Alchemilla mollis Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants


The Phoenix Perennials E-Newsletter
September 2007

Hello from Phoenix Perennials!

Welcome to fall! I know it feels weird since summer, not spring, should have preceeded fall but oh well. Them's the breaks. Must be global warming or something. While many of us didn't much care for the climatic conditions in June, July and August most garden plants loved the mixture of warmth and rain to set down good roots and put on lots of lush top growth. I hope your gardens have all done well and brought you much pleasure.

But it's not over yet. The mantra for this e-newsletter is that fall is an excellent time to plant perennials. You'll find an article on just that subject. You'll also find our first ever September Sweepstakes, a contest designed to encourage you to consider coming down to visit us. If that's not enough incentive our unique selection of bulbs is just now arriving at the nursery. You can expect new arrivals all through the month of September so check back. Also in this issue we announce a sale on hardy subtropicals and hardy succulents, our two fall workshops, our last charity shopping weekend (last chance to build up some good karma) and our monthly instalment of Fabulous at Phoenix. Enjoy!

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians

In this Issue

1. September Sweepstakes!
2. Fall is an Excellent Time of Year to Plant Perennials
3. Fall Bulbs Arriving Now!
4. Hardy Subtropicals and Hardy Succulents on Sale through September
5. Two Fall Workshops
6. Charity Shopping Weekend to Benefit the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association
7. Fabulous at Phoenix


September Sweepstakes!

Welcome to our first ever September Sweepstakes! Fall is an excellent time to plant perennials (see the next article) and we'd like to encourage you to do so. Through the month of September* for every $20 you spend at the nursery you will receive an entry ballot to win one of three fabulous prizes.

1st Prize: A $300 Shopping Spree in 2008**


2nd Prize: A Garden Arch
Value $59.99


3rd Prize: A Basket of Unique Bulbs
Value $50.00


The winning entries will be drawn on October 1st and the winners announced in the October e-newsletter.

*The contest begins on Tuesday September 4th and ends on Sunday September 30th.

**The winner of the shopping spree must choose one day in March, April, May or June 2008 for their spree. They will have that one day during regular business hours to spend their prize!

See you at the nursery!


Fall is an Excellent Time of Year
to Plant Perennials

I have been told by a few older friends in the nursery industry that once upon a time (just before my gardening days began) the fall planting season was almost as busy for gardeners as the spring! At first I didn't believe what I was hearing. I have long known that fall is a good time to plant perennials but observed that most other gardeners seem solely focused on quickly planting their bulbs so they can begin their winter hibernation. When I questioned the story again I was assured that gardeners used to plant their bulbs and a lot of perennials in the fall months.

Hmmm. What then has changed? The hypothesis offered to me was that a lot of the change has to do with the entry into the marketplace of the big box stores and the gardening chains. My friends' thinking was that 1. these stores focus most of their attention on spring sales (especially the big boxes) and 2. don't educate the public about the benifits of fall planting. Consequently, the gardening public has, over time, come to think of spring as perennial (and annual) planting time and fall as the time to plant bulbs.

Whether this take on the seasonal rhythms of the gardening public is true or not (and I'd be interested to hear your opinions, fellow gardeners), I'm here to tell you that fall is an excellent time of year to plant perennials! Here's why:

Soil Temperatures: In spring the soil warms up much more slowly than the air. Cold spring soils can shock perennials and set them back by weeks. In the fall the soil temperatures are warm and inviting for new plantings. Warm soil promotes fast, strong root growth allowing perennials to establish before winter.
Air Temperatures: The warm daytimes and cooler nighttimes offer moderate temperatures that do not stress plants allowing them to quickly overcome transplant shock and establish.
Precipitation: The gradual increase in precipitation through September and October into November result in soils with good available moisture for root establishment.
Length of Time for Establishement: Planting in September and October still gives plants a long time to get settled before the first hard frosts come, usually in December.
Insects and Garden Pests: Humans aren't the only ones thinking about hibernating at this time of year. Insects and other garden pests such as slugs are becoming less active and will soon die or go dormant for the season. Fall plantings reduce the risk of insect attack and plant damage.
Getting a Jump Start: Most people become a bit overwhelmed in the spring with all the planting and garden chores. By planting in the fall you can shorten your spring "to do" list.
Better Displays in the First Full Season: Because perennials establish so well in the fall your plantings and their subsequent folial and flora displays will be almost a full season ahead of any plantings you make next spring giving you a bigger, fuller more smashing garden sooner.

