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Thursday, September 12, 2019
Posted By: Marian Vaughan in Pollinators

The days are unmistakably shortening. We are heading breakneck towards the equinox (Sept. 23), and after that, we embark upon the triumph of the night and the days begin to shorten.


In the meantime, our gardens are alive with bees, hummingbirds and even a few butterflies. There are still many annuals & tender perennials to keep them fed, all the various daisies that brighten the garden: cosmos, tender fuchsias, tender sage & geraniums keep them coming back for more.


Bees

Kept fairly happy with Albizzia, Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) & aromatic herbs such as Perovskia (Russian Sage), Limonium (Sea Lavender) & the second blooming of Lavender & Centranthus. I notice them haunting the roses as well, especially the single ones, as do the butterflies.


Butterflies

Adult butterflies are dwindling, but they & their descendants need our help more than ever. Somewhere there has arisen a mania for “Fall cleanup” of perennials in the garden. This is a horticultural disaster, since you are encouraging the frost to kill the perennial growth you want to keep by exposing the tender new growth and removing their refuge from the cold. By cleaning up you also eliminate host plants for chrysalises of butterflies and shelter for pollinators.

If we leave the garden be until spring, we can expect them in greater numbers. Even if leaving your whole garden doesn’t appeal to you, for visual reasons, leaving just a small area can go a long way in helping pollinators.


Hummingbirds

The Rufous hummingbirds have fled South, but we now have over-wintering Anna’s who have followed the feeders North as the climate warms. This time of year begins the season of their real need for our care. There is still food for them: Fuchsias, both hardy & tender, Petunias, red Salvia and a smattering of other plants; But feeders fill the gap as the flowers fade. 


If you like to feed hummingbirds, be aware this is no light commitment. These little birds need feeding in the dead of winter too, at the crack of dawn, from feeders free of snow and ice. We will have more on this later, several of us can show our bare footprints in the snow; But for the moment it is just time to be aware of changing needs.

Although not technically pollinators, native birds: juncos, chickadees, nuthatches & towhees also bring life to the fading garden. These birds greatly need shelter & warmth from now on into winter. The method of leaving the garden be in fall provides this and as a bonus, the birds do their own ‘weeding’: collecting weed seeds from under the canopy.


Although it can seem depressing as the days begin to close in, September is historically a time of preservation of summer’s bounty; a time to nurture all we care for, so that we all emerge triumphantly into the new year to come.
 

Thursday, September 12, 2019
Posted By: Marian Vaughan in Bulbs

In the fall, we are cheered by the arrival of bulbs that promise spring again soon. I have not the smallest wish to diminish that candle: it is the fire that warms gardeners through


These bulbs rekindle spring in the garden almost as soon as they are planted: the fall crocuses, the colchicum, winter cyclamen. They are here so briefly, yet planted early (Run, don’t walk) they spread to form admirable clumps in a garden fast fading. Cyclamen & Colchicum are particularly desirable for the beautiful foliage they contribute in spring, but the Fall Crocus: Saffron, Zonatus & others are bee magnets and there is something particularly wonderful about encountering these gold hearted beauties on a day you know to be shorter than the one before.


The entry of snow/spring crocus onto the scene assures us the year has begun. The valiant blooming of fall crocus in the darkening year gives us confidence that the year will turn again. Is there ONE amongst us who couldn’t use a bit more confidence? Autumn bulbs, I say to you. Autumn bulbs.


Fall is also the only time we can buy some quite rare bulbs as bulbs/ dried roots. Chief amongst these are Eremerus (Foxtail Lily). These perennials form tall clusters of blooms in warm colours during early summer. Bought as plants later in the year, they are far too expensive to group, yet it is in groups they are most impressive, though they disappear after blooming. Their massive blooms make for a dramatic cut flower.

They are dear to my heart because of an early miscommunication with my husband which has led them to be renamed with us: 
 

“Oh,” said I “ I’d like to plant these, they grow 7-8 feet tall”

“78 feet tall?” he (incredulous)

“Oh yes” me, mishearing in my turn.

