Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants

E-Newsletter: January 2009


The Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
January 2009

Hello from Phoenix Perennials!

Happy New Year from Phoenix Perennials. And Happy New Year to your gardens which are just now emerging from the weight of all this (unreasonable) snow. You'd think we had been teleported back east or something! Beam me back to the mild West Coast, Scottie!

I recently heard someone lament the cruelty of our climate -- that what we can grow is usually determined by just 48 hours of freezing temperatures a year. If you think about it, for the vast majority of the winter our temperatures sit at cozy zone 8 or even zone 9 levels but we usually get one quick cold snap each winter that clobber all the things that would otherwise survive just fine and reign in our gardening enthusiasms. Alas...

A few things I learned last time we had bitter cold and clobbering snow:
1. Your phormiums might look dead, and they very well may be, but they might come back so don't rip them out before you give them a chance this spring. Tie them upright so the new leaves have a chance to emerge.
2. If your Nandina 'Plum Passion' got badly frozen it should come back from the base or even along the stem.
3. Don't get too depressed looking out at your garden. Most everything else will be just fine.

In this issue I bear tidings of great hope: spring is coming soon. With it there will be hellebores - lots and lots of hellebores in colours and configurations you've been dreaming about. There will be new talks by yours truly on exotic places, Western Australia to be exact. And there will be new plants. Lots of new plants.

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians

In this Issue

1. Cedar Lecture Series: Among Kangaroo Paws and Grass Trees with Gary Lewis
2. The Hellebore Hurrah! 2009
3. Sneak Peak #2 into the 2009 Season


Cedar Lecture Series
Among Kangaroo Paws and Grass Trees
The incredible spring flora of Western Australia

with Gary Lewis, owner of Phoenix Perennials

Join Gary for a trip Down Under to explore an out of this world flora you have likely never even dreamed of – a world of Banksias and featherflowers, Donkey orchids and Spider orchids, eucalypts and myrtles and, of course, kangaroo paws and grass trees. In this talk you’ll see wonderful photography from his recent trip as well as learn about why this area of the world is considered a biodiversity “hot spot.”

Thursday Feb 12, 7:30pm
Floral Hall, VanDusen Botanical Gardens, Oak Street and West 37th Ave, Vancouver.

Tickets available in advance from the Administration Office (604-257-8666) as well as at the door.
Members $10 and non-members $15.



Opening Weekend 2009
The Hellebore Hurrah!
Celebrating early spring and all things Hellebore

February 27th, 28th and March 1st, 2009

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

This year we bring you almost 80 different species, cultivars and strains of Hellebores sourced from some of the best breeders in North America and around the world. Some of the most exciting plants will come from the reigning queen of the hellebore, Marietta O'Byrne. We also bring you choice plants from three other hellebore specialists, Pine Knot Farms, Charles Price breeder and garden designer of Seattle Washington, and Heronswood Nursery. 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!

Watch for a full list in the February E-Newsletter! Until then here are some new hellebores to warm your gardening hearts.

Helleborus Jade Tiger Strain, Onyx Odyssey Strain, Berry Swirl Strain, Golden Lotus Strain, and Painted Doubles Strain - Lenten Rose - Here are five of the fourteen different strains we'll have this year from Marietta O'Byrne - Jade Tiger offers greens with burgundy picotees, Onyx Odyssey brings us rich deep purples and slates that approach near black, Berry Swirl offers rich mid to deep raspberry pinks, Golden Lotus has glowing yellow flowers, and Painted Doubles offer spectacular spotting on pure white petals. These (and many others) will be available at the Hellebore Hurrah! starting on February 27th, 2009!

Mark your calendars!


Sneak Peak #2 into the 2009 Season
Working hard to be your plant mecca!

Agave funkiana 'Blue Haze' and 'Fatal Attraction' - Century Plant - 'Blue Haze' is a pretty variety of Agave funkiana with lovely powdery-blue leaves with a near-white central midstripe. This fine selection is stunning in the landscape tolerating frost to -9º C, or as a container plant.

'Fatal Attraction' is a vigorous selection of Agave funkiana featuring narrow dark green leaves with a lighter central midstripe. The narrow thick leaves end in a dark terminal spine. Hardy to -9º C.


Agave schidigera 'Shira ito no Ohi' (Queen of the White Thread) and 'Black Widow' - Century Plant - The form, symmetry and dramatic beauty of 'Shira ito no Ohi' captures one's attention. Each thick, dark-green leaf is margined by a crisp white border, highlighted by silver interior markings and edged with white curly filifers. Eventually forms a 12 inch clump suitable for pot use, or as a garden plant in zones 8 and south.

'Black Widow' is a selection of schidigera, natural to western Mexico, displaying rigid, dark green leaves with silver markings and interesting filiferous edges. With its compact growth habit and wonderful symmetry it makes an excellent pot plant or border plant in zones 8 through 10.


Ajuga 'Dixie Chip', 'Sparkler', and 'Toffee Chip' - Bugleweed - Ajugas are useful little plants for pots, pathways and groundcovers but they aren't usually thought of as all that sexy. Well, here we go with three new variegated cultivars sure to grab your attention.


Geranium 'Dragon Heart' - Cranesbill - This large geranium is reported to grow to at least two feet tall (probably taller in our climate!). It sports large two inch wide, magenta flowers with a black centre and veining that are produced in great abundance from late spring into fall. The plant is clump forming with long, spreading stems and very large leaves.


Digitalis 'Goldcrest' - Foxglove - It's time to bring back the foxgloves. What better plant to lead the parade than this new golden-flowered hybrid. It will bloom from mid summer into early fall and has strong 18" long stems with dark green lance shaped leaves. The flower racemes are in shades of yellow-peach with reddish brown markings. The plants are also perennial, not biennial, and will come back in subsequent years.

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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. 2009

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