Beaux Arbres will be a vendor at the Westboro Farmers’ Market in Ottawa on Saturday, September 17th. This will be our last venture in to Ottawa for the season. We will have a selection of wildflowers at the table — bottle gentians (featured photo), perennial sunflowers, asters, and goldenrods, plus some early spring bloomers such as Early Saxifrage, to plant now for spring bloom. You can also pre-order from the Availability List for pick-up at the market. Please email your orders by Thursday, September 15, 6 pm to email@example.com
The Milkweeds are all rapidly going into dormancy, so they are now off the list, plus I have none left of Blue Lobelia and Cardinal Flower. However, most of the species on the August 31st Availability list are still available. (I have reloaded the list, because there was some technical glitch with it last week.)
The nursery will be open until the end of September and you are welcome to come out to select your plants. There are often oddities and one-offs at the farm that do not make it onto the list.
Farm Sale of Shrubby Cinquefoil
I am going to drop Shrubby Cinquefoil from my stock. I am clearing them out at the low, low price of 6 for $100, farm sale only. These are local genotype wild-type plants, several years old, not as floriferous as the nursery varieties but tough and hardy as granite rocks. I have totally neglected them for at least 2 years and haven’t been able to kill them. So I gave them a bit of fertilizer this summer and actually watered them from time to time and they perked up nicely. I honestly think the fancy-coloured nursery varieties are a more colourful choice for most urban gardens but if you have a cottage or country property which has a spot for some smallish tough summer-flowering native shrubs, these are a good deal.
Beaux Arbres will again be bringing prepaid orders to Ottawa for pick-up at our Britannia area condo on the evening of Tuesday, September 6th, from 5 pm to 7 pm. (Note slightly earlier time slot.) Please order from the most recent Availability List, below.
There are some new species on the list. Because so many asked for it, i am now carrying Meadow Blazing Star, Liatris ligulistylis. I have a lovely little aster for the edge of a pond, Bog Aster (Oclemena nemoralis). When I have had Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris) before, they were from road grader rescues. I now have Marsh Marigolds from seed and a few have reached salable size for this fall. I should have a good supply of seed-grown Marsh Marigolds for next spring. Almost everybody loves this bright and very early flower and its adaptable nature makes it a good species for the edge of a pond or a rain garden. Small Wild Columbines (Aquilegia canadensis) are back in stock. The Mix-and-Match flat special for $160 is still in effect, with a few changes in species available, notably the addition of Carolina Lupin.
For the Britannia pick-up on Tuesday, September 6th, please have your selection to me by Sunday, September 4th. For pick-up at Westboro Market on Saturday, September 17th, please email your selections by Thursday, September 15. I will email you with details about payment, etc.
Beaux Arbres will be bringing pre-paid plant orders to Ottawa (Britannia area) on the evening of Tuesday, July 26th. I have a new Plant Availability List to download. It is very much like the last list with a few species, such as Boreal Jacob’s Ladder, no longer available. The special offer of Mix-and-Match flats is still very much in effect and all the species on its list are still available, although I am getting low in a few off them. Please do continue to order from the list posted on July 15th for the special offer – I will get in touch with you about substitutions only if I have to.
I have decided to include some Rock Garden species in the Mix-and-Match special. Not that I think you should put tiny rock garden flowers in with the Ironweed and Panic Grass, nor do I think that rock gardens are generally planted up in mass — a showcase for tiny gems is more the rule for rock gardens — but in case you are having difficulty reaching the 32 plants for the special, you can include plants from the list below:
I have just received in the mail some channel lock for fastening greenhouse coverings, from a supplier, Northern Greenhouse, in Manitoba. The package included a little personal note from the proprietor, saying he is experiencing some serious health issues.
Northern Greenhouse was our source for the woven polyfilm currently on our hoop house. We put up the hoop house October, 2017. We put on the covering very badly, in a hurry, and it has still lasted 5 years. The better one puts up a greenhouse film, tightly and with even tension, the less wear and tear on it in the wind. Eventually, sunlight makes any plastic brittle, even UV resistant plastic. Our plastic is still sound except where it has worn out due to flapping and abrasion from the wind.
We are due to replace the film this summer and I will be ordering from Northern Greenhouse again. They are a small business and very pleasant to deal with. I have never made a product endorsement before and I may never do so again, but this woven poly is an excellent Canadian developed product that, given the proprietor’s health issues, may not always be available in the future. If you are looking for a strong covering for a green house or hoop house or even an outdoor dining area or hot tub, do check out:
Beaux Arbres has a special summer price on mixed flats of 32 2 1/2″ pots — your choice (from the list below) of flowers and grasses — at $160 per flat. That’s $5 per pot. (Regular price: $6 or more.) If you are looking for native plants for a meadow, community pollinator garden, or other largish project, this is a chance to save.
