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Friday, May 15, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Shade Gardening

If we had a dollar everytime someone asked, I have a shady spot, what can I plant?, we would be living in the lap of luxury. Contrary to popular belief, there are actually dozens, if not hundreds of plants that prefer the shade. One of the most common is the Hydrangea. Famous for their blue, pink or white, mophead or lacecap flowers, they are an excellent option for those of you blessed with shade. Here are 6 new or unique Hydrangea varieties to tempt you this Spring!

Lets Dance Starlight Bigleaf Hydrangea

Let's Dance Starlight Bigleaf Hydrangea

This is the first, re-blooming lacecap hydrangea. Starlight has elegant summer flowers held upright on strong stems. Blooms every year. Prefers to be grown in part shade / part sun in moist, but well drained soils. The soil and pH affects bloom colour. Acidic soils produce blue flowers, alkaline soils create pink flowers. Prune after flowering. Grows to a height and spread of 2-3ft. Hardy to zone 6.

Blue Enchantress Hydrangea

Blue Enchantress Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Monmar’

Blue Enchantress is an exquisite, new, re-blooming hydrangea with stately ruby-black stems supporting big, beautiful, mophead hydrangea flowers. Blooming continuously through summer, the flowers are blue in acidic soils and pink in more alkaline ones. Flowers age to a vintage cream-splashed green. Prized for cut or dried flower arrangements. A perfect plant for a dappled shade border. Best grown in part shade and moist, but well drained soils. Needs regular watering. Will grow 3-5ft tall and wide. Hardy to Zone 6.

Sweet and Salsa Showstopper Hydrangea

Sweet and Salsa Showstopper Hydrangea

Hydrangea 'Sweet and Salsa'

This exciting new Hydrangea from the HGTV Home Collection features bicolor red and white flowers with shades of pink that appear in late spring into late Summer. Foliage is equally attractive in shades of green and burgundy red-bronze. Bloom colour changes depending on soil pH. Best when planted in part shade or in areas that have cool afternoons. To preserve the flower heads, cut long stems and hang upside down in a cool, dry dark area and soon after, you’ll have created ever-lasting flowers! Grows 2-3ft high and 3-5ft wide. Hardy to zone 6.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

Endless Summer Hydrangea

‘Endless Summer’ is the original repeat blooming Hydrangea. It has been around for a couple of years now, but is still an awesome variety. Most older hydrangeas flower on old wood (stems that grew last year). This variety flowers on both old and new wood, giving it the ability to bloom more often and more profusely. Flower colour changes according to soil pH and blooms in late spring through late Summer. Best grown in full to part shade and moist, but well drained soil. For best results, keep soil evenly moist and fertilize with a slow release plant food in spring or early summer before blooms appear. Grows to 3-6ft high and wide. As it is a continuous bloomer, prune this one differently. Do not prune in the fall. Instead, wait until Spring when the plant has started to grow. Prune the branches above the new green growth.

Red n Pretty Hydrangea

Hydrangea ‘Red n Pretty’

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Monred'

‘Red n Pretty’ Hydrangea is a superb shrub for accent, specimen or border use in semi-shaded areas. Desired for the splendid, abundant, showy flower clusters in shades of red appear in Summer. Handsome foliage on boldly branched, rounded form. Deciduous. Best grown in part sun / part shade and moist, but well drained soils. Needs regular watering, more often in extreme heat. A moderate grower from 4-6ft tall and 3-4ft wide. Hardy to zone 6.

Plum Passion Hydrangea

Plum Passion Hydrangea

Hydrangea aspera ‘Plum Passion’

‘Plum Passion’ is the first every purple leaved Hydrangea to grace North American gardens. Discovered in China, this unique shrub was brought to Monrovia by famed plant explorer Dan Hinkley. Foliage emerges greenish-purple aging to deep purple on the upper side of the leaf and rosy purple on the underside. Wispy, mid-sized, summer blooming, lace-cap type flowers are somewhat insignificant in contrast with the dramatic, colourful foliage. Excellent fall colour too! Deciduous. Like all Hydrangeas is does best in shade to part shade in moist, but well drained soils. Reaches 5-6ft tall and wide. Hardy to zone 7.

