Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants

E-Newsletter: January 2013

The Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
January 2013

Celebrating our 10th Anniversary Season!

Hello Fellow Gardeners!

Here we are in 2013 with a new gardening season just around the corner. Are you excited for a new year of beauty, sustenance and healthy living through gardening?

We are extra excited for this year because it will be our 10th season of bringing you fabulous plants and great experiences! We are proud to have achieved this milestone. We are currently working to think up some extra fun related to our anniversary during the 2013 season.

We will be opening for the season with our Hellebore Hurrah! starting the weekend of March 1st. Mark your calendars for this not-to-be-missed flagship event.

In addition to looking forward to the new season in this e-news we also look back to 2012 with a long article entitled A Year in the LifeIf of Phoenix Perennials. There are lots of stories, anecdotes and pictures from 2012. We sure were busy!

Are you involved with local charities or institutions who are looking for fundraising opportunities? We are now accepting applications for our Charity Shopping Weekend program. To date Phoenix Perennials has donated $12,200 to local charities. We want to donate lots more. We look forward to your applications.

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!

How'd you like to travel by train across Canada and attend Canada Blooms, Canada's largest garden show? The entry deadline is just days away so enter right now! I'd love for a Phoenix Perennials customer to win!

See you soon at the nursery!

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians


Opening Weekend 2013
The Hellebore Hurrah!
Celebrating early spring and all things Hellebore

March 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2013

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 Hellebore Hurrah! Opening Weekend
2. A Year in the Life of Phoenix Perennials 2012: Thank you for a Great Ninth Season!
3. Cistus Nursery Group Importation by Phoenix Perennials
4. Charity Shopping Weekends 2013: Call for Applications

5. Win a Trip for Two by Train to Canada Blooms in Toronto Contest


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.
Event Description
Feb 14
Hellebores: Jewels of the Winter and Spring Garden
Presented to the Upper Lonsdale Garden Club
Contact Margaret for details at
Feb 18
Hellebores: Jewels of the Winter and Spring Garden
Presented to the Bowen Island Garden Club
Contact Ainslie for details at

Feb 21
Hellebores: Jewels of the Winter and Spring Garden
Presented to the Lynn Valley Garden Club
Contact Pat for details at
Feb 23
Avoiding the Summer Doldrums: Great Garden Plants for Summer and Fall
Presented at the BC Home and Garden Show at 2pm.
Fri - Sun
March 1-3

Opening Weekend 2013
The Hellebore Hurrah!
Celebrating early spring and all things Hellebore
March 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2013, 10am-5pm

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
April 10
Sizzling Succulents: Drama, Structure and Intrigue with Succulent Foliage
Presented to the Galiano Garden Club.
Contact Deborah for details at


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

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Recent YouTube Updates
Dinner Party Tomato Tasting


Opening Weekend 2013
The Hellebore Hurrah!
Celebrating early spring and all things Hellebore

March 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2013

Brace yourselves for one of the largest and most exciting selections of hellebores ever offered in North America!

This year we bring you an unparalleled selection of different species, cultivars and strains of Hellebores sourced from some of the best breeders in North America and around the world. There will be lots of new cultivars. We will also be offering free workshops on hellebores that will be announced in February. Mark your calendars! You won't want to miss this weekend!

Watch for a full Hellebore Catalogue in the February E-Newsletter!

Mark your calendars!



A Year in the Life of Phoenix Perennials 2012
Thank you for a Great Ninth Season!

I would like to thank all of you, our customers, for making our ninth season at Phoenix Perennials another great success. It was another one of those years with interesting weather. We had a nice April and May and then June-uary happened! By the end of the month the gardening community was beside themselves asking "When is it going to end? When is summer going to begin?". Summer did finally start and it was quite glorious especially summer's long march right through September and into October! The hot dry soils of late summer and fall meant many of you were scared to plant, for good reason. But once October came a little rain helped to moisten things up for bulb planting.

Thank you for your loyal support, patronage and indomitable spirits through all of our climatic ups and downs. Here's hoping that Mother Nature sees fit to send us beautiful spring and summer weather in 2013. 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 again 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 2012, over 250 new plants, actually! 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.


