Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Simple and Delicious Christmas Canapes

Want to impress your friends with this Christmas?  Try these simple and delicious Christmas Canapes favourites from West Coast Gardens.

Mexican Christmas Dip

1 package Cream Cheese - softened
1 8 oz container Sour Cream
1 jar Salsa
1 Package Tex Mex Cheese shredded
1 Red Pepper finely chopped
1 Green Pepper finely chopped
Mix cream cheese & sour cream together and layer on the bottom of a serving dish
Top with Salsa and spread over cream cheese mixture
Layer Tex Mex Cheese over the Salsa
Top with a mixture of red & green peppers
Serve with your favourite Taco Chips



Bocconcini Crisps

1 package Athens Mini Fillo Pastry Shells ( Safeway 1 package contains 15 so adjust your numbers according to # of people you are serving)
1 package Mini Pearl Grape Tomatoes chopped
1 container fresh mozzarella cheese chopped finely
Fresh Basil

Mix together tomatoes and cheese in a small mixing bowl

Lay out your Pastry Shells on a serving dish
Fill shells with the tomato/cheese mixture
Drizzle shells with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
Garnish with Fresh Basil

Gingerbread with Butterscotch Sauce

1 Package Gingerbread Cake mix

Make Gingerbread according to package instructions and bake in mini muffin tins
Cool Gingerbread

Butterscotch Sauce
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice

In a heavy saucepan heat brown sugar with butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until melted. Stir in corn syrup.
Stir together cream and cornstarch, gradually mixing into sugar mixture.
Cook stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and lemon juice. ( You may also add some brandy 1/4 cup if so desired)
Let cool stirring often.

This mixture may be made ahead of time and refrigerated in sealed jars for up to three weeks.

Before serving bring to room temperature or if you want to serve it warm heat it in the microwave.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Assemble your Gingerbread in a small dish, drizzle with Butterscotch Sauce and a small dollop of fresh whipping cream.

Goat Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Celery

4 celery sticks cut into thirds

5.3 oz spreadable goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Raw honey to drizzle

In a medium bowl, stir together goat cheese and walnuts.  Stuff celery with mixture and drizzle with honey.  
Serve immediately after adding honey.


Apricot Almond Appetizer

2 oz of goat cheese at room temperature
20 dried apricots
20 almonds (salted is best)
2 tbsp honey
Fresh thyme finely chopped
Place apricots on platter.  Spread each apricot with goat cheese.
Top each apricot with a whole almond.

Drizzle the platter with honey.
Sprinkle with fresh thyme.


Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

1 package Craisins Dried Cranberries
1 8 oz container Cream Cheese
1 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 large spinach, whole wheat or plain tortillas

Combine all ingredients except tortillas, mix well.  Divide and spread mixture evenly among all tortillas.  Roll up tightly, wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


To serve, cut each tortilla into 12 slices.

Friday, March 27, 2015

AAKKK...Slugs...What do I do??

Yet another beautiful week in the lower mainland with both sun and showers.  With the first week of spring under our belts, things are in full force here at the greenhouses.  We almost have all of our hanging baskets planted and growing beautifully for your spring and summer enjoyment.  The greenhouse is packed full of spring annuals, growing and waiting to aid you in your spring planting needs.  Beautiful and unique home decor, gift ware, and furniture to help create a relaxing outdoor oasis in your home. 

Slugs, those pesky little critters, may be creeping around your garden beds, looking to feast....here is a quick gardening tip for to deal with them....

AAK!  SLUGS!!
Yes, those little critters are active again.  If you're not planning to raise ducks or put out saucers of beer, we recommend Safer's 
Slug & Snail Killer.  It's safe to use around ornamental and edible plants.  Composed of a grain-like substance (like beer) and a minute amount of iron, it is toxic to slugs and snails but not to larger animals.  Sprinkle sparingly around vulnerable plants such as hostas and ligularias, and renew every few weeks.  

Although this weekend may not be looking too promising for sunshine, enjoy it, as the sunshine is probably not too far behind it!  We have so many great things in store this year for you and your gardens.  Senettis are finally in store and looking full and fabulous!  These are great cold tolerant plants and a great Easter colour!  We also have some beautiful indoor Hydrangeas that just arrived...Who doesn't love Hydrangeas!  With their big bloom and bold beautiful colours, they are sure to impress!  We still have a large selection of Pansies, Violas, Primulas available for your gardens as well, but they have been going quick, so hurry in!

