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Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora'

Most gardeners love all sorts of hydrangeas and for good reasons; they love our climate, they look great in the landscape, and they have big beautiful blooms. Dwarf varieties look terrific in containers making easy summer planters. They also make superb cut flowers and later dried bouquets that keep the summer garden a lovely memory, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Right now I'd like to talk about Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora' or as she is nicknamed PeeGee Hydrangea - Pee for paniculata and Gee for Grandiflora. The blooms on the classic form are large cone-shaped flowers that begin white with a faint green tinge, next turning pure white and then ageing to a dusky pink.
To grow Pee Gee Hydrangeas choose a site that is either half or full sun. These hydrangeas can handle much more sun than mophead varieties (Hydrangea macrophylla). In fact, because these hydrangeas are hardy to -30F/-34C these are also planted in the hot summer climates of the BC interior.
They can be grown as a shrub or a standard (single stemmed tree-form with full top). Read More

Deciduous Azaleas

Most gardeners are very well acquainted with evergreen Azaleas and they are truly beautiful however, it is the deciduous varieties (bare stems in winter) that I would like to share with you today.

Deciduous Azalea shrubs grows about 4-7' tall but can easily be trained to stay at about 4' in height. Their shape is vase like at the base with the top filling out with asymmetrical layers that are very picturesque. This artistic shape lends itself well to being planted behind low growing shrubs that reach only 2 or 3 feet in height.

The flowers of the deciduous azalea are similar in shape to the more common evergreen varieties but they tend to be slightly larger, often beautifully fragrant and glowing in colour rather than deep coloured. They are available in colours ranging from pure white, through yellow, peach, orange, red and pink. The sweet scent of the plant near my front door engulfs the entranceway and wafts into any nearby open windows.

Perhaps the best part of these wonderful plants is how they attract butterflies. It is the only shrub in my garden that the swallowtail and monarch butterflies visit every year. It is wonderful to sit and watch them light and set onto the flowers while they are in bloom.

Plant these easy to grow shrubs in sun or shade, with bonemeal, peatmoss, and manure. Water well until established.


...Experience the Joy of Gardening!

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Berried Treasure

One of the most delightful additions to the autumn garden are shrubs that produce an abundance of ornamental berries. These berries are often loved by birds as well as humans and therefore bring nature a step closer to our homes as well as being colourful. Garden shrubs have berries in a full range of colours such as red, black, white, pink and purple. Some of our favourite berried treasures are as follows:-

Aronia melicarpa 'Autumn Magic'

This plant is very much loved by birds! Tiny bright white flowers turn to large shiny black berries in fall while glossy green leaves in fall turn brilliant red. Grows easily in sun or part sun to 5 or 6 feet tall. Zone 3

Callicarpa bodinieri 'Profusion' ~ Beauty Berry

Callicarpa is probably the berried shrub that gets the most fuss when it is discovered by gardeners. The berries are really purple! Small polished purple berries in large clusters adorn the bare branches of callicarpa. Callicarpa is easy to grow. Plant it in part to full sun. Grows 6-8 feet tall. Zone 5


Cotoneaster boast orange or red berries on a fast growing evergreen plant. Cotoneaster can be grown as a groundcover or on a sunny fence or wall. These are tough, hardy plants that have a huge bloom of tiny white flowers in spring which will later develop into the berries. Grow in sun. Zone 5

Skimmia japonica

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Burning Bush Euonymus alatus 'Compactus'

Burning bush is simply spectacular when it turns colour in the fall and the glowing pinkish-red leaves give no doubt to why the name was chosen. The branches radiate in an upright to slightly arching form so that it's shape has beautiful symmetry 12 months of the year.

It has small yellow flowers in late Spring and red berries that open to show off small but interesting orange coated seeds in the fall. It can be used as a specimen plant, deciduous hedge or mass planted for it's dramatic fall show.

Campbell Riverites enjoy the fiery red colour of the burning bush mass planted at the Strathcona Pool/Arena. Although slightly stressed from hot summers and surrounded by hot pavement these plants are quite beautiful in early fall.

In the home garden you will find your plants to be a little bit more lush and although a little later to colour-up, the fall coloured leaves will hold a little longer before falling for winter.

Burning bush usually grow to about 5 feet tall and wide although we have a spectacular specimen at the Garden Centre that is about 5 foot tall and 8 feet across. Never fear, burning bush can be pruned although it is rarely necessary. Pruning (if necessary) would consist of trimming any growth that mars the plants symmetry or a light pruning over all to keep the size in balance with your garden.

