Viburnum bodnentense


By Patty

Latin Name Common Name Plant Type Attractive Features Peak Conditions
Berries and Seedheads
Aronia melonocarpa ‘Autumn Magic’

Choke Cherry

deciduous shrub fall colour, shiny black berries Oct-Jan sun/p.shade
Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’ “Beauty Berry” deciduous shrub unique colour of purple berries Oct-Dec sun/p.shade
Cornus mas “Cornelian Cherry” deciduous shrub red berries in fall, spidery yellow flowers in Feb. Nov-Mar sun/shade
Cotoneaster sp. evergreen & deciduous many varieties, orange, red and yellow berries Nov-Feb sun/avg H2O
Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ “Silk Tassel Bush” evergreen shrub leathery green leaves, long catkins Dec-April sun/p.shade
Iris foetidissima “Stinking Iris” evergreen perennial bright orange berries burst from seed capsules Oct-Jan sun/shade/DT
Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ “Oregon Grape” evergreen shrub spiky foliage, yellow flowers on erect spikes Dec-Feb shelter hot/cold
Pyracantha spp. evergreen shrub red, orange or yellow berries, wall train is best Oct-Feb sun/p.shade
Skimmia japonica evergreen shrub bright red berries, needs male & female Nov- Feb shade
Symphoricarpos x ‘Magic Berry’ “Pink Snowberry” deciduous shrub pink berries, suckering habit Oct-Dec sun/p.shade
Viburnum davidii evergreen shrub metallic blue berries, pink flowers Oct-Jan sun/shade
Coloured Bark and Stems
Acer griseum “Paperbark Maple” deciduous tree cinnamon brown peeling bark year round prefers full sun
Acer palmatum ‘Japanese Sunrise’ “Japanese Sunrise” deciduous tree bright coral red stems Nov-Mar part shade
Acer palmatum ‘Shidiva Gold’ “Shidiva Gold” deciduous tree bark bright pea green for winter contrast  sun/p. shade
Acer palmatum ‘Bijou’

Japanese Maple

deciduous tree bright yellow/orange bark sun/p. shade
Acer pensylvanicum “Striped Bark Maple” deciduous tree green bark with white stripes Nov-Mar part shade
Betula jacquemontii “Himalayan Birch” deciduous tree chalk white bark year round sun/p. shade
Cornus alba ‘Siberica’ “Redtwig Dogwood” deciduous shrub fiery crimsom upright stems Nov-Mar sun for best colour
Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ “Bloodtwig Dogwood” deciduous shrub orange – yellow to red stems Nov-Mar sun for best colour
Cornus stolonifera ‘Flaviramea’ “Yellowtwig Dogwood” deciduous shrub bright yellow green stems Nov-Mar sun for best colour
Edgeworthia chrysantha “Paper Bush” deciduous shrub attractive bark & fragrant yellow flowers Dec-April sun/p.shade
Salix ‘Flame’ deciduous shrub orange , bronze stems Nov-Mar sun
Flowers & Fragrance
Daphne odora “Winter Daphne” evergreen shrub exceptionally fragrant pink tinged white flowers Jan-Mar p. shade
Edgeworthia chrysantha “Paper Bush” deciduous shrub attractive bark & fragrant yellow flowers Dec-Apr sun/p.shade
Hamamelis spp.

Witch Hazel

deciduous shrub fall colour, fragrant flowers, yellow, orange, red Year round sun/p.shade
Iris unguiculars “Algerian Iris” evergreen perennial blue with yellow tinge flowers Dec-Jan sun, dry
Lonicera fragrantissima “Fragrant Honeysuckle” deciduous shrub very fragrant white flowers Jan-April sun/p.shade
Sarcococca spp. “Sweetbox” evergreen shrub small white flowers Feb-March Year round p.shade/shade
Viburnum bodnantense ‘Pink Dawn’

Dawn Viburnum

deciduous shrub long lasting fragrant pink flowers,attractive bark Nov-Feb sun/p.shade
Corms and Bulbs
Anemone nemorosa ‘Flore Pleno’ spreading corm double white flowers, summer dormant Mar-Apr p.shade/humus soil
Cyclamen coum spreading corm magenta pink or white flowers, marbled foliage Dec-Feb p.shade/shade
Eranthis hyemalis “Winter Aconite” spreading corm bright yellow flower, summer dormant Jan-Mar p.shade/shade
Iris reticulata hybrids bulbous perennial white, yellow, blue, purple flowers to 12″ Jan-Feb sun/ p.shade
Muscari sp. “Grape Hyacinth” bulbous perennial many varieties, white, blues, voilet Mar-Apr sun/ p.shade
Nerine bowdenii bulbous perennial faintly scented pink flowers Oct-Nov sun/shade
Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’


bulbous perennial deep blue flowers to 6″ Mar-Apr sun/p.shade
Schizostylis coccinea “Crimson Flag” bulbous perennial white or pink flowers – divide often Sept-Dec sun
Great Foliage & Flowers
Adiantum venustum “Himalayan Maidenhair Fern” evergreen fern creeping rhizomes, black stems, delicate Year round light – deep shade
Arum italicum “Lords and Ladies” tuberous perennial bold arrow shape leaf, orange berry spathe Sept-June p.shade/shade
Asplenium scolopendrium “Hart’s Tonque Fern” evergreen fern bright green shiny fronds Year round p. shade
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans’ Plumosa Japanese Cedar” conifer soft feathery foliage, turns bronze in winter Year round sun/dappled shade
Elaeagnus pungens ‘Maculata’ evergreen shrub boldly marked yellow centres on leaf Year round sun/p.shade
Helleborus argutifolius “Corsican Hellebore” evergreen perennial pale green flowers, bold grey green foliage Year round sun/p.shade
Helleborus foetidus “Stinking Hellebore” evergreen perennial bell shaped green flowers with purple margins Year round p.shade
Helleborus orientalis

Lenton Rose

evergreen perennial many flower colours from green, white to black Year round p. shade
Libertia peregrinans “Bronze Sword’ evergreen perennial spikey bronze-green foliage, orange seedheads Year round sun/p.shade
Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ “Black Mondo Grass” evergreen perennial black grass-like foliage, black seedheads Year round sun/p.shade
Phormium tenax ‘Yellow Wave’ “New Zealand Flax” evergreen perennial bright yellow variegated strap-like leaf Year round sun/p.shade
Polystichum setiferum   evergreen fern soft feathery dark green fronds Year round light – deep shade
Branch Structure and Form
Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ “Contorted Hazel” deciduous shrub corkscrew branches and golden catkins Nov-April sun/p.shade
Hamamelis sp. “Witch Hazel” deciduous shrub fragrant, fine spider-like flowers, fall colour Jan/Feb sun/p.shade
Parrotia persica

Persian Ironwood

deciduous shrub fall colour, great branching structure, silhouette Oct-April sun
Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’ “Contorted Willow” deciduous shrub twisted stems, yellow green catkins Nov-April sun/p.shade
White Pine

Consider A Pine

by Wendy

Here at Russell Nursery we are often asked for plant ideas for challenging situations.   A common request is for a plant that looks great year-round, is low maintenance, and tolerates full sun, drought and deer. Sound like the perfect plant for you? Our advice – consider a pine.

