It was early Sunday morning, the third day of our fall plant sale and I was walking through the nursery. It was a beautiful September morning, very quiet except for the birds chirping, even the Donkeys were Quiet, just watching me stroll through the nursery when suddenly it hit me; What an amazing thing it that we do In this Little Nursery!
Who gets to do this for a living? Later that day as I was showing some plants to a customer a Bald Eagle flew over head making that sound that only a Bald Eagle can make. A Bald Eagle!
This truly is amazing. In June these All Summer Beauty Hydrangea were mere rooted cuttings, pretty much sticks with roots, only 6″ long. Look at them now. Completely over growing their pots.
And I do have a point to make. In Our Members Area from time to time we have a debate about fertilizers and I am here to tell you that every single plant in my nursery gets 1 tablespoon of fertilizer a year. That’s it! One tablespoon for a complete growing season. Unless they are in a 2 or 3 gallon pot, then they get two.
I don’t use liquid fertilizers, I don’t use all kinds of magic glop that is supposed to do this, that or the other thing.
So as you peruse this page, keep that in mind, itty bitty, tiny, rooted cuttings, one tablespoon spoon of slow release fertilizer and mere months later I have salable plants.
These Cone Flowers were very small plugs in June, this photo take on September 18th.
So as I was strolling through the nursery making sure nothing got knocked over in the night, I was taken back just looking at the plants that we offer. In this photo just one of the many Hosta varieties that we offer. This one is “Pow Wow! Happy Days”. Coreopsis, Butterfly Bush and Some Japanese Red maples way back in the corner.
Who gets to do this? Who gets to put beautiful plants like this in the hands of happy, eager customers who are filled with a child like excitement as they pick out plants for their home?
Then they come back and tell you how well the plants that you sold them in the spring, or last year did. The lady who said; “You gave my son a plant that the donkeys snatched through the fence and ate and I’m here to tell you that even “Donkey Pruned” plants do really well. He calls it his “Donkey Plant”. That kid will remember that plant for the rest of his life!
That’s why I do what I do!
This is an interesting photo, the Patriot Hosta look great but look to the right. Those are All Summer Beauty Hydrangea that we shifted from our small pots to 2 gallons this spring. Look at the growth and they are blooming as well. On 2 tablespoons of slow release fertilizer. That’s it.
Blue Mouse Ears Hosta is always a big hit, always in demand.
I don’t know the variety of this Rose of Sharon. Either I got it miss tagged or we lost the tag, so we just call it Ally in memory of The Little Yellow Dog.
This is why I do what I do!
These All Summer Beauty Hydrangea were rooted cuttings in June when we potted them. That’s right, 6″ sticks with a few leaves and some roots. No liquid fertilizers, no magic potions, just one tablespoon of slow release fertilizer.
A couple of years ago I heard how nice the All Summer Beauty Hydrangea was so I started looking for a few. Today I have hundreds of them and we are sticking cuttings as I write this! Just doesn’t get better than this.
When we finished our spring plant sales this area was all but empty. After we trimmed, weeded and consolidated what was left there were just a few rows of plants at the far end. We started filling this area with plugs and rooted cuttings in June. I took this photo in mid September of the same year. Amazing!
This spring we sold completely out of Little Princess Spirea and we had people asking for them. These were little tiny rooted cuttings, barely as long as your finger and skinny as can be. Look at them now!
These Coral Bells I bought as plugs from One of Our Members, Neil, in April. Completely over flowing the pots now.
Here’s a shot of some customers near the “Donkey’s for President Sign” at the nursery.
This is crazy, crazy, crazy!
These Annabelle Hydrangea are from cuttings that we stuck last November. We stuck them in November, potted them in June or July, I don’t remember, I think July, and look at them now. They are setting right next to the Bed that They Were Rooted In.
This is a cool shot because it has so much going on. The grass that you see in the center we mere plugs in July? I know we potted them late. Yeah, one tablespoon of slow release fertilizer did that.
Right next to them more of those Annabelles. In the foreground you can see hundreds of Juddi Viburnum, one of the more fragrant viburnums. People ask for them all the time. I’m going to make a hedge of these for stock plants.
