Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants

E-Newsletter: Decemer 2008


The Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
December 2008

Hello from Phoenix Perennials!

Here comes your December e-newsletter! I hope everyone is having a good December so far and wish you and your families a happy and festive holiday season.

In this issue you'll find information about gift certificates and gift packages that will ensure you're the hero for your gardening loved ones on Christmas Day. You can also read our Year End Round Up on this past season and you can get a little tantalizing taste of some exciting plants we're planning for you next year.

Happy Holidays!

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians

PS. If you're looking for a great place this Christmas to buy garden-related gifts, chachkas, ornaments and unique artisan crafts look no further than The Natural Gardener Garden Store on West 10th in Vancouver. You'll find things there that you won't find anywhere else. The glass slugs are fabulous. Not only that but the prices are great and the service impeccable. Many of my family and friends have received gifts from this great spot. Say hi to Bob for me!

The Natural Gardener Garden Store
4376 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, Tel: 604-224-2207

In this Issue

1. The Year End Round Up 2008: Thanks for a great fifth season!
2. Christmas Gift Certificates and Gift Packages
3. Sneak Peak #1 into the 2009 Season


The Year End Round-Up 2008
Thank you for a Great Fifth Season!

I would like to thank all of you, our customers, for making our fifth season at Phoenix another success. We weren't sure how it was going to go with another cold spring (two years in a row!) but gradually we all thawed out and got down to some gardening.

Phoenix Perennials has continued to grow both in happy customers and in numbers of plants. This year we offered over 3000 different species and cultivars of perennials and shrubs, the majority of which we grow ourselves from seed, cuttings, division and from plant material sourced from Europe, the US, Canada, India, Japan, Chile and South Africa! We remain an anomaly within the industry in that we grow most of our plants ourselves. It's certainly a challenge to keep up with things having essentially two businesses in one - a growing operation and a retail nursery - but it's exciting. We wouldn't have it any other way!

We were pleased to be among the first nurseries in Canada to offer many new plants including (left to right starting at top row) Helleborus Ballerina/Regal Ruffles Strain and 'Winter Dreams Black', Echinacea 'Tiki Torch' and 'Green Envy', Agave montana 'Baccarat' and A. 'Kissho Kan', Zantedeschia aethiopica 'White Giant', Heuchera 'Blackout', Geranium 'Starman', Agapanthus 'Black Buddha' and Gaillardia 'Tizzy', among many others.

We were also pleased to offer unusual and hard to find plants including (left to right starting at top row) Cypripedium formosanum and C. reginae, Aloe polyphylla, Fasicularia bicolor, Calanthe Takane Hybrids, Chondropetalum tectorum, Carpenteria californica 'Elizabeth', Arisaema serratum var. mayebarae and A. kiushianum, Disanthus cercidifolius, Phaius flavus, and Wollemia nobilis among many others.

Special Events: We held two special weekends at the nursery in 2008! The Hellebore Hurrah! in February seems to have become the harbinger of spring for many gardeners in the Lower Mainland and beyond. We were very proud to offer what we believe to be the largest and most exciting selection of hellebores ever offered in Canada including plants from the great breeding programs of Heronswood Nursery, Pine Knot Farm, Marietta O'Byrne, and Mother Nature. We were blessed with amazing hellebores, wonderful, cheerful customers, and a sunny weekend with temperatures reaching 14 degrees Celsius! It was the last time we would see sun and temperatures anywhere near or above normal for the next two months though we should be thankful that at least our opening weekend got some good weather.

The first plants to disappear at the Hurrah! seemed to be the anemone centred hellebores - not double but half way there with a ruffle of petal-like structures ringing the centre of the flower. These arise by chance in batches of single and double strains and the first shoppers were quick to hunt these down. Some of the most exciting plants were the amazing yellows offered by the Heronswood Single Yellow Strain and Marietta O'Byrne's Mellow Yellow Strain. The colour yellow, in particular the development of rich, warm, buttery yellows is one current frontier in hellebore breeding. The bold colours and double forms were also popular. My favourite was the Heronswood Single Red with luscious lipstick red flowers of amazing colour saturation. The curiously named Helleborus x sternii 'Hot Flash' was a great plant for foliage interest. From Mother Nature the most popular hellebore was the fragrant H. odorus.

