E-Newsletter: July 2006
Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
Hello from Phoenix Perennials!
Summer is upon us! The nursery is at its height! You
should see the colour.
We hope that at least one of the items below will entice
you to come visit. This month we introduce our new annual
event: The Summer Sizzle. Come and see Jane Eaton Hamilton's
incredible photography and Cliff Thorbes exciting mosaic
work. Our summer sale will also be at its height. Yes,
that's right. See below for details of the sale and
do pay close attention to the details. In this issue
you'll also find out who won our Great Plant Combinations
Contest and learn about our new contest/draw with the
theme of deer proof plants. There's an exciting workshop
coming up this weekend on Colour in the Garden and,
if you're going to be on Galiano Island next week, you
might want to come hear me give a talk. And last but
not least, I had the great pleasure of providing the
prizes for this year's Vancouver Up Front Garden Contest.
See below for pictures of the winning garden and gardeners.
Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians
In this Issue
1. Special Event: The Summer Sizzle:
Celebrate the Botanical Glories of High Summer
2. Summer Sale at Phoenix
3. Winners of the Phoenix Perennials
2nd Annual Great Plant Combinations Contest
4. Upcoming Workshop: Colour in the
Garden with Cliff Thorbes
5. Got Deer?: The Phoenix Perennials
Deer Proof Draw
6. Garden Club Talk on Galiano Island:
Avoiding the Late Summer Doldrums with Gary Lewis
7. Phoenix Perennials sponsors prizes
for the The Vancouver Up Front Garden Contest plus Steve
Whysall's article on the contest
Event at Phoenix Perennials
the Botanical Glories
of High Summer
& Sunday July 15th & 16th, 2006
to a new tradition at Phoenix. Our Summer
Sizzle takes place at a time of the year when the nursery
looks its best. Come walk around and enjoy all the colour!
The nursery will also be set up like an art gallery
to feature an art show and sale of the incredible plant
photography of Jane
Eaton Hamilton and the exciting mosaic work of Cliff
Thorbes. Plus there will be special displays of
the winners of our Great Plant Combination Contest and
our summer sale will be at its height (i.e. everything
at 25% off starting on Saturday the 15th!). All in all
it's a weekend not to be missed!
Untitled by Jane Eaton Hamilton
Stepping Stone and Miami Table by Cliff Thorbes
Summer Sale at Phoenix
15% Off Everything
Friday July 7th to Friday July 14th
Saturday and Sunday July 15th and 16th
close attention to the dates! Absolutely no exceptions!
Second Annual Phoenix Perennials
Great Plant Combination Contest
A great garden is
not just great plants grown well. A great garden hinges
on great plant combinations.
We received lots of
wonderful entries to our contest filled with much creativity
and great plant combinations. We had a difficult time
making our decisions and would like to thank everyone
who entered! Each entry had to list five to seven
different perennials that made for an awesome plant
combination. These perennials could be in a pot or in
a garden bed. We judged the entries on both foliage
and flower combinations. We were also looking for that
extra knock-your-socks-off factor, that certain je
ne sais quoi that really made a combination stand
out. Without further ado:
$150 Gift Certificate at Phoenix
S. from North Vancouver
His Selected Plants:
1. Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' | Japanese
2. Astilbe (Red Flowered) | False Spiraea
3. Arisaema triphyllum | Jack-in-the-Pulpit
4. Trillium luteum | Yellow Wakerobin
5. Hosta 'Honeybells' | Plantain Lily
We loved the "Zen" quality
of Donald's combination which works almost entirely
by way of great foliage colour, shape and textural contrasts.
Some accent colour from flowers would be added in different
seasons from the trillium, the astilbe and the hosta.
Though technically not part of the contest, we couldn't
ignore the superlative use of hardscaping with the beautiful
stepping stones and the bird bath created from two stones
that Donald found at the base of Black Tusk Mountain
near Whistler. Even without this hardscaping this is
a beautiful combination for a part shade situation.
