Poinsettias Galore

If you’re looking for a poinsettia Dunvegan Gardens in Fort St John has you covered! Though you might want to wait for  a warmer day to take one home. It’s -28 out there right now! Brrrr. On the other hand, it’s a great day to be in a greenhouse.


And no, in case you’re wondering, I don’t get anything from Dunvegan for writing this. The same can’t be said in reverse. Dunvegan gets a lot from me in the way of business, but often I just go out to browse and smell the roses so to speak. So I guess I do get something from them. On days when I am in a funk, a drive out to their gorgeous greenhouse always puts me in a better mood.

I was there a few weeks ago when they were decorating their Christmas trees (if you have never gone out there for Christmas you really are missing out) and I heard one of the workers tell a customer, “We have two seasons here, summer and Christmas.”

Of course, they’re open year round and there is always something beautiful to admire but for sure, summer and Christmas are when the place revs up into full, glorious gear.

Here’s a peek at just a few of their trees…


It’s on my bucket list to see a cardinal…this doesn’t exactly cross it off my list but now I can say I saw a few this winter. One day I am going to see a live one. And fireflies. Though probably not at the same time.


This tree is sort of decorated like the woodsy one we had for years.


And here’s one that goes with my new modern theme.


They even had a tree decorated like summer complete with a pansy inspired garland…their two seasons collide!


And whaaat? A shelf shaped like a giraffe. Very cute, but I think my bird shaped shelf is enough for one apartment.


And if poinsettias aren’t your thing they have quite a few Winterberry plants too. Though not as many.

Okay…enough eye candy and lollygagging about on the computer.



She’s at it again…

I found some VERY deep saucers at Dunvegan a few weeks back and decided to give balcony gardening another go. This time I am reining it in at a dozen pots…give or take a few. And did I mention the deep saucers? They’re deep. Very deep.



The deep saucers. They are even deeper than they look in this picture.


The other night I arranged the containers on the balcony and was busily filling them up with potting soil…not the disastrous potentially brown-leaking-smelly-sheep manure potting soil. Just the straight up sterilized kind. A bit of peat moss, a bit of vermiculite, some pearls of perlite and such.

I also got some coir blocks, threw them in a tub and added water. The transformation was amazing. You bring home this little cube of four large book sized slabs of coir, put each slab in a Rubbermaid tote (or what have you) add a couple gallons of water and whoosh. An hour later you have a tubful of peat mossy type product.

I don’t know environmentally which is better in the end. Shipping coir in cargo ships across the ocean or depleting our peat bogs…a practice the peat manufacturers once sent me a video about to prove that claims against them being environmentally irresponsible are entirely bogus. The truth lies somewhere in the middle I suppose. I don’t know.


And all the plastic…oh my goodness. By the time I finished filling the containers I had a plastic bag full of more plastic bags all destined for recycling. Which is whole ‘nother mess of worms.

The best solution would be to get your own bag-free ship-free bog-free product from composting your garden refuse. No bags, no shipping, no bogs, no guilt.

Anywho’s, there I was happily (albeit a bit guiltily) filling my containers in their very deep saucers with plastic bagged products when a woman’s voice floated up to me from the sidewalk below.

“She’s at it again!”

I looked down and spotted a familiar looking couple on the sidewalk. They quickly turned away and kept walking.

Maybe they weren’t talking about me. Maybe they were discussing a family member who had started taking drugs again or something. I fought off the urge to shout after them, “But this time I have very deep saucers!”

After they disappeared from sight, paranoia seeped in and I thought I had better give the building manager a heads up. I carefully worded an email emphasising my very deep saucers and all the safe watering practices I planned to implement. I even invited her to come and see the saucers. The deep ones.

The reply came saying she would pass the information along to a higher up and let me know. It was friendly enough, but not the solid two thumbs up I had hoped for.

We’ll see…



Most of the plants you see here are destined for the community garden…they’re just on the balcony getting some tough love. Hardening off on an April afternoon. No dripping. And the long tan colored container is a self waterer…no drainage at all except for a built in reservoir in the bottom. Good for the balcony, maybe not so good for the plants. 





Greenehouse in Farmington’s Spring Newsletter!

Just received Linda Greene’s spring newsletter and wanted to share it with you here in case you aren’t on her mailing list yet. She always has great finds. I bought a blue moon wisteria from her last year that I am hoping made it through the winter. It’s zone 4 so a bit iffy for our zone 2b or not 2b but I piled on the hay mulch and have my fingers crossed!

Blue Moon Wisteria. Photo from Park Seeds.

Blue Moon Wisteria. Photo from Park Seeds.

For those who don’t know Linda, she has a greenhouse in Farmington aptly named The Greenehouse in Farmington! Head north from Dawson Creek up the Alaska Highway and watch for the sign on the right hand side. It’s between the Farmington Golf Course and The Farmington Store. She also frequents both the Dawson Creek and Chetwynd Farmer Markets.

