Stupid Garden Plants

Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

I work at a bedding and annuals nursery where we produce & finish millions of little plants. Petunias, marigolds, lobelia, impatiens, repeat. It’s a colorful experience. We grow flowers in almost every color; yellow, blue, purple, red, chartreuse, fuchsia, magenta, mauve and all the silly in between shades you can imagine. A few years ago they released a black petunia which as a novelty seemed pretty neat (actually a very dark purple, but still interesting.) As for 2016, the growers at Selecta have come up with something really amazing.

Petunia Night Sky is unlike any other petunia, or flower for that matter I have ever seen. I don’t know how you’d go about breeding such a strange looking flower but the plant nerd that stumbled upon this must have been pretty pleased with themselves. A white petunia that’s been dipped in blue ink. Reminds me of a nebula or an unraveling galaxy. Think a summer night sky after a full moon. The sky a dark blue with a cosmos of sparkling stars up above.

Each flower is unique and worthy of further observation. An interesting specimen for summer borders. I know you thought you’d never find a petunia your plant geek friends would like but here it is.

Easy to grow, good habit, incredible flowers.

Petunia Night Sky
Galaxy Petunia

A close look at petunia Night Sky

Petunia Night Sky

Look out for these cool plants appearing at garden centers everywhere in the very near future. So neat.

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Good day and good evening.

Where have I been for all these weeks past. Out in the open air watching cumulus clouds cruising in the atmosphere. Long days under a spring sun rising and falling up overhead. Growing plants industrially is not just a job it’s a way of life. Once spring hits, open the gates and the grand marathon begins. Spring is an exciting time of year to be working with plants everyday. It’s awe inspiring to watch so many seedlings rise to maturity, crack bud to flowering color and then be sent off to a garden destined but still not yet known.

Cumulus clouds

Here is my day. Wake up, breakfast with my miss and toddler son, goodbyes, coffee, drive, coffee … coffee. Plants. All day. Lunch. coffee. Plants until dusk. Water garden, Dinner, Family. Sleep.  Repeat from Feburary 28th until the summer solstice.

This is no problem of course beacause growing this many plants is just so satisfying.


shadow of nurseryman

For the people in my life beyond the great wall not all can understand this style of living. But growing plants is just so much more than just a job. Feeling sick today? Sad? Tired? Forget about it. The show must go on. When you’re standing there in the full fury midst of spring you can’t exactly stop or “take it easy”. The reality is there are quite literally millions of plants that would benefit by you showing up today and paying them your respect.

The plants are growing, the plants need water, some plants like to grow in early spring, others in the summer.  Do you have an afternoon to get the task done, today. It’s like writing music or painting artwork. Watching waves of marigolds and foxglove being paved down on outside beds. Today they are freshly planted, tomorrow they need a drink, all of a sudden they’ve grown very big and are crowding each other out, time to space, but wait, more water, is that aphids?

Field of nursery crops

It’s a surreal experience and I’m lucky to work with some really dedicated people. When one of them breaks you notice a change in the flow for sure. Who’s next?

And now for some quick garden teasers.

In the garden

oplopanax view
A low view of the Oplopanax.

Tetrapanax forest
Textrapanax forest.

Podophyllum Spotty Dotty

Podophyllum Spotty Dotty Flower
Podophyllum Spotty Dotty. Crimson drooping flowers underneath an nebulous patterned star shaped leaf.  Have you ever thought to give it nice good sniff. It definitely has a strange aroma. We couldn’t quite place it. One person said soap. It makes me think of the word fetid. Still it is not entirely unpleasant. Just unusual.

enkianthus cernuus
Enkianthus cernuus flowering.

Lewisia elise mix
Lewisia Elise Mix in it’s grand perfection. Although lewisia are known for their electric colored flowers I strangely find myself admiring these plain white ones.

Cotula hispida
The unusual floating flowers of Cotula hispida.

the golden hour
A funny thing happens after nearly 11 hours at the greenhouse. The valley quiets down, the air warms, silence, a white evening light. The transition to sunset is always amazing. The golden hour for photography but also for just the pure pleasure of the moment.  I notice it everytime I stay late, it’s a gift for those who stick with it.

Sunset @ the greenhouse
Sunrise to sunset. Plants all day everyday.

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Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.