Pines are evergreen conifers that grow to a range of sizes. The many different varieties of pines have an architectural quality which lend character to a garden and provide year-round interest. They are very low maintenance, drought tolerant once established and require no pruning. If you do need to control size please ask our staff about how to ‘candle’ a pine.

Pines are also good candidates for seaside (they withstand both wind and salt exposure) and container plantings (usually we would recommend smaller specimens for this).

Please check in with us to see what we currently have in stock or come by to browse. Here are some staff favourites:

Pinus thunbergii ‘Yatsubusa’

JAPANESE BLACK PINE                           

Yatsubusa is a beautiful pine with a strong presence.     It is relatively compact conifer with silver-green needles. It grows to about 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide in ten years. Use this pine as a specimen to add weight and a bit of height to any sunny bed or border.
Pinus sylvestris ‘Waterii’


Waterii is a stalwart beauty for the garden. It is a dense and easy to place pine with a pyramidal habit and lovely blue-green needles. It grows about 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide in ten years. Use this pine to create privacy or structure. This pine easily fits into many garden styles.
Pinus nigra ‘Gaelle Bregeon’


Gaelle Bregeon is a sweet little pine. This is a dense, very small rounded pine with deep green needles. It grows to about 1 foot tall and 2 feet tall in ten years. This is a very suitable plant for the rock garden. It also does very well in a sunny container. A similar but slightly larger and more conical pine is Pinus nigra ‘Hornibrookiana’ (2-3 foot tall and 3-4 feet wide).
Pinus thunbergii ‘Kotobuki’



Kotobuki is a fabulous narrow upright pine with a somewhat irregular and open habit. It sports dark-green needles on branches that grow upward. It grows to about 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide in ten years. Use this pine to add interest to your rock garden. This pine also lends itself well to bonsai.
Pinus strobus ‘Tiny Kurls’


Mini Twist is one example of the many rare and unusual pines we have in stock. This pine is a dwarf oval globe with dark blue-green twisted needles. It grows at a rate of about 5-10cm per year. A perfect choice plant to add something unique to your garden. Another fun variety is Pinus strobus ‘Sea Urchin’ (which grows to just over 1 foot tall and 1 foot wide.



Allium Purple Sensation

A Gallery of Alliums for Every Garden

By Faye 

Onions are alliums, chives are alliums and leeks are alliums. Alliums are among the oldest cultivated plants in the world, adding much to nearly every global cuisine.

Ornamental alliums however, are relatively new to the landscape, being developed in Holland around the middle of the 19th century. Many new varieties have been introduced in the last decade, and oh, what a wonder they are!


Allium Schubertii seed head

Ranging in size from ping pong ball to larger than a basketball, globe-shaped, allium flowers add sophistication, architectural interest and colour for months, rising elegantly on leafless stems above strappy foliage. They bridge the gap between the spring blooming stars of the early garden and summer flowers, and after their bloom is spent, alliums offer even more with their outstanding seed heads. Writing this article in October, I still have stunning orbs of Schubertii seed heads in my front garden that literally stop passers by in their tracks.

While popular with butterflies and other pollinators, they are avoided by deer and rabbits presumably to avoid onion breath! I have had the pre-bloom foliage sampled occasionally but the flowers are never touched. They thrive in full sun in average, very well drained soil; like other bulbs they resent soggy ground. With these minimal requirements met, alliums will bloom reliably for years.

Alliums play well with others, in fact they are best planted with leafy perennials in front to cover their foliage, which does tend to look less than stellar by the time the blooms emerge. The tall, stately orbs show well in the mid to back of the border.

The famed landscape designer Piet Oudolf favours alliums in his meadow-like landscapes, pairing them with undisciplined perennials and grasses, but they are equally at home in a formal design with more architectural plantings. While alliums in general have similarities, several unique characteristics are described below.

Allium azureum, one of the true blue flowers in horticulture, stands out from its peers by the clear blue orbs atop the 80 cm stems. Delightful sprinkled through a rose garden, with penstemon, hardy geraniums, or yellow daisies.

Bulgaricum has a slightly different flower style, with creamy bell-shaped pendant buds that dangle from stem top as it approaches the 30-60 cm height.  This is a very elegant plant alongside wider leaved plants such as sun-tolerant blue hostas, Calla lilies, Alchemilla mollis.

Aptly named, Allium ‘Chameleon’ does change colour as the flower matures. Starting off dark rose to pink, then white with stripes, it is loved by bees as are all alliums. Only 35cm tall, this is one to grow in a drift near the front of border, perhaps with small conifers or broad leafed perennials.


Purple Sensation allium

Christophii, or Star of Persia, grows to only 50cm tall, but the umbels are a massive 20cm, followed by attractive seed heads. Each umbel consists of up to 100 star-shaped pinkish flowers with a metallic sheen. Due to the size of the full umbel, plant only 1 bulb per square foot, and allow it to stand out by planting with fine grasses. This variety has received the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the RHS.

Try Drumstick allium with Stipa tennuissima, Perovskia ‘Little Spire’, and Lilies. Diminutive egg-shaped flowers start off green, then pink then turn a dark reddish hue, and planted densely (16 per square foot) will age gracefully, fading through summer. Grow where you want a more ‘casual’ look.

‘Fireworks’ really does look like an explosion of colour. Only 20cm tall, full of spring freshness which will blend well with late season tulips in similar hues, or use as a vibrant splash among Heucheras and other foliage plants.

‘Graceful Beauty’ with 3” starry white flowers looks beautiful planted in drifts through the garden. Peonies, Lambs’ Ears, and grasses are lovely companions. This is an American native, cultivated since 1857.


