What to know about Sunshine Coast nurseries

Sunshine Coast Nurseries offer an incredible selection for even the most discerning gardener

As the price of groceries increases stratosphericCoasters grow their own food, as well as flowers from locally produced seeds or starter plants from greenhouses or independent growers in Farmers’ markets. As I flitted like a hummingbird from one nursery to another while writing this article, I collected a wish list fantastical plants, such as weeping ornamental cherry trees, white bleeding hearts, gingkosand white cherry tomatoes.

If you don’t want to share your flowers with deer or food crops with birds, bears and raccoons, fortify those gardens with netting, fencing and other devices. Luckily, all the plants, gardening supplies, and expertise needed are a short drive from where you live on the coast.

B&K Garden and Landscape Supply becomes a family business

629 Pratt Road, Gibson; bkgardenlandscapesupply.ca

Leanne Hamling was a unit clerk at Sechelt Hospital before she, her husband, daughter-in-law Sarah Clark and son recently took over B&K, which is celebrating 30 years in the community.

“The weather has gone down to minus 12 [this winter] and people are replacing plants that have not survived, such as grasses. People are also looking for drought-tolerant plants, such as lavender and sedums. They also want to brighten up their yard,” says Leanne.

I browse through their 100 varieties of maple, while I leave the women in their elegant matching jackets.

The garden workshop has added the 50 Echo tool section with petrol and electric tools. The larger tool on display sucks up the leaves at one end, shreds them and blows the crushed leaves out the other end. They have lots of pumps and ponds, indoor plants, decorative touches and the greenhouse is full of flowers.

Quality Garden and Golden Jubilee of Pets

325 Pratt Road, Gibson; qualitygardenandpet.com

Quality Garden and Pet made me drool instantly over the two-tone fuchsia baskets swinging above our heads. The store is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Owner danny From Preez’s eyes light up as she shows off ornamental trees like the mystical weeping cherry with frothy pink blossoms and plush willows with silver catkins. To the rear of the sprawling property is a forest of 12-foot-tall potted cedars ready to make an instant screen.

She guides us through an orchard of young dormant fruit trees. “If you see an espaliered fruit tree, take it, because you might not see another one for years,” she says. She warns that there is a shortage of fruit trees, as suppliers’ stocks of fruit trees have been decimated by the floods. “We only have half the number of fruit trees we had last year.”

danny points out bags of clover seeds and wildflowers that people use as alternatives to water. Plus they have an irrigation section and his dad has the knowledge and experience to help you set up a watering system for your garden.

Zen outing at the Sunshine Coast nursery

1826 Sunshine Coast Hwy, Roberts Creek; suncoastnursery.com

Walking down a winding path at Sunshine Coast Nursery, which has been around for 40 years (20 years with Michael and Patricia Mills, its current owners), is more like entering a botanical garden. I find myself lingering, appreciating the Zen sculptures, glass orbs and vast collection of jars, admiring their grove of fruit trees, moving dreamily through the flowers and vines, forgetting why I came and felt as zen as a smile buddhas populate the grounds. Sunshine Coast Nursery is my go-to water plant supplier. I also bought fairy garden supplies there. They wear bonsai, dried mosses, fences, gardening gloves and tools, deer and rabbit repellents, growing mats for seedlings, seeds, fences and mini-fountains. Of course they have all kinds of plants you can imagine such as cacti, tropicals, hanging baskets, annuals, perennials galore, vegetable starters, currants, kiwis, vines, berries delicious and fiery wasabi for your homemade sushi rolls.

Sunshine Coast Nursery offers a series of free and thoughtful brochures, including Drought Tolerant Plants, Pacific North Coast Plants, Gardening Fertilizer and Nutrient Basics, Attracting Pollinators and Beneficial Insects to the Gardenand a must read for all new gardeners on the Coast, Deer resistant plants.

Nostalgia grows in spades at Rusty Hinge

1059 Roberts Creek Road, Roberts Creek, rusty hingeinrobertscreek@gmail.com

It’s no surprise that Rhoda Baxter was a florist and owned a yaletown flower shop before opening her exquisite garden and gift shop in Roberts Creek six years ago, while perennial bedding plants are artfully displayed outside her shop in the log mall building. Rusty Hinge offers unique brands of seeds, including by Renee Gardens, salt spring seeds, and Viewfinders Seeds, in addition to West Coast Seeds for those looking to get their start. Baxter redeems a gift certificate for the shop if you bring in your old garden tools, which it displays in its shop.

