Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants

E-Newsletter: March 2013

The Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
March 2013

Celebrating our 10th Anniversary Season!

Hello Fellow Gardeners!

Our 10th Anniversary Season is underway!

Our season opened this year with a monsoon at the Hellebore Hurrah! but there's no looking back! Things are happening. Plants are growing and The Great Easter Plant Hunt: An Easter "egg" hunt for gardeners is coming up this weekend! There will be over $5000 in prizes so don't miss it! You'll also find a list of our other special events for the 2013 season.

In this issue we launch our early season workshops for 2013. More exciting workshops will be added in the next e-newsletter. We also include information on our new email "Alerts". These new occasional communications are based on your interests like edibles, cutting edge new plants, hellebores, clematis, maples, shade plants, succulents and more. Below you'll find more information on our new Alerts and instructions on how you can subscribe to them. Another innovation is our new Pinterest Profile. This great social media site allows us to share beautiful and inspiring images with you and to keep them collected and organized on our boards.

Also in this e-news we announce a second year of offering a Cistus Nursery Group Importation. This is a great opportunity to get some amazing plants from one of the plant meccas south of the border. Details are below!

You won't want to miss our link to a few hundred new plants, the article by Steve Whysall on Perennial Favourites based on an interview with yours truly or information on the exciting speakers coming to the Perennial Plant Association's Public Day this July in Vancouver.

In other news, we are on the brink of launching our new shopping cart system for Mail Order Across Canada. Please tell all your friends and family across the country. We hope to launch before the end of the month! We are just ironing out the last details. In the meantime sign up for our e-newsletter and Mail Order Alert so you can be the first to know when we go live!

See you soon at the nursery!

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians

 

The Great Easter Plant Hunt: An Easter "egg" hunt for gardeners
Easter Sunday March 31st, 2013 | 10 am SHARP!
Over $5000 in prizes to be won!

View a YouTube Video of a Previous Easter Hunt!

 

Phoenix Perennials
Canadian Mail Order
Coming VERY Soon

We are putting the finishing touches on our new Canadian mail order site and will launch within days. Sign up for our Mail Order Alert to be the first to know. And please tell all your friends and family across Canada!. Details below.

Perennial Plant Association Symposium
Public Seminar Day

Sunday July 21st, 2013
Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver
Featuring Six Incredible Speakers from Vancouver and across North America. Details Below.

Please Share The E-News with your Friends and Neighbours

At the bottom of this email there is an option to "Forward Email". We'd love it if you could forward this email to as many of your neighbours and friends as possible, as long as you think they would appreciate it! Thanks!

Services at Phoenix Perennials
Wish List
Looking for a special plant? Let us know. We'll watch for it.
Design Service
Let our in-house designers help you create the garden of your dreams!
Mail Order
Watch for our new Shopping Cart!
Gift Certificates
Give the gift of perennials: the perfect gift for the gardener in your life!

 


In this Issue

Opening Notes: News, Tidbits and the Phoenix Calendar

1. The Great Easter Plant Hunt: An Easter "Egg" Hunt for Gardeners -- Introduce your inner child to the gardener in you and skip on down to the nursery for some fun and over $5000 in fabulous prizes! Plus our Special Event schedule for 2013.
2. Workshops 2013: Come Learn with Us -- Introducing our early spring workshops...
3. Our New Early Warning Email "Alert" System -- As a compliment to our flagship monthly/bimonthly e-newsletter we have created a new system of "Alerts" to keep you updated on different areas of interest at Phoenix Perennials...
4. Cistus Nursery Group Importation by Phoenix Perennials -- At Phoenix Perennials we have considerable experience importing plants from around the world and are teaming up with our friends at Cistus to make their plants more easily accessible north of the border...
5. New Plants for 2013 --
At Phoenix Perennials we love new plants! We have just added a number of our new additions to the Plant Encyclopedia. There are hundreds of new plants each year and...
6. Perennial Favourites by Steve Whysall -- The traditional learning curve for novice gardeners is first to have fun growing annuals — things like marigolds, snapdragons and pelargoniums — and then to switch over and discover the incredible range, diversity and value of come-back-every-year perennials. When this exciting crossover happens, gardeners are faced with the challenge of choosing from a vast range of interesting plants...
7. Perennial Plants and Design: A Perfect Combination -- A one-day seminar, presented by the Perennial Plant Association, for the benefit of home gardeners, master gardeners, professional gardeners, green industry professionals, and landscape enthusiasts. This one-day program, open to all, kicks off a week-long perennial symposium.

 


Opening Notes: News, Tidbits and the Phoenix Calendardar

The Phoenix Perennials Calendar
There's so much going on at the nursery all the time. Here's your resource to keep track.
Date
Event Description
Sat
March 31

The Great Easter Plant Hunt: An Easter "egg" hunt for gardeners
Easter Sunday March 31st, 2013 | 10 am SHARP!
Over $5000 in prizes to be won!

