Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants

E-Newsletter: August 2008


The Phoenix Perennials

August 2008

Hello from Phoenix Perennials!

It's the height of summer, fellow gardeners, and I must say myself the nursery looks fabulous. Everything is in bloom. We hope you're enjoying your garden and the nice weather and also catching some Olympic coverage. If you find your garden is experiencing the summer doldrums - a lack of colour and interest and that look of deflated fatigue - come down and visit us. The nursery looks like a giant garden right now filled with summer blooming plants perfect for resurrecting your tired borders.

A special goodbye to our French intern Jeanne Poulet who is returning to France to continue her degree in horticulture after working for the past three months at Phoenix Perennials. Jeanne was given the opportunity to work in every aspect of the nursery in order to develop an understanding of the daily functioning of a nursery. She was also quite keen to learn a lot about plants which, at Phoenix, is hard to avoid! Good luck Jeanne in your future studies and career!

In this issue we announce our continuing Summer Sale, offer a preview of our fall bulb selection, the largest we've ever offered, highlight our popular fall workshops, and bring you our regular installment of Fabulous at Phoenix.

See you soon at the nursery!

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians


In this Issue

1. Summer Sale
2. Fall Bulb Preview
3. Upcoming Workshops: Come learn with us
4. Fabulous at Phoenix: Gary's Picks of New, Notable and Luscious Plants at the Phoenix Candy Store


Summer Sale
Some great plants remain on sale at the nursery through the month of August.

Select Shrubs 40% Off
(Including viburnum, climbing hydrangea, boxwood, California Lilac, Mexican mock orange, rose-of-sharon, juniper, spiraea and more)
Roses 50% Off
Hydrangea 25% Off
Echeveria 2 for 1

Sale Ends August 31st, 2008.



Fall Bulb Preview

Our fine selection of fall bulbs will be arriving at the nursery from early to mid September with smaller shipments continuing to arrive until early October. We will offer an exciting selection of some of the more uncommon and unusual bulbs such as botanical tulips, camassia, fritillaria, cyclamen and erythronium, as well as some striking new cultivars of hybrid tulips, hyacinths and daffodils.

Here is a preview of the different groups of bulbs along with a list of the species and cultivars we'll be offering in each of those groups (You can google these on the internet to view images.).

Shipping: Because bulbs are easy to ship we will be offering this option. Please watch for the September e-newsletter for details.

Allium - Ornamental Onions

Ornamental Onions offer fabulous spheres of colour. No spring garden is complete without them.

moly 'Luteum'

'Ivory Queen'
'Mount Everest'
'Purple Sensation'

A. flavum 'Fireworks'


Camassia - Camas Lily

Our native camas lily and it's related species and cultivars are great for people who love blue flowers.


esculenta quamash

'Blue Melody'

C. quamash


Eremurus - Foxtail Lilies

Tall and dramatic foxtail lilies are great for hot sunny spots and bloom in June.





E. bungei


Galanthus - Snowdrops

Harbingers of spring... you can't be without snowdrops.


nivalis 'Flore Pleno' (Double)


nivalis 'Viridi-apice'


Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno'


Narcissus - Narcissus & Daffodils

Classic old cultivars and crazy new ones, narcissus and daffodils are a necessity for the spring garden.

Butterfly: 'Tritomba'
Cupped: 'Avalon', 'Cool Flame', 'Poeticus Recurvus'
Double: 'Double Poet's', 'Extravaganza', 'Rosy Cloud', 'Tahiti'
Indoor Forcing: 'Chinese Sacred Lily', 'Grand Soleil D'Or', Paperwhite 'Erlicheer', Paperwhite 'Ziva'
Mini: 'Golden Bells', 'Pacific Coast',
Novelty: 'Full House'
Poetaz: 'Bridal Crown'
Rock Garden: 'Rip Van Winkle', 'Sailbot'

Narcissus 'Extravaganza'


Tulipa - Botanical Tulips

Small but mighty in both colour and their perennial habit, these tulips will return year after year.

batalini 'Bright Gem'
'Honky Tonk'
'Persian Pearl'
Kaufmanniana 'Waterlily'
'Lady Jane'
'Lilac Wonder'
'Little Beauty'
'Little Princess'
'Peppermint Stick'
s 'Tubergens Variety'
praestans 'Unicum'
pulchella 'Eastern Star'
'Red Hunter'
(Woodland Tulip)

Tulipa 'Tinka'


Tulipa - Hybrid Tulips

This year we are expanding our selection of unique hybrid tulips. We've selected from among the newest and most unusual cultivars.

