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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!

January 25, 2017

My Turn

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 12:12 am

TommyI have always been incredibly healthy . Never sick, never in the hospital – ever. I still have my tonsils, and have never even had a sprain, let alone a broken bone. I know I am very lucky.  A couple weeks ago, I got ready to drive in to the nursery from our farm in Langley and suddenly felt unwell. I had pain in both arms, felt out of breath and nauseous. I thought “I’ll just sit in my car for a minute…’, but soon decided  I should lay down in the house. Once I did lay down, I became really sweaty and threw up 5 times.  Brent was home and said we had to go to Langley General Hospital at once. It was 11 A.M. and the emergency waiting room was absolutely packed with people of all ages and descriptions. I still felt nauseous and saw papier mache ‘throw-up bowls on a counter and got one. I used it – poor people around me.  The receptionist asked me a few questions and gave me two aspirin to chew. I think they realized that I was having a heart attack . Quickly, I was taken through the doors into a hallway, put on a stretcher and hooked up to monitors and oxygen.  Blood was taken several times, sticky tabs wired me up and I had an ECG . I was wheeled to be X-Rayed, and brought back to the same hallway, where patients were arranged like piano keys with drapes between us.  Several nurses looked in on me, took more blood, and were all exceptionally nice .  A lady cardiologist came and told me what had happened and what was going to happen to me (hopefully) tomorrow.  It was now ten o’clock at night and I begged her to move me to a semi-private or private room, as my spoiled life couldn’t handle the snoring, crying, brightly lit hall anymore. She went away and much to my surprise came right back and said she had a bed for me in the CCU – hospital speak for Critical Care Unit. Yeah ! Off I went by gurney to a quiet, darkened ward where the nurses were even nicer !  I was hungry, but  ”dinner” was long over. One of them scrounged up some biscuits, a pudding and a juice for me and gave me a sleeping pill (which I asked for) . I will never be able to imitate the   incredibly loud snoring from the elderly lady next to me , but I  did finally fall asleep. At 6 A.M. it was wake-up time. More blood taken , 2 very large bottles full. Breakfast arrived. It was funny - Breakfast

. A bare plate with a shelled hard boiled egg and a tiny blueberry muffin, sliced open and flattened in a grill. A little box of corn flakes, milk, juice and pathetic coffee.  Shortly after, two young lady nurses came and shaved me in the groin area –  I compared it to getting your hair cut at ‘Quick Clips’ – BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ . Done.  Around lunchtime, I was transferred by ambulance to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, BC.  They have a renowned cardiac  department, and my ‘stent’ operation would be done there. They ended up doing it via my arm, not via the groin area.  It was a relief to know what was wrong, and that I would be just fine. One of my main arteries was 70% blocked (I think?) and in 20 minutes it was all done.  I was transferred back by ambulance, with my own nurse, to Langley General. I spent one more night there and got to go home the next day. My new doctor/cardiologist has set up follow-up appointments for me, told me I HAVE TO lose 30 pounds, and take four new prescriptions for the rest of my life.  The reason I am feeling I should write about this is that I now have had a personal experience with our Canadian Medical System and I give it an A+ . This whole incident did not cost one cent. ZERO.  Everyone was patient and kind, The doctors and nurses, the ambulance guys –  I feel I owe them a free plant at the very least. When I occasionally see an American television broadcast dumping on the Canadian socialized medical system, my hackles have always gone up.  The reality is here in my own words. We are so lucky ! Now I know it.

July 17, 2016

It happened !