Wed
April 3
Weird and Wonderful Plants of the World: Botanically Intriguing Options for Your Garden
Presented to the West Vancouver Garden Club
Contact Martha for details at marthawarren@shaw.ca.
Mon
April 8
Hot New Plants: Cutting Edge Plants for Cutting Edge Gardeners
Presented to the Langley Garden Club
Contact Patrice for details at patrice_weibelzahl@telus.net
Wed
April 10
Sizzling Succulents: Drama, Structure and Intrigue with Succulent Foliage
Presented to the Galiano Garden Club.
Contact Deborah for details at spindoctor@xplornet.ca.
Fri-Sun
April 12-14
The Clematis Conundrum...
So many clematis, so little time! Featuring over 100 different Clematis and other vines plus free workshops by our own Belinda Cardoso. Click here to register.
Fri-Sun
May 3-5
May Maple Mania
Featuring an incredible selection of Japanese and other maples plus a free workshop by maple expert and UBC Botanical Garden Associate Director Doug Justice.
Sat-Sun
May 11-12
Mothers' Day Free* Lily
Mom's need beautiful things and Phoenix Perennials is here for Moms on Mothers' Day. On Mothers' Day weekend come on down, show us that you're a Mom or Grand Mom by bringing your kids (pets count too) or a picture of them and we'll give you a free lily as a thank you for raising the next generation of gardeners. *With purchase over $10, while supplies last.
Sat-Sun June 15-16
Fathers' Day Free* "Guy-Lardia"
Show us that you're a Dad or Grand Dad by bringing your kids (pets count too) or a picture of them and we'll give you a free "Guy-Lardia" (otherwise known as Gaillardia or blanket flower) as a thank you for raising the next generation. *With purchase over $10, while supplies last.
Fri-Sun July 13-15
The Summer Sizzle
Celebrate the botanical glories of high summer with specially priced plants and other surprises.
Sat
Sept 7
The Heirloom Tomato Festival
With tomato tastings, heirloom tomato fruit for sale and a display of heirloom tomatoes! | Sign up early for our Tomato Tastings. Last year they sold out with 100 people still on the wait list! View images from last year's event!
Fri-Sun
Dec 6-8

The Christmas Hurrah!
Celebrate the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, and other seasonal delights with workshops and DIY projects. View images from last year's Christmas Hurrah!

 

 

KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE EXCITING WORLD OF PHOENIX PERENNIALS
FACEBOOK PAGE
Lots of hot updates, pictures and great content. Be the first to know about everything Phoenix! Have a look! You'll love it.


 
TWITTER
Get your Phoenix updates through Twitter.
Follow PhoenixPer on Twitter
 
YOUTUBE
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to be notified of new videos as soon as they are published. We uploaded 24 videos in our first year!
Subscribe to me on YouTube
PINTEREST
If you haven't yet discovered Pinterest, you're going to love it! Pinterest allows you to create boards on which you pin images from all over the internet so you can organize them in one place. We've created our own boards of inspiring images. You can follow our profile and our boards to keep up to date on our new pins!
Phoenix Perennials on Pinterest

 

Perennial Edibles for Early Season Gardening (and Eating!)
If the video does not appear in this window, click here.


1.

The Great Easter Plant Hunt
An Easter "egg" hunt for gardeners

Easter Sunday March 31st, 2013 | 10 am SHARP!

Introduce your inner child to the gardener in you and skip on down to the nursery for some fun and fabulous prizes! The Easter Plant Bunny will be visiting Phoenix Perennials and hiding lots of eggs in all the nooks and crannies of the nursery. You're going to have to be quick to find the eggs before other gardeners do! Then crack them open to find a prize inside each one! There are more than $5000 in prizes to be won including free plants, Phoenix dollars, and discounts plus lots of chocolate!

View a YouTube Video from a previous Hunt.

 

Upcoming Special Events

The Clematis Conundrum... | Friday through Sunday April 12th-14th, 2013 | So many clematis, so little time! Featuring over 100 different Clematis and other vines plus free workshops by our own Belinda Cardoso. Click here to register.

May Maple Mania | Friday through Sunday May 3rd to 5th, 2013 | Featuring an incredible selection of Japanese and other maples plus a free workshop by maple expert and UBC Botanical Garden Associate Director Doug Justice.

Mothers' Day Free* Lily | Saturday and Sunday May 11th and 12th, 2013 | Mom's need beautiful things and Phoenix Perennials is here for Moms on Mothers' Day. On Mothers' Day weekend come on down, show us that you're a Mom or Grand Mom by bringing your kids (pets count too) or a picture of them and we'll give you a free lily as a thank you for raising the next generation of gardeners. *With purchase over $10, while supplies last.

