Greetings Friends!

Have you ever thought about growing your own fruit? Learn how to have your own successful orchard. American Black Currant is our plant of the month. We share some lore about the many uses for Black Currant in food and medicine, and its effect on Eastern White Pine.

The 2016 Fruit Guide is finished! We have 32 varieties of fruit trees and shrubs available this year--12 new varieties! If you have a smaller landscape or a patio, we have several options including Columnar Urban and Espalier apple trees, and 5 varieties of dwarf fruit shrubs from BrazelBerries.

We're hiring! Whether you're an experienced plant person, an aspiring Horticulture student looking for a summer internship, or just looking for summer work, Johnson's Nursery has full-time and part-time positions. Seeking now for 2016 and beyond!  

Thank you for reading. Enjoy!

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Success With A Home OrchardFA
by Paul Schwabe, Horticulturist/Wholesale Salesperson/Orchardist
Paul Schwabe, Horticulturist/
Wholesale Salesperson/Orchardist
Ever think of growing your own fruit? Wonder what it entails and how much effort it will be? Will you be successful? Given that the popularity of home fruit production has exploded in the past few years, many people have had these same thoughts. Sometimes it has even been difficult to keep enough fruit trees in stock at nurseries/garden centers to meet demand!

If you have already started your home orchard, then congratulations to you! If not, then the question is "What are you waiting for?" Perhaps you do not know where to start, what to grow, or how to plant and care for fruit trees. That is where we come in. Just ask! At Johnson's Nursery, we are plant people. We care about our plants (one could go so far as to call them "our babies") and will be happy to get you started on the joys of home fruit growing.
Why bother growing your own fruit? There are many reasons:

Quality &
Did you ever buy fruit that was less than ideal? Too tart, too soft, poor skin color, no flavor, etc? Sometimes fruit is not picked commercially at the peak time. They pick early and keep fruit in cold storage so it ships better. By growing your own, you control when it is best to pick.

Some growers desire an heirloom variety they ate years ago that is no longer available in their area. Perhaps it is the memories of sitting under their grandparents' giant apple tree and happily munching on Jonathan apples. Or maybe they desire to enjoy the same apples as famous historical people (Thomas Jefferson grew Albemarle Pippen and Ben Franklin enjoyed Rhode Island Greenings).

Worried about pesticide use on the apples you purchase? Then grow your own in bags! No spraying needed. No harsh chemicals to worry about. The Japanese have been growing apples in bags for years and it works great (I do this in my orchard, too).

If you are into canning, freezing, jams & jellies, etc, then growing your own will provide you with lots of fruit for this purpose. Sometimes it is not so economical to buy fruit in large quantities when you want to can or preserve in large quantities as well.

The Challenge:
Bona fide gardeners with green thumbs who MUST try everything at least once--horticulturally speaking. Their lives will not be complete without mastering home fruit growing.

The Weirdos:
These are those fortunate few that are just possessed by fruit. They eat, breath, and sleep thinking about fruit. They drive their children crazy by yelling out "I see an apple tree!" every time they are on a road trip (Spoiler: the author is in this category).

Paul in front of a netted
Cherry Tree with a harvest.
You cannot harvest if you do not plant!
How successful can fruit growing be? Some years are better than others!
Buying fruit in large quantities, when you want to can or preserve, may not be economical.
How did I get started in fruit? My interest began at the age of 5. My parents had just bought a large lot in what was then a new subdivision. I was terrified at the thought of moving from my happy home to this new site, dealing with a new house, new school and having to meet new friends. Too much NEW for a 5 year-old!

My reconciliation came when my father noticed that our part of the subdivision was developed on an old apple orchard. Since the developer had been so kind as to leave each lot with 3-4 large standard fruit trees, our lot was blessed with 4 apple trees. Apple trees? After tasting the luscious fruit and seeing how many were on the trees, my fear of change was gone. How can life be bad when you have your own source of fresh delicious apples?

Growing fruits can be addictive, however. When to stop? There is always one more variety desired. Perhaps squeeze another tree in the corner of the yard? Grow a dwarf blueberry or raspberry in a tub on the patio? Plant columnar or espalier apple trees to save on space? The prospects are endless and the rewards can be great. You will never have too much fruit as friends are always willing to help out with this problem.

How successful can fruit growing be? Yes, the crop can vary based on spring frosts, harsh winters, insect and disease levels, etc. Some years are better than others, just like growing any crop. 2015 was a fabulous year for me:

Pears: 37 quarts of Bartlett pears canned from one tree. Plenty left for fresh eating.
Apples: 2-6 bushels per tree (trees varied in size and age). 16 bushels harvested total.
Plums: 300 prune plums off one Stanley tree.
Grapes: Each vine averaged about bushel of Concord grapes.
Black raspberry: 8 quarts from one plant!

Yes my 2015 harvest was exceptional. But you cannot harvest if you do not plant! So let's make 2016 the year to start your home orchard. We have a great selection of fruits. Call or stop in and we can help you be a successful home fruit grower too.

