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Thoughts on Gardening Trends

Corydalis 'Wildside Blue'

I was asked recently about my thoughts on this year’s gardening trends. The idea of “gardening trends” is a sore point for me.

Why Garden?

Gardening gives people a chance to look inward and make their own decisions and create something that reflects their personality. It seems to me that gardening is one of the easiest and most endearing ways to be creative.

It’s important to note that gardening is a never ending process. Gardens are alive and always growing and changing, and can always be improved and added to.

The Push To Be “In”

New garden ideas and information about new plants are worthwhile, but the push to be ‘in’ by marketers is only another sad aspect of consumerism. I find it frustrating that gardeners will listen to marketers so they can be in fashion.

We chose the plants we sell – whether they are rare or common –  because we like them and think they are garden worthy plants. We have many plants that are fabulous but are not huge sellers but we continue to offer them wondering if their turn will come.

Hidden Gems

An example is the blue corydalis. Years ago there was a lot of excitement about the discovery and introduction of Corydalis flexuosa from China. We imported some from England and were burned by receiving miniscule one stemmed plants that in the end proved not very suitable for our climate.

Then we planted our one specimen of ‘Wildside Blue’ that we brought back from Keith Wiley’s garden in Somerset, England. We soon realized that it was a spectacular plant that thrives here.

Materials to Create Your Own Masterpiece

At Lost Horizons we do our best to to provide the widest range of plants suitable to all growing situations. We provide you with a diversity of plant materials to create your own masterpiece – one that can be rewarding to many other creatures besides yourself. We do our best to trial plants and grow in a sustainable way with no winter heat or pesticides.

Now Open – Come and Visit

Now that we are open for the 2017 season, we hope you will come and wander through the nursery soon to discover an old friend or something new.

Maybe you’ll be like Liza, who wrote in a recent Facebook review that she has become “addicted to species I did not even know of “.

Looking forward to the 2017 Season

We thank you for making 2016 another record year and for all the comments we received about how special, different and wonderful Lost Horizons is. The nursery is still for sale and we are hoping that someone will take on the challenge and continue to grow and improve the nursery.

We have not stood still and have made many improvements in the nursery, rehabilitated the entrance gardens and extended gardens along the creek, and in the catalogue there are many exciting new plants to make your gardens even closer to your heart.

We also invite you to browse our A-Z Plant List online, where you’ll see a picture (in most cases) of the plant as well as information.


View the A-Z Plant Listing Online

We would also like to thank the staff Andrew, Basia and Joe for their amazing effort in maintaining the nursery and dealing with visitors. We would also like to thank Brock for handling the plant database and Sandy Gillians for her work on the website, newsletters, and social media.

Sad News: Harvey Wrightman

There are many wonderful gardens and passionate gardeners but they are not so common in the trade so we were saddened to hear of the passing of Harvey Wrightman of Wrightman Alpines before Christmas.

I have many fond memories of wandering around with Harvey as he excitedly showed his latest gems and later sitting around their kitchen table discussing all things horticultural while enjoying some of Irene’s homemade cooking.

Fortunately it is not the end of the nursery as Harvey’s daughter Esther who has been working in the nursery will now run it. Esther has written a very touching and authentic tribute to growing up in and working in the nursery with her father that is posted on their website.

We wish Irene,Esther and the rest of the family our best wishes
in this difficult time.

Larry Davidson

Some very special customers

Over the years Lost Horizons has attracted some very special people. Here are a few that stand out in particular.

Kyle and his dad:

This father and son duo have been regulars for years, and they make the trek all the way from Strathroy every summer for an annual plant shopping expedition.

In the weeks leading up to their visit, Kyle studies the Lost Horizons catalogue carefully and makes a list of the plants he wants to buy.

And then he starts drawing. And painting.

Kyle’s plant shopping list is truly a lovely piece of artwork. We so look forward to the time of year when Kyle shows up with his dad and pulls out his beautiful list.

Here is his 2016 list, which he kindly left with us so we can share them with you.

Kyle’s taste in plants is sophisticated and exquisite.

Peru and Krish:

Peru and Krish receive this years award for the most distant customers coming from Saskatoon. They did stop in to see their grandchild as well.

Peru and Krish receive this years award for the most distant customers coming from Saskatoon. They did stop in to see their grandchild as well.

Michael and Jean Tuckett:

foxgloveSeveral years ago lovely British couple who were long-time and valued clients brought us a very odd foxglove with large strange top blooms.

We grew it from seed for a few years and it disappeared. But today we found it again in the garden – it came back!

Michael and Jean Tuckett may have died a couple of years ago within a week or two of one another, but it feels like they have returned to visit the garden once again.

Plenty to see and buy at the nursery this weekend

Gardening weather is here and the Victoria Day weekend is upon us. Be sure to come see us while you’re out on your garden centre travels!

We have expanded the range of plants and there are many items that we haven’t had a chance to add to the catalogue yet – so bring your walking shoes, there is plenty to see.

It’s always a struggle to get the gardens cleaned up with so much work to be done in the spring, so we are pleased to have Bobbie and Basia and Joseph back with us this year. We also welcome Andrew who will be helping us make the nursery even better.

We have started adding photos to our new Instagram and Pinterest accounts so you can follow what’s happening here in the nursery and display gardens. It’s always amazing to watch as our plants and gardens spring quickly to life every year.

The nursery is open 5 days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. Hope to see you soon!

The end of one great season, the start of another

Another season has flown by and we are grateful to everyone who made 2015 a record year. The nursery has not sold [it is still up for sale] so we are pushing on to make it even better with many exciting new additions. We have managed to get the 2016
catalogue done in record time so you will have extra time to explore and make your wish lists.

The weather was certainly beneficial this season and the long, mild fall with adequate moisture was a delight especially after the last couple of years of ice storm and frigid temperatures.

Great Plants / Wonderful People

We would like to thank those people who have very generously provided us with plants, bulbs, seeds, and cuttings. They have greatly helped to expand the quality and diversity of the nursery.

Among those we would like to thank are Kirk Zufelt, Marion Jarvie, Barrie Porteous, Elizabeth Knowles, Paul Ehnes, Anna Leggat, Roger Inglis, and Merle Burston. I don’t think it is any coincidence that these are some of the best gardeners in this part of the world.

We are always looking for new plants and if you have something you think we would
be interested in, please let us know.

The incredible beauty of a garden in decline

I have a great deal of respect for Piet Oudolf although I think his best work is in conjunction with other designers. I think one of the most important aspects of his legacy is his promotion of how incredibly beautiful the garden can be in decline.

One of my goals is to extend the garden’s seasonal interest by offering plants that have structural appeal or bloom not just in the summer, but well into the fall as well.

A potter friend was lamenting about how difficult it is to sell brown pots and unfortunately getting people to appreciate the rustic shades of brown and gold in the late season garden seems like an uphill battle.

On some days in late fall leaving the house when the low sun in the sky backlights the garden, bringing out astonishingly rich shades of bronze, orange, gold and mahogany. One can only pause and stare in thoughtless wonder.

Like other seasons in the garden much of the beauty lies in the small details like the delicate fluffy seed heads setting themselves free. Too often I think we glance and think oh, they are finished and they were so beautiful when they were blooming; our minds are so filled it is difficult to stop and just be aware of what is happening in the moment.

– Larry Davidson