Grasses and Companion Planting


There has never been a better time to explore the beauty of ornamental grasses.


With so many varieties available, there is an ornamental grass for every location, from full sun to shade, as well as for shallow or poor soils.

By incorporating ornamental grasses into your landscape you are adding form, texture, scale, colour (from flowers as well as foliage) and movement.  They can also be very luminous and translucent.

We are always looking for plants that offer year round interest as well as being relatively low maintenance. Most ornamental grasses fit the bill. They’re not water hogs, heavy feeders or prone to suffer from pests and diseases. They require little more than an annual trim.

Understanding Cool and Warm Season Grasses:

Cool season grasses:

Actively grow between temperatures above freezing and up to mid 20 degrees Celsius.

Are mostly evergreen (a few are deciduous)

Are mostly low growers up to 2 feet in height.

Mostly flower late winter to early summer.

Warm Season Grasses:

These grasses need warm soil to get growing in Spring.

They grow best when temperatures are over 24 degrees Celsius.

Die back to dormant buds beneath soil surface in the Fall.

Mostly taller growers between 2 to 8 feet, but some get as high as 15 feet.

Start flowering mid-summer to first frost.

Ornamental Grass Growing Tips:

Cut back cool season grasses by no more than two-thirds in early spring (February – March) as new growth starts. Here in the Lower Mainland, you can also lightly trim in September to remove sun burnt foliage. Cool season grasses rarely tolerate being cut back hard.

Removing old dead foliage can be done in several ways: raked out with a fine lawn rake, or by running fingers through the foliage starting from the crown up. This works well when you wear rubber gloves.  If you have just trimmed the grass, then rubbing your palm across the top of the trimmed grass usually dislodges dead foliage.

Warm season grasses can be cut back to the ground after the first killing frosts, but most gardeners prefer to leave the dead foliage for winter interest. They therefore only cut them back just before, or as they start to throw out new shoots from March to early April.


If in doubt as to whether your ornamental grass is cool or warm season, the rule of thumb is that if there is still color in the foliage (it’s not all dried and dead) after the first killing frost, then it’s probably a cool season grass and could be cut back to about a half to two-thirds.  If all the foliage has died back to ground level and is dried and straw looking, then it’s a warm season grass and can be cut back to ground level ie. 2 – 3 inches.

Take a bit of time planning where in your garden you’re going to locate your warm season grasses as most have highly luminous foliage and flowers. They will look fantastic when backlit, so plant them where they catch early morning or evening sun for best effect, or to the south of the garden.

A common problem when planting is planting too deep as many grasses will suffer or even die if planted this way. Plant to the same soil level as it is in the container. Also, if mulching, do not choke the crown. Taper the mulch down so that there is no mulch touching the crown.

Ornamental grasses rarely require staking. Most are clump forming and they’re not heavy feeders, so require no additional fertilizer.

When dividing ornamental grasses, I recommend that with warm season grasses that you divide them every 3 – 5 years to avoid the center of the plant from dying out. It’s best to do this in early Spring, or at the latest as new shoots emerge from the ground.  Dig out the very compact root ball and divide into quarters with a sharp spade or old axe.  Then replant to the original soil depth.

It is not crucial to divide cool season grasses but I recommend that they also be divided every 2 – 3 years to get best results. Divide them in the same as warm season grasses and approximately the same time – just as new growth starts.

If deer eat your plants, look at planting Festuca, Miscanthus and Pennisetum varieties.

Use ornamental grasses as cut flowers.

To get best results from cut flower ornamental grasses, cut before the flower has fully opened.  The flowers will generally last a couple of weeks in water. After that, drain off the water and let them dry. They will make an excellent dried arrangement that will look good for over a year.

In our next article on grasses we will share the best grasses for specific environmental conditions.




