The Greening of the Nursery

The foliage is finally coming out on the plants here at Verbinnen’s Nursery. It’s been a late spring, at least a week later than average, and about two or three weeks later than last year, when the season was especially early.

Sugar Maple in 1 Gallon Pots

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) in 1 Gallon Pots

These sugar maple (Acer saccharum) are looking great! They are on hold for our own production, slated to move up into 3 gallon pots.

Willow (Salix sp.) greening up quickly

These willows (Salix sp.) are greening up quickly

These willows (Salix sp.) are excellent for wetter areas. They are excellent food sources for native insects, supporting a variety of different species. These insects in turn are an excellent food source for migrating and breeding birds.

There are also a few species beginning to flower. The cherries (Prunus sp.) and service berries (Amelanchier sp.) are the first to show their buds.

Pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) flowers

Pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) flowers

Pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) is an early successional species, growing quickly in disturbed environments. This makes it useful as a nurse crop over other tree saplings that prefer shade, such as sugar maple (Acer saccharum) or white pine (Pinus strobus).

Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) flowers

Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) flowers

Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) is also called smooth serviceberry. It also has sweet tasting fruit that attracts birds and makes great pies!

It’s a great time to be out in the nursery, seeing the different stages of development of the leaves and flowers. As an employee, it’s a unique opportunity to learn to recognize native plants in a variety of stages of development.

If you’d like a chance to do some learning yourself, feel free to drop by. We’d be happy to show you around!

Peter Scholtens – Sales and Service, Verbinnen’s Nursery

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More Perennials

Two weeks ago we announced our new line of perennials. Some of that material is producing flower buds. We’ll have pictures soon!

We’ve had a few more perennials arrive since then.

Grasses, Sedges, and Rushes
Elymus canadensis Canada Wild Rye
Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed
Aster cordifolius Heart-leaved Aster
Aster oolentangiensis Sky-blue Aster
Aster puniceus Swamp Aster
Caenothus americanus New Jersey Tea
Penstemon digitalis Foxglove Beard-tongue
Penstemon hirsutus Hairy Beard-tongue
Potentilla arguta Prairie Cinquefoil


Again, if you’re interested, please feel free to reserve your stock ahead of time.


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It’s The Pot!

Earth Day Picture

Earth Day planting, April 2011 - Dundas Star News


One of our staff members cut this out of the local paper and brought it in. The picture was taken at a local Earth Day event organized by Earth Day Hamilton.

We didn’t recognize any of the people in the picture. Why is this picture remarkable to us? Why would the staff at Verbinnen’s Nursery want to see the picture?

It’s the pot! The terracotta coloured pot is one of our signature items. The orange colour doesn’t absorb as much heat as the typical black pot used in the industry. The lower temperatures results in a healthier root system. A healthier root system produces a healthier plant.

Come and get them here at Verbinnen’s Nursery!

Peter Scholtens – Sales and Service, Verbinnen’s Nursery

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Quiet Nature

Here’s a great article about one of our customers, Quiet Nature, a landscaping company in Ayr, Ontario. They are focusing on changing the face of landscaping, making it a quieter, ecologically friendly industry. Check it out!

We are always happy to feature good news stories about our customers on our web site. If you have one, please let us know!

Peter Scholtens – Sales and Service, Verbinnen’s Nursery

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Grow Me Instead

As you may have seen earlier on our news updates, we’ve partnered with the Horticultural Outreach Committee, a sub-committee of the of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council to produce a Grow Me Instead guide to growing native plants instead of invasive species currently found in the landscape. The guide was a hit and all copies have been snapped up. Here’s a quick update from the Horticultural Outreach Committee.

Grow Me Instead

Invasive species are a significant threat to biodiversity. Horticulture is one of many pathways for the introduction and spread of invasive plants. With this in mind, the Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) and partners created a guide to help gardeners and landscapers choose beautiful, non-invasive plants. The Grow Me Instead guide identifies common garden plants that may invade natural areas, thereby reducing native biodiversity and changing environmental conditions. It also provides a list of non-invasive alternatives for each of these plants. This resource is available for free download as a PDF from the OIPC website (link to the website: Hard copies will likely be available in the summer. Send requests for copies to Hayley Anderson (link to, the OIPC coordinator.

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Our New Line of Perennials

As mentioned on another page of our web site, we plan to have a new line of perennials available this season. The first shipment of plugs arrived late last week and we are potting them up as quickly as we can. We are potting the grasses, sedges, and rushes into 1 gallon coco fibre pots and the forbs into 5″ coco fibre pots.

