The region's premier landscape contractor & garden center
2389 S. Highway 33, Driggs, ID
Mon-Sat 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
08 Jul 2020

Wild Weather Gardening

Perfect summer weather in our region is seldom long-lasting. Seasoned locals can tell the tales of late June freezes, snow on the fourth of July or winds that blew away the trampoline. Savvy gardeners are also studious weather observers, ready to act no matter what Ma Nature throws our way. Here are some of our common wild weather extremes and tips for damage control.

Snow: A light blanket of snow over blooming flowers and emerging leaves will do little damage, but accompanying cold temperatures can be an issue with tender annuals, hanging baskets and veggie gardens (see ‘frost’ in the following paragraph). Heavy snow on fully leafed-out trees and blooming flowers can topple whole trees, break branches and squish flowers. If it’s snowing and accumulating heavily, shaking branches free of snow can help reduce the weight and chance of breakage. After a summer snow storm, cut or prune anything damaged or broken. Healthy trees and plants will eventually re-grow.

Frost: The good news is that frosts are usually forecast. The bad news is that frost can happen any day of the summer. A daily habit of checking the weather forecast will arm you with the information needed to act. If/when frost is predicted, cover tender plants and veggie gardens with frost cloth (we sell DeWitt™ N-Sulate), an old sheet or a tarp. Harvest any ripe produce from your veggie garden and when possible, move tender hanging baskets and potted annuals indoors. Frost damage can be trimmed off with clean, sharp pruners. Perennials, trees and shrubs may be slightly damaged after a cold night, but usually will regrow.

Hail: This is probably the least predictable and most damaging weather event we can experience. If hail is imminent, take down exposed hanging baskets and cover veggie gardens with frost cloth, a tarp or an old sheet. Hail can tear holes in leaves and strip leaves off trees, shrubs and flowers. Extreme wind gusts can break branches. After a hail event, the best course of action is a good clean-up. With clean, sharp tools, trim branches, flower stems or anything broken. Rake up shredded leaves and plant bits. Fertilize everything with a low dose liquid plant food for additional energy.

Heat: Most mature plants can adapt to heat, but new plants with small root systems can struggle. Plants won’t bloom as well or develop fruit in hot weather. Regular watering early morning or evening hours is best. Be sure to water deeply at the root zone, not just wetting the foliage. Hanging baskets and plants in small containers can dry out very quickly. Some planters and baskets may even need to be moved into a protected shady spot for relief from the heat (this is also a good strategy when you’re gone for a few days). If plants get too dry, the tips will turn brown and crispy. In this case, cut off any of the damage, soak the plant thoroughly and fertilize with a mild liquid plant food.

Wind: Extreme winds associated with storms can break or damage tree limbs or other plants. Once the wind event is over, use clean sharp tools to trim anything broken or damaged. Continuous high winds can dry out hanging baskets or new plants in a snap. If possible, move plants to a sheltered spot such as a covered porch. If it’s not possible to move plants, be sure to water deeply at the root zone. During hot and windy weather, plants may wilt even though the roots are moist simply because they are transpiring (losing moisture from foliage) faster than they are able to take up water from their roots. Plants will usually rebound once the wind dies down and the day cools. If plants get too dry, the tips will turn brown and crispy. In this case, cut off any of the damage, soak the plant thoroughly and fertilize with a liquid plant food.

Fortunately, plants are very adaptable to many weather extremes and will put on new growth after being damaged. Routine maintenance will encourage healthy plants that are able to recover from weather extremes.

Links to regional weather forecasts:
National Weather Service:
Mountain Weather:
Teton Valley Weather:

01 Jul 2020

Water-Wise Irrigation

Irrigation systems are a convenient and important landscape feature for a busy homeowner. An automated system allows for a lush, healthy and beautiful landscape. However, it can be easy to ‘set it forget it’ and not pay attention to the needs of your valuable plants. Overwatering and poor water management tend be the side effect to these great systems.
Overwatering is caused by running the sprinklers too long. It’s easy to let them run for an extra 10 minutes… just to make sure they are doing a good job. Most times the excess water will run off or puddle. The process of correct watering can be perfected on a trial and error basis. Run your sprinklers less and less every week and see when your lawn starts to yellow or stress. Once you have found this spot, increase the irrigation time to find your lawn’s happy place. There is a spot on most irrigation controls called seasonal adjustments. This is where you can increase the watering time in the summer and lower the watering in the spring and fall. Most irrigation controllers also offer a spot to plug in a rain sensor. This efficient feature automatically shuts down the sprinklers when it’s raining, allowing Mother Nature to water for you. If you notice that water is running down your sidewalk, driveway, or curbs you know you are watering too much. Soils can only hold so much water before the excess is puddling or running off.
Different areas of your landscape will require different amounts of water depending on sun and wind exposure. It’s important to know where these areas are in reference to the zones on your sprinkler system.
Running your sprinklers is best done in the evening hours… dusk to dawn. If sprinklers run during the day or when the sun is out, a portion of that water will be lost to evaporation. Avoid water waste and set your controller to late PM or early AM. Walk through and check on your landscaping regularly and take note of dry or wet areas. This is a good indication that your sprinkler heads are not working properly. Over time, heads will fall out of adjustment or have plants grow in front of their spray coverage. A few simple corrections to the sprinkler heads will keep your system running at peak efficiency.
Winterizing your system at the end of the summer is important otherwise water lines and sprinkler heads will freeze and crack. A powerful compressor is used to blow all the water out of the irrigation system, which protects it for the winter. Late September and early October is the best time to winterize your system.
Sprinkler systems are great for saving time and can be a very efficient way to deliver water to your valuable landscape. Be sure to check your system regularly throughout the summer and make adjustments as needed.

More Water-Wise Tips:
• Water early in the morning or in the evening. This reduces water loss to evaporation.
• If you are limited to how much water is available, prioritize water needs. Vegetable gardens and newly planted trees and shrubs require the most water. Turf grasses can be allowed to go dormant (brown) with less water. These grasses will green up once again when cooler weather returns.
• Cut back perennials that are done blooming. This redirects a plant’s energy to its roots instead of seed production.
• Water deeply, less often. A thorough soaking will promote deep rooting. Frequent light watering leads to shallow, drought-prone roots.
• Move planters and hanging baskets into the shade.
• Recognize drought-stress: Wilting is the most obvious sign. Brown or crispy tips or edges of leaves are another.
• Pay special attention to newly planted evergreens. These thirsty trees may not show signs of stress until months later when it’s too late. Check your irrigation and probe down into the soil to ensure water is reaching the root zone.
• Mulch is your friend. Applying a three-inch layer around trees, shrubs and perennial flowers will help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.

14 Jun 2020

Flower Bed Maintenance

You’ve just purchased hundreds of dollars’ worth of flowers, sweated and toiled to plant everything and now you get to sit back and relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, right? Well yes, but to get the most out of your plants, routine maintenance will keep your flowers at their best.

Consistent water is vital to new plants. Hand watering, automatic sprinkler systems, soaker hoses or drip irrigation are all effective. The method you choose will depend on the size of your flower beds and budget. Be sure to check for any excessively dry or soggy spots. Inspect plants regularly when they are new for signs of dryness (crispy, brown leaf tips, wilted foliage) or overwatering (wilting, yellowing leaves). Water needs will vary depending on sun and wind exposure, drainage, and soil quality.

Weed control:
Regular weeding is key in allowing your flowers to thrive. Set aside some time weekly to pull weeds before anything gets out of hand. For tenacious weeds or grasses, some strategic use of herbicides may be warranted. Grass killers, such as Ortho™ Grass Be Gone will kill only grasses, but not desirable plants (the exception would be ornamental grasses and iris). Careful spot spraying with a non-selective herbicide containing glysophate (Killzall™ or Roundup™) can also help with difficult weeds. Pre-Emergent herbicides prevent seeds from germinating. Applied in early summer, pre-emergents can save a lot of time weeding. Organic corn gluten and synthetic pre-emergents like Casaron™ granules help. It is important to note that pre-emergents do not kill existing weeds.
Always read the label and apply the product as directed.

Fertilizing your plants will boost the health and appearance of your plants. Granular fertilizers can be applied once or twice a season. Liquid fertilizers can be applied throughout the growing season and are quickly absorbed to provide an immediate boost to your plants. We carry a wide variety of natural and synthetic fertilizers.
Always read the label and apply the product as directed.

Mulch helps retain soil moisture, keeps weeds from germinating, and helps regulate soil temperature. Most mulches we stock are forestry by-products like shredded and chipped bark. Rock or gravel can also be used as mulch, depending on the look you are trying to achieve.

Deadheading is the process of removing spent flower stalks. Doing this allows the plant to divert its energy from seed production to root and flower formation and helps prolong the bloom time.