Garden Zucchini Pumpkin Artichoke Soup

 Recipe from Brambles Bistro

Garden Zucchini, Pumpkin & Artichoke Soup

 Recipe from Brambles Bistro

Recipe Yields- roughly 3 litres of Soup


  • Zucchini- 2 medium diced ( toss with salt and pepper and roast)
  • Yellow Onion – 4 medium diced ( toss with salt and pepper and roast)
  • Artichoke Hearts-  3 small cans
Garlic ( Minced)
  • 2 tbsp.
Celery- ½ head – medium diced
  • Rosemary- 2 sprigs off the stock
Pumpkin Puree -3  (small cans)
  • Sambal Paste- ½ tbsp 
Cinnamon – 2 tsp
  • Cumin – 1 tsp
  • Nutmeg (ground) 1 pinch
  • Cayenne Pepper- ½ tsp
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Maple syrup-1/3 cup


In a large mixing bowl mix together zucchini, artichokes, onions celery, garlic, cumin,nutmeg,cayenne, sambal, cinnamon, & maple syrup  with a little oil to coat, salt and pepper to season.

Once mixed on a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper spread out the ingredients and put into a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown- the zucchini should be soft and the onions translucent

Pull out ingredients into the blender in thirds blending until smooth.

Add cream if you would like to thin the soup down and add extra flavour!

Modern Pastoral – contemporary interior decor inspired by nature.

Modern Pastoral – contemporary interior decor  inspired by nature.

Modern Pastoral

In an earlier article, we introduced the concept of  “Modern Pastoral” and told you a little about the inspiration behind it and the reasons it’s one of the most popular current decor and lifestyle trends.

To give you some more indepth information, inspiration and guidance on creating this look in your home, we’re offering this amazing book by Niki Brantmark “Modern pastoral – bring the tranquillity of nature into your home” in our store.

It will teach you how to embrace the simplicity of life in the country and use nature and natural elements to create the transition between outdoors and indoors.

It will demonstrate how to use colors, textures, and details to create a home in which to unwind―a retreat from the rest of the world.

Niki Brantmark’s book explains variations on the simple, informal “Modern Pastoral” style.

The stunning photographs in this book will take on an armchair journey across Scandinavia and the United States. They’ll open your imagination to the ultimate rural lifestyle with the advantages of modern living.

Creating a “Modern Pastoral” Look.


As we move from the outdoor life of summer and retreat inside we desire to pull the outside inside.

As summer ends, we retreat inside to weather the colder weather. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to continue enjoying the outdoors.  One way we can do this, while staying warm, is to bring the outdoors inside.  We’re not talking about just having some plants in our main living spaces.  We’re talking about surrounding ourselves with nature in so many visually beautiful ways.

Modern Pastoral This popular trend, known as “Modern Pastoral”,  is gaining in popularity as we crave a simpler, gentler, kinder lifestyle. 

Less glitz and more substance. A pared down rural lifestyle with nature as its main inspiration.  Think mossy forests, trails, pebbly rivers and beaches, prairie  and alpine meadows and the breezy ocean side.

Glitz and glamour is passe. Nature now anchors our homes. Who can resist those sturdy  timber frames, large expansive windows through which to enjoy picture perfect views of outdoor gardens?  Fieldstone rock becomes walls, not just fireplaces.  Wood paneling becomes a headboard.  Pieces of driftwood become accents, along with nests of eggs and the occasional well placed feather.  Rocks and greens, including ferns, become art in our homes.  Plants take centerstage in terrariums, baskets and pots. You’ll find them in every room, not just the kitchen or living room.  Vases filled with coloured leaves on maple branches from the garden.

It’s all about creating a natural transition between the tranquillity of outside and the security of inside.

Speaking of outside:  think grasses, mosses, ferns, and hostas. Think in terms of meadows and grassy spaces  versus a formal  garden .  Think trees with interesting bark, such as birch or paperbark maples.  “Modern Pastoral” is all about bringing nature back into our lives. It’s about simplifying our lives and creating healthier homes to enjoy at the end of a busy or stressful day.  It’s about creating a oasis to which we can retreat, rest, relax and restore.

How do you go about achieving this in your own home?  We’re glad you asked! 

