Nursery lady

Nancy Strickland

Hey, it’s spring, the time when a gardener’s fancy turns toward hoeing a row. Nancy Strickland and her husband, John, have owned Dry Creek Garden Co., 7250 S. Virginia St., since the nursery opened in 1993. It has long been a favorite of knowledgeable gardeners in Northern Nevada. Dry Creek specializes in plants that thrive between a rock and a hard place. Although, Nancy says, they also have lots of perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs. For more information, call 851-0353 or check out

What’s happening this year in gardening?

Lots. Last year was a pretty rough winter, and a lot of people lost a lot of things that normally would survive through the winter. And so it’s been a boom for us because people want to replace those. I had stuff that died that was 10 years old in my garden. We’re trying to figure out why—what it was—because it’s dry here, and it’s winter, but it was an exceptionally dry winter.

Oh really? Because of the dryness? But it got bitterly cold a couple times.

Right. Combined with that, we’ve had some losses.

So what kinds of plants were lost?

Lydia Broom is one. Mandina took a hit. Lavender took a hit. Rosemary took a hit. So there was quite a few of those out there. Then, new plantings. People who planted things in the fall, they took a pretty good hit.

But on the bright side, I’ve seen fewer bugs this year.

That is a benefit. The aphids took a hit.

And the earwigs took a hit.

That’s right.

So what else is going on this year?

There’s all kinds of new plants. Every year there are new plants. Every year there are new and different things that come out on the marketplace, different hybrids, different things like that. It seems to me, though, because of the drought, a lot of our drought-tolerant plants are a little more popular than they have been in the past. That’s kind of a good thing.

But you guys have always specialized in xeriscape stuff and stuff that grows well in Northern Nevada.

Right. A lot of people are buying big sage and bitterbrush and eriogonum—those are all things that, once they’re established in the landscape, will flourish with little or no water. The bunnies have been more hungry because of the droughts, and they’re eating things that don’t normally get eaten.

I had a tiny little bunny no bigger than the size of my fist move under my garden shed. What do you do to get rid of bunnies?

If you put mothballs down their hole, they’ll move to your neighbor’s house.

OK, or move directly into the garden.

You hope for the hawks and the owls.

You say there are always new plants. Is there something that’s particularly popular this year?

We have all kinds of just different, weird, odd little plants that we like to sell. Junipers are at the low. People are hating junipers.

Yeah, I see that.

That’s a good thing. So replacement plants for junipers for foundation plants that would be more native—well, yuccas are big. We have some really great yuccas, the kind that trunk up and make palm tree type things. Those are very much in the highlight.

They are tolerant of anything. It’s just amazing. It’s called Yucca rostrata, beaked yucca, then there’s also Thompson’s yucca and faxon yucca. Those all form trees. Because of the California influx, the tree form of yucca is the closest thing you can probably get to a palm tree.