How to Grow Hydrangeas

Hydranges are fairly low maintenance, easy to grow deciduous shrubs. Find a shade to part shade location with moist, but well drained soil. Dig the hole, situate the plant and apply a Transplant fertilizer or Bonemeal. Be aware that if you use bonemeal, you may actually be turning the flower colour pink as explained in the next section. Water frequently, but avoid over-watering. Yellowing leaves may be an indicator of over-watering. Fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer in early spring before flowers appear. If required, prune after flowering on most varieties. On reblooming or endless summer varieties, wait to prune until spring.

How to Change the Colour of Your Hydrangea Flowers

How to change the colour of your hydrangeas flowers is a very commonly asked question. White flowered varieties will not change colour.  Only Blue or Pink flowering varieties are affected. Hydrangea flowers change their colour overtime based on the soil acidity and presence of Aluminum Sulphate in the soil. In acidic soils,(a pH less than 7), Hydrangea take in Aluminum and their flower colour becomes bluish. In alkaline or sweet soils (pH greater than 7), the ability to bring in Aluminum Sulphate is curtailed and the flower colour changes to pink. This transition is gradual and can take a year or more to complete. To turn your flower colour blue, simply purchase and Acidifying fertilizer and/or Aluminum Sulphate (both available at Art's Nursery) and apply in early spring. To change your flower colour to pink, add lime.

For more information about Hydrangeas, visit us in person at Art's Nursery, or give us a call at 604.882.1201. As always, our selection and availability is always changing. If you are making a special trip, please call ahead to confirm availability.


Thursday, June 12, 2014
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Shade Gardening

Hostas are one of the darlings of the shade garden. Very few plants offer the variation in colour, texture, flower or form provided by hostas. We’ve lost count of how many types there are, but we’re sure the number is in the thousands. With that said, we often discover new varieties that catch everyones eye. Here are 10 relatively new hostas that we believe are worth your attention.

Hosta Blue Ivory

Hosta ‘Blue Ivory’

Wow, an absolutely stunning hosta that is a sport of the popular ‘Halcyon’. It has ice blue leaves with a broad, clean ivory-white border. Blue Ivory forms a medium sized mound and has thick, slug resistant leaves that last well into Fall. Tall lavender coloured flowers appear in mid-summer. Prefers shade to part shade in any well drained soil. Grows 45cm tall and 75cm wide. Hardy to zone 3.

Hosta Warwick Comet

Hosta ‘Warwick Comet’

Attractive hosta with nearly round, corrugated, cup shaped leaves with apple green colour and a yellow center. Matures to dark green with a creamy white center. Tall near white coloured flowers appear in late summer. Warwick Comet is a slow growing variety that is ideal as a container specimen. Prefers shade to part shade in any well drained soil. Grows 40-50cm high and 60-75 cm wide. Hardy to zone 3

Hosta Spartacus

Hosta ‘Spartacus’

Spartacus is a large growing Hosta cultivar with heart-shaped green leaves that have heavily rippled golden margins. The deeply veined leaves have a corrugated look. Pale lavender flowers grace the plant in summer. Foliage has a good substance and is sun tolerant. Prefers shade to part shade in any well drained soil. Grows 50-60cm tall and 1-1.5 metres across. Hardy to zone 3

Hosta Magic Fire

Hosta ‘Magic Fire’

Magic Fire is a sport of Sagae with a slightly wavy, medium to blue-green flame-patterned leaves with a bold golden-yellow margin. Margin turns creamy white by summer. Tall lavender flowers appear in summer. Magic Fire is a moderate grower with a dense compact habit. Prefers shade to part shade in moist, humus-rich soil. Grows to 45-60cm in height and 90cm spread. Hardy to zone 3.

Hosta Fire Island

Hosta ‘Fire Island’

Fire Island is a medium growing hosta with round, pointed leaves that are a brilliant golden yellow in spring becoming chartreuse by summer. Pale lavender flowers appear in summer. Petioles and scapes are a contrasting purple-red. Prefers shade to part shade in well drained soil. Grows 30-40cm in height and 60-75cm spread. Hardy zone 3

Hosta Ben Vernooij.jpg

Hosta ‘Ben Vernooij’

This is a fantastic new tetraploid sport of First Frost having intense blue leaves with a very wide feathered yellow margin. Holds its colour and form well until frost. Ben Vernooij has incredibly thick leaves that offer great slug resistance. Spikes of large lavender flowers in summer. Best when grown in shade to part shade in any well drained soil. Grows 45-60cm high and 75-90cm spread. Hardy to zone 3.