Fathers' Day Free* "Guy-Lardia" | Saturday and Sunday June 15th and 16th, 2013 | Show us that you're a Dad or Grand Dad by bringing your kids (pets count too) or a picture of them and we'll give you a free "Guy-Lardia" (otherwise known as Gaillardia or blanket flower) as a thank you for raising the next generation. *With purchase over $10, while supplies last.

The Summer Sizzle | Friday to Sunday July 13th to 15th, 2012 | 10am-5pm | Celebrate the botanical glories of high summer with specially priced plants and other surprises.

The Heirloom Tomato Festival | Saturday September 7th, 2013 | 10am-5pm | With tomato tastings, heirloom tomato fruit for sale and a display of heirloom tomatoes! | Sign up early for our Tomato Tastings. Last year they sold out with 100 people still on the wait list! View images from last year's event!

The Christmas Hurrah! | Friday to Sunday December 6th to 8th, 2013 | 10am - 3pm | Celebrate the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, and other seasonal delights. The nursery will reopen for one weekend at the start of December for sales of the amazing Christmas rose and other members of the Helleborus Gold Collection plus other winter blooming plants. A tradition in Europe for decades, these hellebores can be enjoyed like pointsettias inside the house and given as gifts at Christmas parties. They can then be planted in the garden in spring for years of Christmas cheer. We'll be offering numerous workshops including: the Christmas Rose Wreath Making Workshop, the Christmas Rose Advanced Wreath Making Workshop, the Christmas Rose Centrepiece Workshop and the Christmas Rose Outdoor Container Workshop plus a DIY project to doll up a Christmas Rose to bring it inside for holiday decoration. View images from last year's Christmas Hurrah!

 


2.

Workshops and Classes at the Nursery in 2013

Come Learn With Us!

 

Online Registration: We now use online registration so you can book workshops 24 hours a day seven days a week. Registration is through two of the most trusted names on the internet: Constant Contact and Paypal. Both use secure servers so you can feel safe paying online. If you wish to register by other methods please call the nursery at 604-270-4133 or visit us in person.

 

April

SPECIAL EVENT SERIES AT THE CLEMATIS CONUNDRUM | Climbing to New Heights: Clematis and Other Vines for All Seasons | Instructor: Belinda | Two Workshops: Sat & Sun April 13th & 14th, 1-2pm | FREE* (*$5 registration fee refundable at the workshop with a $5 coupon.) |

Belinda will introduce you to all kinds of great vines for colour and fragrance all season long. She’ll talk about the huge variety of different clematis and how to care for them as well as other vines like honeysuckle, jasmine, deciduous and evergreen climbing hydrangea, passionflowers, kiwis and more. Register Online!

KIDS SERIES | Miniature Gardens for Kids: Make your own Harry Potter Garden | Instructor: Kate | Sat April 20th, 10am-12pm | $12 (Instruction) + $18 (All materials, pot and plants) = $30 | Parent participation recommended for younger children. | Calling all boy wizards and girl witches! In this workshop you'll get to plant up your own Harry Potter Garden complete with Harry, Ron and Hermione, some cool plants, a Hogwarts castle and the Black Lake! You'll also learn some charms and spells to keep your garden growing! Bring your best friends to have a magical good time! Recommended for children ages 4-12. A parent or guardian should be present with the younger children but are not necessary for the older children. Register Online!

CONTAINER SERIES | Gardening 101: Master the Basics of Perennials for Lifelong Gardening Success | Instructor: Jo | Sun April 21st, 1-3pm | $12 | If you’re a beginner who is keen to get gardening or an intermediate gardener who wants to fill in your knowledge, this workshop is for you. We’ll cover all the basics to guarantee your success including basic botany, the importance of healthy soil and composting, plant macro and micro nutrients, the “right plant, right place” mantra including considerations for soil type and moisture, light and hardiness, and how to select, plant and care for your perennials. We’ll also introduce you to some of the major groups of tried and true perennials and discuss how to use them in the garden. With a combination of theory, demonstrations and hands on learning you’ll be well on your way to achieving the gardening success you’ve always dreamed of! To learn about woody plants don’t miss Gardening 201. Register Online!

CONTAINER SERIES | Living Wreaths: Plant Up a Wreath with Fantastic Succulents | Instructor: Belinda | Sat April 27th, 10am-12pm | $14 + $40 Wreath Frame = $54 | And you thought wreaths were only for Christmas time! Belinda will introduce you to an intriguing idea in succulent gardening – planting up a wreath with sempervivums, echeverias, sedums, thyme and other interesting succulents and companion plants. You can hang them on your sunny door or gate or lay them on a table as a centrepiece. No matter how you use them you’ll be sure to wow everyone with this unique garden feature. After some general instruction, each participant will have the opportunity to design and plant up their own wreath!The price includes a high quality wreath frame, moss and potting mix. The plants you select are not included. Register Online!