Just outside of this container area you can see some of our Japanese maples that are for sale. And of course Finnegan the Miniature Donkey wondering what I’m doing.
Off to the left you can see one of the landscaped mounds. Those are the stock plants that we use for cuttings. The Lucy Rose of Sharon are in bloom, the Purple Sandcherries have really long canes, ready to give up hardwood cuttings.
This is the other side of that mound. You can see Variegated Lirope that will be divided in the spring, Little Princess Spirea, Gold Mound Spirea, Blue Rug Juniper and off to the right you don’t see in the photo, Burning Bush, Gold Flame Spirea, Snowmound Spirea and around the back Weigelas and Potentilla.
Here’s the right side, didn’t realize I had this shot.
Interesting point about the plants in this mound. They have never been fertilized, never been sprayed with any chemicals but we do use pre emergents for weed control and sometimes post emergents for weeds. I wish I could find the photos of videos of building this mound. All it was was a pile of dirt that we dug out to make the container area. I know I have some video of it somewhere. It’s probably one of those early Mondays with Mike videos.
The soil in this mound is pure sand and gravel. And look at how those plants grew. Here they are very young, right after we finished landscaping.
So that means we dug this area out in the spring of 2014. If you find that video for me just put a link in the comments and Duston will give you a free book of your choice. Tell him I said that!
I remember standing on that dirt pile, or Amber standing on that dirt pile. That’s all that I remember.
Girls! They just hate getting their picture made when in work attire but they did smile because they knew that I would post it regardless.
Questions, comments? Mean things to say? Post them below.
HI Mike, I was wondering if you think cloning unknown varieties for yourself is bad practice and also is using plants you have purchased with common and Latin names not acceptable unless from wholesalers? Maybe I am too tired right now but it sounded like purchased plants from stores should not be trusted. Am I understanding correctly? If so how in the world am I to find a reputable grower of specific plants. I wanted to do a therapeutic garden for children and others… And propagate those in garden to expand therapeutic gardens for the ill. That is my dream besides growing food for homeless.
There are a couple problems with cloning unknown varieties. One, the plant might be patented, and even for your own use patented plants cannot be propagated. But more importantly you never know what the future holds and in the future you might wish you had started with a properly tagged plant so you can do as you please with the plants you have. Plants from stores can be trusted as long as you are inclined to believe that the label on the plant is correct. Most plants in garden centers and big stores are tagged at the nursery before they are shipped to those retail locations. Big wholesale growers are very good about proper tagging. They just have to be.
A handwritten tag on a retail lot would make me a bit suspicious or at least curious and it might pay to ask about it just to be sure. There is no way to guarantee that plants you buy anywhere are properly tagged, but we all have to do our best to make certain that they are.
Randall Gentry says
Looking forward to learning more!
Terry Linker says
Thanks for all the information you share Mike. I’m going to try more cuttings this winter………last years didn’t work for some reason. I purchased your info pack a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the emails with tons of great advice. We purchased a home with a bit of property, so if things work out, I’ll have a paying hobby when I retire in a few years.
Thank you for what you do and being willing to share your experience and knowledge with the rest of us. I found your site just this summer and have been so inspired by what I’ve read and seen. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom while we’ve been raising our 5 children and have always said that if I did go back to work, I want to be able to enjoy what I did. I think we have found it! My husband has had a vegetable garden for many years, and I’ve done my flowers. Still learning new things all the time! I have already started taking clippings to root and plan to do hardwood cuttings this fall/winter. Thank you .
Mike, Just read your article on Patents…A list of plants and/or cultivars that “do well” in the market place not under patents would be helpful for the little guys…I know you are a busy man, but hope this might be taken under consideration. Thanks for all the great articles and helps you so generously share…Be intentional…& look up…Blessings
This list is a good place to start, but as you add each plant to your inventory is always good to do a bit of research. We discuss this continually in The Members Area. http://backyardgrowers.com/join
21 Plants that are Easy to Grow and Sell Like Crazy
The following 21 plants are really easy to grow and they sell like hot cakes. They always have been really good sellers and they always will be really good sellers. And this list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to plants that you can grow and sell that people want to buy.
