Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants

E-Newsletter: December 2011

The Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
December 2011


Hello from Phoenix Perennials!

This is our big year end e-newsletter which includes the year end round-up "A Year in the Life of Phoenix Perennials" which highlights all of the goings on at the nursery in 2011. Wow, we've been busy! And you've been busy having fun with us. We are proud to be a dynamic nursery and we celebrate that in this article. Sit back with a coffee, a tea or some steaming hot chocolate and have a good read about our plants, our special events and all of our other activities plus follow links to diverse photo albums and videos filled with great images and information.

Speaking of updates, we also have an article on our recent Christmas Hurrah! weekend. This event celebrated the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, and the Helleborus Gold Collection with fantastic hellebores, special holiday-themed workshops and hot apple cider.

Also, we help you with your Christmas shopping in two ways: gift certificates and Gary's Favourite Books in association with Order by December 19th to have your items arrive before Christmas say Canada Post and

From all of us to all of you, thank you for a great eighth season at Phoenix Perennials. Merry Christmas and see you in the New Year.

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians


Christmas Gift Certificates
Be a hero this holiday season to the gardener in your life!

Order Now
Using Our Secure Server

Order by Dec 19 to arrive by Christmas.


Gary's Favourite Books

Need help with your Christmas shopping? Here are 68 different gardening books that would make great presents including new books on Dry Shade and Deer Resistant Plants!

Click here to visit Gary's Favourite Books

Order by Dec 19 to arrive by Christmas.


In this Issue

Opening Notes: News, Tidbits and the Phoenix Calendar

1. Christmas Gift Certificates
2. Gary's Favourite Books
3. The Christmas Hurrah!
4. A Year in the Life of Phoenix Perennials

Opening Notes: News, Tidbits and the Phoenix Calendar



Lots of hot updates, pictures and great content. Be the first to know about everything Phoenix! Have a look! You'll love it.

Recent Updates
The Christmas Hurrah! Photo Album
Gary's Kiwi Harvest
Best Perennials for your Garden -- Gary and Phoenix Perennials mentioned in Steve Whysall article

Get your Phoenix updates through Twitter.
Follow PhoenixPer on Twitter
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



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

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 spring and next year's garden. Available in any amount.

If you're the most deserving gardener you know, send this e-newsletter to your loved ones. Or you can also buy yourself a gift certificate! We are happy to say that it is from anyone you like: Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Santa, the Elves, Jack Frost, Brad Pitt! You give us the name and we'll make it from them!

Canada Post advises that gift certificates mailed on or before December 19th should arrive before Christmas for local/regional delivery.

Gift Certificates
Order Now

Happy Holidays!



Gary's Favourite Books

If you're looking for presents for the gardeners in your life, you can't go wrong with books about plants and gardening. I've selected a 68 of my favourite books and made little review notes to help you select the best presents for your friends and families. You can also search through all of the gardening books as well as the full site. Each purchase made through this online store, whether it be a book I have highlighted or anything else available from, benefits the nursery. Merry Christmas! advises that books mailed on or before December 19th should arrive before Christmas for delivery to major cities across Canada. Express options can be used after the 19th.

If little thumbnails of books do not appear in this window click here to visit Gary's Favourite Books.

Click here to see more titles.


The Christmas Hurrah!
Celebrating the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, and the Helleborus Gold Collection with fantastic hellebores, special holiday-themed workshops and hot apple cider

