Psst, wanna buy a clematis?

We could meet in a parking lot, wearing masks. Not necessarily at dusk, and I don’t know if I could hide the clematis under my overcoat, but the new retail normal is … odd.

I have one pot of the native Purple Clematis (Clematis occidentalis) still available of the plants from my original seed collecting. I now have this species established in my garden, but it will be a few years till I have mature plants available for sale again. This is a woodland clematis with large (for a wild clematis) purple flowers in the spring. Native to the Ottawa Valley but not at all common. It is much more restrained in growth than the abundant white-flowered Virgin’s Bower (C. virginiana). The individual plant I have for sale is 4 years old and has abundant flower buds.

I also have two pots of Fremont’s Leather Flower I am willing to sell. I raised 5 plants from seed from the Ontario Rock Garden Society seed exchange. Now, I do like to keep at least 5 plants of unusual species that I hope to collect seed from, but Fremont’s Leather Flower is one of the limestone-loving Clematis. A realistic assessment of the space I might someday have in my yet-to-be-built limestone garden (realistic assessment is a hard task for plant lovers) suggests I am never going to have the space for 5 Fremont’s Leather Flowers. So I am keeping only three.

Fremont’s Leather Flower is a non-vining Clematis from the south-eastern US. it has dangling white or lavender urn-shaped flowers in June on a clumping herbaceous plant about a foot and a half high. In the wild it is found on dolomitic glades and limestone prairies

I Purple Clematis and 2 Fremont’s Leather Flower

Rescued Marsh Marigolds

I noticed some Marsh Marigolds growing in the ditch of the dirt road that runs down the side of the farm. I also knew that the road, which was in rough shape where it slopes down to the creek, was due for some grading from the municipality. So I dug up the clump that was furthest into the road, divided it into four, and potted it up. I should have taken more. Re-visiting after the road work, I notice some of the clumps in the ditch had been uprooted, dragged, and partially covered with gravel. I rescued the roots and potted them.

In the feature photo you can see the original four, in large pots at the back, blooming beautifully. I plan to keep these to collect seeds. The plants in front are in rough shape. A few may recover in time for this year’s sales. Most won’t be salable till next year, if they recover at all.

Not the FoF Mothers’ Day Sale

These are some of the plant I would have been bringing to the Friends of the Farm Mothers Day Sale on Sunday. They are the best looking bunch of plants I have had in the six years since Beaux Arbres first attended the sale.

However, I can bring them into Ottawa for you next week. We are aiming for Wednesday, May 13th, to bring prepaid orders to a west-end Ottawa parking lot.

Eastern Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)
Rocky Mountain Columbine (Aquilegia saximontana)
Bird’s Eye Primrose and Dwarf Canadian Primrose
Common Bluets (Houstonia caerulea)
Siskiyou Lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon)
Eastern Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)
Pussytoes with some volunteer Common Bluets
Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)

Some other species that are looking especially fine in bud but with flowers not yet open: Wild Geranium, Wild Eastern Columbine and its dwarf form ‘Little Lanterns’, Dwarf Mountain Fleabane, Early Meadow-rue, Foam Flower.

Seed Sale

Half Price Seed Sale

It is not too late to order native seeds for those species that require no cold pretreatment. These seeds are often tiny things that we sow on the surface of a pot of seed-sedstarting mix and give moisture and warmth.

Many species in the Pea Family germinate well with hot water soaking to soften the hard seed coat, followed by a brief 10 -14 day cold-moist stratification, which you can easuly give them in a Ziplock baggie in the fridge. After the cold period, sow, bring into warmth and they often germinate very readily.

I also have two uncommon and highly desirable species of clematis, for which even the March Seedy Saturdays are too late, These clematis seeds want a period of warm-moist treatment to finish ripening the seeds, before they experience winter (cold-moist). If you get them now — and mark your calendar carefully — you will have them on hand to start conditioning them in the fall.

All Beaux Arbres seeds are now half price, that is $2.00 a packet or 8 packets for $15, while supplies last. (+$5 for shipping). Available at time of posting:

Easy Warm Germinators:

Pea Family species requiring scarification and short cold period:

Very Choice Species Clematis:

  • Sugar Bowls
  • Purple Clematis

Send us a request via the Contact Page and we will send you info on paying us by e-transfer or cheque. Happy Gardening!

Good News

Horticultural business are going to be allowed to re-open in Quebec as of April 15th. Whoop! We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to deliver pre-orders to customers in Ontario and to Chelsea and Aylmer.

I had been frantically trying to scale up the web site and create a pre-order pick-up system when the provincial border shut down drew an abrupt halt to all that. Then the inter-regional travel restriction disallowed even folks in Chelsea or Breckenridge from coming to the farm to pick-up an order in our drive-way. So this decision by the Quebec government is welcome news indeed!

We still are not quite open as much of our stock is still emerging but (fingers crossed) you can start planning your orders now. Our plants are looking great this year — early spring flowers are already budding nicely — and I will keep on posting pictures and availability lists. We are looking at the first week in May for our first run into Ontario for your pre-order/pick-ups.

Ordering Plants

We think gardening and nature appreciation are going to be big this year. Perhaps this is the right year to add lots of native plants to your garden. So, until we can help you in person at our ususal venues, we are exploring ways to to help you get nursery-propagated native plants, while respecting guidelines for physical distancing. 
You can pre-order plants for pick up at a west-end Ottawa location . We hope to have our first-of-the-season plant orders available to pick up at a west-end location in the second week of May, by appointment.

