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Winter 2011-2012

Growing with the Times

Nick Williams and Associates



Once again we find ourselves at the holidays - a time of thanks and good cheer and a great time to gather with friends and family.

We here at Nick Williams send our sincere thanks and gratitude to our fabulous clientele we have been blessed with - we appreciate you all and extend our warmest wishes to you over this holiday season.

We would also like to thank those of you who have referred us to friends and family and business associate throughout the year-you have helped us grow and we sincerely appreciate the faith you have in us by recommending our services. Thank you!

Again, best wishes to all of you for a safe and happy holiday season.

NWA Winter E-Newsletter

Click here
to view our winter 2011-2012 newsletter (PDF document)!

What’s New


We have a new office located @
Nick Williams and Associates
23013 Ventura Blvd
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Phone: 818/222-7477
Fax: 818/222-7478
Email: info@nwadesigns.net
Website: www.nickwilliamsdesigns.com

Events: Upcoming - Open House at our new office
Sometime in January. Keep checking our website for the date.


Furniture -Watch for images on our website for the brand new line of Nick Williams Outdoor Furniture Collection

Lighting - See catalog and Lighting section on our website. Candles, Sconces, Candeliers.

Website updates - coming up – More Online Garden Tours

Winter Checklist


-To safeguard from "freeze-ups", leave the last valve on mainfold open just enough to let a dribble of water through the system. This will keep water moving, not allowing it to stand or freeze. (this applies to extreme cold areas).
-If you have automatic sprinklers, turn down the amount of time on your sprinkler clock to decrease water to your garden.
-If we get the rain that we're promised, be sure to run your sprinklers manually, NOT AUTOMATIC. It is also a good idea to turn your sprinklers to manual during a cold winter and only run it automatically on the days when watering is required.


-Now is the time to take precautionary measures for upcoming frost or freezes. A healthy tree is the best prevention for frost damage- stop fertilization of trees and ease back on watering to allow trees to harden off and begin storing the necessary sugars in the root system to carry them through the winter.
-If you can cover the plant or small tree with plastic, do so.
-Make sure and reset your lighting clock and irrigation clocks to reflect the hour change.
-Call Nick Williams & Associates to plant winter garden color, bulbs, and vegetables.

Before The Rains

-Be sure to clean leaves and debris from gutters on your roof.
-Clean out all drain grate covers in your lawn and patio areas.
-Test your drainage system by running a hose through the drain and making sure the water comes out full strength at the drain line opening.
-Stock up on sand bags BEFORE you (and everyone else) will need them.

Nick Williams Designs - Pool, Lights and Fire Pits


Nick Williams Pool
featured in
Sunset Magazine
  1. Begin by cutting the filter running time in half and limit water testing to once a week (keep pH between 7.2-7.6 and free available chlorine between 1.0-3.0ppm)
  2. Be sure to follow the pool equipment manufacturer's instructions for proper care during this time.
  3. Even though you are not completely closing down your pool, you may want to consider a cover for it. A cover will not only save you work by keeping leaves and dirt out of the water, it will also help you conserve pool chemicals. If you decide to cover your pool, be sure to use a super chlorinator or shock treatment.

Call us in the Spring and we'll tell you the easy steps to reopen your pool for use (or keep your eye out for the Spring Newsletter)

To determine pool capacity: (all dimensions in ft.)

  1. Round - diameter x diameter x avg depth x 5.9= gallons
  2. Rectangular - Length x width x avg depth x 7.5= gallons
  3. Oval - Short diameter x long diameter x avg depth x 7.5= gallons

Nick Williams Designs - Winter Pool

Lite Tips

If you find you have a short circuit on your low voltage lighting system it can usually be located between the last lamp functioning and the first fixture not working. Look for the short in the following order: First at the splices, and second in the fixture socket including the lamp itself.

If you come across a transformer that seems to vibrate more than usual, inspect the screws or nuts that hold the transformer to the case. They are located either on the bottom or the back of most units. A turn or two may be all that is needed to quiet the vibration.

