Please click here to read newsletter if not displayed below:
Edition 12.12 Yamagami's Garden Center March 22, 2012
featured quote


"I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error."
~Sara Stein, My Weeds, 1988

"Guac" This Way...

Yes, you can grow avocados here and many people do! Location, location, location is of utmost importance. Even the hardiest of avocado trees do not enjoy frost. Against a heat-retaining wall is the most protected--thus best place for your tree. As to which variety to plant, well, that is a matter of what you like to eat, balanced with your location, and how much frost protection you are willing or able to provide.

In our area, there are two main strains grown successfully: the Mexican varieties (example: 'Jim Bacon') and the predominantly Guatemalan (example:'Hass') varieties. The Mexican varieties are thin-skinned and hardier while the Guatemalans tend to be thick-skinned and more frost-tender. Yamagami's offers both strains. As our area has hugely fluctuating weather, avocado flowers do not open all at once and the "A" and "B" types do not make any difference in fruiting, so we have no need to have both types present. However, good pollination IS very important. Plant bee-attracting plants near your avocado tree to encourage vigorous pollinator activity. For specific avocado varietal information and even a guacamole recipe, consult our Avocado Guide.

Saturday, March 24th, at 10 AM, Nancy Garrison, our leading local avocado expert, will talk about successful avocados for our area. Space is limited. $20 fee is rebated as a coupon for merchandise. Call us at (408) 252-3347 to pre-register.

 Come to Yamagami's and learn how to "guac" successfully!

Ruben's Picks: Tomato Season Begins!

The first of our amazing tomato selections are starting to arrive. More varieties will be arriving throughout April and well into May. With over 100 varieties to choose from, there is something perfect for every garden. We will offer dozens of heirloom varieties and dozens of organically grown plants. See our entire list (pdf) here.

In addition to the listed varieties, we are also offering 7 varieties grafted onto Mighty 'Mato rootstock for greater disease resistance and bigger harvests. These plants will be resistant to viruses, blights and blossom end rot. They will also show greater vigor so that not only will they bear more fruit, but it will taste better too! The 7 varieties are: 'Amish Paste,' 'Black Krim,' 'Early Girl,' 'San Marzano,' 'Stupice,' 'Sun Sugar,' and 'Sweet Million.' We encourage you to try your own side-by-side test and see for yourself!

We recommend planting the early, smaller tomatoes or cherry tomatoes first, as they are generally more tolerant of the cooler spring weather. 'Stupice' or 'Early Girl' are good varieties for early planting. It's still a good idea to protect those young plants from cold with red mulch and row cover or a frost cover to keep them warm. John and Bob's Soil Optimizer is a good source of humic acid that helps young plants develop even in cooler temperatures. Plan on adding large, later-ripening varieties, like 'Beefsteak,' as the season progresses.

We recommend planting more than one variety since our summer weather can best be described as erratic. Include at least one of the following which will bear fruit no matter how cool or erratic our summer weather might be: 'Stupice,' 'Early Girl,' 'Celebrity,' 'Taxi' or any cherry type. We have just received an early-ripening Russian heirloom variety, 'Koralik,' that should do well here.

Check our stock frequently for exciting new additions. Attend a FREE talk on Tomato Growing Tips by staff members Carolyn Villa-Scott or Grace Olson.

See Coming Events for dates and times. Depend on Yamagami's Nursery not only for the best plants and advice, but also for our terrific growing supplies. We are here so that you will succeed...the first time!

Plant For Success: Amend, Fortify and Mulch Your Soil

The best gardens start from the ground up. Most of the soil in our area is alkaline clay with drainage issues. Yamagami's Planting Guides are written with that in mind.

We suggest you start by turning your soil and digging in soil amendments to allow water and air into the root zone of plants. Bark products have the benefit of also being acidic, which helps counteract the native alkalinity. Gardner & Bloome products are all-organic and include many beneficial nutrient sources, The texture of the wood particles serves to make space between the compacted clay particles to improve drainage. As the amenments break down in the soil, they provide humic acid.

Clay soils tend to be nitrogen deficient. We recommend Dr. Earth Fertilizers to fortify your garden, because they too are all-organic. They break down slowly so that nutrients are not wasted by leaching out or running off and the plant gets the full benefit. They also contain beneficial soil microbes, which enable plant roots to utilize fertilizers efficiently.

Mulching may be the most important component of healthy soil. It protects roots from heat in summer, provides nutrients as it breaks down, suppresses weeds and conserves water. Mulching is not just important to new plantings, it is invaluable for established plants too. It makes a world of difference to Japanese maples, citrus and other trees and shrubs. Gardner & Bloome Soil Building Compost is a great, economical choice that also contains beneficial microbes.

See our How to Get the Most from Your Soil guide for more specific recommendations. We want you to succeed the first time--and every time!

Follow Us On Facebook For Some Great Deals!

Follow us on facebook and take advantage of our Wednesday ONLY facebook specials. Examples of deals you've already missed are: 50% OFF Fruit Trees, 50% OFF Roses, 50 % OFF Sunday Afternoon Hats, and 50% OFF Cyclamen.

Check our page every Tuesday afternoon for the latest announcement. You'll also find news of new arrivals, garden updates and photos. Check us out at our Facebook page.

Summer-Blooming Bulbs

Time to get those summer-blooming bulbs planted ! If you haven't gotten any yet, come in while we still have a good selection.

Tuberous begonias are showstoppers in the shade garden! Their huge velvety flowers in brilliant colors are a delight to the eye. Plant them in containers or in the ground.