We can help you with a lovely variety of “Modern Pastoral” products which are in stock right now.  Lots of variety, lots of ideas and even a book with fabulous advice.  Come in and take a look!

Modern Pastoral terrariumOh, and by the way, on Thursday, October 27th, we have a “Girlfriends Wine and Cheese Terrarium Night” – sign up with your girlfriends for this special night out where you’ll learn how to put together a gorgeous Terrarium while enjoying wine, cheese and lots of fun! Click here for details.

It’s Thymes for Frasier Fir!


Thymes Frasier-Fir

The ever popular Thymes Frasier Fir products are now back in stock in our store.

Thymes Frasier Fir (as with all Thymes products) are perfect for Thanksgiving hostess gifts and, of course, elegant Christmas decor and gifts!

If you want to pamper someone (or yourself!), you’ll know you’ve made the right choice with Thymes.

The Frasier Fir collection is super popular and it’s no wonder as it adds a distinctive fresh forest ambience to your home!  It not only looks good, but it has a wonderful fragrance just as you experience in a walk through the forest!



Thymes products are made from the finest ingredients – which is obvious as soon as you try them. Come in today to see for yourself. These are exclusive and sought after gifts, and we are the only ones in the area to carry them – so hurry in for the best of the selection!


Upcoming Events at Tanglebank

Tanglebank Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events at Tanglebank Gardens & Brambles Bistro (2016)

Upcoming Events at TanglebankTanglebank celebrates 20 years of Gardening with you.  

To celebrate our 20th Anniversary we’ll be holding more gardening workshops, seminars and events than ever before.  Events will include our very popular container gardening series, a brand new kids gardening series as well as basic garden school seminars for newbie gardeners and those who want to hone their skills.

Is there a gardening topic you would like to know more about?  Let us know and we will try to include it.   Stay tuned for more exciting events to be added to this list as we move forward.

Garden Workshops and other Events at Tanglebank 2016
Please note: RSVP by calling 604 856 9339 or come into the store



Saturday Oct 1st  10am  Fall container Garden Workshop 
Learn how to create a beautiful Autumn container with Brenda and   Bring the warmth of Autumn to your front door    Bring your own container or purchase one here.   RSVP  by calling 604 856 9339 or come into the store.  Costs depend on your choices of plantings.

Saturday Oct 8th.   10am    Our special Kids Day.
Bring the kids out to create a CRAZY HAIR PUMPKIN HEAD PLANTER or create a DECOUPAGE PUMPKIN using garden greens to create a beautiful centerpiece for your table for Thanks giving.  Cost $5 each.  Do one or both.  You decide.  Ladies  if you would like to create one as well the cost is $8 for a small or $15 for a large.  Please RSVP  by calling 604 856 9339 or come into the store.

October 26th. 7pm Girlfriends  Wine and Cheese Terrarium Night.  DATE TBA
Cost is $20 (includes wine, cheese, soils, instructions and decorative touches)  Cost of plants and glass terrarium extra.  RSVP  by calling 604 856 9339 or come into the store.

Thursday Oct 27   6:00 pm    Autumn Bounty Long Table Dinner at Brambles Bistro.
Menu and Prices available here:Harvest Bounty Long Table Dinner Menu.


Thursday November 10th 6pm-8pm: Ladies Soiree is Back!
Get into the swing of the season this year Tickets are $20 each.
Wine, appies and a night of entertainment  This year we are featuring a local Guest Chef. Pamela Scott who will be creating and demonstrating some wonderful entertaining ideas for this holiday season. Ladies she also creates a wonderful line of spices you can purchase that  night.   We are also featuring local jewelry designs by Carolily Designs.   Absolutely beautiful.   Great gifts or for yourself.   And as usual we will have some decorating ideas for garden and home.      Lots of door prizes and the perfect night to share with girlfriends, daughters,  and mothers.  We look forward to seeing you here.