Hair allium

Hair allium does look like it’s having a bad hair day, in a delightfully charming way, of course. Big on attitude, this little beauty is a whimsical conversation piece to be sure, and stands out with poppies, irises, penstemon and lilies.

‘Purple Sensation’ being slightly larger, looks full at 9 bulbs per square foot, planted in drifts. It is the earliest allium to flower. Outstanding combined with silver foliage, pale variegated leaves, Lupins, Euphorbia, and Alchemilla mollis. Favoured by flower arrangers for its long-lasting blooms.

Allium ‘Schubertii’ is a massive umbel (30cm) that looks like a botanical explosion. It dies back gracefully to leave behind a long-lasting seed head that may be more impressive than the bloom itself. Stunning in late spring with shrubs such as Berberis, conifers, and columnar flowers such as Salvia and Foxglove. Another RHS Award of Garden Merit plant, this one’s exceptional.

Alliums bring colour, style, and architectural artistry to the garden. They enhance other plants and bridge the gap between late spring and early summer bloom. They are reliable, deer resistant, and easy to grow, so what’s not to love? Do try them, you won’t be disappointed.



Theetuin 3 Jacqueline van der Kloet

A Fresh Approach To Planting Bulbs

New Style Flower Ribbons

‘Flower ribbons’

When I first saw photos of Dutch garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet bulb gardens, I was struck not only by how beautiful they were, but also by how well they would work in our relaxed West Coast gardens. She leans towards soft colours punctuated with splashes of bright ones and plants in a loose natural style.  Her work can be seen in public gardens all over the world, but the same principles can be used to create beautiful displays in gardens of all sizes.

Traditional style 1

Traditional style

Traditional bulb plantings are based on contrasting blocks of bold colour.  Jacqueline picks a colour scheme, selects the bulbs and mixes them all together in the wheelbarrow.  In traditional plantings, the bulbs are spaced with geometric precision, but she literally throws them on the beds and plants them more or less where they land. The results are reminiscent of Impressionist paintings.

Mixed borders

Mixed borders

The majority of course, are spring blooming but summer bloomers can be added to the mix to provide a long season of colour.   Spring bulbs could be followed by alliums, lilies, gladiolus and dahlias.

Most of us add bulbs to mixed borders as an after-thought, tucked in here and there, but Jacqueline starts with bulbs and adds complementary perennials, grasses and shrubs to add structure, round out the beds and hide the old foliage as it dies down.  While starting from scratch isn’t likely to be an option in most gardens, reworking empty spaces might be.  When bulbs are planted in isolation, there is always the issue of what to plant when they die down and what to do with all that messy foliage.

Toss and plant 1

Toss and plant!

When planning plantings of mixed bulbs, the trick is to keep it simple – limit the number of varieties to three or four in a small area, add a few more in a larger one.   Small bulbs should out number larger ones and there should be enough to make a good show.   Mix the bulbs together, toss them on the bed and plant them where they lie.  Some will be planted more closely together and others further apart.

The best choices are bulbs that will come back year after year.  Leaving the foliage to die down naturally will encourage them to come back in greater numbers.  Ideally beds with bulbs should be kept on the dry side in the summer so they don’t rot.

Calypso Breeze

Calypso Breeze


Garden Gems

It will be interesting to experiment with this new way of planting bulbs, there are so many to choose from.   Take the guesswork out of the process by trying some of the prepackaged assortments.  They are designed to produce either a prolonged display or one big show. Your choice!

Soft Shield Fern w

A Fondness for Ferns

By Laurie

Ferns are emotive plants that can conjure up visions of other places and times. Ferns give a garden a sense of permanence, timelessness, of always having been there; which is no wonder, as they have been around for over 300 million years!

Soft Shield Fern

Frosty fiddle heads of Soft Shield Fern

Ferns don’t seduce us with flowers, but instead offer exquisite fiddleheads and gorgeous texture. They are elegantly diverse, the quintessential shade foliage plant that comes in all shapes and sizes. They are classy plants with a long season of interest, starting with their intricate unfurling fronds in spring.

Their refined fountain shapes make a strong architectural statement that can soften formal designs and add polish to spare sites. Airy fronds move in the breeze and contrast well with smooth walls, water features and stone. Ferns have a regular, reliable growth habit and won’t outgrow their assigned space very quickly, which makes them easy to place and partner with other plants. In addition to all of these wonderful attributes, ferns are rarely bothered by pests, diseases and deer!

There is a fern for almost every garden situation. They are easy to grow, adaptable and low maintenance. Although the ideal site for a fern is in dappled shade with consistent moisture in well drained soil, they will also grow in full to part shade, and some will even take sun. There are even ferns for difficult places like dry shade, drier sun, wet boggy areas, and clay slopes.

Ferns like a regular amount of moisture especially in their first year, but many can take some drought once established. They appreciate a compost or leaf mould mulch in spring but don’t require any extra fertilizer. Unlike shrubs, ferns don’t need pruning or deadheading. Cutting back their deciduous and evergreen fronds in spring (March) when the ‘knuckles’ appear is the only work needed.)


Shady ground cover of Deer Fern with Carex ‘Evergold’

Ferns are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. (See lists of ferns for different uses at the end of this article.) Small charmers can be tucked in containers or crevices or used to edge a shady path. More robust spreading ferns can create a unifying ground cover for naturalizing under trees or along a stream bank. The upright fountain shapes of many larger ferns can be dotted through a border and show best when they rise above smaller mounding shade plants.

Taller ferns are great inter-planted amongst spring bulbs as their spreading fronds cover the dying bulb foliage. Ferns can always be used to fill a difficult shady corner, but they can also add long lasting interest as a specimen at a shady entrance or to frame the sides of steps.

As is often the case, repetition is important. A grouping of three or more ferns repeats their strong, textured pattern and form, which can be a unifying element in a border. Their graceful, finely textured, matte fronds contrasted nicely with larger, simpler, glossy leafed plants.


Textured Fronds of Giant Chain Fern with Ligularia and Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’

Despite all their charms, ferns are underappreciated and underused in our gardens. Perhaps it is too difficult for us in the Pacific Northwest to get beyond the vision of “sword ferns everywhere”.

And, while there is no denying the charms of sword ferns, the world of ferns is so much more. Ferns are simply too captivating to ignore. Find a spot for one (or several!) in your garden and you will never look back.