*Our stock can fly out the door. We strongly recommend reserving any of the trees and shrubs listed in our 2016 Fruit Brochure before spring arrives.*

Paul writes his own blog--Paul's Point of View--where he talks
more about fruit plants, and about some of his favorite
and underused plants.
2016 Fruit GuideFRUIT
Johnson's Nursery Has 32 Varieties
Of Fruit Trees and Shrubs This Year

More space and larger aspirations? As Paul explains in the feature article, home orchards are a very real possibility. We can help you become a successful home fruit grower.

Small landscape or patio? We offer several options for you, including Columnar Urban and espalier apple trees, and 5 varieties of dwarf fruit shrubs by BrazelBerries.

**Please call for availability. Fruit plants sell out quickly.**

PLANT OF THE MONTH: Ribes americanumPOM
"American Black Current makes a good hedge along the edge of woods."
American Black Currant
Ribes americanum 
A Wisconsin native, American Black Currant makes a good hedge along the edge of the woods, tolerant of full sun to partial shade. The shrub will reseed to create thickets, but does not sucker. Though the habit can be unruly, the yellow-orange fall color is quite attractive. It produces drooping clusters of yellowish-white, bell-shaped flowers in May and June. Small black berries will begin to appear after the plant is three years old. Robins, Catbirds, and Cedar Waxwing Birds enjoy eating the fruit (even the now-extinct Passenger Pigeon relied on the shrub for food). Because they contain numerous small seeds, the Black Currants are used mostly for jellies, wine, and flavoring black tea. Note: If you have White Pines in your yard, Currants are a host for White Pine Blister Rust, however, the disease mostly affects stressed trees, and as long as your mature pines have good air circulation and plenty of sun, it usually isn't a problem.
Black Currant Jam
Black Currant Tea
Red Currants (Ribes rubrum) and Black Currants (Ribes nigrum) are very popular and commercially produced in Europe. What would a British afternoon tea be without a Red Currant Scone amongst the offerings? The Germans call it "Johanissbeeren", after John the Baptist whose birthday is celebrated June 24th, around the same time as the currant berries ripen, and use them in desserts and meat dishes. Russians create "Kissel" out of Red Currants, a sweetened juice that can be drunk or thickened with starch to dress everything from ice cream to pancakes. Both kinds of berries are extremely high in vitamin C and antioxidants, though Red Currants are the more palatable of the two eaten raw. Black Currants are more pungent so are usually processed into juice, jams, and jellies- the French use them to make Cassis liqueur.

Black Currants were a staple in the home medicine cabinet. Fresh leaves were rubbed onto minor wounds and insect bites. Tea made from the leaves was gargled for hoarseness and a sore throat. A spoonful of jam in hot water prevented respiratory infections. Sometime Black Currants are called Quinsy Berries for their history in treating quinsy, an advanced complication of tonsillitis.

Currant production used to be huge in the United States, until they were dubbed "the forbidden fruit". When European colonists began arriving to North America, they discovered that Eastern White Pine was an ideal timber species, especially for tall ship masts. In 1705, a Lord Weymouth arranged to ship North American pine seedlings to be grown overseas. Blister Rust first began appearing on White Pines in Germany and Russia and quickly spread, the cause of it unknown. Demand for American White Pine lumber increased and by the 1800's deforestation was taking a toll so seedlings from Europe were brought back to America to re-establish the tree stands. When it was discovered that Ribes species were necessary to complete the pathogen's life cycle, a federal ban on growing Currants was implemented. Nowadays, the ban on growing currants has been lifted in most states (including Wisconsin) as our native White Pine has grown more resistant to the pathogen and new currant cultivars with disease-resistance have been introduced.
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 1:15

Lots of ornamental crabapple varieties hold onto their fruits through the winter, but only a few will the birds actually eat.... Learn more.
from The Dirt
Duration 4:15

If you're looking for some privacy in your yard, watch this episode of The Dirt, where Carrie talks about the living fence option. Learn more.
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 0:55

In cold temperatures, bending branches are not as flexible and will often snap. It is important after a heavy, wet snowfall to remove... Learn more.
'How To' Guides
Selecting a guide below will take you to our website, where you will find more videos,  information, and downloadable content.

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 Family Tree?
Have you had a baby recently? Let us extend congratulations by offering you a discount on a tree to grow alongside your baby. Like your child, our trees are raised locally and will grow strong.

Johnson's Nursery Is Seeking Smart, Passionate & Enthusiastic People

Forepeople, Assistant Forepeople, Crew
Propagation: Crew, Internship, Summer

If you don't see an open position that suits you, don't be discouraged. We encourage 
resumes and applications from all qualified people interested in working with plants.

Visit our website to learn more >>
Johnson's Nursery, Inc. is a third generation, family-owned business. Our focus is on growing high quality, hardy plants. Johnson's Nursery hires reluctantly, because we favor long-term employment and provide job security.
Johnson's Nursery, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.
Spring Into Gardening
Kenosha County University of Wisconsin-Extension
Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Westosha Central High School

Carrie Hennessy will be presenting in two sessions: Shrub Upgrades for Your Landscape and Alas, Poor Ash: Tree Alternatives for Your Yard. This is an adult education opportunity. Ages 18+ are welcome to attend. Class sizes are limited, so register early!
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