Having the right tools for garden maintenance makes the job easier. Find gloves, weeders, pruners, kneeling pads, and more in the tool section of our gift shop.
VIG rewards members receive 15% off tools and gloves.

Need Help?
Our professional maintenance team can help. Contact us for a quote

04 Mar 2020

Battling Pine Weevil

The white pine weevil is a native North American insect that poses a serious threat to spruce and pine trees across the continent, mostly in the northern US and Canada. Not to be confused with western pine beetle, the white pine weevil infests and kills the terminal leader of young trees. This leads to bushy-topped trees, stunted growth, and trees with multiple leaders. In our area, the white pine weevil is most common in Colorado or blue spruce.
The adult weevil is an inconspicuous brown ¼ inch weevil. At this stage, they can be seen crawling on trees, but its other life stages occur beneath the bark of trees, making it impossible to spot until the damage becomes evident. The larvae are white grubs with reddish-brown heads. These can only be seen by scraping away the outer bark of infested trees. Adult weevils overwinter in soil litter under host trees. Once spring temperatures rise to 50 degrees F consistently, they become active. Egg-laying females crawl up the host trees and lay eggs in tiny holes that they have chewed into the tree’s terminal leader. The eggs hatch into larvae that burrow into the stem, just underneath the bark. Larvae feed on the host tree’s phloem tissue, wilting and eventually killing the terminal leader.

Later in the summer, the larvae pupate and the new adults emerge from underneath the bark. These new adults then drop to the ground and make their homes in the soil underneath the host tree for the winter where they live until the cycle begins again the following year.

Timing is of critical importance when managing white pine weevil. Once the damage is noticed, it is too late to reverse it. Preventative spraying in the spring (when daytime temperatures reach 50 degrees F consistently) to target adults before they lay their eggs is very effective. Soil treatments with systemic insecticides also work but should be timed so that the tree has time to draw up the insecticide into its tissues. Infested leaders need to be pruned out and destroyed. A new leader from one of the side branches can be staked into its place. Trees that have been infested with white pine weevil and trees close to those that have been infested should be treated yearly to end the cycle.
Keeping the trees on your property healthy with routine maintenance and inspection will help them to resist white pine weevil infestation. Healthy trees will recover faster if they do get attacked.
Our garden center staff can help you select the correct preventative treatment for white pine weevil or let our professionals do the work for you! Our certified and experienced tree care team can help.
Contact us for a quote:

12 Nov 2019

November Checklist

Even though our recent temperatures make it feel more like January, there still may be time to complete one or more of these late-season tasks:

• Plant Indoor Bulbs: The outside temperatures won’t foil this plan! November is an excellent time to start paperwhites and amaryllis indoors for holiday gift-giving or for your own enjoyment. Paperwhites take 4-6 weeks to bloom and amaryllis can take 6-12 weeks.
• Spread Wildflower and Grass Seed: Seed will lay dormant until next spring.
All remaining seed is now 50% off.
• Mow, fertilize and protect your lawn: A shorter final cut will reduce the amount of raking next spring. Spread fall fertilizer (we love Espoma ™ organic) and a granular rodent repellant like Molemax™ if voles are a problem in your area.
• Hang and fill bird feeders: We carry a variety of bird feeders and seed to attract a range of wild birds. Feeders placed near trees and shrubs will encourage more visiting birds since they like the protection of nearby branches.

30 Sep 2019

October Checklist:

It’s a great month to tackle fall yard projects. Some effort this fall will set up your landscape for success and beauty next season and will shorten the to-do list next spring.

Cut back perennial flowers: Once the foliage is brown, perennials can be cut to the ground. Consider leaving some sturdy perennials standing in place for late fall and winter interest. Sedums, coneflower, Russian sage and ornamental grasses can be left standing and look beautiful with a dusting of snow or frost. Cutting back other perennials flowers will save you the task next spring.

Plant spring-flowering bulbs: Wake up your garden next spring with colorful daffodils, hyacinths, crocus and tulips. Spring-blooming bulbs add the color you’ll be craving after winter and provide an early season food source for pollinating insects. Plant bulbs any time in October and enjoy pops of color for years to come.