FERNS – SUN TOLERANT (with some moisture)

Asplenium trichomanes – Maidenhair Spleenwort

Athyrium filix-femina – Lady Fern

Cheilanthes tomentosa – Wooly Lip Fern

Dryopteris affinis and cultivars – Golden Scaled Male Fern

Dryopteris x complexa and D. x complexa ‘Robusta’– Robust Male Fern

Dryopteris erythrosora varieties – Autumn Fern

Dryopteris filix-mas and cultivars – Male Fern

Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern

Osmunda cinnamonea – Cinnamon Fern

Osmunda regalis – Royal Fern

Polypodium glycyrrhiza – Licorice Fern

Polystichum munitum – Sword Fern



Athyrium filix-femina – Lady Fern

Dryopteris cristata – native

Matteuccia struthiopteris – Ostrich Fern

Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern

Osmunda cinnamonea – Cinnamon Fern

Osmunda regalis – Royal Fern

Osmunda claytoniana – Interrupted Fern

Adiantum aleuticum – Maidenhair Fern – takes moist, not wet

Dryopteris affinis – Golden Scaled Male – takes moist, not wet

Woodwardia fimbriata – Giant Chain Fern – takes moist, not wet.



Adiantum aleuticum – Maidenhair Fern

Asplenium scolopendrifolium – Harts Tongue Fern

Athyrium filix-femina – Lady Fern

Blechnum splicant – Deer Fern

Crytomium species – Holly Fern

Dryopteris dilatata – Broad Wood Fern

Dryopteris filix-mas – Male Fern

Gymnocarpium dryopteris – Oak Fern

Polypodium glycyrrhiza – Licorice Fern

Polystichum acrostichoides – Christmas Fern (for slopes, erosion control)

Polystichum braunii – Brauns Holly Fern

Polystichum munitum – Sword Fern

Polystichum setiferum – Soft Shield Fern


FERNS DROUGHT TOLERANT (once established)

Athyrium filix-femina – Lady Fern

Dryopteris crassirhizoma – Thick Stemmed Wood Fern

Dryopteris filix-mas – Male Fern

Polypodium glycyrrhiza – Licorice Fern

Polystichum braunii – Brauns Holly Fern

Polystichum munitum – Sword Fern


FERNS FOR GROUND COVER (either low growers or spreaders)

Adiantum venustum – Himalayan Maidenhair Fern

Athyrium filix-femina – Lady Fern

Blechnum spicant – Deer Fern

Gymnocarpium dryopteris – Oak Fern

Matteuccia struthiopteris – Ostrich Fern

Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern

Osmunda claytoniana – Interrupted Fern

Polypodium glycyrrhiza – Licorice Fern

Polystichum munitum – Sword Fern

Woodwardia areolata – Netted Chain Fern



Athyrium ‘Branford Beauty’

Athyrium ‘Ghost’

Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ varieties – Japanese Painted Ferns

Athyrium otophorum – Eared Lady Fern

Cheilanthes tomentosa – Wooly Lip Fern

Dryopteris erythrosora varieties – Autumn Fern

Dryopteris lepidopoda – Sunset Fern

Dryopteris wallichiana – Wallichs Wood Fern

Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern

Osmunda regalis ‘Purpurascens’– Purple Stemmed Royal Fern


FERNS FOR SPECIMENS (striking appearance, large to medium size)

Dryopteris crassirhizoma – Thick Stemmed Wood Fern

Dryopteris x complexa ‘Robusta’– Robust Male Fern

Dryopteris wallichiana – Wallichs Wood Fern

Osmunda cinnamonea – Cinnamon Fern

Osmunda regalis – Royal Fern

Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum Group – many striking varieties

Polystichum makinoi – Makinois Holly Fern

Polystichum neolobatum – Asian Saber Fern

Woodwardia fimbriata – Giant Chain Fern

FERNS FOR CONTAINERS (use equal mix of soil,compost and bark mulch)

Adiantum aleuticum – Maidenhair Fern

Asplenium scolopendrifolium – Harts Tongue Fern

Asplenium trichomanes – Maidenhair Spleenwort

Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizelliae’– Tatting Fern

Athyrium ‘Ghost’

Crytomium species

Dryopteris erythrosora varieties – Autumn Fern

Dryopteris lepidopoda – Sunset Fern

Dryopteris filix-mas ‘Cristata Martindale’

Osmunda regalis – Royal Fern

Polystichum setiferum cultivars

Polystichum tsus-simense – Korean Rock Fern

Polystichum polyblepharum – Tassel Fern


(Sources: Olsen, Encyclopedia of Garden Ferns/ Hardy Fern Foundation/internet)

Ophiopogon and rock with p

Add A Touch Of Japan To Your Garden

By Faye


Dinner at Narita

I’m sitting in the Narita airport, having spent some time here in Tokyo visiting my son and his family. Before me sits my traditional parting meal at the airport: Onigiri, which are delicious balls of rice with assorted fillings, wrapped in Nori (seaweed). Beverage of choice is Asahi beer, just the thing to relax for the 9-hour flight home.

Last year at this time I wrote an article for our website called Japan through the eyes of a Canadian Gardener, which was my observations on gardens and the beauty of this land.

This time, I’ve been paying attention to the small details that seem to say ‘Japan’ in any language, any garden. A formal Japanese garden is not only very difficult to build; it’s expensive and not practical in most settings in Canada. By incorporating just a few small details, your garden will have what I call a ‘Japanesque’ look.

One thing that is essential in any garden here seems to be some kind of bamboo screen or small fence. Bamboo fences have long been an obsession of mine, and I have a whole album of pictures in my computer. A few of the special ones are shown below.

Bamboo in Shoko sans backyard

Bamboo in Shoko sans backyard

Bamboo fence in park

Bamboo fence in park

Solid bamboo fence

Solid bamboo fence

Bamboo supporting young tree

Bamboo supporting young tree

There is an art to designing these fences, and they can be very intricate or quite simple. What I saw all over Tokyo, however, was a simple arrangement of vertical and horizontal bamboo poles tied together with black twine. The placement of the poles is up to you, depending on how the fence is to be used. I hope the photos speak to you of design, function, and aesthetic that will work in your own green space.

One question we often hear at the nursery is “How do I grow moss? I would like to give a Japanese flavour to my garden?” Well, I have looked all over Tokyo and moss is only seen growing on rocks, it’s not a ground cover in our traditional sense. As it takes the Earth a long time to grow a mountain, it takes a while for a rock to grow moss. It can’t be hurried.


