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Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
from Phoenix Perennials!
hope everyone is having a relaxing summer and not dwelling
too much on the weather. Certainly most garden plants
have been enjoying the ample moisture, even if we haven't!
this issue I include an article of Steve Whysall's from
late July about sprucing up the tired garden in high
summer. If you read to the end you'll find some of the
suggestions I offered to Steve and the picture that
appeared with the article -- I won't be on Canada's
Next Top Model any time soon! There is also information
about our two upcoming fall workshops, our regular installment
of Fabulous at Phoenix and an announcement of some select
items currently on sale at the nursery.
Gary and the Phoenicians
Get ready for bulbs arriving in early September. And
remember that fall is just as good a planting time,
if not better, than spring. So if you're thinking about
tweaking your beds or putting in a new one you might
want to start planning. Fun!
Tulipa 'Little Beauty'
In this Issue
1. Summer's Second Wind: Keeping things
fresh deep into summer by Steve Whysall
2. Selected Plants on Sale through August
3. Two Fall Workshops
4. Fabulous at Phoenix
Keeping things fresh
deep into summer
Steve Whysall, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, July 28, 2007
Burnout, even after a few days of rain. It's what
can happen to gardens at the end of July. Lobelia burns
out. Diascia burns out. Roses need deadheading. Astilbes
are faded. Many perennials are past best.
There is still much to admire and dote on in the garden,
but it is also true that this is the time when gardens
need to find their second wind -- a lift to carry them
through the latter (and most overheated) part of summer
The aim is to revive the garden with some boosts of
selective planting to bring it beautifully through to
the final hurrah of blooming in September.
The first and most basic job is to give everything
a good trimming. The exuberance and excessive flamboyance
of June and July can be overwhelming, a little over
the top for some people. "There are just too many
flowers" is how one person once expressed it to
Hardy geraniums have gone wild with enthusiasm and
could benefit from a haircut. Roses left unattended
look like a dishevelled debutante back from a wild night
on the town.
Faded blooms need a firm hand, a willingness to snip
and snap their stems to achieve a much cleaner presentation.
You'd be amazed at how good things can look after
a simple tidy round -- think of how good an unkempt,
overgrown lawn looks after a crisp clipping.
The other key to second-wind gardening is to plug
gaps in beds and borders with new, zesty plant material.
Instant gratification is the order of the day. Nobody
has time to wait weeks and weeks for juvenile plants
in four-inch pots to mature and expand.
The need at this stage of the game is for instant
fillers -- plants that take the place of a faded bloomer
and look fantastic immediately.
Ed Leong, of Leong's Nursery in Burnaby, is well aware
of the need for second-wave replacement plants.
He has just produced his seventh crop of vivid blue-flowering
Lobelia 'Crystal Palace', grown specifically as rejuvenation
material for the midsummer market.
"Lobelia is one of the first bedding plants to
burn out," he says. "It matures early, blooms
beautiful but always tends to burn out by August. This
happens in borders as well as in hanging baskets and
Leong has also produced a whole new crop of pelargoniums
(more commonly known as geraniums) to be used as replacement
and filler plants in tired-looking window boxes, planters
and flower borders.
"All sorts of gaps start to appear in the garden
at this time of year. The answer is to fill them with
mature plants that give you a finished look straight
away," he says.
Dahlias, especially the dark foliage kinds, are very
popular filler-plants along with coleus, which are available
in a wide range of foliage colours from burgundy to
orange, red to purple-green.
Spider plants (Cleome hassleriana) are also standing
in the wings waiting to be plonked directly into flagging
Leong is most excited, however, about his crop of
everbearing strawberries -- 'Pretty in Pink', 'Berries
Galore' and 'Berry Basket' -- in 10-inch hanging pots.
These plants will deliver loads of fat, juicy strawberries
all through August and up to the first frost.
For less than $10 a pot, these can be dropped into
urns or grouped together in tubs and containers to give
a sensational treat as well as lovely pink and white
flowers. The strawberry pots are available at all IGA
or Choices stores.
Scott Pearce, of the GardenWorks chain, says many
people want to upgrade their gardens in August either
because they have parties or special events planned,
or just because they want to freshen everything up before
they run into the quieter, cooler days of fall.