Bouquet Tulips: 'Candy Club', 'Praestans Fusilier', 'Wallflower'
Classic Mayflowering Tulips: 'El Nino'
Darwin Tulips: 'Queen of Night', 'Garant', 'Jaap Groot', 'Silverstream'
Double Early Tulips: 'Eternal Flame'
Double Peony Tulips: 'Abigail', 'Black Hero', 'Ramona'
Fringed Tulips: 'Canasta', 'Giant Beauty', 'Temple of Beauty'
Greigii Tulips: 'Fire of Love', 'Red Riding Hood' Impression Tulips: 'Design Impression' Kaufmanniana Tulips: 'Chopin'
Parrot Tulips: 'Black Parrot', 'Parrot Blue', 'Fantasy', 'Rai', 'Rococo'
Triumph Tulips: 'Denise', 'El Cid', 'Jackpot', 'Lady Night', 'Shirley's Dream'
Viridiflora Tulips: 'Eyecatcher', 'Flaming Spring Green'

Tulipa 'El Nino'

And much more!


Upcoming Workshops
Come learn with us

Special Offer: Book all three fall workshops for $40, a savings of over 10%.


Grasses that Captivate: The transformative powers of ornamental grasses | Instructor: Shelley Brignall | Saturday September 20th, 10am | $15 | The 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.

CONTAINER SERIES | Jewels of the Spring Garden: Bulbs for spring containers  | Instructor: Shelley Brignall | Saturday September 27th, 10am | $15 | Meet the spring blooming wonders that you can include in your garden and in pots including a number of uncommon but exciting possibilities. You will also receive instruction on designing with bulbs and planting them in layers for knock out displays. Each participant will then plant up and take home their own container. Please bring your own large pot (minimum 12-14 inches in diametre). 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. The cost of the bulbs that you choose to include in your container are not included in the cost of the workshop.



CONTAINER SERIES | Winter Containers: Plant up a container to create winter interest | Instructor: Cliff Thorbes | Saturday October 6th, two workshops starting at 10am and 2pm | $15 | 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.

Booking Workshops

Spaces are limited. Please call (604-270-4133) or visit the nursery to book your space. Payment is required when booking. If you would like to take advantage of one of our special offers please let us know at the start of your booking.

Each workshop requires a minimum of 10 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.

Workshop participants will receive a 15% discount on any purchases they wish to make the day of their workshop. Woo hoo!



Fabulous at Phoenix
Gary's Picks of New, Notable and Luscious Plants at the Phoenix Candy Store

Aloe polyphylla - Spiral Aloe - Be one of the few people in Canada to own this botanical wonder. This stunning endangered aloe from the mountains of Lesotho (the mountain kingdom surrounded by South Africa) features light green leaves arranged in a spiral that becomes more and more pronounced as the plant matures. In its native habitat it experiences sharp drainage, winter frosts and snow, and cool summers with ample moisture. Plant on a slope in full to partial sun in very well-drained soil or in a pot (which is recommended until your plant gets larger). It is hardy in zones 7b to 9. Our plants are grown from tissue culture. They are young and in four inch pots. They will begin to spiral once they put on some growth which happens relatively quickly. Quantities are limited.


The Best Meconopsis in the World
from our friend and Meconopsis expert Bill Terry

Clockwise from top left: Meconopsis betonicifolia, M. grandis, M. punicea, M. 'Lingholm'
Quantities are Limited.

Meconopsis betonicifolia - Himalayan Blue Poppy - This species is among the best for gardens. Most plants sold under this name will be true to species but come from inferior genetic material which offers pale or muddy sky blue flowers that are pretty but not magical. Here we offer plants grown from the seed of the best colours the Himalayan blue poppies have to offer - rich mid to royal blues. These are the take your breath away shades that make meconopsis one of the holy grails of the horticultural world.