Now here is Linda’s Spring Newsletter!

My yard is still mostly covered with mounds of snow, and wet spots that alternate between ice (ie. Yesterday and today) and puddles (a couple days last week). However, the greenhouse (with furnace running constantly) IS full of hanging baskets and bedding plants. And I saw one robin this afternoon. So…it’s coming (spring that is, as well as Christmas, I guess!)

I have the usual assortment of hanging baskets this year with some lovely new petunia colours, and lots of basket stuffers to do your own landscaping. Ina and I really like one called Blue Jays – and the Sophistica Blackberry is lovely. Lots of waves and supertunias will be available, Tumbler tomatoes as well as 5 or 6 other tomato varieties, bacopa, lobelia, lobularia (this is the sterile alyssum which doesn’t set seed so it blooms all summer without deadheading – great filler plant and very fragrant – comes in 3 colours), strawberry baskets, etc etc. I’ll have a bit of giftware again – including some beautiful solar lights. I like to try to find a few things that you won’t get anywhere else. Great for gift giving, or yourself! I also have 5 varieties of seed potatoes, and if you like the fingerlings, I have banana potato seed from my own garden. Trees and shrubs will arrive approximately May 10th and I have lots of Haskap coming, as well as a few lilacs and flowering shrubs. I don’t order a big variety so if there is something you want, come early or call and see what I have.

I formally open the weekend of May 3rd and 4th, with our open house and annual yard sale – Saturday 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. I go to the Dawson Creek Farmers Market on Saturdays starting May 10th, and the Chetwynd Farmers Market (which I believe is now on Fridays starting around the May long weekend). Always good to phone first, but when the gate is open, I’m open. I’ll also be at the Farmington Farmerettes Annual Mother’s Day tea on Saturday afternoon, May 10th.

Email (lgreene@xplornet.com) or call me if there is something in particular you are looking for. If you have a greenhouse started and are looking for bedding plants, I’m happy to provide them now – my greenhouse (and all other available spots) are FULL! Give me a call 250-784-5320 and hope to see you soon!


Rhubarb to Roses Has Trees On Sale Now!

Just received this message from Rhubarb to Roses so am passing it on in case you are looking for a few bargain trees for last minute planting before the snow flies…


Greetings from Rhubarb to Roses!

It’s hard to believe we are wrapping up our 4th season!  We want to take a minute to thank everyone for visiting us this spring/summer/fall!  We had a fun and successful gardening season.

Thanks to everyone who bought stained glass art and mosaic birdhouses.  We’re already in the basement working with stained glass as the weather turns drizzly.  We’re getting ready to take some stained glass to the Bonanza Christmas Craft Show on October 26th.  Hope to see you there.

Thanks to everyone who promoted and bought copies of “The ABC Musical Garden”.  We’re over 500 copies sold and now we’re gearing up for Christmas sales.  Dale & I are going on a little road trip to sell books further afield and are pretty excited about that!

ABC Musical Garden

Thanks to everyone who supported us by buying our Watkins products.  If you need any Watkins products during the winter months, or any of our products for that matter, just give us a call at 250-782-2269 and we can make arrangements to get together.

Thanks to everyone who booked tea parties and rented the tea room this season for special occasions.  We absolutely love sharing your special moments with you.  We enjoyed the garden workshops and are planning to do a few more during the winter months.

Thanks to everyone who came out on the Tour & Tea, with a special thanks to the Dawson Creek Horticulture Club for inviting us to show our gardens.  It was a great day, despite the cloudy weather.

And finally, a special Big Thank You to our Garden Centre customers who bought trees, shrubs, roses & perennials.  We don’t have much stock left at this time of year but if you’re looking for some last minute bargains, this is the final week before we put the plants to bed for the winter.  We have lilacs, cherries, raspberries, mockorange, junipers, hardy roses, plums, chokecherries, spiriea, dogwood, cotoneaster… and good prices.  Fall is a great time to be planting and this gentle rain makes it oh so easy!!

Also, we are still selling potatoes, 10lbs for $5.00 for anyone who is interested.  And farm eggs from Lynn Bedell at $4.50dozen.  They are delicious!

Thank You! Thank You!  For your valued patronage this year.

Dale & Doris Brocke

Rhubarb to Roses Garden Centre

Box 2044 10865 – 225 Road

Dawson Creek, BC V1G 4K8




Upcoming Events

If you missed Hugh Skinner in Grande Prairie there are a couple other events happening in the Peace worth mentioning in advance…

The Greenehouse in Farmington is having its seasonal opening on the weekend. Here’s Linda’s e-letter below with all the particulars:

Plus 22 degrees on Sunday?!  Do we believe it when we see it?  I’m sure I am like everyone else – enough winter, already…

But the plants don’t wait for the weather.  The greenhouse is FULL of lovely baskets and bedding plants, and this Saturday and Sunday is our formal opening and Yard Sale weekend!  Come out (wear your boots – the yard is still a bit wet) and see what’s new.  There are some new gardening giftware and yard décor items as well as the yard sale bargains.  The strawberry baskets are blooming, and the Martha Washington pelargoniums are gorgeous – in time for Mother’s Day on May 12.   Pick up your seed potatoes now before they are sold out.  And check out the popular FREE table! 