"Plants are often available in bigger pot sizes
which give a bigger bang for the buck," he says.
"Larger plants are also better for plugging holes.
Ideal are things like coreopsis, echinacea and rudbeckia,
all of which bloom well until frost."
The end of July is also a great time to check out
hydrangeas and buddleias, he says, which happen to be
at their peak right now and are also great plants for
long-lasting flower colour.
Gary Lewis, of Phoenix Perennials in Richmond,
is a big fan of purple-leafed dahlia, especially the
"bishop" series ('Auckland', 'Canterbury',
'Leicester', 'Llandaff', 'Oxford' and 'York') as well
as the "happy" series ('Flame', Juliet', 'Kiss',
'Party', and 'Romeo').
"There are many new colours [of Sedums] with
great chocolate, burgundy, purple and near-black foliage
and others like 'Blade Runner' with its classic blue-green
foliage and sharply serrated edges."
The exotic, tropical-looking leaves of canna lilies,
the striking colours of the Big Sky series of echinacea,
and the beautiful blue or white flowers of agapanthus
can also help to lift the garden from the midsummer
doldrums, whether these plants are placed in the garden
or simply inserted into borders in pots.
"Not everyone can plant their garden perfectly,"
says Lewis. "Most of us end up having to tweak
the garden a little bit at this time of year to freshen
Lilies play a major role in the garden from early
summer through to fall, but Oriental lilies are especially
useful for delivering colour and fragrance at the end
They are one of the best second-wind plants for
a garden flagging in colour or a perennial border that's
starting to run out of steam.
Gary Lewis says his top choices are 'Casa Blanca',
'Conca D'or', 'Dizzy', 'Mona Lisa', 'Starfighter', 'Stargazer'
Given a little lift, a garden can sail through the
rest of summer by which time it is not at all unusual
to find roses, perennials and some shrubs producing
a second-wave of blooms during the cooler days of September
and even into the early part of October. But it is the
gardeners' duty right now to press the "refresh"
Plants on Sale through August
Inulas, Dahlias, Echeverias,
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Jogasaki'
Dahlia Bishop of Leicester and Bishop of Oxford
Lavandula stoechas 'Pastel Dreams'
at the Nursery
Grasses that Captivate
The transformative powers
of ornamental grasses
Instructor: Jo Turner
Saturday September 15th, 10am | $15 |
popularity of ornamental grasses continues to grow as
gardeners discover their many virtues. Don't get it
yet? Come to this informative talk and learn what grasses
can do for you and your garden. Already enamoured with
ornamental grasses? You'll love this workshop too. You'll
get tips on using them for best effect in your garden
design. As well, you'll be introduced to several cultivars
you might not have seen before.
Sign up for our Grass Workshop and bring
a friend for free!
at the Nursery
Plant up a container
to create winter interest
Saturday October 6th, two workshops starting at 10am
and 2pm | $20 |
This is a fun hands-on workshop for gardeners of all
levels who are interested in learning how to successfully
create gorgeous perennial containers that will provide
months of winter interest and an antidote against the
dark, cold days of the year. After some practical and
design instruction each participant will plant up and
take home their own container. Please bring your own
large pot (minimum 12-14 inches in diametre) with enough
space for at least 3 to 5 one gallon perennials. A large,
black, seven gallon plastic pot can be provided at an
additional cost of $6. Please order your pot when you
book your workshop.
are limited. Please call (604-270-4133) or visit the
nursery to book your space. Payment is required when
booking. Each workshop requires a minimum of 10 people
and a maximum of 15-25 depending on the workshop. Workshop
participants will receive a 15% discount on any purchases
they wish to make the day of their workshop.
(Dip. Hort. Cap. College) is a Vancouver gardener beginning
her second season at Phoenix. She has a passion for
gardens, plants, books, and the people who tend them.
Her interests have led to several years experience in
a variety of horticultural pursuits, usually involving
Thorbes is a certified horticulturalist, artist
and designer. He is passionate about container garden
design and integrating original art into the garden
to create a unique and personal statement. Cliff returns
this year to reprise his popular seminars on design
and on the secrets to creating containers that will
captivate the senses.