The Summer Sizzle in mid July featured special displays of our Great Plant Combination Contest winners, a fabulous sale on perennials, and free workshops on Avoiding the Summer Doldrums: Great plants for high summer and early fall. We also featured our first ever wine tasting (pictured right) by Phoenix Perennials' official sommelier, Randy Rae. The event was sold out and was a big hit with the students who seemed very smiley, flushed, and giggly at the end. Randy taught the class how to taste wines and then led them through a sampling of a variety of wines from around the world that are perfect for the summer garden and patio. Watch for more wine tastings in 2009!

Workshops: We had a great time offering our third season of workshops at the nursery. Gardening is an adventure in learning and we are pleased so many of you came to learn with us. This year we offered more workshops than ever before on topics such as succulent wreaths (pictured right), veggies in containers, garden design, bulbs, grasses, shade garden design, dry garden design, miniature gardens, garden care and maintenance, plant photography, wine tasting and our ever popular Containers to Die For and Winter Containers workshops.

The Design Service: In 2008 we launched our new improved in-nursery design service. Our in-house designers, Shelley and Diane, helped many gardeners create new beds and renovate old ones, all while staying true to the unique vision, style and goals of each gardener.

Garden Group Talks: I had lots of fun giving gardening talks to diverse garden clubs in Vancouver, West Vancouver, Delta, Maple Ridge, Eugene, Oregon, on Saltspring Island, at the BC Home and Garden Show, at VanDusen Botanical Gardens, to the Disabled Independent Gardeners Association and to the class of the Certificate in Garden Design at UBC. It was a pleasure to meet so many avid gardeners. If I haven't visited your garden club yet, or if you want to have me back, I'd love to have the opportunity in 2009. We also had fun hosting garden clubs at the nursery including the Mayne Island Garden Club, the Nanaimo Horticultural Society, the Water Garden Club of BC as well as hosting the plant sale of the Pacific Northwest Palm and Exotic Plant Society in May.

Charity Shopping Weekends: Our tradition of giving back to the community continued in 2008. We held five Charity Shopping Weekends over the course of the season to benefit the Leukemia, Lymphoma Society, L'Arche Greater Vancouver, the Greater Vancouver Gogo Grannies, the Pacific Parklands Foundation, and the Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary. In total we raised $1260 for these worthy charities. In the three years that we've been holding our Charity Shopping Weekends Phoenix Perennials has donated over $5000 to local charities and worthy institutions. We look forward to holding more Weekends in 2009. Watch for our call for applications in the January e-newsletter.

The Phoenicians: We had the best crop of Phoenicians this year. Thanks to my wonderful staff - Kathleen, Natascha, Diane, Shelley, Monica, Ted, Belinda, Rika, and Diana - for working hard, having fun, and making it all possible. A special thank you to Kathleen who held down the fort on the retail side and to Natascha who kept everything growing! Thank you to our lovely intern from France, Jeanne, who worked hard, learned a lot and was a pleasure to have around the nursery for three months. Thank you to our Hours for Flowers volunteers who were a great help this year. Thank you also to the Master Gardeners who spent many weekends with us through the spring gardening season.

With that I bid you adieu for 2008 and look forward to seeing you again in spring 2009! The Hellebore Hurrah! Opening Weekend is just around the corner on February 27th, 28th and March 1st!



Christmas Gift Certificates and Gift Packages
Be a Hero this Holiday Season to the Gardener in your Life!

We have three great options for holiday gift giving:

1. A Phoenix Perennials Gift Certificate: Our popular gift certificates are great for stocking stuffers or for under the tree. If you've got an avid gardener in your life this is the perfect gift to get them dreaming about the spring and next year's garden. Available in any amount.

2. A Phoenix Perennials Design Service Gift Certificate: We offer in-nursery consultations with trained design professionals in a fun process that will get you the results you crave at a great value. Our goal is to help you design a garden that reflects you and your tastes. For more information visit our Design Service page. The design service is available at $40 per hour. Each Design Service gift certificate will be accompanied by information on the service.

