Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants

E-Newsletter: October 2009

The Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
October 2009

Hello from Phoenix Perennials!

Our season draws to a close this month. Our last day for 2009 will be November 1st. There's still a little excitement before then! Bulbs, SALES, pavilions, new positions and of course the ever popular Fabulous at Phoenix.

In particular, don't miss our great selection of fall bulbs. We're stocked with all kinds of fun and more unusual species and cultivars along with some great old favourites. I'm definitely going to find some space in my garden for the four foot tall plum purple Allium 'Forelock' as well as my friend Cyndi's oh so favourite burgundy tulip 'Jan Reus'. And I can't resist the 'Black Parrot' tulip either or the mini botanical tulips or the towering foxtail lilies. Remember that planting bulbs is about HOPE. Not the hope that you don't need now because we've just had a beautiful long hot summer but about the HOPE that you're going to need come early spring when you've just gone through a wet grey cold winter and you need a signal from Mother Nature that it's going to be all right - that kind of HOPE.

Also this October don't miss our Fantastic Fall Sale - a three week long 25% Off Sale punctuated with our crazy 2 for 1 weekend that sees throngs of eager gardeners wrestling in the aisles for unbelievable botanical bargains. October is still a good time to plant perennials and shrubs so shrug off the rain and get planting!

See you soon at the nursery!

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians


In this Issue

1. The Fantastic Fall Sale
2. Fall Bulbs are Here!
3. Gary Lewis joins the Perennial Plant Association as the Canada Region Director
4. Our New Pavilion is Up!

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


The Fantastic Fall Sale
Mark your Calendars!

Friday October 9th to Sunday November 1st
25% Off
All Plants, Pots and Garden Accessories*


Friday, Saturday and Sunday October 16th, 17th and 18th

2 for 1!
All Plants, Pots and Garden Accessories*

(Buy one plant, get the second of equal or lesser value for free! You can't beat that.)

*Excludes fall bulbs.

Please remember that this is a generous sale. We can't make any exceptions on the dates or details listed above. During the 2 for 1 weekend if you do not wish to take a second plant for free you may purchase your single plant at 25% off the normal retail price. During the sale no other offers or discounts apply including our Frequent Flyer Cards.


Fall Bulbs Are Here!

Our fall bulbs have arrived at the nursery. As you've come to expect from Phoenix Perennials we'll have many unique, unusual and cutting edge selections including botanical tulips, camassia, fritillaria, cyclamen and erythronium, as well as some striking new cultivars of hybrid tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, and much more.

Our selection includes from left to right starting from top Left: Tulipa 'Tinka', Eremurus bungei, Allium schubertii, Tulipa 'Garant', Tulipa 'Peppermint Stick', Camassia quamash, Erythronium 'White Beauty'.

Our Selection also includes these stunning new Alliums!
Allium 'Forelock' - Featured in our display garden at the World Rose Festival in June.
Allium 'Summer Drummer'
Allium 'Silver Spring'

And over 120 other great bulbs to grace your spring garden!



Press Release
Gary Lewis joins the Perennial Plant Association as the Canada Region Director

Phoenix Perennials owner Gary Lewis was recently invited to join the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) as the new Canada Region Director. The PPA is best known by gardeners for its Perennial Plant of the Year program. In his new role Gary will represent the Canadian members of the PPA on the Board of Directors as well as work to further the goals of the Association which are focused on the education and promotion of perennial plants to its membership and to the gardening public across Canada and the United States. He takes over from outgoing Director Paul Zammit now the Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden. Other previous Directors have included John Schroeder of Valleybrook Gardens and Janet Anderson, nurserywoman and educator, who went on to become president of the PPA.

"I'm excited to join the PPA for two reasons," states Gary Lewis. "The first is to contribute to the growth and development of the Association and its valuable work in promoting the exciting world of perennials. The second reason for excitement is the opportunity to network within the industry in both North America and Europe, contacts that can only benefit Phoenix Perennials and help us to continue to offer our customers an unparalleled selection of garden plants."

Gary Lewis took over Phoenix Perennials in 2004 and has since expanded the nursery to include what he believes might be the largest selection of perennials in Canada - 3500 to 4000 different species and cultivars are offered each year to the growing legions of eager Phoenix Perennials customers. The nursery includes garden stalwarts, rare and unusual plants, and cutting edge new perennials. Phoenix Perennials is often among the first nurseries in the country to introduce many new garden plants. With the dedicated help of its staff, the Phoenicians, Phoenix Perennials also offers an In-Nursery Design Service, a popular monthly email newsletter, an extensive web page with searchable database, and diverse workshops from perennial hanging baskets and succulent wreaths to veggie container growing and wine tastings.