Herbs, Lettuce, Veggies and Fruits are starting to arrive in store.  We will be adding to our selection as the weeks go on, but we do have some options for your right now.

In the Perennial/Shrub/Tree department, which is always one of our most popular departments, we have a lot of varieties of items, more arriving in every week.  If you are ever looking for something specific be sure to get in our request book!  Jean, our perennial guru, is always on the lookout for new and exciting items to offer you in store!

 As for what we currently have available to you in store...Skimmias, are in full FRAGRANT bloom, and we have male, female and self-fertile varieties.  They're great for shade, compact in height so they're perfect for urban gardens.  Evergreen too - what more could you want of a plant?

More popular items that just arrived in store are 
-Camellias, which are currently blooming and looking spectacular, 
-Conifers, compact unusual varieties now available-for best selection check it out early
-Miniature Garden Plants-Fresh shipment of plants perfect to create those whimsical fairy gardens
- Gourmet lettuce, Albion strawberries, mini-dwarf Honey Crisp apple trees 
- 2 gallon size hardy white Calla Lilies
-The most varieties of Seed Potatoes we have ever had
-and much much more...

THE PLANT OF THE WEEK

EGYPTIAN WALKING ONION (Allium proliferum)

This is a PERENNIAL heritage onion that is being re-discovered by gardeners.  It returns year after year, and the topsets of bulbs, long narrow leaves and outside bulbs in the ground can be harvested.  They look and taste somewhat like shallots, and grow 2 - 3' tall.  If the topsets are left unpicked, the eventual weight of them will cause them to fall over to the ground.  They then start to grow another plant, and it will eventually 'walk' all over your garden bed.  Full sun - pt. shade. Zone 3.  Limited quantity available.
  
That's it for now folks, but enjoy those moments of sunshine we have been getting, but also enjoy the rain!  Even come join us in the garden center on those rainy days.  We have lots to look at and enjoy :)

Until next time...

~West Coast Gardens~


Friday, March 13, 2015

Get out in the garden with this amazing weather!

Who would have thought that the weather would continue to be so amazing!  I woke up yesterday morning expecting to start my car to defrost it, but to my surprise it was already 10 degrees at 6:30 in the morning!  What an amazing way to start the early spring/spring season!  With this beautiful weather comes so much more motivation to get those things you have been yearning to do on your yard throughout the winter done!  So get out there and do it!  If you have any questions, we have some great knowledgeable staff for all your different gardening needs...

Things are actively progressing here in the greenhouse. Hanging baskets are constantly being planted for your spring enjoyment.  Your moss baskets are all planted up and starting to be hung around the greenhouses.  They are looking amazing this year!  We do have some availability...so call us now to place and order or to add on to your existing order:).  

Spring annuals are constantly being planted and are growing to be ready for you soon!  The store is filling with new, beautiful home decor daily, with beautiful colours for this spring.  We just received our fresh shipment of Garden pots for the store this spring!  There are some really beautiful pots available this year, so for the best selection...be sure to check it out soon!

We have solidified the dates for our 4th annual Ladies night!  Wednesday April 29 from 5PM-8PM.  TICKETS TO COME SOON, so stay tuned!

We are so looking forward to the spring!

If you didn't get a chance to read our e-newsletter already, check out the quick gardening tips and suggested plant product here (We will try have a gardening tip, or feature item for you every week or two-Sign up HERE if you haven't already):

PLANT OF THE WEEK

'LUCAS' GOLDEN HINOKI CYPRESS (Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Lucas') - If you looked out at your garden this past winter and thought, "Boring . . . ", a solution may be the newest compact group of conifers.  Lucas will be only 2 - 3' tall at maturity, perfect for urban gardens.  Delicate, fern-like, lacy sprays in that magic colour, lime green, add wonderful interest throughout the year, especially in the months of Nov. - Feb.  Excellent in containers or the garden bed.  Full Sun, Zone 4.  Limited quantity available.

Garden Tip

"WE'RE HUNGRY'

If you keep perennials/shrubs/trees in containers all year round, now is the time to give them some food.  They will have used up most of the available nutrients in the container by now and need more to keep growing this year.  Just add a 1" layer of either compost or Sea Soil on top of the existing soil, being careful not to pile it up against the main stem, which might promote rotting when wet.  Every time it rains, or you add water, the nutrients will travel to the roots.  The reward? Healthy, vibrant bodacious plants that will delight you all year!

