Salmon Arm & Blind Bay, BC

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Pushing the hardiness Limits..

Posted by nicosnurseryland on May 6, 2016 at 2:05 PM

Moving up to the Shuswap 20 years ago was the best thing our family ever did. The lifestyle, the landscape, the weather, the people, it’s all superior in our minds anyway. But I do miss a few things from the coast. One would be the plants that were hardy there but just won’t last a Shuswap Winter. I miss the big Rhododendrons that could grow 10-12’ high, or the Pieris japonica’s that would grow 5-6’ tall with those beautiful clusters of white flowers against that stunning red new growth.

That’s why I like to push the limits on hardiness zones. Sure we live in a Canadian Zone 5, which allows minus 29. I’ve lived here 20 years now, and haven’t felt minus 25, so I’ve always felt we could push the limits on a few shrubs and trees, besides, it can be a lot of fun and very rewarding!! There are a lot of hardy Rhodo’s that are great in our area, some even developed in Finland, so yes they are hardy here too. As for the Pieris there is one variety in particular that I have found to be quite hardy in the Shuswap. ‘Prelude’ is a dwarf variety that does very well here and still gets the amazing flowers! Another great plant is the Euonymus Paloma ‘Blanco’ with the pure white new growth against the dark green leaves. It’s a very handsome plant.

I have overwintered a Skimmia japonica now for 4 years in my front yard. Sure, one winter might come along and take them from me, but I’ve enjoyed them for so long I definitely got my money’s worth already! When you think of spending 10, 20 or even $30 on a plant that you’ll enjoy for 6 months, it’s still cheaper than a good night out at your favourite restaurant. Then, if you’re successful at overwintering it, the feeling is worth a lot more than the $30!

So don’t be afraid to try something different or push the limits. Gardening is supposed to be fun, try not to hear the voices that say, don’t do this, you can’t do that, because, just maybe, just maybe you can!!


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