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Friday, June 17, 2016
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

We are starting to get into the swing of things by June. Mowing, planting, fertilizing, trimming, deadheading and staking oh my! I hope you are not so immersed in the gardening shoulds that you are forgetting to stop and smell the flowers…literally!! Weather wise we have had a little bit of everything so far but we are fierce gardeners and are ready for anything…k maybe not anything but a lot.

It’s a jungle out there so remember to stick together (gardening clubs are good), be safe (wear a hat and sunscreen and for the love of Pete take your time when pruning if you want to keep all of your fingers),share (plants and knowledge…ok maybe not tools but the first two are enough) and above all HAVE FUN OUT THERE!! Here’s your list.

Lawn Watering Restrictions

Lawn

Stage 1 Water regulations are on but Mother Nature has been helpfully taking care of much of the watering in the lower mainland. Once we get into the hot part of summer though you can mow high, use a mulching blade. If you have to water do so in the early morning. Our lawns need only about 1 ½ “ of water per week. That is about 2 -30 min watering sessions for most sprinkler heads. You can also consider going ‘au naturel´ and allowing your lawn to go dormant (that’s just a nicer way of saying brown). If it’s not a heavy traffic area, it will begin to grow again once we get some cooler evenings and a bit of rain by September.

Thin Fruit Trees

Trees and Shrubs

Mulch your trees and shrubs with composted mulch or even a green mulch aka a groundcover! Groundcover plants can help keep moisture in the soil. Remember if you have fruit trees that have a heavy crop to start thinning the fruit. Don’t be greedy, or you are going to have broken branches and bent over trees! You can remove dead, diseased or damaged branches at any time. Consider getting a tree gator if it gets hot this summer or you plan on going away for any length of time.

Butterfly on Flower

Garden Beds

Dead head, mulch, fertilize and stake as needed. Don’t worry about being too perfect with your trimming. Remember to 'bee' observant in the garden. Many pollinators use the hollowed stems of perennials as nesting and a huge percentage of them are ground nesters. If you see tiny holes in the ground especially in sunny areas you would be doing a kindness by not weeding, mulching or cultivating in that area. Another funky thing you can do in the garden is put in a butterfly mud wallow, sunning rock and pollinator watering pebble tray. I know I am a bit of a plant and bug geek, but this stuff is cool!! Some great butterfly info sites are:

If you want to check out some cool information on other pollinators both Simon Fraser University and the David Suzuki foundation have great info:

If you would like to add some plants, we have some great butterfly, humming bird and bee favorites still at the nursery! Watch for plant damage. Expect collateral damage in the garden and weigh your options before you spray. More often a good sharp stream from the hose will do the trick and you can pass on the chemicals especially in the case of aphids and spittle bugs. Balance.

Hanging Baskets On Display

Planters and Hanging Baskets

We have some lovelies available. It is hanging basket city in the courtyard!! Think about hanging them low in groupings using our various wall hooks and shepherds hooks. Hanging your planters lower means you can enjoy them sooner instead of looking at the bottom of the pot. Also easier to water, deadhead and fertilize…just sayin’.

If you are like me and STILL haven’t done your front planters yet - don’t fret! There are lots of choices and they are bigger and when you put them into the planter it looks like you’ve been fawning over them for months. Procrastination is sometimes awesome!! Stumped for ideas? Come and visit our creation station and we can help you!!

When it comes to keeping them looking good, remember that the growers fertilizer lightly everytime they water a basket. The plants get used to that amount of food. If they run out of food, they stop blooming... therefore, feed lightly everytime you water!

Bell Peppers on Plant

Veggie Gardens and Fruit

Keep on weeding, planting and yes…thinning. I know you don’t like to thin but you HAVE to think some of those baby carrots out to give the others room. You know who you are…THIN. YOUR. VEGGIES. We have lots of great tomatoes and fiery peppers…think salsa!! As the heat starts to hit you can think about mulching some of your beds with straw.

You will get weeds but if water is an issue especially if you have an allotment plot somewhere, a straw layer will keep the moisture in the soil. I can’t believe I already have raspberries so it looks like our harvest season will be compressed again. Check fruit often and don’t be surprised if it is about 3 weeks early…plan accordingly!!

That should do for now! Get outside and enjoy the fresh air…and fresh food too!! We are lucky enough to have some of the freshest and most amazing markets and eateries!! Try something new or check out some of our farmers markets!! Think also about the critters around us and not just the cute ones either. As smart gardeners we can make a difference!!

