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Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
from Phoenix Perennials!
July and it seems that nice weather has finally arrived!
It's soon time to kick up your heels with a cold beer
or a smart cocktail and enjoy friends and family or
just your own free time in your beautiful gardens. But
just before you do that let me try to talk you into
visiting us one more time. If you visited the nursery
this spring you would have seen lots and lots of pots
with little green bits sticking out of the soil. Well,
those green bits are now big, beautiful, luscious plants
coming into full bloom. I always lament that at this
time of year, when gardeners are mostly finished their
efforts, the nursery looks its best. There is colour
everywhere. In fact, the nursery looks like a giant,
half acre, perennial border in full bloom. You really
should visit us one more time before retiring to your
patios and summer vacations. If that wasn't enough to
entice you we are having a SALE.
Details are at the end of the newsletter. ;-)
in this issue you'll find an article highlighting four
groups of plants that are guaranteed to put colour into
your summer garden, you'll be introduced to our new
garden arches, you'll be inspired by the plant combinations
of our contest winners, you'll find information on our
next workshops and the Fabulous at Phoenix column is
back after a one month hiatus with a bevy of interesting
perennials. Oh and then there's that SALE
Gary and the Phoenicians
Four Great Plants Groups for Summer Colour
2. New Arches Join our Offerings of
Metal Garden Ornaments
3. The 2007 Great Plant Combination
4. Two Fall Workshops
5. Fabulous at Phoenix
The Summer Sizzle including our Summer Sale!
Hydrangea, Echinacea, Lilies and Dahlias
Many of you might now be looking at your
gardens and lamenting a loss of the fresh colours of
spring. There are solutions for you that you might not
have considered back in April or May when they weren't
showing any colour. Right now, however, they are coming
into their own and brightening up the nursery and gardens.
If I could have only four groups of plants for summer
colour, these would be at the top of my list. In this
article I will highlight hydrangeas, echinaceas (purple
coneflowers), lilies and dahlias, all of which will
give you colour from June right through to September
and perhaps beyond. While you've undoubtedly heard of
all three of these groups I'll highlight both some tried
and true stalwarts as well as some hot new cultivars
that are showing good promise.
Say Hello to Hydrangea!
Hydrangea are superlative shrubs for summer
colour. Most cultivars are thought of as shade to part-shade
plants. A beautiful and uncommon group of hydrangea
that prefer these conditions are the serrata or Japanese
cultivars. Most of these are unique lace caps frequently
with exquisite double sterile florets like 'Miyama-yae-Murasaki',
'Izu no Hana' and 'Midoriboshi-Temari'. There are also
some macrophylla hydrangea that have the same delicate
and refined look as the Japanese hydrangea such as 'Shamrock'
Hydrangrea serrata 'Miyama Yae Murasaki' and
H. macrophylla 'Shamrock'
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Jogasaki'
For a departure from the blues and pinks
that we commonly associate with hydrangea you might
try 'Annabelle' with giant white mopheads that can measure
over 10 inches in diametre! These are sure to illuminate
a drab or dark shady area.
Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
There are other hydrangea that are quite
tolerant of more sun. One of our favourites at the nursery
is 'Quickfire' that has flowers that start off creamy
white but that gradual deepen through pink and then
If you have a shaded wall, trellis or
pergola that could use some summer colour you might
want to try a relative of the hydrangea known as hydrangea
vine or Schizophragma hydrangeoides. We have
two cultivars at the nursery. The one pictured below
is called 'Moonlight' with dramatic lacecaps at least
10 inches in diametre surrounded by large white sterile
florets. The foliage of 'Moonlight' is lightly silver
mottled as if the moon is perpetually shining on it.
We also carry 'Rosea' which offers beautiful pink sterile
florets around the lace cap.
Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight'
For summer colour in shade or sun you
can't go wrong with hydrangea.
"Oh my goodness, oh good gracious
-- here come all the Echinaceas!"