Have you identified some problem spots in your borders that need some work? Or are you thinking of putting in a new bed? Don't wait until spring. Consider doing it this fall!


Fall Bulbs Arriving Now!

Welcome to our fine selection of fall bulbs. Over the next few weeks we will be receiving an exciting selection of some of the more uncommon and unusual bulbs such as botanical tulips, camassia, fritillaria, cyclamen and erythronium, as well as some striking new cultivars of hybrid tulips, hyacinths and daffodils.

We hope you'll come have a look at these not-so-run-of-the-mill bulbous options for your garden.

Clockwise from top left: Allium schubertii, Tulipa 'Garant', Tulipa 'Peppermint Stick', Camassia quamash, Erythronium 'White Beauty', Fritillaria imperialis 'Rubra'



Hardy Subtropicals and Hardy Succulents on Sale through September

25% Off

Bananas, Palms, Cannas, Gingers, Traveller's Elephant Ears, New Zealand Flax, Bottlebrushes, Echium and anything else you can find in our hardy subtropical section PLUS Hardy Cacti and Sempervivum!



Two Fall Workshops

Workshop at the Nursery
Grasses that Captivate
The transformative powers of ornamental grasses

Instructor: Jo Turner
Saturday September 15th, 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.

Special Offer
Sign up for our Grass Workshop and bring a friend for free!



Workshop at the Nursery
Winter Containers
Plant up a container to create winter interest

Instructor: Cliff Thorbes
Saturday October 6th, two workshops starting at 10am and 2pm | $20 |

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.


Spaces are limited. Please call (604-270-4133) or visit the nursery to book your space. Payment is required when booking. Each workshop requires a minimum of 10 people and a maximum of 15-25 depending on the workshop. Workshop participants will receive a 15% discount on any purchases they wish to make the day of their workshop.

Meet your Instructors

Jo Turner (Dip. Hort. Cap. College) is a Vancouver gardener beginning her second season at Phoenix. She has a passion for gardens, plants, books, and the people who tend them. Her interests have led to several years experience in a variety of horticultural pursuits, usually involving mud.

Cliff Thorbes is a certified horticulturalist, artist and designer. He is passionate about container garden design and integrating original art into the garden to create a unique and personal statement. Cliff returns this year to reprise his popular seminars on design and on the secrets to creating containers that will captivate the senses.


Phoenix Perennials Charity Shopping Weekend
to benefit the
Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Assoc.
Saturday September 15th and Sunday September 16th, 2007

Welcome to our final Charity Shopping Weekend of the season -- a fun way for Phoenix Perennials to give back to the community and for customers of Phoenix Perennials to support a good cause.

What is Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA)?: VOKRA is a group of devoted animal lovers based in Vancouver, dedicated to placing abandoned and orphaned kittens in secure loving indoor homes. Our kittens and cats are all housed in over 100 individual volunteer foster homes throughout the Lower Mainland. Initially focusing on very young bottle-fed orphan kittens, we soon found that older kittens, too young to be safely vaccinated, also do much better in a foster home. In a home environment, the kittens become well socialized with humans, other cats, dogs and children, and are protected from colds, distemper, ringworm and other contagious diseases they would be exposed to in a shelter. Mother cats, both tame and feral, also joined the list of animals we foster and adopt. In addition, we run trap-spay/neuter-release programs to reduce the chronic explosion of the cat population. Since our inception in 2002, we have grown to currently adopt out over 800 cats per year. We are 100% volunteer run, and raise money for kitten food and vet bills through car washes, yard sales, and other fundraisers. We are always looking for volunteers, foster homes, and forever homes for the animals in our care.

