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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 March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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