$100 Gift Certificate at Phoenix
H. from New Westminster
Her Selected Plants:
1. Sedum 'Angelina' and 'Ogon' | Stonecrop
2. Echeveria 'Topsy Turvy', agavifolium, 'Doris
Taylor', 'Morning Light'
and Pachyveria 'Moonglow' | Mexican Hens and
3. Aeonium arboreum and 'Zwartkop' | Aeonium
4. Acorus gramineus 'Ogon' | Sweet Flag
5. Setcreasea pallida 'Purple Heart' | Purple
Heart Wandering Jew
These incredible planters (there are
two on either side of the deck) employ zone 8-9 succulents
to marvelous effect with the surprising use of the golden
sweet flag with its grass like leaves and the purple
heart wandering jew with its bold purple foliage. The
two types of golden sedum add pizzazz and additional
textural contrast. These planters would not be fully
hardy unless they were kept bone dry outside and at
least protected inside during our occasional cold snaps
but we thought this combination was so dramatic that
we had to award it a prize.
$50 Gift Certificate at Phoenix
S. of Surrey
Her Selected Plants:
1. Heuchera 'Silver Lode' | Coral Bells
2. Hosta (Blue Leaved) | Plantain Lily
3. Adiantum pedatum | Maidenhair Fern
4. Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum' | Japanese Painted
5. Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' | Redbud
6. Iris pallida 'Argenteovariegata' | Sweet Iris
7. Viola riviniana 'Purpurea' (syn. V. labradorica)
Like our first place winner this combination
makes for a great study in foliage contrast. There are
no bold flowers in this combination but this bed is
dynamic and attractive. We thought that the use of the
sweet iris with its vertical structure and variegated
foliage really set off the entire combination. There
are two other nice touches: The first is the waft of
purple infused violets which pick up on the burgundy
of the coral bells. The other is the foliage shape "echo"
between the hosta and the violets -- note that each
has heart-shaped leaves but in different sizes. Very
Fame but not fortune
Katy E. of Delta
Her Selected Plants:
1. Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' | Maiden
2. Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' | Cranesbill
3. Stipa tenuissima | Mexican Feather Grass
4. Anthemis tinctoria 'Wargrave's Variety' |
5. Phygelius 'Moonraker' | Cape Fucshia
6. Alchemilla mollis 'Thriller'
7. Artemisia 'Limelight'
This is a beautiful entry very much
in the style of Katy's 1st prize winning entry in last
year's contest which you can view in the Learn section
of the website under Articles.
This combination is dynamic in the movement provided
by the grasses and taller perennials. We also liked
the controlled use of blues and yellows which is at
once calming and exciting.
Fame but not fortune
Jane Ferguson of Bowen Island
Her Selected Plants:
1. Goodyera oblongifolia | Rattlesnake Plantain
2. Polystichum munitum | Sword Fern
3. Blechnum spicant | Deer Fern
4. Vaccinium sp. | Huckleberry
5. Ribes sanguineum | Red-flowering Currant
6. Gaultheria shallon | Salal
7. Athyrium filix-femina | Lady Fern
We loved that Jane is working to enhance
her existing landscape on Bowen Island by planting additional
native plants. Enhancing Mother Nature's work is a great
way to integrate the garden with the natural landscape
that surrounds it. Jane uses three of our wonderful
native ferns and combines these with interesting native
perennials and shrubs. This is a study in green as well
The three prize winners and the honourable
mentions will be highlighted at the nursery in special
displays that will allow everyone to see these combinations
in the flesh. The displays will be ready for our Sumer
Sizzle weekend on July 15th and 16th.
Thank you again to everyone who entered!
We hope that you'll start planning soon for next year's
Upcoming Workshop at the Nursery
How to use colour and contrast
to great effect
Season in the Garden: Summer Perennials
Cliff will talk about colour, contrast,
hues, tints and shades in the garden and how these aspects
of colour relate to his RRVBESSS principles of garden
design. He will discuss how colour can be applied to
different facets of the garden from the plants themselves
to the hardscaping and garden art. He will also discuss
monochromatic, polychromatic, contrasting, and analogous
colour schemes as well as the roles of white and grey.
There's more to colour than you ever thought possible.
This workshop will change the way you think about colour
in your garden!
Saturday July 8th, 10am-12pm
Please book your space
in advance by calling the nursery at 604-270-4133.
