Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants

E-Newsletter: June 2008


The Phoenix Perennials

June 2008

Hello from Phoenix Perennials!

Well. What can I say? Welcome to Juneuary? The sun will come out tomorrow? Always look on the bright side of life?

It seems we're having another spring like last year. The plants like it just fine and the gardens are growing beautifully. But the weather isn't great for gardeners! Hopefully it will shape up soon. June is the best month for perennial shopping. Practically all of our new production is ready and by this point we have gotten tonnes of great plants in from our favourite suppliers. Also, many plants are coming into bloom so the nursery looks beautiful. A special welcome to our French intern Jeanne Poulet who is with us for 3 months to learn about the nursery business as part of her degree in horticulture.

In this issue don't forget about your veggies and herbs (we've got lots), we also announce our fourth annual Great Plant Combination Contest with a chance to win great prizes (free plants! send in your entries!), we can now ship to Victoria residents, our popular t-shirts are here and available, we have a great workshop on drought tolerant gardening coming up and there is the regular installment of Fabulous at Phoenix.

See you at the nursery soon!

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians


In this Issue

1. Phoenix Fresh Veggies
2. Great Plant Combination Contest 2008
3. Victoria Residents: We can now ship to you!
4. New Phoenix Perennials Collectible T-Shirt
5. Upcoming Workshops: Come learn with us
6. Fabulous at Phoenix: Gary's Picks of New, Notable and Luscious Plants at the Phoenix Candy Store


Phoenix Fresh Veggies
Featuring Unique and Heirloom Edibles

Our Phoenix Fresh Veggies section is filled up with crazy vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, and fragrant herbs. Decrease your carbon footprint, embrace the 100 Mile Diet and grow your own. You can't get much more local than your own backyard!

We have Angora tomatoes that have silvery leaves, zucchini, squash and pumpkins that grow as a bush and so are great in pots, cherry tomatoes that are pink, red, or yellow, eggplants that are white, purple asparagus, aromatic herbs including various mints for your mojitos and mint juleps, rhubarb for your pies, and great colourful kales for sauteeing.




The Fourth Annual Phoenix Perennials
Great Plant Combination Contest

A great garden is not just great plants grown well. A great garden hinges on great plant combinations.
Now that your gardening powers are greater than they've ever been and you've had a good part of this season to experiment, we want to know what you think is the ultimate knock-out plant combination. For your efforts we offer:

1st Prize: $150 Gift Certificate at Phoenix
2nd Prize: $100 Gift Certificate at Phoenix
3rd Prize: $50 Gift Certificate at Phoenix
Honourable Mentions: Fame but not fortune

Each of the winning combinations, as well as the honourable mentions, will be showcased in a special display at the nursery through the month of July, including during our Summer Sizzle Event July 19th and 20th.

Here are the instructions:

1. Your plant combination should be suitable for a pot, small bed or section of a larger bed.
2. It must include 5-7 different species or cultivars of perennials. A few annuals may be acceptable but combinations based mostly on annuals will be disqualified.
3. Your combination can be in any style you desire (english cottage, formal, subtropical, alpine, drought tolerant,... anything you can imagine). Just make it fabulous.
4. The submissions will be judged on leaf combinations (size, shape, texture, colour, etc.) and on flower combinations (colour scheme, size, etc). They will also be judged based on creativity and degree of "wow" factor.
5. Each entry should include a short paragraph of why you chose those particular plants and why you think that combination is particularly great. Here's your chance to convince us! If you have a photograph of your plant combination, please attach that to your email or mail it in with your entry as it will undoubtedly help your case.
6. Download an entry form from our website. To email it back: Fill it out on your computer, save it on your computer, then attach it to an email and send it back to To mail it in simply print it off, fill it out by hand and mail it, fax it, or drop it off at the nursery. 3380 No. 6 Rd., Richmond, BC, V6V 1P5, Fax: 604-270-4133.
7. Submissions are due by June 25th, 2008. The winners will be announced in the July E-newsletter.
8. Maximum three entries per person.
9. Your entries must conform to the above instructions so that they can be judged against the other entries. Entries that do not meet the above criteria might not be considered.
9. The entries will be judged by Gary Lewis, owner of Phoenix Perennials, and by the Phoenicians.