Meconopsis grandis - Himalayan Blue Poppy - True M. grandis is virtually unknown in cultivation since this species is highly promiscuous and will easily hybridize with surrounding species. The pure seed for these plants comes from a Scottish botanical garden via Bill Terry, Canada's Meconopsis guru. These plants are the real McCoy and you could be one of the few people in the world to have one! Huge flowers at least five inches across emerge often flushed with purple and then develop the rich deep sky blues. Plants can grow to 3 to 4 feet tall!

Meconopsis 'Lingholm' - Himalayan Blue Poppy - One of the best Meconopsis for gardens, 'Lingholm' is a hybrid strain of M. betonicifolia and M. grandis. The huge cupped flowers are at least 5 inches across and are a royal blue so bright it looks as if the plants are illuminated from within or plugged into the electrical socket. Truly magical! Plants can grow to 3 to 4 feet tall!

Meconopsis punicea - Red Himalayan Poppy - This incredible and extremely rare red monocarpic Meconopsis rises on dark stems to about one foot tall with pendulous crinkled petals in luscious cool red. The sight of this species in bloom with the incredible saturation of colour is enough to inspire even the most cold-hearted non-gardener! Imagine what it will do for a Meconopsis fan! Pure unadulterated horticultural bliss!

Meconopsis Growing Tips: Plant in bright shade (morning sun is good) in rich evenly moist but well-drained soil. Additional applications of fish or other organic fertilizer will help as meconopsis love nutrients. Plants appreciate good winter drainage so planting them in a raised bed on a slight slope can help them through the winter. Do not allow other plants to crowd them out with rambunctious foliage.


Sedum 'Purple Emperor' - Stonecrop - Very dark purple fleshy leaves cover the compact purple stems. In summer the clumps are topped with beautifully contrasting heads of dusty pink flowers. Maintains a good upright posture throughout the season.


Helleborus argutifolius 'Silver Lace' - Corsican Hellebore - This stunning cultivar of the already dramatic Corsican hellebore has beautiful silver leaves. Lovely cup-shaped, apple-green flowers top the stems and foliage in early spring brightening even the gloomiest days of March. Use as a fantastic entrance-way focal point or plant it in view from a window to be enjoyed from the warm comfort of your house. Remember that the stemmed hellebores prefer more sun than the non-stemmed orientalis types.


Passiflora caerulea 'Select' - Hardy Blue Passionflower - This selection has markedly larger flowers with darker black centres and deeper blue petals than the form commonly in cultivation. P. caerulea is hardy for us in the Lower Mainland, especially against a south facing wall or fence. Plant in well-drained soil that is not too moist or too rich to promote more flowers and less greenery. Edible, but not the most tasty, yellow fruit are produced if pollinators visit. Trick them into visiting, and create a nice plant combination, by growing up an irresistable Buddleia.


Cautleya 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!


Gaillarida 'Tizzy' and 'Frenzy'

Gaillardia Commotion Series 'Tizzy' and 'Frenzy' - Blanket Flower - These great new colours also offer trumpeted petals previously seen only in the cultivar 'Fanfare'.


Gaillardia 'Dakota Reveille' - Blanket Flower - A crazy new blanket flower with pompoms of double orange and red flowers.


Gillenia (Porteranthus) trifoliata - Bowman's Root - This graceful perennial is strangely absent from most gardens. The leaves are arranged in threes along wiry stems, topped by loose panicles of white flowers emerging from tubular wine-coloured sepals. Think of it as a butterfly gaura for the shade garden. Gillenia is native to eastern North America and was traditionally used for medicinal purposes. Part sun to light shade in average to moist well-drained soil. Good fall colour.


Agave victoria-reginae 'Porcupine' - Century Plant - This clonal selection of Agave victoriae-reginae from Yucca Do Nursery features very thick compact green leaves with white leaf edges. It has been described as looking like “an artichoke carved out of green stone!" Cold hardy in zones 8 to 10 with excellent drainage. Great for container culture elsewhere.