Payment is required at the time
For all workshops please dress
for the day's weather. We will be either outside or
in the greenhouse.
Other Workshops This Season with Cliff Thorbes
Grasses that Captivate: The transformative powers of
ornamental grasses plus A Season in the Garden: Fall
Perennials | Saturday September 16th, 10am | $10
Winter Containers: Plant up a container to create winter
interest plus A Season in the Garden: Fall and Winter
Perennials | Saturday October 7th, 10am | $15 | At the
container workshops, each participant will plant up
and take home their own container. Please bring your
own large pot with enough space for at least 3 to 5
one gallon perennials. Large black plastic pots can
be provided on request.
The Phoenix Perennials Deer Proof Draw
If you garden with deer here's your chance
to benefit from all the trials and tribulations that
you face in your gardening life. We want to hear from
you about the plants that you've found to be deer "proof"
as well as the plants you've found to be delectable
deer delicacies. We'll compile a list of everyone's
findings and publish it in the next email newsletter,
on our website, and make this list available at the
nursery for perplexed gardeners. As an added bonus everyone
who contributes their findings will be entered in a
draw for a chance to win:
of Three Fabulous
Phoenix Perennials Gift Certificates
Short of eating venison every night for dinner, here's
your chance to get back at Bambi, to share information
with fellow gardeners, and to have a chance at actually
benefitting from your experiences!
Instructions: To contribute and be entered for
the draw simply email us with the following three items:
1. A List of Deer Proof Plants -- Plants you've found
to be universally shunned by deer in your garden.
2. A List of Deer Favourites -- Plants that the deer
love to munch in your garden.
3. The location of your garden. The name of your island,
or nearest village, town or city will do.
Please email your lists by July 30th,
2006. There will not be a reminder for this contest/draw
so hit the reply button right now and send in your lists.
If you have
friends who garden with deer, please forward this email
on to them so that they can participate as well.
The Galiano Garden Club presents
the Late Summer Doldrums
Great Plants for High Summer and Early
with Phoenix Perennials owner Gary Lewis
Does your garden look a little tired
through the summer months? Here's a whole raft of plants
to get your summer garden sizzling with colour. Gary
Lewis will present a stunning, image-rich Power Point
presentation to illustrate the many options for the
high summer garden.
Thursday July 13th, 2006
North Galiano Community Hall, Galiano Island
Sponsored by the Galiano Garden Club.
For more information call Deborah at 250-539-2107.
Perennials Sponsors Prizes
for the The Vancouver Up Front Garden Contest
This year Phoenix sponsored the prizes for the Up Front
Garden Contest in Vancouver. The first prize winners
received a $500 gift certificate, the second prize winners
a $300 gift certificate and the third prize winners
a $200 gift certificate. The prizes were awarded in
front of the winning garden.
Left to Right: The first prize winners, Douglas and
Fernando, with Phoenix Owner Gary Lewis presenting them
with their gift certificate.
Three pictures of Douglas and Fernando's Garden.
Here is Steve Whysall's article on the
They're the tops:
Strathcona garden captures the natural world's beauty
and gets top marks in the Up Front contest
Steve Whysall, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, June 16, 2006
It is a romantic garden with a charming heritage house
at its centre in one of Vancouver's oldest character
It is also a garden that catches the attention of children
on their way to and from school and thereby serves as
a gentle reminder of the beauty of the natural world.
The little corner-lot garden belonging to Fernando
Rato and Douglas Cave at 602 Keefer St. in Strathcona
is now the winner of this year's Up Front Garden Contest,
which is organized by the Vancouver Garden Club and
sponsored by the Vancouver park board to encourage neighbourhood
Each spring, members of the garden club scour the city's
22 neighbourhoods in search of outstanding front gardens
-- ones that not only make the neighbourhood a more
pleasant place to live but also inspire others to make
their own front yards more appealing.
The Strathcona garden was judged to be the best of
a shortlist of eight finalists selected from a total
of 65 gardens all over Vancouver.
"We are thrilled to have won," said Rato.
"We inherited the garden when we bought the house
a year ago. It was a little overwhelming to look after
it at first, but since January I have been working hard
to maintain it."