Any other questions or problems you may have with your lighting, call 818/222-7477



Above Photos from the Nick Williams Lighting Collection

Winter Color Choices


Let your winter be a continuous flower show from December right into Spring.

Flower beds and containers can be filled with annuals and perennials in bloom right now, so look for the following:


ANNUALS: Fairy and English primrose, pansy (clear colors only - no "faces"), ornamental kale and cabbage, allysum, coral bells, iceland poppies and calendula.

PERENNIALS: Chrysanthemum, delphenium, cyclamen.

SHRUBS: Azalea, camelia, magnolia soulangiana, clivia.

BAREROOT FRUIT TRESS & ROSES are best found in the nurseries this time of year - call us for help! ROSES: This is the time that Nick has told everyone to plant their roses. You'll find the best selection of bare-root roses in January.

BULBS & BULB LIKE PLANTS: Daffodil, paperwhite narcissus, iris, crocus, lily, anemone, rananculus.

VEGETABLES: Asparagus, rhubarb, artichoke, strawberry, onion, potato, garlic.

GRAPES: If you want to add grapes to your wisteria trellis, it is best to do it now while they can be planted bare-root.

Nick Williams Designs - Bocce Ball Court with Grape Vineyard behind

Pruning Do's And Don’t’s

Pruning of roses, dormant fruit trees, shade trees, vines and grapes should be done in January or February. If buds appear or sap is running, you are too late. Do not prune flowers shrubs or vines until flower show is over. Diseased or dead branches should be pruned whenever they occur along with suckers.

To cut a big branch (over 2" in diameter) without tearing the bark beneath, use a pruning saw to cut halfway through the bottom of the branch, 6-12" from the crotch. Saw the limb 1-2" up from the first cut, until it falls off. Now cut off the stub just outside the bark ridge where the branch meets the trunk.

To prune smaller branches, hold the shears or loppers so the cutting blade is closest to the remaining branch or trunk. Cut upwards or sideways, but NEVER downwards. This will prevent the limb from tearing the bark as it falls.

The following is a list of branches to look for when you plan to go out and prune your trees:

  • prune suckers
  • low-lying branches within 25" of the ground
  • weak, unproductive wood
  • dead or diseased wood
  • branches rubbing each other (Take out the younger one)
  • branches crossing through the center tree
  • branches shading lower branches, closer than 6"
  • branches with narrow crotch angles
  • branches competing with the central leader

Pruning cuts should be made close to the main limb or trunk so the tree will close off the wound.

Pruning of tree roses are somewhat similar. Examine the plant for dead or diseased branches (old branches look grey to black and shriveled). Remove the old canes and center canes, to enhance form and to promote new, stronger growth. Trim back hollow canes a few inches at a time, until you see no signs of rot or discolored wood.

Make a final pruning cut about 1/4" above the eyes (buds). Make the cut angled towards the center of the plants so that any water will drain off. The eye should point away from the center of the plant. The finished bush should form a vase-shaped plant with 5-6 healthy canes remaining.

If you have questions or if you would like us to arrange our tree surgeon to come out to your house, please give us a call 1-818-222-7477

Featured Tree: Giant Sequoia


Looking for an ideal living christmas tree? Also known as "Big Tree", the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) can grow over 300' with diameters exceeding 35'. It is the worlds largest tree and lives for 3000 years or more!

Although considered rare, with a limited range of native stands, the Giant Sequoia is very adaptable and can be grown anywhere statewide. The youngest trees are tolerant of shade, growing 2-3' a year. Their small overlapping leaves are grey-green and aromatic. The Giant Sequoia tolerates smog and can withstand considerable drought once established, but appreciates good, well drained soil and summer irrigation when young.

Make a trip this winter to see the giants in all there majesty. Their home lies between 4000 and 8500 feet altitude on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. The most accessible groves can be found in Sequoia National Park.

Pine Potpourri

PINE (Mix together the following)

  • 2 qts ground pine needles
  • 1 cup orris root combined with
  • 1 T. pine oil.

