Monday, 30 April 2012

Van Dusen Botanical Garden Plant Sale

As some of you may know, I have been eagerly anticipating the Van Dusen Botanical Garden Plant Sale. Around Vancouver, it is for sure one of THE sales of the year.  Truth be told I think I let my anticipation get the best of me.  But why not? Last year I scored on an amazing agave for just a few dollars and beautiful succulents amongst other treasures.  Apparently, there was plenty of anticipation to go around ... here is the line forming before the sale began.

I found this area very interesting... the plant check.  It's fun to guess at people's characters by their plant selections. hmm... what do your plant choices say about you?

I spent a majority of my time in one small area of the sale, the "tropical's" hut.  Yes, tropicals got a hut! Here you can see some camelia sinensis, kiwi vines, bamboo, citrus...

My friend Becca got this epic trachycarpus wagnerianus.  Until a few weeks ago, I was never able to find these for sale.  Now, I just keep running into them!  

But truth be told, I was devastated by the lack of agaves.  Only two... at least by the time I made it over to the table.

This kind of put me into a funk.  Everything else seemed somewhat tainted.  That coupled with the fact that the cactus and succulent booth had no cactus!! outrageous!

But their were still some great treasures around.  Like this Grevillea Victoriae....

And a lone Poncirus Trifoliata "flying dragon."  I really should have bought this but I was holding out for I don't know what.  Well I do know, I was debating whether of not to buy one of the nice trachycarpus wagnerianus...

While pondering what plant purchases were in order, I decided to take a stroll around some of the gardens.  It was a surprisingly purple kind of day.  I think the Van Dusen people have an affinity to purple. 

And for all those who seem to think trachycarpus "just don't belong here," I beg to differ.  It seems to fit right in perfectly.  I almost feel a rant coming on, but I will resist.  Rather I will highlight the fact that trachycarpus fortunei are classically used in english gardens!

This area of the garden really spoke to me!  The South American section!!!

Seeing this bottlebrush only confirmed my need for one... thanks Van Dusen!

Across the way I spotted some nice yucca showing the tell tale signs of a wet winter ... spots!

After making our way back to the checkout we had to carry our plants a couple blocks to where we parked... I think the real reason I didn't go plant overboard.... (next year I'm bringing a wagon!)

You can see Becca's palm, but what else?!  I bought a Leccino Olive Tree!!! Thats right.  It was somewhat of a mad dash for this plant in the beginning of the sale.

Some of the smaller treasures...

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

april showers bring ... agave updates?

I was recently so inspired by Danger Garden's April Agave Update that I thought I would bring you one from my neck of the woods.  So far April has been much kinder to me than March.  With significantly less rain and the promise of summer just around the corner I really can't complain - much.  It's kind of crazy to think that last summer I planted my first agaves!  Truth be told, it has become a wonderfully bad habit of mine.  I can only hope to have a collection like that of danger garden.

Here are some of my rather drenched agaves ( I can't wait for summertime and evening agave shadows!!!)
Agave parryi var. parryi

Agave Ovatifolia

Agave Ovatifolia "frosty blue" - not looking all that blue in the rain. This agave overwintered really great for me.  I had to do some minor agave surgery and remove an arm.

Agave Parryi Huachucensis - most recent addition!

Another Agave Ovatifolia "frost blue" planted last fall.  This one still needs agave arm amputation.  Otherwise it seems to have made it through winter just fine.

This is the first agave I ever planted and I don't have a definite ID.  There was speculation at Parryi or Ovatifolia. It has a much deeper green than my other agaves and overwintered without any blemish.

 This agave Cornelius came into the house during are cold spells but has spent most of the year outside. It has exploded with growth in the last weeks.

And for good measure ... palms, agaves and yuccas!!!!

What agaves should I plant this year?  That is the million dollar question so to speak.  
Happy agave growing everyone!

Friday, 20 April 2012

succulent fun

Sometimes you just need some sunshine and with the torrential downpours that rolled through here yesterday, this succulent bowl was an easy purchase.  It was instant sunshine to my wet and gloomy garden! 

