Greetings Friends,

Monday, April 17th, Johnson's Nursery begins full spring hours for all departments. That includes evenings and weekends! Over the next few weeks the Menomonee Falls holding yard will be filling up with plants as they wake up from their winter nap and B&B material is harvested from our tree farm in Jackson.

Did you know that Johnson's Nursery grows vegetables? You may have purchased some of our tomatoes and cucumbers, without realizing they came from the same place as your Firebird ® Crabapple, or you may have seen us at a local farmer's market over the fall and winter. In our feature article, written by Vegetable Production Manager, Dana Diers, we introduce you to another way Johnson's Nursery is bringing Nature's Best to You, through our locally-grown produce.

We've made an exciting change to our annual native plant sale, to benefit local Wild Ones chapters. The sale has been reformatted to the entire month of June! Present your Wild Ones Membership Card at our Menomonee Falls Retail Office at the time of purchase to receive your discount. Not a member? Scroll down to learn more about the sale and how to become a Wild One!
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by Dana Diers, Vegetable & Propagation
When you hear the words 'Local Food', how close to home do you expect it to be? Within the United States? The Midwest? Your home state? The stipulations and expectations of locally grown food vary depending on consumer preference. In reality, as the population increases and we become more environmentally conscious, 'local' should mean grown and harvested close to the homes of consumers as well as distributed over short distances. Knowing where your food comes from and how it is produced is more than important-it's necessary. The need for food, now and in the future, poses one of the biggest threats to the planet.

The benefits of local food cannot go unnoticed and there is something so rewarding about the ability to go to your local grocer or farmer's markets and buy fresh produce. But what if it isn't the right time of year for harvesting fresh, local veggies? In winter, we have become accustomed to poor quality vegetables (especially tomatoes) because they travel great distances to the supermarket and in turn are off-textured and flavorless. The times are changing. We can now have tomatoes with summer-garden-flavor in January. Fruits and vegetables grown in a greenhouse can be harvested and shipped same-day and at peak ripeness for the best flavor and nutritional value.

As a company filled with plant professionals, Johnson's Nursery is taking steps to contribute to The Local Food Movement. Located close to a metropolis that continues to grow, there is also a growing demand for flavorful fresh vegetables in winter, especially tomatoes. During the cold months, when sunlight levels are consistently low, it is more difficult to sustain plant production. However, the combination of our greenhouses, heated by urban wood and sunlight, and a great workforce make it possible for us to sustain production during the coldest months of the year.

Cherry tomatoes on the vine.
Overstock makes its way to local food pantries.

Our tomatoes are grown hydroponically in a soilless media that ensures continual growth for a longer period of time. First, we select seeds proven to perform well in a greenhouse environment. The indeterminate tomato plants will bloom, consistently set new fruit, and ripen all at the same time throughout a growing season. The vigorous plants can be harvested for up to 8 months if maintained properly and fertilized according to plant developmental stage. Then they are trellised to the ceiling to maximize the available space and each flower is pollinated by hand to increase fruit set. Yes, this is as much work as it sounds! From general plant maintenance to harvesting, scouting for pests, and monitoring plant health, a day in the greenhouse is always busy. The key is balance-a balanced environment and timely inputs leads to a stable plant with dependable yields and consistent quality. When grown under these controlled conditions our tomatoes are more uniform in size, shape, and color. And very tasty!

We are entering a defining time in agriculture. The choice is simple, do you want your food to travel 2500+ miles from farm to fork, or under 100? Support something you value-support local food. Area chefs demand better flavor for their dishes and so should you. Consumers' wallets are responsible for changing how food is purchased and, to meet the demand in Milwaukee communities, many local grocers have made the commitment to sell locally grown produce. You can currently find our Johnson's Nursery tomatoes at Sendik's in Brookfield and in Winter/Spring 2018 at area Farmer's Markets. Tom-A-to, Tom-AH-to, however you say it, we are very excited to be able to offer you a sustainable veggie.

For vegetable inquiries, email

June is Wisconsin Native Plant Appreciation
Month  at Johnson's Nursery

Johnson's Nursery, Inc., in support of area Wild Ones chapters,  is happy to announce that June is Wisconsin Native Plant Appreciation Month.

"Any day during the month of June, all active Wild Ones Members need only present their valid membership card at our Menomonee Falls headquarters to receive a 40% discount off all container grown Wisconsin native plant material."