This year we started a new tradition at Phoenix Perennials on the first weekend of December: The Christmas Hurrah! The event is inspired by our now famous season opening event the Hellebore Hurrah! In this case we were also celebrating hellebores but more specifically the winter blooming Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, which is often past its peak at the Hellebore Hurrah! With the advent of the incredible new cultivars from the Gold Collection including 'Jacob', 'Josef Lemper', 'Jonas' and 'Joel' which all start blooming in our climate in November and December the time seemed right for an event to celebrate them. The Gold Collection was bred in Germany and with the trans-Atlantic voyage of their hellebores also came with them knowledge of the European tradition of bringing the Christmas rose into the house at Christmas time to decorate the house, much as we would with poinsettias or Christmas cactus. These hellebores can remain inside for 3-4 weeks and then be planted out in the garden. You can't do that with a poinsettia!
Three friends with their Indoor Christmas Rose containers underneath our festive decorations.
The Do-It-Yourself Indoor Christmas Rose Container: We held a weekend long do-it-yourself project to doll up a hellebore to bring inside for Christmas. People loved making them and often did extras because they were so easy, they were so beautiful and they were so fun. The trio of friends in the picture at right had signed up in advance to do one container each but they left with 11 containers between them. As they were making up their containers they realized what great gifts they would make for all of their friends!
The containers in the picture at left are on my kitchen table. I watch them every day to see how they perform inside. Each flower blooms and finishes more quickly than they would in the cool temperatures of the garden but the Gold Collection hellebores have so many flowers that they will still bloom for at least a month. Also, once planted in the garden they could rebloom all the way to April. We had plants of 'Jacob' and 'Josef Lemper' bloom last year at the nursery from November until April! These are great value perennials!

Our Christmas Rose Wreath Making Workshop was nearly sold out with happy, eager and talented wreath makers. With the expert guidance of Diane Levings and her trusty assistant Joan from Full Bloom Flowers ( on Commercial Drive our participants had a great time and came away with fantastic and creative florist quality wreaths. Many a participant could be heard through the course of the workshop proclaiming that they were going to take it again next year.

At right is Terry holding her wreath. The yellow orchid flowers are stand-ins for Christmas rose flowers. Once the hellebores come into bloom our participants can harvest the flowers to adorn their wreaths.


Our Christmas Rose Outdoor Container workshop was also a hit. It was lead by our talented Phoenix Perennials container expert Shelley. In this workshop our participants potted up outdoor containers with niger hellebores and other winter interest plants. They also adorned their containers with red and yellow dogwood twigs and conifer branches. These containers are perfect to place on front doorsteps and patios.

Thank you to everyone who attended our event and for all the great feedback and nice comments you made about the weekend. Our Christmas Hurrah! was such a success that we're going to make it an annual event. Watch our e-newsletter, Facebook and Twitter next year for updates on the event, the do-it-yourself projects, and the workshops!

Merry Christmas!

View our Photo Album of the Christmas Hurrah!


A Year in the Life of Phoenix Perennials 2011
Thank you for a Great Eighth Season!

I would like to thank all of you, our customers, for making our eighth season at Phoenix Perennials another great success. It was another challenging weather year with below average temperatures pretty much every day from February to mid July. The cool temperatures and rain put a bit of a damper on things for much of the season -- in June I still thought it was April because of the cool weather! -- but your loyal support, patronage and indomitable spirits kept our spirits lifted high and our nursery running.

Here's hoping that Mother Nature sees fit to send us beautiful spring weather in 2012. And if she doesn't - because we all know she's good at throwing curve balls - remember to support those special nurseries in your neighbourhood and in the region that offer you great plants and great nursery experiences. It's only through your support that we can keep enriching your gardening lives.


Our Plants

This year we offered over 4000 different species and cultivars of perennials and other garden plants. We believe this is one of the largest selections of perennials in Canada and even in North America. Much of what we offer at the nursery we grow ourselves from seed, cuttings, division and from plant material sourced from Europe, the US, Canada, India, Japan, Chile and South Africa. We have also continued to develop our relationships with select growers in BC, Washington, and Oregon to help bring you an unparalleled selection of garden plants. We love it when a new wide-eyed customer comes to the nursery and exclaims "I've never seen any of these plants before!" Perfect. And we imagine that this is one of the main reasons why our long time customers keep coming back.