CONTAINER SERIES | Perennial Hanging Baskets: To Boldly Go Where No Perennial Has Gone Before! | Instructor: Belinda | Sun April 28th, 1-3pm | $14 + hanging basket choice | Take perennials into the unknown and on to the brave new world of the hanging basket. You’ll learn about perennials that are suitable for growing in hanging baskets in both sun and shade and then you’ll get a chance to plant up your own to take home with you! Cost includes potting mix and moss. When you register you will have the option of purchasing a wire hanging basket and hanger for $9.99 or a high quality hanging basket for $59.99. You may also bring your own. If you do, we recommend a hanging basket that can be lined with moss as it increases your design options. | Register Online!

 

May

SPECIAL EVENT SERIES AT MAY MAPLE MANIA | The World of Maples | Instructor: Doug Justice, Associate Director, UBC Botanical Garden | Sat May 4th, 10-11:30am | FREE* (*$5 registration fee refundable at the workshop with a $5 coupon.) | The Japanese maples commonly available to the gardening community, while lovely, poorly represent the astounding diversity and breathtaking beauty of this most useful group of small trees. Doug is an expert on maples. At this workshop he will wax poetic about the beauty and diversity of Japanese and related maples and then get practical and talk about growing them in the garden and containers. Register Online!

More Workshops Coming!
Watch for Our Full Season of Workshops in the Next E-Newsletter!

Instructor Biographies

Belinda Cardoso is an experienced and eclectic gardener who grows plants from the “normal to the sublime.” She has an encyclopedic gardening knowledge and has worked at Phoenix Perennials for the past four years where she has proven herself to be an expert on fragrant plants, vines and among many other things. Belinda works with our seed propagation program at the nursery and as a retail associate.

Kate Herring is a multi-talented woman with a love for perennials and design. Kate recently completed her Certificate in Garden Design from UBC and her Master Gardeners Course. In addition to her roles in retail sales and workshop instruction at Phoenix, Kate is also one of our in-house designers for our In-Nursery Design Service.

Doug Justice is the Associate Director and Curator of Collections at the UBC Botanical Garden and a well-respected expert on gardening and plants, especially shrubs and trees. He is co-author of The Jade Garden: New and Notable Plants from Asia.

JoAnn Turner (Dip. Hort. Cap. College) is a Vancouver gardener beginning her third 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 mud.

 

Booking Workshops

Spaces are limited. Please book in advance.

Online Registration: Registration for our workshops is now available online 24 hours a day seven days a week. Registration is through two of the most trusted names on the internet: Constant Contact and Paypal. Both use secure servers so you can feel safe paying online. If you wish to register by other methods you will need to call the nursery at 604-270-4133.

Each workshop requires a minimum of 8 people and a maximum of 15-25 depending on the workshop. If the minimum is not met we may not be able to run the workshop in which case we will contact you a few days before the scheduled date of the workshop and give you a credit towards another class, a credit at the nursery, or a refund.

If you are unable to attend a workshop you have already signed up for please give us 3 days notice. We would be happy to give you a credit towards another class or a credit at the nursery. We cannot offer credits, however, unless you let us know 3 days in advance of your workshop that you cannot attend.

Don't see the subject you're interested in?
Do you have an idea for a workshop? We'd love to find out what you'd like to learn about. Contact us and let us know.

 


3.

Our New Early Warning Email "Alert" System

As a compliment to our flagship monthly/bimonthly e-newsletter we have created a new system of "Alerts" to keep you updated on different areas of interest at Phoenix Perennials. Often there is too much going on at the nursery -- too many new plants, too many cool plants, too many events -- to properly highlight them in our already large main e-newsletter. For instance, sometimes the most amazing plants come available at the nursery right after we've sent out the e-newsletter and it will be weeks before we can send another one to let you know. That's where the Alerts come in.

The Alerts will allow you to select your areas of interest and receive additional information on an occasional basis through the season. We will not send them out regularly. Instead they will be sent out only when we feel there is something exciting that you need to know. For instance, Edible Alerts will be sent out when new veggies, herbs and other edibles arrive at the nursery so you can be the first to get the best varieties and get the freshest, healthiest plants for your veggie and herb garden. The Alerts might also include ideas, articles, images and extra information about your area of interest. The Alerts will be short, bite-sized emails with a quick bit of information to keep you up to date and to enhance your gardening experience. The Alerts will often be different and complimentary information to the content in the main e-newsletter so make sure you sign up for the e-newsletter and then also select your Alerts of interest..

Here are the Alerts. You'll be able to subscribe to any number you wish:

Edible Alert -- This Alert will be sent occasionally to update you on all things Edible at Phoenix Perennials including heirloom and unusual veggies, herbs and fruit as well as special events like our Heirloom Tomato Fest. View a recent Edible Alert.