Saturday Nov 12th 8:30-10am Santas Pancake Breakfast and Elves Workshop
Come and Enjoy breakfast with Santa 8:30-10am.   Cost $8 per child. $12 per adult.   Includes fresh made pancakes with all the trimmings, syrup, strawberries and whip cream as well as sausage and bacon.

10am – 2 pm. Then head on over to the Elves FREE workshop where the kids can enjoy face painting, 10-12pm. crafts and make cool pine cone bird feeders to feed our fine feathered friends.  As well as Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows.

Saturday  Nov 19th.   10am. Christmas Container Workshop.  RSVP.  
Learn how to create your own “Best Dressed Container”. This holiday season.  Bring your own container or buy one here then plant it up with winter plants and finish it off with all the trimmings.   Cost is determined by plants and accessories you choose.

Tuesday Nov 22nd.  7pm. Christmas Wreath Workshop with wine and Cheese.  Cost $65 RSVP.  
Create a lovely 14″ wreath with assorted greens, twigs and pine cones then learn how to tie the perfect bow to top it off while you enjoy wine and cheese.  Not just the Cheese your friends dish out!! LOL


Stay tuned for more great events to be announced.


Saturday March 19th.  

Spring Container Garden Workshop 10 am. RSVP
Bring your own container or purchase one here.  Brenda will show you how to create a lovely spring container just in time for Easter using a combination of shrubs, perennials, grasses and bulbs that is sure to bring a smile to the faces of all who visit.
Cost determined by plants you choose for your planter.

Saturday, April 2nd.  
Children’s Rainforest Terrarium Workshop 10 am.  RSVP
Children will build their own pop bottle terrarium complete with wild animals while learning about our rainforest.
Cost $10

Saturday April 16th.  
Vegetable Gardening 101. 10am. RSVP
Learn how to grow veggies like a pro.  Learn how to plan a garden, rotating crops, starting seeds.  Discuss the benefits of square foot gardening, raised bed gardening as well as basic care, watering and fertilizing of the garden.
Free seminar.

Saturday April 23rd.  
Moss Hanging Basket Workshop.  10am RSVP
Create your own lush hanging basket while learning how to add a few extra artistic, creative touches and keep it looking great all season..
Cost $20 plus plants.   Cost includes basic supplies of soil,moss and basket.

Saturday May 7th.  
Children’s Mother’s Day Spring garden container.  10 am RSVP
Children can create a beautiful flower pot filled with annual flowers to give to Mom this Mothers Day.  Planting and Colouring fun!
Cost $10

Sunday May 8th.  
Mothers Day Brunch Buffet. RSVP
Bring the whole family and treat Mom to a very Special Lunch.
3 Seatings available.   9:30 am.   11:30am.  1:30 pm
Call  for pricing and to reserve your place

Saturday May 14th.  
Succulent Wreath Workshop  10am.  RSVP
Create an amazing evergreen wreath using succulents of echevaria, sedums sempervivum and moss.
Cost $10 plus plants.. Cost includes basic supplies of soil, moss and wreath form.  Plants are extra.

Saturday May 21st.  
Herb Gardening and planter Workshop. Recipes Included.  10am. RSVP
Take a culinary journey as we look at classic herbal combinations from around the world  such as Thai, French, Italian, Indian, Mexican  while you learn what works well with each other and how to grow them,  then pot up your favourite combination.   PS. In this class you will also get to do some tasting and take home some recipes.
Cost  $10 plus plants you choose.   Cost includes planter, soil, tasting and recipes.  Plants are extra

Saturday May 28th
Summer Annual Colour Container.  10am.  RSVP

Create a colourful container garden using foliage and structure to create a bold design that will brighten up any spot in your garden.
Cost  is determined by plants you chose.

Friday June 3rd, 7 – 10pm
Spring Into Summer: Brambles Bistro and Carolily invite you to ‘Spring into Summer’ – Sip wine, sample treats and shop!  Ticket info coming soon.