Plant garlic: Hardy and full-flavored, homegrown garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow. Begin by preparing the soil. It should be about 12 inches deep and amended with compost. Choose garlic varieties meant for planting, not the grocery-store kind. We have a great selection of cold-hardy, gourmet garlic. Separate garlic into cloves. Plant each clove pointy side up about 4 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart. One head of garlic will typically yield 8-10 heads next year. Water thoroughly. The garlic will sprout next spring and be ready to harvest late summer.
Water: A cold dry fall can be deadly for many ornamental plants. Well-hydrated roots increase a plants’ chance of survival before our seasonal blanket of snow. Water lawns, trees, shrubs and flower beds every week or two (depending on the weather) until the snow stays on the ground. Fall watering is especially important for evergreen trees.

Protect Trees and Shrubs:
Evergreens like spruce, pine and juniper lose moisture as their needles transpire through the winter. New evergreens are not able to keep up with the rate of moisture loss because their root systems are not yet deep enough. An anti-desiccant like Wilt Pruf™ can be sprayed on evergreen needles mid to late October. Wilt Pruf™ helps slow down transpiration and can make the difference between brown, crispy needles or lush green needles next spring.

Protect trees and shrubs from browsing deer, moose or gnawing rodents with Plantskydd™ liquid or granular repellent. In cases with frequent large game browsing, seasonal fencing may be needed.

Voles can girdle and kill a tree overwinter by chewing the bark around the base of the trunk. Apples and crabapples are especially vulnerable. A rigid plastic trunk guard can be placed around the trunk to protect it. Remove the trunk guard the following spring to allow for airflow.

Mulch is useful to moderate soil temperatures, retain moisture and suppress weeds. Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of trees and shrubs, being careful not to pile it up right against the trunk.

Some deciduous trees like maples are prone to cracking over winter. Cracking is caused when the trunk heats up in the sun during the day and then cools off dramatically at night. The temperature difference causes vertical, spiraling cracks down the trunk. A lightweight tree wrap will help protect the trunk. Wrap trunks late fall and remove the wrap in the spring.

Spread wildflower and grass seed: Fall is one of the best times for seeding. Wildflower and grass seed will lay dormant until spring and germinate once the soil temperatures warm up. As a bonus, residual moisture from snowmelt and spring rains speed up germination.

Replenish veggie beds: Now great time to feed the soil in your veggie garden. After harvesting and cleaning up plant debris, spread a 2-4 inch layer of compost (we like Happy Frog or Black Gold brands) over top and work it into the top 6 inches or so with a spade or digging fork. Rake smooth and your beds will be ready to rock next season.
Note: Do this when the soil is dry to avoid a clumpy, muddy mess and to keep the soil from becoming compact.

Fertilize and protect your lawn: A late application of fall lawn fertilizer (or winterizer) will give your lawn a boost next spring with a quick green-up and healthy new growth. Fall fertilizer has the addition of potassium for strong root development and overall health. To minimize vole damage, spread a repellant like Molemax™ or Reppelex™ over lawns.
Take advantage of fall sale pricing: Espoma™ organic fall lawn food is now 50%off.

23 Sep 2019

Fall Lawn Care

Even in cooler weather, lawn grasses are still growing, photosynthesizing and developing roots. A little extra love each fall helps your lawn to be healthy, lush and resilient.

-Continue to water your lawn to supplement natural rainfall.
-Mow your lawn slightly shorter than normal. Less top growth means less dead or moldy grass to rake up in the spring.
-A late application of fall lawn fertilizer will give your lawn a boost next spring with a quick green-up and faster new growth. Fall fertilizer has the addition of potassium for strong root development and overall health. Go organic this year with Espoma organic Fall Lawn Winterizer.

-Protect against voles: Commercial repellents such as Molemax(tm) should be spread as late in the fall as possible. These products make turf less palatable to pesky voles, helping to lessen damage overwinter.
-Reseed any thin spots, dog spots or damaged areas in your lawn. Be sure to either add a light layer of topsoil or fluff up the soil in these areas with a rake.
-Rake up any thick mats of leaves that smother your lawn. You can also mow over your leafy areas to shred up the leaves.

07 Aug 2019

August Tree Care

Between cold, snow, wind, hail and heat, it’s been an extra tough season for trees. Help your trees stay healthy with some routine care this month:

We’re often asked how much water to give a tree in a week. Soils, tree species, size and maturity will affect water requirements, but one rule of thumb is 10 gallons of water weekly for every inch of trunk diameter. For example, if you have a 6-inch spruce tree, your tree will need 60 gallons of water each week. Newly planted trees will need more water than established trees until their roots are able to grow beyond its original root ball.
It’s better to soak trees deeply less often than to water frequently. A long and thorough soaking wets beyond the root zone and encourages deep rooting. These deep roots are important for surviving stress, insect pressure and drought.