We're looking forward to your entries!
Get them in soon! These are great prizes.



Victoria Residents: We can now ship to you!

Announcing a new venture for Phoenix Perennials: In partnership with our friends at Brentwood Bay Nurseries in Brentwood Bay near Victoria we can now ship to your area and you can pick up your plants at Brentwood Bay. The cost of shipping will be on a case by case basis but will be super reasonable.


1. Browse our Online Database, our New and Notable Catalogue, and our E-Newsletters. These cover about 1500 different plants. However, we have an additional 1500 plants at the nursery so let us know what else you're looking for. We very well might have it.

2. Call or email us with your list. We will let you know availability and pricing.

3. Confirm and pay by phone with VISA or MC.

4. Your plants will be shipped on the next truck which travels between our two nurseries weekly.

5. Pick up your plants at Brentwood Bay Nurseries, 1395 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC 250-652-1507. You will need to show the same credit card you purchased the plants with and sign your receipt.



New Phoenix Perennials Collectible T-Shirt

There are worse addictions than plants!

Welcome to our first ever offering of Phoenix Wear! Pretty soon we'll take on Lulu Lemon but for now we'll start with a t-shirt.

This high quality tee will be black with embroidered text in green. They will cost a reasonable $17.99. They are great for gardening, plant shopping, going to garden group meetings, and for reminding your spouse that it could be worse!

Our t-shirts will be arriving at the nursery either just before or just after Mothers' Day weekend. They will be available in various sizes.

If you would like one, please email us back and let us know. This will help us tweak the numbers. Give us your phone number and we will call you when they come in!

If they are popular enough we will print a different saying each season!





Upcoming Workshops
Come learn with us

DESIGN SERIES | The Dry Garden: Designing a drought tolerant garden that goes easy on the drink | Instructor: Diane Brown | Saturday June 14th, 10am | $20 | A workshop on the principles of designing and planting a bed for a hot, dry, sunny spot. Each participant will have the opportunity to design a xeriscape garden with the help of Diane. Come to the workshop with a five foot by five foot sized area of your garden in mind including pictures.



Grasses that Captivate: The transformative powers of ornamental grasses | Instructor: Shelley Brignall | Saturday September 20th, 10am | $15 | The popularity of ornamental grasses continues to grow as gardeners discover their many virtues. Don't get it yet? Come to this informative talk and learn what grasses can do for you and your garden. Already enamoured with ornamental grasses? You'll love this workshop too. You'll get tips on using them for best effect in your garden design. As well, you'll be introduced to several cultivars you might not have seen before.

CONTAINER SERIES | Jewels of the Spring Garden: Bulbs for spring containers  | Instructor: Shelley Brignall | Saturday September 27th, 10am | $15 | Meet the spring blooming wonders that you can include in your garden and in pots including a number of uncommon but exciting possibilities. You will also receive instruction on designing with bulbs and planting them in layers for knock out displays. Each participant will then plant up and take home their own container. Please bring your own large pot (minimum 12-14 inches in diametre). A large, black, seven gallon plastic pot can be provided at an additional cost of $6. Please order your pot when you book your workshop. The cost of the bulbs that you choose to include in your container are not included in the cost of the workshop.



CONTAINER SERIES | Winter Containers: Plant up a container to create winter interest | Instructor: Cliff Thorbes | Saturday October 6th, two workshops starting at 10am and 2pm | $15 | This is a fun hands-on workshop for gardeners of all levels who are interested in learning how to successfully create gorgeous perennial containers that will provide months of winter interest and an antidote against the dark, cold days of the year. After some practical and design instruction each participant will plant up and take home their own container. Please bring your own large pot (minimum 12-14 inches in diametre) with enough space for at least 3 to 5 one gallon perennials. A large, black, seven gallon plastic pot can be provided at an additional cost of $6. Please order your pot when you book your workshop.

Special Workshop Offer*
Mix and match any four workshops from any of our series and receive 10% off your enrollment. (Does not include the cost of the wreath frame ($25) if you select the Living Wreaths workshop).

*To take advantage of our special offers workshops must be purchased all at the same time. Workshops purchased as a series are not transferrable to other attendees and must be used by one person.

Booking Workshops

Spaces are limited. Please call (604-270-4133) or visit the nursery to book your space. Payment is required when booking. If you would like to take advantage of one of our special offers please let us know at the start of your booking.

