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Green Acres to buy Eisley Nursery

Auburn landmark has been destination nursery for nearly 90 years

Eisley Nursery scene
Auburn's Eisley Nursery got its start during the Depression, when it was first known for its pansies.
(Photo courtesy

A beloved gardening institution soon will change hands, with a familiar name taking over.

Eisley Nursery, an Auburn landmark since 1932, will soon be part of Green Acres Nursery & Supply. The Eisley family, which has operated the nursery for generations, announced the pending sale Tuesday.

While the nursery business will be sold, the Eisleys will keep the property and lease it to the Gill family, which owns Green Acres. Renovations to the nursery, including more parking and retail space, are planned this winter after the sale closes in October.

“We recognize the value of Eisley and what it means to the community, and we don’t want to go in and change it completely,” Green Acres’ Ashley Rossi told Gold Country Media.

Eisley Nursery and Green Acres already have a close relationship. As part of its greenhouse operation, Eisley produces thousands of vegetable plants and annuals that are sold at Green Acres’ five nurseries. Eisley also is a major poinsettia producer, growing these colorful holiday plants for outlets throughout the greater Sacramento area.

“We’ve been in partnership this whole time anyway,” Earlene Eisley-Freeman said. “They’re the right fit to keep us a working nursery, and that’s what my dad wanted.”

Green Acres’ Greg Gayton posted on Facebook, “The news is finally out! We are very excited to welcome the Eisley crew into our family! I know from experience the transition process ... and it could never have been better! One local family-owned nursery becomes a part of our local family-owned nursery.”

Operating at its same Nevada Street location since its beginning, Eisley Nursery started as a roadside attraction. Back when Nevada Street was a major thoroughfare, Lila Eisley noticed all the traffic that went past the family’s chicken ranch and started selling pansies from her garden. Her Depression-era enterprise became known as “The Pansy Nursery.”

Gradually, the Eisleys started building greenhouses and expanded into geraniums.

By the early 1950s, Lila’s sons Earl and Harvey Eisley tore down the last of the chicken coops and expanded the nursery business. Eventually, Earl’s four children became part of the nursery operation, too.

One Eisley Nursery feature that will remain the same: The famous popcorn machine will still be offering free popcorn.

Said Rossi, “We’re keeping the popcorn. We know we don’t want to screw up what’s there.”

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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