ROSE PINE (Mix together the following)

  • 2 cups each: pine needles, rose petals, rose geranium leaves, rosemary needles
  • 1/2 cup orris root blended with
  • 2 t. pine oil
  • 1/2 cup orris root blended with 2 t. rose oil.

Holiday Greenery

  • Cut holiday greenery a day before use and condition by trimming lower leaves, cutting stems on a long diagonal, crushing woody branches, and plunging the plants into a deep bucket of warm water overnight.
  • Other than holly and ivy, consider variegated and textured leaves, winter fruit, and buds to enliven your arrangement.
  • A daily misting will help wreaths and swatches maintain freshness.
  • Trees or arrangement in containers should have their water replaced every other day.

*There's Rosemary, thats for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. --William Shakespear,
Hamlet, IV,5

*Enclose a spring of Rosemary in your holiday cards for "remembrance"
Keep them in a bright room indoors and well watered until the weather warms up, then cut them back and keep them in a sheltered place outdoors until next year.



It’s hard to imagine the Christmas season without the extraordinary beauty of poinsettias. Poinsettia is a member of the botanical family Euphorbia. It was first cultivated by the Aztecs in Mexico and was called Cuetlaxochitl.

The brilliant colored petal, (which is actually a leaf-like bract) were used to make a red dye, while the white "sap" was used medicinally.

During the 17th century, a Franciscan priest in Mexico discovered the poinsettia. Because of the plants' holiday colors, the priests began using them in their nativity procession. Not until 1825 was the first poinsettia introduced to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett. Poinsett was the first United States ambassador to Mexico, and while visiting there, he found the plants growing on the hillsides and bought them to his home in South Carolina where he propagated a crop of them. Poinsettt shared his discovery with friends, family, horticulturists and botanical gardens.

In 1906, Albert Ecke, an immigrant from Germany, moved his family to what is now called Hollywood and started a nursery. Years later, he specialized in the production of poinsettias. The Ecke family is responsible for much of today's poinsettia popularity. Ecke's company, called Paul Ecke Poinsettia,s was instrumental in development, distribution and popularity. Many novel varieties available today include: Jingle Bells, Freedom, Lilo, Celebrate, Pink Peppermint and Lemon Drops.

Choosing the Perfect Poinsettia

There are a few characteristics a consumer should look for when choosing a poinsettia. First, study the cyathia, which are the tiny yellow flowers in the center of the bracts. It is important that the flowers are only slightly open to ensure that the Poinsettia has not passed its prime. Second, choose a plant which has mature, fully colored showy bracts and is not streaked with green. Lastly, every poinsettia variety is slightly different, however, the general nursery industry standard for the number of bracts per plant is: a 6 inch pot has 5 to 6 bracts and a 4 inch pot has 3 to 4 bracts.

The Legend of the Poinsettia


There once was a little Mexican girl named Pepita. She was very sad. Pepita wanted more than anything to give a fine present to the Christ child at the church service on Christmas Eve. She was a poor orphan and had no gift to present. As Pepita walked sorrowfully to the church with her cousin Pedro, he tried to console her. "Pepita" he said "I am certain that even the most humble gift given in love will be acceptable to his eyes."

Pepita gathered a bouquet of common weeds from the roadside and entered the church. As she approached the altar her spirits lifted. She forgot the humbleness of her gift that she placed tenderly at the feet of the Christ Child, and then there was a miracle! Pepita's ordinary weeds burst into brilliant red blooms! They were called Flores de oche Buena, Flowers of the Holy Night. Today we call them Poinsettias.
-as told by George Munana

Hip Hip Hooray! Another Reason To Grow Roses:

Choose the right variety and you can harvest beautiful rose "fruits"

THE SECOND SEASON for roses begins when petals fall and rose hips form. The hips (the plants' fruit) come in a variety of shapes and sizes, commonly between the diameter of a pea and that of a cherry tomato; their bright colors range from yellow to sealing-wax red.
Allowing hips to form on your roses in fall has another advantage: it encourages early dormancy, so plants reserve energy for next year's growth.

