ALERT: Water Restrictions

Water Restrictions Alert


Celebrating our 12th Anniversary Season!

Hello Fellow Gardeners!

I am sending out this special Alert to make sure you're all up to date on our recent transition to Stage 3 water restrictions.

Below you'll find all the details of stage 3 outlining how, when and where you can water.

I've also included a list of tips to conserve water and keep your plants happy through the drought.

If we can reduce our water usage, we can avoid going to stage 4. We don't want to go to stage 4.

Please forward this email to all of your gardening friends and neighbours to make sure they understand our collective responsibility.

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians


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A Look at Metro Vancouver's
Stage 3 Water Restrictions

The GVWD just raised our summer water restrictions to stage 3 reflecting the decreasing water levels held in our reservoirs now down to 69%. During stage 1 we were using 1.6 billion litres a day. During stage 2 we decreased usage to 1.35 billion litres a day. But this wasn't enough. We need to get under 1.2 billion litres a day in order to have enough water to make it to the fall and winter rains and avoid moving to stage 4 restrictions.

Can we do it Vancouver? I think we can. Please share this email with all of your gardening friends and neighbours.

Currently all lawn watering and watering gardens and pots with sprinklers or soaker hoses is prohibited. You can still water with a hose that has an automatic shut off, with drip irrigation and with watering cans.

You should still be able to care for any new plantings made this year as well as other delicate or water thirsty plants such as veggies under these new restrictions. But please try to conserve as much water as you can so we can avoid stage 4. We don't want to go there.

Here is the chart describing the water restrictions. Also have a look below for some water saving tips for your house and garden.

View the full pdf of Water Restrictions.
Please note I have talked to the GVRD and line 3 only applies to new lawns and not to trees, shrubs & flowers. For the full pdf please click here.



Tips for Surviving Summer Drought in the Garden

Established perennials, shrubs, and trees are likely going to get through this drought just fine. They might look a little tattered by fall but they'll perk up when the rains start and next spring.

Here are some tips for getting through our summer drought, taking care of your garden, and saving water at the same time.

Water at the Right Times and the Right Way: Water early in the morning or late in the evening. Less water will evaporate from your plants during these cooler temperatures. Use the bowl method described in the article below. Only water the soil. Don't waste water by spraying the foliage. You can still use drip irrigation which is an efficient way of delivering water. Set up drip lines along new hedges or other sensitive plantings.

Mulch Now: Adding a mulch of bark, grass clippings or compost around drought sensitive plants or new plantings. Mulch will help preserve soil moisture by shading the soil surface and adding extra organic matter that holds water. Bark or grass might be better for shading but as they break down over the next months or years the microorganisms doing the work will steal nitrogen from your plants. I might lean then towards some good Sea Soil applications. We have it in stock now at Phoenix. Though you might not want to do new planting now, planting groundcovers around your larger trees and shrubs will also help shade the soil and conserve moisture. Keep this trick in mind for fall and spring.

Move Pots into Shade: If you have containers that are sitting in full sun and requiring lots of water, move them into a more shaded position where they won't dry out so quickly.

Reuse Grey Water: Water used indoors such as for baths, showers, food preparation and cooking, and other household tasks can be used to water plants. Household soaps and detergents are harmless to plants and may even be a mild fertilizer. Put a bucket in the shower, reuse your kids' bath water, save the water from washing vegetables or boiling pasta (add salt after cooking), or collect dish washing water if it's not too grungy.

Cut Back on Fertilizing: If you're using liquid feeds on potted plants cut back or stop altogether to keep plants from putting on new growth.

Collect Rainwater: If we have any (and that's a big "if") but if we do see rain in the forecast set up some barrels or buckets under your drain spouts.

New Street Trees: If your city has recently planted new street trees on your block give them some water with hose or watering can.

Lawns: Don't worry too much about your lawn. It's not going to die. It's just going to go summer dormant. It will green up again when the rains start in the fall. If you need to cut it, don't cut it so short. Move the wheels lower to leave your lawn longer. Use the mulching option on your mower to add clippings back into the thatch of the lawn to conserve water.