Agave 'Kissho Kan' - Century Plant - This fantastic agave is a Japanese selection featuring blue-gray leaves with beautiful creamy-white edges. The terminal spines emerge a light brown colour, changing to burgundy-brown with maturity. 'Kissho Kan' translates to "happy or lucky crown". Grows to only one foot tall by one foot wide so excellent as a container specimen and winter houseplant.


Tomatoes - There's nothing like a home grown tomato! We have some beautiful tomatoes in 1 gallon pots for you all with fruit and flowers including three different types of Romas:
Roma: The classic very fragrant red plum
Roma VF: A deep red plum
San Marzano: Meaty delicious plum.

We also have:
Sub Arctic Max: A very sweet cherry tomato
Marmande: A delicious medium sized Italian variety
Brandywine: A tasty red heritage tomato


Aster lateriflorus 'Lady in Black' - Calico Aster - If you have visited the nursery in the fall you may have seen this exciting aster in our Purple and Pink Border: three foot tall rigid stems rocketing upward like fireworks covered in rich deep purple foliage and exploding with thousands of small, white pink-tinged, star-shaped flowers. Sound good? ‘Lady in Black' is a great addition to borders and large floral arrangements alike! It also sports burgundy foliage through the season so offers much interest even when not in bloom.


Dahlia - Happy Single Series - Inspired by the doomed lovers Romeo and Juliet, this series is ironically and strangely called the Happy Single Series. I guess the Tragic Single Series doesn't make for good marketing. At least our love affair with burgundy-leaved dahlias will continue. Here we have ‘Juliet’ (lilac-pink with a dark centre), ‘Romeo’ (deep red with a dark centre), ‘Kiss’ (salmon-rose with a red ring around a dark centre), ‘Flame’ (firey orange with yellow centre), ‘Wink’ (purple and red bicolour) and ‘Party’ (bright yellow with a brown centre) all with a single uncomplicated whorl of petals. We do not yet have the white cultivar.


Eupatorium dubium 'Little Joe' - Joy-Pye Weed - This little known species of Joe-Pye weed is native to moist soils of eastern North America. This selection has four foot tall stems clothed in whorls of green leaves and topped in midsummer with large, dome-shaped heads holding masses of lavender flowers...a real bonanza for keeping butterflies at eye level. If you don’t yet know the Joe-Pye weeds, here’s an excellent place to start. Tolerant of light shade.


Musa 'Siam Ruby' - Ornamental Banana - This brand new banana cultivar has spectacular red foliage with green flecks. It is not hardy and must be brought in for the winter but look how fabulous it is. It's worth every effort! Imagine the possibilities.


Euphorbia characias 'Tasmanian Tiger' - Spurge - One of the most striking variegated plants I’ve seen in a long time. We had a lovely older lady at the nursery last year who was so enraptured she wanted to grow it as a houseplant in her apartment! ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ is a spectacular Heronswood introduction discovered in Hobart, Tasmania. The upright three foot tall stems are clothed with blue foliage edged in creamy white. The large flower heads are variegated with gold and white. Good drainage and full sun essential.


Echinacea Big Sky 'After Midnight' - Coneflower - It’s a brave new world of coneflowers out there and this series is HOT! Bound to become classic garden plants due to their hardiness and fabulous new colours. ‘After Midnight’ has dark magenta purple flowers around a black-red cone presented on black stems above the blue-green foliage. Growing to only 12 inches, this a great cultivar for pots and the front of the border. Fragrant. Plant in full sun in average (not overly rich), well-drained soils. Avoid soils that are overly moist in winter.


Share this E-Newsletter with a Friend

Word of mouth has been such an important part of our success and growth at Phoenix Perennials. Thank you to everyone who has told their friends about us and thank you in advance for continuing to introduce new people to our nursery! We couldn't do it without your kind patronage and support!

If you have any other questions, please contact us at

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)

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.

Seven Days a Week 10am-5pm
February 22nd, 2008 through October 31st, 2008

Copyright Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd. 2008

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