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EVERGREEN CAMELLIA - Camellia Japonica

Camellias are definitely one of the most beautiful early blooming shrubs for the coastal garden. Like rhododendrons they prefer a lightly shaded or morning sun location and they are perfectly at home in our naturally acidic soil. Shiny dark green leaves adorn this plant year round creating a wonderful backdrop to the spectacular spring blooms. Pink, red, white, coral and yellow blooms surprise and delight many gardeners in the very early spring (March) with their truly gorgeous colours and forms.

Camellias like moist acidic soil and a position out of the hot afternoon sun. They usually grow 6-8 feet in height and 4-6 feet in width. They are easily pruned to maintain a smaller size by removing 1/3 of the height and width immediately after blooming.

Plant your new Camellia with a large handful of bonemeal, peat moss and steer manure right in the hole with your plant and then add a handful of rock phosphate on the ground surface after planting to encourage flower formation for the next season. Rock phosphate is also beneficial to mature Camellias that are setting too few blooms.

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Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora' Pee Gee Hydrangea

Many gardeners love Hydrangeas! Just a few of the reasons why are because they love our climate, they look great in the garden and they make wonderful cut flowers both fresh and dried. I must confess I am not an indoor gardener so my home is filled with baskets and pots of dried blooms that keep the summer garden a lovely memory.

One of the most popular varieties of Hydrangea is the lovely P.G. Hydrangea. The blooms on these are very large cone shape blooms that begin white with a faint greenish ting, turning pure white next for most of the time and then aging to a dusky pink.

To grow P. G. Hydrangeas choose a site that is either half sun and shade or full sun. These hydrangeas can handle much more sun then the well know mop head (Hydrangea macrophylla) varieties. In fact because these are hardy to -30F/-34C these are often grown in the hot summer climates of the BC interior.

They can be grown as a shrub or a standard (single trunk tree with full top). P.G. Hydrangeas bloom on new wood so therefore are pruned in the early Spring because they will form their flower buds on the new growth (unlike many mophead types). They are not fussy for soil type but still add a bit of peat and manure with your bonemeal and water regularly especially when it is hot.

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CALIFORNIA LILAC - Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Victoria'

Ceanothus is a wonderful shrub for the summer garden. As the name eludes, ceanothus is native to California and the Pacific Coast, however it is not a true lilac.

Named for Victoria on Vancouver Island, this variety is the hardiest of the ceanothus family and in my mind, the prettiest. In early June buds are ready to burst into a nearly true blue haze of blooms backed up by deep, deep green glossy small leaves.

Ceanothus is fast growing, evergreen, deer resistant and drought tolerant so it is a welcome addition to many gardens. It can be added to the garden as a single shrub or it can be used as a hedge either formally clipped or left natural for a loose cottage garden look. Ceanothus grow quickly to 6 or 7 foot tall and wide so give yours plenty of space. After blooming they can be sheared by one third to keep the overall size smaller.

Plant in full to part sun with bonemeal, peatmoss and manure. Water well especially in dry hot locations for the first season but after the first season nothing more that occasional watering during really dry periods will be necessary. So easy and so beautiful, I just know you are going to love ceanothus!



...Experience the Joy of Gardening!


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Spectacular Rhododendrons

A rhododendron in full bloom is a spectacular sight! From delicate soft white, creamy yellow and baby pink to shocking pink, glowing orange, blood red, and deep dark purple they are all magnificent in bloom. And while the flowers are spectacular the foliage on some is also noteworthy and a tribute to the plant year-round.

True red Rhododendron 'Grace Seabrook' sports handsome deep dark green foliage, delicate white R.'Snow Lady' has delightful hairy leaves and R. ponticum 'Variegatum' has showy variegated foliage. Also, sometimes the buds are showy and such is the case with R. 'Taurus', the deep red buds show themselves off all winter long.

Positioning your newly planted Rhododendrons is important. The height varies greatly from the dwarf varieties that stay between 1-2 feet tall and the extremely large varieties that grow up to (and sometimes over) 10 feet.

I search out the very large, very small and very unusual (and very cool!) rhododendrons on the cold wet days of winter but I also know that most gardeners will be looking for varieties growing between 3 and 6 feet in height so we always have a large selection of those.

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