Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants


The Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
January 2008

Hello from Phoenix Perennials!

Happy New Year! My how the years fly by. In just a month's time we'll be starting our fifth season at Phoenix Perennials with our opening weekend and our Hellebore Hurrah! It will be one week earlier this year on February 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. Details are below.

Coming up even faster than that is a talk on Hellebores by Bill Terry as part of the Cedar Lecture Series at VanDusen. Phoenix Perennials is the sponsor for the evening. This is an excellent, well researched and visually beautiful talk that Bill first gave last year to a sold out crowd in Sechelt as part of the spring event of the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society. We are very pleased at Phoenix Perennials to help bring him to Vancouver so a wider audience can learn about the exciting history, botany and lore of the hellebore. Details are also below.

Speaking of hellebores, does anyone else have hellebores blooming in their yard? I have a Mrs Betty Ranicar and a Heronswood Double Pink each with one flowering stem in full bloom and the rest still way back in bud! I am continuing to count myself lucky that this winter has, so far, been much more reasonable than last. (Knock on wood!)

Also in this e-newsletter we have a few housekeeping notes on hiring, on our Charity Shopping Weekends, and on our workshops (there's a prize to be had under one of these items). There is also an exciting Sneak Peak #3 into our 2008 season. In November we highlighted new calla lilies, in December miniature hostas and now in January we bring you a pot-pourri of new plants and rarities. Enjoy!

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians

In this Issue

1. The Hellebore Hurrah!: Celebrating early spring and all things Hellebore
2. Hellebores: A Cure for Madde and Furiouse Men, Cedar Lecture Series sponsored by Phoenix Perennials
3. Phoenix Perennials is Hiring!
4. Charity Shopping Weekends 2008: Call for Applications
5. Workshops 2008: What Do You Want to Learn?
6. Sneak Peak #3 into the 2008 Season: New Plants and Rarities


Opening Weekend
The Hellebore Hurrah!
Celebrating early spring and all things Hellebore
February 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2008
(Note: This is one week earlier than last year.)

It keeps getting better and better, fellow hellebore enthusiasts. There are times for modesty but this isn't one of them! Brace yourselves for what very well could be the largest and most exciting selection of hellebores ever offered in Canada! This year we bring you once again a great selection of Heronswood Hellebores (we were able to secure plants for one more year). We also bring you choice plants from two different hellebore specialists, Pine Knot Farms and the reigning queen of the hellebore, Marietta O'Byrne. For the extra sophisticated among you we will also offer a selection of rare and uncommon species hellebores as young plants. Mark your calendars! You won't want to miss this weekend!

Helleborus Mellow Yellow Strain by Marietta O'Byrne
The colour in this image may be slightly darker than real life but as one of the best breeders in the world her yellows are still among the best available at this point in hellebore breeding.


Helleborus Brushstrokes Strain by Marietta O'Byrne


Helleborus 'Kingston Cardinal' by Heronswood Nursery


Helleborus Southern Belles Strain by Pine Knot Farm


Helleborus odorus by Mother Nature -- a fragrant hellebore!

Watch for more Sneak Peaks in the February E-Newsletter!

If you are unable to attend the Hellebore Hurrah! there will certainly be more hellebores available afterwards. If you would like to make sure you acquire a desired plant(s) you can call the nursery between February 11th and February 21st and give us your order, your credit card information and your sworn affidavit that you really will not be able to make it that weekend. We will select a nice specimen for you and hold it until you can pick it up.

Because the first day of the Hurrah! is a Friday and many people have to work we will hold back a quantity of the more rare plants for Saturday so that they will be available on both Friday and Saturday.


A Cure for Madde and Furiouse Men

with Bill Terry
Cedar Lecture Series
VanDusen Botanical Garden

Sponsored by Phoenix Perennials

In this beautifully illustrated lecture, Mr. Terry traces the remarkable history of the Hellebore; from ancient and mediaeval times and its often horrific use in magic and medicine, to its post-war reincarnation as a popular and highly desirable garden plant.

Bill Terry is a former broadcaster and now a talented propagator. He is an expert in the propagation and cultivation of Meconopsis and has Canada’s most diverse collection in his waterfront garden in Sechelt.

