Greetings Friends,

Johnson's Nursery will be closed on Monday, September 4 for Labor Day.

We're beyond the midway point of summer conifer harvest. With a couple weeks left, there is still plenty of work harvesting spruce, juniper, boxwood, arborvitae, fir, yew and more. Among those summer-harvestable options is Cypress spruce, our plant of the month.

Have you ever asked for a plant that is 6 feet tall, but you don't want it to grow larger than 6 feet tall? That question gets asked more than you think. The age-old saying, "size matters", rings true with plants. This month's feature article recognizes the demand for specific sized plants, with a reminder that plants are living things too.
Thank you for reading.

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by Carrie Hennessy, Landscape Designer
There is an old grower's adage about plant size-- "If it's not growing, it's dead". Aware of this truism, at Johnson's Nursery we provide a range of mature heights and spreads for shrubs, trees, and evergreens. Also, how large a plant gets and how well it performs often depends on the site where it is planted. It amuses me when I go to a box store and see a potted Emerald Arborvitae with a tag saying it gets 6ft tall. Right now, we have beautiful 8ft B&B Emerald Arborvitaes in our holding yard for sale, and I can assure you they will keep growing...up to 25-30 tall.

Frequently (but not always) the taller the listed mature size, the faster a plant grows. Emerald Arborvitaes grow fairly fast, so we are able to offer a range of sizes for sale. However, I will get requests from customers for an evergreen or tree that won't get taller than 6ft, but they also want to start with something that is 6ft tall. Without lots of maintenance, that isn't going to happen on most trees.

Plants that top out at 6 feet, like Green Mountain Boxwood, very rarely come in that size for sale, because they grow much more slowly. The larger you go in the beginning, the more money you will pay for the extra time the plant sat in the field, getting larger, or the number of times a container-grown plant was upgraded to a larger pot in production. This year we have gorgeous field-grown 36" Green Mountain Boxwoods, but they certainly come with a larger price tag than a little southern-grown #2 container you could find at a box store. Sometimes those great deals you find at the box stores are not so great. If the plants were grown and shipped from the Deep South, they will struggle to survive their first couple of Wisconsin winters-but that's a whole other topic for another day. This article about size is going to stay short and sweet!

Cypress Spruce
Picea abies 'Cupressina'

If you are looking for an alternative to arborvitaes or junipers for an upright, narrow evergreen accent or screen, consider the Norway Spruce variety 'Cupressina'. So named for its similarities to the Italian Cypress trees that dot the Tuscan countryside, Cypress Spruce is extremely winter hardy, able to withstand heavy snow and our cold winters. Install some around the patio, pick fresh basil for pesto, pour a glass of Chianti, and enjoy a summer festa!

True Cypress Trees (Cupressus sempervirens) are native to ancient Persia and were brought to the Tuscany area of the Mediterranean thousands of years ago. The wood is saturated with fragrant, essential oil, which makes the timber sought after for furniture, building materials, and coffins because it resists decomposition. The trees were widely planted around houses and cemeteries to freshen the air and the scent of the oil was thought to ward off evil spirits and death.

In Greek mythology, Cyparissus was a handsome young man, favored by Apollo, the sun god. Cyparissus had a pet stag he loved very much. One day the stag was sleeping in the shade of a forest when Cyparissus accidentally killed his pet with an arrow. He was so distraught that he prayed to the gods for death and/or to never stop weeping. The gods transformed him into a Cypress tree, which would be planted near graves so he could mourn forever over the bodies, the sap weeping like tears from the wood.

"Master at the Prairie" Wisconsin Master Gardener
Association State Conference 2017

Come to the 2017 WIMGA State Conference and see Carrie Hennessy of Johnson's Nursery & Zannah Crowe of Johnson's Gardens. The event is hosted locally this year in West Bend, WI! The conference will begin on Friday night October 13, and there will be a full day presentations (including Carrie's & Zannah's) on Saturday, October 14. This is a must do for any Milwaukee-area gardener!

Deer 'Resistant' Landscapes
with Carrie Hennessy
Gardening for Pollinators
with Zannah Crowe

from The Dirt with Carrie Hennessy
Duration 3:17

Spring is a great time to install fresh bark mulch in your landscape beds, before the perennials emerge. Johnson's Nursery carries several options of premium bark mulch... Learn more
from The Dirt with Carrie Hennessy
Duration 4:20

You can still have feeders with seeds, nuts, and fruit to bring the birds closer to viewing areas, but in spring and summer, most birds prefer a more carnivorous diet... Learn more
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 0:51

To commemorate your joyous occasion, we would like to offer your family a discount. The plant
will grow alongside your little one and, like your child, has been raised locally.... Learn more
from The Dirt with Carrie Hennessy
Duration 4:54

Did you know the phrase "the bee's knees" originally described something tiny and insignificant?  Since then it has evolved to mean something outstanding... Learn more
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 0:59

To preserve a plants attributes, they are vegetatively reproduced, perhaps by cuttings or root divisions.  These plants are called "cultivars", like idential twins...Learn more
Watch all of our plant and landscaping videos on our YouTube channel. We invite you to visit and subscribe.
View our videos on YouTube

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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