Please click here to read newsletter if it is not properly displayed below.
Blue Hills Newsletter
fresh picks
Blue Hills Nursery News March 8, 2018
featured quote

Featured Quote:

"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."

~Francis Bacon

Blue Hills Tomato Fair!
Sunday, March 18, 1:30 PM

Come and hear Steve Goto, tomato expert, talk about which varieties are best for your garden. Learn how to grow your best tomatoes yet!

Steve knows his tomatoes; learn from the best. We'll have lots of varieties to choose from, including hard-to-find heirlooms.

Spring Garden Special

Spring Garden special going on now. Buy 3 and get the fourth bag free! Includes GBO Harvest Supreme and GBO Planting Mix.

New inventory arrivals!

Kangaroo paws, white sage, salvia, kalanchoe and many more!

Planning a Fragrant Flower Garden

Most gardeners love a colorful garden filled with blooming annuals, but many don't realize that a colorful garden can also smell good! In addition to filling your garden with wonderful scents to tickle your nose, fragrant annuals provide the added benefit of attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects that help control bad bugs.

You can build a fragrance garden by creating a layered effect with shorter annuals in the front and gradually increasing the height to the back of the bed. If you are planting a garden island, start with the taller varieties in the center and lower the height of plantings as you work towards the outer edge. Use a good amendement like GBO Planting Mix or Harvest Supreme before planting. Fertilize as needed with Gro-Power Flower 'n' Bloom.

For border plants on the outside, consider alyssum, dianthus, petunia, dwarf sweet peas and viola. Now add a layer of mid-size bloomers (1-2') such as cornflower, linaria, nasturtium, nicotiana, annual phlox, stock and wallflower. Next come the tall guys, like cleome, four o'clock, and tall sweet pea varieties. If you have room on a fence at the back of a bed, you can also plant the fragrant moonflower vine.

Shaded areas don't have to go neglected for fragrance either. Alyssum will still bloom well provided you have full morning sun, as will dianthus, linaria and viola. For shade gardens, nothing beats heliotrope, and some varieties of impatiens are moderately fragrant as well.

So remember, your flowerbeds can smell good as well as look good!

Click to print this article.


There is really no reason whatsoever for a garden to be without a salvia. Salvias - almost one thousand species of them - are members of the mint family. It is difficult to name just one feature that is the single best attribute, but there are definitely two that stand out significantly: the flowers and the aromatic foliage. Add to those the large variation of foliage sizes, shapes, colors; plant growth habits; and cultural needs such as sun, water and soil types. There absolutely is a salvia, and more likely many salvias, that would be perfectly at home in your garden!

First and foremost, in addition to the beauty, the flower of any salvia attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies into your garden. Salvia flower colors span an enormous range from shades of blue to purple, shades of red to orange, shades of pink to white, buff to tan, and many combinations of these.

Salvia foliage is as diverse as the flower color spectrum in color, shape, size and texture. Small needle-like leaves, oval leaves, large arrowhead-shaped leaves are just a few of the foliage shapes. Colors range from bright glossy green to gray green to red and to silvery white. Foliage texture can be smooth or rough and hairy. And to add to the many foliage attributes, many of the salvias are highly aromatic or fragrant. This is due to the oily-like glands on the foliage and the stems. These structures, not really visible to the naked eye, help salvias conserve water and make them more drought tolerant.

Did you also know that Sage = Salvia? That's right. Many of us are quite familiar with sage as an herb for cooking. The sage for cooking is Salvia officinalis - easily grown in your flower gardens, or if you prefer, in an herb garden. In medieval times, sage was used as a medicinal remedy and was cultivated specifically for that purpose. The leaves were used as an antispasmotic, as an astringent, for cold symptoms and for digestive upsets. Of course, we recommend that you simply grow Salvia officinalis for garden beauty and cooking!

There are salvias that are annuals (live just one season/year) and are best used planted en masse; most of the salvias are perennials whose growth habit and woody stems more resemble a medium size shrub. The basic flower structure is the same for all salvias, although their size, shape and color will vary. Also, the way the flowers are borne on the stems (inflorescence) adds variety to your salvia choice.

Plant your salvias in full sun. Mix a good amendment like GBO Planting Mix about 50:50 into your native soil. Water the new planting regularly while it's getting established. Afterwards, follow the watering needs for your salvia(s) of choice. There can be watering variation depending upon the species that you have chosen. If you aren't sure, just ask one of us; we would love to help.

Click to print this article.

Growing an Indoor Herb Garden

Everyone associates St. Patrick’s Day with Ireland--it's a celebration of Ireland's most-recognized patron saint, right? Aside from the fact that Saint Patrick wasn't Irish (he is said to have been born in either Scotland or Wales), the holiday did, of course, originate in Ireland. But which country, do you suppose, is at the head of the list when it comes to celebrating the big day? Why, none other than the good ol' USA!