The Perennial Plant Association was started in 1984 to promote the use of quality plants to garden centre retailers and hence to the public. Through various programs -- notably the Perennial Plant of the Year, the PPA Landscape Design Awards program, and June Perennial Gardening Month -- the PPA helps educate garden centres and the public about the use of herbaceous perennials as a group of plants with great utility in gardens and landscapes.


Our New Pavilion is Up!

The pavilion that graced our display garden at the World Rose Festival has now been erected at the nursery offering a great focal point at the end of the central aisle. Designed and built by local landscaper/builder/designer extraordinaire Kevin Paetkau, the pavilion will be used for our workshops and for our In-Nursery Design Service. It can also be visited by our guests for a break from the sun (or rain) and for an elevated view of the nursery. The pavilion is made of pressure treated wood and accented with beautiful cedar. It's topped with a cool slanted tin roof.

Kevin Paetkau can be reached through his website at

Here's our pavilion at the World Rose Festival surrounded by the Paisley Garden...


...and here's our pavilion at the nursery!

Come see it for yourself!



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


'Coral Reef'

'Hot Lava'

Echinacea 'Firebird', 'Hot Lava', 'Coral Reef' and 'Flame Thrower' - Not-So-Purple Coneflower - The cutting edge of echinacea is now represented by these four brand new cultivars. We are proud to be among the first in North America to introduce these firey red not-so-purple coneflowers which are officially slated for 2010 but we have them for you in 2009!

'Firebird' has the classic coneflower shape with reflexed petals that gives the flower the shape of a badminton shuttlecock.
'Coral Reef' is a double form with an afro of firey orange surrounded by a ring of flared ray florets.
'Hot Lava' has petals that are held outwards (instead of downwards) with a high petal count giving each flower a full look.

'Flame Thrower' is one of the earliest coneflowers to come into bloom with two-toned orange and yellow flowers that are hot, hot, hot! Add to this a well-branched habit, nice fragrance, and a tendency to rebloom and you've got a great choice for a firey display in the garden.

Remember that coneflowers can fail over winter if you plant them in rich moist soils. They can be grown successfully planted in hot sunny sites in soils that are average to poor in both nutrients and water.

Daphne bholua 'Hardy Form' - Daphne - Plan ahead for spring enchantment with this hardy form of this rare daphne species. An upright columnar shape puts the incredibly fragrant flowers right where you can enjoy them in late winter and spring. Plant explorer Dan Hinkley calls this species the "Queen of the Genus" but laments that it is still rare in cultivation. He says that "if you happen upon it, buy it. The queen of this genus is begging to be better known."
Schizostylis 'Zeal Salmon' and 'Oregon Sunset' - Schizostylis - Ignored all spring and summer at the nursery, this hardy South African native comes into its own in the fall and blooms continuously well into winter (and sometimes through into the New Year!). Fine-textured iris-like leaves and deep peach or pink toned gladiolus-like flowers on 1-2’ tall spikes. Really a must-have for the fall garden.

Ajuga 'Dixie Chip' and 'Party Colors' - Bugleweed - Two new ajuga cultivars with great variegated green, cream and pink colouration. 'Dixie Chip' is a tricolour version of 'Chocolate Chip' with small tongue-like leaves. 'Party Colors' is much like 'Black Scallop' with the crinkled, scalloped shiny leaves but with these great new foliage colours. Bugleweeds are endlessly useful for groundcovers in sun to shade, in hanging baskets, planters, and even living walls.
Erythrina herbacea - Hardy Coral Bean - This intriguing plant is a bit of an anomaly within it's genus. The coral beans are a primarily woody genus made up of trees and shrubs that reside in the tropics and subtropics. The first clue to its differences with its relatives is in its latin name "herbacea" meaning herbaceous or that the plant dies back to the ground in winter (though it usually maintains a woody base). The other important difference from the other members of this genus is that this plant is hardy to zone 8. Blooms in early summer followed by bright red seeds in fall. Mulch in winter.
Aster cordifolius 'Avondale' - Wood Aster - This selection of the eastern North American native wood aster is a prolific bloomer and carpets the shade garden with light blue in early fall, when little else blooms and the hostas are in decline. Beautiful and long-lasting as a filler in autumn flower arrangements!
Begonia grandis - Hardy Begonia - This beautiful hardy begonia has light green, nicely textured foliage with dramatically red-veined reverses. In fall it is topped with bright candy pink flowers which last almost until frost. A great plant in combination with ferns and hostas and for colour in the fall shade garden.
Anemone x hupehensis 'Pink Saucer' - Japanese Anemone - This lovely floriferous cultivar has shell pink flowers produced in profusion through August, September and October.

Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis' - China Rose - The delicate single flowers of 'Mutabilis' look like butterflies perched amongst the red-tinged leaves and airy stems. Vermilion buds open to deep pink flowers which age to light pink, apricot and finally creamy yellow. On an established plant all of these colours will be present at once creating an ever-changing palette of beautiful colour. Will rebloom throughout the season. By far Gary’s favourite rose. Plant in a sheltered location out of wind. Tolerant of shade. Impervious to disease.

Featured in our display garden at the World Rose Festival in June.



'Red Shift'


Coreopsis Big Bang Series - Tickseed - This new series of coreopsis currently includes three exciting cultivars. The plants are hardy with large flowers and extremely floriferous. They will provide continuous bloom from through summer and well into fall.

'Red Shift' - Flower colour shifts between yellow with a red eye to deep crimson and everything in between.

'Full Moon' has large canary yellow blooms.

'Galaxy' has semi-double golden flowers.

'Full Moon'


Aster x frikartii 'Monch' - Aster - One of the best asters for the garden. It is the first aster to begin blooming and often the last aster to finish. The flowers are clear beautiful lavender and the foliage is broad, bluish and fuzzy. An all around stunning performer.

Aster lateriflorus 'Lady in Black' - Calico Aster - If you have visited the nursery in the fall you may have seen this exciting aster in our Purple and Pink Border: three foot tall rigid stems rocketing upward like fireworks covered in rich deep purple foliage and exploding with thousands of small, white pink-tinged, star-shaped flowers. Sound good? ‘Lady in Black' is a great addition to borders and large floral arrangements alike! It also sports burgundy foliage through the season so offers much interest even when not in bloom.
Brunnera macrophylla 'Diane's Gold' - Brunnera - This brand new selection has chartreuse foliage with sky blue flowers held over bright foliage that holds its colour all summer.

Heuchera 'Sugar Plum' - Frosty plum-purple leaves make a tight mound of evergreen foliage. Silvery pink flowers rise 26" above the soil and frequently rebloom. A refreshing sight in summer and in winter!
Heuchera 'Shanghai' - Purple leaves with a metallic silver sheen. White flowers on dark stems.
Heuchera 'Plum Royale' - 'Plum Royale' is the first Heuchera to have amazing, shiny purple leaves all summer! Winter foliage is silver with a purple tint. Wonderful as an accent or en masse. Pink-white flowers on dark peduncles, excellent vigour, and a mounding, compact habit. New in 2009! Heuchera 'Electra' - Shocking, blood-red veins electrify the golden leaves of this startling new Heuchera. The red venation stays while the leaf changes from shades of yellow in spring, to chartreuse in summer and fall, and tan in the winter. Short, dense cones of white flowers. This vigorous clumping H. villosa hybrid delivers what 'Tiramisu' promised. New in 2009!
Heuchera 'Southern Comfort' - Awesome and huge fuzzy peach foliage for zaney colour combinations.
Heuchera 'Mahogany' - Rich mahogany foliage provides a unique colour accent in the garden.
Hibiscus 'Plum Crazy' - Hardy Hibiscus - Three foot tall stems sport dark purple leaves and are adorned with some of the largest flowers in the mallow family - in this case eight inches wide and fluorescent pink. Oh my! Plant in full sun in moist soils though average soils are also fine. Hardy hibiscus die back to the ground for winter and come back fresh in the spring bigger than ever!
Mukdenia rossii 'Karasuba' - Mukdenia - This valuable yet relatively little known Asian perennial is great as a ground cover or specimen plant in partial shade. In early spring, branched stalks of small, white (sometimes pink), bell-shaped flowers appear before the foliage. The large, toothed leaves of 'Karasuba' are especially handsome, emerging bronzy green, turning to all green, and then taking on red splashes that become gold in fall. Evenly moist, well-drained soil. Plants will spread slowly from thick rhizomes.
Tricyrtis 'Taipei Silk' - Toad Lily - This gorgeous new hybrid has glossy dark green leaves and spectacular multi-coloured flowers. The pistils are orangey red, the stamens dark yellow, the petals are yellow at the base, white down the centre, edged with royal blue then rich purple and lightly spotted. Fantastic! Grow in bright shade to part sun to bring out the fullness of these colours.

And much, much more -- 3000+ more!


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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
February 27th through November 1st, 2009

Copyright Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd. 2009

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