It looks like Ottawa Farmers Markets will be happening this summer, with appropriate rules. This is still being worked out, but if we can be at the Westboro Market, we will be there for at least some Saturdays. Stay tuned. We may also do a delivery / pick-up in a driveway in Gatineau, if there is sufficient interest.

You may phone us at the farm (Contact) for help selecting your plants but please be patient. We do not have cell phone service at the farm so I cannot take your calls while I at work in the nursery. If you would like a return phone call, please include some good times to call you back.

Use our species profiles (under the Plants menu) to develop lists of plants suitable to your garden conditions. We also have Slide Shows to quickly view a variety of plants. You can then check our current plant availability and price list (download on the button below).

How to order plants?   

To place an order, download our most current Plant Availability list below (Excel format). Enter the numbers you want in the Quantity column and email your order to naturalgarden@xplornet.ca. (Alternatively, print out the PDF, fill it in with pen or pencil, scan, and attach scanned file to an email.)

  • include contact information
  • would you prefer an afternoon or an evening pick-up time?
  • indicate where you’ll be picking up your plants — at Westboro Market (if available) or our west-end parking lot

We will email you a finalized quote that includes instructions for sending us an e-transfer.

How to pick up plants?  

We will email you to schedule a pick-up appointment. We will have your order ready and clearly labeled at the minimal contact pick-up area.

Notes on Reusing Pots: In usual times, Beaux Arbres re-uses our plastic nursery pots. Until the Covid-19 issue is resolved, please do not return pots to us.

From left to right: 2 1/2″, 4″, 4 1/2″, 4 1/2″ tall.

First signs of Spring

There are signs of green in the hoop house. Prairie Smoke is one of the most cheerful in early spring. The flowering stalks will be visible very soon.

Some of the little Arctic plants I grow for use in troughs look very happy at these temperatures — little Drabas and Saxifrages. Young leaves of Heuchera americana remained evergreen this winter.

Last year, we had such a late spring, everything was so late emerging and I had a lot of losses over winter, I got rather discouraged. This year, the winter has been relatively mild and things look so promising now, and the spring sale are either cancelled or dubious. We are going to be looking for ways to make it easier for our customers to pre-order and pick-up. I hope you are looking forward to working in your gardens and looking for ways to adapt your plant buying habits to the new circumstances.

Seeds through the Mail

With the rescheduled Ottawa Seedy Saturday now cancelled, and diverse Horticultural Society events in question, Canada Post is the most reliable way to get your wildflower seeds. Beaux Arbres has nearly all the species we prepared for Ottawa Seedy Saturday (March 6th) still in stock. We sold out of a couple at a very busy Ottawa Valley Seedy Sunday on March 7th.

Download the species list and then send me a message via the Location and Contact page. You can send us a cheque or we can set up an email transfer. The minimum order is 4 packets (for $15). If you order 8 or more packets, we will add two bonus packets, your choice. (There will be a $5 shipping charge for any order that fits in the small bubble mailer).

Species List for Seedy Saturday, 2019

Getting excited about spring? Looking forward to getting into your garden? Seedy Saturday is a great boost to the spirits — all those little packets of potential: heritage vegetable seeds, garlic bulbs, seed potatoes, and wildflower seed galore. I have put up the list of species Beaux Arbres will be bringing to Seedy Saturday on March 2nd. Download the PDF here: Seedy Saturdy 2019

If you preview the list on your laptop or phone, you can link to pictures and descriptions.

Some of the seeds are available in very limited quantities, and once they are gone, they are gone. The list is what I will be bringing to the sale for 10 am Saturday morning.

Beaux Arbres will be at Ottawa Seedy Saturday on March 2nd and Ottawa Valley (i.e Pembroke) Seedy Sunday on March 3rd.

chèvrefeuille dioïque

May I Introduce: Glaucous Honeysuckle

Although it is quite common in woods and hedgerows, this native honeysuckle is known to few gardeners.

Glaucous Honeysuckle’s red tubular flowers with yellow anthers, in mid-spring, have the same colour scheme as the much better known Wild Columbine, and it should come as no surprise that ruby-throated hummingbirds are the pollinators it has evolved to attract. The buds are a deep, dark red. This seems like it should be an exciting colour but, in fact, dark red is quiet and hard to spot in the landscape. This may be part of the reason why this vine is so little known. As well, the flower clusters, and the berry clusters which follow, are often partially hidden in a cup formed by the uppermost pair of leaves. The bright red fruits, which ripen in early summer, are, like most soft summer fruits, taken very quickly by birds.

I am amused by the joined, or perfoliate, pairs of leaves, around the flower clusters — they remind me of the Tin Man’s hat. This is a nice vine to plant to by a sitting area, to enjoy the intricate flowers, and their hummingbird pollinators, close-up.

The botanical name for Glaucous Honeysuckle is Lonicera dioica. Dioica as a specific name, should mean that the plant is dioecious, i.e with male flowers and female flowers on separate plants. However, Glaucous Honeysuckle is NOT dioecious. Botanical names are assigned by whomever describes the species first, not necessarily by accuracy.

Glaucous Honeysuckle is a twining vine. It does not have tendrils or other clinging mechanisms. In the wild, it is often found growing as a shrub-like sprawling jumble. Give it a trellis or other support and a tiny push in the right direction, and it shows off its limber and obliging nature. (Limber Honeysuckle is an alternative common name in the U.S.) It is not a tall vine, topping out at about 2 m.