3. A Phoenix Perennials Collectible T-Shirt: This high quality tee is black with embroidered text in green that says "There are worse addictions than plants!" The cost is $19.99 (which includes shipping though taxes are additional). They are great for gardening, plant shopping, going to garden group meetings, and for reminding your spouse that it could be worse! They are available in small, medium, large and extra large. Sizes available while quantities last. For more information visit our T-Shirt page.


Suggested Gift Packages

You could mix and match the above items in any way that you want but here are some suggestions.

New Garden Package: For friends or family who are planning a new garden or need to renovate an existing one.

1 hour Design Service Gift Certificate ($40) + A Gift Certificate in any amount for plants for their new design

Plant Lover Package: For that friend or family member who just can't get enough of plants and gardening.

Phoenix Perennials T-Shirt ($19.99 plus tax) + A Gift Certificate in any amount for plants


Our gift certificates can be ordered online via our secure server by clicking on the Gift Certificate link on the first page of our website You can also call the nursery at our winter number 604-202-0920 to order over the phone. If we are not there, leave a message and we will call you back as soon as possible.

Ordering a normal gift certificate: Fill out the form on our website and press send.

Ordering a Design Service gift certificate or package: Fill out the form on our website. Fill in the total amount of your order. (If your order includes a t-shirt add $2.40 for GST and PST). Press send. Follow this process with an email to to give us the appropriate instructions as to what you would like to order.

Happy Holidays!



Sneak Peak #1 into the 2009 Season
Working hard to be your plant mecca!


Echinacea 'Tomato Soup' and 'Mac 'N Cheese' - Not-So-Purple Coneflowers - Stunning tomato red and warm golden yellow, these two brand new coneflowers represent the cutting edge of echinacea breeding. They're great in the garden on their own or as a pair. They have great vigour, strong stems and a nice floriferous, branching habit.


Echinacea 'Pink Poodle' - Purple Coneflower - This new Terranova introduction shows great promise. Here's their colourful description: "This pink "puppy" is prancing into the coneflower arena with amazingly large and fluffy, four inch wide flower heads. These bright pink flowers are a departure from the 'Razzmatazz' hybrids and feature strong, well-branched stems to 32" tall and excellent vigour. This was no "dog" in our trials! – It's a Grand Champion!"


Colocasia esculenta 'Pink China' - Elephant Ears - This fabulous subtropical foliage plant has giant bluish green foliage held aloft by hot pink stems all potentially rising to a height of six feet tall. Believed to be one of the hardiest, if not THE hardiest, colocasia, some sources report it hardy to zone 6 and others to 7b. Either way it should be easily hardy for us. Especially given a bit of mulch! I'm already clearing a spot in the garden for mine!


Pardancanda 'Sangria' - Candylily - The Candylily is a hybrid that was produced by combining Belamcanda chinesis and Pardanthopis dichotoma. 'Sangria' is a larger flowered candylily with a long season of interest. Three inch wide, plum purple flowers with alternating petals brushed with gold unfurl from spiral shaped buds in mid through late summer. They are held on scapes just above the blue-green, iris-like foliage.


Brunnera macrophylla 'King's Ransom' - Heartleaf Brunnera - Like 'Jack Frost' only with gold edges. Slightly smaller so great for pots and planters and still with the great forget-me-not blue flowers.


Helleborus Jade Tiger Strain, Onyx Odyssey Strain and Berry Swirl Strain - Lenten Rose - Three spectacularly unique offerings from hellebore hybridizer Marietta O'Byrne - Jade Tiger offers greens with burgundy picotees, Onyx Odyssey brings us rich deep purples that in some cases approach near black, and Berry Swirl offers rich mid to deep pinks. These (and others) will be available at the Hellebore Hurrah! starting on February 27th, 2009! Mark your calendars!

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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
Reopening February 27th, 2009 with our Hellebore Hurrah! Weekend.

Copyright Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd. 2008

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