Ophiopogon in a tidy pathway


Ophiopogon and rock, with path

View outside our window with op

View outside our window with Ophiopogon

There is, however, one ubiquitous covering of ground that is a very low growing grass-like plant. I saw this everywhere; in small sanctuary gardens in private yards, in public gardens, and in the garden of my friend Shoko-san in Hakone. Ophiopogon japonica ‘Nana’ appears to spread nicely into a tight mat, yet not be wildly aggressive, as it’s quite slow growing. It’s been a challenge to find a supplier for this, but finally we have it in stock, in 4” pots.

Rock is another essential, and this one is readily available here at home! One large boulder can set the tone for the whole garden, or a small area of river rock or pebbles planted with the right accent, can do the same. The Ophiopogon is often bordered by a hidden plastic, stone or wood barrier, then surrounded by an open area of small pebbles. There may or may not be further plantings of conifers, small shrubs, or one carefully placed tree. The key element is rock placement; it isn’t taken lightly, with much thought going into how it can make a statement; nothing here looks cluttered.

Conifers seem to achieve the role of elder statesmen among the deciduous shrubs and trees. Often seen in pots, a small but aged conifer speaks of patience, tenacity, and endurance; qualities of life admired and practiced in Japan by its people.

Well supported pines

Well supported pines


Support for an elderly wisteria


The larger, older pines are often supported by more stakes than seems necessary, but protection of the elders is as important in horticulture as it is in society in this magical place.

Deciduous trees tend to be smaller-leafed varieties, eg Japanese maples (of course), Katsura, Beech, and the choice for public gardens everywhere, Ginko biloba. I was told on this visit that Ginko trees do not readily burn, so they were planted years ago in public places of refuge in case of fire or other disaster. They line routes of evacuation, and delineate ‘safe’ places eg embassies, parks, and schools.


Vista of maple, buxus, bamboo screening outside our window

While the ginko trees in Hiroshima did burn with the dropping of the atomic bomb, they survived and continue growing to this day.

I was surprised to see Pachysandra, one of our own stalwart ground covers that is deer resistant and tolerates dry shade, used in the woodland portion of my friend’s garden. Small grasses such as Hakonechloa (Hakone Grass), Imperata ‘Red Baron’ (Japanese Blood Grass), and the grass-like perennial Liriope softened many plantings, along with many kinds of ferns. Also seen were Camellia, Rhododendron, Azalea, Acuba, Buxus, Enkianthus, Bamboo of course, and Japanese Maples of every hue.

Did I mention that it rains a lot in Japan? Arriving during the typhoon season this year, I had the opportunity to appreciate the Japanese respect for the power of water, and noticed that drainage is given its due. On any hillside is a visible concrete trench beside the pathway, done attractively, of course. Rocks are embedded into the hill to form a trail and right beside that, the water runs freely as if to say, “give me a place to go, and I won’t bother you.”


Bamboo on a roadside hill


Drainage beside pathway

Even the sewer grates on downtown sidewalks are attractive. Note the ginko leaves molded into this one:

Ginko motif

Ginko motif

It’s not necessary to ‘Japanize’ your whole garden, but a small sanctuary of this peaceful style will give you respite in your busy day. A rock, some pebbles, a bamboo fence and simple plantings of some of these garden treasures will offer a touch of Japan to your own landscape.


Seasonal Stars in the Garden

Do you find that there are times of year when your garden fades, when there is nothing stellar to notice and you have to say to guests “wait until fall (spring, winter or summer); my garden really looks good THEN!”
The secret to having a year-round beautiful landscape lies in planning ahead, cultivating plants which will shine during various seasons. There are few plants that truly are wonderful for all four seasons, but each time of year features those divas, stars, and yes even stalwart back-stage workers, to make yours a garden you can be proud of for 12 months of the year. The following is a list of only a few of our favourites. Please check with us for current availability. Trees may be tagged to hold for when they are ready in the fall.


  • Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle) blooms are lime green in spring. Fresh foliage holds water droplets like diamonds.
  • Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon Berry) native shrub, delicate white flowers, edible fruit.
  • Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ a tree with four season interest, beautiful white flowers in spring, tasty black berries in summer, brilliant autumn colour.
  • Aronia (Chokeberry) three seasons of interest — spring flowers become black berries in summer, then outstanding fall foliage.
  • Berberis shrubs have four season interest.
  • Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ and ‘Looking Glass’ have showy blue flowers and gorgeous foliage.
  • Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ interesting upright, polite grass
  • The brilliant chartreuse flowers of many Euphorbias brighten the spring landscape.
  • Exochorda (Pearl Bush) pearl-like buds studded along branches.
  • Fothergilla flowering shrub, bright foliage in fall as well.
  • Grevillia ‘Canberra gem’ fresh new growth is very striking.
  • Magnolia stellata varieties bloom before leaves arrive.
  • Polygonatum (Solomon’s Seal) beautiful from spring until the last stems finally fade out in fall.
  • Spireas especially ‘Goldflame’ which has bright orange/gold foliage.
  • Viburnum plicatum varieties — a good structural shrub.


  • Adiantum pedatum (Maidenhair fern) delicate fronds atop wiry black stems.
  • Astilbe flowers add colour to shady areas.
  • Buddleia shrubs attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.
  • Cercis Canadensis (Forest Pansy) small tree with burgundy heart-shaped foliage.
  • Crocosmia many varieties, flowers are rich and vibrant shades of orange/yellow/red
  • Fuchsia many hardy varieties; all provide long lasting flowers in shade.
Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass) varieties give colour and lovely texture in shade.
  • Hostas check out some of the newer varieties for pure zing!
  • Hydrangeas are at their best in late summer; many varieties to choose from.
  • Kirengeshoma collector’s plant, lovely in woodland settings.
  • Lilium; plant several varieties for continuous show of colour.
  • Magnolia ‘Oyama’ best magnolia foliage, later blooming.
  • Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’ (Bee balm); showy red blooms attract wildlife
  • Nepetas have grey mounding foliage and soft blue flowers. Cut back for second flush of
  • Paeonia (Peony) summer flowers, autumn foliage colour, and deer proof too.
  • Philadelphus (Mock Orange) fragrant flowers in early summer.
Physocarpus (Ninebark) strong structure, colourful foliage.
  • Pyrus salicifolia (Weeping ornamental pear)
  • Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ (Golden Locust) bright chartreuse foliage. We often sell out of this tree long before it’s ready to leave the nursery in September.
  • Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan, Gloriosa Daisy) a classic, old fashioned and tough. Many varieties.
  • Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’or ‘Black Beauty’ (Elderberry) shrub with glossy purple-black foliage.
  • Sedum ‘Dazzleberry’ has purple foliage and dark pink flowers
  • Spanish Olive shiny black olives, attractive leaves.
  • Stewartia considered a four-season tree.
  • Styrax japonicus ‘Emerald Pagoda’ (Japanese Snowbell Tree) graceful habit, good foliage and white blossoms in summer, followed by little green pear-shaped seeds.
  • Zanthoxylum piperitum (Japanese Pepper Shrub) interesting, fragrant foliage and deer resistant.