Some of the 250+ New Plants Introduced in 2012
Agastache 'Blue Boa' Knautia 'Thunder and Lightning' Dahlia Dark Angel
'Star Wars'
Hosta 'Rainbow's End'
Echinacea Sombrero 'Salsa Red' Eucomis humilis
'Twinkle Stars'
Coreopsis Big Bang 'Star Cluster' Heucherella
'Solar Eclipse'
Cypripedium 'Aki' Polygonatum
'Double Stuff'
Clematis I Am Happy Kniphofia 'Orange Vanilla Popsicle'

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 and 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 2013 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

We had hoped to launch an online shopping cart system in 2012 but it was not meant to be. The good news is we are just now putting the finishing touches on our new system to launch this spring 2013! Watch the e-newsletter for fanfares of trumpets, marching bands and great pomp and ceremony!

Without our dreamed of fancy system in 2012 we continued "mom and pop" style and shipped plants right across Canada. Our Mail Order Manager, Larry, made multiple shipments across BC, the Prairies and to Ontario and Quebec. Thank you to our first mail order customers!

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 is 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. Tell them to sign up for 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 2012. The Hellebore Hurrah!, the Great Easter Plant Hunt and the Heirloom Tomato Festival are definitely the biggest events but we also had lots of interested gardeners come to the Christmas Hurrah!, the Clematis Conundrum and May Maple Mania.

The Hellebore Hurrah!
February 24th-26th, 2012

Our Hellebore Hurrah! Opening Weekend seems to be a magnet for inclement weather these past few years. Last year it was minus 8 and there was a howling snowstorm. This year we had torrential rain and snow on Friday that flooded the nursery and soaked the brave gardening souls who made it to the event. On Saturday we had cold temperatures and gale force winds that threatened to blow our customers around like tumbleweeds! Sunday seemed relatively benign with sun and flurries on and off all day with a 15 minute snowstorm for good measure! Because many people couldn't get to the nursery due to the weather we extended the Hellebore Hurrah! for another weekend.

Certainly it speaks to the hardiness and resilience of the genus Helleborus that despite such challenging weather conditions they are up and blooming in our gardens at this tumultuous time of year!

Weather aside, we were very proud of this year's Hellebore Hurrah! Opening Weekend. There was tons of colour, a huge selection - about 85 different strains, cultivars and species - a great free workshop on hellebores taught by Shelley, fantastic Recipes for a Fabulous Pot 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.

View 118 photos from the Hellebore Hurrah! in the album: The Hellebore Hurrah 2012
View most of the Hellebores we offered in the album: Hellebores at the Hurrah! 2012

Take a YouTube Video Walkabout around the Hellebore Hurrah! before we opened on the first day.
Hellebore Hurrah! 2012 #1
Hellebore Hurrah! 2012 #2
Hellebore Hurrah! 2012 #3
Our gunnera leaf bowl filled with beautiful floating hellebore flowers..
A Recipe for a Fabulous Pot by Shelley.

A Recipe for a Fabulous Pot by Shelley.

A Recipe for a Fabulous Pot by Shelley.


The Great Easter Plant Hunt: An Easter "egg" hunt for gardeners
Easter Sunday April 8th, 2012

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 Photo Album
View 29 photos of adults and children alike hunting for hidden eggs and plant prizes!




The Clematis Conundrum...
April 13th-15th, 2012

So many clematis, so little time! Our Clematis Conundrum weekend featured over 100 different clematis and other vines free workshops on clematis with Phoenician Belinda, an expert on Clematis and other vining plants.

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


May Maple Mania
May 4th to 6th, 2012

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.

May Maple Mania
View 29 photos of spectacular maples available at May Maple Mania!


Mothers' Day Free 'Casablanca' Lily
May 12th and 13th, 2012

We continued our tradition of giving a free lily to mothers on Mothers' Day. This year it was a beautiful 'Casablanca' 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 16th and 17th, 2012

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 your kids and you get a free "guy-lardia." Sounds pretty easy but I suppose that depends how easy it is to drag your husband into a nursery! Not all husbands are created equal in this respect!


The Summer Sizzle
July 13th to 15th, 2012

Our hot summer event is the Summer Sizzle. Back in the olden days it started off as a sale to try to find homes for plants before the quiet summer period. Then we added free workshops and our Great Plant Combination Contest. But with limited attendance at the free workshops and reasonable but not huge numbers of sumbissions for the contest, in 2012 the Summer Sizzle became just a sale again. If you have any ideas about how to revamp this weekend for 2013, let us know. We're not usually short of ideas for special events but this one stumps us! Still, we're sure that you don't mind the sale!