Each workshop requires a minimum of 10 people and a maximum of 15-25 depending on the workshop. If the minimum is not met we may not be able to run the workshop in which case we will contact you a few days before the scheduled date of the workshop.

Workshop participants will receive a 15% discount on any purchases they wish to make the day of their workshop. Woo hoo!



Fabulous at Phoenix
Gary's Picks of New, Notable and Luscious Plants at the Phoenix Candy Store

June is the best month for perennial shopping. Practically all of our new production is ready and by this point we have gotten tonnes of great plants in from our favourite suppliers. Also, many plants are coming into bloom so you see a lot of colour and enjoy the beautiful setting. Don't miss June at Phoenix Perennials!

Chondropetalum tectorum - Cape Rush - This architectural plant offers dense clumps of wiry, deep green stems that develop papery, chocolate-brown bands and long lasting dark brown seed heads. Ideal in an attractive pot or a protected area of the garden, this species is hardy to minus seven degrees Celsius and prefers sandy, well-drained soil. C. tectorum is endemic to South Africa’s Cape Province and belongs to the restios, a family of Southern Hemisphere rush- and sedge-like plants.


Polemonium 'Bressingham Purple' - Jacob's Ladder - A beautiful Jacob’s ladder with smokey purple new foliage topped with purple flowers. Sun to part-shade.


Lavatera 'Red Rum' - Tree Mallow - ‘Red Rum’ is a compact grower great for containers or as a mid-level plant in a perennial bed. Dark red stems hold closely packed red-pink flowers. The close clustering of the flowers makes an intense floral display from spring through summer and likely into fall. Named after the multi-race award winning British racehorse, Red Rum.


Salvia 'Wild Watermelon' - Sage - If you love ‘Hot Lips’ you’ll love ‘Wild Watermelon’. This fast growing selection with a unique fuchsia colour will bloom constantly with hundreds of flowers from June to November driving you, your garden visitors and butterflies wild with luscious colour (and nectar). Makes a super easy and appealing container plant for the patio, or combine with other deep purple, blue and white perennials in the garden. Plant in full sun in hot dry spots with well-drained soils.


Echinacea 'Tiki Torch' - Not-So-Purple Coneflower - The gorgeous, large, bright, pumpkin orange flowers with red centres offer the best hope for a vibrant orange echinacea since the disappointingly annual ‘Orange Meadowbrite’. This plant apparently has strong, upright stems and excellent vigour. Worth a shot in well-drained, not so rich soils.


Podophyllum delavayi - Asian Mayapple - This Chinese mayapple is one of most exciting new shade perennials in years. Fuzzy umbrellas emerge with dark snakeskin markings, often on a red background, changing to patterned green. Flowers can be red, pink, or white and are followed by apricot coloured fruit. Also called P. veitchii or Dysosma veitchii.


'Blue Mouse Ears'
'Chartreuse Wiggles'
'Sunlight Child'
'Dragon Tails'
'Green Eyes'

'Shade Parade'

Hosta Minis - Miniature Hosta - They are cute, colourful, and adorable. They generally grow from three to six inches in height, depending on the cultivar. They are great for the front of the border, along pathways, amongst stepping stones or in pots or shady troughs. Some make good groundcovers.


Hosta 'Sum of All' - Plantain Lily - A sport of 'Sum and Substance', ‘Sum of All’ is possibly the largest hosta available today growing to three feet tall and five feet wide with 16 inch wide broadly ovate green leaves with one inch wide gold margins. Forms a huge mound of slug-resistant, sun tolerant foliage. Pale lavender flowers appear on four foot scapes in mid to late summer.


Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica - Evergreen Fern-leaf Clematis - This unique clematis has creamy white flowers flecked with purple red. The shiny, dissected, ferny foliage is beautiful and evergreen. The vines are vigorous.


Clematis koreana var. fragrans - Korean Clematis - This variety "has larger reddish-purple or violet-purple narrowly campanulate, fragrant flowers, with more obvious 'shoulders', the colour particularly intense and shiny in bud" (Christopher Grey-Wilson).


Clematis florida 'Sieboldii' - Clematis - This rare and amazing white clematis is centred with ruffles of jewel-like petals. Not as hardy as other clematis so site in a warm protected location.