Contest judges this year were Paul Sangha, Vancouver
landscape architect; Marjanne Vrijmoed, co-owner of
Free Spirit Nursery in Langley; and me.
Each of the garden finalists were scored out of 100
points in three key criteria: 40 points for appearance
(general cleanliness and neatness); 35 points for design
(creativity in design and layout of plant material including
attention to colour, variety of species, and their relationship
to buildings and other landscape elements); and 25 points
for impact (how the property contributes to beautification
of the neighbourhood as viewed from the street).
Sangha and Vrijmoed gave the Strathcona garden full
marks -- 100 out of 100. I was less enthusiastic, partly
from having seen it before and also because I spotted
a dead tree in the front yard.
But we all agreed that the garden is certainly a treasure
in its neighbourhood and worthy of the No. 1 spot.
Last year, it was a runner-up in the competition, but
this year it was the best of the bunch.
Sangha thought it was "magical," with a clever
layering of plants and excellent use of colour.
"I like its playfulness. It is a garden to enjoy
and experiment with and have fun in, rather than a garden
that has been developed by stringently following rules,"
He was also impressed that the garden helped revitalize
a part of town where the possibility of vandalism and
theft sometimes discourages people from doing something
"It is wonderful to see this generous commitment
of time and energy to beautifying the neighbourhood,"
Vrijmoed thought the garden was "charming"
and "a garden to fall in love with" and was
particularly enthusiastic that children from the nearby
elementary school could walk by it every day and have
the opportunity to notice the diversity of plant material,
from giant leaves of gunnera to the diminutive perennials.
I liked the striking combination of red clematis and
bright blue ceanothus as they tumbled together over
a blue-green picket fence with a single white foxglove
I also liked the foliage textures of a corkscrew willow,
evergreen magnolia, windmill palm and silk tree as well
as the generous placement of a fig tree next to the
sidewalk so the seductively sweet fruit can also be
picked by passersby.
All of us liked the way the garden connected with the
1908 heritage house, especially how the blue and yellow
colours of the house blended with the planting scheme
to create a sense of harmony.
"No one would ever consider stealing a plant because
the garden is so charming," said Vrijmoed.
The second- and third-place winners in the contest
were gardens at 3118 Alberta St. and 311 East 11th Ave.
Each garden impressed the judges as being neighbourhood-friendly
and having a unique personality.
The Alberta Street garden in front of a 1912 heritage
Arts and Crafts house uses clipped boxwood, yew hedging
and containers of lavender to hint at formality while
softening the overall look with a relaxed planting of
perennials, ornamental grasses, and foliage trees.
Sangha said the garden had "restrained elegance."
He was especially impressed by the planting of lavender,
hardy geraniums, foxgloves and roses in the lane at
the side of the house where you also get peek-a-boo
views of the vegetable garden.
Vrijmoed thought the garden was a good example of what
a typical Vancouver easy-maintenance garden should look
"It is the most suitable kind of garden for this
neighbourhood, so it is a very good example for other
homeowners," she said.
The garden at 11th Avenue in East Vancouver was also
a finalist in last year's competition. Judges again
were impressed by a dense planting of conifers and evergreen
shrubs around a meandering path of boulders, which is
frequently used by schoolchildren as a fun obstacle
Sangha and Vrijmoed thought the garden had a "Germanic"
or "Bavarian" look because of the extensive
use of rock and clipped conifers.
But we all were impressed by the boldness and clear
definition of the curving border, the attention to detail
in every aspect of the planting scheme, and the way
the garden extends a friendly invitation to the entire
For a complete list of Up Front contest winners in
the each of Vancouver's 22 neighbourhoods, visit the
park board's website at www.vancouverparks.ca.
E-Newsletter with a Friend
So many of our new visitors come to
us through word of mouth. If you like what we're doing
at Phoenix Perennials, please consider telling your
gardening friends about us.
If 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
3380 No. 6 Road, Richmond (Between Bridgeport
Please 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.
a Week 10am-5pm
March 3rd through October 31st, 2006
Copyright Phoenix Perennials and Specialty
Plants Ltd. 2006
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