Cheers ... Laurelle


Friday, May 20, 2016
Posted By: Suvan Breen in Shrubs

 

Oh the fabulous hydrangea! Of all the flowering shrubs this one has always been a show stopper but in 2016 this is not just your grandmas pink or blue hydrangea anymore.

Blue Hydrangea Flowers

I am not sure what I am more excited about, the ever blooming varieties that just go all summer or the new multi coloured flowers that change colour over their bloom time, Hydrangeas are blowing me away right now.

There are so many new varieties and colours that will make you stop in your tracks, come on into the nursery to see what we have for you.

As you may have guessed from their name, Hydrangeas love water, plant in a moist but well drained space, spring is a great time for planting, water the roots deep down to help them to establish in the garden. Once again I highly recommend soaker hoses if you do not have irrigation, this is a great way to reduce your water bill and still deep water your plants.

 

Having said that there are certain things to know about the Hydrangeas we love. Here are the top Hydrangea questions I have had over the years.

Hydrangea Types

Are There Different Types of Hydrangeas?

Yes, there are several types of Hydrangeas with flower colours ranging from white to shades of pink to blue. The classic variety is called Hydrangea macrophylla and can have either the big Mophead type flower or a flattened lacecap-like bloom. Lace cap varieties are great for attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. The Mountain Hydrangea, or Hydrangea serrata typically has a white lacecap-like flower. Pannicle Hydrangeas, or Hydrangea paniculata has large white to creamy white flowers in conical shapes. Hydrangea arborescens or Smooth Hydrangeas typically have large white blooms. Finally, the Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia has attractive white flowers but also offers stunning fall foliage colour.

Endless Summer Hydrangeas

What Is An Endless Summer Hydrangea?

Most Hydrangeas bloom on old wood. In recent years, plant breeders have introduced new varieties that bloom on both new and old wood. They are often called “ReBloomers”. The end result is a plant the produces more flowers and blooms for longer through the season. It also makes them less vulnerable to late winter, flower bud damaging frosts. Endless Summer was the first of the group but new ones like Twist and Shout, Let's Dance Moonlight and Blushing Bride are also available. More information is available on the Endless Summer Hydrangea Website

Should I Fertilize My Hydrangea?

In most cases, yes. For established plants, feed your plant a fertilizer with a high middle number in early spring just as new growth begins. This will create larger and bigger flowers. For new plants, apply a Bonemeal into the planting hole or use a liquid transplant fertilizer when you water.

Changing Hydrangea Flower Colour

How Do I Change The Colour of My Hydrangea?

Hydrangeas react to the availability of aluminum in your soil. If you want pink flowers, add lime to your soil once a year, the lime blocks the plant from absorbing aluminum. Looking for blue flowers? Add Aluminum Sulphate in water and water the soil around your Hydrangea. Be patient, this process will take 2-3 seasons to achieve the colour switch. White flowering types do not change colour.

Where Can I Plant My Hydrangea?

Most Hydrangeas want morning sun and afternoon shade, with the exception of Peegees which benefit from full sun. Late afternoon sun is too strong for many Hydrangeas and can burn both the leaves and flowers. Full shade may result in a lack of blooms, make sure your hydrangea gets at least 4 hours of morning light to grow strong. A location with part sun to part shade is ideal.

Pink Hydrangea Blooms

Why Is My Hydrangea Not Blooming?

Back away from the pruners! The most common reason for no blooms is over pruning or pruning at the wrong time of year. Some Hydrangeas bloom on new growth and some bloom on old growth, if your Hydrangea is not blooming, you may have pruned the flower buds. Hydrangeas really do not require a great deal of pruning but if you are pruning there are guidelines depending on the variety you choose. Deadhead your Hydrangea to encourage repeat blooming.

Another common cause of poor blooms is an early spring cold snap. As many varieties bloom on old wood, a late frost can damage the flower buds.

Your Hydrangea will also produce more and better blooms with a yearly application of fertilizer with a higher middle number

Hydrangea Cityline Rio

How Do I Prune My Hydrangea?

The correct method to prune Hydrangeas depends on which type you have.

ReBlooming Varieties

The Hydrangeas require very little pruning and will keep you in blooms all season long. You should only prune to remove dead wood.

Hydrangeas That Bloom On Old Wood

These shrubs should only be pruned to remove dead wood or to manage size. As they bloom on old wood, a severe pruning can remove next years flower buds. If you must prune, do so after flowering. Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood include:

  • Big Leaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Mountain Hydrangea - Hydrangea serrata
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangeas That Bloom On New Wood

For these varieties, prune in late winter or early spring. Varieties blooming on new wood include:

  • Pannicle Hydrangea- Hydrangea paniculata
  • Smooth Hydrangea - Hydrangea arboresens

If you have any other questions about hydrangeas, please feel free to drop by Arts Nursery and ask! We'd be happy to help!