There are 32 pots per flat so you must order in multiples of 32. For each flat, no more than 10 of any one species – we want you to mix and match. And no more than 6 pots of Butterfly Milkweed per flat. (You won’t see Eastern Ontario genotype Butterfly Milkweed offered at this price again!). Except where indicated, these are perennial plants for mostly sunny locations.
While I was potting up other species, my seedling Tall Sunflowers grew too big to keep in 2 1/2″ pots. I had to move them into larger pots but If you are buying one or more mix-and-match flats you can add Tall Sunflowers to your order for $10 each*. (Regular price: $12 each.)
We will be bringing plant orders into Ottawa again – another evening distribution from our Britannia area condo. (Date yet to be determined – possibly July 26th). Even better, plan a visit to the nursery.
To pre-order for pick-up at the Saturday, June 18th Westboro Farmers’ Market, please download and make your selection from the latest Plant Availability List. We will be coming into Ottawa Friday late afternoon. If you cannot make the Saturday market, perhaps picking up your order Friday evening from our Britannia area parking lot is possible. Please let us know if you would like to meet us in the Visitor Parking lot of our Britannia condo on Friday evening instead of at the Westboro market.
I am very low on plants for shady areas. It is always difficult to keep up with demand for native plants for shade. White Snakeroot seedlings are now available. I will have gallon pots of American Spikenard again this summer, but I am completely out of things like Wild Ginger and Bunchberry until next year.
I have a new Plant Availability List for pre-ordering for pick-up at the June 4th Westboro Farmers’ Market. Many of the summer-flowering sunny meadow are now available, some in very limited quantities. I have been potting up seedlings like crazy all week – this year’s seedlings of things like Anise-hyssop, Swamp Milkweed, and White Snakeroot, will be available very soon, with many others to follow. The rapidly growing biennial Field Thistle is now available.
I just sold the last of my American Spikenards. Not to worry, I have little ones of this splendid woodland species coming along which will be available by mid-summer.
The last herbaceous plant to emerge in the spring is usually Swamp Rose Mallow. They have just started into growth but the warm weather predicted for this week will really get them going, so I have included them on the list. My plants are Ontario genotype, wild-form of this large and impressive flower.
Although our thoughts are moving on to summer flowers, one gorgeous little spring flower, Dwarf Arctic Iris (pictured above), a miniature version of the Blue flag, should be in full flower for Saturday. These are fine multi-year clumps, with lots of buds – a bargain at $15 a pot.
Instructions for pre-ordering are at the bottom of the list. Essentially, email me, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your choices and I will reply with payment details. To keep up-to-date on Plant Availability, follow the blog using the white Follow rectangle in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. And remember, we re-use nursery pots.
I have added a few species and a few others are now out of stock. I wanted to make sure I had reserved enough seeds for my own use before I added Ozark Sundrops (pictured above), Obedient Plant, and Giant Coneflower, and a couple more, to the Available Seeds lists. They are now on the new February list, highlighted in red.
I have kept the prices of most species constant for the past few years and I intend to keep those prices — mostly $6 for small pots and $12 for 4 1/2″ tall pots — for any of the species I can get up to salable size in one season.
However, some species require more effort or time to get up to salable size and their prices have to reflect this. For example, Nodding Prairie Onion (Allium cernuum) germinates without much fuss, but it spends its first summer with one or two skinny little leaves, wispier than a sprig of newly sprouted lawn grass. It doesn’t fill out a pot for three, or even four, years. A nice, plantable specimen of Nodding Prairie Onion, which I have been looking after for three or more years, needs to be more expensive than a similarly sized pot of, for example, Ironweed, which I have been looking after for 3 or 4 months.
It is just an unavoidable aspect of native plant gardening that many of the plants for shade are going to be in the costlier categories. They may have fussy germination protocols, sometimes requiring two or more winters before they germinate, or they produce few seeds, or the seed pods need to be individually bagged to prevent ants from carrying the seeds off. The seeds cannot be stored dry, or, sometimes, stored at all. And, because they are growing in shade, they have a smaller energy budget, and therefore slower growth, than plants for sunny places.