The Roberts Creek Experience at Coastal Sun Greenhouse and Farm

1652 Pell Road, Roberts Creek

Coastal Sun Greenhouse and Farm celebrates its 25th anniversary in Roberts Creek this year. When you arrive you get the Roberts Creek experience, or rather the John Yue live. Past the stands and the baskets planted with layer cabbage, continue to the back, where you’ll find John tending to his plants in one of his four greenhouses.

Inside the greenhouse, you will find order and beauty inside, where seedlings grow on a heated floor.

John is passionate about growing each of what must be thousands of plants locally. In summer and autumn, he also sells tomatoes and other products from his greenhouses, including through contactless home delivery.

John advises home gardeners to rotate their crops and use good soil. He helped us solve the problem of a bear diving into our compost by suggesting that we leave a container of ammonia on top of the pile. “Bears are sensitive to smells,” says John.

You’ll see him or his partner, Chris, at the Davis Bay Market on Saturdays and the Roberts Creek Market at Roberts Creek Hall on Wednesdays, selling bedding plants to grow your garden.

“We’ve Got It All” at Wilson Creek Nursery

1709 Neighborhood Court, Wilson Creek

Elia McNutt has owned Wilson Creek Nursery for over 27 years. You can pick her succulent blooms at the Sechelt Farmers and Craftsmen’s Market on Saturdays, or call ahead and meet her in her greenhouse, where she has “everything.”

The Divine Deluxe Landscape and Garden Center

5534 Cres Sechelt Inlet B1341, Sechelt; deluxelandscaping.com

Deluxe Landscape and Garden Center has been operating in Sechelt for over 20 years. Too bad it took me so long to find them, with their vast stocks of great trees, plants, mason bees and other helpers, bird supplies, seedlings and everything you need to spruce up your garden.

How does Kym’s garden grow?

7910 Fawn Road, Halfmoon Bay, [email protected]

The real question is, with so many unusual and exotic plants and trees, what isn’t growing at Kym’s Plants? Kym Barnett, horticulturist and master gardener, has amassed an impressive collection of surprising, lovely and rare plants in just five years.

“A neighbor taught me how to propagate plants when I was eight years old,” she says. Propagation is his lifelong passion and obsession. With ten thousand palms, plus monkey puzzles, arbutus, pecans, walnuts, hearts, almonds, and persimmons available, she has an extraordinary gift.

Have you ever heard of papaya? Kym sells these BC natives, which bear a custard-shaped fruit resembling a papaya and were once part of the diet of indigenous peoples. The papaya fruit has a fragile skin and cannot be stored, which is why it has never been produced commercially. Came back to load a pair into the car, but not male and female as expected, more like two different species for the best fruit, Kym recommends.

Barnett has a miniature forest of slow growing conifers ready for bonsai. I failed bonsai class, killing a perfectly good baby pine by excessively pruning the unfortunate specimen, but even I could have success with these little guys.

She points out incense cedars, Mexican cap plants, naturally fire-retardant Japanese umbrella pines, mimosas, evergreen dogwoods, native strawberry trees (slobber), and then she moves on to vegetables.

“I usually get my tomato seeds from Ukraine, but they won’t be available this year. I will still have it. I still have plenty of purple Brussels sprouts from Ukraine,” she beams. She has more varieties of bok choy than I’ve heard of, including bok choy and toy choy, and fenugreek, as well as custom mousse baskets. Her future plans include another greenhouse to house the tender perennials.

Halfmoon Bay Nursery

7820 Fawn Road, Halfmoon Bay; halfmoon-bay-nursery.myshopify.com

Stepping into the Halfmoon Bay Nursery greenhouse is like taking a tropical vacation. They have many impressive indoor tropical plants, some of them massive, in the walkways. They also have trays of starters of plants they grow themselves, including herbs, greens, hardy tomato plants, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, arugula, and snow peas. ready to be placed in your waiting beds. There are colorful faces of pansies to welcome you, vines of clematis and all the other flowers you could want. Along the fence are bins of soil, peat moss and compost to make your garden lush. They offer West Coast Seeds and Eco Seed Co-op staples for those of you who are self-sufficient.

Kym’s and Halfmoon Bay Nurseries are close to each other, so between them you can stock up on everything you need, whether you have a brand new garden or an already established one.

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