Great gift ideas in store now!

Yes, it’s that time of year again!  The time when the days are shorter and you literally have less time to get all your Christmas shopping, decorating, baking and preparing done than you did a month ago!

Who hates last minute Christmas shopping?  We all do!

Here are a few ideas to help you get it all done well in advance and have time left over for a delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte in Brambles Bistro!

Michel Design Works:

Michel design works

Michel Design Works has a wonderful range of personal and home soaps.  They’re luxurious, have delicious fragrances and make perfect gifts!  They’re also a great addition to the bathroom or kitchen during this special time of year!

IngeGlas Christmas Ornaments:


IngeGlas Christmas ornaments are imported from Germany.  These beautiful examples of find European style really add a whole new dimension to the Christmas Tree. They also make exquisite gifts!

Christian Ulbricht Pyramides and Nutcrackers:

Christian Ulbricht Nutcrackers

Christian Ulbricht Pyramides

Christian Ulbricht Pyramides are also European in origin and add that special something to your Christmas decor.  They’ll remind you of the stories of old Saint Niclaus and the Black Forest… and of course, the Nutcracker Ballet!

Honey BessWax Candles

honey beeswax candles


Fraser Fir by Thymes:

Thymes Frasier-Fir

More selections from Thymes:

Thymes at Tanglebank

Thymes Fraser Fir Thymes Gingerbread Thymes simmered cider

Home Decor and Jewellery from Twigz


When you purchase items from the Twigz line of jewellery and home decor ranges, you not only gain a gorgeous gift, but you also help African Moms look after their children better!

More home decor:


Modern Pastoral Home Decor:

Modern Pastoral

Beautiful Modern Pastoral items for your home or for someone special!

Gardening Tools and Gift Sets:



fairy garden book


Modern Pastoral


Notebooks, Leather Bound Journals, Pencil Sets and Exclusive Greeting Cards:


leather journalsh-pencilsetsh-stamps-setAnd of course, the children’s favorites from Maileg:


We have quite a variety of interesting, quirky, funny and entertaining books and activities in store for both adults and children!

We have many more great gift and home ideas in stock – both in the store and in the nursery!  Why not stop by and we’ll help you find something for everyone on your list!


Brenda’s Favorite Winter Interest Plants.

winter interest plants

Winter gardens definitely do not need to be boring if you include winter interest plants.


Here’s a list of my favorite winter interest plants to help you get started with turning up the heat in a cold winter landscape:


winter interest plantsBergenia
Snow Queen.  White flowers. Pure white flowers in spring. Deep glossy green foliage all winter
Rosi Klose.   Pink flowers in early spring. “””Ditto foliage
Bressingham Ruby.    Deep pink flowers in early spring.  Deep green glossy leaves turn rich red  in winter




Heuchera ‘Zipper’
Heuchera ‘Forever purple’
Heuchera  ‘Lime Marmalade’
Heuchera   ‘Sugar  Frosting’


heucherella-brass-lanternsHeucherella ‘Brass Lanterns’





Euonymus japonica Paloma BlancaEuonymus japonica Paloma Blanca.   An upright growing shrub with glossy green small leaves.  New growth in spring is pure white.  Great in containers or as a hedging shrub or specimen plant

Euonymus japonicus  ‘Aureo Marginata’. With mid sized bright green and golden yellow variegated leaves




Gaultheria procumbensGaultheria procumbens.  Or Wintergreen.  A low growing acid soil loving ground cover for shade to part shade with evergreen leaves white flowers in summer followed by bright red berries that when crushed release a beautiful wintergreen scent.



Skimmia RubellaSkimmia Rubella.  A great small shrub suited to shady sites or container gardens.  This plant produces beautiful clusters of deep red buds in September that remain thru March and then open to creamy pink  blooms that are extremely fragrant.


polar_gold_arborvitaeAssorted conifers






winter-heatherWinter Heather
Mary Helen.   Golden foliage produces bright pink flowers in winter
Kramers Red.   The all time favorite with deep green foliage and the darkest  of the pink flowers in winter


ChamacyparisChamacyparis obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’.  Aka dwarf golden hinoki cypress.  With its twisty turny form and brilliant golden and green foliage this plant is a star in the winter garden.   PAir it with  the sharp lance like foliage of Yucca ‘Garland Gold’ for brilliant effect.


Chamacyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwood Gold'Chamacyparis lawsoniana  ‘Ellwood Gold’. This columnar shaped conifer has beautiful blue foliage with gold shimmer.  Absolutely gorgeous in a container or in the sunny border.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Konfetti’.  This cedar shrub has deep green foliage with white gold markings.  Very unique and it sparkles in the winter garden.



Taxis baccatta fastigiata 'Aurea, Golden Irish YewTaxis baccatta fastigiata ‘Aurea,   Golden Irish Yew.  Beautiful variegated foliage with red berries in fall winter.  A personal favorite
This extremely long lived conifer does well in full sun or shade gardens and  adds dramatic height in a container garden and acts as a sentinel in the border




Low growing juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode'Low growing juniperus horizontalis ‘Mother Lode’ is a brilliant Carpet of gold on a slope.  or draping overt he side of a container or for something a little taller but still under a foot  try ‘Lime Glow’ with it s bright gold green carpet of foliage.


All of these plants have been chosen because they are perfect for our wet, cool B.C. winters.  If you’d like some ideas on how to incorporate them into your garden, please feel free to come in and chat with our talented horticulturalists.

Choosing Ornamental Grasses for their Season of Interest


Ornamental Grasses create visual interest, texture, color and movement when strategically used in your garden, particularly when paired with complementary plantings.


Here are some tips on choosing Ornamental Grasses for their specific season of interest and suggestions for companion planting.


Evergreen sedges, rushes and cool season grasses such as:
Juncus ‘Unicorn’, Milleum e ‘Aurem’, Carex ‘Bowles Golden’, Carex ‘Evergold’, Deschampsia ‘Northern Lights’, Festuca ‘Siskyou Blue’.

Euphorbia, Pulsatilla, Spanish Lavender, Heuchera, Spring flowering bulbs.



Helictotrichon eempervirens, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’, Stipa gigantea, Hakonochloa ‘Aureola’, Pennisetum rubrum, Imperatea ‘Red Baron’


Pervoskia ‘Little Sprie’, English Lavender, Guara, Coreopsis, Phygelius, Knautia, Cerntranthus ruber, Achillea, Eryngium, Helianthus, Echinacea, Phlomis.

For shade: Astilbe, Hosta’s, Coleus.


Pennisetum ‘Haemln’, Pannicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’, Miscanthus, Calamagrostis brachytricha, Pennisetum Rubrum.


Anemone, Asters, Eupatorium, Helenium autumnale, Sedum, Schizostylis.


Carex ‘Ice Dance’, Carex ‘Frosty Curls’, Carex Buchannii, Miscanthus


Euphorbia wulfenii, Heuchera, Ivy, Winter bulbs such as Galanthus and Winter Aconites.


Previous articles in this series:

Ornamental Grasses and Companion Planting – Part 1

Ornamental Grasses and Companion Planting – Part 2

Ornamental Grasses and Companion Planting – Part 3

Grasses and Companion Planting – Part 3


In this article, we’re going to look at which types of ornamental grasses work for specific types of containers.

in our previous article, we looked at how to grow ornamental grasses and which grasses are best for specific conditions.  If you missed these article, click the links to read these.


Specimen Grasses for Large Containers 12″ & Bigger:

Chasmanthium latifolium
Coraderia pumila
Miscanthus sinesis ‘Adagio’Miscanthus sinesis ‘Graziella’
Miscanthus sinesis  ‘Malepartus’
Miscanthus sinesis  ‘Morning Light’
Miscanthus sinesis  ‘Rotsilber’
Miscanthus sinesis ‘Variegatus’
Miscanthus sinesis  ‘Zebrinus’
Miscanthus transmorrisonesis
Molinia caerulea ‘Moorflamme’
Molinia caerulea ‘Skyracer’
Panicum virgatum ‘Haense Herms’
Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’
Pennisetum alopecuroides
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’
Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’

Specimen Grasses for Containers 6″ – 12″

Anemanthele lessoniana
Carex albula ‘Frosty Curls’
Carex buchananii
Carex comans ‘Bronze’
Carex dipsacea
Carex flagellifera
Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’
Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’
Carex testacea
Festuca Amethystina
Festuca glauca ‘Elizjah B;jue’
Festuca idahoensis ‘Skikiyou Blue’
Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’
Helictotrichon sempervirens
Imperatea cylindrica ‘Red Baron’
Juncus effusus ‘Gold Strike’
Juncus patens ‘Carmen’s Gray’
Molinia caerulea ‘Variegata’
Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny’
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’
Pennisetum messiacum ‘Red Bunny Tails’
Stipa tenuissima

