By now the summer garden is packed up and your winter garden is almost ready to go. Gardens still thrive in the cold, provide added aesthetics to your landscape, and are valuable to wildlife.

In this issue you will learn about our recent event with the Invasive Species Consortium in the feature article. St. John's Wort is our plant of the month, and we've included gardening tips and lore behind this Wisconsin native. Also, you will find resources to alleviate winter gardening hassles during your busy holiday schedule.

The entire Johnson's Nursery family wishes you a safe and enjoyable 2013 holiday season. We look forward to seeing you next year.

Happy Holidays!

Current Retail Hours

Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 4:30pm
Saturday/Sunday: Closed

Where Ecology Meets Ecomony 

by Mike Yanny 


Last month Johnson's Nursery and SEWISC (Southeast Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium) hosted a meeting called Where Ecology meets Economy-A Forum for Green Industry and Land Management Professionals. It was quite a successful event, intended to provide a forum for discussion of how native and invasive plants affect the green industry and land managers. All 149 people in attendance fit comfortably into our warehouse building along with an impressive array of sponsors and some tasty food. There were landscape architects and designers, land managers of natural areas, land managers of commercial properties, municipal foresters, commercial arborists, nature center educators, nursery people, landscape contractors, plant breeders, horticulturists, naturalists, biologists, restoration ecologists, DNR invasive plants specialists, research scientists and gardeners. It was really quite a mix of people! Many of the attendees were well versed in the affairs of invasive plants in Wisconsin while others were hearing some of the discussions for the first time. I suspect most everyone in attendance, including myself, learned something on that perfect, sunny, fall day. Many people liked the panel discussion in the afternoon. Diverse and lively opinions were expressed in that session!


My take home message from the meeting is that the Green Industry and Land Managers can work together in a thoughtful and respectful manner. We may not always agree with each other but we can listen to each other, learn from each other, and build on commonalities that help us all.


I started the day with the opening presentation "The View From a Local Nurseryman". The following are some suggestions I presented at the meeting of how to handle the invasive plants situation in Wisconsin:

  • Do not continue to grow and market invasive plants. Since the passage of NR40, the Invasive Species legislation in Wisconsin, numerous plants have been taken out of circulation due to their invasive characteristics. We all need to abide by these regulations and be active in the rule making process of the law to make sure that the natural areas managers are helped and the green industry is protected from any over reach regulation.
  • Green industry people-- landscape architects, nurserymen, arborists, landscape contractors and garden center managers must stay abreast of new developments concerning invasive plants in Wisconsin. We need to show land managers and restorationists that we are good people trying to help with the cause of preserving our environment just as they are.
  • Make non-invasive alternatives available in the marketplace to prevent the next Buckthorn or Garlic Mustard from happening again.
  • Select cultivars of local ecotype material to give landscape architects predictability within the native flora. It can also add some WOW to native species that have not been improved upon by horticultural selection.
  • Select non-invasive (sterile) cultivars of problematic species to allow for a smooth transition from destructive invasives to non-destructive alternatives.

Both Johnson's Nursery and SEWISC were happy with how the Forum went and will soon begin planning a follow up meeting for next year. We will keep you informed of when it will be, as well as topics, and speaking or sponsorship opportunities. Feel free to send me any suggestions for making a great meeting for next year.


Mike Yanny 

p. 262-252-4988 ext. 20 

During Mike Yanny's presentation, he read a poem that was actually part of the inspiration for the meeting itself. The name of the meeting "Where Ecology meets Economy" came from the following poem.





It's a two letter difference

in language and life





Ecology is economical,

            Survival of the fittest

Economy is ecological

            Work together or go broke.





The economy of the world requires humans to work together through trade of goods and services. Without the goods and services the economy crumbles.


The ecology of the world requires goods and services be provided by the various biological components of the system. Without the goods and services the ecology crumbles.





Ecologists must understand economics.

It's a part of their science,

            just like physiology and taxonomy.

Economists need to feel the natural world or they will break it.





Ecologists are human.

So are Economists.

They have a common life form

            and an interest in a better life.

That's good!!!





Life is rich

            With quarters and pine cones,

                    nickels and acorns,

                          flowers and dollars.


There is no reason not

            to work together

                        for the common good

                                    of living well.




It's a two letter difference

in language and life




St. John's Wort

Hypericum kalmianum

   Mat. H: 3-4'   Zone 4
   Mat. S: 3-4'    Exposure: Full to partial sun

  St. John's Wort (Winter)

  Hypericum kalmianum

Strange name = beautiful plant! Native to Wisconsin, St. John's Wort is a handsome, dense rounded shrub with charming blue-green foliage. In mid-summer the shrub is covered with bright yellow flowers that attract a multitude of pollinators, making it a good addition near the vegetable garden. The flowers are similar to a Potentilla, but without the scrubby branching. St. John's Wort is also a good hedging shrub if you are looking for an alternative to Spirea. If you need a shorter plant, try the cultivar 'Ames' which only gets about 2-3' tall and wide.

In winter, St. John's Wort continues to decorate the landscape. Mahogany seed capsules cover the round shrub and the stems cheerily poke through the snow. Small birds love the tiny seeds. We've seen flocks of finches gathered around a shrub in winter using team work to get their lunch. One bird will be on the branch, knocking the tiny seeds to the ground while his friends snatch them up where they scatter onto the snow.


Use branches of St John's Wort in your holiday containers (see right). Glam them up with a coat of spray paint!


Need to clean out the fridge after Thanksgiving? Throw any fruits and veggies that you found at the bottom of the crisper to the wildlife that visit your yard. Plus, if you keep the rabbits fed they are less likely to chew on your shrubs over the winter. More Tips & Videos

Ask Santa for a new bird feeder and seed. Johnson's Gardens offers a diverse section of products for the ornithologist.

Leaf Lore

The Latin name, Hypericum, is derived from the Greek word hyper, meaning above, and eikon, meaning an image or ghost. In ancient times, St. John's Wort was used to keep away evil spirits and apparitions. One source cites that up until the 19th century, sprigs of St. John's Wort were hung above the beds of family members. In the morning, the most wilted sprig indicated which of the family would die first. A fun holiday tradition, no doubt!

There are over 400 species of Hypericum around the globe. The common name, St. John's Wort, comes from John the Baptist's feast day on June 24th, because the shrub is typically in bloom on this date. "Wort" is an old-fashioned word for plant, specifically if the plant was used for food or medicine. The species of Hypericum, perforatum, has a long history of being used medicinally that continues today. Studies have shown that a compound it contains, hypericin, is an effective anti-depressant, which can be found on the shelves at your local pharmacy or health food store. CAUTION! Self-medicating with St. John's Wort can interfere and/or cause complications if used with other medicines. 

   St. John's Wort (seeds - above)
(flowers - below)


This episode is a blast from the past. In episode 11, Carrie discusses a few plants and tips that help bring birds into the garden during the winter. Be sure to check out other topics
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This Quick Tip shows you how to protect your trees from Deer. Carrie shows you how to use a tree wrap to protect your young trees from buck rub damage.


Johnson's Nursery, Inc.
Nature's Best to You.
p. 262-252-4988  e.