2. Red Weigela
3. Varigated Weigela
4. Pink Flowering Weigela
5. Red Twig Dogwood
6. Fragrant Viburnums
7. All Flowering Viburnums
9. Dappled Willow
10. Pussy Willow
14. All kinds of Perennials
17. Japanese Hollies
18. English Hollies
20. PJM Dwarf Rhododendron
22. Rose of Sharon
23. Dwarf Alberta Spruce
24. White Dogwood trees
25. Chinese Dogwoods
26. Blue Rug Juniper
27. Gold Flame Spirea
28. Gold Mound Spirea
29. Ornamental Grasses of all kinds
30. Crimson Pygmy Barberry
31. Rosy Glow Barberry
Okay, that’s 31 and I could go on forever.
Here are some plants for warmer zones, 8,9, and 10
Fragrant Tea Olive,
Burgundy Chinese Fringe Flower
Owari & Hamlin Oranges
Azalea (out the wazoo down here)
Crepe Myrtle (ditto)
hybrids such as Blossom Peacock and Papillo
Star gazer lilies
Crape Myrtles of all kinds
Azalea varieties-evergreen & deciduous(native)
Fragrant Tea Olive-evergreen
Loropetalum/Chinese fringe flowers
Abelia -so many new exciting varieties -good for zones 6-10!
Burning Bush/ Euonymus varieties…
Spirea -especially Bridalwreath, Little Princess, Goldmound…
Jasmines (vines-Carolina, Confederate)
Lady Banks Rose
Anise (check out Florida Sunshine)
Holly-Soft Touch/Sky Pencil/Youpon/Burfordii….
Japanese Magnolias(Saucer, Betty, Royal Star…)
Evergreen hedge trees/shrubs
Junipers-Blue Rug, Sargentii, Blue Point,…
Vitex (or Chaste Tree)
Nellie R Stevens
Red Tip Photinia
Van Houtti Spiraea
Herb Flavell says
Mike, Thanks for your response…Cuttings, liners, and bare rooted shrub & perennial starts are kinda scarce when Googling for them…Have prher way etty much exhausted the list of supliers you made available some time back as well…Have some Lantana, blackberries, hydrangeas, figs, b. holly, Loropetalum, euonymus(golden) & pothos in small quanties sourced from friends & yard. Trusting this will afford a start…Either way it’s great therapy & puts you in some great company…”Backyard” included…Blessings
Be sure to read this so you get started on the right foot. It’s really, really important. For years and years and years this has been my rant;
Now explained in a more technical way, this article is worth it’s weight in gold;
Mike, Again thanks for your interest & prompt response…I have grower tags on most of them & will be judicious in labeling…Blessings
sumudu fernando says
Please let me know how to germinate the climbing rose seeds.and how long to germinate
Google seed germination data base and look them up there. I honestly don’t know how to do them.
sand and gravel you said, am I to believe that!
And of course you posted anonymously. Why would you not believe what I told you? Would I have a reason to lie about it? My goal was to make the huge pile of sand and gravel “go away” and if you watch the video links listed in these comments you would see all of that.
Mike. I’m just north of you in mid -Michigan. I have a burning bush that’s prob 15′ tall and a monster. I also have a front porch with dying and overgrown bushes that need to be replaced. My idea is to make cuttings to replace this dead hedge but can I make them “big”? Like at least a foot or two? The porch is 2′ off the ground and having to hide bad siding up on top of it where there is moisture damage. I want coverage that I don’t have to wait years for. I hope this makes sense cause I cannot afford high priced nursery stick. Thanks for your thoughts-Barbara
No, you can’t make cuttings that big. All things worth while take time. I started working on this just six years ago, https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2011/07/mikes-new-nursery-from-the-beginning/, things happen faster than you think.
Richard Miller says
You have a lot of plants for sale, but no prices.