Only some roses--most notably the old-fashioned types--are grown for showy hips. Here are seven that offer a range of hips and growth habits. All have excellent disease resistance and, unless noted, bloom once a year (for about a month) and can handle the West's coldest winters.

Sweetbriar (rosa eglanteria), named for the green-apple fragrance of its foliage, has red, drop-shaped hips with small, glistening hairs that may remind you of sundew. With thorns growing even on its roots, this 12-foot climber makes a fine barrier.

Dortmund (rosa kordesii) bears clusters of 15 to 20 dime-size rusty or bright orange fruits that hold through much of winter. It's striking in arrangements. White-centered single red flowers appear throughout the season, even where summers are very hot. Train this 7- to 12-foot plant along a fence or trellis.

Musk Rose (rosa moschata) takes its name from its scent. A hybrid musk, 'Kathleen', bears pink, wonderfully fragrant, apple blossom--like flowers repeatedly and can be grown as a shrub or a house-high climber. Grape-size orange hips appear in masses.

Rosa Moyesii has 2-inch red, bottle-shaped hips that form from deep red flowers on a 10-foot shrub; for a smaller shrub, try a three-quarter-size variety like 'Geranium' or 'Sealing Wax'.

Chestnut rose (rosa roxburghii) has spiny, round, fragrant, chestnut like flower buds and hips. Peeling bark and double pink flowers are also noteworthy on this 8- to 10-foot shrub.

Rugosa rose (R rugosa) is also called Ramanas rose or Sea Tomato because its hips look like cherry tomatoes. Among the best: R. r. alba (abundant red hips contrast with yellow fall foliage), R. r. magnifica, and R. r. rubra. Some named varieties with good hips include 'Fru Dagmar Hastrupp' (also called 'Frau Dagmar Hartopp') and 'Blanc Double de Coubert.'
Rugosas are able to thrive in poor soil and have dense thorns that make a good barrier. Most kinds grow to 7 feet or so, but some (R. r. alba and the named varieties above, for example) grow to about 4 feet. All rugosas are repeat bloomers with excellent disease resistance.

Rosa Soulieana produces a profusion of small, red-orange hips on a plant that can reach 12 feet. This is a good choice for arrangements.

COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.

***Rose Hips Health Benefits***

Rose Hips come from the rose plant, the fruit of the rose plant. They are what remains after the petals fall off. Rose Hips are sometimes called the rose haw, and may be red, orange or purple in color depending on the species.

Rose hips are packed with vitamin C, E, K, B, riboflavin, folate and iron. They also contain antioxidants and have a variety of medicinal herbal purposes. For example, some women drink rose hip tea during menstruation to replenish iron levels. Rose Hips also help in preventing infections.

During World War I,I England organized the people to harvest all the Rose Hips in England to make into a Vitamin C syrup. One of the riches sources of Vitamin C available today is Rose Hips. It reportedly has 60 times more vitamin C than citrus fruit and it is very rich in ioflavonoids and helps in healing capillaries. Bioflavonoids help to build and strengthen body tissue and are important for the blood and vascular system. Because of their high vitamin C content, rose hips are also used to boost the immune system, may also be used to improve urinary health and the discomfort associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Some herbalists also use rose hip oil on the skin as an anti-aging treatment. Rose hips may also be used as a treatment for constipation.

Natural Source of Vitamin C
Rich Supply of Bioflavonoids
Supports Immune Function

Nick Williams Designs - Rose garden

Making The Wisest Bareroot Choices

By acting now, the smart nursery shopper can save money and get plants off to a great start!

BARE-ROOT TIME is here, but only fleetingly in warm climates. Shop early for the best pick of vines, roses, shrubs, and ornamental, shade, and fruit trees.

Often 40 to 70 percent cheaper than their container-grown counterparts, bare-root plants also adapt better to existing soils and develop healthier root systems. You don't have to worry about potbound or girdled roots, or about matching container soil to garden soil.

