TOM SPEAKS
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According to all my grade school report cards, I never stop speaking!

Here is where I rant/ share/ proselytize about whatever I think is
beautiful/ interesting/ semi-important....

SOUTHLANDS NURSERY
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Could it be that dreams do come true?
When artistic talent, sweat, business savvy and encyclopedic
plant knowledge are combined, it seems they do....

Southlands Nursery is a walk-in fantasy,
where beauty always comes before profit.

STORE INFO
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Established in 1991, and located in a charming 'equestrian pocket' on Vancouver's upscale
westside, this unique area called Southlands is a horse friendly enclave right in the city.
Large lots and small acreages house many stables, and it is not unusual to see horses and their
riders go by our gates. With delicious free coffee always on hand, many people tell us that they
come down to the nursery just to experience the beautiful atmosphere.
We hope you will visit soon!

TOM SPEAKS
Click on text to vist page
According to all my grade school report cards, I never stop speaking!

Here is where I rant/ share/ proselytize about whatever I think is
beautiful/ interesting/ semi-important....

JUST IN
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At Southlands Nursery, things are always changing,
and not just with the seasons. We're constantly creating,
searching and bringing in new plants and exciting items
on a regular basis.

Get a sneak peak here or come visit us soon.

FAVOURITES
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Visiting Vancouver?
Want to order flowers?

Check out this very personal list of some of Thomas Hobbs favourite
Vancouver shops and restaurants you may not otherwise discover.

DAYLILIES
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Thomas Hobbs own hybrids (and other fabulous varieties) are available in
limited numbers. Hybridizing daylilies has become an absolute obsession....
using cutting edge parent plants from the world's top breeders.

Half the fun is in naming them!

ORDERING
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We will never be a fully online shopping nursery, but from time to time
we'll offer special plants or things.Thomas Hobbs own daylily introductions
will be available for Spring or Fall shipping.

We hope to offer other specialties,
such as own own Nerine hybrids, this way, also.

BOOKS & PRESS
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The only thing I love more than gardening is sharing that passion with others.
I've had the pleasure of writing 2 books and have been featured in a number of professional
horticultural and gardening magazines. For the past 16 years I've also worked in television on
GlobalBC's Saturday morning news 'Gardening with Thomas Hobbs' segments. The nursery has
been featured on virtually every gardening show including 'The Victory Garden', 'Martha Stewart'
and 'Recreating Eden'. We were even home to 'The Orchid Nazi' on the hit TV show The X Files!

September 12, 2010

I Dare You to do Dahlias

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 10:05 pm

August 2010 088

                             When I first became besotted with daylilies, many of my best and most highly regarded plant friends thought I had lost my mind. ” Too long in retail, poor thing” , or “Well, he is a Gemini…”  they said amongst themselves.  But, now I also like dahlias very much!  Maybe not  the ones in the above photo (yet) , but I have amassed quite a collection out in Langley at my new garden.  I have purchased some at the Seattle Garden Show , which has several tempting booths of vendors each February. They also have a USDA inspector there issuing permits for Canadian shoppers to get their treasures home legally. I also go to the Vancouver Dahlia Society’s tuber sale in the spring . This is held at Van Dusen Gardens Floral Hall in Vancouver, and it is like a giant bake sale for dahlia tubers.  The selection is just amazing !  This year I bought ‘Hissy Fitz’, ‘Bad Hair Day’ and about twelve others. 
            A few of my current  favourites are shown here in some pictures I just took (in early September) in my own garden. I am growing these dahlias for cut flowers .  I think my favourite has to be  ’Bracken Palomino’ . This is a very tasteful soft peach colour with a  ‘ formal decorative’  (I think) type of flower.  Each bloom is about 6″ across, and I’ve had cut flowers of this variety last for over a week.   My second favourite is ‘Bracken Sarah’ . Another peachy one, with flowers that are bigger and paler in tone.  Next in line is ‘Bedhead’, which is outstanding. The flowers are a pleasant shade of orange, with twisted cactus-type petals that give it its well-chosen name. This plant gets amazingly large.  My one tuber became a mass of blooms on a Vokswagon-sized plant  TWELVE FEET across , with hundreds of flowers and  branches to the ground !  ‘Bedhead‘ is a fantastic variety for cutting, as the stems are long and clear of the foliage.  We will have them for sale next spring.
                There are many other varieties that I am fond of, and some I am going to throw away.  After the first frost, dahlia plants turn brown immediately. This is when I cut them down and dig them up. I store them in a bit of the clinging soil. dry, in plastic crates in the dark.  i make sure to label each clump. I have a cold, dark workshop, that is just above freezing in winter. The tubers must not freeze, as they are tropical.  In spring, I haul them out and clean them off, dividing them into clumps, making sure each divided piece has an eye or atleast a section of last years plant stem at the top. This is really essential as no eyes will appear on broken tubers (which will not grow a plant)  without a piece of  ‘mommy’ – last years stalk/neck.  I pot them up in one or two gallon pots are start them in a greenhouse, waiting until May to plant them out. By giving my dahlias this headstart, I get flowers earlier that planting dormant bulbs straight into the ground. If this is your only option, you will still have a mass display by August. 
         Dahlia 'Bracken Sarah'Next year, try to source some interesting dahlias to  provide you with buckets of beauty and to horrify any plant snob friends!  

                                                                                                   Dahlia ‘Bracken Sarah’                         Dahlia harvestSept '10 (1)       Here I am with a few cut dahlias and sweetpeas from my new garden in Langley, B.C.  Deer have not been much of a problem, but this area is fenced, just in case.     Dahlia 'Bedhead'                                                                                                                  Dahlia ‘ Bedhead’