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 11:42 pm

                         It is nearly a year since I wrote anything here, and only now do I even feel like it . I’ll get right to it – we got another (rescue) dog ! Brent and I knew that ‘Corona’ was irreplaceable, and other dog owners know that feeling. I looked online for months, at breeders and rescue sites…. and noticed a very ‘Corona-looking’ dog at a dog rescue in Merritt, B.C. Hmmmm… sister lives in Merritt…..
A few weeks went by, I killed time at home looking at dogs online, writing to breeders, trying to not think of Corona too much. Out of the blue, my sister phoned me and told me about this lovely dog at Angel’s Animal Rescue in Merritt , B.C. ( she volunteered there.) I said “Do you mean “Cassie” ? And the rest is history. This amazing rescue society is run by one fantastic woman named Judana . She promptly volunteered to drive the dog from Merritt to Langley to meet us, no obligation.
We liked this little girl dog very much, especially after hearing her sad story. They found her wandering on the Coquihala Highway, after getting reports from truckers of an abandoned dog with a litter of puppies. The puppies did not survive. We changed her name to ‘TAFFY’ and have we ever struck gold again ! She thinks we are puppies and licks us no-stop. She is so happy out at our farm it is a joy to come home to! I could go on forever – but won’t.  Let me show you on my phone !!

I do think that anyone who can should realize that KHARMA is a very real and powerful force. By giving a happy life to an animal in need is really, actually, giving one to yourself. I need no more proof.



August 9, 2015

Goodbye, Corona

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 11:33 pm

Corona 2015 Many customers and visitors to the nursery knew Corona. Often people would come to the nursery just to see him –  and I know why. Corona was left at our farm about 6 years ago, and we fell in love with him. I had his DNA done , with a mail order kit that you swab inside the mouth and send the samples to a lab in the U.S. They sent a detailed history of what he was-  a cross between a German Shepherd and a Chinook.  I had never heard of a Chinook. Have you?  It turns out to be a very rare  breed of sled dogs , from New Hampshire. You have to Google Chinook dog and read the amazing story of one Arctic explorer, who kept the ‘recipe’ a secret and how his favourite one was named ‘Chinook’.  The breed was only recognized by the AKC in 2013 , and in 1981 there were only  13 (yes, thirteen) breedable Chinooks in the world.   Anyways, Corona was mostly Chinook – he looks ( I mean , looked) like a purebred. One of the most amazing traits of these dogs is that they love to talk. I suspect there is Husky blood contributing to this. Corona would look right at you and talk in ‘sentences’, matching the length of what you said to him. I am too sad to go on….. but one day in the near futureBrent and I will get another dog, for sure. Hopefully, a Chinook – but Corona will never be replaced, ever.

June 29, 2015

Morgan Mania !

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 1:57 am

I am first and fore-most a plant nut, but I also love Morgan sportscars. I have owned three over the years, and am presently Morganless.  But, today we hosted the BC Morgan Club at our farm for a picnic and mini Field Meet ! What a vision it must have been for everyone on Hwy 99 South as the 23 cars headed to our farm !  Several of the car owners have 2 or 3 each (one has four!) and chose their favourites for this outing.

IMG_2105These cars are still handmade in England, at the family-owned factory where it all began . The frame is made of wood, and , consequently, the cars are very light and very fast.  It was a great day, admiring a different kind of beauty !IMG_2108


May 22, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 4:28 am

I have become an Iris addict . Add that to dahlias, daylilies, orchids, nerines…. but Iris come in the most amazing range of colours and are easy to grow! Here is part of my Iris walk at the farm . The colours  I like most are tan, salmon, orange…. but the entire spectrum is available (for once), including true blue.

DSCN1480II have started hybridizing Iris and am thrilled with my seedlings ! Every morning in late May brings more first-time blooms. It takes two years for them to bloom, sometimes three. Look at the pictures below – each one is a unique creature, brand new and incredible ! This row is of a single cross I made between ‘Reckless In Denim’ and ‘Hysteria’ .

DSCN1514More beauties from seed – I think I have to name them! The best Iris come  from Oregon. Most Iris nurseries will ship to Canada , and are great to deal with. I like Schreiner’s and Mid-America Garden. Look them up online – you’ll collapse !DSCN1504DSCN1493DSCN1515DSCN1501DSCN1489DSCN1492DSCN1464DSCN1500

April 1, 2015

My Spring Jewel Box

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 3:56 am

WOW ! What fabulous things are emerging in my own garden. I forget what I have planted over the years – so many treasures ! I brought some from my old garden, and some are relatively new to me. Spring is the absolute peak of exciting foliage in my woodland beds – here are some end-of-March treats:

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ emerges as early as January ! It must be located where you can offer protection in an emergency….DSCN1205

Below:  This Podophyllum is a hybrid between P. delavayi and P. pleianthum. It is called Podophyllum Red Dragon and is a very large plant !  It is impossible to get hold of…..   sorry !!