Although I try to grow from seeds (for genetic diversity) there are some woodland creepers that are so slow or difficult from seed that it is impractical. The lovely Twinflower is one that I grow from cuttings. Taking cuttings — in the case of Twinflower, with permission from a friend’s several extensive wild patches — requires more time, and time in the middle of the spring growing season, than sowing seed in winter, and it results in many fewer little plants. Pots of Twinflower have to be more expensive than pots of things which come easily from seed. However Twinflower, cuttings of which root readily and start to form new growth in a couple of months, is far faster than the rather similar looking Partridgeberry. Partridgeberry cuttings take a year to decide whether they will root at all, even with level 3 rooting hormone, and I lose about half of them. The price of a pot of Partridgeberry has to reflect the time and effort that has gone into it.
All this is to let you know that the prices for some (but certainly not all*) woodland and other slow-growing plants are going to be going up and when some interesting new species become available, they may be more pricey than the easy species.
Anyone who has visited the nursery knows how little bench space I have. To make room for the new species, some less popular species are going to be dropped from the nursery.
Thimbleweed is certainly locally native but it is not that showy. I tried to keep two very similar species going, Thimbleweed and Long-headed Thimbleweed, but neither was very popular. I will still have Thimbleweed available in seed as it is a good choice for naturalizing.
I am dropping both Bluestars (Amsonia spp.), Common and Hubricht’s. Neither is locally native and they are often available in garden centres. I have cooled on Hubricht’s Bluestar – it was trendy for a bit – although I still like Common Bluestar as a garden plant and will keep a couple of plants of it in the garden.
Wild Blue Indigo is also not locally native and usually available in garden centres. It is a BIG perennial and very slow to mature and I just don’t have the patience for it. I am going to continue to stock Lesser Wild Blue Indigo. The original seed for this plant came to me from Gardens North; it is seldom available commercially. About half the size of its larger cousin, it is also quicker to mature – just a nice blue for the flower border with interesting black seed pods.
I am also dropping Prairie Cinquefoil – almost the only ones I have sold in two years were ones I put into garden designs. I am not sure why this plant doesn’t sell. I like it, but it is not very emphatic. It is very easy from seed and I will continue to grow it in my garden and offer it in seed form.
American Ipecac (Gillenia stipulata) is also going to go. I was happy to be able to try it out and see how it differed from Bowman’s Root (G. trifoliata). Bowman’s Root is clearly the prettier plant. If you happen to specifically want some American Ipecac, say for herbal purposes, I still have some plants in the garden I could collect seeds from.
I am giving up on Prairie Cord Grass (Spartina pectinata). I never did figure out a good way to offer this big, coarse grass with amazingly tough spreading roots. It has a certain usefulness in the landscape for erosion control and because it is salt-tolerant, but…
I am also dropping Riverbank Wild Rye (Elymus riparius). It just cannot compete with its much showier relative, Bottlebrush Grass (E. hystrix).
The larger shrubs I have sometimes had available in small quantities were surplus from some I had grown for our own landscaping. I sold most of the surplus this past summer. Beaux Arbres will concentrate on smaller decorative shrubs, such as Kalm’s St. John’s Wort, and a few very special shrubs that are hard to source. I will leave it to other nurseries to carry the more tree-like shrubs.
I have been telling folks that I was not going to continue with Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa). However, my stand of Gray Dogwoods has started to produce volunteers among the adjacent prairie grasses. Not too surprising, since Gray Dogwood is one of the woody species whose spread in prairies may need to be controlled by managed burns. It is also the most drought tolerant of our native dogwoods. All dogwood fruit (pictured above, with Brown-eyed Susans) is very nutritious for birds so I feel Gray Dogwood is useful in our gardens and it is not that available. I may pot up a few of the volunteers.
One plant that will be back in stock next year is Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). I had thought that I needn’t carry this species as I believed it to be readily available in garden centres. However, quite a number of customers asked about my Purple Coneflower clump, saying that all they could find in the garden centres were highly modified oddities, that the straight species was hard to come by. Purple Coneflower is NOT native to Canada — the only Echinacea that has any claim to be native to Ontario is Pale Purple Coneflower, based on two tiny populations southwest of London. However, this past summer I watched the Great Spangled Fritillaries fly past the Pale Purple Coneflower to zoom in on the Purple Coneflower. Obviously, Purple Coneflower earns its place in Butterfly Gardens. It is also much more tolerant of partial shade than Pale Purple Coneflower, a plant of open prairies that flops sideways and flowers sparingly in even a little shade.