Echinacea, or purple coneflowers
as they're commonly known, are great plants for the
full sun garden that offer colour for months in the
form of large daisies with bold cones surrounded by
outward facing or reflexed petals. The regular purple
coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is a North American
native of fields and prairies that occurs in both Canada
and the US. In the wild the colour of the flowers ranges
through various purpley-pinks. Breeders have recently
selected new colour forms from this pallet offering
rich magentas such as in 'Vintage Wine' or 'Fatal Attraction'
and candy pinks such as 'Kim's Knee High'.
Echinacea purpurea and E. Big Sky 'Sunrise'
Newer hybrids offer a rich palette with
unique colour departures from the regular species and
its selections. These purple coneflowers are not purple
at all, or even pink. They are yellow, gold, orange,
apricot, sunset pink and deepest red-pink. In all they
offer some fun and a good length of colour for the sun
garden. They look great planted en masse, especially
if you mix different coloured cultivars together in
the same area.
E. Big Sky 'Sunset' and E. Big Sky 'Summer
Echinacea are not just popular with the
gardening public but also with my staff. They are currently
Kathleen's pick on our Staff Plant Picks table at the
nursery. To honour her pick she has immortalized them
Oh my goodness, oh good gracious
Here come all the echinaceas!
The choices are many, the colours are fine
Try 'Magnus' or 'Sunset' or 'Vintage Wine'
There's 'Sundown' and 'Sunrise' and 'Summer Sky'
'After Midnight' and 'Twilight' or 'Kim's Knee High'
With 'Harvest Moon' and 'Fancy Frills'
It's a 'Fatal Attraction' with 'Pica Belles'
Oh my goodness, oh good gracious
There go all the echinaceas!
Some gardeners have difficulty with echinacea.
Usually the problem lies in overly rich, moisture-retentive
soils which isn't so much of a problem in the summer
as it is in the winter. Echinacea generally grow in
colder regions where the soils are less fertile and
drier and where, being frozen in winter, experience
a "dry" situation. This is a good clue for
how to successfully grow them in our gardens. Plant
echinacea in average to poor soils that are well-drained
in winter and you should have good success.
Lilies, Lilies, Lilies. I can't get enough
of them. And there is far more variety within this genus,
both in species and cultivars, than you might have imagined.
This year we have brought in many special cultivars.
The Asiatic, OA and LA Hybrid Lilies bloom in June and
early July and are currently at their peak. The LA Hybrids
are crosses between Asiatic and Trumpet lilies with
great substance, strength and bold colours.
Various LA Hybrid Lilies
Another intriguing group of hybrid lilies
are the OA Lilies, crosses between Oriental and Asiatics.
The Crown series in particular offers some intriguing
bicoloured lilies that will make both you and guests
to your garden take a second look.
OA Hybrid Lilies 'First Crown' and 'Fancy Crown'
Then there are some of the classics. The
trumpet lilies are some of the tallest lilies for the
garden and have a lovely fragrance. They bloom throughout
July. One cultivar that you might not have seen commonly
before is 'Emerald Temple', a white lily with a yellow
throat and green highlights on the outside of the petals.
Lilium 'Emerald Temple'
The Oriental Lilies are the most fragrant
of all the lilies with a sweet and spicy perfume you've
come to love from cultivars like 'Stargazer' and 'Casa
Blanca'. We have a wonderful dwarf Oriental just coming
into bloom now at the nursery. While most of this group
blooms in August 'Mona Lisa' seems to come into her
own in July. With various shades of pink and white this
lily is surely one of the prettiest. A new breakthrough
in breeding in the Oriental Lilies is offered by 'Montezuma'
with darkest and boldest pink-red flowers yet seen in
'Mona Lisa' and 'Montezuma'
Lilies do not bloom for as long as many
other perennials. Bloom periods will typically last
three to four weeks for most established lily clumps.
However, being a very vertical plant they are easily
inserted into the border where they tend not to take
up too much valuable space. With a selection of lilies
from various groups you could have them blooming in
your garden for months on end.
Dahlias are a darling for the summer the
garden. The burgundy-leaved dahlias are our main squeeze
at Phoenix. The foliage offers dramatic colour contrasts
in the garden and shows off the jewel-toned flowers
to great effect.
Clockwise from top left: Bishop of Leicester, Bishop
of Oxford, Bishop of York, Bishop of Canterbury.