Thursday February 7th, 2008
Floral Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets available in advance from the VanDusen Administration Office in person or by phone (604-257-8666) as well as at the door.
Members $10 and non-members $15.


Phoenix Perennials is Hiring

Are you or someone you know interested in working with plants in a fun, challenging and exciting nursery environment?

We are now hiring for the 2008 season. We are looking for individuals with a positive attitude, an excellent work ethic, and a love of plants. We will consider applicants from gardening newbies right up to seasoned pros for positions in both the production and retail sides of Phoenix Perennials.

Please prepare a cover letter and resume and send to
Interviews will begin soon so don't delay.


Charity Shopping Weekends 2008
Call for Applications

We are currently accepting applications from charitable organizations who would be interested in participating in 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. Each month one charity will be selected to participate in a Weekend. During that Saturday and Sunday 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. Last year we raised almost $1700 for the HomeStart Foundation, the Gogo Grannies in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, the Richmond Fruit Tree Project, the Vancouver Hospice Society, and the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association. Since we started the Charity Shopping Weekends in 2004 we have raised over $3700 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 participating charity will be announced each month in the E-Newsletter. If you would like to support that charity (or are looking for ways to justify your hortaholic tendencies), consider doing some shopping on the Charity Shopping Weekends.


Workshops 2008
What Do You Want to Learn?

At Phoenix Perennials we believe that learning is an integral and important part of gardening. Every year we offer a wide variety of workshops on diverse topics and at reasonable prices. We are currently developing our workshop offerings for 2008 and we would like to know what you would like to learn. Please email us with your suggestions at We will consider all of your suggestions and see what we can cook up.

As an incentive one lucky respondent will be randomly drawn to

Attendance for You and a Friend in Any Workshop of Your Choice in 2008!

We're looking forward to your suggestions!



Sneak Peak #3 into the 2008 Season
New Plants and Rarities
There should be something here for everyone in this small peak and some of the new plants we are working on for 2008!


Agave montana 'Baccarat' -- Century Plant -- A rare cold hardy, moisture tolerant century plant from high elevation winter wet mountains in Mexico.


Clematis 'Avant Garde' -- Clematis -- A new late-season blooming Evison clematis with stunning magenta-red petals and a double centre.


Echinacea 'Green Envy' -- Not-So-Purple Coneflower -- We tried to offer these once a couple years ago but echinacea don't like to be barerooted and shipped on transatlantic flights. This year we have little plants coming in as little plugs and hope they will grow for us and for you!


Aloe polyphylla -- Hardy Spiral Aloe -- A temperature hardy (zone 7b) though moisture intolerant South African aloe from tissue culture that is endangered in the wild.


Bergenia 'Solar Flare' -- Pig Squeak -- Outstanding cream-edged variegation which turns to pink tones in fall.


Arisaema flavum
-- Cobra Lily -- Yellow! A departure from the greens, whites and burgundies of the other species.


Heuchera 'Blackout' -- Coral Bells -- Blacker than 'Obsidian', they say. With a silvery shimmer and burgundy undersides. Looks lusty!


Cypripedium kentuckiense -- Kentucky Lady's Slipper Orchid -- Big, bold and light yellow. Exquisite!


Geranium 'Starman' -- Cranesbill -- A new cultivar with two-tone flowers of pink and magenta that will smother the plant from June until September. The foliage is apparently quite handsome but it's hard to see for all the flowers!

The Wish List: The plants highlighted above will come ready at different times during the 2008 season (barring any difficulties in transit or production). We can always put you on the Wish List and give you a call when the cultivar(s) you are interested in are available. Please email the cultivar names and your phone number if you would like this service. Cheers!


Share this E-Newsletter with a Friend

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

If you have any other questions please contact us at

Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd.
One of the largest and most exciting selections of perennials in the Lower Mainland.
Specializing in distinct perennials, fragrant shrubs, hardy subtropicals and the botanically intriguing.
3380 No. 6 Road, Richmond (Between Bridgeport and Cambie)

Please visit our web page for information on the nursery, driving directions and a map.
We are near the south end of the Knight Street Bridge and very easy to get to from all of the surrounding municipalities and beyond.

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

Copyright Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd. 2008

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