Treasure Hunt!

IMG_1223Writing a book provides the perfect excuse for visiting new gardens, growing new plants and exploring new nurseries.

Last week I was in Victoria BC taking photographs for our next book when the car inexplicably did an abrupt left turn into a lovely garden center; Garden Works. Well that’s my excuse anyway.

There were several well thought out displays that would tempt any gardener but I was especially intrigued by this trio of foliage beauties especially as two of them were new to me.

Why it works

Blending feminine and masculine, romantic and minimalist, soft and strong; this is a surprising marriage of unique foliage personalities.

The black stems on the compact Golf Ball pittosporum echo the color of the glossy mirror plant while the fresh green is repeated in the variegated leaves of the viburnum. Flat clusters of soft pink flower buds add a delicate finishing touch to the design which is perhaps at its most interesting in late winter/very early spring.

Meet the Stars

Variegated viburnum (Viburnum tinus ‘Variegatum’)


A mounding semi-evergreen or evergreen shrub 4-6′ tall and wide that bears clusters of white flowers in very early spring. Striking green and yellow variegated foliage makes this a year round beauty. Partial shade. Hardy in zones 8-10 (possibly root hardy in zone 7). Learn more

Golf Ball pittosporum (Pittosporum  tenuifolium ‘Golf Ball’)


An attractive alternative to boxwood in milder climates, this dense evergreen shrub stays a compact 3-4′ tall and wide and maintains a tidy rounded appearance without pruning. Full sun-partial sun. Hardy in zones 8-11. Learn more

Black Cloud mirror plant (Coprosma ‘Black Cloud’)


Add drama to your garden with this tough evergreen shrub. Growing 3-4′ tall and wide this needs full-part sun and well drained soil. Hardy in zones 7-10. This would be beautiful with silver wormwood (Artemisia) . Learn more

What new plants have you discovered on your late winter travels?


Victoria garden guide; if you ever find yourself in Victoria BC be sure to look up Victorian Garden Tours. Owner and guide Joan Looy is a wealth of horticultural and historical knowledge. Our new book will feature almost a dozen outstanding combinations from gardens we would never have discovered on our own.

Garden Works ; a great nursery with great people and great plants – what better combination is there? Take time to visit and see what their latest treasures area.


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