As they have only recently arrived, and are being potted, they have not showed up on our availability yet. However, they will appear on availability in 3 or 4 weeks, once they have taken root. We will have the following species available at that time.

Grasses, Sedges, and Rushes
Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem
Bouteloua curtipendula Side-oats Gramma
Bromus kalmii Prairie Brome; Kalm’s Brome
Carex bebbii Bebb’s Sedge
Carex hystericina Bottle-brush Sedge
Elymus hystrix Bottle-brush grass
Panicum virgatum Switch Grass
Scirpus atrovirens Green Bulrush; Dark Green Bulrush
Sorghastrum nutans Indian Grass

Allium cernuum Nodding Onion
Anemone canadensis Canada Anemone
Anemone virginiana Thimbleweed
Aquilegia canadensis Wild Columbine
Aster ericoides Heath Aster
Aster novae-angliae New England Aster
Chelone glabra Turtlehead
Eupatorium maculatum Joe-pye Weed
Geum triflorum Prairie Smoke
Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower
Lobelia siphilitica Blue Lobelia
Solidago caesia Blue-stemmed Goldenrod
Solidago flexicaulis Zig-zag Goldenrod


If you are interested in reserving any of these before they show up on our availability lists, please let us know.

Peter Scholtens – Sales and Service, Verbinnen’s Nursery
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More Spring In The Greenhouse

There are lots of new leaves showing in the greenhouse as we move forward into spring. Check out these pictures!

Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Red oak (Quercus rubra) seedlings are sending up strong shoots


Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) seedlings are coming up by the thousands!


Alternate-leaf Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Alternate-leaf Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) seedlings. These do well as a small tree in a shady setting.



Flowering blueberry!


If you’re interested in having a closer look sometime, please send me an email and I’d be happy to arrange a tour of the nursery for you.

Peter Scholtens – Sales and Service, Verbinnen’s Nursery

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The Potting Line

This time of year the potting line is going full out. We’re planting up material for the season, trying to maximize the time we have.

The potting crew manager is a crucial position. The person in charge needs to be able to plan every day in advance and ensure that all the supplies are in place. This year we have an excellent, experienced potting crew manager.

At the start of the line, the plant material is placed into the pots.


Once the plant material is in the pots, the potting mix needs to be placed around the plant and gently packed down. The potting mix is brought in by a conveyor. Any extra is carried away by another conveyor back into the bin.

Soil comes up the conveyor and is gently packed around the plant.


Once the plant material is potted, the newly potted plant automatically gets watered in the watering tunnel.

An electronic eye senses the arrival of a plant and waters it.


Newly potted material comes out of the watering tunnel.


After watering, a conveyor takes the potted and watered plant and carries it to the end of the line where staff place it on a wagon to be taken out into the container yard.

Freshly potted material awaits delivery to the container yard.


The plants are placed down in the yard to await some warm weather so that the leaves can flush out and develop some roots.

Freshly potted plant material, waiting for some warm weather to kick-start growth.


This process will get repeated countless times this year in order to keep our customers happy, keep Ontario supplied with native plants, and make Ontario a better place for insects, birds, and other animals to live.

Peter Scholtens – Sales and Service, Verbinnen’s Nursery

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Spring Comes Early

Spring comes early in the greenhouse. Seeds are germinating and last year’s seedlings are putting out new leaves. It’s an exciting time! It makes the greenhouse an enjoyable place to hang out, especially when we’re having such a cold year. I heard the weatherman say that we’re three weeks behind where we were last year at this time.

Black Oak

Black oak (Quercus velutina) is relatively unusual. They do well on well-drained soil.


Red Oak

The red oak (Quercus rubra) acorns sent down roots weeks ago, but are just starting to send up shoots.



Peter Scholtens

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Ontario Gleaners

Many people know Verbinnen’s Nursery as a great place to pick up native plant material. John Verbinnen, the owner, has over 30 years of experience in the industry. We also have several experienced employees, including John’s son, Alex, who is our propagation manager. We also have staff in the office full-time, so that we can answer the phone, reply to emails in a timely manner, and respond to your queries.

However, we do have a life outside of the nursery. Our life is not only about native plants. Our staff is involved in other things as well. One of the things that John Verbinnen is involved in is the Ontario Gleaners. You can learn more about John’s efforts by going to the most recent issue of Horticulture Review and turning to page 22.

We’re proud of John’s work and his willingness to serve the broader community.

Peter Scholtens – Sales and Service, Verbinnen’s Nursery

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