That is a quick update for you!  be sure to stay tuned as spring comes closer and closer!



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spring is approaching fast....And we have LOTS to share with you

Who was able to get outside in the garden this past weekend, with the beautiful sun shining? Hasn't it been such an amazing past few weeks, and its definitely warm enough to get a start on those fresh pansies and primulas in your garden for a pop of colour!  This weather is making us here at the garden center get so excited for the upcoming months and sharing the amazing things we have coming up this spring!  (Stay tuned for more...)



And oh boy, you should see the moss basket progress!  They are coming along so nicely..the ladies have been working extremely hard to get them all planted up for your beautiful spring/summer patios.  If you haven't ordered yours yet, be sure to give us a call, as we are selling out of the popular varieties already!!





In the store we are receiving shipment of new, fresh home decor and gift ware daily!  We have 'Peepers Reading Glasses' now in stock, perfect designer reading glasses to suit anyone's needs.  



We just received a shipment of fresh Outdoor rugs.  These are ALWAYS a popular item for us and sell out very fast, so if you want a good selection to choose from, come check it out.  We also got a shipment of now, witty signs perfect for any personality or any occasion.  They start at only $15.00, and have been selling like hot cakes!



In the Nursery Stock Section we now have over 40 varieties of Hellebore's now available!  One of them, which we have choosing to feature because it is new and has very stunning showy leaves and blooms---Helleborus Penny's Pink.  The leaves emerge silvery green and pink, topped with deep pink blooms.  They appear in late winter into spring for a long show of colour in your garden when there is not much else happening there. Can be in the shade or part shade, and the leaves are evergreen for year round interest.  Excellent in either a container or garden bed.  Easy care!  Height 6-10", spread 24", Zone 5, limited quantity available.



Some other new items we have some beautiful perennial primulas and some new spectacular varieties of long blooming wallflowers (erysimum) to complement your spring bulbs and containers.  We are expecting lots of orders to be arriving weekly in the nursery stock section, so be sure to keep checking back for new and beautiful varieties we will be carrying this year!

We wanted to take the time to introduce you to one of our Staff.  This is something we want to be doing so that you get a chance to get to know us and what we do here at West Coast Gardens.  First off is Kim!  Kim is our Veggie Gardening Guru....If you have any questions on vegetable gardening, Kim is the one to find.  She has extensive knowledge and experience with the edibles section and is eager for the spring to come to help you grow/learn to grow your own veggie containers or gardens.  




We'd also like you to meet Kim's loyal and adorable sidekick...Georgia.  Georgia had a few words she would like to say you all of you!



"My name is Georgia.  I am an 8 year old Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier cross.  I belong to Kim, who works in the veggie department at West Coast Gardens.  She also helps to make the beautiful moss baskets.  I love to go to Kim’s work as I always get treats from the nice cashier ladies.  If you have any vegetable gardening questions come and talk to Kim.  She also likes to talk about me."

We like to leave you with a quick tip gardening tip on as many blogs as we can...If you ever have a question or something you may think would be a good topic for a gardening tip, please send an email to gardens@westcoastfloral.com.  We want to help you become the best gardener you can be and we would love feedback and questions from our loyal and amazing customers!

We will leave you with this gardening tip (AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN STORE SOON:))...

MOVING SHRUBS & TREES

Early spring is a great time to move a shrub or tree, as they are just coming out of dormancy but not yet actively growing.  Take the opportunity to prune branches at this time to make the plant more shapely or eliminate crossing branches.  Dig out as much of the root ball as possible.  It won't be possible to get all of the roots but that's OK.  

Choose a site that is not water logged and has good drainage.  Prepare the new site by mixing in some compost or Sea Soil and plant the shrub/tree so that it is at the same level as before.  Firm the soil around it and water it in.  Because you pruned some of the branches already, there should be minimal dieback as the root system adjusts to supporting a lesser amount of branches.  If you have not pruned any branches, then there will likely be some dieback as the root system tries to support all of the branches on fewer roots.  

In the first year after re-planting, water well as the plant establishes itself in the new site.  Gardens are a fluid, constantly changing composition, and that's the joy of gardening - seeing how plants grow and figuring out how to combine them together beautifully.

