You’ll delight in the colour and scents—it’s the season for revival and new life.
Springtime means a ramping up of our gardening activities. Each day perennials push forth from the cool darkness into the warmth of spring sunshine. Close to 300,000 bulbs emerge and bloom in a carefully orchestrated symphony of colour (mid-March to May). Typically the peak of our bulb display is in mid-April through the first week of May, but Mother Nature can fool us.
As bulbs emerge we begin “scratching” or “tickling” the soil in our flower borders. Breaking up the hard, compact soil allows air, water and nutrients to penetrate. It’s also a time for us to prune the roses and hydrangeas, and perform routine lawn maintenance. Meanwhile, our greenhouse production facilities are a beehive of activity. More than 16 staff work tirelessly to produce the thousands of plants required for our spectacular summer garden display. We’ve listed some our most popular plants of the season to give you an idea of what you may see.
Long lived broadleaf evergreen shrubs. Flowers, from bright white to deep red, come in 6 forms: single, semi-double, double rose, anemone, peony and formal double. Here they do best with some protection from cold winds and partial or light shade.
Extremely showy trees typically bloom at the same time as our ornamental cherries. The spectacular Japanese Flowering Crabapple is blanketed with clusters of fragrant pink flowers. Choose disease resistant varieties.
Magnolias, whether evergreen or deciduous forms, are considered to be ancient plants. Some exquisite flowers are fragrant. The earliest blooming variety here is the Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) which blooms in March with many starry white flowers.
An indispensable spring flowering bulb for formal bedding displays to naturalized woodlands and meadows. The range of colours and flower forms is very broad. In our garden we plant close to 90 unique varieties with many being fragrant.
Ornamental Cherries are spectacular spring flowering trees providing brilliant canopies of colour ranging from yellowish-green to white and various shades of pink. Our diverse collection of cherry trees bloom throughout the gardens during April and May.
Rhododendrons make up the backbone of many plantings in our garden. These broadleaf evergreens bloom from late winter to early summer, helping to bridge the colour gap between these seasons.
Tulips are a classic spring flower and we grow over 160 varieties ranging from single flowered, lily, fringed and even to double-fringed flowering types. We use tulips in mass plantings, small groupings in perennial borders and in containers.
Roses bloom. Plants climb towards the sun. Annuals produce their colourful show. Butterflies dance. Swallows swoop. Cameras click.
In early summer magnificent Delphiniums create a colourful backdrop to our Rose Garden. Our roses come out in full force by the end of June and carry on through September. You'll find the combination of roses and Delphiniums early in the summer is simply incredible. Once the Delphiniums finish blooming we get into the rhythm of the season. This involves, among many other tasks, the continuous deadheading of the roses to maximize flower production. On your visit you may also see our gardeners dispersing beneficial insects which play an integral role in controlling pests as part of our Integrated Pest Management program.
Our greenhouses operate year round to produce a seemingly unending supply of colourful plants. Each flower bed in the gardens is replanted at least once each year with some of the plantings changed up to five times. Over 900 varieties of plants are used in our summer displays alone, with our focus always being on maximizing floral beauty and most importantly, colour. Below, we’ve listed some our most popular plants of summer.
Tuberous begonias are absolutely stunning, with large flowers coming in a wide range of brilliant colours. We display these spectacular plants in baskets in our famous begonia bower, as well as in containers and in mass border plantings.
Our most dramatic planting is in the background of our Rose Garden where hundreds come into bloom (predominantly blue) in June, preceding the arrival of the roses.
We grow fuchsias in hanging baskets and containers, as well as annual bedding and perennial varieties too. Typically fuchsias should be grown in shady or partly shaded locations, but some perennial varieties do well in full sun.
Hydrangeas are well loved shrubs best known for their unique flowers. The most commonly grown varieties are the delicate lacecap and aptly named 'mopheads' which come in a range of colours including different shades of blue, pink, red and white.
Sensational sky blue flowers happen in late May and well into June. The short lived perennials are best grown in filtered shade in well drained humus-rich soil where they can remain moist, but not overly wet as they may rot.
We grow herbaceous perennials and shrub-like tree peonies in sunny locations with rich, well drained soil. They can survive for years in the same location with very little care. Some varieties have attractive fall foliage which helps to enhance our perennial borders.
Roses are not only known for the beauty of their flowers, but almost equally for their alluring fragrance. We have an excellent collection of roses growing over archways and trained along fences. Peak bloom time is July through mid-September.
Warm days. Crisp nights. The Japanese Garden glows with stunning reds, russets and golds. Leaves fall.
While many people may not think of the Canadian West Coast as a place for rich and vibrant fall foliage colour, our outstanding collection of Japanese maples supplemented by numerous colourful trees and shrubs, may cause them to think again. Other colourful highlights include our diverse collection of Dahlias, likely the most colourful flowering plants in the garden at this time of the year.