  • Acer rubrum or for a smaller tree, the Japanese Maples; what can be more lovely in fall than a red-leafed maple?
  • Aconitum ‘Arendsii’ (Monkshood) has tall, saturated-blue flower spires that deer do not eat.
  • Anemone japonica perennial with tall stems of simple elegant flowers, spreads nicely in garden bed. A classic.
  • Aronia (Chokeberry) autumn leaves are like red embers in a campfire.
  • Blueberry not just for berries, this has gorgeous fall foliage.
  • Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Dwarf Plumbago) blue flowers over red-tinged foliage.
  • Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Katsura Tree) a favourite for its fragrance of burnt sugar as the leaves dry in late summer.
  • Clematis terniflora (Sweet Autumn Clematis)
Cotinus very colourful fall foliage after a summer of beauty as well.
  • Euphorbia ‘Glacier Blue’ has lovely creamy foliage year round.
  • Fothergilla two seasons of intense beauty, shade tolerant shrub.
  • Helenium (Sneezeweed) brilliant red and rusty flowers from August through September.
  • Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ elegant silver foliage grass. Miscanthus ‘Strictus’ has brightly banded foliage for an exotic look.
  • Pennisetum ‘Burgundy Bunny’ and ‘Piglet’ grasses have great “bunny tail” blooms from fall through winter.
  • Passiflora caerulea (Passion Flower Vine) very complex flowers, a must-see!
  • Perovskia (Russian sage) striking, ghost like foliage.
  • Schizostylus happy little spreading clump, flowers well into early winter.


  • Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple) cinnamon coloured bark peels all winter, good contrast with evergreen shrubs and conifers. This is truly a four-season tree.
  • Betula (Birch) both Heritage and Fox Valley colourful, peeling bark that shows well in winter.
  • Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ (Red twigged dogwood) variegated leaves in summer, bright red twiggy stems all winter.
  • Corylus ‘Contorta’ (Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick) truly best in winter, with contorted and twisted bare stems wonderful in floral arrangements.
  • Cryptomeria interesting conifer with red-tinged soft foliage.
  • Epimedium surprisingly tough for such a delicate looking plant. Leaves take reddish hue in cold weather and make good cuttings at Christmas for arrangements.
Evergreen ferns Sword fern, Deer fern, Japanese tassel fern, and others add green to winter woodland.
Grasses left standing provide seeds for the birds as well as architectural interest in the landscape.
  • Grevillea ‘Victoria’s soft orange blooms attract hummingbirds in winter.
  • Hamamelis ‘Jelena’ (Witch Hazel) graceful shrub/tree for warm orange blooms in the darkest days of winter.
  • Hellebores blooms are unforgettable in winter, and they keep on flowering.
  • Mahonia ‘Charity’ and ‘Winter Sun’ taller shrub versions of Mahonia, tolerant of a variety of conditions, flowers in November.
  • Stewartia interesting branch structure when leafless.
  • Symphoricarpos ‘Alba’ (native snowberry) and ‘Amethyst’ purple berries.

By ensuring that there are a few outstanding plant varieties for each season, your garden will return your devotion and give you pleasure the whole year long.


Turf the Turf

by Faye

The great Canadian lawn. Is it an oasis upon which to rest and rejuvenate your spirit, or is it a monstrous thirsty fraud? The pros and cons of keeping or killing turfgrass have become hot button issues for gardeners of all shades of green.

Historically, the lawn signified the emergence of the middle class and its financial independence, with no need to grow food to survive. A small vegetable plot in the back yard replaced fields of crops, and the front lawn was the symbol of rising affluence and liberation, the greenest grass on the block being the Holy Grail.

Recent trends toward water conservation and sustainable planting, along with a resurgence in growing our own food have meant that lush green lawns are on the hit list; not politically correct in many circles. There are so many reasons to eliminate vast swaths of lush green grass, and many reasons to keep them. Let’s talk about the positive attributes of lawn first.
Nothing says summer like kids and dogs playing on green grass, maybe running through the sprinkler. Remember that? A quiet afternoon on the lawn chair with a good book isn’t the same without the soft grass beneath your toes, and a picnic blanket spread on the lawn just adds to the pleasure. Aesthetically a calm swath of lawn gives the eye a chance to rest between the borders, an area of visual serenity.
If your standards don’t demand golf course perfection, then a lawn needn’t be a huge water drain nor fertilizer hog. Since herbicides are now unavailable in most of our municipalities, there is no longer a valid claim that chemicals are leeching into the waterways from the average home lawn. I know that the robins in my yard would be very disappointed if I removed our small patch of grass; they love digging for worms in the spring, and I for one enjoy watching the tug of war.

There are many reasons to remove at least some of our turf grass, depending on the sun exposure, drainage, and other land available to you. If the lawn is in the only patch of sunny real estate in your yard, and you want to grow vegetables, then replacing it with a kitchen garden makes sense. If the lawn is shady and moist and always a challenge to keep moss-free, then wouldn’t a hosta and fern garden be an improvement? If your soil is very sandy and so fast draining that frequent watering is the only way to have a green lawn, then perhaps a dry garden featuring ornamental grasses, succulents and other drought tolerant plants would make your life easier and the visuals more pleasing than a struggling patch of sometimes-green grass.
One of the reasons many people want rid of the lawn is to reduce time spent watering, fertilizing, edging, aerating, and mowing the lawn. Loud and dirty lawn mowers are annoying, possibly spewing off fumes and generally aggravating the neighbours. There are many who say, however, that their lawn-care chores are nothing compared to the tasks required in a mixed planting of shrubs and perennials, so it’s all up to personal preference how we like to spend our precious time outdoors.