~West Coast Gardens~


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Miniature Gardens: Miniature Landscapes with big impact!

This is a great article from Steve Whysall at the Vancouver Sun:

"Shirley Taylor has come up with the perfect solution for people who want to have their own little garden but have limited space.

She has spent the last few years experimenting with clever ways of creating imaginative, miniature tabletop gardens, containing all the elements of a regular full-sized garden.

Some of her creations are micro-seaside landscapes with beach scenes featuring lush stands of bamboo and exotic succulents, along with deck chairs, sun umbrellas, changing huts and rowboats.
Others are lush woodland gardens filled with miniature rhododendrons, pieris and azaleas, while some capture the enchanting look of a Mediterranean hillside garden, complete with umbrella palms, nandina, podocarpus and rows of tropical-looking succulents.

None of these mini-gardens is more than a couple of feet wide and most are only a few inches deep. Yet all of them have been carefully and artistically designed and planted like a proper garden.
A staffer at West Coast Gardens in South Surrey, Taylor also adds miniaturized garden elements, such as precisely scaled-down gazebos and arches, loveseats and benches, café-style patio tables, chairs, fences and stepping-stones.

She has used tiny blue-glass pebbles to create the illusion of a stream or pond and small stones to evoke the convincing look of a dry creek bed, as well as tiny crushed gravel to form meandering paths and driveways.

Finishing touches include decorative elements like tiny wellington boots by a back door, a raccoon sitting on a tree stump or a pair of minuscule Adirondack chairs on a patio.

In other displays, you can find cows in fields, seagulls perched on driftwood and picnic tables set up for a party.

Dwarf conifers play a key role in creating the overall sense of scale and ambience of the gardens.
These are mostly varieties of chamaecyparis, cryptomeria, picea, abies and thuja. These are used in various ways to simulate the look of mature trees and hedges, shrubberies and other planting accents.
Tiny pots of ornamental grasses, heathers and shrubs, such as euonymus, nandina and holly, have also been introduced to complete the look.

It all results in a fun little container garden that anyone could have on a balcony or deck.
“I began all this a couple of years ago when I was putting some succulents in containers and I decided to incorporate a few decorative touches such as tiny bridges,” Taylor says.
“Then I figured ‘Why not add the look of water and make a path’ and it all evolved from there.”
Parents and grandparents have had a lot of fun bringing children to the store to work together building their own miniature garden, Taylor says.

“I’m always surprised by how the children always come up with something different even when they are all given the same basic materials. It just shows you how imaginative they can be.
“Usually, when grandma is involved, she starts out letting the child do the work, but after a short time, she is totally involved and clearly she is having as much fun as her grandson or granddaughter.”
To start a project, Taylor says it is essential to pick the right size of container.

It can be trough, saucer- or bowl-shaped, but it should be large enough to accommodate a few plants as well as some decorative garden elements, such as a bridge or gazebo.

One of Taylor’s larger creations has a tin house as the main focal point and the garden is built around it with a path leading up to the front door.

The path is lined with baby sempervivums (hens and chicks), which when repetitively planted in neat rows give the landscaping a distinctly formal, classical look.

It is also possible to create the illusion of a large vegetable garden by using tiny seedlings or even radish seeds, which when they sprout can have the look of rows of vegetables.
Soil in the containers needs to be lightweight and fast draining, like the kind of mix used for houseplants.

“I love plants,” says Taylor, “and I love finding innovative and creative ways of using them. These miniature gardens are just another way I think of using plants in containers to create something beautiful, and it’s also a way fun to do it.”

For trees, she likes using the reduced form of Japanese holly, Ilex crenata ‘Dwarf Pagoda’, and for a hedge-like backdrop she relies on Thuja ‘Teddy’ or Chamaecyparis ‘Teddy Bear.’
Her other favourite dwarf conifers include miniature hemlock, Chinese juniper and dwarf black spruce, as well as various yews, hollies and heathers.

Dwarf rhododendrons and azaleas are especially useful for adding spring flower colour but also their foliage and overall structure are very convincing in a miniature garden composition.
Succulents, especially sedums and sempervivums, make perfect specimens for adding an exotic, tropical look.

Small pots of baby bamboo in addition to nandina, euonymus and carpeting sedums like ‘Angelina’ are also used to inject a tropical feel. Baby air plants placed in miniature vases and jardini√®res also go well with this style.