Plan to visit at this time and you’ll see our primary focus shifts from the maintenance of summer floral displays to the planting of bulbs for our spring display. It might surprise you to know each fall we plant close to 300,000 flowering spring bulbs. These bulbs are planted among tens of thousands of colourful biennials such as English daisy (Bellis), Forget-me-Not (Myosotis), Wallflower (Cheiranthus) and Pansy (Viola). Below, we’ve listed some our most popular plants of the season.
Apart from many colourful maples we have an impressive collection of Japanese maples with most having attractive form and structure. Most typically grown for their dramatic and changing foliage ending in an extraordinary range of brilliant gold, yellow and scarlet.
Beautyberry is a small deciduous shrub used primarily for its showy fall display of lilac-violet berries. Small lavender to pink flowers bloom in summer and are followed by fruit which ripens in the early autumn and adds beauty through much of the winter.
Chrysanthemums (mums) are a colourful highlight after our summer bedding plants have passed their prime. We grow thousands of colourful garden varieties with flowering types such as decorative, spider, pompom and anemone. We also grow decorative exhibition or disbudded cultivars.
Plants bloom freely and thrive when planted under trees or shrubs and brighten shadowy corners. Primary flower colours are white and shades of pink, but they also have decorative foliage. We grow fall flowering C. hederifolium and winter blooming C. coum.
Popular dahlias come in an incredible variety of colours, forms, and sizes from miniatures to dinner plates. Flower types are both enticing and exotic and include: cactus, semi-cactus, orchid, water lily, formal decorative, collarette, anemone, daisy and peony types.
Euonymus are typically seen as shrubs or small trees and are grown for their foliage. Deciduous species exhibit outstanding fall colour and brilliant displays of pendulous fruit. Euonymus can be used in mass plantings, as hedging or as individual feature plants.
Sometimes referred to as living fossils as their ancestors were known to exist millions of years ago. Their unique fan shaped foliage turns a brilliant yellow in the fall although display may be brief due to weather conditions.
Large deciduous shrubs burst into bloom with masses of small fragrant white flowers early in the fall. The flowers appear in clusters of seven, followed by showy purplish-red fruit. This plant also has attractive pale, peeling bark.
A late spring foliage tree, it is one of the finest trees for long lasting and consistently brilliant fall colour. Liquidambar is an attractive, versatile tree with maple-like foliage. Liquidambar do require additional moisture during prolonged summer dry spells.
Explore the gardens at rest and see how the trees and shrubs form “the bones of the garden.”
There are two parts to winter from a gardening perspective: late October through November, and late January through mid-March.
In late fall, cleaning up the garden takes up the lion’s share of our time as we diligently work to prepare the garden ahead of the crews responsible for the installation of our Christmas display. As we have just completed the planting of our bulb display, our focus shifts back to putting the garden to bed for the winter—something that tends to be overlooked during the planting frenzy that occurs over the period of 4 to 5 weeks from early October right into early November.
The Rose Garden receives a lot of attention as we spend time cleaning, pruning and mulching to try to provide as healthy a growing environment as possible. Professional arborists also maintain our trees to the highest standards. The special care given to our trees helps to alleviate potential damage caused by winter storms and the effects of prolonged summer drought.
As always, greenhouse activity never seems to slow down as we move out thousands of Poinsettias to enhance the Christmas décor throughout all our indoor facilities. Below, we’ve listed some of our most popular plants of the season.
After Christmas we have two months, when the garden is at rest, to make any landscape alterations and upgrades.
Crocus are early flowers and they show up in a range of deep, intense and sometimes glossy colours. You will be dazzled by our Rose Garden as it is painted with a spectacular carpet of these cheerful and colourful flowers.
Daphne have an intoxicating fragrance and flower as early as February and March. Some varieties have attractive foliage and showy fruit, but some produce poisonous fruit. Daphne require well drained loamy soil and a sunny or lightly shaded location.
Heathers are tough, reliable winter blooming low growing evergreen shrubs that flower freely on new growth produced from the previous growing season. To encourage new growth and more flowers, shear the plants lightly each year after the blooms fade.
Early and brave flowers emerge in pure white with six segments: three longer (outer) and three shorter (inner) tepals. Galanthus, originating from bulbs, naturalize well and prefer to be grown in partly shaded protected areas.
Attractive shrubs display fine fall foliar colour which is shed to reveal an elegant spreading branch structure. They are prized for their winter soft pale yellow to rich coppery red blossoms which can also be fragrant.
Named because of the time when the first flowers appear. There are myriad unique varieties providing long lasting flowers in an incredible range of whites, greens, yellows and purples, often with contrasting shading and speckling.
Certain of the hundreds of varieties of Primrose may bloom in late winter while the candelabra types provide colour until late June. There’s an incredible range of bright colours and we prefer planting them in large groupings.
Evergreen plants with ground cover and shrub varieties. Sarcococca are grown for their attractive foliage, but the fragrance of the small white flowers is the real highlight of this plant. The beautiful fragrance lasts through the winter.
A diverse group of annuals, biennials and perennials with distinctive cheerful flowers. The range of colours is broad and in protected locations we can have garden pansies providing us with flashes of colour even during the shorter days of winter.