Friday, August 21, 2015
Posted By: in Gardening

As we enter the 'dog-days' of summer our gardens are smothered by heat, shorted on water and deprived of nutrients. What looked fantastic in May looks a wee-bit tired by late summer. One of the lessons of garden design is to visit your garden centres throughout the year. That way you can see what looks good in the different seasons. Use these seven plants to brighten up and re-invigorate the garden, containers and landscapes in August.

Sedum Sun Sparkler Firecracker

Sun Sparkler Firecracker Sedum

Sedum 'Firecracker'

Sun Sparkler Firecracker is a brilliant burgundy-red Sedum with clusters of soft pink flowers in late summer. Its perfect for shallow containers or tucked into rockery or a green wall, where it will gently cascade. An excellent groundcover or accent for borders and rock gardens. Great low water, low maintenance plant. Grows 6-8 inches tall and wide. Hardy in USDA zones 4-10. Prefers full sun

Anemone Fantasy Cinderella

Anemone Fantasy Cinderella

Anemone x hybrida 'Cinderella'

This heavy blooming, single, rose-pink anemone has a very compact growth habit. Good for beds, borders and patio pots. It is very versatile and easy to grow. Tolerates a range of soil types and prefers full sun to part shade. Blooms in late summer through fall. Grows 12-18 inches tall and up to 24 inches wide.

Fireworks Pennisetum

Fireworks Pennisetum

Pennisetum setaceum 'Fireworks'

This gorgeous annual pennisetum is a show stopper in the garden. It's a colour, upright growing grass with variegated stripes of white, green, burgundy and hot pink running the length of the blade. Purple tassles appear in summer. Unlike the species, this cultivar does not reseed. Plant as a specimen or in mass for a stunning display of color. A great addition to containers and beds near your patio or deck. Grow in full sun in rich, moist, fertile soil. Likes regular watering. Excellent in containers, borders and flower beds. Grows 36-48 inches tall and 24-36 inches wide.

Now Cheesier Coneflower

Now Cheesier Coneflower

Echinacea 'Now Cheesier'

This bright and showy selection is a vigorous, new and improved version of 'Mac and Cheese' Coneflower. Large flowers open a deep orange-gold and age to a lighter gold in summer through fall. Perfect for perennial borders, mixed borders and wildlife gardens. Grows 24-26 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide. Prefers full to part sun and moderate watering. Hardy in zones 4-9.

Sombrero Salsa Red Coneflower

Sombrero Salsa Red Coneflower

Echinacea x 'Balsomsed'

Sombrero Salsa Red is a striking echinacea with big, bright red blooms excellent for an easy, colourful summer border. A must-have for the butterfly or cutting garden. Its a drought tolerant perennial that was bred for cold hardiness and compact form with prolific flowering over an exceptionally long season. Flowers from late spring through summer and reaches a height of 24-26 inches tall and 16 to 22 inches wide. Prefers full sun. Hardy in zones 4-9

Red Heart Hibiscus

Red Heart Rose of Sharon

Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart'

Red Heart Hibiscus is a deciduous shrub with single white blooms with a red centre in late summer on a medium sized shrub. Grows 4-6ft tall and 6-8 ft high. Prefers full sun to part shade. In general, hibiscus are heavy feeders, if you notice yellowing leaves, feed it with a balanced fertilizer and ensure that it is not being over-watered. Hardy in zones 5-9

rhapsody in pink crape myrtle

Rhapsody in Pink Crape Myrtle

Lagerstroemia indica 'Whit VIII'

Rhapsody in Pink is a wonderful large deciduous shrub or small tree very common in warmer drier climates. It features brilliant pink flowers in summer through fall which is accented by attractive purplish, deer resistant foliage. Prefers full sun and moist, but well drained soils. Fertilize in spring. In our temperate climate, the shrub is usually hardy but often does not get enough summer warmth to deliver the beautiful flowers in abundance. Hardy in zones 7-9.

heuchera_berrysmoothie

Berry Smoothie Coral Bells

Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie'

Perennial Heucheras are fantastic source of colour when summer blooms have faded. Berry Smoothie features large, gently-lobed, metallic rose-pink leaves in spring that darken to bronze-red by summer. It is tolerate of summer heat too. It adds brilliant colour and contrast to mixed containers and woodland plants. It is well suited to containers. Tall flower spikes are apparent but not always showy. Best grown in part sun with moderate watering. Grows 18-25 inches tall and 12-18 inches wide. Hardy in zones 4-8.