Hot Plant Alert -- Sometimes the E-Newsletter doesn't come out often enough to highlight all of the hot and exciting plants at the nursery. This occasional Alert will keep you on the cutting edge of hot new plants and notable rarities.

Living Sculpture Alert -- Hardy and non-hardy succulents, tillandsia (air plants), dwarf conifers and other great living sculpture plants. Select this Alert to receive occasional emails when something important is going on with this group of plants at the nursery.

Made in the Shade Alert -- At Phoenix Perennials we love our shade plants. This occasional Alert will highlight new and notable shady characters.

Hardy Subtropical Alert -- Do you love the tropical look and zonal denial? This occasional Alert will notify you when we have exciting hardy subtropicals and other exotic plants at the nursery.

Sales and Special Offers Alert -- If you like a deal then you'll want to sign up for this occasional email Alert to keep you up to date on sales, discounts, blue tag specials and other offers.

Native Plant Alert -- Do you love BC natives? This occasional Alert will let you know when native plants arrive at the nursery throughout the season as well as other info about BC natives.

Hellebore Alert -- This occasional Alert will keep you up to date on our Hellebore Hurrahs! as well as other hellebore related news such as new introductions throughout the season and special offers for hellebore afficionados.

Clematis and Cool Vines Alert -- If you're a fan of the Queen of the Vines or other climbing garden denizens then sign up for this Alert to find out about great garden plants that rise to every occasion.

Maple and Cool "Woodies" Alert -- If you love your maples and other cool trees and shrubs then you'll want to receive this occasional Alert about everything "woody" at Phoenix Perennials including special events, new arrivals and special offers.

Mail Order Alert -- If you live too far away to visit us regularly then you'll love this occasional alert on our mail order division including new plant updates and special offers. Currently we ship right across Canada but not internationally.

Do you have any other areas of interest not covered by these Alerts
for which you would like us to create an Alert? Let us know!

How to Sign Up for Our Alerts

For those not yet receiving our main E-Newsletter, visit our webpage at www.phoenixperennials.com to sign up. Enter your email address in the box and click Go. During the process you'll have the option of selecting your Alerts of interest

For those already receiving our E-Newsletter:

1. Scroll to the bottom of the e-newsletter and click on the Update Profiles/Email Address link.
2. A browser window will open called "Update Your Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd. Profile". Click on "Update".
3. You will be sent an email to your email address. The subject will be "Your Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter Profile". Open this email and click on the link to "Update Profile".
4. A browser window will open giving you the option to select our various Alerts. Select your Alerts of interest. Also make sure your name, city and province are correct. Click on "Save Profile Changes." You're done!

Keep in mind that through our SafeUnsubscribe System you can change your preferences any time you like by clicking on the link at the bottom of our E-Newsletter and Alerts.

Enjoy!

 


4.

Cistus Nursery Group Importation
by Phoenix Perennials

Cistus Nursery (www.cistus.com) is located near Portland, Oregon and specializes in hardy subtropicals, Mediterranean climate plants, plants from the southern hemisphere and other intriguing plants from around the world. Though Cistus will ship to individuals in Canada, the process can be costly and confusing for home gardeners. At Phoenix Perennials we have considerable experience importing plants from around the world and are teaming up with our friends at Cistus to make their plants more easily accessible north of the border.

If you are interested in acquiring some intriguing plants for your garden, please click on the link to find out more about the process, the deadline for placing orders, the estimated pick up date at Phoenix Perennials and the costs involved.

For more information click here for full details

 


5.

New Plants in 2013

At Phoenix Perennials we love new plants! We have just added a few hundred of our new additions to the Plant Encyclopedia. There are hundreds of new plants each year and there are still more to be added but we think you'll be excited about what's already online. You're going to want to take a look! But I'm warning you: this could be one of the most dangerous web surfing expeditions of 2013!

Click Here to View Hundreds of New Plants in our Plant Encyclopedia

Begonia
'Garden Angel Blush'
Brunnera
'Silver Heart'
Coreopsis Big Bang 'Mercury Rising'
Dicentra
'Amore Rose'

Wish List: If you see plants that you are interested in we can add you to the Wish List and send you an email when they are ready. There is no obligation to buy. We are happy to provide this service to keep you and your garden on the cutting edge. To be added to the Wish List email us at info at phoenixperennials.com and include the list of plants you're interested in.


6.

In the Garden

Perennial Favourites

Everyone, of course, will have their own list of favourites. But here’s a list of indispensable, must-have perennials.

By Steve Whysall, Vancouver Sun, Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Steve and I after our interview for this article.