Dahlia Bishop Series - Dahlia - This excellent series of burgundy-leaved dahlias includes the classic ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ as well as the Bishops of Auckland (dark red), Canterbury (rosy red), Oxford (orange), York (yellow) and Leicester (lavender). These dahlias are fairly hardy in our climate and don't need to be lifted if planted in a protected, sunny spot in well-drained soil. A protective mulch is recommended.

Heuchera (From Top Row to Bottom Row, Left to Right): Blackout, Georgia Peach, Mahogany, Midnight Rose, Southern Comfort, Sashay, Hollywood

Heuchera - Coral Bells - We offer a selection of cutting edge new cultivars sure to give amazing foliage colour and contrast to your garden.

'Blackout' - 'Blackout' has very dark, almost black, glossy leaves with rounded lobes which are said to be darker than the industry standard in dark-leaved heucheras, ‘Obsidian’. Cream flowers top the clump in late spring or summer.

'Georgia Peach' - Huge peach coloured leaves with a very showy white overlay and a large lush habit. This plant makes a Hosta-like bold foliage statement, except, of course, it's evergreen. Foliage colour changes from peach orange tones in the spring to rose to rose purple in the fall through winter, and always with a decorative white veil. From H. villosa breeding so will be vigorous and grow well in the humid Pacific Northwest and BC. Creamy white flowers.

'Mahogany' - Glossy mahogany red foliage with a nice ruffle. A great performer. Wonderful dense shiny colour year round. Foliage changes from spring purple tones to summer red tones. Insignificant white flowers on short stems.

'Midnight Rose' - This amazing compact plant has burnished black leaves that are thickly spotted with hot pink in spring. Summer leaves lighten and cream and pink dots adorn the foliage. A sport of the popular ‘Obsidian’.

'Southern Comfort' - Huge cinnamon-peach leaves and a lush habit. This plant makes a bold foliage statement. Creamy white flowers erupt in late summer. Foliage colour changes from cinnamon peach to burnished copper to amber. Bred to do well in humid climates including the Pacific Northwest and BC.

'Sashay' - A wonderful cultivar with contrasting bicoloured foliage, dark green on the top and lusty burgundy or pink on the bottom. The edges are so ruffled that the bottoms show quite nicely from beneath. Absolutely charming and a neat foliage departure amongst the heuchera.

'Hollywood' - Strong reblooming spikes of dense coral flowers are produced over white-veined, lightly ruffled metallic looking leaves all spring and summer!


Salix magnifica - Magnificent Willow - This amazing willow has leaves like a magnolia and long seven to 10 inch long catkins that emerge with the foliage. Stump all of your know-it-all garden friends with this one.


Clerodendrum trichotomum - Glory Bower - A delicious shrub with fragrant flowers in late summer followed by blue fruit held on top of dark pinky red bracts. A gorgeous and unique plant.


Stachyurus salicifolius - I've been hunting for this for years! A spectacular Chinese shrub in both foliage and flower. The flowers emerge in early spring dangling magically from the stems. The leaves are long, pointed and lush and are evergreen. A rare fabulous shrub. Don't miss it!


Iris germanica 'Before the Storm' - One of the darkest purple-black irises available today bred from a cross between ‘Superstition’ and ‘Raven’s Roost’. Excellent growth habit and light fragrance. Winner of the Dykes Medal in 1996. Divide every two to three years just after blooming.


Dianthus 'Wicked Witch' - Pinks - Sometimes it’s oh so good to be wicked! This new cultivar is identical to the Perennial Plant of the Year for 2006, D. ‘Firewitch’, in all but flower colour. In this case ‘Wicked Witch’ has bright cherry red flowers instead of the typical magenta. They bloom over a long period and will rebloom sporadically through the summer and into the fall. The flowers are clove-scented and are held over luscious blue-grey evergreen foliage.


Arisaema flavum - Cobra Lily - This unique cobra lily has bright yellow spathes. It grows to about one foot tall usually with two dissected leaves. Also unusual about this species is its distribution: while almost all species occur in Asia (with two species in eastern North America), A. flavum is found in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa -- quite the fascinating little traveller. Grows in drier habitats than your usual arisaemas so try it in dry shade! Not arriving until Thursday June 12th.


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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