Hot New Plants: In our continuing quest for hot new cultivars we were pleased to be the first or among the first nurseries in Canada -- and even in North America and the World -- to offer many new plants in 2011. Traveling the cutting edge of horticulture is exciting for us and, we hope, also exciting for you. Because we grow these new plants ourselves we gain more insight into how to care for them and so we hope that we were able to guide you towards the best new plants for your garden.
Garden Stalwarts: Hot new plants are one thing but there are so many great perennials that have been around for a long time. There is a reason they are still around: because they are great garden plants. In our continuing dedication to "tried and true" we sift through the thousands of perennials out there to bring you the best.
Rare and Unusual: What's a garden without a little bit of pizzazz or botanical intrigue? We love uncommon perennials for their contribution to lifting the sophistication of a garden and offering great stories for cocktail party conversation. In 2012 we continue this specialty with a large selection of rare and unusual plants coming your way!
Not Just Perennials: We love the name Phoenix Perennials and we're not considering a name change but it doesn't quite cover all that we do in the strict sense of the word "perennial". We have and continue to build our selection of edibles, vines and shrubs. Growing your own food has never been so popular and we love our ever expanding veggie and herb section each spring filled with unusual and heirloom varieties. We continue to expand our Clematis and vine selection to offer you cutting edge and unusual climbers. And we are always hunting for new or uncommon shrubs from Japanese maples to Schefflera to fancy new hydrangea and everything in between.


Mail Order Across Canada

In 2011 we began offering shipping across Canada. Without much advertising or promotion beyond our e-newsletter our shipping manager Larry made multiple shipments across BC, the Prairies and to Ontario and Quebec. Thank you to our first mail order customers! We are currently working on enhancing the mail order experience. We are developing a shopping cart system that we hope to launch in 2012, we will be updating our searchable database and we will continue to develop and improve our methods around shipping.

For those of you in BC who are able to visit the nursery only once or twice a year, mail order is a great way for you to be able to get plants from Phoenix Perennials on a more regular basis, especially when the e-newsletters arrive in your inboxes filled with images of delectable lovelies. For those gardeners across Canada who are unable to visit us in person mail order will be a great way to get some great plants and have a taste of the Phoenix Perennials experience.

Help us Get the Word Out: Advertising across Canada is difficult and expensive! If you have gardening friends outside of Greater Vancouver and across Canada who can't often get to the city to visit us, please let them know that Phoenix Perennials is now doing mail order and that there are great things to come from our new mail order division. Watch the e-newsletter for developments and updates on Phoenix Perennials Mail Order.


Special Events

We love a good party at Phoenix Perennials so we held numerous special events at the nursery in 2011 including a few brand new ones! The new Heirloom Tomato Festival and The Christmas Hurrah! were great successes and joined other Phoenix Perennials classics like the Hellebore Hurrah!, The Great Easter Plant Hunt and May Maple Mania.

The Hellebore Hurrah!
February 25th-27th, 2011

Never in the history of Phoenix Perennials has Mother Nature been more mean with the weather she sends us during a special event. There was the time in mid July a couple years ago where it poured rain and our Summer Sizzle became the Summer Fizzle! But not even that could top the weather at this year's Hellebore Hurrah! We saw nightime temperatures between -5 and -8 (on the eve of the Hurrah!). Even with our emergency heat, the hellebores still looked halfway to limp spaghetti each morning. Luckily it was sunny on the first day, the greenhouse warmed up nicely and the hellebores perked up for their big debut.

But the weather only got worse. The clouds rolled in, the winds began to howl and the flurries began to fly. Customers were ravaged by wind and cold as they made their way to and from the protection of the greenhouse. And on Sunday we had four inches of snow! Lovely.