For more information please visit:

How it Works: Gardeners who wish to support the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association can come shopping at Phoenix Perennials on Saturday September 15th and Sunday September 16th. When you pay for your plants, tell us that you have come to support VOKRA and we will donate 25% of the price of your plants to this worthy cause. But remember: you must tell us why you have come to the nursery on that day or we won't know to donate the proceeds from your sale. Other than that, it's pretty simple: all you have to do is shop!

Mark your Calendars! See you at the Charity Shopping Weekend!

Next Year: If you know of know of a charity that might be interested in participating in a Charity Shopping Weekend please watch the January e-newsletter for a call for applications.



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

Euphorbia characias 'Shorty' -- Spurge -- Graceful blue green foliage in summer with red growing tips and red-tinted foliage in winter followed by bright yellow flowers in early spring. Compact, strong and mounding to only 18 inches. Great in pots or at the front of the border.


Euphorbia characias 'Glacier Blue' -- Spurge -- Evergreen, cream-edged, blue gray foliage. Cream flowers and bracts with blue gray striping rise above the foliage to 18 inches. A great new addition to the garden spurges. Great in pots or at the front of the border.


Euphorbia characias 'Tasmanian Tiger' -- Spurge -- One of the most striking variegated plants I’ve seen in a long time. We had a lovely older lady at the nursery last year who was so enraptured she wanted to grow it as a houseplant in her apartment! ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ is a spectacular Heronswood introduction discovered in Hobart, Tasmania. The upright three foot tall stems are clothed with blue foliage edged in creamy white. The large flower heads are variegated with gold and white. Good drainage and full sun essential.


Euphorbia 'Blackbird' -- Spurge -- Exceptionally dark, velvety purple foliage, bright red stems, and flower heads with dark purple bracts and contrasting yellow flowers. This new euphorbia is spectacular! Compact, bushy and useful for year-round colour in borders and containers. Darkest foliage tones in full sun.


Tulipa 'Little Beauty' -- Tulip -- This beautiful species tulip was a hot item for us last year and sold out quickly. The beautiful deep pink flowers are offset with striking white and blue centres. Being a species tulip it is also perennial and will come back year after year.


Cyclamen hederifolium -- Ivyleaf Cyclamen -- This delicate shady perennial has charming pink flowers with a magenta V at the base of each petal. The leaves are ivy shaped, dark green and often marbled with light green. C. hederifolium is summer dormant coming into leaf and bloom between August and October. It remains evergreen throughout the winter. Grow in light, well-drained soil in shade or part shade. Plant en masse for a superb woodland effect. Widely distributed along the Mediterranean from France to Turkey.


Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah' -- Switch Grass -- One of our favourite grasses at the nursery for the last two years, 'Shenandoah' has strongly upright steely blue foliage throughout the season with hints of burgundy red. The airy flowers create a great cloud of blue atop the columnar grass in summer. Then in fall the burgundy tints deepen and spread throughout the foliage creating a great late summer and fall display.


Tricyrtis 'Taipei Silk' -- Toadlily -- 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.


Echium pininana -- Tower of Jewels -- This native of the Canary Islands is a monocarpic perennial. When it blooms the inflorescence can reach 12 feet high and is covered in thousands of sparkling blue to purple flowers. Hardy to zone 8 but a protected location, good drainage and winter mulch is highly recommended. I have seen this plant bloomed successfully in Vancouver planted along the south-facing wall of a house in a protected front yard. Spectacular and unparalleled!




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So many of our new visitors come to us through word of mouth. If you like what we're doing at Phoenix Perennials, please consider telling your gardening friends about us.

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
March 2nd, 2007 through October 31st, 2007

Copyright Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd. 2007

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