The traditional learning curve for novice gardeners is first to have fun growing annuals — things like marigolds, snapdragons and pelargoniums — and then to switch over and discover the incredible range, diversity and value of come-back-every-year perennials.

When this exciting crossover happens, gardeners are faced with the challenge of choosing from a vast range of interesting plants, all of which are capable of delivering at least three or four years (often more) of healthy, productive growth.

Most herbaceous perennials rise from their dormancy of cold soil in spring, produce new leaves and flowers, and then die down in fall, disappearing completely out of sight for winter.

Some, however, such as euphorbias, hellebores and heuchera, are evergreen in mild areas and offer attractive structure and colour all year round.

But the first thing new perennial gardeners need to figure out is which plants to choose and how to put them together into eye-catching, functional associations.

Some perennials have become so popular and are used as workhorse plants in the majority of gardens that many longtime gardeners don’t even refer to them anymore.

Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) is one such plant. You’ll find it in pretty much every garden, especially English-style gardens, where it has become a traditional staple.

But few people ever talk about it or point it out anymore, even though everyone would confess at the drop of a hat to loving it and would say they could not bear to be without it.

A basic list of indispensable, must-have perennials would also have to include hosta, astilbe, aubrieta, coreopsis, dicentra (bleedingheart), campanula (bell flowers), primula (primrose), hemerocallis (daylily), heuchera, Japanese anemone, papaver (poppy), phlox, polygonatum (Solomon’s seal), rudbeckia and sedum.

Everyone, of course, will have their own list of favourites. I would lobby strongly for astrantia, aquilegia, hardy geraniums, cimicifuga, crocosmia, and without a doubt, euphorbia, hellebore and ligularlia.

Quite a few plants are technically not perennials, being either biennials such as digitalis (foxgloves) or lavender (shrub), but they get lumped in with perennials along with alliums, peonies, phormiums, hardy fuchsias, even some clematis and ground covers like pachysandra.

Connoisseur perennial gardeners often talk airily about the charms of sanguisorba and scrophularia, trillium and tiarella, geum and gentian, knautia and kirengeshoma — all top-notch perennials well worth discovering.

My son, who is now one of the new generation of 30-something gardeners, has a particular fondness for prickly, architectural blue beauties, such as echinops (sea thistle) and erygium (sea holly), along with classic acanthus and late-summer bloomers like monarda (bee balm) and helenium (sneezeweed). His learning curve is exciting to observe.

Others love more promiscuous self-seeders like Corydalis lutea, aegopdodium, alstroemeria, lamiastrum and lysimachia.

When asked, Gary Lewis, owner of Phoenix Perennials Nursery in Richmond, came up with a tantalizing list of his favourite “stalwart” perennials.

But he also went one better, and named new-and-improved cultivars with each selection.

For instance, being a firm fan of ajuga, he named tried-and-tested Burgundy Glow, but also pointed out that Sugar Plum is a better all-around performer.

Japanese anemones, especially September Charm are incredibly useful for end-of-summer colour, but the new, more compact forms in the Pretty Lady series are smaller and easier to accommodate in small gardens, he says.

Sea Heart and Silver Heart are improved forms of the Brunnera Jack Frost and Looking Glass. These are plants loved for their exquisite heart-shaped silver-green leaves and dainty blue flowers.

Everyone fell in love with the flowers of Coreopsis Limerock Ruby when it first came out, only to be disappointed when the plant turned out not to be hardy. Lewis says Mercury Rising, part of the new Big Bang series, produces almost identical flowers and is winter hardy, making it a true perennial.

As for bleeding hearts, Valentine is a striking red-flowered variety, Lewis says. And when it comes to the ever-popular blue festuca grasses, Beyond Blue is a far better cultivar than Elijah Blue.

Geranium Rozanne scores top marks for its prolific, continuous blooming, but Havana Blues is the new rival on the block, with equally impressive credentials.

Hellebores can do no wrong in Lewis’ book. He is always on the lookout for new, improved cultivars, such as Anna’s Red, Maestro, Penny’s Pink and Merlin — all first-class introductions.

Knautia macedonica has been a favourite for years because of its dainty purple-red pincushion flowers, but Thunder and Lightning is a more compact form and also has variegated foliage.

Most gardeners have Sedum Autumn Joy, a brilliant, upright, sturdy perennial for architecture and fall colour, but Lewis highly rates new cultivars in the Desert series (Desert Black, Desert Blonde and Desert Red) as well as Thundercloud and Thunderhead for their outstanding flower and foliage colour.

Two perennials he thinks more people would enjoy are schizostylis for flowers in October/November and agastaches for hot spots and for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, especially proven performers like Summer Fiesta, Summer Glow and Raspberry Summer.

Lewis agrees that many of the rules of perennial gardening, such as always planting tall things at the back and medium-size things in the middle, have been thrown out the window.

