Story: Irene Castro
Upcountry Gardens in Shingletown
The entrance of Upcountry Gardens evolves and blossoms as the season changes. In the display areas, the gardens are living demonstrations of how trees, shrubs and plants can be used in the local environment.
The owners of Upcountry Gardens, Nick and Holly Zydycrn, embrace the opportunity to help customers navigate their gardening challenges. Altitude levels vary in Shingletown, and customers could be in one of three different climate zones. Then there are the hot dry summers, snowy wet winters and the ever-present deer and squirrel population to deal with.
Nick and his assistant, Chris Dalcour, provide landscaping advice and design ideas for homes and businesses. They install irrigation systems, ponds and water pumps. They advise on the use of mulch and the proper feeding of woodland gardens, and Nick conducts a series of summer seminars on natural woodland gardening.
Upcountry boasts hundreds of species of cold woodland hardy species. Although the business specializes in native and near-native nursery stock, Nick likes to experiment with the unique and rare. A customer from the Sacramento area was thrilled as she drove away with 30 out of 40 plants she had on an old, tattered list. Nick and his staff propagate about half the herbs, shrubs and perennials they sell.
The special event area is really blooming. Weddings and other events are becoming more popular at Upcountry Gardens with its lighted stage and grassy meadow. The area can be adapted to include gazebos, wooden trellises, garden benches, trees from the nursery and other accessories. The gardens are rented for summer concerts, family reunions, barbecues, fundraisers and assorted community functions.
The gift/garden shop is a treasure trove of unique gifts and a combination of plants, décor, garden supplies and books that Holly and longtime employee Katheryn Redenius select. Plans for this area include more garden accessories and accents such as statuary and benches.
Upcountry Gardens also holds a delightful open house over Thanksgiving weekend, where guests nibble on goodies while they shop for fresh wreaths, amaryllis and other holiday items. The array of poinsettias arrives around December 1.
Nick and Holly lived in Hawaii when the Shingletown property next to his parents went on the market. “Nick wanted that property since he was a child,” says Holly. They decided to use Nick’s previous experience as a general landscaping contractor and Holly’s retail experience to create Upcountry Gardens. While the gardens were first under development, Nick and Holly sold nursery products behind the Shingletown Store before opening in November 1995.
It’s been blossoming ever since.
Upcountry Gardens is open seven days a week except during the winter. Nick says if the gate is open, so are the gardens, so come on in.