In situations such as this there is nothing left but to persevere and focus on the good things in life: hellebores. There was tons of colour, a huge selection - about 90 different strains, cultivars and species - a great free workshop on hellebores taught by Shelley, fantastic display pots to give plant combination ideas for your hellebores (also by Shelley), and just a general good time. Whereas in previous years the hellebores we have offered have been a mix of plants grown at Phoenix and other select nurseries we were also proud that more than 90% of all the plants we offered this year were grown right here at Phoenix Perennials. Though hellebores are easy to grow in the garden, they are not necessarily easy in pots. We continue to increase our growing powers and this year's Hellebore Hurrah! was proof of that.

Thank you also to Steve Whysall who wrote an article about our Hellebore Hurrah!

Our hellebore bowl frozen solid and covered in snow on Saturday.
The Phoenicians all excited just before opening on Friday.

The Helleborus Gold Collection with 'Pink Frost' in front.


The Clematis Conundrum...
April 15th-17th, 2011

So many clematis, so little time! Our Clematis Conundrum weekend featured over 100 different clematis and other vines plus a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a free workshop with one of the most famous clematis breeders in the world, Raymond Evison from the UK. Raymond was touring BC to promote his fantastic clematis and just happened to have planned his trip on the exact same weekend that we were planning our Clematis Conundrum. It was in the stars.


Raymond Evison Clematis Lecture - If you weren't able to make it to the lecture you can view it on YouTube.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

Kivistik Clematis Nursery Walkabout - Learn about the exciting Kivistik Series of Clematis that customers are reporting bloom all summer!


The Great Easter Plant Hunt: An Easter "egg" hunt for gardeners
Easter Sunday April 24th, 2011

Over 100 people came to our 3rd Annual Great Easter Plant Hunt. Kids and adults alike hunted for easter eggs hidden throughout the nursery filled with chocolates and prizes. In all there were over $3500 in prizes and lots of chocolate to be had inside more than 700 coloured eggs hidden throughout the nursery.

The prizes included gift certificates, discount coupons, plants, workshop registrations, t-shirts and chocolates. The parents loved the prizes, the kids loved the chocolates.

The Great Easter Plant Hunt - View our video of more than 100 people hunting for hidden eggs!



May Maple Mania
May 6th to 8th, 2011

May Maple Mania featured an incredible selection of Japanese and other maples in forms, sizes and colours most gardeners have never dreamed of.

We also held a free workshop with maple expert and UBC Botanical Garden Associate Director Doug Justice. Doug taught everyone about the wide and fascinating world of maples.


Mothers' Day Free 'Entertainer' Lily
May 7th and 8th, 2011

We continued our tradition of giving a free lily to mothers on Mothers' Day. This year it was a beautiful 'Entertainer' Oriental Lily. In order to get their free lily, each mom had to bring their children, their grandchildren or their furry children (or a picture of them) to show us that they're a mom. There were lots of proud mothers showing off their kids on Mothers' Day Weekend!


Fathers' Day Free "Guy-Lardia"
June 18th and 19th, 2011

Our free "guy-lardia" (Gaillardia or blanket flower) event for fathers on Fathers' Day isn't as popular as the free lily on Mothers' Day. But I suppose that makes sense since most of our customers are female. But think of this: do you have a husband. If so, all you have to do is drag him to the nursery with your kids or a picture of them and you get a free "guy-lardia."


The Summer Sizzle
July 8th, to 10th, 2011

Our hot summer event in mid July featured special displays of our Great Plant Combination Contest winners and a fabulous sale on perennials.

The Great Plant Combination Contest saw new winners and honourable mentions to our roster of talented gardeners reaching their peak of inspiration and gardening prowess in combining perennials.

Our first place winner was Cherry O. from Richmond with her combination pictured at right, second place was Kristi B. of Nanoose Bay, third place was Jacqueline H. of North Vancouver, and three honourable mentions went to Rebecca T. of Richmond, Kristi B. of Nanoose Bay and Michelle C. of North Vancouver. Congratulations!