Am member of backyard
Dave Mason says
You make it sound so simple and easy that it is inspiring. My wife and I are both interested in rooting some cuttings from our flower beds and orchard. We are selling our property which we have enjoyed in Washington and moving to southern Oregon for more warmth and a larger piece. We want to capture cuttings of many plants and fruit trees to take with us, as some of the stock is too large to move. We don’t want a large business, but we enjoy our flower beds and orchard and would love to share some of that beauty and productivity with others. We are waiting for your book to arrive, but want to get started as it is getting late in September. Will we be able to get cuttings to root this late in September?
You can, with cooler weather things root more slowly. Two articles for you to visit.
You make it sound so simple and real that it is inspiring. We don’t want a huge business for ourselves, but we enjoy the spirit of making more of a beautiful plant or fruit tree. I am waiting for your book to arrive, but I want to get started rooting as it is getting late in September. Will we still have some success with our cuttings?
C. R. Hawkins says
Thanks for all the information you send out! It has inspired my daughter and I to consider trying our hand at starting a small backyard nursery. We have well-established shrubs and perennials we can use for cuttings.. We started cuttings earlier in the season that are already rooted, and look forward to watching them grow and branch out next Spring. Everytime my daughter sees one of her friends trimming shrubs at their home she grabs up the ‘debris’ and brings it home – therefore new material for cuttings!
Your videos are great! I love your laid-back approach while delivering important and helpful tips.
Keep up the good work!
You are starting off on the wrong foot. Way, way off on the wrong foot. See this; For years and years and years this has been my rant;
Now explained in a more technical way, this article is worth it’s weight in gold;
Thanks Mike for sharing your knowledge.
Mike you mention the tiny spirea cuttings… just bought a couple goldflame for stock plants but the cuttings (if I use them for hardwood) are so skinny. Will they still work or should I wait til spring?
They should be fine, then do more in June, like this; https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/mikes-plant-propagation-kit/
What a wonderful place with smiling faces all around you Mike! You are a blessing in a world that needs one right now.
Ken C says
For Cathy and Pam,
With smiles that beautiful, noone notices what they are wearing!
Michael Wheeler says
I just retired and have a strong interest in you business ideas. Please enter me in your drawing to win a free course.
rob mclaughlin says
This whole thing impressive. I look forward to all of your posting and read everything. Plus I keep a folder just so I can you back and re-read things. Thanks Again !!!
Enjoy your sense of humor mike and all your ideas about plants and hard work hope your family knows how fortunate they are to have you. Plan next season to really get into the plants myself if all goes well thank you for making great days even greater with your style
Haylie Tesiere says
Love this video! I got a chance to look at the growing system I just bought from you, Great stuff!! I’m thinking of growing Permaculture plants ie: mostly fruit trees and edible plants. Getting very excited!
Carter Thoenes says
Yes, we are all very lucky, Thank a person in the military.,
Sharon Hendricls says
Mike, how do you keep the grass from creeping back in to the mound area? Fescue and zoysia are abundant in my place.
Also, I have a mound that I inherited, and they stuck one little mint plant in it….I can’t believe they were ignorant of mint, but they claim ignorance! Short of removing everything I want to keep, and then applying Round Up or something, what else would you suggest I do for this mound?
We weed, we mulch and on occasion I spray very selectively. We also apply pre emergents for weeds.
Lester McCollum says
Mike, your Heuchera, Coral Bells, look stunning. What is your secret – mine never shine like yours. I use all of the chemicals you have recommended and I;m still unhappy with my finished results.
I’m from Hartselle Alabama and its very HOT here. I am beginning to believe that’s the problem. Any advise would be appreciated.
The only chemicals I use are fertilizer and for weed control. But I’m guessing that Alabama is pretty hot for Heuchera depending on how much shade you give them.
Cathy Ward says
Here’s a video of the original dirt pile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rkitWFfS4w
Here is a video with you sitting on the dirt pile, and then at 4:20 it shows the opposite side of the dirt pile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjf7JCOvkGA
And then this is the dirt pile right after you first put plants in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5SDkd1q2lY
Hope that helps 🙂
Thank you Cathy, you are awesome! Tell Duston that he owes you a book!
Sharon Hendricls says
Aww Cathy! You beat me to it! But you always are on top of things. Good for you, girl.