On a small-scale, they mimic the look of large succulents, such as agave and bigger shrubs such as phormium, yucca and astelia.

At the garden centre, Taylor has set up an entire area for showcasing her miniature gardens and all the plant and related decorative materials to make a garden from scratch.
She will be conducting workshops for adults and children later this spring.
For under $50, it is possible to create your own miniature garden, she says.
To book a place for a workshop, call Taylor at the garden centre at 604-541-1117.

Check out the article and photos here: In the garden: Miniature landscapes with big impact

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Breath in the fresh air of Fall!


Fall is officially here with that cold, crisp air, leaves changing colours, and of course those moments of complete downpour.  The Fall season has been great here so far at West Coast Gardens, with some fabulous plants and products just flying out the door.  If you haven't done so already, you should come visit us and check out the great new home decor we have brought in for this season, as well as our fall selection of annuals, perennials and shrubs.

Even though your gardens are probably still looking nice from the summer, we are getting to the time where you will want to swap them over to your fall/winter annuals, while the ground is still warm.  As you have noticed the weather quickly turns, so maybe when there's a bit of sunshine, get out into your garden and freshen it up with some beautiful pansies, violas, bulbs, cool wave pansies and much more. Also this is the perfect time to plant your perennials!

In the greenhouse, we are constantly prepping for the upcoming seasons.  Poinsettias are already underway and looking fabulous for this Christmas season. 

We also have lots of exciting things happening at West Coast in the next few weeks.  If you haven't done so yet, GET YOUR TICKETS for our 1st West Coast Living Fair.  Tickets are going quick, but we still have some available.  Tickets are only $5 and there is so much to see and do.  We have about 27 vendors who will be showcasing different products and services, including jewelry, skin care, beauty, coffee roasting, edibles, fit wear and much more.  These vendors are available from 10 AM-4 PM.  Come check them out and support your local community.  For the on stage schedule, we have some great things planned.  The schedule is as follows:

10:00 AM: Doors Open
10:05 AM: Door Prize Draw
11:00 AM: Succulent Planter Demo
11:05 AM: Chef Jeremy of Deluxe Restaurant will be doing a great cooking demo
12:00 PM: Door Prize Draw 
12:05 PM: Fairy Garden Planter Demo
12:55 PM: Door Prize Draw
1:00 PM: Thomas Hobbs "From Spanish Fantasy to Green Acres"
2:00 PM: Door Prize Draw
3:00 PM: Door Prize Draw

We are excited for this event, and look forward to seeing you there!  Also join one of our great events coming up in the next few weeks as well! Check out our website HERE to see those events!

We are looking forward to the next few months, and we hope you come by and see us!

Friday, July 4, 2014

End of the Summer Season is drawing near-this is the time to shop!





Well the end of the season is drawing near, and this is the time to shop! We have A LOT of sales going on to get your patio and garden looking fabulous for all your summer barbecues and get togethers. With 50% off container gardens one more couldn't hurt right? Check out our latest e-newsletter to see whats going on in store...and just remember this is just a little taste of our sales....there is much more to see in store!


Definitely take note that we will be closing on JULY 12th at 6PM....But have no fear...we re-open on September 2 at 9AM....

We wanted to leave you with some thoughts on privacy screens for the summer. As you relax on your patio, are you on display to the entire neighbourhood? Or is the next door house looming over your garden? As our cities become denser, the need for privacy becomes greater.

Having a living screen made of plants not only fills that need but is also ornamental and can be tasty if made of edible plants. Here are some ideas to help you create a perfect amount of privacy for your yard:

- Vines are invaluable - just pick your favourite flower colour and consider the growing conditions, e.g., honeysuckle for sun or climbing hydrangea for shade

- An all green screen of bamboo or tall shrubs such as privet is restful to the eye

- Climbing beans and peas are tasty and decorative

- A living wall is both a work of art and creates privacy

- Large hanging baskets hung at different levels can be either full of flowers or be mainly foliage.

Which plants you use depends on if you wish to have greenery all year round or just in the warm months. Ask us for advice on what will grow in your specific conditions and the supports that these plants will need. Soon you will have your own private oasis away from the rest of the world.

We thank you so much for taking the time to read and enjoy our blogs, and we thank you so much for your patronage this season! We are lucky to have such great and loyal customers... Thank you again and we hope you have a fabulous summer!

West Coast Gardens