“In ONE season?

“Mmhmm”

“Well, we HAVE to get those!!!”

We soon got it sorted, but ever since, they are known as the 78 foot candles and have warmed the sunny part of all our gardens.



Saturday, August 24, 2019
Posted By: Marian Vaughan in Shrubs

​​​Without doubt, macrophylla hydrangeas are very high on any list of most popular summer & fall shrubs in the Pacific Northwest.  Here we offer conditions ideal to keep them in beauty: abundant rainfall in the growing season, acid  soil to keep them the most exquisite blue, with variations possible through treatment, up to and including deepest pink and even variations of colour on the same shrub. Our long falls allow us to enjoy the variation of colour in the flowers as they age. Last, but not least, our mild winters allow us to give them the pruning they like best: having their dried flowers left on all winter, then each sturdy stem cut back to the nearest set of buds.


Not surprisingly, people gardening in colder climates covet hydrangeas for all their manifold beauties, but find it very difficult to provide the conditions they need, a particular difficulty being allowing the stems to stand all winter.  Aware of this demand, breeders have turned their minds to ways to address these difficulties and recent years have seen a number of new strains of macrophylla hydrangeas come onto the market, each addressing the problem in different ways.  While this has expanded opportunities for eastern gardeners it has also greatly enlarged the situations in which we here can grow this wonderful plant.

Perhaps the most exciting is the CityLine strain of hydrangeas.  Blooming, like all macrophyllas on OLD wood, they have been bred to stay very compact: 12-36" wide and tall (for us, undoubtedly closer to the high end).  For gardeners in colder climes, this means they are more easy to protect over the winter (where the plants will likely be smaller).  For us, they still offer a lot for today's smaller gardens and are especially well suited to containers.
 

Cityline Hydrangea Comparison

Variety
Name
Bloom
Desc.
Colour
(Acidic)
Colour
(Alkaline)
Size Blooms On
'Berlin' Lovely flowers with white centres Blue Pink 1-3 ft Old Wood
'Mars' Flowers are white edged violet Violet Deep Pink 1-3 ft Old Wood
'Paris' Reddest of the line, requires aluminum to turn blue Blue Vivid Red 1-2 ft x 2-3 ft Old Wood
'Rio' Early flowering     Strong Blue Purple 2-3 ft Old Wood
'Venice' Flowers green with age Blue Hot Pink 1-3 ft Old Wood
'Vienna' Traditional macrophylla flowers Violet - Blue Pink 1-3 ft Old Wood
Find out more about thie Cityline series on Proven WInner's Website.


Another wonderful line is the Seaside Serenade group, also bred to remain relatively compact.  Named for various sites on the east coast of New England, they are spectacular shrubs with bicolour flowers, and extra thick stems. Additionally, they have been bred to provide interesting fall colour.  They too bloom mostly on OLD wood, although some form new shoots on that wood in the season, which produce more flowers, though smaller.  In colder climates, this means that if the original wood is partly lost to winter, there will still be some flowers.  Here in the lower mainland, we get a first wonderful flush and then a continuation of fresh coloured flowers through the fall.
 

Seaside Serendae Hydrangea Comparison

Variety
Name
Bloom
Desc.
Colour
(Acidic)
Colour
(Alkaline)
Size Blooms On
'Cape Cod' Each floret has white centre Blue Pink 4 ft Old & New Wood
'Cape Lookout' Colour changer, huge blooms, great fall foliage Green→ White→ Pink Same 3.5 x 3 ft Old Wood
'Cape May' Only lacecap (serrata hybrid) of group Blue Pink 2-4 ft Old Wood
'Fire Island' Flowers are white edged with main colour Deep Blue Deep Pink 3.5 ft Old Wood
'Hamptons' Two-toned flowers of distinctive colour Intense Blue Intense Pink 3 x 3.5 ft Old Wood
Find out more about the Seaside Seranade series on Monrovia's Website.