Heirloom Tomato Festival
Saturday September 10th, 2011

Our first annual Heirloom Tomato Festival was a resounding success. Thanks to the article in the Vancouver Sun by Steve Whysall ("You Say Tomato") we had an incredible response from regular customers and from gardeners and foodies new to the nursery. We had to add more tasting sessions and keep asking our friends and tomato growers Red Barn Plants to check their fields in Cawston to see if they could pick more fruit to meet the demand.


In the end we ran seven tomato tasting sessions for a total of 160 people with another 100 on the waiting list. There was just no more fruit in the fields to pick! Red Barn's fields were picked clean! In all we sold about 1200 pounds of the most delicious tomatoes you'll ever taste.

The tomato tastings were a lot of fun. We ran them just like a wine tasting where we tasted the tomatoes together as a group one by one in order, discussed them and compared them to the others we were tasting. Shelley and Kate did a fantastic job of chopping and organizing the tasting tomatoes while I lead the sessions alternately analytical and waxing poetic about their virtues. Each participant voted for their top 3 tomatoes in the tasting session. Here are the results:

Favourite Tomato Varieties
from the Tasting Sessions
1st Place  
2nd Place 
Japanese Black Trifele 
3rd Place 
Aunt Ruby’s German Green
4th Place
Green Zebra
5th Place 
Cherokee Purple
6th Place
Striped German
7th Place (tie)
Black Krim
7th Place (tie)
Orange Blossom
9th Place  
10th Place    
11th Place 
12th Place 
Red Striped German
13th Place
Banana Legs
14th Place 
Big Beef

Red Barn Plants grows their tomatoes organically in open fields in the Similkameen Valley which is adjacent to the Okanagan. The hot days and cool nights are perfect for growing the juiciest, sweetest tomatoes. Don't be fooled by other heirlooms, most of which are grown in the Lower Mainland in the ground but under greenhouse cover. While these tomatoes are much better than average they are no match for field grown in Cawston, BC! Your taste buds will know the difference!

We look forward to running this event again next year! Watch for updates in the e-newsletter! In the meantime you can pick up Red Barns tomato plants at the nursery in May so you can grow your own at home!

Read Steve Whysall's Article "You Say Tomato" about our Heirloom Tomato Festival




The Christmas Hurrah!
December 2nd to 4th, 2011

This year we started a new tradition at Phoenix Perennials on the first weekend of December to celebrate the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, its new cultivars from the Helleborus Gold Collection and the European tradition of bringing the plants into the house at Christmas time for festive decoration.

We ran two workshops -- the Christmas Rose Outdoor Container workshop and the Christmas Rose Wreath Making workshop -- as well as an all weekend long drop in project to doll up a Christmas rose into a festive Indoor Christmas Rose Container. At right Michele is holding one of the indoor containers.



This year we offered 30 different workshops - more than ever before and more than any other nursery we know. The varied topics included growing plants from seed, clematis, veggies, veggies for kids (view our photo album), herbs, berries and fruit, maples, dwarf conifers, heirloom tomatoes, attracting beneficial insects and birds, top plant performers for the west coast garden, miniature gardens, perennial hanging baskets, succulent wreaths, architectural plants, colour without flowers, succulents, fragrant plants, ferns, container planting design (for both summer and winter), spring bulbs, grasses, fragrance in the garden, the lenten rose hellebores, the Christmas rose hellebores and Christmas wreath making.

Thank you to our instructors: Shelley (pictured at right), Jo, Belinda, Lisa, Raymond Evison, Doug Justice and Diane Levings for your enthusiasm, knowledge and sense of fun.

If you have any ideas for workshops for next year, let us know!


Pictured above is Shelley, our most prolific instructor, who teaches a wide range of subjects at Phoenix Perennials. Here she is getting ready to teach the Outdoor Christmas Rose Container Workshop.


Pictured at left is a proud Teresa after finishing the Perennial Hanging Basket workshop.