“It’s perfectly OK to put some tall things in the middle and place a few medium-size things at the front of the border to create diversity and rhythm,” he says.

Sequencing is still the biggest challenge: arranging plants so that when one finishes, another picks up the flower torch, but concentrating on foliage and shape is just as important, he says.

“I personally love a riot of colour, but I know people who will only plant pinks, purples and white and will never look at an orange flower.”

The beauty of hardy perennials is that they do give you value for money, returning every year and usually getting bigger and better, often allowing you to divide them and make new clumps and colonies.

Is this your year to give perennials a try?

swhysall@vancouversun.com


7.

Perennial Plant Association Symposium
Perennial Plants And Design: A Perfect Combination
Public Seminar Day

Sunday July 21st, 2013
Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver

A Note from Phoenix Perennials owner, Gary: The Perennial Plant Association is the North America-wide industry group that brings gardeners the Perennial Plant of the Year. I represent Canada on the Board of Directors and am the lead organizer for this year's Symposium taking place in Vancouver. The Annual Symposium is in a different location every year and comes to Canada once every seven years. Last time the Symposium was in Vancouver was in 1993! In addition to the professional program we have prepared a knock-out day of seminars for the gardening public with speakers from Vancouver and across North America. For details read below. I hope you'll join us and tell all your gardening friends!
Online registration is now open.

A one-day seminar, presented by the Perennial Plant Association, for the benefit of home gardeners, master gardeners, professional gardeners, green industry professionals, and landscape enthusiasts. This one-day program, open to all, kicks off a week-long perennial symposium. See the bottom of this page for Continuing Education and Certification Credits that are offered. 

Registration Fee: The Registration fee is $89 USD through June 1 and $99 USD after June 1. Full time students pay $50 USD. ONLINE REGISTRATION or Download the Registration Form.

PROGRAM DETAILS:

8:30 am The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty -- David Culp, Sunny Border Nurseries, Inc., Downington, Pennsylvania

Brandywine Cottage is David Culp’s two-acre garden where he has mastered the design technique of layering - interplanting many different species in the same area so that as one plant passes its peak, another takes over. The result is a nonstop parade of color that begins with a tapestry of heirloom daffodils and hellebores in spring and ends with a jewel-like blend of Asian wildflowers at the onset of winter. David will illustrate a basic lesson in layering - how to choose the correct plants, how to design a layered garden, and how to maintain it.

9:30 am The Best of the Best: Edible Trees, Shrubs and Plants to Use in Your Landscape -- Senga Lindsay, Senga Designs, Vancouver, British Columbia

From beautiful food-producing plants to replace those tired maples and rhododendrons to the trendiest vegetables, Senga will introduce you to the latest edibles that not only look stylish in your garden but are sought- after flavors by foodies and leading chefs alike.

10:30 am Break

11:00 am From Jewel Box Garden to Rural Estate: Creating a New Vision From Scratch -- Thomas Hobbs, Southland Nursery, Vancouver, British Columbia

Tom’s move to a 20 acre farm in South Langley, BC from his acclaimed Spanish Mediterranean home and showpiece garden surprised him more than anyone else. After looking at nearly 100 properties, a potential dream garden revealed itself...under wrecked cars and acres of blackberries! For the last 5 years, he and partner Brent Beattie have dealt with copper thieves, squatters, feral llamas, rampaging cows and other colorful personalities. Tom and Brent have created a beautiful lake and formal daylily breeding gardens, planted hundreds of trees to join an established forest, and transferred Tom’s collection of tree peonies, martagon lilies, trilliums, and rarities to new gardens under huge old trees. Tom will chat about achievements in his old garden and describe how he realized that “his cake was baked” and that his garden was no longer challenging. He will introduce Bel’ Occhio, his new rural estate and share his vision for the future.

12:00 pm – Lunch On Your Own

1:30 pm Creative Solutions for Small Spaces -- Beth Edney, Designs By The Yard, Toronto, Ontario

Designing small spaces can test even the most experienced designers, let alone the home gardener. Join Beth as she presents several creative solutions to common small space challenges, including how to buffer unsightly views with unique screens, fences and plants, and how to best approach the narrow spaces between properties. Through Beth’s presentation of new plant introductions and unique sculptural and artistic pieces, she will show you many ways to enhance small spaces, including making the best color choices and plant palette selections that are suitable for small gardens. Beth will also include other topics such as maximizing your space with vertical gardening and using perspective to make your space appear larger. If you garden in small spaces you will not want to miss this plethora of ideas.