As always, call Arts Nursery ahead of time to confirm availability as our selection is constantly changing. If you have any questions about these or other plants, drop by in person or call 604.882.1201.

 


Thursday, August 20, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

As we move into the lazy hazy days of August I can’t help thinking that I haven’t even scratched the surface of my own summer to-do list. Aaack... I not only have people and places that I haven’t had a chance to visit yet but I have painting, editing and sorting that I haven’t even put a small dent in.

So much for the lazy part, though I have had my eye on one of those hammock chairs…I tried one out and it is just perfect for reading…which is just one more thing I haven’t had a chance to do much of this summer. Actually when you think of it…those are not too terribly bad as far as problems go eh? Here is YOUR list… I’ve got my own.

Summer Lawns

Lawns

At stage 3 water restrictions there is not much to do. But there are a few more things that you want to try to avoid if you can, like heavy traffic, compacting, fertilizing and or spraying chemicals on your dormant lawn. If you really miss the green, you can buy a non-toxic green lawn spray paint. You can also use "gray-water". Think lightly used bathtub water or cleanish-water after the dishes. However, stay away from using heavily contaminated or soaped-up water in your lawn or plants.

Trees and Shrubs

You can still hand water trees and shrubs. Now is also a good time to do a little bit of thinning on fruit trees, Japanese Maples and Birch Trees if needed, as well as vines, of course. Remember to use proper pruning techniques and to remove branches no bigger than your thumb in thickness. Also follow the never more than 1/3 of the tree rule though I would adjust that to ¼ of the tree or shrub at this time for summer pruning.

Summer Pruning

Remember you do summer pruning to slow the growth of your tree or shrub while winter pruning invigorates growth. So if you have a young tree that you want to encourage growth, do not prune at this time. If you have an old fruit tree, vine or Japanese maple that you want to slow the growth of and thin them out a bit, then now is a pretty good time to do a light prune. Remember…the right tool for the right job…no hacksaws…don’t make me come over there…you know who you are.

Veggie Gardens

Veggie and Flower Gardens

You are still allowed to hand water at this time. With your veggies, you are in harvest mode and with flower gardens you are in deadhead mode. You can add mulch to keep the moisture in the ground. The brighter side is that weeding stays weeded for the most part!! There are some winter crops that you can begin planting right now such as kale, pac choi, carrots and other worthwhile goodies, provided you can keep up with the hand watering.

Summer Hanging Baskets

Hanging Baskets

During the really long hot stretches consider moving them to slightly shadier positions and preferably grouping them. Once a week you might also want to sit them in a tray of water. Clipping back, deadheading and fertilizing will keep them looking healthy. I have actually changed from having the high up hanging baskets to having a lower hanger where I look down on my lovely planters rather than having them hanging on either side of the garage! Continue to feed as required. When a hanging basket stops flowering, it usually means it ran out of food!

water bowls

Wildlife

Keep our feathered and 4 footed friends in mind at this time. I have a couple of water bowls as well as birdbaths out for the birds and one out front for the other evening critters like the raccoons and the skunk down the road that I top up each day and they do get used!! Pools and ponds are drying up and an increasing number of urban wild critters are getting flattened on the roads as they are forced to travel farther distances to get to water sources.

You might want to put out an extra hummingbird feeder or two as well as many of the flower nectar sources are having a very compressed season of bloom.

Hummingbird Feeders

Bears might be coming down out of the mountains earlier than usual and please do help to keep them alive by securing your garbage and compost bins…that might even mean bringing them in to the garage. You can try to cut down on the compost bin smell by sprinkling with a layer of pine shavings every now and again as I have them handy for the 2 chinchillas I inherited the bales are pretty cheap and you can get them from your local feed store. It’s not perfect but it does help a bit. I know some folks use shredded paper but that helps more with the smaller kitchen catchers.

Between this list and your OWN summer to-do list you should have enough on your plate. Remember to take time to smell the roses…literally and take a moment, even if it’s just one where you can be quiet and still and just breathe in the summer because it will not be here for long and you will need to keep a little bit of it in your heart for those long dark November days.

Alright I know… lighten up, but I just went to Costco where they already have puffy jackets, Christmas lights and more ... I was feeling a bit glum and now I am trying not to make eye contact with the Costco-sized jar of Nutella… uh oh.


Thursday, July 9, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

The lack of rain is on everyone’s mind this summer and not surprisingly watering is on the top of my to-do list! With watering, timing and duration mean everything. It is better to water in the morning and water deeply and less frequently.