In all we are growing 18 varieties of
burgundy-leaved dahlias this year. The exciting thing
about this group is that they are proving to be quite
hardy in the Vancouver area allowing us to have our
cake and eat it too. If you have a sunny, average soil
that is well-drained in the winter you can grow these
superlative garden plants and not have to lift and store
them in the fall. For at least five years I have had
these dahlias returning in my garden with no particular
damage from any winter including the last one. In fact
they seem to get bigger and bigger each year!
We carry only one dahlia that has green
foliage. It's name is 'Vancouver'. It has purple, pink
and white flowers that can grow to the size of your
head. I thought it might be worthwhile to give it a
With that I hope you are inspired to include
some of the plants from these four groups -- hydrangea,
echinacea, lilies and dahlias. They are guaranteed to
carry your garden through the summer months with loads
of bright and boisterous colour.
Arches Join our Offerings of Metal Garden Ornaments
have just added garden arches to our selection of metal
garden ornaments. These light-weight but strong arches
are seven feet tall, three feet wide and two feet deep.
They are a perfect size for an entrance into the garden
or as a backdrop for a seat. They are a good size for
growing roses, clematis, honeysuckle and other interesting
vines. We have priced them very specially at $59.99.
also have trellises, shepherd hooks, hanging baskets,
and garden edging! They are all attractive and are also
trellises and shepherd hooks are only $29.99, the hanging
baskets (complete with coco fibre liner) are $21.99-$24.99
and the garden edging (not pictured) is $9.99 to $12.99.
Third 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.
Thank you to everyone
who entered our contest. There were lots of interesting
and lovely combinations. We really enjoyed seeing what
you have been creating in your gardens. Unfortunately,
this is a contest and we could only choose a few entries
to be our winners.
the Winners Are!!!
Prize: $150 Gift Certificate at Phoenix
Joe K. from Richmond
Fragrance' -- Daphne
Ophiopogon japonicum 'Ryuku' -- Mondo Grass
Arabis ferdinandi-coburgi 'Variegatum' -- Rock
Rhodohypoxis baurii -- Spring Starflower
Gymnocarpium dryopteris -- Oak Fern
Campanula cochlearifolia -- Dwarf Bellflower
Leptinella 'Platt's Black' -- Brass Buttons
We loved this
sophisticated garden in miniature. It provides colour,
fragrance, great leaf colour, shape and textural combinations
and an unusual plant palette. All around an intriguing
and unique planter.
Prize: $100 Gift Certificate at Phoenix
Elaine E. from Vancouver
Hosta (Various Cultivars)
-- Plantain Lily
Rodgersia sp. -- Rodger's Flower
Ferns -- Various including Athyrium nipponicum
'Pictum' (Japanese Painted Fern), Osmunda regalis
(Royal Fern), Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart's
Tongue Fern), Polystichum munitum (Sword Fern),
Matteucia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern) and Cyrtomium
falcatum (Holly Fern)
Alchemilla mollis -- Lady's Mantle
Petasites japonicus var. giganteus --
Heuchera 'Marmalade' -- Coral Bells
We loved the foliage combinations of the
ferns, hostas and rodgersia, highlighted with the chartreuse
sparkles of the lady's mantle and the colour accent
from the coral bells, all crowned with the dramatic
leaves of the Japanese coltsfoot.
Prize: $50 Gift Certificate at Phoenix
Marilyn H. from Richmond
'Blue Waterfall' -- Bellflower
Stachys byzantina -- Lamb's Ears
Helictotrichon sempervirens -- Blue Oat Grass
Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' -- Cranesbill
Crocosmia 'Lucifer' -- Montbretia
Persicaria sp. -- Knotweed
Delphinium cultivars -- Delphinium
We loved the textural and structural
combinations of the foliage, especially the folial echo
between the spikeyness of the crocosmia and the blue
oat grass. Note that these elements, in conjunction
with the lamb's ears, give what would be an amorphous
perennial border just enough structure to keep it interesting.
We also liked the play of blues throughout the border.
We were excited that the colour would shift to a blue
and red theme when the Crocosmia 'Lucifer' came
into bloom with it's bright cool red.