Finally, there is the Endless Summer group, which name has unfortunately given rise to  a myth: that they flower entirely on new wood (like the smooth leaf or Annabelle varieties) and thus can be cut right back, like an Annabelle hydrangea. This is unfortunately not the case.  These hydrangeas (like Seaside Serenade) send out new shoots, which do bloom later in the season. But they form these shoots on OLD wood, the first and largest blooms still arise from the tops of wood formed the previous season. In colder climates, gardeners are advised to mulch them over the winter to preserve that old wood. It obviously takes a lot out of a plant to keep churning out new growth, so increased nourishment is likely to be required as well as intelligent pruning.  
 

Endless Summer Hydrangea Comparison

Variety
Name
Bloom
​​​​​​​Desc.
Colour
(Acidic)
Colour
(Alkaline)
Size Blooms On
'Bloomstruck' Glossy leaves; does bloom on new shoots Violet - Blue Rose - Pink 3-4 x 4-5 ft Old & New Wood
'Blushing Bride' Soft colours White→ Soft Blue Same 3-6 ft Old & New Wood
'Endless Summer' First to introduce this tendency Blue Pink 3-4x 4-5 ft Old & New Wood
'Summer Crush' Intense colour Violet - Blue Raspberry 1.5-3 ft Old & New Wood
'Twist & Shout' Lacecap with vivid red, sturdy stems Periwinkle Blue Deep Pink 3-5 ft Old & New Wood

Find out more about the Endless Summer series on the Endless Summer Website.

With so many varieties to choose from, here in the Pacific Northwest we can find a hydrangea for any situation and any taste.  





Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Posted By: Desiree Markewich in Bulbs


With the final days of summer slowly approaching it’s only natural for us gardeners to start planning for next year. The first thing to spring to mind (no pun intended) is fall planting bulbs: Crocus, Tulips, Hyacinth and many more. Often the first sign of colour we are rewarded with in the garden during early spring, planting bulbs in the fall is easy, affordable, and something you must try - if you havent already!

Early Fall (September) is when these flowering beauties start to arrive at the nursery, but we encourage you to Pre-Order early, so you don’t miss out on the 20 stunning new varieties we are recieving this year. 

Early Spring Flowering Bulbs


 
If you want to feel the warm glow of sunshine in early spring, try new varieties Crocus ‘Early Gold’ or Iris ‘Katherine’s Gold’. These yellow cuties are very petite in nature, only growing 4-6 inches tall! This small size makes them perfect for containers or small gardens.
 

Desire something with a bit more colour and size? Try out Narssisus Colourful Companions 'Dancin' in the Sun' combo. An early spring charmer growing to a height of 16 inches and featuring 2 different varieties of white, gold and yellow daffodils.

Mid Spring Flowering Bulbs


For some interest in the garden during mid spring, you can’t go wrong with either Daffodil 'Acropolis' or 'Falmouth Bay'. An elegant almost pure white colour and nice height of 16-20 inches makes this pair stand out among fellow plants gracing the period between spring and summer.

 

The perfect Daffodil (Narcissus) for a patio or smaller garden has to be Narcissus ‘White Petticoat’. Growing to a dimure height of 4 inches, this adorable white daffodil has deep green stems making the crisp white of the blooms even more notable.
 

A featured bulb this year, Tulipa ‘Canadian Liberator’ was released to honour and celebrate 75 years of European Liberation! Canadian Liberator stands tall at 22 inches high and is a strong, bright red, featuring nearly perfect shaped flowers.
 

If you love pink and are looking for some mid spring color we suggest Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’ or Colourful Companions ‘Rasberry Meringue’. Foxtrot is a fragrant, double tulip in a glorious bubblegum pink and Rasberry Meringue combines a creamy white, double daffodil with a matching creamy tulip with raspberry pink accents.

Late Spring


To bring a few splashes of pink to your late spring garden as well, or if enjoy foraging in the garden for cut flower arrangements then you must choose Double Tulip ‘Dazzling Sensation’ or ‘Crispion Sweet’. Crispion Sweet has full, solid pink flowers with fringed petals, while Dazzling Sensation’s blooms are packed with smoother petals with white feathering at the outer petal edges. 
   


