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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!

June 23, 2014

Stairway to Heaven

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 6:23 am

A steep slope of weeds and blackberries at my new garden has become a stone stairway of beauty ! It leads up to a revamped swimming pool. I chose to limit the colours to shades of blue and chartreuse green. The stones used for each step are rough and flat, but very thick . This looks (to me, anyway), very ‘English’, as seen in the Cotswolds.I liked these stones because of their whitish colour. So many of our local stones are black. I found them at our local stone yard, Adera Stone. It was quite funny, as it appeared they were priced at .99 cents per ton !  I said I would take them all (5 pallets). The salesperson agreed that was a great bargain….. then he  flicked a perfectly fallen (and perfectly circular) Katsura leaf off of the sign. They were $99.00 a ton. I still bought them. The stone staircase twists and turns a bit, to make the journey more interesting. One rough stone  = one step.
DSCN0238A  spectacular show being put on by Campanula ‘Waterfall’ contrasts with lime green dabs of Sedum ‘Angelina’. The David Austin rose ‘Tea Clipper’ is on the left. It has large ‘antique-looking’ double flowers in a gorgeous soft peach colour. It smells like tea!DSCN0225

This is a fantastic shrub rose, with a great perfume – nice on the way up to the revamped swimming pool at the top of the stairs! Just barely visible at the top is one of a pair of large wooden planters (from Restoration Hardware) containing a small Weeping Silver-Leaf Pear (Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’). I cut about 6′ off the tops off of them when I bought them, and planted basically two foot stumps with roots ! These branched out immediately, and I created short little trees this way. These are hardy substitutes for Olive trees, which don’t make it through our winters. They add a Mediterranean touch to the large pool terrace and require very little care. I underplant them with the fabulous annual Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’. This forms a solid carpet of pure silver foliage that spills over and down the sides of my lovely planters.

DSCN0231Many of the plants I used were nursery rejects/orphans/leftovers. I never thought Delphiniums would work in my mostly flat plant scheme, but I now enjoy the vertical scrim effect they create.

DSCN0216The yellow daisy is a bit too yellow for my taste, but I originally planted it for its grey foliage. It is an Oregon native called Eriophyllum lanatum, and was a gift from Sean Hogan, Portland’s great nurseryman and owner of that city’s Cistus Nursery. I shave it of flowers as soon as it is finished blooming. Just above it in this photo are some stems of Romneya coulteri , the California Tree Poppy. This will become enormous and can ‘have’ this area, I hope. It produces great big white ‘poppies’ with showy yellow centres. The flowers are very fragrant and bloom on 6′ stalks in a big thicket when happy. Happiness for this plant means a HOT sunny slope. PERFECT ! Many people lose this plant and waste lots of money by not giving it what it evolved in…. a bit of California !


Dianthus ‘Coconut Surprise’ is widely available and utterly charming. Not straggly at all, this perennial cutie is growing in almost pure gravel. I have given it a dose of liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer and voila ! It has also sprouted a few seedlings in the gravel path and they are almost the same, but charmingly single-flowered !

DSCN0226A Dianthus seedling is happy where nature put it- in the middle of the pathway. I will leave it here and tread around it, as I hope visitors will do….

Once up the stairs, there is a large stone patio area inside a pre-existing cedar hedge.  Sixty-five white hydrangeas form a simple border and soften the transition from the vertical to the horizontal. Six-foot wicker benches provide extra seating, and keep this area simple and ‘modern’.P1020355The pool was my dream of what a pool could be. All that was used from the previous, hideous pool that was there before is the 20′ x 40′ hole in the ground ! Now I just have to learn how to swim.


June 17, 2014

Some enchanted evening……

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 6:26 am

Just the other day (mid-June), I arrived at our Langley farm after the 45 minute drive from the nursery in Vancouver. It was about 7:30 PM, and the light was softening as the sun was getting lower in the western sky. WOW ! The garden outside our fence looked fantastic. In only six years, it has knit together and offers lots of inspiration for foliage-driven planting. I never dreamt it would look so good.

DSCN1257  I rushed into the house, grabbed a camera and started clicking away. The magic moments of special light are fleeting, and you have to act fast. The star of this photo is Stipa gigantea, the amazing grass on the left. This scene stealer is about 10′ across, 6′ tall and thrives on neglect. It sits on a carpet of  ’lamb’s ear’, Stachys byzantina. This old-fashioned perennial is one of my most-used and favourite  ’garden tricks’ plants. It  looks great as a foil to something above or nearby. Berberis ‘Rose Glow’ is the purple shrub that I only recently started to appreciate. Very hardy and disease-free, this thorny beauty adds punch to the scene.


I used the wonderful ‘Sally Holmes’ shrub rose repeatedly in this garden. I love its ‘country look’ , with single white flowers that have a mother-of-pearl finish on their petals. No fuss, just beauty. And wouldn’t you know it? This was the least popular rose we sold this year. Every other rose sold….and Sally sits there, in perfect bloom . Go figure.

Below is a photo of the entry garden in 2008. I was just starting to plant it, with Corona our wonderful dog supervising.

Farm April 08 and moving plants !! 006

June 10, 2014

Beauty Beauty Beauty, the IRIS are blooming !

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 6:08 am


WOW –  Here are some of my Iris in bloom out at our farm in Langley, B.C.  I am completely besotted with them. As a lifelong lover of flowers, I think I have found my beauty overdose. The colours and shapes, the fragrance….. they are breathtaking!  In the background at the top left of this photo, you can see rows of seedlings from my own hybridizing last year. I cannot imagine how beautiful these babies will be.DSCN1221This is my favourite of them all. It is called ‘Just Crazy’, and it is incredible ! The colour is a ‘latte brown’, with 6″ flowers that are unlike any other. I got it, and most of my iris, from Mid-America Garden in Oregon. They ship to Canada. Look at  their website and you will collapse ! .

DSCN1208DSCN1244DSCN1216The mysterious beauty below is called ‘Paris Fashion’ . It is a smoky grey with lavender blotched ‘falls’.  I can’t think of any other flower that comes in colours like this !DSCN1242