Saturday June 11th
Broads Brunch is June 11th: Only 50 tickets available! Buy now before they’re gone!  Call 604 864 8087 or buy online at

Saturday June 18th.
Fairy Garden Workshop. 10am.  RSVP

Let the Child in you out.  Wether you are 5 or 55 or anywhere in between, below or beyond this class is sure to bring out the child in you.  Create your own miniature fairy world including the magic of Fairy dust.
Cost $40 includes pot, soil, 2 plants and $20 in fairy garden fixtures

Saturday June 25th.
Xeriscape Gardening  Vs Rain Gardening. 10am. RSVP

Learn how to create a sustainable garden that thrives even in hot dry summers and  winter wet.   Learn how to chose the right plants for your garden site.
Free Seminar.

Hot Summer Nights on the Patio

We’re celebrating summer with a series of themed evenings on Brambles Bistro patio.  Call to reserve your table now:

Thursday July 28th. Tuscany Night 

Thursday August 4th Burgers & Brew Night

Thursday August 11th Mexican Night

Thursday August 25th Thai Night

End of Summer Garden Chores

Panicle Hydrangea

It’s September and it’s time for the end of summer garden chores.

end of summer garden choresThis time of year is really just as exciting as Spring.  Although the annuals are beginning to reach the end of their season, there are still plenty of interesting visuals in the garden and it’s the perfect time to plan ahead for the next year and get organized for Fall planting.

The first chores that need to be attended to are making sure that any plants that need to be sheltered from the cooler weather are acclimated to where they’ll stay indoors.  Once the evening temperatures begin falling, these plants can suffer damage, so it’s best to take care of this as soon as the evening temperatures hit around 10 degrees Celcius.  At that temperature, a cool snap becomes a lot more likely and if the temperatures dip too low, your plant could die.

MulchThe next thing on the chore list should be making sure that your beds are adequately mulched to protect roots of trees and shrubs during the winter.  Although you may have leaves falling, these can sometimes begin to rot if it gets too wet.

The third thing you’ll want to do is to take a good look at your garden landscape and decide if you’re happy with it as is, or if you’d like to make some changes.  If changes are on the agenda, then now’s the time to begin planning them.  It’s also the time to begin purchasing bulbs for Fall planting.

winter chores pruningIt’s a little too early still for most pruning. You’ll want to wait until later in Fall or early Winter when your shrubs are in their most dormant stage.  That’s the best time to prune.  As the weather gets colder, less energy is used for above the ground growth and more is diverted below the ground to strengthen root systems.

What you will want to do is repot any plants that are outgrowing their containers.  Don’t repot into containers that are too big as this can actually inhibit growth.  Go a single size bigger to allow roots just a little more room to spread out.

fall color mumsAbove all, the end of summer is a time to really enjoy the changes in the garden. Foliage changing color and late summer blooms in the softer, gentler sunshine. Crisp mornings and cool evenings when the air seems cleaner and clearer!

If you feel that your garden is starting to look a little drab, the good news is that now is the perfect time to begin making changes.  Take some photos of your garden. Think about what you’d like to see. Then come in and chat with our professional horticulturalists who can help you choose plants and design garden layouts that will ensure color and interest throughout the year.

Fall Colour is Here!

fall color pansies

We’ve just received the first lot of Fall colour!

Fall is the perfect time for planting!  The cooler weather allows roots to grow strong! The wetter weather means that you don’t have to worry about plants suffering lack of water because of the dehydrating effect of summer heat and sun.  Fall planting allows your plants to grow strong so that by next Spring, your perennials are ready to grow to their full potential.

Obviously, much of the Fall color we love is provided by annuals such as pansies, but there are plenty of plants that will come back again in the Spring once weather begins to warm after the Winter.

Here are a few of the plants we have in stock right now:

Fall Pansies: Aren’t they gorgeous?

fall color pansies


Fall Anemone Honorine Jobert: sweet and delicate to add a touch of elegance!

Fall anemone Honorine Jobert

Fall Mums: all time favourites!

fall color mums


Get started with planting for Fall colour now! 

These are all perfect for containers, borders and other spots in your garden that need a little brightening up!