Bare-root season is short because trees are dug and shipped while dormant. Buy early while stock is fresh. Two risky bets to avoid near the end of the bare-root season are plants leafing out (no longer dormant, they may not transplant well) and those prepackaged in plastic (their roots often start to rot).

Check roots carefully; they should be plentiful and well formed (not 4- to 6-inch stubs), feel firm, and not look dry. Avoid plants with dark, slimy, or spongy roots. (If only one or two small end sections appear this way, they can be trimmed off without affecting the plant's health.)

Next, check the trunk. It should be clean of wounds and fairly straight without any strange twists.

Planting And Pruning
The primary cause of failure with bare-root plants is drying out. Bring your purchase straight home, and don't let it bake in the sun or suffer from drying wind.

If you can't plant right away, bare-root stock can hold for several days. Soak roots in water for an hour, then place plant in a shady, cool spot. To keep roots from drying out, lay the plant down and cover roots with moist compost or sawdust.

Before planting, inspect roots again and trim off any broken, dry, or diseased portions with sharp pruners. Broken roots can rot, but cleanly cut ones will heal and grow. To plant, loosen soil within an area at least twice the diameter of the rootball, and as deep as needed to accommodate roots (usually 12 to 18 inches). Add a complete controlled-release fertilizer to the planting area.

Hold the plant upright as you fill the hole. In average or heavy soil, keep the plant's old soil line 1 to 2 inches above the final soil level; in loose, sandy soil, set it at the ground's soil level. Set stakes if needed; tie when planting is complete. Fill the hole halfway, gently shake the plant up and down to let soil sift down, then tamp lightly with your foot and fill the hole. Water slowly and thoroughly to soak soil all the way down.

Some nurseries pot their bare-root plants in paper-pulp pots. After slicing pot sides and bottom into quarters to help the container break down, plant in the ground, pot and all. Tear off any part of the pot rim above soil level to avoid wicking action that sucks up soil moisture.

After initial watering, check soil moisture regularly and water as needed. Don't overwater: dormant plants need less water than actively growing ones, and their roots develop poorly in soggy soil.

At planting time, prune only branches that are broken, that rub together, or that detract from the overall structure. For most fruit trees, encourage low branching by cutting the trunk back to 3 to 4 feet. (Fruit trees grafted with multiple varieties should be pruned selectively; ask your nursery for pointers.)

COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.


Fig and Thyme Jam
Total 20 minutes; makes 1.5 cups - Chef Ashley Christensen




1/2 cup sorghum syrup or honey
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 springs thyme pinch of sea salt
1 lb. fresh figs, stemmed, quartered


Place sorghum syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. add orange zest, thyme sprigs, and pinch of salt. Simmer sorghum mixture for 1 minute. Add figs. Continue to simmer, gently stirring occasionally, until figs are soft but still hold their shape, 5-10 minutes, depending on firmness of figs Let jam cool. Transfer to a jar. Cover and chill. (Jam can be made 2 weeks ahead) Serve with cheese and thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto as a sweet and salty starter.

Traditional Mulling Spice Recipe
Makes 1-1/2 cups of mulling spice.


6 cinnamon sticks
1 small whole nutmeg
1/2 c. whole cloves
1/2 c. whole allspice
Grated peel of one whole orange (or you can add dried orange peel to blend)

Place whole cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in a large Ziploc bag. Use a hammer to crush the spices into rough chips. Combine the chips with cloves and allspice; store in an airtight container.

To make Apple Cider:
Add 3 Tbsp. of the spice mixture (in a muslin bag) to 6 c. apple juice or cider; add peel of one fresh orange.
Simmer slowly over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes; strain liquid; serve hot cider in mugs.

Keeping warm and cozy!!!

Nick Williams Designs - Candelier

Nick Williams Designs - Fire place

Enewsletter Enewsletter
Nick Williams Designs -
Candle Light Collection

Nick Williams Designs - Fire pit