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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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