2:30 pm Break

3:00 pm New Plants From Canada’s Far East: Plant Breeding at the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden -- Todd Boland, Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland

In 2005, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden began a plant breeding program similar to that which existed at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. The purpose of the program is to develop new ornamental plants, both perennials and shrubs, for the landscape industry of Canada and the world. The focus of the plant breeding is two-fold. Foremost, is the development of new selections based on native Newfoundland plants. Genera being investigated includeSalix, Juniperus, Larix, Picea, Iris, Erigeron, and Solidago. The other focus is on the development of new plants based on more typical ornamental plant genera such asAruncus, Dianthus, Iris, and Caltha. The first release was Philadelphus ‘Starbright’, which is now available across Canada with a release in Europe in 2014. Come see the new plants and get a sneak-peek at what could appear at a nursery near you in the coming years.

4:00 pm Full Frontal Gardens -- Lucy Hardiman, Perennial Partners, Portland, Oregon

A revolution is taking root in front gardens across North America. Gardeners are casting off the yoke of tradition and reclaiming their front yards as canvases for personal expression. Water-guzzling lawns and traditional foundation plantings are being replaced with walkways, terraces, art, ornamental plantings, and vegetable gardens. Planting beds are even jumping the sidewalk as street side grass boulevards yield to low water or vegetable gardens. Playful and eye catching front gardens speak to the street-engaging neighbors in a dialog about the delights inherent in taking the time to slow down and enjoy vistas of bold colors, bird songs, fragrance, and the flight of butterflies. Images from around the Northwest will illustrate the creativity and artful designs of gardeners in private, commercial, and municipal venues in the public eye.

Continuing Education and Certification Credit is offered with this program:
• The Association of Professional Landscape Designers offers one credit for each presentation for a total of six (6) APLD CEUs for the full-day program.

 • The Canadian Nursery and Landscape Association has approved this seminar for (6) CEUs toward CNLA Landscape Nursery Certified recertification.

 • The British Columbia Master Gardener program has approved CEUs for this program.

• Other Master Gardener participants should check with local programs for credit information. 

Speaker Bios

Todd Boland -- Todd graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Masters of Science in Biology, his specialization being orchid ecology. Since 2005, Boland has held the position of Research Horticulturist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden, focusing on development of new hardy plant varieties. Todd is a founding member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildflower Society. He has written and lectured on various aspects of horticulture and native plants across North America and the United Kingdom. He has authored two photographic field guides: The Trees and Shrubs of Newfoundland and Labrador and The Trees and Shrubs of the Maritimes.

David Culp -- David, a noted horticulturist, is a gardener’s gardener. Since 1990 he has fashioned a horticultural wonderland on two acres adjoining a late 18th-century farmhouse he affectionately refers to as Brandywine Cottage. David has lectured for the past 15 years on a variety of horticulture topics with special emphasis on hellebores. He has made guest appearances on the highly popular television shows HGTV and Martha Stewart Living. His book, The Layered Garden, was published by Timber Press in 2013.

Beth Edney -- Beth runs Designs By The Yard in Toronto, Ontario, which specializes in urban garden design and offers garden furniture, unique water features, art, and accessories. With over 25 years experience in landscape design, Beth’s work has been published in Gardening Life, Canadian Gardening, Chatelaine, Horticultural Review, Reader’s Digest, Metro News, The Toronto Star, Canadian Living, and Globe and Mail. Beth teaches part-time at Humber College, Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, Fanshawe College, and at Landscape Ontario.

Lucy Hardiman -- Lucy is the prinicipal of Perennial Partners, a garden design collaborative, distinguished by innovative hardscape, playful planting design, and creative approaches to problem solving. She was a contributing editor for Horticulture magazine from 2005-2011. Lucy is the garden editor for Oregon Home magazine and writes for regional and national publications. Her garden is a testimony to her passion for plants and has been featured in many books and magazines including Martha Stewart Living.

Thomas Hobbs -- A lifelong interest and obsession with plants led Thomas Hobbs into floristry with his trend-setting Thomas Hobbs Florist, then into nursery ownership with his beautiful Southlands Nursery. Hobbs authored Shocking Beauty and The Jewel Box Garden. He occasionally designs gardens in British Columbia and California. He also enjoys hybridizing plants including bearded iris, daylilies, nerines, dahlias, and Cymbidium orchids. Tom lectures throughout North America on creativity and beauty in the garden.

Senga Lindsay -- As a landscape architect and graduate of Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, Senga specializes in integrating edible gardens into her design practice whether for large developments or individual homeowners. She contributes to BC Living magazine and shares garden design tips on her YouTube channel as well as her website. Senga is proud to have been awarded “Best of the City” by Vancouver Magazine in 2010 and Western Living magazine’s 2009 Landscape Architect of the Year. She lovingly maintains her own bountiful garden in North Vancouver. Senga is the author of Edible Landscaping: Urban Food Gardens That Look Great.


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Phoenix 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 and Cambie)
604-270-4133
www.phoenixperennials.com
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.

Opening Dates and Hours
March 1st to November 3rd, 2013
10am-5pm


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