I actually shrieked when I saw these.

And then I saw the price ... $29.99 

And then I saw the aloe blooms....

And then it was mine!!!! Who could resist?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

"another one?"

"Another one?" That's one of the most common questions I am asked... rather its more of a rhetorical statement.  But that really doesn't seem to bother me.  Any yes, I do in fact have another new palm for the garden.  It all started two weeks ago when I visited Phoenix Perennials and spotted some small trachycarpus wagnerianus in the production area.  As absurd as this sounds, there are no trachycarpus wagnerianus in my garden!  Up here, its actually hard to get your hands on one of these palms outside of palm society members and specialty nurseries.  So I had to remedy the situation when I visited them this last weekend.  Besides which, I had a trailing variety of rosemary that took a beating last winter and I was unimpressed with its performance, so out it went and in went a small trachycarpus wagnerianus. 

If anyone in the Metro Van area is interested these are a great! They are a slower grower than the regular fortunei but can take the weight of snow and winds much better without damaging the fronds. Here are some nice Trachycarpus Wagnerianus growing in the Victoria BC garden of Jeff St. Gelais. Check out his website for other great pictures! He also sells trachycarpus wagnerianus seeds if anyone is interested in starting their very own wagnerianus grove!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

foliage follow up

I have to admit, I'm a bit of a foliage fan.  After all, we look at the foliage most of the year.  Flowers, while beautiful, are always coming and going.  Foliage has the "tried tested and true" seal of approval so to speak.  And with a couple of nice weekends things are really coming to life.  

 I absolutely can't wait for my canary island date palm to explode with growth this summer!  I'm thinking of getting a potted bougainvillaea to make myself think I'm somewhere in the Mediterranean.

Without the cordyline australis red sensation, it definitely feels much less sub-tropical back here. But that's okay, I'm actually coming to terms with the changes - though I have three other red sensations planted elsewhere and at least a half dozen in pots.

Phormium "super trooper" - my name for it anyways - is doing great! maybe even a bloom this year?

 I think I shared my excitement last week about finally finding a sedum palmeri!  I have spent far too long hunting for this plant.  Now I'm excited to see it go wild!

If you were to ask my nursery going friend Becca, she would tell you, I have been talking about buying an olive tree for years.  I don't even know what had been stopping me! It just belongs.

I know what you're thinking here, is that a really small garden shed!? No, not really, its actually a massive mediterranean fan palm!

What's that, a new agave?! introducing my newest plant acquisition ... agave parryi huachucensis!

And I just had to share these from Vancouver.  Easily 6 feet tall with about a 12 foot across crown, these dicksonia antarctica are monsters!

Monday, 16 April 2012

April Bloom Day

I know I'm a bit late on this bloom day...  but I wanted to share some Vancouver blooms for April!  A few years ago Trachycaprus Fortunei seemed to be the "it" plant.  And while almost every plant install in Vancouver seems to feature a grove of trachycarpus, Euphorbia wulfenii is everywhere these days! Do I mind? No, I love!

One of the most celebrated annual events in Vancouver, the Cherry blossoms.

I love how west coast this scene is... notice the potted Trachycarpus?

But keeping with more blooms, here are some from Stanley Park.

Star Magnolias are putting on a show.

This Camellia Japonica had dusted the ground with an electric shade of pink.

mmm.... a much beloved combination!!!

I snuck this one in because of the red annuals, Not! Actually, I was admiring the cordyline red sensation that seemed to have made it through the winter - unlike my late sensation.

This drive way brought be exceeding joy!  Imagine the possibilities. Great hardscape already in place, a stones throw from the ocean, and merely 20 feet above sea level, sheltered location ... In Vancouver that equates to one of those epic zone 9a spots that the owners can get away with just about anything.

But wait... check out the front!!! (I justify this one based on the containers of daffodils).  I'm thinking a couple of nice agave americana variegata in those pots would be wonderful.