The In-Nursery Design Service

In 2011 our Phoenix Perennials designer, Shelley, worked collaboratively with many gardeners to help them create new beds and renovate old ones, all while staying true to the unique vision, style and goals of each gardener. The In-Nursery Design Service is great for gardeners that want to be hands on in their garden but who need a little help planning and designing their space. Visit our website to learn more about this service.

National Plastics Recycling Week
June 25th - July 4th, 2011

Thank you to all of those who participated in the second annual National Plastics Recycling Week organized by the Canada Nursery Landscape Association with 40 participating nurseries right across Canada. At Phoenix Perennials we collected 18 big 4' x 4' x 4' containers of recyclable nursery plastics. We are looking forward to participating again next year. If you are unable to recycle your nursery plastics in your municipal blue box, please save your pots, flats, plastic bags and other nursery plastics until the same time next year when we will again be providing this important service!


Gary and Phoenix Perennials -- Out and About

Garden Group and Professional Talks -- This year I enjoyed speaking to various garden clubs: Dunbar Garden Club, Richmond Garden Club, the Master Gardeners at Van Dusen, the Quadra Island Garden Club, the New Westminster Garden Club, the Pitt Meadows Garden Club, the Evergreen Garden Club in Delta, the South Surrey Garden Club, the Burnaby Rhododendron and Garden Society, and the West Vancouver Garden Club. I also spoke at the BC Home and Garden Show and to a professional audience at the Farwest show in Portland, Oregon.

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 2012. I currently speak on six different topics: Hot New Plants, Hellebores, Avoiding the Summer Doldrums, Weird and Wonderful Plants of the World, the Plants of Western Australia and the Plants of the American Deserts. Send me an email for more information.

In 2012 I already have nine talks booked so watch the e-newsletter for upcoming dates that you can attend.

Tours of the Nursery -- We also had fun hosting garden clubs at the nursery including the Upper Lonsdale Garden, the Victoria Horticultural Society, and the Point Roberts Garden Club. Thanks for visiting! We offer free tours of the nursery and a show and tell style talk for garden clubs who visit us as a group.

Click here for more information on Gary's talks and tours of the nursery

Speaking of garden clubs, we also hosted the plant sale of the Pacific Northwest Palm and Exotic Plant Society on the Saturday of the Victoria Day Long Weekend. Our shade house was filled with tonnes of irresistibly exotic plants brough in for sale by their members.


Travel - Plant Hunting in Chile

In February I travelled with Dan Hinkley in Chile for two weeks. We traveled from the Biobio Region south to the Island of Chiloe taking in the incredible landscapes and plants of this beautiful country. Highlights were the ubiquitous volcanoes, hiking through monkey puzzle (Araucaria araucana) forests, seeing Gunnera growing like weeds along the hiking trails and discovering the wealth of interesting plant species that could grow in our climate in BC.

Have a look at the February E-Newsletter for an article on the trip.




Perennial Plant Association -- I continued my work on the Board of the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) as the Canada Region Director. The PPA is a North America-wide industry group that works to promote herbaceous perennials. The association is best known by home gardeners for the Perennial Plant of the Year Program. To be selected for this honour a perennial must be hardy in diverse climate zones, be low maintenance, and have multiple seasons of interest. In 2011 the Plant of the Year was Amsonia hubrichtii or thread leaf blue star. In 2012 it will be Brunnera 'Jack Frost'. Previous winners include Geranium 'Rozanne', Echinacea 'Magnus' and Helleborus x hybridus.
Among our many projects for the industry and for gardeners is a new program of Info Sheets for the home gardener. Watch for a diverse collection of these at the nursery next year.


Great Plant Picks -- I also serve on the Perennial and Bulb Selection Committee of Great Plant Picks which is an educational awards program committed to building a comprehensive palette of outstanding plants for BC and Pacific Northwest gardens. Awards are based on the combined expertise of over forty horticulturists from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Each year we award a new selection of plants GPP status.