Hosta Stained Glass

Hosta ‘Stained Glass’

Stained Glass Hosta forms a mound of wavy corrugated, heart shaped leaves in colours ranging from chartreuse to golden yellow with an irregular dark green border. 2006 Hosta of the year. Slightly fragrant pale mauve coloured flowers appear in summer. While shade or part shade is best, some direct sun with bring out the best colour. Well drained soil is best. Grows to 50cm in height and 90120cm across. Hardy to zone 3

Hosta Dancing Queen

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’

Dancing Queen Hosta features unique bright yellow leaves that retain their colour all season. Leaves are quilted with a prominent pie crust edge. Forms and elegant arching mound. Foliage becomes a softer yellow by summer. Spikes of pale lavender flowers appear in mid-summer. Prefers shade to part shade in any well drained soil. Grows 45-60cm in height and 75-90cm in spread. Hardy to zone 3

Hosta Orange Marmalade

Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’

Orange Marmalade has been around for a few years but it is an absolutely stunning variety. It features deep green margins with a creamy yellow center that fades to white in summer. Both foliage and lavender flowers are lovely in bouquets. Flowers bloom in mid to late summer. Grows to 30cm tall and 30-60cm wide. Best in shade to part shade.

Hosta Paul Revere

Hosta ‘Paul Revere’

Paul Revere is a superlative hosta with slightly wavy leaves featuring dark green margins and pure white centers. Considered the most resistant to hosta melt-out. Tall scapes of light lavender flowers appear in summer and are accented with thick leaves that afford good slug resistance. Prefers shade to part shade in well drained soils. Grows 40-50cm tall and 60-75cm wide. Hardy to zone 3.

Dealing with Slugs & Snails On Your Hostas

Unfortunately, hostas closely resemble tasty salad to snails and slugs. Do what you can to physically remove slugs and snails from the area. Apply slug and snail bait where possible and consider other alternatives such as copper bands and diatomaceous earth. Some hostas offer slug resistance as their leaves are thicker and waxier – something that slugs and snails seem to avoid.

If you have any questions about these Hostas or other plants ,please feel free to give us a call at 604.882.1201 or visit Arts Nursery in person. If you are making a special trip for these varieties, please call in advance as our selection is always changing.


Sunday, April 13, 2014
Posted By: Lyle Courtice A.H. in Shade Gardening

Polygonatum - hands down one of my favorite genus, they are hardy, maintenance free and certainly addictive! Perfect for any shady woodland setting they play especially well with ferns and broad leaf plants like hosta and Brunnera.

polygonatum - solomons seal

Their presence combines both visual impact and an architectural element which gives the garden a touch of sophistication.

These easy, no fuss perennials make for model container plants and are a must for any shade garden.

polygonatum silver streak

Polygonatum falcatum ‘Silver Streak’

Seldom seen species from East Asia which is more graceful and finer in texture than P. odoratum. Tall arching stems are clothed in long narrow leaves striped with silver down their center. Flowers in early spring with long, green tipped cream bells. Partial shade in loamy, well drained soil. Height: 40-60cm Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 4

polygonatum hookeri

Polygonatum hookeri

 

Very unusual, dwarf species from the Himalayas with small, spring blooming lilac-pink flowers held among the foliage. Slowly spreads to form short tufts of dark green leaves. Curious rock garden or container specimen. Prefers partial shade in loamy, well-drained soil. Slow to establish. Height: 10cm Spread: 20-30cm Zone: 4

polygonatum akajiku

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Akajiku’

A chance Japanese seedling named in reference to it's sturdy, bright red stems. This superb form is a garden gem with large, rounded, dark green leaves held on stiff arching stems; white bell-shaped flowers in early spring followed by black berries. Partial shade in well-drained, loamy soil. Height: 40-60cm Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 4

polygonatum dragons scale

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Dragon’s Scale’

Unique Japanese selection with a leaf form that alludes to a dragon's scale. The arching stems have dark green leaves with prominent ridges in the center, ridges become more pronounced on older plants. Pale green "bells" in spring. Wonderful textural accent in a woodland garden. Slow. Height: 60-90cm Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 4

polygonatum great yellow river

Polygonatum o. ‘Great Yellow River’

A "show stopper" in the garden, this superlative selection from Japan has tall arching stems with dark green leaves marked with varying amounts of bright golden-yellow. Pale cream flowers in spring. Very slow to establish. Partial shade in loamy, well drained soil. Height: 60-90cm Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 4

polygonatum white tiger

Polygonatum odoratum ‘White Tiger’

