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Calling all entrepreneurs; how hardy really are the Cedrus; next spring’s garden shows!
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

December 10, 2006

Above, two shots of weeping blue Atlas cedars (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’), courtesy Oregon State University and below my weeping cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani ‘Pendula’) which grows in a pot at the front door to our house (author photo).

Here’s an interesting business opportunity either for an existing Canadian corporation, or perhaps for a young or mid-aged entrepreneur with a great interest in gardening. One of the oldest firms in the greenhouse construction business in the U.K. is the Hartley Botanic company in Greenfield, Oldham England. Their classic Victorian style conservatories and greenhouses are seen right across that country, and from time to time have been imported to both Canada and the U.S. Now the company advises that they are specifically interested “in bringing our products to the Canadian market and would like to hear from interested Canadian companies or individuals.”
There are a number of companies in Canada offering various types of greenhouses but it certainly won’t hurt if Hartley becomes a competitor since they offer a very well made and well known product. If you are interested in talking to the folks at Hartley simply drop an e-mail to:, or try a snail mail to him at Wellington Road, Greenfield, Oldham OL3 7AG, U.K.

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Here’s a bit of controversy for you! In the September 2006 issue of Canadian Gardening my fellow garden writer/editor, Anne Marie Van Nest, listed one of my favourite plants, the weeping blue Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’) as her top pick in the category of “architectural plants.” Now, as one who defied various “experts” and actually grew a Kashmir cedar (Cedrus deodara ‘Kashmir’) in my Toronto garden for a number of years (it was cut down by the house’s new owner!), I was somewhat surprised to see Anne Marie (an excellent horticulturist) suggest this plant for gardens in zone 6.

Having attended school in Niagara Falls (the same one as Anne Marie) I am familiar with a number of Cedrus species and cultivars growing in the peninsula, but I also know there are precious few in the Toronto area, although many gardeners have tried them. My reason for trying the Kashmir cedar back in the late 1990s was that I thought that my East York garden was extremely well protected from the prevailing west winds and specialist growers here in B.C. told me they generally believed the Kashmir cultivar was the hardiest. So, Cannor Nurseries in Abbotsford shipped me a large one, together with an only slightly smaller evergreen magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). Both were planted in mid-fall and both survived a very hard winter. The magnolia lost most of its foliage but regained new leaves early in the spring. The Kashmir cedar lost a considerable amount of its needles, and even one entire branch seemed dead in the early spring, but no pruning was required as new needles appeared mid-spring.

In subsequent years, both did well, until they were unceremoniously cut or pulled out in the summer of 2003!

Cedrus are not easy plants to grow in Ontario except in the mildest parts of zone 6b which only includes Sarnia, London, Niagara peninsula, Hamilton and the southernmost parts of the Toronto area.
All of that is not to say that Anne Marie should not have recommended the weeping blue Atlas cedar for zone 6; but I do think the magazine might have added a precaution and not just said “zone 6.” Now here is an additional interesting part of the story. In the same issue, in a listing of sources for this great plant, it is indicated that three suppliers are: Centre du Jardin Deux-Montagnes Inc.(!); Connon Nurseries, Waterdown; and Plant World, Toronto. Now, the latter two seem reasonable sources since they are located within zone 6b; but Centre du Jardin Deux-Montagnes Inc. near Québec City is actually in zone 4b! When I checked the company’s Website, I found no specific reference to any Cedrus. I will check with friend Larry Hodgson to get his definitive take on this.

An additional twist is that there are a number of B.C. nurseries listed in the source list for other plants mentioned in the same item or for other items in the same issue; e.g. B. Dinter Nursery Ltd. in Duncan where I regularly observe weeping blue Atlas cedars offered for sale; and Minter Country Garden in Chilliwack where I have also seen the cedar in question. I find all that very interesting!

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Just in closing this week’s item, a reminder that the spring garden shows in the greater Toronto area are coming up in March again. The annual Canada Blooms flower show is being held at the same venue, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building from March 7 to 11, likely with a gala on the evening of March 6. The Successful Gardening Show will also be at its regular venue of the Toronto International Centre, Airport Road, Mississauga from March 15 to 18.

I shall be speaking at both these shows and will provide you the details of the topics and times in a later article. I provide this reminder of dates now because now is the time you should be thinking about arranging a bus from your town or city to see one or both shows. The contact point for Canada Blooms is a toll-free number 1-800-730-1020, or their Website at For the Successful Gardening show call 416-512-1305, or check the Website at and click on Successful Gardening.

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