekend, we will host attendees of the Region 4 Daylily Meeting. The meeting is centered in Enfield. If you like daylilies, you may consider attending this promising event.
   Did you know that August is the best month to divide hostas? There are many reasons this is the preferred time, so come to our free dividing demonstration and learn why. While you’re here, you could also enjoy a cool walk in the shade. You might just find a hosta you like.
   While peonies bloom in May, a few have showy seed pods that develop in the fall. Come visit in September so we can show you these rarely offered horticultural gems.
   As the season winds down, we feature conifers, which of course can steal the show any day of the year. One of my first duties, 41 years ago, back at old Gardenside Nursery was to untie various conifers that arrived after being dug in Connecticut. Guess I impressed the owner by untying junipers all day and then showing up for work again the next day. Still a favorite after all these years (conifers, not the junipers) I join the American Conifer Society every fall for tours, auctions and tailgate sales. This year we will meet in the Philadelphia area in August.
   We hope this newsletter may tempt you to visit us in Granby. If you need more encouragement visit our website at www.obrienhosta.com or follow us on Facebook at O’Brien Nursery.

Link to 2014 Newsletter