While celebrations take place in most cities across America (where everyone suddenly becomes Irish overnight), one of the earliest St. Paddy's Day parades (second only to Boston) took place in New York City in 1762. Today, this parade is the largest celebration and parade in the USA, with around 150,000 participants each year that attract millions of people lining 5th Avenue. Floats, cars and exhibits are not allowed in this parade that will be celebrating its 251st consecutive year.

Because of its 1 million plus residents of Irish descent, Chicago's celebration of St. Patrick's Day is a huge event. Green is everywhere, including the Chicago River, which is dyed green especially for the holiday. Interestingly (if not appetizingly), the idea originally came from sewer workers, who would dye the river green to look for sewer discharges. Other U.S. cities that employ green water especially for the day are Savannah, Georgia (the water in all public fountains is dyed green) and Indianapolis, Indiana (it dyes its main canal green).

Boston has a special tie with Ireland--being the closest U.S. port to Ireland, it was the port though which many of the Irish that were immigrating to America passed. Boston also has the distinction of hosting the world's first recorded parade for the holiday in 1737, beating Dublin, Ireland by a couple of hundred years. And if you would like to spend your St. Patrick's Day engaging in the time-honored pastime of drinking, there is no better place to go than Boston, which has more Irish pubs than any city outside of Ireland. Its popular parade, featuring bagpipers, floats and bands, generally attracts upwards of 600,000 people each year.

Savannah, Georgia's St. Patrick's Day parade began as a small affair in 1813 to honor a group of men of Irish descent on the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick. Today, it is the city's largest annual celebration, attracting over half a million people.

If you are on the west coast make your way to "the city by the bay"--San Franciso--and enjoy their fabulous St. Patrick's Day parade that dates back to 1852.

We hope you enjoy your St. Patrick's Day, no matter where you find yourself. In closing, let us leave you with these Irish words of wisdom, particularly true on St. Patrick's Day:
"There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were."

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Click to print this article.

Garden Primer

Can you grow grass in shade?


That depends on how much shade you actually have. Fescue types of grass will tolerate shade better than most grasses. Use a shady blend grass seed and cover with GBO Premium Topsoil to give it a boost, but even shade-tolerant grasses need a certain amount of sunshine to grow. Ultimately, the way you manage your shady lawn is more important than which seed type you select.

Five practices that will help your shade-tolerant grass survive in the shade:

  • First, mow your grass higher. Grass in the shade should be cut approximately 1/2 to 1 inch higher than the grass growing in full sunlight. This will allow more leaf area to intercept the limited amount of sunlight.
  • Second, fertilize less often, at half the normal amount so the grass won't try to grow what it can't support.
  • Third, water more (and deeply) in the hot summer months, so the grass is not stressed by heat.
  • Fourth, selectively prune and thin limbs of heavy shade producing trees to allow more light to reach your lawn. Remove all limbs below ten feet. Rake and remove leaves or needles before they accumulate.
  • Finally, try to minimize traffic and activities in the shaded grass areas during the summer months. This will reduce the wear stress on the turf. If the grass is in a path where traffic cannot be avoided, place stepping-stones or pine bark to create a trail.

If you combine these suggestions, you should notice a much healthier lawn. If none of this works, consider replacing your shaded area with shade-loving flowers, groundcover, or mulch.

Click to print this article.

Crock pot corned beef and cabbage
  • 1 (3 to 4 lb.) corned beef brisket
  • 1 large head cabbage quartered and rough chopped
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4-5 parsnips
  • 1-2 turnips
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped thin
  • 3 whole cloves, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, ground

Step by Step:

  • Wash brisket. Using a small sharp knife, cut tiny X slits in the meat and insert garlic clove slices.
  • Place the meat in a large crock pot and cover with water. Add bay leaves, peppercorns, Old Bay, 2 whole carrots and sliced celery.
  • Heat on high for 30 minutes. Check to be sure meat has reached 160° (if not, cook on high a bit longer). Then skim off the foam and set the heat to low.
  • Quarter the cabbage, peel potatoes, carrots, turnips and parsnips. Slice uncooked vegetables into 2 inch chunks.
  • Add uncooked vegetables and continue to cook on low for 3 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaves.
  • Drain and serve with honey Dijon mustard, or a mustard less spicy if desired.


3 day forecast

3 day forecast

Whittier Weather


Subscribe Now to
Blue Hills Nursery News
Click here to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change your address.

Rains encourage lots of winter weeds. Hoe them out before they get too big or begin to scatter seed. At this point, simply scrape them off with a scuffle hoe, early in the morning on a sunny day, so weeds quickly dry out. Though it's tempting to toss weeds in the compost pile, don't--you'll just be spreading weed seeds all over the garden.

Contact Information:

(562) 947-2013

16440 E. Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90603

Open 7 days a week, 8:30 am-5:00 pm

Gardner & Bloome




Gardner & Bloome



Gardner & Bloome

Cosmo Guarding
His Plants