Proceeds go to the Milwaukee-area Wild Ones Chapters.  Visit our website for complete sale details. Not a member? Get signed up before you shop. Wild Ones membership may be obtained via
PLANT OF THE MONTH plantofmonth
Summer Peek-a-Boo™ Ornamental Onion
'Summer Peek-a-Boo'

If plants had cheeks, you'd want to pinch Summer Peek-a-Boo's because it is so adorable. Perfect for the front of a border or a small garden, the grass-like foliage provides a light texture, topped with cheerful clusters of pinkish-purple flowers in summer. This plant is also about as low-maintenance as you can get: stays short, doesn't reseed, it handles dry, compacted soil, salt and snow in winter, and deer and rabbits won't touch it. Since it is an Allium, it does have a slight oniony fragrance, but that is a small price to pay for all the pollinators that will visit the plant when it blooms. 

Ornamental Alliums are closely related to onions, garlic, and leeks. If you dig up a Summer Peek-A-Boo Allium and spread the leaves apart, you'll see them attached to little bulbs, like an onion. This makes Allium one of the easier plants to divide and transplant.

Wild onions have been used since ancient times as a reliable food source, often associated with the poor. While the Children of Israel wandered the desert for forty years with only quail and manna to eat, they lamented saying, "We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost- also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic." Onions and the like grew wild in Egypt. An inscription in the Great Pyramid of Cheops recorded that silver was used to buy onions, garlic, and radishes for the construction workers to eat and keep up their stamina. Onions are also found painted on the walls of tombs and were stuffed into body cavities of mummies (much like a Thanksgiving turkey). This technique was two-fold; they may have believed the odor of the onions would jump start the dead into breathing, also, they were a good way to keep wild animals away.

For more information, read the book Garlic, Onion, and other Alliums by Ellen Spector Platt.
Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration: 1:53

Officially, the calendar says March 20th is the Vernal Equinox and the first day of spring. But in Wisconsin, where a snowstorm might still be around the corner, I know that spring isn't official until I see certain signs every year...Learn More
from The Dirt
Duration 5:29

If you're looking to design and plant your own project. We Plan-You Plant offers the assistance of our experts, who will create a professional landscape design for you...Learn more
from The Dirt with Carrie Hennessy
Duration 1:59

Throughout the spring season, we hear from a lot of panicked people who think that their trees have to be in the ground by June.  So not true!  Trees merely have certain times... Learn more
from The Dirt
Duration 3:17

"Good fences make good neighbors." Rather than installing a cold fence structure, a better option is to promote neighborly love with a Green Screen you can all enjoy... Learn more
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 1:32

Some say spring has arrived when you spy a robin.  I say it doesn't start until certain plants are "springing" back to life. This Quick Tip touches on a branch of science called... Learn more
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 1:15

Depending on how long spring holds out on us, February means either we are in the homestretch of winter, or smack in the middle of it. Lots of crabapple varieties hold... Learn more
Watch all of our plant and landscaping videos on our YouTube channel. We invite you to visit and subscribe.
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Reserve Spring Plants for Gifts
Looking for a gift for the plant lover in your life? Maybe you know someone who needs to renovate the beds around their house. Or maybe you want to give a tree to commemorate a birth or marriage, or as a memorial. Gift cards are great and convenient, but sometimes you want a more personalized option. You can purchase plants for a loved one now, and we will reserve them until spring, whether they are to be picked up, delivered, or installed. We will also print out information cards on the plants(s) so you have something tangible to wrap.

Learn More 

Do You Like To DIY?
We Plan-You Plant offers the guidance of our experts, who will use information gathered from you to create a professional landscape design--at no cost--when you purchase your plants at Johnson's Nursery.

Learn More 

Recycle Your Plant Pots/Trays
If you throw certain landscape plastics (i.e #2, #5, #6) in the trash, they will sit in the landfill and will not get recycled. You can return them to us--for free--all year long. Act locally, think globally. Recycle.

Expanding Your Family Tree?
Have you had a baby recently? Let us extend congratulations by offering you a 25% discount on any plant of your choosing. Like your child, our plants are raised locally and will grow strong.

Visit our archive to read previous issues of The Leaf in Brief.

We appreciate the opportunity to serve and provide you with quality nursery stock.


Johnson's Nursery, Inc.
W180 N6275 Marcy Road. Menomonee Falls, WI 53051 ( map)
p. 262.252.4988