Depending on what you plan to replace the grass with, there are many ways to kill off the lawn. The easiest method is the slowest way, but satisfying. If you want to replace the whole area with mixed plantings, and are doing it yourself, then sheet mulching is likely the best choice. Begin by mowing your lawn for one last nostalgic (but optional) time, just to make it flatter. Then spread compost or manure over the lawn, at 50 pounds per 100 square feet to help the microbial action and increase worm activity; remember that if you have been using synthetic fertilizers for years, you will have depleted the vast and lively population living beneath the ground. If you are putting mainly pathways and the occasional shrub or tree, then save the organic goodies for later. To smother the grass, you will need to cover it all with sheets of cardboard or 10 sheets (1/2” thick) of newspaper. The inks used these days are vegetable dyes, so perfectly harmless and organic. Make sure to overlap by 6-8” in all directions, to keep the grass from growing back between sections.
Now the fun part, covering up the paper layer with more compost or a 4-5” layer of leaves, and then the final layer of bark mulch. All of this will be ready to plant into within 6 weeks, or left over winter will greet you in the spring all ready to go, an organically alive palette for your creative juices to work on.

If your dream is to create a vegetable garden in this former lawn, there are again some options. One would be to build raised beds right on top of the lawn, filling the frames with the layers as suggested, or make the layers more varied as in Lasagna Gardening using manure, straw, compost, soil, and amending with an organic fertilizer blend. For the pathways around the beds you may choose to eliminate the compost layers, and cover the newspaper or cardboard with bark mulch, gravel, or pavers. Growing food rather than feeding and watering grass nourishes body and soul in a satisfying and happy way.

Many people are starting slowly, just making their existing lawns smaller, and beds and borders larger. Designing a whole new garden is after all quite a daunting prospect!

But what if growing veggies isn’t your forte, you don’t want more perennial and shrub areas, and you still want to walk on soft green surfaces? Many ground covers can take some degree of foot traffic, such as Corsican Mint, Baby Tears, Leptinella, some of the ornamental thymes, Blue Star Creeper, Herniaria glabra, and many more. We’d be happy to talk ground covers and offer suggestions.
In the absence of lawn, covering the ground is the way to cut down on weeds, preserve moisture, and protect the soil from extremes of wet, dry and wind. Whether you cover it with plants or some other organic material, you must cover it.

Eliminating some or all of your turfgrass is a choice. There are many reasons to join this movement, such as protecting the environment, growing your own food, enhancing wildlife, or good old plant lust; find what works for you, make a plan, and do it.


Plant a Hedge Row, Not a Hedge

(Plant lists at bottom of page)

Hedges, in one form or another, have existed since our ancestors gave up their foraging life style and settled down in permanent residences. Over the centuries loosely piled brush, stacked rocks, iron railings and rows of shrubs have been used to keep livestock safe and to clearly mark the boundaries of personal property. Most modern hedges consist of dense rows of uniform shrubs, shaped and sheared into a smooth, uninterrupted form. High maintenance, susceptible to disease and damage and sometimes dark and foreboding, they don’t contribute much more to the garden than would a green painted fence.

If visions of butterflies drifting, bees humming, and songbirds bursting forth with notes of joy are guiding your garden plans, a mixed hedgerow will deliver all this and more, all the while freeing you from the rigid pruning schedules required to keep those conifer soldiers in perfect formation.

A mixed hedgerow is simply an assortment of shrubs or small trees planted relatively close together to form a row, which may be straight or curved, and, like an evergreen hedge, may provide privacy, wind protection, delineation of the property boundary, or even separation of one’s garden into “rooms”.

Ideally, a hedgerow is a mix of deciduous and evergreen natives and non-natives of various sizes that, combined, will contribute texture, shape, contrast and colour to the overall garden scheme. It will provide food, protection from predators, nesting sites and shelter from the elements for birds, bees, frogs and other creatures, which will in turn feast on damaging insects, slugs and weed seeds.

Native shrubs are especially welcoming to wildlife and are, by definition, well suited to our local conditions, being exceptionally insect and disease resistant. As well, native varieties require minimal pruning, fertilizer and water. Deciduous members will share their decaying leaves with the earth, and allow sunlight and breezes to pass through, while moderating the cold blasts of winter. If diseases or pests do attack one plant, the likelihood is that its neighbour, belonging to another species, will not be affected. Hedgerows need minimal pruning – the occasional thinning cut, the removal of wayward or dead branches and maybe a little cutting back and you’re done.

For a hedgerow to be successful, “right plant, right place” must apply to all plants chosen, and the plants must be able to live in peace and harmony with each other, enjoying the same soil, light and water conditions. As many or as few different plants as desired may be included. Choose a mixture of native and non-native, deciduous and evergreen shrubs that naturally grow to the desired height. Plants that have berries, fruits or seeds are particularly desirable. Even a vine or two, such as honeysuckle and clematis, may be included to amble along the row. Don’t put all evergreen shrubs together, but space them randomly as anchors and repeat each variety of shrub throughout the row in a non-predictable manner.

The plants should be placed 3 or 4 feet apart. The idea is to have them grow into each other, branches intermingling. If you have the space, a width of six feet or more is ideal for wildlife habitat. A row of smaller plants can supplement the principal row. The beauty of hedgerows is that they merge with additional plantings in garden beds, with no clear line between what is the hedge and what is the border.

Traditionally, hedgerows include such things as hawthorn, wild roses, mock orange, raspberries, hazelnuts and many more. Non-traditional shrubs like berberis, buddleia, camellias, Mexican orange, flowering currant, blueberries, laurels, lilacs – really almost any multistem shrubs, can combine to create a dynamic, living fence that changes with the seasons and adds immeasurably to the overall garden.

Below are two lists, non-native and native plant suggestions for hedgerows.


Deer = generally considered to be deer resistant
Evergreen = generally evergreen in our climate

Not categorized by size as many have smaller or larger varieties

Arbutus Unedo Compacta, Evergreen – sun, drought tolerant 6-8’, white flowers and 1/2”-1” orange/red fruit.

Barberry (Berberis) Deer – oval red berries in winter. Most are under 5’. Sun to light shade, graceful habit.

Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia) Deer – sun to part shade. 10-12’ tall and wide, attractive bark in winter

Beautyberry (Callicarpa) Deer – violet to purple berries that persist into winter. Sun to part shade.

Box Honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida) Deer, Evergreen – tolerates salt spray. Baggeson’s Gold has golden leaves in sun.

Butterfly bush (Buddleia) Deer – candy for butterflies and hummingbirds, cut back yearly. Sun to light shade.

