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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....

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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.

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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!

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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....

Click on text to vist page
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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

May 28, 2013

An Investment in Beauty

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 7:37 pm

008This is peony ‘Coral Charm’. Wow – what a beauty !!!   These new peonies are available in limited quantities, and make incredible cut flowers. Similar ones like ‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’ and ‘Coral Sunset’ are just as amazing . They lack the divine scent of other peonies, but make up for it in colour. Super hardy and tolerant, peonies like full sun and ordinary soil. They bloom best in ‘crummy’ soil – not too rich or you’ll get lots of leaves and not as many blooms. These varieties are available across Canada and the U.S. – make your local nursery get them for you. An excellent mail order source in Canada is GardenImport  ( of Toronto.   I am a peony addict, and am especially fond of single bloom types and Tree Peonies. I took mine with me when I moved to Langley and they are thriving in the new peony beds I have created out there.


Tree peonies don’t mind a bit of overhead shade. Their tissue-like blooms are often shattered by rain and burnt by hot sun, so under high trees is ideal. I visited a tree peony nursery in Connecticut a few years ago, and each plant had a Chinese parasol over it, tilted just so.  It looked wonderful, and did the job of big trees. Tree peonies are slow to ‘get going’. It takes about three years to get more than one stunning flower, but once established, they become small, woody shrubs up to about four feet tall. Don’t prune them – dormant buds probably contain a massive flower and you are cutting them off !  I wait til mid-spring and only cut off truly dead wood and dead branches. There are always some with absolutely no sign of life.  The best source for tree peonies, probably on earth, is Song Sparrow Nursery in Wisconsin. They ship to Canada and are a fabulous company. will thrill you for hours ! A good tree peony is about $100.00 –  it takes years to graft and raise these and it is not an unfair price. How much are factory made-in-China shoes ? Or a bottle of wine ? Perfume? Hookers? Peonies live for centuries and are a bargain !

023‘Ariadne’  is one of my favourites. I got it and others from Song Sparrow Nursery, by mail. Tree peonies (from them) must be shipped while dormant, so don’t expect yours instantly…..
”Harvest’ (below) is a tawny gold with  pinky edges . Look very carefully at the stamens in the centre…. don’t they look like twirled bits of wool ? I’ve never seen this before in a flower.019

May 14, 2013

What’s Missing ? Flowers !

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 3:12 am

P1010867This little area of my new garden at our farm in Langley , B.C. is going to be one year old this summer !! Yes, ONE year old. I wanted to create a ‘French look’ , which I have long admired in gorgeous books and magazine articles. I used ‘easy’  plants, like Hebes, dwarf  boxwoods, a small-leaved willow (Salix purpurea ‘Nana’), woolly lamb’s ear (Stachys lanata), thymes, and the star of all, the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) rising in a sculptural silver fountain. An important element of this garden is the gravel. It is not grey. It is a soft pinky -tan colour, and is called  ’peach shale’. Our local landscape yard used to sell it, in two different sizes. Now they don’t. I guess it was too attractive. But, my partner Brent got us four truckloads of it (by begging) brought directly to us from Alberta. It looks better than our dreary local ‘crush’ gravel – we have lots of grey days already. For soil, we dumped lots of purchased ‘topsoil’ and composted mushroom  manure in situ, to raise the land up about one foot. I am relatively lazy, and did not dig it in. I like to plant on a ‘nice pie’ and always find it easiest to plant impulsively with no plan or drawing whatsoever. That is letting creativity flow . The plants fall together intuitively and I never second guess placement. It is like oil painting – each dab of paint is final. Fussing and torturing yourself with shifting and re-doing things kills creativity. So,  make yourself a ‘ jin toneek’ and create a French gravel garden of your own somewhere in the sun!

May 9, 2013

Nightmare or Blessing ? Groundcovers that work….

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 4:33 am

P1010886I was well aware of the invasive nature of the ‘Bishop’s Weed’ when I planted about six dozen of them under big evergreen trees out at the farm in Langley, B.C. This is the dreaded Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’ ,that will inherit the earth one day. It is doing exactly what I wanted and needed it to do – preventing  millions of weeds from germinating, and creating an attractive blanket of soft greenery. I won’t be watering it – I have needier plants to tend to, and it doesn’t care ! There is no real way to control the spread of this plant, so do not plant it if you have any concern now or in the future of  ever NOT having this plant in your life. You will NEVER get rid of it. In my case , fine.

P1010890   Another excellent choice for a workhorse ground cover is Geranium x  cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ . This is a true geranium (not to be confused with Pelargonium – the ‘geraniums’ at Safeway). A bulletproof  carpet of aromatic foliage and cute white flowers brighten up shady areas. This plant needs little water or fuss, yet looks lush and healthy anyways ! It is a bonus that the many flowers are almost white, not magenta or pink like most hardy geraniums. It is actually tasteful!! You can see in these pictures how I have used both of these plants in one large area in my new garden. They have  eliminated the need to weed !  Now if only the other 20 acres would follow suit !