Aged Black Conditioning Mulch

Mulch is a great way to maintain moisture in a garden. Remember when mulching around trees go no deeper than 3 inches, less for shrubs and much less for perennials and grasses. Keep in mind that wood mulch draws nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes so especially with smaller shrubs or perennials remember to fertilize your plants with a little fertilizer containing nitrogen to account for the nitrogen draw.

A temporary mulch I have had great success using on my veggie garden is straw. Especially when I have vacation planned I find the water savings overrule the increase in weeds from dropped seeds. I apply the straw approximately 6 inches deep, lower around new seedlings. So check your local watering regulations, keep calm, keep cool and keep hydrating.

outdoor Shade Sails

One way to keep is cool is to create more shade. we've just started carrying a fantastic line of Shade Sails. Attractive, durable and easy to install. These colourful sails will add shade to any area of your patio, garden or landscape (as long as you have something to mount them to!).

Trees

Trees, yes they will need water as well. Be patient, bring a book or a lawn chair or you can purchase or pick up a Treegator watering bag from Arts Nursery or you can pick up from some municipalities. Depending on how well draining your soil is your trees will need approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter per week and this will take time.

Tree Gator Watering Bag

Towards the end of this month you can do a basic thinning of fruit trees or Japanese maples, or other smaller trees if needed. Make sure you do any pruning outside the branch bark ridge or collar. You can check the International Society of Arboriculture’s website for help. My rule of thumb is to not remove any branches thicker than your thumb at this time and no more than ¼ for the total canopy…sometimes that is just one cut!

Veggie and Flower Gardens

Water, weed and mulch is the order of the day. Plants are coming into bloom and finishing sooner than they would normally, deadhead, pinch back and try to encourage that second flush of blooms so our pollinators have something at the end of the summer!!

Remember when cultivating or scuffling the soil of your garden to watch for our native bees, we have over 500 native bees here and most of them live in solitary nesting holes in sandy south facing soil. If you see some little holes, perhaps leave that area alone, they are not territorial and most don’t sting, but the little guys need all the help they can get these days.

Water Bowls & Bird Baths

Keep your birdbaths and water bowls filled and yes, you can also fill a bowl with small stones and then add water to the edges of the stones to make a watering bowl for the bees and yes…gasp the wasps. Many of those are pollinators too…seriously and don’t roll your eyes at me. If you find yourself with gaps in the flower or veggie garden we have a great mix of replacements including a number of drought tolerant options!

Summer Hanging Basket Care

Hanging Baskets and Planters

When feeding your plants make sure you water first…then feed. If you don’t, it’s just like taking a huge sip of your Mojito without first stirring it. Your first sip is all rum…meh. If your basket has dried out or is very light or you asked your kids to water while they were texting and they didn’t hear you, take them down and place them in a tray of water and clip back the browned bits and let them sit until the pot feels heavy. Some of the potting mixes become hydrophobic once they dry out and need to be soaked to activate them again. You can even use a product like Soil Moist in your basket to store and release water as it is needed.

Floaters For Your Pond

Ponds

Don’t forget to top up the water as you will be losing a lot of it through evaporation. To help combat that, as well as algae, remember to pick up some floating oxygenators. If 75-80% of the surface is covered with lilies or oxygenators you will have clearer, cooler water.

LawnLift Grass Paint

Lawns

Your lawns are supposed to look golden brown at this time of year! Your local watering restrictions likely have you down to 1 watering per week, which in most cases will be enough to keep your lawn alive until Fall. Water in the morning and use the tuna can method to measure the 1 inch of water your lawn needs. Make sure your sprinklers are efficient and delivering water to the right place. Don't waste! If you decide to conserve water, but still like the green look, we have LawnLift, a non-toxic lawn paint!! It actually works quite well.

Shrubs

We have had a lot of folks through with infestations of aphids on the new growth of their tender shrubs. When you see them you can simply hose them off with a good stream of water from the hose. If they are a repeat problem you might like to use ladybugs…aphids are their favorite thing to eat…like me and chocolate cake !! We have bags of ladybugs ready to go.

Buy Lady Bugs

Be sure to release them in the evening and give them a bit of a misting of 1:1 solution of sugary pop and water. It temporarily grounds them and prevents them from migrating…which is the first thing they like to do when they get out of the bag. By the time their wings unstick…they have found a great source of food which you have so graciously provided and stick around!

That should do for now, pop by and say hi and go for a look see in one of our golf carts. We have a lovely mix of plants, including lots of new ones, and awesome garden designers! You might just get an idea or two!

Cheers

Laurelle


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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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