Gary and Phoenix Perennials -- In the News

On the Radio

This year I was again a regular guest on the radio show Gardening 101 with Jeff De Jong on Victoria's C-FAX AM 1070. In all I was on air five times speaking to a listening audience of 30,000 people on Vancouver Island, not to mention the many people who tune in or listen online from Greater Vancouver, elsewhere in BC and beyond. Our topics were Hellebores, Perennials that Bloom all Summer, Keeping Cool in the Shade Garden, Cool and Exotic Plants for the Summer Garden, and Scary Plants. For most of these talks I prepared plant lists with photographs and descriptions so listeners could download the information, see what we were talking about, and have a resource for after the program. If you're interested in these topics you can download these from the main page or our website.

MINI-CATALOGUES AND LISTS for Radio Interviews with Jeff De Jong, Gardening 101, C-Fax AM 1070

The Christmas Hurrah: Hellebores for Festive Decoration
Download (1 Mb)
Black Magic: Black Flowers and Foliage 
Download (6.2 Mb)
Big Daddy Plants
Download (8.45 Mb)
Perennials for a Royal Wedding
The Hellebore Hurrah! Catalogue 2011

Download PDF (7.6 Mb)
Hellebore Companions in the February E-Newsletter

I was also on CBC Radio One's BC Almanac talking to Mark Forsythe about the National Plastics Recycling Program. Hopefully the word continues to get out and more people and nurseries will participate next year. See the information about this program elsewhere in this e-newsletter.


In Print -- This year the Green for Life Magazine (formerly the Healthy Garden Guide) produced by the BC Landscape Nursery Association featured another article on hot new plants by yours truly. View the 2011 Green for Life Magazine online.

Thank you to Steve Whysall from the Vancouver Sun for writing an article on our Hellebore Hurrah! in February called "Hurrah for Classy Hellebores" and on our Heirloom Tomato Festival called "You Say Tomato" in September. To keep up with all things Steve Whysall you can follow his blog and visit his webpage as well as read his weekly In the Garden column every Friday in the Vancouver Sun.



Keeping in Touch with the Exciting World of Phoenix Perennails

The Monthly E-Newsletter and our Website -- This year our monthly e-newsletter continued as strong as ever filled with information about the nursery, our plants and gardening. You can view all previous versions of our e-newsletter on our website. Our website, including our searchable database, continues to be a great source of information about the nursery and our plants. Watch for improvements and additions of lots of new plants in 2012.

Facebook -- As I write this e-newsletter we have just hit 500 fans of our Facebook page. Yeah! Have a look at the links below and see the amazing content that we are posting. My facebook statistics tell me that the 500 fans of our page have a total of 90,000 friends. If you are already a Facebook member and fan of our page, please tell all your gardening friends about our page. I bet they would enjoy the content, the updates and all the pictures.

Our Facebook page is a great companion to our e-newsletter and webpage. This page allows us to easily make images and information available to subscribers. It is also a repository of the goings on of the nursery which I can link to the e-newsletter so that all of you, Facebook members or not, can view this extra content. I have been actively posting content to this page including information about sales, events, workshops, and other goings on at the nursery. The page also allows discussion and chats between me and our customer subscribers which has been fun including segments where you can ask me advice.

Perhaps most exciting are the Photo Albums into which I have posted tons of photos this year. Our Wall Photos are a mix of hot new plants and fun things from the nursery. I have also created photo albums with pictures from our special events, with photos from different seasons at the nursery, and albums to celebrate particular plants or themes. You don't have to be a Facebook member to view these photo albums. Enjoy.

Facebook Photo Albums from 2011 - You don't have to be a member of Facebook to view them.

Click here to visit our Facebook page.