Another absolute dream perennial is Podophyllum delavayi itself.  I have a few different plants of this treasure, and each one is different. I have to say it – this is my favourite perennial. Kooky red flowers dangle under the 12” leaves in early summer.

DSCN1327Below :  Cold tolerant and  phenomenal foliage at this time of year is produced by the hardy Arums. Arum italicum and Arum marmorotanum have crossed with  each other and shocking patterns have popped up in the seedlings . Huge clubs of orange berries are produced by summertime, and sprout all over the garden. At the nursery, dozens and  dozens grow all along our fence and front gate area. each seedling is different, and the leaves are 12” long !



I have many forms of Solomon’s Seal , the Polygonatums . They are one of my very favourite family of plants, and Spring is their time. I have one with orange flowers on 6’ stalks, one with brown stripes, an all-purple foliage one, a red-stemmed dwarf clumper, several white variegated forms….. they are addictive ! Rare ones can fetch hundreds of dollars for a small division.DSCN1325

A  spectacular spontaneous mutation  appeared at our nursery of a very tall Solomon’s Seal. The leaves are striped in bright gold ! I transferred  this treasure out to the farm to keep my eye on it. It is a stunner !DSCN1371

Below:  Not-a-plant-snob plant , and I like  it very much ! The lowly Vinca minor in an all-gold form. Wow – what a lightbulb it is in the shade garden  and it grows like a weed – I mean a Vinca. I am using it here and there as a weed-proof groundcover. The bright lemon foliage darkens with age. The cute soft blue flowers are an uncommon Muscari called ‘Valerie Finnis’, a big improvement on the Grape Hyacinth seen everywhere.DSCN1331

Erythroniums are easy to grow but seldom encountered.  They are commonly known as ‘Dog’s Tooth Violets’ , but are in no way violets…. they are bulbs that you can purchase in the fall, if you shop early. Charming and trouble-free rarely go together !

Below: Erythronium ‘White Beauty’


Below: Erythronium ‘Pagoda’

Another charming treasure tribe is the various forms of Anemone nemerosa. DSCN1380

 These little perennials form a mat of rhizomes and bloom, leaf and then disappear by hot summer. Shown is the double white form ‘Vestral’. There are gorgeous pale blue ones such as ‘Allenii’ and ‘Bowle’s Purple’, I can’t get enough of them ! They are less than $5.00 each, and form a lovely colony in only a few years.

DSCN1379Trilliums take a few years to become mature, but when they do, they are carefree and spellbinding. There are North American and Asian species – more proof that our continents were once joined….   I think this is Trillium  sessile.

Better than Christmas !! Look at the baby Podophyllums over to the left !! I think that underground rhizomes are sent out by the original plant and in the wilds (of China) form mind-blowing colonies. Each little plant is worth about $50.00 !DSCN1385

February 1, 2015

Winter ? I’ll take it !

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 6:42 am

Brilliant colours in late January light up an area of our Langley garden. The chartreuse green ‘grass’ is Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ ,a very tough cookie that likes moisture and protection from hot sun. It thrives around our lake, as does this showy, shrubby willow , Salix x ‘Flame’ . No flowers necessary .DSCN1167

Another spectacular winter display comes from the showy , shrubby dogwood Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’. It takes a few years to get going (growing), but there is nothing like it !

Further into the woods, Mother Nature has draped gorgeous moss on almost everything. The Pacific Northwest climate even allows epiphytic ferns to grow on some tree limbs year round. This lovely fern is evergreen and quite common. It is Polypodium glycyrrhiza ,which always positions itself on the North side of anything it sprouts on.