The Heirloom Tomato Festival
Saturday September 8th, 2012

On Saturday September 8th, 2012 we held our second annual Heirloom Tomato Festival. In all we sold over 800 pounds of tomatoes, with 136 people attending our tomato tastings, 28 people coming in to pick up pre-booked Party Mixes and everyone enjoying our beautiful tomato display of 43 different tomato varieties.


Everyone loved the tomatoes which are of the highest quality and are grown organically in open fields by Red Barn Plants at their farm in Cawston, BC. These are some of the best tomatoes around! Thank you to Red Barn and the Knechtel Family!

Here are the results from the voting for favourite tomatoes at the tomato tasting:

Favourite Tomato Varieties
from the Tasting Sessions in 2011 and 2012
1st Place  
Black Cherry
2nd Place 
Japanese Black Trifele 
Striped German
3rd Place 
Aunt Ruby’s German Green
Japanese Black Trifele
4th Place
Green Zebra
5th Place 
Cherokee Purple
Black Krim
6th Place
Striped German
Indigo Rose
7th Place
Black Krim (tie)
8th Place
Orange Blossom (tie)
Green Zebra
9th Place  
Grape Gabrielle
10th Place    
Green Grape
11th Place 
Ox Heart
12th Place 
Red Striped German
Yellow Pear
13th Place
Banana Legs
Red Striped German
14th Place 
Big Beef
Red Pear
15th Place
Big Beef
16th Place
Banana Legs
17th Place
Rio Grande
18th Place
Green Sausage
19th Place




The Christmas Hurrah!
December 1st to 3rd, 2012

This was our second year celebrating this new tradition at Phoenix Perennials on the first weekend of December. We had so much fun, it's definitely here to stay. The event is essentially a spin off of our now famous season opening event the Hellebore Hurrah! In this case we also celebrate hellebores but more specifically the winter blooming Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, in particular the cultivars of the Gold Collection.

The Gold Collection was bred in Germany and with the trans-Atlantic voyage of their hellebores also arrived an awareness of the northern European tradition of bringing the Christmas rose into the house at Christmas time to contribute to the indoor festive decor, much as we would with poinsettias or Christmas cactus.

This year we held three different workshops: the Christmas Rose Outdoor Container Workshop, the Christmas Rose Wreath Making Workshop and, new this year, the Christmas Rose Centrepeice Workshop. We also ran a do-it-yourself project over the whole weekend: the DIY Indoor Christmas Rose Container where people could doll up a hellebore with twigs, bows, a cute pot and some festive glitz to bring inside for the holidays.



In 2012 we offered 29 different workshops - one of the largest workshop schedules around. The varied topics included clematis, edibles, veggies for kids, miniature gardens for kids, 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, succulent living walls, 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 and centrepiece making.

Thank you to our Phoenician instructors Shelley (pictured at right with student Ann), Jo, and Belinda and to our guest instructors Lisa O'Donnell, 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!

Our Miniature Gardens for Kids workshop had these six budding gardeners creating Yoda Swamps or Princess Gardens complete with a goo pond or a princess lake, respectively. I'll give you one guess who did the Yoda Swamps and who did the Princess Garden.

Our Painting with Succulents students learned how to make living walls that looked like beautiful works of art.


View Images of Some of our Workshops in 2012


The In-Nursery Design Service

In 2012 our Phoenix Perennials designers, Shelley and Kate, 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.


Phoenix Perennials Collectible T-Shirts

In 2012 we printed our fifth t-shirt in our ongoing collectible t-shirt series that we affectionately call Phoenix Wear. This past year's saying was:

"The earth laughs in flowers."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

This high quality tee is black with embroidered text. They are great for gardening, plant shopping, going to garden group meetings and waxing poetic on all things botanical.

Our t-shirts are available in S, M, L, and XL while current printings last. They cost $19.99.