Mention: Fame but not Fortune
Michele C. from Vancouver
[no picture available]
Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
and 'Zagar's Blue' -- Plantain Lilies
Iris siberica 'Butter and Sugar' and 'Blue King'
-- Siberian Iris
Oxalis magellanica -- Magellan Wood Sorrel
Lilium martagon -- Martagon Lily
Polystichum setiferum 'Proliferum' -- Soft Shield
Rhododendron macrophyllum -- Pacific Rhododendron
Daphne odora -- Winter Daphne
This combination has nice textural and
structural combinations with sparks of colour mostly
from early spring into early summer. It also has nice
early season fragrance from the daphne.
Mention: Fame but not Fortune
J. from Richmond
-- Corsican Hellebore
Athyrium otophorum (Red-eared Lady Fern) and
Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern)
Astrantia major 'Rubra' -- Masterwort
Cimicifuga simplex 'Brunette' -- Bugbane
Epimedium x versicolor 'Neosulphureum' -- Barrenwort
Polygonatum multiflorum -- Solomon's Seal
Primula 'Francisca'/'Green Lace' -- Primrose
We liked the diversity of foliage textures,
colours and shapes in this shade border. The choice
of flowering plants will be just enough to ensure subtle
sparks of colour through much of the season. The bugbane
will add a sweet fragrance in late summer.
of the winning combinations, as well as the honourable
mentions, will be showcased in a special display at
the nursery through the month of July, including during
our Summer Sizzle Event July 20th, 21st and 22nd. Come
check them out!
you again to everyone who entered.
The next Great Plant Combination Contest is only 11
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.
Brown is a graduate of Kwantlen's Landscape Design
program and was the coordinator of the Earthwise Garden
for many years. She has designed gardens with garden
ecosystems in mind and specialized in presenting earth-friendly
workshops. She works part time for Phoenix Perennials
and does landscape design, garden consultations, and
workshops in her spare time.
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
Remusatia vivipara -- Hitchhiker's Elephant Ear
-- In late spring the very glossy, green, elephant ear-like
leaves emerge forming a tropical clump two to three
feet tall. The new foliage is accompanied by fragrant,
yellow flowers. In late summer strange, erect stolons
arise from the tuber and become covered with fuzzy,
hooked tubercles (hairy bulbils). It is the ability
of these hairy offsets to attach to fur and feather
which has resulted in the distribution of this species
over three continents. Unusual, subtropical looking
and reportedly very easy to grow. Reportedly hardy to
zone 7b so it should grow well for us and overwinter.
Mulch with 6-12 inches of leaves just to be safe.
Knautia macedonica 'Mars Midget' -- Knautia
-- ‘Mars Midget’ is a dwarf, clump-forming seed strain
of this species that has the same scabiosa-like, ruby-red
flower heads (to two inches across) over a long early
summer to autumn bloom period but on plants that are
half the height of the species (about one and a half
feet). Each flower head resembles a rich red, pin cushion
atop generally leafless stems.
Eremerus -- Foxtail Lilies -- Dramatic spires
of dark yellow or apricot rise to four to six feet or
more from an octopus-like base of narrow strap-like
leaves in early summer that resemble a yucca. Plant
in a dry yet rich soil in a sunny location and do not
allow other perennials to overgrow the foliage.
Heuchera 'Caramel' -- Coral Bells -- The villosa
type coral bells are strong plants with large foliage
and great substance. ‘Caramel’ is an excellent cultivar
similar in foliage colouration to ‘Marmalade’ (peach
and umber) but with larger, smoother, less ruffled leaves.
We’ve been impressed with its vigour.
Begonia grandis -- Hardy Begonia -- This beautiful
hardy begonia has light green, nicely textured foliage
with dramatically red-veined reverses. In fall it is
topped with bright candy pink flowers which last almost
until frost. A great plant in combination with ferns
and hostas and for colour in the fall shade garden.
Cautleya spicata and gracilis (lutea) -- Hardy Shade
Ginger -- This wonderful hardy shade ginger has
slender stems to about two feet tall from which emerge
a tropical-looking spike of brilliant yellow flowers
subtended by bright red bracts. The flowers emerge successively
over a month or more each of which lasts three to five
days. The red bracts remain for the entire bloom period.
