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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!

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....

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!

July 26, 2014

Who’s your Daddy?

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 6:34 pm

cafe au laitDahlia ‘Cafe au Lait’ is finally getting the spotlight it deserves !

     When I noticed my friend/soul-mate /separated-at-birth fellow garden entrepreneur Deborah Silver of Detroit Garden Works blogged about this amazing dahlia on her amazing blog ‘Dirt Simple’  (check it out !!!),I felt I had been scooped !!  I’ve grown it for a few years, and now grow it as a cut flower for one chic florist shop (not my own ex-shop…) in Vancouver.  Last fall I saved ONE seed head (dead flower, really)  and scrounged  34 seeds from it. The seeds are dried skinny little husks that look impossibly dead. They are darker than the ‘chaff’ , which is pale tan colour and fairly easy to distinguish.  I planted the seeds in March in my heated greenhouse, and planted the individual seedlings into 4″ pots. In  May I planted them out at our farm in my dahlia patch……very excited to see what children of such a gorgeous and unique  Mommy would look like. Now it is July and they are all blooming. CRAZY !!!!  Not one looks anything like Mommy ! None are cream or white .  They are mostly orange or red. Some are Cactus-types ! A couple are fantastic and I will hang onto them. One is a twisted bronze-purple with orange reverse, one is very dark red mini-cactus on a 6′ plant.  Who was Daddy??? I guess this shows that bees are  little tramps who visit the neighbour’s dahlias, too.  One seedling is a 12″ bush of soft orange and yellow flowers – nothing close to anything in my collection.  What this has shown me is how special Cafe au Lait really is.  There isn’t another dahlia in this colour range, period.  At some point in the past, it, too, was a first-bloom seedling, somewhere.  The  gardener or hybridiser must have been spellbound by its beauty, and wisely introduced it to the world.  We will have the tubers again, next spring  - the best  $4.00 you will ever spend !

Here are some pictures of the children of Cafe au Lait ! It is hard to believe….but true! It kind of reminds me of my own family!


July 7, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 4:45 am

DSCN1311‘Faux Bois’ is a French term meaning ‘False Wood’ , and is a bit of a lost art . I bought this pair of wonderful antique planters at an auction in Philadelphia, and had them shipped to me in Vancouver. The shipping cost as much as I paid for planters (!!!) , but they are very unique and worth it! They are very heavy, being made of concrete. I have long admired the wonderful, handmade faux bois railings used everywhere in Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. There are garden benches, birdbaths, seats, bird cages and garden bridges made in this charming style. Look online at auctions to find ‘faux bois’ pieces. Don’t let Martha Stewart get them all !

DSCN1326I put an upside-down 5 gallon nursery pot inside my stump to occupy space and replace soil – which should prevent the pots from freezing and cracking.


The ‘arms’ of my stumps each were deliberately partially blocked with styrofoam chunks to prevent soil from washing down the middle.

DSCN1329These large pots (1 gallon size) of the very hardy ‘Hen and Chicks’ (Sempervivums) would be perfect for my project. I envisioned each pot filling each arm of my stumps.

DSCN1327The root mass of each Sempervivum was a bit too large for the openings, so I  removed about 1/3rd of it and pushed and twisted each clump into position.

DSCN1336The colours and forms of the Sempervivums really look great when displayed this dramatically. They need virtually no care, live through the coldest winters and have replaced tender succulents like Echeverias in my garden creations. I added a couple ‘Woolly Thyme’  (Thymus pseudolanguinosis) to the top openings in each stump. I like the shaggy tumble of grey foliage this plant makes when grown in pots.





July 5, 2014

Bloedel Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 8:18 pm

The roof replacement  at  the Bloedel Conservatory atop Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver is almost completed. It is two months ahead of schedule, and there was a party there the other night to celebrate! What an incredible job they have done.  Invited guests were alowed to climb up on the scaffolding (with help) and see upclose just what is being done.  The acrylic ‘bubbles’ are each being replaced . The new bubbles are so clear that I worry about foliage burning inside the dome. The cloudy haze of the old bubbles did filter out a lot of sun…., which tropical plants prefer.046




I don’t like  heights, and only made it up half way. The entire job cost 2.4 million dollars. In Vancouver – speak, that is only 1/10th of a bike lane.



You can see just how clear the bubbles are once their protective plastic coating is peeled off . The same local company that made the originals also made the new ones.



Entertainment was provided by the ‘rope guys’ who were amazing.  They came down dripping in sweat, as it is very hot up there.



Although very tempted…..  I decided not to go up on the rope harness. I need to stick around for our big bash in September,where we will be having a big public celebration of the saving of the conservatory . This is going to be called ‘WE DID IT!’ – A Bubble Bash !  A celebration of the successful campaign of the people of Vancouver to save this special place from closure. If YOU live in a city ( like Seattle!!) where  there is a real threat to close your greenhouse/conservatory , DON’T just sit there. Raise Hell !- it works!

July 2, 2014

Canada Day at the farm

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 6:19 am

A statutory holiday like Canada Day (July 1st) means an extra day off to millions of Canadians, including me. I did lots of hand watering out at our farm, and remembered to have my camera nearby.  This clump of Japanese Iris , Iris ensata, was planted about four years ago as a bare root single division. I am going to find out the name of this cultivar and add it to this posting , I promise. Our second family of baby ducks has arrived. There are about twelve adorable ducklings hovering around their mother, but I missed them today.Stay tuned !

DSCN0260Hydrangea aspera ‘Plum Passion’ is a recent introduction from Dan Hinkley/Monrovia Nursery. I was very very very excited when Dan emailed me a photo of the original cuttings he took of this selection. Now it thrives in my woodland garden in Langley.Nobody thought it would be hardy, but it sure is. The purple-tinged new foliage is a knockout ! In only two years it has reached 6′ x 6′ . It seems very happy in semi-shade and moist soil.



Our man-made lake drains into this little creek, which was already there. I started planting it, including all the Skunk Cabbages (Lysichiton americanum) only one year ago. I finally acquired a few plants of the much rarer white- flowered Skunk Cabbage, (Lysichiton camschatensis) by grovelling, begging, extorting from the few people I knew who had some.This was my # 1 most wanted plant.  I hope the yellows and the whites will hybridize and create some dreamy, creamy children. I saw these at Beth Chatto’s influential and humbling  garden in England years ago, and my brain never got over them! Other moisture-loving perennials planted here include Darmera peltata and different types of Rodgersia, Primula, and a nice dark-leafed Actaea (Cimicifuga) ‘Hillside Black Beauty’.


Seedlings of  ’candlabra-type’ primula are popping up by the thousand ! Mother Nature knows exactly how to do this…. I couldn’t get germination like this if I tried ! I am plucking out little clumps and planting them  in moist shady spots all around our lake.