Saturday, July 18, 2009

Island Daylily Farm

Brennan and I took an afternoon off from renovating the nursery. I became inspired by Julia Brooke's post on Used Vic reminding daylily lovers that it was peak bloom period at the farm. My daylily obsession led us to Island Daylily Farm in Shawnigan Lake. I came across the Island Daylily web site last year, and have a long list of must haves from their catalogue. I have been busy planting daylily seeds, and fans purchased from the lily auction, but purposely have held off buying those available locally. Island Daylily Farms collection includes many varieties in the parentage of some of my daylily purchases, so I was keen to see the plants in bloom.

Prauge Spring
The drive out to the farm was lovely, and was a quick 30 minutes from Victoria. We found it easily as several phone poles leading to the farm had teasing messages to guide us along. The driveway is a little steep, but easy enough for even my little car. Brennan was calling for his bumper sticker before I noticed the "I survived the Island Daylilies driveway" bumper sticker on Julia's car. She had a sticker ready for us, and it is now on my car.
White Temptation

The daylilies were exquisite as promised as, and I thoroughly enjoyed a lengthy peruse amongst the well labelled beds. Brennan noted all the work that went into the retaining walls, and with an " they all look pretty to me" , retired to the shade. It was certainly hot, the dog hid under the car prompting us to head to the lake after our visit.

Annie Golightly

I bought 5 plants from my list, had a delightful chat with Joan, and plan on returning again soon. I need to pot up the 3000 seedlings I have before I go wild with more purchases.

If you are a fan of Daylilies I reccomend a trip out to Island Daylily Farms. It's an easy drive and you can also take in lunch, the Glassblowing studio, Silver Sage nurseries, or one of the wine tours the area boasts.

Little Grapette

Island Daylily Farms 1291 E. Shawnigan Lake Rd,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We are Settling in

Moving the garden centre during May was a busy time, therefore I haven't spent much time blogging. We are very excited about our new location and settling in nicely. Renovations will continue for some time, it is coming together, and we have lots of surprises in store. Check out the pics.

Meet Cleo our new puppy.

The first pallet of Seasoil.

The cash desk is in place. In the background you can see the double doors that will be used for the side entrance to the nursery

Geraniums in place and open for business.

Lots of new giftware and tropicals in our giftshop.

The new windows replaced chainlink over boards. It looks like a store!

We had to bring the succulent chair with us from the old site. It's filling in nicely after a tough winter.

The pond benches are up, and the water plants arrived this Friday.

Agapanthus in full bloom.

This is a new red Cordyline, what a show stopper.

We have dahlias in 2 gallon pots for great instant color. I couldn't resist snapping a pic of this orange beauty.

A couple of the demonstration flower beds have been planted.

The foxgloves and Tiarella are towering over the shelves.

We brought in a collection of gorgeous ferns from Novus Nursery.

We also added a new line of statuary to our collection.

This cutie, is Campanula "Samantha".

Brennan planted the rock wall in the side yard, we plan on expanding our herbs, and rockery section into this hot sunny section of the nursery.

A few of the rockery and Alpine plants.

Orange pot lilies paired up with a couple of the grasses.

We have several Campanulas coming into bloom.

Grasses and Hebes form a good drought resistant combo for a sunny spot.

Agave, Yuccas, and Echevaria.

Looking toward the front gate.

The old red barn will hold chickens one day.

I wanted to do something fun for kids by the gate to the chicken coop, so I made a Fairy garden.

" The Watcher" looks over the garden.

The Fairy garden was the perfect use for an ugly power pole in the middle of the nursery.

These concrete hobbit house fronts, are available, and make creating a miniature garden a snap.
Looking toward barn, and back of nursery.

My favorite Gargoyle, content under a Japanese maple.

The Gary Oak keeps the temperature pleasant in the Garden Centre.

We have had a good time planting various grasses, groundcovers, and succulents as hair for the Facepots.

Entrance to undercover area.

Check back soon, we have lots of renovation plans in the works. Drop by and say Hi, we would love to give you a tour.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I have been busy this Spring, planning the move, renovating the new site, running the current store location,.... and growing daylily seedlings. The new store will have space for demonstration beds, so I have been having great fun on the lily auction.

I have been bidding on seeds and a few plants I think will be important for starting a breeding program. I plan on putting several hundered plants around my garden centre. I am hoping from these will get a few exceptional plants.

Hybridizing daylilies is relatively straight forward, and they are easy rewarding plants for gardeners of all levels. Daylilies have changed dramatically if you think of them as that orange flower that will grow anywhere, often the last plant hanging in in neglected old gardens. The Orange ditch lily ...the zucchini of the flower border, something a neighbour has donated because they were invasive but pretty has come a long way.

Many species of the daylily have been found in China and Japan. They are rarely found in today's gardens, as the new hybrids have far surpassed them in beauty, form, and color range. It was through the efforts of hybridises in the United States and England that great improvements in the daylilies have taken place during the last 75 years. Originally the only colours were yellow, orange and fulvous red, and today we have colours ranging from near-whites, pastels, yellows, oranges, pinks, vivid reds, crimson, purple, the elusive blacks and nearly true blues, and fabulous blends.

Daylilies are propogated by division, or may be hybridized and grown from seeds. Every seedling will be a unique individual taking on characteristics from it's parents and ancestors. If you have ever purchased a named variety daylily it was most likely a division divided from a mother plant, a clone of the plant that looks like it's name. If you cross two daylilies you will get a seedling that has never been seen before. They are just like our children, you will not know if they will look like great Uncle Bob, your sister, your Mom, you or Dad. They may have strong family resemblences or look completely different, strong, tall, short, Nobel Prize winner or bank robber, it's all genetic mystery, an arts and crafts of sorts, all we know is that they will be unique.

Some daylilies will have dominant desirable traits, and those are important to breeding lines. New traits are often recessive, and must be coaxed from the gene poole. Recessive traits can be linked to weak less beneficial genetics characteristics that through natural selection have been supressed. These qualities we find desirable must then be stabalized in a line, and crossed with strong plant qualities to create a good garden specimen. It can take many years to breed a plant worth becoming a named cultivar. There however are over 65,000 registered cultivars.

It is inexpensive to purchase seed from the lily auction, and a great way to collect a large variety of plants of varied genetic make up. If you want to buy plants they too can be cheap, the new release plants where important break throughs have been made can be very expensive. Plants can range in price from a few dollars to several thousand.

My budget and sense of adventure said seeds. I have seeds from plants out of my price range, amazing crosses that I can dream will pass on the best qualities from their parents and give me something new and spectacular.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We are moving !

Urban Oasis is very pleased to announce we are moving to a new location.

Remember the Ploughshare Farm Market?

We will be moving to the old Ploughshare site 4649 West Saanich Rd along side The Bagel Queen Bakery.

Look for us as we begin preparing the site for June 1st.

We will be open thru May at our Quadra St location. Watch for great specials this Spring as we Clear out inventory for the move.

Thanks everyone for making our time on Quadra St a delight, we look forward to serving you better in our fabulous new space.

Come see us in June, the new site has easy parking, and we have a few surprises planned.