Nursery News /
Open Tues-Sun 9:00 - 4:00
Thank you all for your support!
What a crazy new world we all find ourselves in. We feel very fortunate
that we've been able to remain open this spring.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who are weathering the disruptions to our usual services so graciously. People have been kind and thoughtful. We are touched by the number of people who begin conversations with inquiries about the nursery staff's health and well-being or who are just grateful that we are open at all.
Russell Nursery has been closed Mondays and Thursdays. Effective
June 11, we are pleased to be re-opening Thursdays. Our hours are currently 9am to 4pm, with physical distancing in effect.
Until further notice, we will remain closed Mondays.
We will continue to be nimble and swift in reacting to the rapidly changing COVID conditions that confront us all.
Here at Russell Nursery, we value everyone's good health and seek to maintain a safe environment that minimizes the risk associated with COVID-19 while maximizing the health benefits inherent in gardening. Please only visit when you are feeling well and healthy.
Be kind. Be calm. Be safe. And, to add to Dr Bonnie Henry's mantra, 'Garden On!!!'.
In My Garden - by Kathryn
"Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul." -
I recently wrote a letter to the previous owner of my home, thanking her for her beautiful garden which I feel so fortunate to now be able to call my own. It amazes me how much joy simply being in the garden, weeding and tending the plants brings me. Especially in these unprecedented times it has given me precious moments of just letting the world slip away.
People the world over recognize the
benefits of being around plants and forests. The Japanese even have a special term for it "shinrin-yoku" which is often literally translated as "forest bathing". Essentially it is immersing oneself in the healing atmosphere of the forest.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the
health benefits of plants and specifically
forests to humans. They can
reduce stress levels and anxiety, lower blood pressure, reduce anger, and even strengthen the immune system.
Hopefully you have a garden, patio or even just a balcony where you can enjoy the beauty and wonder of plants. If you are unable to get outside even just watching a nature documentary or looking at pictures of forests can have similar health benefits.
So go out and spend time in the garden, go for a walk in the local park or dust off those old David Attenborough nature films and
let the world just slip away for a few hours.
They say patience is a virtue...
An interesting query came in from a Russell Nursery member last week. The member purchased and planted several 'Hansa' roses last year. For those who are unfamiliar with Hansas, they are a variety of Rosa rugosa well known for their intense fragrance.
This member's Hansas were robust and blooming in their second year but not fragrant at all. She was disappointed and wanting to know whether there was anything she could do to encourage the elusive fragrance that had enticed her to buy the roses in the first place.
Fortunately, we had some answers for her. Did you know that rose scent is not constant but can vary with: 1) air temperature, 2) the phase of bloom development, and 3) how long they have been planted?
We've had a cool spring and now it's "Juneuary"! Fragrance increases with air temperature. It can also depend on rose variety and the stage of flower development. For instance, some roses are fragrant just after bud opening while others may become fragrant after a day or two of flowering. Roses may also need a year, or even two, to settle.
New plantings (of any sort really) need time to fully adjust to their new environment, set down roots, and accumulate nourishment from the soil and fertilizer in order to put on their best show. So, the good news for this member is that her Hansa roses will be fragrant but only when it warms up a bit, and when the roses are good and ready! The bad news? This gardener will have to wait which is perhaps the hardest task of all for an eager gardener awaiting all the best that a new planting has to offer!!
What Brings Us Joy?
We recently asked staff what brings them joy in their gardens right now. Here are two of their responses:
Laurie says: Polystichum ferns!
Ferns add a natural touch of forest feel to your garden.
Polystichums are elegant, reliable, long lived, and many add evergreen winter interest. Their fine textured, lush foliage provides quiet foil to larger leafed shrubs and perennials. Some are used as specimens with their strong, upright vase shape while others can be massed for a gentle, mounding understory. Always find room for them whether you have a large shady area or a small urban space.
(Asian Saber) - shiny, exquisite, upright, nice in small grouping
P. tsu-simense (Korean Rock) - tidy, refined, lower, good at front of border or in container
P. setiferum (Soft Shield) - beautiful feathery fronds, magnificent mounds that beg to be stroked
P. polyblepherum (Tassel) - shiny, lustrous fronds, mid sized
P. munitum (Western Sword) - the list wouldn't be complete without our native fern which looks great all seasons and will grow where nothing else will
If you're now excited about Polystichums, good news! We have a number of ferns in stock right now and this is the best time to plant and be enticed by their lovely, unfurling fronds.
Christine says: My Hori Hori Knife!
So ... when asked what was making me happy in my garden at the moment, it was not a plant at all (shocking, but true!) but a tool.
What I've been appreciating most is my constant companion in my garden and at the nursery ...
my Hori Hori Knife.
What is a Hori Hori Knife? Originating in Japan, it is
a steel-bladed, wood-handled, short (~12 inch) knife
which is used for gardening. It features a serrated edge down one side and a straight edge down the other. Obvious uses for the sharp-sides are digging up plants for transplanting/dividing, plunging deep into the soil to get at weed roots, and cutting open bags of compost/soil which my secateurs just seem to gum up over. At Russell I keep my Hori Hori on my tool belt at all times. It is useful for separating stuck together plant pots, digging liverwort out of gravel, and looking cool ... I can whip that knife out of my holster (it comes with a holster!!) like a Cowboy gunslinger whips out a Colt 45 in a nano-second...
Any downsides to a Hori Hori? One grumble I have is that the handle is soil coloured. I've lost my knife in the garden countless times. A solution to this problem is to
tie flagging tape or a brightly coloured ribbon to the end
to improve visibility. I've known people to paint the handle all stripy like a bumble bee... smart! Also, my drip irrigation system is the occasional victim of the sharpness of my Hori Hori. I forget sometimes when I'm using my Hori Hori as a trowel that the edges are super sharp and I have unfortunately punctured the line inadvertently while going after a deep-rooted weed (or two). It's a bad worker who blames her tools however! These minor kvetches are easily solved with a bit of forethought on the part of the gardener and certainly should not deter anyone from owning a Hori Hori Knife.
Once you have one, I suspect you will have a
new best friend in the garden just like me!
Add some zest to your garden
Does your garden need a bit of zing? Come check out our collection of pottery and garden art.
Did you know we also showcase a selection of art pieces from a number of our
talented local artists?
We currently have
hand-painted pottery, metal art pieces, birdhouses, garden-themed acrylic paintings and unique garden art all made by local artists.
The Little Things
It's often the unexpected or unintended joys which bring the most pleasure in the garden. There is such
simple happiness in watching the bees collecting nectar and pollen
from the plants you carefully selected,
or finding a precious bird nest
nestled in among the branches of a garden shrub.
The small ecosystems we create in our gardens benefit not only the birds and bees but a myriad of other creatures.
If you are wondering how to feed and nourish the wildlife in your garden come talk to one of our staff and
we would be happy to help you in your selections.