Many of the perennials are still frozen (what a surprise) and my shrub order of Haskap, Goji, etc will be arriving sometime around May 7th.    I do have some 1 gallon Haskap and Cherries for sale that have been started in the greenhouse and are ready to be hardened off outside (maybe by the weekend?!)  If you are waiting for the weather to actually BE spring, plan to come out again – I have some other annuals started that will be ready at the end of May. 

One other new item, for the Duck Dynasty and Swamp People fans – I have ordered a display of baseball caps that should be here by Father’s Day!  They apparently are new in Canada and VERY popular, so the orders have been delayed.  I had hoped they would be here new, but…I will send out another newsletter when they arrive. 

I will be back at the Dawson Creek Farmer’s Market starting Saturday, May 11, so come down if you aren’t able to get out to our Yard Sale weekend.  Feel free to pass on my newsletter, bring a friend, or call if you have any questions – 250-843-7244.  Directions again – Mile 11 ½ Alaska Hiway, turn right onto Road 233, and there are signs!

Happy Gardening


On Sunday Doris Brocke of Rhubarb to Roses (located on the old Hart Highway just a couple miles west of Dawson Creek) will be launching her new book The ABC Musical Garden at the Dawson Creek Public Library at 2 pm. It looks beautiful; a perfect gift for gardeners and their children. Or grandchildren!

ABC Musical Garden


Shopping Local

Here in the Peace Country we are blessed with top quality local nurseries that are welcome alternatives to Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire! The people that run them are knowledgeable about what we can grow locally and will even bring in hard-to-find perennials, shrubs or trees just for you (if you ask early enough) saving you the hassle of tracking them down yourself, not to mention the horrific shipping costs. Often the shipping costs as much as the plant itself!

Here’s a wonderful newsletter I just received from Linda Greene; owner of The Greenehouse at Farmington:

And here goes January – out with a lot of weird weather to keep us guessing.   We have had a good amount of snow which will help shelter those borderline, and other, perennials with which we gardeners are always experimenting!

This is to give you some notice as to what will be new at The Greenehouse this year, as well as my favorites – like the Haskap or Honeyberry.  I will again have about 200 pots from 1 gallon to 5 gallon, and about 5 different varieties.  I cannot say enough good things about this berry for the prairies – it is reliable, vigorous, hardy, fast growing (starts producing second year); the berries are early (late June and on for about 4 weeks), healthy, are good to eat mashed up with sugar (they are a tart berry) and make great jam!  Below is a picture from one of my Haskap bushes last year, as well as my Evan Cherries – they REALLY liked the dry weather (???) and produced very well.

Linda Greene HaskapLinda Greene Cherry Harvest Linda Greene Cherry Give me a call if you wish to reserve Haskap or Cherries – I am bringing in Romeo and Juliet Cherry.

I am only bringing in a few other shrubs as with downsizing I cannot handle what we used to do.  I am always happy to order trees or shrubs if you call me with something specific.  What I have on order are the Sensation Lilac – some of you have seen mine blooming in June.  It is quite spectacular with its’ white edged purple, fragrant flowers.  Also, a few Thunderchild crabapple – the ornamental purple leaf, pink flowering tree.  Something new for the adventurous are the Goji berries.  I am bringing in some 2 gallon pots of this healthy antioxidant berry producing shrub.  My supplier tells me it is hardy to Zone 3 – so if you have had success with other Zone 3 bushes and want to try Gojis I will have some about mid-May.

As always I will have bedding plants and hanging baskets – as many as I can cram into my little  “Greenehouse”!  I’ll also have some seed potatoes – Warba, Kennebec, Yukon Gold, Red Pontiac, Norland and a few Banana potatoes.

I plan to formally open Saturday May 4th with the second annual Yard and Garden Sale.  I always like to see if I can find some different garden giftware items, plus I think I have enough “Yard Sale” things for an annual sale for the next 10 years!   (The Free table was popular last year!)  I’m open most days May and June, but good to call first to check to see if I’m open, and I’m happy to arrange other convenient times.  I’ll also be at the Chetwynd Farmers Market on Thursdays, or Dawson Creek Farmers Market Saturdays starting May 11th.

Here’s hoping for a good gardening year for us all.  Please call me if you have questions or are looking for something specific – I am always excited to look for the new and different.

Hope to see you in the Spring!


The Greenehouse at Farmington