Definitely something you’ve never before imagined for
your shade garden!
Lobelia 'Elm Fire' -- Lobelia -- Deep beet root
red leaves and bright red flowers in mid to late summer.
An improved form of the very popular ‘Queen Victoria’.
Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue' -- Sea Holly -- ‘Sapphire
Blue’ is a hybrid cultivar with an intense, steel blue
hue infusing its branched stems, leaves, and teasel-shaped
flowers. The flower heads are huge and sit upon dramatic
collar-like bracts. Leaves and stems are tinged with
blue. This peculiar genus from the carrot family is
found around the world but with its centre of diversity
in South America. There are also a number of European
Arisaema tortuosum and A. tortuosum var. helleborifolium
-- Cobra Lilies -- A. tortuosum rises to four to
six feet on spectacularly mottled stems making it the
tallest of the genus. The palmate, tropical-looking
leaves are held near the top of the stalk from which
emerges the jack-in-the-pulpit inflorescence. Out of
the pale green spathe emerges a darker, often purple,
spadix appendage like a whip-like tongue shooting up
to ten inches skyward. Totally fabulous and a great
conversation piece! Widespread across the Himalayan
countries, India, western China and Myanmar.
Cynara cardunculus -- Cardoon -- It would be
hard to find a perennial more bold and statuesque than
the cardoon. This relative of the artichoke can rise
to six feet or more and has large, coarse, grey-white
stems and leaves. The plants are topped with large,
mauve thistle-like flowers in summer. Use as a focal
point in the garden. From Mediterranean Europe.
Rheum 'Ace of Hearts' -- Ornamental Rhubarb
-- I’m excited to offer this excellent ornamental rhubarb.
The large bold spade-shaped foliage emerges entirely
reddish in the spring. While the tops of the leaves
fade to green, the reverses remain boldly dark red.
With its upright behaviour the leaves continuously show
off their burgundy-coloured reverses to great effect.
Pale pink flower spikes in summer. Rich, well-drained
soil in full to part shade. A great focal point plant.
Wollemia nobilis -- Wollemi Pine -- The Wollemi
pine was known only from the fossil record from the
Jurassic period and was thought to have gone extinct
with the dinosaurs. But then one day in 1994 a park
ranger in Wollemi National Park in Australia rappelled
into a deep, inaccessible canyon and found about 100
individuals of a tree he didn't recognize. He brought
a few branches back and it turned out to be the Wollemi
Pine. This was the botanical equivalent of finding a
Tyranosaurus rex alive today. The Wollemi Pine
grows to more than 100 feet in its native habitat. It
has beautiful and intriguing bluish green foliage. It
can work quite well as a houseplant, much like its cousin
the Knorfolk Island Pine, or it could very well prove
hardy for us. Recent tests in the US suggest it is hardy
to zone 7b which would be slightly hardier than the
Monkey Puzzle Trees that grace the Lower Mainland! UBC
Botanical Garden is now testing one and I plan to test
a larger specimen in my own garden once I grow it into
a bit larger specimen! The price of Wollemis in the
marketplace have been on a bit of a rollercoaster but
we now have them at $69.99, half the price they have
been earlier in the season! A portion of the proceeds
goes back to conservation work to protect the wild populations.
At this year's Summer Sizzle we'll be
highlighting display gardens of the winners of our Third
Annual Great Plant Combination Contest. We will also
have a special sale on every plant in the nursery. The
"Lead Up" kicks off this Friday and runs for
a week with all plants at 15% off. It's worth coming
in to have a look, maybe pick up some things you really
want that are in short supply and to plan your purchases
for the Summer Sizzle Weekend when all plants will be
offered at 25% off for three days only! Don't miss it.
Lead Up to the Summer Sizzle Weekend!
Friday July 13th until Thursday July 19th
15% off ALL PLANTS
Summer Sizzle Weekend!
Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 20th, 21st and 22nd
25% off ALL PLANTS
There are no exceptions to the above
Pots and metal work are
not included in our sale. Just plants.
this 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
you have any other questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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