National Plastics Recycling Week
June 22nd - July 1st, 2012

Thank you to all of those who participated in the third annual National Plastics Recycling Week organized by the Canada Nursery Landscape Association with participating nurseries right across Canada. At Phoenix Perennials we collected 30 big 4' x 4' x 4' containers of recyclable nursery plastics (up from 18 in 2011). At over 100 pounds each that's more than 3000 pounds of plastic that we have kept from the landfill! Thank you for participating. 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 in 2013 when we will again be providing this important service!


Gary and Phoenix Perennials -- Out and About

Garden Group and Professional Talks

I had another busy year with 17 speaking engagements in 2012. I spoke to garden clubs: the Friends of the UBC Botanical Garden, the Port Coquitlam Garden Club, the Victoria Horticultural Society, the White Rock and District Garden Club, the Evergreen Garden Club and the Saltspring Island Garden Club. I spoke on a cruise ship traveling the waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands to a group of alumni from around North America. I spoke at garden shows including the BC Home and Garden Show and Victoria's Seedy Saturday as well as at the Cedar Lecture Series at VanDusen Gardens.

I also spoke to various professional groups -- to the joint annual general meeting of the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals and the Washington State Nursery Landscape Association, to the Garden Design Group, to the BC Recreation and Parks Annual Spring Training, to Canwest, western Canada's largest horticultural trade show, and to the Annual Symposium of the Perennial Plant Association in Boston.

Picture at Right: Me and Steve Whysall on the Gardeners' School Stage at the BC Home and Garden Show.

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 2013 I already have a more relaxing eight talks booked so watch the e-newsletter for upcoming dates that you can attend.

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

Plant Sales

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 and in the fall we hosted the plant sale of the Desert Plant Society of Vancouver. If your garden club has activities that need a home contact us about potential synergies with Phoenix Perennials.

Click the link to view more pictures of the Desert Plant Club Sale.

Cistus Nursery Group Import by Phoenix Perennials -- In 2012 we added a fun and exciting new service: a group import from Portland's Cistus Nursery. Cistus specializes in hardy subtropicals, Mediterranean climate plants, plants from the southern hemisphere and other intriguing plants from around the world. With our group import our customers were able to order their plants from Cistus and have them shipped and imported worry-free by Phoenix Perennials. In 2013 we will again provide this service. Details are included below, further down in this e-newsletter.


Tulip Time in Holland

In April 2012 I lead a UBC Alumni tour group along the waterways of Holland and Belgium. Along with visits to the towns and cities of this region we also visited the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the incredible Keukenhof Bulb Gardens and the world horticultural expo Floriade which takes place only every 10 years. Here are some links to photo albums and YouTube videos from this great trip.

Keukenhof Gardens Photo Album
View 254 Images of the Best Bulb Show on Earth

Keukenhof YouTube YouTube Videos
Keukenhof Gardens (Video 1): The Wilhelm-Alexander Pavilion
Keukenhof Gardens (Video 2): Visit one small but impressive area of the gardens
Keukenhof Gardens (Video 3): Bulb Plantings Near the Lake
Keukenhof Gardens (Video 4): Zocher Garden Area
Keukenhof Gardens (Video 5): One of my favourite displays

Aalsmeer Flower Auction Photo Album
View More Images of the Aalsmeer Flower Auction

Aalsmeer Flower Auction YouTube Videos
View a YouTube Video of the Aalsmeer Flower Auction

Tulip Field Photo Album
View Images of Tulip and Bulb Fields in Holland

Floriade Green Engine Area Photo Album
View 257 Amazing Photos in the Green Engine Photo Album


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 2012 the Plant of the Year was Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' . In 2013 it will be Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum', the variegated Solomon's seal. Previous winners include Geranium 'Rozanne', Echinacea 'Magnus' and Helleborus x hybridus.


The PPA is Coming to You!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: In July 2013 the annual Symposium of the PPA will be held in Vancouver. There will be a Public Day of lectures for the gardening public with excellent speakers from around North America on Sunday July 21st, 2013. Mark it on your calendar and watch for more info in the E-Newsletter!


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 three 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. 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. Click on the links at right to download the catalogues.

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

Hot New Plants Download | Spring into Summer Download (8mb)

Thanksgiving 2012 Download (5mb)


In Print -- This year the Green for Life Magazine (formerly the Healthy Garden Guide) produced by the BC Landscape Nursery Association featured another an article on container gardening by yours truly. View the 2012 Green for Life Magazine online.

