The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Tina Fisher Cunningham
Fisher Forde Media 

Bursting with life

The Forde Files No. 192


June 22, 2019

Tina Fisher Cunningham

Baby koi swirl inside a tank at Mountain Gardens Nursery and Pet

After the unseasonal cold snap in May that brought frigid rain and wind, Tehachapi gardens are alive under the summer sun.

"I have my biggest bedding plant order coming in," Rick Gillies, owner of Mountain Gardens Nursery and Pet at the corner of C and Curry streets, said.

The order features petunias with white sparkles on purple named "Night Sky" and bold yellow-striped red petunias named "Queen of Hearts." Every "Night Sky" flower has a different starry pattern.

Gillies leans over to smell a Mock Orange (Philadelphus). "It's a great plant," he said. "It takes full or half-day sun. It blooms during the spring and summer and is nice near the kitchen window. The fragrance is fabulous."

Mountain Gardens' selection of berry plants includes blueberries, marionberries (blackberries), boysenberries, strawberries and raspberries. The blueberry varieties – Legacy, Spartan, Patriot, Blue Crop and Draper – ripen at different times during the season.

Gillies also has a dwarf butterfly bush called the Pugster in white and amethyst blooms that look like lilacs.

"Butterflies like it," Gillies said.

Tina Fisher Cunningham

Above, Rick Gillies, owner of Mountain Gardens Nursery and Pet with a fragrant Mock Orange.

Gillies said that Mountains Garden Nursery and Pet opened 39 years ago and is the oldest business in Tehachapi. It carries everything for pets, including rats, mice, baby chicks (sold out for this year), colorful koi fish that arrive in boxes, tropical fish and fresh eggs.

The landscaping that Gillies provided for the new 50-space Tehachapi Police Department parking lot down the block features 13 soon-to-be-majestic Valley Oak trees.

At Pioneer True Value Home Center on South Street, organic seeds, fertilizer and potting mix are big sellers, according to Store Manager Aleshia Riboli. Several weeding tools – one with a small forked end designed to dig out those pesky dandelions – are also in demand.


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