Two later Spring flowers that will become a focal point in the garden, and that pollinators can’t miss are Allium ‘Rosy Dream’ and Colourful Companions ‘Hot Shots’. Rosy Dream will grow to 18 inches and feature lovely, globe-like purple blooms, and Hot Shots combines two vivid red tulip varieties that stand at a grand 24 inches tall.


Summer




To get the most out of planting bulbs in the fall you can extend your flowering season into summer by choosing plants such as the Camas or Foxtail Lily. Foxtail Lilies (Eremurus) are extrodinarily tall, perennials that have massive flower spikes. For pink flowers try Eremurus ‘Shelford Pink' or ‘Robustus’ and for orange blooms ‘Cleopatra’. Camassia leichtini ‘Alba’ is an equally tall plant, bearing flower spikes matching the Foxtail Lilies grandeur but in a pale white shade with larger individual flowers upon the spike.   

Garlic

 



If flowers aren’t your thing, or your just enjoy growing your own veggies we suggest planting garlic this fall. Planting garlic is easy, all you have to do is separate each garlic bulb carefully into individual cloves. Plant your cloves in a rich soil by pushing each clove 1-2 inches into the soil with the flat side down and pointed-tip upwards towards the surface of the soil. Your harvest will be ready anytime from Spring through Summer. You will know when the leaves have become mostly yellow, i.e. more yellow on the leaf than there is green. Chesnok, Yugoslavian and Mixed Gourmet varieties are new this year! 

Pre-Order

Any of the bulbs featured in this article. Simply click on the bulb mentioned in the article and it will take you to our pre-order page! 

Pre-Orders end September 1, 2019 when bulbs start to arrive. For availability after September 1 call in store (604) 882 1201.


Sunday, August 4, 2019
Posted By: in Recipes

The all too brief season of figs will soon be upon us. Fig trees are a treasure of the European garden that are a surprisingly easy fruit to grow in the Pacific Northwest. These spreading, rambling trees can produce 1-2 crops of delicious fresh figs a year if given enough warmth and heat. Even in cooler temperatures you will be rewarded with at least 1 crop. 


An unusual but delicious fruit, figs possess a very dynamic flavor making them a great addition to a number of dishes. They are wonderful on puff pastry sheets with goat cheese, roasted with bacon & chile, fresh with blue cheese & a honeycomb, these are just a few of my favorites but options are endless! To assist in narrowing your search for the perfect fig combo here is a chutney I rather enjoy which also takes advantage of a co-season rarity to the fig: fresh quince.
 

Quince & Fig Chutney 


6 Large - Fresh
10 - Fresh
1
2 Cups
1 Tsp
 

Quince or 8 Medium Apples (about 3 lbs)
Figs
Lemon
Sugar
Green Cardamom Pods


Let’s Get Started!

Rub quince with a damp paper towel to remove fuzz. Cut 4 quince (6 apples) into large pieces (no need to peel, core, or remove seeds). Place in a large heavy pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until quince are very soft, 60–75 minutes. Halve the figs, or quarter if very large. Shell cardamom & grind in mortar & pestle; zest lemon, then juice (should yield about 1/4 cup)

Strain cooking liquid into a large bowl; discard quince. Wipe out pot; reserve.

Meanwhile peel, core, and thinly slice remaining 2 quince. Add to quince pot along with lemon zest and juice, sugar, cardamom, figs, and reserved cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and very gently boil, stirring often and skimming surface occasionally, until quince is translucent and a spoon dragged across pot leaves a line that quickly disappears, 25–30 minutes, or 40–50 minutes if using apples.

Divide preserves among jars. Let cool; cover and chill. 
 

Do Ahead

Preserves can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep chilled.  

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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

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September in the Pollinator Garden

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Now is the Time to be Alert for Fall Bulbs

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