Thanks to Steve Whysall of the Vancouver Sun for mentioning us through the year including in the recent Expert Opinions feature on 2013.


Gary and Phoenix Perennials -- Awards

Phoenix Perennials was proud to announce that we placed for the first time in the Richmond Review's Best of Richmond 2012 Reader's Poll. And we placed in two categories!

Best Customer Service (in all of Richmond among all businesses!) -- Third Place

Best Garden Store -- Third Place

Phoenix Perennials owner, Gary Lewis, was nominated for Garden Communicator of the Year from the BC Landscape and Nursery Association along with Steve Whysall, Brian Minter and other industry members who speak to and engage the public in the world of gardening.

Phoenix Perennials was selected as "Vancouver's Finest" by Groupon who chose the 25 best businesses in Vancouver from the thousands of businesses that they worked with in 2011 and 2012. Each customer was polled by Groupon after using their Groupon voucher at Phoenix and asked if they would recommend our nursery to their friends. More than 1000 people responded and 92% of them said YES!


Construction Projects including The New Field House

We made numerous capital improvements in 2012 such as expanding our retail area at the back of the nursery, creating our Living Sculptures section in our front display area, improving our pathways on our production side, building our "board room" which is a covered outdoor potting and staff area, expanding the area for our groundcover section, building new tables, and improving our irrigation system but the most exciting of them all was building oru new Field House.

This past fall we tore down our old shade structure and in its place raised a beautiful, shining greenhouse. It has seven and a half foot tall side walls and a large vaulted roof giving it a spacious and airy feel. The side walls also roll up so, in the summer, with the shade cloth on and the sides open the Field House will be well-vented and cool. This new retail greenhouse will house our shade section and provide a covered area to shop on raining days. It will also be the site of our Hellebore Hurrah! and possibly other events at the nursery.

We can't wait for you to come and see it!


Keeping in Touch with the Exciting World of Phoenix Perennials

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 2013.

Facebook -- As I write this e-newsletter we have just hit 684 fans of our Facebook page. Have a look at the links below and see the amazing content that we are posting. My facebook statistics tell me that our fans have a total of 145,000 friends. It would be nice to have that many friends! If you are already a Facebook member and fan of our page, please tell all your gardening friends about our page. If you haven't yet "Liked" us on Facebook, have a look at our great content. I bet you'll enjoy it!

Facebook Photo Albums from 2012 - You don't have to be a member of Facebook to view them.

Click here to visit our Facebook page.

Twitter -- If you prefer to get your news through Twitter then why not "follow us"? Our Twitter account is linked to our Facebook so whenever we post on Facebook you'll also receive the same post on Twitter. To date there are 64 of you out there who get your extra Phoenix news this way. Thanks for following us! Follow PhoenixPer on Twitter


YouTube -- In 2012 we uploaded a little less than 2011 but there is some great stuff, especially from my trip to the Netherlands and Belgium to see the Aalsmeer Flower Auction and the Keukenhof Bulb Gardens.

To date we have uploaded 34 videos and have had nearly 10,500 views. Also there are 32 people subscribed to our Channel. You can subscribe to our YouTube Channel to be notified of new videos as soon as they are published. You will also receive notifications on Facebook, Twitter and in the E-Newsletter.

Here are a few of our best videos from 2012:

Subscribe to me on YouTube
VIDEO: Dinner Party Tomato Tasting - After speaking about tomatoes to 136 people in seven tasting sessions at the Heirloom Tomato Festival I went to a dinner party that night where I did a special tomato tasting for the hosts and the other guests. I had to fend them off as I was preparing the tomatoes and I barely got through this video before they descended on the platter and devoured every last piece!
VIDEO: The Largest Flower Auction in the World: Aalsmeer, Holland - 20 million flowers move through Aalsmeer every day, billions of flowers each year. The flowers are brought in from Dutch growers and from growers in Israel, Kenya, South Africa, South America and beyond. Once sold at Aalsmeer, the flowers are then exported to all points around the world.
VIDEO: Keukenhof Gardens (Video 1/5): The Willem-Alexander Pavilion - Take a tour inside the Willem-Alexander Pavilion at the world-famous Keukenhof Bulb Gardens in Holland. You'll see an extravaganza of tulips and other bulbs inside the main tulip display pavilion of Keukenhof. Visit our YouTube Channel to view four more videos at Keukenhof.