Twitter -- Until recently the only tweeting in my life has been the birds in my back yard but here we are embarking on another new technological adventure. I have just created a Twitter account for Phoenix Perennials. Every time I upload posts to Facebook they will be tweeted on Twitter. You can then view this content by following the links and you don't need to be a Facebook member to view them. Follow PhoenixPer on Twitter


YouTube -- In 2011 I began filming quick and fun videos to post to our YouTube Channel on a variety of subjects including the entire 1 hour talk by the King of the Clematis, Raymond Evison, Walkabouts at the Nursery, special events and features on particular plant groups. We uploaded 24 videos in our first year and they have been viewed more than 3200 times! You can subscribe to our YouTube Channel to be notified of new videos as soon as they are published.

Here are a few of our most recent videos from the fall:

Subscribe to me on YouTube
  VIDEO: Ornamental Onions - Learn about this exciting and useful group of perennial bulbs.
  VIDEO: Perennial Tulips - There are hybrid and species or botanical tulips that will come back year after year. Learn about them here!
  VIDEO: Hybrid Tulips - These big fabulous tulips are great for a colourful show in the spring in pots or in the garden. Also learn about our tulip blends.


Phoenix Perennials in the Community

The UBC Collectors' Plant Auction 2011

Phoenix Perennials was again a major corporate sponsor of the UBC Collectors' Plant Auction, an event organized by the Friends of the Garden (FOGS) to raise money for the garden. We donated thousands of dollars worth of rare and unusual plants for the silent and live auctions including these two urns (pictured at right) filled with boisterous and unusual plant combinations.

The evening was a success with lots of money raised for the garden and lots of smiling gardeners heading home with cherished new plants.

The Collectors' Auction is held every other year.


Charity Shopping Weekends -- Our tradition of giving back to the community continued in 2011. We held six Charity Shopping Weekends for 17 different charities and institutions in Greater Vancouver. These were:A Loving Spoonful, Canadian Parents for French Member Schools of the Lower Mainland (Lord Selkirk, Lord Strathcona, Hastings, Laura Secondary, Vancouver Tech, Kitsilano Secondary, Dixon Elementary, Sir Winston Churchill and L'Ecole Bilingue), RAPS (Richmond Animal Protection Society), South Van GoGos, Richmond Schoolyard Society, Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre, Kitsilano Community Garden, Community Arts Council of Richmond and VOKRA (Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue).

This year our charities raised over $1600 at our Weekends. In the six years that we've been holding our Charity Shopping Weekends Phoenix Perennials has donated nearly $10,500 to local charities and worthy institutions. We look forward to holding more Weekends in 2011. Watch for our call for applications in the January e-newsletter.


The Phoenicians

Once again I am so thankful for my great staff, the Phoenicians. Thanks to them - Kathleen, Monica, Larry, Shelley, Belinda, Valerie, Jo, Kim, Diana, Patricia, Maureen, Lindsay, Lindsey, Vanessa, Dave and Kate - for working hard, having fun, and making it all possible.

Thank you to Natascha and her partner Gord for bringing into the world our first baby Phoenician, Eden, who is now one year old. We hope to see Natascha back at the nursery in 2012.

Thank you to Damien, our intern from the horticulture program at the University of Angers, France, for his hard work and interest in joining us for his three month internship.

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 doing their clinics and helping to answer our customers' gardening questions.

Thank you to my partner, Randy, who manages without me for 6+ days a week 12-15 hours a day through the crazy spring season and somehow keeps our garden watered and thriving.

And once again thank you to you, our customers, for your kind and loyal support of Phoenix Perennials. May you and your families have a happy and healthy winter season. We look forward to seeing you again in the spring for another gardening season filled with great plants and great fun!

Cheers, Gary

P.S. The Hellebore Hurrah! Opening Weekend is just around the corner on February 24th, 25th, and 26th, 2012! 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!

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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)

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
Closed for the Winter Season
Re-opening for one weekend and our Christmas Hurrah! Dec 2-4, 2011 from 10am-3pm
Re-opening for the 2012 season with our Hellebore Hurrah! February 24-26, 2012

Copyright Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd.

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