Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Vancouver BC nursery visits

Some would feel it's a form of torture, to visit a nursery knowing that you can't take anything home with you, and while I certainly prefer to be able to buy, I see it a little like visiting a botanical garden where the plants are still in containers. Plus I find it endlessly fascinating to see what's available at the nurseries in the cities I visit. In that frame of mind I kicked off my long weekend in Canada with a stop at Phoenix Perennials in Richmond, BC.

The nursery layout was intriguing. You walk in and are faced with a high wall of shrubbery that moves you along to the right. I imagine this entry area is changed out quite frequently as different plants of interest arrive or move through their life-cycle.

Did I take a photo once you round the wall and can see more of the nursery? No, of course not! I was busy looking at the plants, like this substantial Syneilesis aconitifolia...

Polygonatum odoratum 'Ruby Slippers' (that red stem!)...

and Tricyrtis macropoda (those spots!).

Lots of treasures in there...

And out there! (another curvy wall of shrubbery!)

Callistemon citrinus

There was a nice selection of succulents, including quite a few spikes...

Mangave 'Praying Hands', the first time I've seen this one in person!

Agave bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost', I've never seen such a substantial amount of these offered for sale.

New to me Crassula orbicularis var. rosularis

Good ol'Echeveria agavoides 'Lipstick'

And last up, Aeonium 'Emerald Ice'

My next nursery stop (on Friday morning) was at Art's Nursery in Surrey, BC. I wish I would have paid more attention to how they attached those plants!

I like a double decker planting.

The cactarium did not disappoint!

Trichocereus grandiflorus hybrid (torch cactus)

This had me rethinking the idea of a stock tank pond, after all I love those leaves and the flowers that follow. I wonder if the evil little masked bandits of destruction would bother an oblong tank in the driveway? (the answer of course it yes)

One more shot at Art's...

And next up Southlands Nursery, where the Study Weekend Saturday night dinner gathering was held. This "fantastic handmade zine agave plant from France" could be yours for just $1,495.

I didn't catch the price on this faux bois planter.

...but had fun imagining what I might do with this $1,500 French wine bottle drying rack.

Fun fact; back in 2010 when Schefflera taiwaniana were just hitting the market and very hard to find, I saw my first plants here at Southlands, it killed me to not be able to buy one (due to crossing the border). Now I was able to just walk on by since I've already got a few schefflera (or whatever they're calling them now) growing in my garden.

Nice healthy Pyrrosia hastata.

This luscious hibiscus was blooming in the greenhouse—a great summer patio plant. I might not have been able to refuse it at home.

OMG... I wanted this cart so bad! They had several, it wasn't a display item but rather a functioning nursery cart. I could make very good use of this in my garden...

Finally, Magnolia sieboldii

I was trying to get a decent (in focus) shot and didn't much succeed, but thought it was fun that the white chair showed up in the background.

Do you enjoy visiting nurseries when you travel? I used to think all gardeners did, but have learned that's not necessarily the case.

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  1. AnonymousJuly 12, 2023

    Although I always love visiting nurseries and botanical gardens, a new city may offer other, must-see attractions, especially abroad, so garden centers, sadly, often don't make the cut.
    The 'double decker' (love that name) and faux bois planters are gorgeous and inspiring: how can I duplicate that look...
    Luscious hibiscus bloom! Yowza! (Doesn't the outlaw have one of those?).

    1. Oh definitely, other "big name" attractions take precedence, but often a nursery just happens to be close by and so I can't help but stop in. Or maybe it's one that has a reputation (like Flora Grubb or Annie's) and has become a destination itself.

  2. I like visiting nurseries when traveling to get ideas and to introduce me to plant prospects, although it frustrates me to no end if I happen upon something I've been looking for in my own area but can't take home. I was surprised to see as much as I did in your photos of plants that will grow here. BTW, Crassula orbicularis var rosularis is a great plant, one of my favorite succulents.

    1. Definitely a great selection of succulents for your climate!

  3. AnonymousJuly 12, 2023

    I liked that some of the cactus photos show prices (in Canadian dollars, obviously.) I've always wondered about the price of plants you take photos of when you visit nurseries.

    1. It is interesting isn't it? To see the prices.

  4. I met an incredibly nice and funny agricultural agent crossing the border with the saxifrags; he was absolutely floored to have been called up for someone following the rules. I'm not sure it would be worth the trouble on a routine basis, but he made it an interesting fun experience to do once.

    1. Well now I wish I would have found something worth buying at the Study Weekend plant sale...

  5. AnonymousJuly 13, 2023

    I love visiting nurseries when I - well, back when I-traveled. So many plants to find!

  6. Interesting to see what's for sale far from home--and most especially what the local gardening vibe is like. Enjoyed seeing what you saw there.

    1. Glad to hear it. I remember at the Toronto Fling we walked past a nursery and so many of our group didn't go in because "they couldn't buy anything" I was floored. Who walks right by a nursery!?!

  7. Wandering through nurseries, both familiar and new, is my happy place. Seeing new plants and those I know in different situations wakes up possibilities in my mind. You saw some beauties!
    Like you, I'm fascinated as to how the succulents and moss were attached to the metal 'pan'. It is an excellent piece I would love to re-create... glue? I should know, but would a touch of glue limit the lifetime for the succulents?

    1. I know a lot of folks who think nothing of putting together a succulent "something" (wreath, tree, centerpiece) with glue. Then when the time comes to take it apart (carefully) they grow the succulents on. So... you're probably on to something and that's how they did it.

    2. You could do it with your shade and temps. I know with your sense of design, the piece would be spectacular. Unfortunately, I have little shade and with our extreme Tucson temps, as much as I dream it would be fried in 2 days. My visions of creativity are in your hands!

    3. "My visions of creativity are in your hands!" oh my... that's a heavy creative burden! Actually my playing with projects like this is more about the epiphytes than the succulents.

  8. Not being able to buy would drive me crazy, but fascinating to see what their nurseries are like. I remember just being stunned by the evergreen hedges that so many houses had in Vancouver. When I was young, we had a pair of those white garden chairs in the last photo. Drama queens but not that comfortable.

    1. Ya, I used to dream of owning those chairs, they were the height of sophistication. Now when I could, well, my tastes have changed.

  9. AnonymousJuly 14, 2023

    I love going to nurseries in foreign countries. I’ve actually ended up waiting on/helping people with their plant selection if English was the first language. I loved selling plants when I worked at garden centers.

    1. Oh that sounds like great fun, good for you.


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