Gary's Picks of New, Notable and Luscious
Plants at the Phoenix Candy Store
Fragrant Hostas -- Hosta plantaginea 'Diana Remembered',
H. 'Fragrant Bouquet', and H. 'Guacamole' -- These
wonderful hostas provide great foliage in the shade
garden, attractive lavender or white flowers and the
added but uncommon bonus of fragrance in a hosta. They
are also great because there are few plants, if you
think about it, that are both fragrant and suited to
the shade garden.
Hosta plantaginea 'Diana Remembered'
Campanula 'Plum Wine' -- Bellflower
-- ‘Plum Wine’ has a lovely combination of red winter
leaves, wine darkened silver summer leaves, and light
pink, tubular bell flowers in summer. Easy to grow with
a creeping, groundcovering habit. Best in full sun.
Phlox paniculata 'Laura' -- Tall Garden
Phlox -- The deep lavender-magenta white-eyed flowers
of this tall garden phlox are deliciously fragrant.
The plant’s foliage also has excellent mildew resistance
making it a wonderful, low maintenance garden phlox.
Agapanthus 'Storm Cloud' -- Lily-of-the-Nile
-- This beautiful cultivar is big and bold with loose
spheres of cobalt blue flowers that rise up to six feet
above the long, straplike foliage. Wonderful in beds,
en masse or in pots.
Geranium cinereum 'Ballerina' and G.
cinereum 'Purple Pillow' -- Cranesbill -- Topping
tidy, low-rowing bluish grey-green mounds of deeply
lobed, attractive foliage, the enticing cup-shaped flowers
are distinctively coloured in lavender-pink ('Ballerina')
or reddish plum ('Purple Pillow') accentuated by a close
network of darker veins that converge towards a dark
central eye. The bountiful blooms keep coming all summer
long, and there’s an autumn encore when leaves take
on shades of purple, red or orange. Carefree.
'Ballerina' and 'Purple Pillow'
Heuchera 'Silver Lode' -- Coral Bells
-- This large and vigorous new cultivar has leaves with
the upper side mottled in matte silver outlined with
veins of dark bronze-green. The underside is reddish
Musa basjoo -- Hardy Japanese Fibre
Banana -- If the palm tree is the king of the subtropical
garden then bananas must surely be the Queen. Musa basjoo,
the hardy japanese fibre banana, adds subtropical flare
and drama in spades! Reportedly ground hardy to zone
5 (but don’t tell anyone in Ontario!). Maintain height
for next season by protecting the stems with an enclosure
of leaves or bubble wrap. At the very worst after a
cold winter your banana will resprout from the ground.
Arisaema barnesii -- Cobralily
-- This species from southern India and Sri Lanka has
a dark purple or green spathe with green or white stripes.The
leaves have five to nine leaflets with prominent veins
and wavy margins.
Cyclamen hederifolium -- Ivyleaf Cyclamen
-- This delicate shady perennial has charming pink flowers
with a magenta V at the base of each petal. The leaves
are ivy shaped, dark green and often marbled with light
green. C. hederifolium is summer dormant coming into
leaf and bloom between August and October. It remains
evergreen throughout the winter. Grow in light, well-drained
soil in shade or part shade. Plant en masse for a superb
woodland effect. Widely distributed along the Mediterranean
from France to Turkey.
Tricyrtis 'Taipei Silk' -- Toadlily
-- This gorgeous new hybrid has glossy dark green leaves
and spectacular multi-coloured flowers. The pistils
are orangey red, the stamens dark yellow, the petals
are yellow at the base, white down the centre, edged
with royal blue then rich purple and lightly spotted.
Fantastic! Grow in bright shade to part sun to bring
out the fullness of these colours.
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So many of our new visitors come to us through word
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please consider telling your gardening friends about
you have any other questions please contact us at email@example.com.
Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd.
One of the largest and most exciting selections of perennials
in the Lower Mainland.
Specializing in distinct perennials, fragrant shrubs,
hardy subtropicals and the botanically intriguing.
No. 6 Road, Richmond (Between Bridgeport and Cambie)
visit our web page for information on the nursery, driving
directions and a map.
We are near the south end of the Knight Street Bridge
and very easy to get to from all of the surrounding
municipalities and beyond.
Days a Week 10am-5pm
March 2nd, 2007 through October 31st, 2007
Copyright Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd.
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