Archive for the 'Observations' Category

6 Reasons why Vancouver is a Gardener’s Paradise

Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden

Vancouver, British Columbia has been in the news a lot lately, primarily because of the extraordinarily high price of housing in the city.  Real estate prices are driven by supply and demand. People like living in Vancouver for a variety of different reasons.  Here are 6 reasons why Vancouver is the place to be if you are a gardener.

1. The Climate

Where else in Canada can you plant vegetables outdoors in February?  Vancouver has mild winters and long summers. The growing season in Vancouver averages 221 days. This is 72 days longer than Toronto’s, and longer than any other major city in Canada.

2. Nitobe Memorial Garden

One of the top Japanese gardens in North America. Nitobe Memorial Garden, a traditional Japanese Tea and Stroll garden located at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The garden honours Japanese author, educator, diplomat, and politician Nitobe Inazō (1862–1933), who died in Victoria, British Columbia (now the sister city of Nitobe’s home town Morioka), and whose goal was “to become a bridge across the Pacific.” The 2.5 acre garden is open daily from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm. Highlights include an authentic Tea House and a large collection of carved stone lanterns.

3. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Japanese Garden

Vancouver’s Ming dynasty oasis. Right in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is modeled on the gardens found in the Chinese city of Suzhou, and features constructed landscapes mimicking natural scenery of rocks, hills and rivers, and lakes with strategically located pavilions and pagodas. In recent years the garden has become a cultural hub for Vancouver’s large Chinese community.  Events such as concerts, performances and art exhibitions are frequently held in the garden.  More information can be found on the garden’s Facebook Page.

4. Urban Agriculture

In Vancouver, local food is REALLY local.  There are more than 4,000 community garden plots in Vancouver.  Vancouver also features a 500-tree “Urban Orchard” that is purported to be North America’s largest.  The municipal government has been very supportive, changing outdated bylaws that restricted the use of residential and municipal property for food production, and taking risks, like investing in a now bankrupt “Vertical Farming” venture that put a greenhouse on top of a downtown parking garage.

5. Plant Sales

Mingle with thousands of plant crazed gardeners early Saturday morning. Vancouverites love their plant sales. Dozen’s of plant sales are held across the city every year. The biggest plant sale of them all is the one held every April at the VanDusen Botanical Garden. It’s been running now for 40 years, and regularly attracts 10,000 green thumbs. The Vancouver Sun recently wrote a great piece on Vancouver’s Plant Sales, including a great list of notable events.

6. Green Entrepreneurs

Vancouver has long been a hotbed for technological innovation.  Companies like Hootsuite, Slack and Plentyoffish have roots in the city.  Vancouver’s green industry also has it’s share of entrepreneurs bringing new product’s and services to market. Mygreenspace is a software platform that is focused on transforming unused green space across Canada into urban gardens. Ecoaction Recycling is turning food waste from offices and commercial spaces into compost with customized recycling solutions. Growoya is rekindling interest in an ancient irrigation technology that uses unglazed terracotta pots to water gardens. Living Produce Isle is a concept store run by Surrey-based Urban Cultivator that markets an in-home growing system for sprouts and greens.

Honorable Mentions …

The VanDusen Botanical Garden

The UBC Botanical Garden (also home to the Nitobe Memorial Garden)

Know of any other reasons why Vancouver is Canada’s Garden Paradise?  Please share them in the comments below.



About Plantola

Plantola makes it easy to catalog and share your garden with friends and businesses, like your landscaper, or local garden center. Like the look of that tree down the street? Take a picture and share it with your plant guy. Captivated by the rose growing in your friend’s garden? Look it up while you are at the garden center. Plantola lets gardeners spend more time in the garden, and less time looking for plants.  For more information visit

Download the Plantola iPhone app



Why mobile marketing is right for the Green Industry

Facebook Native Ad

Throughout the development of Plantola we have spent a considerable amount of time getting “outside the building” and talking to our customer base – garden centers and nurseries.  One insight that we learned early on was a general reluctance to invest heavily in online marketing, especially social media because of the inability to restrict content and advertising to local audiences, and measure the impact on Customer Satisfaction, Store Traffic and Sales.

The garden center owners we spoke with had difficulty understanding the value of reaching an audience that was not within driving distance of their business.  This makes a lot of sense, especially given the low rate of e-commerce adoption across the green industry.  Mobile marketing addresses this problem, and offers a number of distinct advantages over traditional digital marketing channels like email, display and search.

Today’s Internet is mobile

Mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, are quickly replacing computers as the way most people access the internet and web-based services. Case in point, Facebook’s monthly active users. More than half a billion of Facebook’s monthly active users (or 38% of the total) access Facebook solely from their mobile devices. A different study from Forrester Research found that 42 percent of US retailers’ email opens occur on smartphones’ it was at 28 percent in 2013.  Not incorporating mobile marketing into your digital marketing plan means removing a large portion of your target market from your potential audience.

Mobile Ads Get Noticed

Studies have shown that mobile ads on Apps get much higher click-throughs than ads on the mobile Web: 0.58% on apps vs. only 0.23% on the mobile Web.  Not impressed? Consider that the average click-through rate for desktop web ads is in the range of 0.1% to 0.2%.

Mobile Ads Are Local Ads

Few independent business owners can afford to waste their marketing budget communicating with people that will never be customers.  This explains the continued appeal of advertising in local media like newspapers and radio. Thanks in large part to the rise of social media platforms like Facebook, and the demographic data they have amassed about their users, local advertising is increasingly moving online.  Mobile advertising brings geographic targeting from the city to the street corner, and even the store aisle, by leveraging your smartphones location awareness. Mobile advertising is particularly effective when tied together with a customers purchase history. The right offer, at the right time, in the right place.


Download the Plantola iPhone app