Mulch applied around the base of trees helps with weed reduction and moisture retention. In our region bark mulch is widely available is an economical and effective mulch. Apply a two or three-inch deep layer of mulch around the base of the tree. Be careful not to pile mulch up the trunk like a volcano, but pull the mulch slightly away from the trunk into more of a flat donut shape around the base.

Weed Control:
Weeds and grass will compete for a tree’s nutrients and water. Pull weeds and grasses manually or carefully spot spray with a non-selective weed killer such as Pulverize™ or Killzall™.

Routine Inspection:
Make a habit of checking trees routinely. Look for any damage and signs of stress such as wilted, discolored or dead leaves. Inspect the trunk for any holes, oozing or sawdust. If you see something unusual, take a closer look for insects. For help troubleshooting problems, collect a sample, snap a picture and bring it to us at the nursery for help.

It’s best to wait until late fall or early spring to fertilize. Encouraging new growth at this time of year puts extra stress on a tree. An exception would be a mild root stimulator used at planting time for new trees.

22 May 2019

Flower Care 101

The flowers you purchase from our greenhouse are used to a warm and humid environment and receive routine care. For success beyond our care, follow these simple steps for beautiful blooms all summer long:
Note: this guide refers to flowering annuals and hanging baskets.
• Be careful not to cook new plants in your car. Take them home straight away or if you have to make stops, park in the shade and keep some windows cracked. At home, keep new plants in a sheltered, shady spot and give them some water if they’re dry or wilted.
• Gradually expose newly purchased plants to the outdoors on a covered porch or in a shady spot out of the wind. This is called hardening off.
• Watch the weather. A few annuals, such as pansies will tolerate freezing temperatures, but most will need to be covered or moved inside if a frost is predicted.
• Plant in high-quality potting mix in a container with drainage holes. If the plants are to be planted in last year’s container, remove all former plant material and refresh with new soil. Adding granular fertilizer to the soil prior to planting will promote continual blooming and healthy root formation. We love Osmocote™ slow release fertilizer.
• Water needs will vary depending on the size and type of container, sun and wind exposure. The soil should never be allowed to dry out. Feel the soil daily to check if it’s dry. Water thoroughly until you can see water coming out of the drainage holes. Depending on sun and wind exposure, annuals may need water up to twice a day.
• Routine removal of spent flowers will encourage more blooming. This is called deadheading. Be sure to remove the entire flower and stem.
• Additional liquid fertilizer (such as Fertilome™ brand Blooming & Rooting) beginning midsummer will maintain lush foliage and continuous blooming.

08 Apr 2019

Vole Damage in Lawns: what can I do?

The winter snowpack is melting and we are left with a mess covering our lawns. Voles have enjoyed had a nice long winter under a protective snow layer. Tunnels, dirt piles, grass clippings and droppings are all unsightly remains of vole damage. Voles do not hibernate but are active year-round, living between the soil surface and snow during the winter. They feed on bark, roots and grass. The damage has been done, now what?

Control the population:
There is no magic bullet here, but a combination of tactics seems work the best.
-Traps: Cheap and very effective, simple mouse traps placed perpendicular to active tunnels can do a lot to control the population. They work well without bait as the voles are habituated to run along their tunnels. Keep trapping (and emptying your traps-yuck!) until you notice fewer voles being caught.
-Habitat Reduction: Mow tall grasses or weedy areas in the fall. These areas are perfect cover for voles.
-Baits: A few are available to the homeowner. Always follow instructions carefully and be cautious when using in areas with kids or pets.
-Repellents: There are many commercially available repellents with varying formulas. They can be helpful, but need to be applied in intervals. Be sure to do a final application late fall for a longer effect through the winter.

Fix the damage:
It may be overwhelming at first, but lawns and grassy areas can bounce back from vole damage quite well. Once the snow has melted and the damaged area is no longer sodden, begin with raking up dead grass. Tamp down any raised dirt tunneling and reseed bare dirt with a lawn mix. Feed with lawn food and keep any newly-seeded areas damp. As the days lengthen and warm, existing grass will spread into damaged areas and new seed will germinate.

Vole populations are always changing. Natural predators such as hawks, skunks, foxes and owls are our allies against voles. Domestic dogs and cats can also help control vole populations. Our beautiful western landscape with its fields and meadows is home to voles. They will continue to be the bane of the rural homeowner and gardener, but it’s better than living in the city, right?