Exceedingly rare Japanese variety that forms beautiful arching clumps, leaves are variegated with the tip of the leaf being green and the part adjoining the stem white; colour is prominent on established plants only. Light shade in humus rich, well drained soil. Height: 60-90cm Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 4

polygonatum grace barker

Polygonatum x hybridum ‘Grace Barker’

An uncommon, slower growing, compact form of variegated Solomon's-seal with arching stems adorned with small, dark blue-green, crinkly, corrugated leaves. Foliage is streaked with and surrounded by an irregular white border. Grow in partial shade in humus rich, well drained soil. Height: 45-60cm Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 4

Special Order Items

Most of these Polygonatum varieties are special order only items and quantities are extremely limited. If you are interested in acquiring any of these plants, please give us a call at 604.882.1201 and we will add your name to the request list.


Monday, March 10, 2014
Posted By: Lyle Courtice A.H. in Shade Gardening

Probably my most favorite place in any garden is a cool shady woodland setting.

Such reprieves are needed to help calm the nerves and revitalize the spirit. Lush growth, abounding textures and intriguing flowers and fruit all combine to create a serene space where one can admire and contemplate - what better place to spend a lazy afternoon.

Here are just a few of the marvelous woodland gems available this season (late March through April 2014)  to help you create your own shady oasis.

actea pachypoda misty blue

Doll's Eyes

Actaea pachypoda ‘Misty Blue’

Supernal native woodland perennial from Eastern North America with a mounding habit and lacy blue-green foliage. Tall stems of fluffy white panicles in spring through early summer are followed in fall by striking pure white berries with contrasting red pedicels. Tolerates most soil types but requires even moisture in light to medium shade.
Height: 60-90cm Spread: 60-90cm Zone: 3

arisaema_silverfeathers1

Japanese Cobra Lily

Arisaema sikokianum “Silver Feathers”

A selection of A. sikokianum with dramatic silver feather patterns in the center of each leaflet. The flower is a purple-black pitcher with white stripes and a greenish inside, the spadix is large, white and mushroom-like. Partial shade with sharp drainage.
Height: 40-60cm Spread: 20-30cm Zone: 4

beesia calthifolia

Beesia calthifolia

A beautiful clumping evergreen perennial from China, having glossy heart-shaped green leaves with that gasoline sheen; new growth is bronze-red. Tall spikes of small white flowers through spring and summer. Superb, tidy groundcover for partial shade; prefers a humus rich, well drained soil. Tolerates dry shade. Slow to establish.
Height: 30cm Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 6

coptis dissecta

Coptis japonica var. dissecta

Little known evergreen perennial from Japan's mountainous woodlands, plants form tidy clumps of glossy, dark green parsley-like leaves. Tall dark spikes of starry white flowers in early spring followed by pin-wheel shaped seed pods. Deep purple winter colouring. Average soil in light to medium shade. Carefree groundcover.
Height: 15cm Spread: 30cm Zone: 5

epimedium yokihi

Japanese Barrenwort

Epimedium x ‘Yokihi’

A vigorous Japanese hybrid that forms a broad mound of dark green leaves; deciduous. Wiry flower stems dance with spider-like blooms that have golden yellow spurs backed by bright cherry red sepals - absolutely stunning! Flowers early spring repeating in summer. Partial shade in average to humus rich well drained soil.
Height: 30cm Spread: 50-60cm Zone: 4

pteridophyllum racemosum - poppy fern

Poppy Fern

Pteridophyllum racemosum

Unique perennial endemic to the mountains of Japan. Plants form rosettes of dark green, fern-like leaves which are topped by short (30cm) spikes of pendulous clean white flowers; spring into summer. Prefers moist, humus rich, well drained soil in cool shade. Makes and excellent woodland groundcover or a one-of-a-kind container specimen.
Height: 15-30cm Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 5 (4)

syneilesis palmata - Umbrella Plant

Umbrella Plant

Syneilesis palmate

Sturdy woodland perennial from Asia that produces silky umbrellas that open to rounded, palmate leaves of medium to dark green. Panicles of fuzzy white flowers from midsummer into fall. Prefers partial shade and good drainage in a cool woodland site. Easy to grow and maintenance free!
Height: 60-90cm Spread: 60-90cm Zone: 5 (4)

How To Order These New & Unique Plants

These unique and unusual woodland plants will be available at Art's Nursery by late March or early April 2014, depending on the weather. As they are somewhat rare, please call ahead, 604.882.1201, to confirm availability as quantities may be limited. Pre-orders are being accepted.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Posted By: Lyle Courtice A.H. in Shade Gardening

I have written about hosta (Plantain Lily) before but I cannot emphasize enough how wonderfully versatile these perennials can be.  A garden is not a garden without a hosta and even in these days of shrinking lots, decks and balconies the humble hosta comes to the rescue.