Calla lilies, canna lilies and gladiolas are all available for vertical elements in the border. A treat for the nose is a clump of Tuberose. Prized all over the world for their intoxicating fragrance, tuberoses are easy to grow in a warm spot.

Follow our Spring Bulb Guide for complete planting instructions. Those funny looking bulbs will transform into amazing flowers in summer!

Coming Events

March 21st – 25th
San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.
Get your tickets here, bring them back after the show and receive store credit for their purchase price.

Preston Oka

Saturday, April 21st 11 AM – 3 PM
Cupertino's 4th Annual Earth Day Festival
at Cupertino Civic Center Plaza. Preston Oka and Brittany Lambert will be representing Yamagami’s Nursery and handing out FREE Smiles in the form of 'Bubble Gum Pink' Supertunias. Limited supply, so get there early!

Saturday, April 28th
Yamagami's Nursery is donating 5% of our sales to Washington Open Elementary School in Santa Clara
to benefit their gardening program. Come shop that day and help support this vital educational experience for kids.

2012 Spring Classes

Saturday, March 24th at 10 AM
Avocado Trees For Silicon Valley with Nancy Garrison. Learn which varieties will perform best for you in your garden from the area’s leading expert. $20 fee returned as coupon for merchandise. Early, prepaid registration is strongly suggested . Walk-ins are allowed only if space is still available. Register by phone at (408) 252-3347.

Saturday, March 31st at 10 AM and 2PM
Tips for Tomato Success!
Staff Member Carolyn Villa-Scott shares tips for growing bountiful tomato harvests and answers your questions. FREE

Sunday, April 1st at 11 AM
Tips for Tomato Success!
Staff MemberGrace Olson shares tips for growing bountiful tomato harvests and answers your questions. FREE

Saturday, April 7th at 10 AM
Tips for Tomato Success!
Staff MemberCarolyn Villa-Scott shares tips for growing bountiful tomato harvests and answers your questions. FREE

Saturday, April 14th -
Proven Winners Color Planting Demo, details to come.

Sunday, April 15th at 11 AM
Tips for Tomato Success!
Staff MemberGrace Olson shares tips for growing bountiful tomato harvests and answers your questions. FREE

Sunday, April 21st at 10 AM
Specialty Citrus Talk with Aaron Dillon of Four Winds Growers.
Learn about yuzus, sorrento lemons, Thai lime leaf, limettas, Palestinian sweet limes and more! $20 fee returned as coupon for merchandise. Walk-ins are allowed only if space is still available. Register by phone at (408) 252-3347.

Ongoing Events

Friday mornings, 11 AM to 1 PM

Come let Dianne Jensen guide you through the design and planting process of creating your own colorful container gardens and salad bowls. All you pay for is the plants and container; the soil, fertilizer and instruction are FREE!

Shepherd's Pie
  • 2 lb. potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 tbsp. whole milk
  • 1 stick butter, cubed
  • 1 tbsp. butter for the sauce
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp. lard or dripping
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots (see substitutions below)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups ground or minced lamb
  • 1 3/4 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup chopped white mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (if you can get an Irish cheddar, by all means, do!)

  • Vegetables: you can also use peas, corn, mixed veggies...if you use frozen veggies, thaw first. Canned veggies are not recommended.
  • If you don't like mushrooms, add another cup of veggies.
  • You may substitute ground beef for the lamb--but then it's a Cottage Pie, not a Shepherd's Pie.

Step by Step:

  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Boil the potatoes until soft; then drain into a colander.
  • Place the milk and butter in the pan used to boil the potatoes, return to the heat and warm gently until the butter has melted.
  • Add the potatoes and mash. Salt and pepper to taste and keep to one side.
  • Melt the lard or dripping in a large deep pan.
  • Add the onion and carrot and fry for 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add the ground lamb and one-third of the beef stock to the onion and carrot mixture and cook, stirring constantly until all the meat is browned.
  • Add the remaining stock, parsley and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Mash the flour into the remaining 1 tbsp. butter then add in small pieces to the ground meat sauce, stirring until all the flour has dissolved and the sauce has thickened slightly, approx. 5 mins (use more or less flour to adjust to your desired consistency).
  • Place the meat and sauce into an 8" X 3" deep ceramic of glass baking dish and cover with the mashed potato.
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the potato and bake in the heated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the surface is crisp and browned.
  • Serve immediately


3 day forecast

3 day forecast

Weather Courtesy of:
Weather Sponsor

"The very best for your
container gardens!"

Since 1948, Yamagami's Nursery has been committed to the promotion of beauty and the plants, products and friendly, professional support needed to attain and maintain that Beauty. In my parents' footsteps (and Taro Yamagami's before them), I promise to continue that tradition. I invite you to visit us in the nursery and on our website, for help in making your yard into a beautiful garden.
Thanks for visiting,

Preston Oka

Have a Look
Around the Site:

Visit us online at
Yamagami's Nursery
for planting guides, our monthly
garden planner, upcoming events
and so much more!

Click for full map.

Subscribe to
What's Growing On!

Click here to subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address.

For timely reminders about lawns, sign up for our FREE Lawn Care Reminder Service here.

What's Growing On
to a friend!

Your e-mail
Your name
Their e-mail
Their name

Be a Guest Gardener:

Gardeners love to learn from other gardeners "over the fence." We would love to include a tour and/or an article from one of our readers!

Contact Information:

Click to e-mail us.


1361 S. De Anza Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014

7 Days a Week:
9 am to 5 pm

print thisclick here for a printer friendly version of this page