Phoenix Perennials in the Community

Charity Shopping Weekends -- Our tradition of giving back to the community continued in 2012. We held four Charity Shopping Weekends for 12 different charities and institutions in Greater Vancouver. These were: SEVA Canada, International Health Initiatives, the South Van GoGos, the North American Intestinal Disease Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Wish Drop-In Centre Society, the BC Schizophrenia Society, RAPS (Richmond Animal Protection Society), Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary, Dixon Elementary, General Brock Elementary and the Community Arts Council of Richmond

This year our charities raised nearly $1800 at our Weekends. In the six years that we've been holding our Charity Shopping Weekends Phoenix Perennials has donated over $12,200 to local charities and worthy institutions. We look forward to holding more Weekends in 2013. We are now accepting applications. See the article in this e-newsletter.


The Phoenicians

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

In particular I'd like to congratulate two of our Phoenicians: Kathleen and Valerie. In March 2011 Kathleen had a stroke which affected her mobility and kept her from work for the whole year. In 2012 she returned to near-full time work as our Retail Manager at the nursery. Congratulations on surviving this challenge and fighting your way back to our ranks with grace and determination. This year Valerie had her own battle with cancer to deal with. She wrestled it to the ground and beat it into submission. Congratulations, Valerie, on coming out on top!

A different kind of congratulations to our Co-Production Manager Natascha and her partner Gord at the birth of their daughter Georgia. Have fun in your retirement from Phoenix and your new job as mommy dearest! Also good luck in retirement to Monica, our other Co-Production Manager. Thank you both for your years of hard work on production.

Gary, the head Phoenician, at the Heirloom Tomato Festival. Kathleen knocking down the shade structure.

Gary, Kate, Patricia and Kathleen at the Great Easter Plant Hunt.

Larry and Patricia dismantling the old shade structure.
Shelley designing and planting a Recipe for a Fabulous Pot. Monica, Larry, Kate, Gary, Natascha and Shelley at the Hellebore Hurrah!
Belinda (at right) instructing a student at our Winter Containers to Die For workshop.

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 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 2013 filled with beauty and sustenance from your gardens. We look forward to seeing you again this 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 March 1st to 3rd, 2013! Mark your calendars!



Cistus Nursery Group Importation
by Phoenix Perennials

Cistus Nursery ( 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



Charity Shopping Weekends 2013
Call for Applications

We are currently accepting applications for our Charity Shopping Weekends program.

Charity Shopping Weekends are a way for Phoenix Perennials to give back to the community while helping to introduce gardeners to our nursery. During the Saturday and Sunday of a Charity Shopping Weekend 25% of each purchase made by a customer who tells us they are there for that charity's Weekend will be donated to the charity. This year rather than hold one Weekend a month we will concentrate all of our Weekends into the peak April-June season to help maximize the fundraising opportunties for our charities. Since 2004 we have raised over $12,200 for local charities.

The charity that can benefit most from a Charity Shopping Weekend is one with a base of supporters that can be easily (and cheaply) contacted and mobilized. If you are involved with or know of a charity that is looking for fundraising opportunities, please forward this information to them and have them contact me if they are interested at or at 604-270-4133. I will then forward them an application form. The deadline for applications will be March 4th, 2013.



Win a Trip for Two by Train
to Canada Blooms in Toronto

Contest Deadline January 31st, 2013!
That's right. The deadline is here. You have to enter right now!

Canada Blooms is the largest public home and garden show in Canada.

How to Enter: Follow the link and fill out the entry form. Enter Garden Centre Code: CB13 and then select "Phoenix Perennials" in the next field. Good luck. Contest closes January 31st so enter right now!

It would be great if a customer of Phoenix Perennials won the trip! One customer from each participating nursery will also receive a set of free tickets. If you are going to be in Toronto in March or have friends or family there, I also have some discount coupons to the show to save $4 per adult. Reply to this e-newsletter and let us know how many you can use and we'll put them aside for you.

Changing Email Addresses?
We wouldn't want to lose you. You can change your email address by clicking on the link at the bottom of this email.

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!

You can forward this email by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

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
March 1st to November 3rd, 2013

Copyright Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd.

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