Grasses for Edge of Mixed Containers:

Carex albula ‘Frosty Curls’
Carex comans ‘Bronze’
Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’
Festuca iahoensis ‘Siskiyou Blue’
Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’
Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’


Grasses for Center of Mixed Containers:

Carex buchananil
Juncus effusus ‘Gold Strike’
Juncus patens ‘Carmen’s Gray’
Miscanthus sinesis ‘Adagio’
Molinia caerulea ‘Moonflamme’
Molinia caerulea ‘Skyracer’
Molinia caerulea ‘Variegata’

In Part 4 of this series, we’ll look at choosing Ornamental Grasses for their season of interest.


Grasses and Companion Planting – Part 2

golden-bowl ornamental grass

In Part 1 of the article on Grasses and Companion Planting, we discussed the ‘how to’s’ of planting and caring for cold and warm season ornamental grasses.

miscanthus ornamental grass

In Part 2, we’re going to talk about the grasses you should choose for specific environmental conditions.

Drought Tolerant Ornamental Grasses for Hot, Dry, Sunny Conditions:

Andropogon gerardii
Arundo donax
Bouteloua grucilis
Chasmanthium latifolium
Cortadaria varieties
Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’
Helictotrichon sempervirens
Leymus arenarius ‘Findhorn’
Miscanthus sinesis ‘Gracillimus’
Panicum virgatum varieties
Pennisetum oriental
Phalaris varieities
Sesleria varieties
Sorghastrum mutans
Sporobolus heterolepsis
Stipa tennuissima

elijah-blue ornamental grass

Water Lovers

Acorus varieties
Arundo donax
Carex elata ‘Bowls Golden’
Carex muskingumensis varieties
Carex nigra varieties
Carex pseudocyperus
Carex speciosa ‘The Beatles’
Equisetum varieties
Glyceria maxima  ‘Variegata’
Imperatat cylindrical ‘Red Baron’
Juncus varieties
Phalaris varieties
Typha varieties

Dry Shade Drought Tolerant:

Calamagrostis arundinacca ‘Brachytricha’
Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’
Carex muskingumensis varieties
Chasmanthium latifolium
Luzula varieties
Phalaris varieties
Sesleria varieties

Shade Tolerant:

Acorus varieties
Arrhenatherum elatius bulbosum ‘Variegatum’
Briza media
Calamagrostis arundianacca varieties
Carex dolichostachys ‘Gold Foundtains’
Carex flagellifera
Carex morrowii varieties
Carex muskingumensis varieties
Carex nigra varieties
Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’
Carex pseudocyperus
Carex speciosa ‘The Beatles’
Chasmanthium latifolium
Deschampsia caespitosa varieties
Equisetum varieties
Hakonechloa varieties
Luzula varieties
Milleum effusum ‘Aureum’
Molinia varieites
Ophiopogon nigresence
Phalaris varieties
Schoenplectus tabernaemontani “Albescens’
Sesleria varieties

golden-bowl ornamental grass

Deer Resistant:

Fenneca varieties
Miscanthus varieties
Pennisetum varieties

Salt Tolerant:

Elymus magellanicus
Leymsu arenarius ‘Findhorn’
Panicum virgatum varieties
Phalaris varieties
Sporobolus heterolepsis

Grasses for Cut Flowers:

Arundo donax varieties
Briza media
Chasmanthium latifolium
Coradaria Varieties
Miscanthus varieties
Panicum virgatum varieties
Pennisetum varieties

In Part 3 of our Ornamental Grasses and Companion Planting article, we’ll feature ways to use grasses in containers.  In the meantime, here is some more reading:

Books worth looking at:

The Color Encylopedia of Ornamental Grasses – Rick Dark – Timber Press

The Encylopedia of Ornamental Grasses – John Greenlee – Rodale Gardening

Landscaping with Ornamental Grasses – Sunset Books

Plant Finder’s Guide to Ornamental Grasses – Martin Quinn & Catherine MacLeod – Whitecap

Heritage Perennials Perennial Gardening Guide  – John Valleau – Heritage Perennials

Grasses – Nancy J. Ondra – Storey Books

A Place in the Rain – Michael Lascelle – Whitecap

Gardening with Grasses – Michael King & Piet Oudolf – Timber Press

Bold Romantic Gardens – Wolfgang Oehme & James Van Sweden – Spacemaker


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.

How to Plant japanese maple

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.