Save Water Indoors: There are lots of tricks for saving water inside the house: only run the dish washer and washing machine when they're full, take shorter showers, collect the cool water from your hot water tap while you're waiting for it to get hot, and don't let the water run when you're shaving or brushing your teeth. There's also that age old adage familiar to many people with cottages or who have depend on well water: "If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down!" You can save lots of water by decreasing your daily flushes! ;-)

I'm including this article below again. While planting now is challenging it can still be done. You'll need to be hand watering any new plantings.

I include it also because I'd like to draw your attention to item number 5 below highlighted in red. If you think certain new plantings from the spring might not be fully established yet, go back to them and use the bowl method to improve your watering efficiency and effectiveness. You'll save water and your plants will come through the drought much stronger.

Also, have a look at the PPS suggestion also highlighted in red. If the people of Metro Vancouver are able to reduce their water usage we can avoid going to stage 4 water restrictions. You'll be able to care for potted plants just fine under stage 3.


You Can Plant Perennials All Summer
A few careful steps are all that is required to successfully plant new perennials in the summer

Many gardeners think that once July and August are here that it is too late to plant new perennials. Indeed, the best seasons for perennial planting are spring and fall. But you can also plant perennials, shrubs, trees and vines in the summer.


This common misconception is likely due to confusion between the planting of new plants and the transplanting of existing plants.

Transplanting of existing plants refers to moving plants already established in the garden which results in the uprooting and damaging of established root systems, especially the fine white tip roots that are the primary conduits for water and nutrients. Once transplanted into a new location the remaining roots will usually not have enough capacity to uptake water to support the foliage in summer's hot, sunny conditions, even if you trim back the foliage by a third to a half.

While this type of garden work should be avoided in the summer months, the planting of new plants can continue with great success. This is because new plants can be planted with little to no damage to established root systems. Your new plant goes into the ground with its roots intact and just like when it was in a pot, the only thing you have to do is keep it watered.

Here are a few secrets of success for summer planting:

  1. While still in the pot water your new plant so that water flows freely out the bottom of the pot and the root ball is thoroughly saturated.
  2. Dig a generous hole. Once dug, fill it with water and allow the water to slowly soak into the surrounding garden bed. This helps moisten the soil around your planting hole.
  3. Remove your new plant from its pot and gently scuff up the edges of the root ball with your fingers. Just a little damage to the roots will encourage them to grow and branch out into their new space. Plant your new plant and fill the hole three quarters full with a mix a half and half mix of existing soil and new compost or Sea Soil. Now fill the hole again with water and allow it to slowly drain away as before. This will thoroughly moisten the soil immediately adjacent to the new plant’s root ball.
  4. Fill the remaining quarter of the planting hole with soil and gently tamp down the soil around the root ball of your new plant.
  5. Collect the excess soil left over from planting and build a rim or bowl around your perennial about six to 12 inches from the base of the plant. This will create a bowl for you to water guaranteeing that water will collect in the bowl and sink straight downwards into the root ball.
  6. Water your new plant two to three times a week during dry sunny periods by filling the bowl with water two or three times and allowing the water to sink straight down into the root ball.
  7. To encourage faster rooting use a transplant fertilizer. The product we carry has rooting hormone and kelp extract which encourage fast root growth.

Voilà! You can plant a new plant or whole new garden beds and you don't have to wait until fall! Follow these easy steps and you can plant new perennials all summer long! Have fun!

PS. These steps are also great for success with spring and fall plantings too, especially if you're planting trees and shrubs which are slower to establish than perennials.

PPS. In summers when the ground gets really dry because of prolonged drought consider doing most of your new planting in pots. You could even select a bunch of perennials and shrubs that you love and pot them up into beautiful mixed containers to enhance your patio through the summer. Then in the fall, remove them from their pots and plant them in the ground. In this way you can take advantage of summer sales, beautify your life, and grow your perennials even bigger for fall planting.


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Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd.
One of the largest and most exciting selections of perennials in Canada.

3380 No. 6 Road (Between Bridgeport and Cambie)
Richmond, BC | 604-270-4133 |

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February 27th to November 1st, 2015

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