I planted the cute little fern below, Asplenium trichonoides, in a stump.It loves it there, and seems safe from marauding slugs. It is a native to the British Isles. It is a delicate-looking survivor of dry summers.

DSCN1173One of the many huge Western Red Cedars  (Thuja plicata) in our woods. Nobody’s going to make shingles out of our beauties! This tree is 6’ in diameter at ground level.DSCN1179

January 18, 2015

I should rise earlier !

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 10:56 pm

001 Just the other morning, out at the farm , Corona our chatty  Wonder-Dog  announced he wanted to go outside to experience this amazing sunrise ! I was stunned by the non-grey January apparition and ran for my camera! Mount Baker (in Washington state) can be seen on the horizon, and a light frost is on the grass. My art installation of huge metal spheres from Branch Studio in Detroit does just what I envisioned – breaking up the space without competing with the vista. 015

Lots of farms out our way sell eggs. This one has the most charming sign and I have been meaning to snap a picture of it for a few years, but it comes and goes… I guess as do the surplus eggs.

January 2, 2015

My 17th greenhouse !

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 12:00 am

I am calling this one my ‘Dreamhouse’ !  It is taking shape out at the farm. Brent thought of it as my 60th birthday gift supreme , and I , of course, made it a bit more grand….

DSCN1420We had the perfect place to put a greenhouse, facing South, on the end of our workshop/former grow-op building. Our trusty stone-guy, Jimmy Morgan built a perfect foundation wall and B.C. Greenhouse Builders got to work….

DSCN1421I chose a beautiful shade of celadon green for the aluminum frame. They actually build the greenhouse (but don’t glaze it), then take it all down and get a baked on paint job done!  I will update this post once it returns all painted.

This got me thinking of all the greenhouses I have loved and lost over the years…. here are some pictures of ones that got away…..

01-04-2015_4This was in Regina, and I think I was 13. I still remember buying those two Gloxinia tubers  at Simpsons (Sears) for .59 cents each . I am holding my guinea pig Zackery, with my good friend Barry McKnight. Notice behind my knee ? A Saran-wrapped pot of something precious germinating….. I still do it the same way today.

The big move to B.C. in 1968, and my first B.C. Greenhouse Builders greenhouse. We didn’t have any money, but my mom made monthly payments and I started selling plants !
01-04-2015_7I think I see some of my first orchids inside the door of the white-washed greenhouse. These were Cymbidiums, rescued from the garbage pile of Le Nobel Orchids, also located in Richmond at that time.

1972 ! Look – no pot belly ! And the hair…..01-04-2015_5




And here it is in late May, 2015 !  Now I have to (slowly) fill it !  The two roses are  both David Austin’s ‘Carding Mill’, which I took a gamble on. It is fantastic ! Re-blooms on and off all summer…. lightly fragrant ……. growing in shallow, terrible soil…… fabulous !   B.C. Greenhouse Builders did an amazing job, once again, for me !

December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas from the farm

Filed under: Uncategorized — yodiehead @ 4:18 am


It is such a joy to arrive at our little house at the farm in Langley at this time of year ! It is only a 45 minute drive from the nursery to a sanctuary in the trees. Brent has done a festive display, on a small scale, that is pure eye-candy !  Battery-operated lights on the wreaths, cedar garland and pre-LED mini lights around the door cost very little but look fantastic!
DSCN1397II love these ‘Edison Bulb’ lights on our old barn . They came from TARGET (!!!) and are sold out by now, I am sure. The warm orange glow looks great against the old wood. I hope our two huge barn owls don’t mind their new night lights !

DSCN1404 This old florist sign was a gift to me for my 60th birthday ! Here it is standing against our workshop/garages/renovated grow-op building. I see it as the headline of my obituary one day….

DSCN1410I  bought this very heavy cast bronze sign from an  online auction in Chicago.  It was a birthday present for Brent , and he installed it on our stone powerhouse, which gives the small building a very ‘prohibition era’ look….


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