Rosemary adds a dramatic aspect to the garden.
Planting season is upon us
Read More In The Garden
Tyee Drive is looking particularly nice this spring, thanks to the planting efforts of the Point Roberts Garden Club members.
Planting season is finally upon us, and we are once again faced with challenges in acquiring new plants for our gardens. Although I miss hopping in my car and zipping over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or any of the dozens of other plant sellers on the East Coast, we have several options to expand or renew our gardens in this wonderful exclave. All it takes is a bit of planning.
First, there are many opportunities to acquire plants without leaving Point Roberts. As with other things, Point gardeners are generous in sharing of plants and seeds. At most PR Garden Club meetings, members offer seeds and divisions from their own gardens. It is certainly worth attending a monthly meeting to take advantage of this generosity, as well as the edible goodies, good company and the talks.
Another option for acquiring plants within Point Roberts comes from the
Point-Interface (P-I) email distribution system. P-I circulates notices of available plants or requests for plants, along with other community notices. If you are not signed up with Point-Interface, email your name, address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org with “subscribe” in the subject line. The cost is a $10 or greater annual donation to the Point Roberts Animal Wellbeing Society – a fabulous bargain.
In addition, vendors at the Saturday Morning Market frequently offer plants
for sale. At a recent market, I was able to pick up a large bagful of daffodils and sword ferns for less than $10. Last year, I acquired some herb plants at the market and would have bought trees if I had the space in my garden.
Still, nothing beats cruising the aisles of a garden center, taking in the myriad colors, scents and textures. We are so fortunate in having a high concentration of retail garden centers in Point Roberts. They tend not to open until the gardening season is in full gear, but all three are
open now: Bloomers on Gulf Road offers a variety of plants, Lush Gardens on Benson Road specializes in annuals and hanging baskets and Ladybug Nursery on Windsor offers a selection of annuals, perennials, and trees.
If none of the Point Roberts nurseries can supply the plants or seeds you want, they can be brought from Canada as long as you obtain a phyto-sanitary inspection certificate to present at the Point Roberts port of entry. Sunnyside Nursery in Delta and Phoenix Perennials in Richmond will both arrange for and supervise this inspection when you purchase plants from them, holding the certified plants until you can pick them up. An alternative is to arrange a phyto-sanitary inspection yourself by calling or emailing CFIA program officer Kara Soares at 604/541-3366 or email@example.com. An application for inspection including the botanical names of the plants, must be completed two days in advance and faxed (604/541-3375) or emailed to Soares, who will arrange to meet you at a location of your choice in the Surrey-Delta area for the inspection. The processing fee is $12.60 CDN, exact change.
Happily, there are two cases for which purchases are pre-certified and an
inspection is not needed. First, upon request, West Coast Seeds can supply a pre-certification sticker for seeds you purchase at their Elliott Street retail outlet. Second, West Coast Gardens in South Surrey can supply you with certification for any annuals they have grown themselves.
Before you buy in Canada, note that some plant material will not be allowed across the border under any circumstances. Many fruit trees and shrubs, and members of the Berberis family (e.g., Oregon grape, barberry) are examples of such plants. The sales people at some, but not all nurseries, will know which plants are not allowed to cross the border. If in doubt, check the APHIS manual at (www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/nursery_stock.pdf) before purchasing a plant.
What do you do if our local nurseries
do not carry the plant you want and it is not allowed to cross the border? Clearly, the plant must be purchased via mail order or in person from “across the big border.” If you would like to search for a mail-order plant, then Dave’s Garden (www.davesgarden.com) is useful for finding nurseries that can supply rare plants and for viewing ratings of these nurseries. If you would like to purchase the plants in person, be aware that
Canada customs has the right to prevent any outdoor plant from
crossing into or through Canada unless it is being carried by a bonded carrier such as a freight company, UPS or the U.S. Post
If you would like further assistance or advice, many Garden Club members can help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or come to a meeting. The Point Roberts Garden Club meets the first Wednesday of the month, February through November, at 7 p.m., at the Point Roberts Community Center.