It might take another forty days and forty nights of rain to approximate our seasonal normal, but I’m not sure about the cleansing part. Come to think of it, a deluge of biblical magnitude might be just the ticket. After the driest January in 165 years, it goes without saying that Bay Area residents need to conserve water. We know you are tired of all the preaching; rip out the lawn, report your neighbors, shower with a friend. Instead we have decided to offer a diversity of plant materials with a gentle caution where we see the potential for water waste. This doesn’t mean that we have given up on Mediterranean plants, CA natives, and low-water users—on the contrary. As you stroll through the well-groomed aisles of plants at BHN you will find the usual drought tolerant fare, but we are maintaining an array of other genres. Examples are container gardens, indoor plants, aquatics, herbs, veggies, tropicals and much, much more.

During the spring of 2015 we will be increasing our inventory and even adding departments. New for this year (well not really new as we had it in the 1970’s) we have a Bonsai department! I’m excited about this because it is a throwback to when I began working at the nursery. Potted miniature trees were a specialty of George Budgen and we had some bonsai-masters on the staff at that time. I spent many hours learning from them, producing new bonsai, and acquiring bonsai collections to sell at BHN. Bonsai is an art, deeply rooted in Japanese tradition, and requires ongoing patience, diligence, and awareness. For the uninitiated these are not windowsill herbs or houseplants. They demand daily attention, (think of the responsibility of a pet dog) but can be a very rewarding hobby. In the yard we are stocking many of the classical bonsai subjects, (conifers, deciduous trees & shrubs, Azaleas, etc.) In the store you can select from our array of bonsai tools, supplies, and books, or just get some advice from Che-san, our bonsai-artist in training.

Other plants of seasonal interest right now are the Wisterias. Look for the showy blooming Japanese, and the long-flowering Chinese varieties in our vine section. Our veggie buyer Doug has replenished our shelves of edible seedlings. Spring varieties like lettuce, kale, mustard, peas, artichokes, onions, leeks, spinach and swiss chard are all in good supply. Also, come have a look at the many flowering fruit trees. This is the time of year to see the flowering forms of Cherries, Plums, Apricots, and Pears.

We receive shipments of plants from our many growers (close to 100 at last count) any day of the week with the exception of Sundays. So in an effort to maintain healthy fresh plant stock there is an ebb and flow over the course of the week; on Sunday and Monday there may be fewer choices. Don’t forget that we are closed on Thursdays. See you soon!