California Lilac (Ceanothus) Deer, Evergreen – drought tolerant, sun. Blue flowers loved by bees, nesting birds.

Camellia Deer, Evergreen – part sun to shade. Protect from bright sun and drying winds.

English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) Deer, Evergreen – sun to part sun, need M and F for berries. Attractive to wildlife.

Escallonia Deer, Evergreen – wind tolerant, drought ok but looks best if watered. Attractive to hummingbirds and bees.

Firethorn (Pyracantha) Deer, Evergreen – fast growing, vigorous, thorny. Berries loved by birds. Sun to part shade.

Flowering Currant (Ribes) Deer – both native and non-native. Loved by hummingbirds and native bees.

Forsythia Deer – Fast growing, yellow flowers in spring

Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa) semi evergreen, sun to part shade. Berries for birds.

Honeysuckle Vine (Lonicera sp.) – Some evergreen, or semi-evergreen, fragrant flowers, sun or part shade

Japanese Pepper Bush (Zanthoxylum) Deer – handsome plant, sharp thorns and fragrant foliage. Sun.

Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata ‘Convexa’) Deer, Evergreen – small shiny rounded leaves like boxwood. Very hardy.

Lily of the Valley Shrub (Pieris japonica) Deer, Evergreen – part sun to shade. Good, 4-season stalwart of the garden.

Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ and ‘Winter Sun’ Deer, Evergreen – fragrant yellow flowers in winter. Sun or shade.

Mexican Orange (Choisya ternata) Deer, Evergreen – fast growing, sun or shade, drought ok. Loved by bees.

Mock Orange (Philadelphus) – sun to part shade, good drainage. Lovely fragrant flowers.

Ninebark (Physocarpus) both native and non-native varieties, sun or shade. Curling bark in winter.

Osmanthus burkwoodii Deer, Evergreen slow growing 6-10’, tolerates clay and some drought, sun to part shade.

Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica) Deer, Evergreen – sun. Provides cover for wildlife. Very tough.

Privet (Ligustrum) Evergreen – dense, compact shiny dark green leaves. Flowers attract bees. Sun to part shade.

Silk Tassel (Garrya elliptica) Deer, Evergreen – sun to part shade. Dry shade and coastal sites ok.

Tree Mallow (Lavatera) Deer, sun. Cut back in spring. Pink flowers all summer.


Smaller Growing Plants: 2-6 feet high

Tall Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) – Dry conditions, sun, evergreen, yellow flowers, berries

Dull Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa) – Dry conditions, part shade to shade, evergreen, yellow flowers, berries,

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) – Dry conditions, sun to part shade, will take periods of winter wet, tiny pink flowers, white berries. THUG

Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium) – Dry to moist soil, sun or shade, red berries

Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) – Average to moist soils, evergreen, berries, seaside

Salal (Gaultheria shallon) – Dry to moist soil, sun or shade, evergreen, small pink flowers, purple berries, seaside

Bald Hip Rose (Rosa gymnocarpa) – Dry to moist soil, sun to part shade or part shade to shade, small pink flowers, red hips

Medium Height Plants: 5- 10 feet

Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) – Dry to moist soil, sun to part shade, fragrant white flowers

Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) – Dry to moist soil, sun or part shade, berries, seaside THUG

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) – Moist to wet soil, sun or part shade, white flowers, berries THUG

Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana) – Dry to moist soil, sun or part shade, fragrant pink flowers, hips, seaside THUG

Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea) – Dry or wet soils, sun or part shade, attractive fall colour, red bark

Red Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) – Dry conditions, sun or part shade, bright pink flowers, berries

Western Spiraea (aka Hardhack) (Spiraea douglasii) – Moist to wet soils, sun or part shade, dark pink flowers in summer

Larger Growing Plants: 10 feet or higher

Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)

Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) – Moist to wet conditions, sun or part shade, big leaves, red berries

Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) – Dry to moist soil, sun or part shade, delicate white flowers, berries

Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor) – Dry to moist soil, sun to part shade, creamy flower spikes in summer, seaside

Saskatoonberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) – Dry to moist soil, sun or part shade, small white flowers, berries, seaside

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) – Dry to moist soil, sun or part shade, white flowers, berries, fall colour

Black Hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) – Dry to moist soil, sun or part shade, black berries, fall colour, seaside

Pacific Crabapple (Malus fusca) – Moist to wet soils, sun or part shade, flowers, fruit

Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) – Soils from wet to dry, sun to part shade, creamy white flowers, attractive peeling bark

Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta) – Moist well drained soil, sun or part shade, catkins, nuts

California Wax Myrtle (Myrica californica) – Average to moist soils, sun to part shade, evergreen, seaside

Japanese Maple Oct 2020 scaled

Trees Are The Lungs Of The Earth

National Tree Day was September 21st, and it seems fitting to acknowledge this by paying tribute to the elders of our plant world, the lofty and noble tree.  We as a species simply could not exist on Earth without trees.

Most people know that trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. But it’s way more interesting than that!


*One acre of trees consumes annually the amount of carbon dioxide produced bv driving an average car 26,000 miles, approximately the circumference of the earth. The carbon is stored bv the trees as wood fibre.

*This same acre of trees also produces enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe, every day.

*Trees actually improve air quality by capturing airborne pollutants, filtering them through their leaves, stems and twigs.  When trees are present, there is up to 60% less particulate matter in the air. Gaseous pollutants are absorbed by the stomata on the leaves’ surface. Ever notice how good the air feels in a forest?

*Trees cool the air and ground by their gift of shade, and recycle the water they take in through their roots. Evaporation of the water held in leaves causes humidity to rise, eventually to fall again as rain.

*Trees provide shelter and food to all manner of wildlife, from birds and insects to giant carnivores such as bears.

*Tree roots stabilize soil, preventing erosion. Their falling leaves renew the soil every year.

Now it gets even more interesting….

*Research has shown that people in hospitals and sickrooms who can see trees from their windows rather than blank walls actually heal faster! They have fewer complications, and require less pain medication.

*The Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’, or Shinrinyoku, is claimed to reduce stress and boost the immune response to cancer and other illness. Breathing in the essential oils emitted by the trees has been given scientific scrutiny, but it doesn’t take a scientist to see how good we feel after spending time with trees. For more info on Shinrinyoku, see

It is said “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the next best time is today”. When you sit under a tree today it’s because someone planted a tree a long time ago. Habitat for wildlife, air and water for humans, and care for the Earth; trees are pretty wonderful, don’t you think?