From tiny little dwarf forms like 'Blue Mouse Ears' to the titanic ....well "Titanic'!, there is a hosta to fit just about any location.  I have long grown hosta in containers as they are just about fool proof and so hardy they can be left out without fear of losing them over winter.  I even drove across Canada during one of the worst winter's in 66 years with several hosta in my trunk.  My stopover in Wawa Ontario got down to below -50, the hosta were fine but the antifreeze in the engine froze!!!

So before you pooh-pooh the hosta as being just a common perennial, stop and take a closer look - you just may be surprised at the diversity and selection there is available out there now.

Blue Ivory Hosta

Hosta ‘Blue Ivory’

WOW, an absolutely stunning hosta!  This sport of ‘Halcyon’ has ice blue leaves with a broad, clean ivory-white border.  Forms a medium size mound of thick, slug resistant leaves that hold well into fall.  Tall scapes (flower stalks) of lavender flowers appear in midsummer.

Height:  45cm  Spread:  75cm   Zone:  3

Blue Mouse Ears Hosta

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’

Adorable miniature hosta with slightly cupped, round blue-green leaves resembling little mouse ears.  Lavender flowers in midsummer.  Plants have good substance and form perfect, tight little mounds.  ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ makes an excellent container or rockery specimen.

Height:  15-20cm  Spread:  30cm  Zone:  3

El Nino Hosta

 

Hosta ‘El Nino’

One of my absolute favorite hosta's, a sport of ‘Halcyon’ it retains the thick, ribbed chalky blue leaves but with an added pure white margin.  This “must have” hosta is simply stunning and forms an elegant mound with scapes of lavender blue flowers in midsummer, very slug resistant.

Height:  40-50cm  Spread:  60cm  Zone:  3

Fire Island Hosta

 

Hosta ‘Fire Island’

A bright and fresh looking hosta with round, pointed leaves that are a brilliant golden yellow in spring becoming chartreuse by summer, for added interest the leaf petioles and scapes are a contrasting purple-red.  The perfect specimen to bring some "living sunshine" into the shade garden; pale lavender flowers in summer.

Height:  30-40cm  Spread:  60-75cm  Zone:  3

Hosta ‘Great Expectations’

Stunning selection having broadly ovate leaves that are thick and puckered with a wide irregular blue green margin around a bold golden-yellow center which changes to creamy white by summer.  Very slow grower that may take several years to establish- but worth the wait.  Near white flowers in June.

Height:  50-70cm  Spread:  1-1.25m Zone:  3

Hosta ‘Hadspen Blue’

Powdery steel blue leaves that hold their colour all summer set this hosta apart as being one of the best blue forms ever.  Foliage is thick and cupped with heavy texture which = slug resistance.  Plants will form a nice rounded mound and sport tall scapes of pale lavender flowers midsummer.

Height:  40-50cm  Spread:  60-75cm Zone:  3

Hosta ‘Loyalist’

Reverse sport of ‘Patriot’ with leaves that have a deep green margin with a pure white center that is not prone to melting out.  Leaves have a heavy substance which affords them greater slug resistance.  Plants form a neat mound.  In summer creamy white scapes sport pale lavender flowers. Height:  40-50cm  Spread:  60-75cm Zone:  3

Stained Glass hosta Hosta

 

Hosta ‘Stained Glass’

Superb sun tolerant hosta that will form a mound of wavy, corrugated, heart-shaped, leaves.  Colour is chartreuse to golden yellow (some direct sun will bring out more gold) with an irregular dark green border.  Slightly fragrant pale mauve flowers, 2006 Hosta of the Year. Height:  50cm  Spread:  90-120cm  Zone:  3

Hosta ‘Touch of Class’

Specimen type hosta having very thick pointed leaves of powdery blue-green with a pale yellow center streak.  Plants are very sturdy and form low mounds, pale lavender flowers in July.  A sport of 'June' that is very classy indeed. Height:  40-60cm  Spread:  60-75cm Zone:  3

* Photography courtesy of HarkAway Botanicals

All of these Hostas and many others are generally available at Art's Nursery. As always, please call in advance to confirm availability as our stock changes frequently.


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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.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

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