Every autumn, when the cool air puts an end to the growing season, the gardening experts at Art Knapp Plantland reorganize their Port Coquitlam greenhouse into Art Knapp's Funland. This harvest festival beckons young and old alike with games and rides that range from the popular and scary haunted tunnel to carnival classics, all of which operate on a ticket system. This year, kids can romp on a tire swing and in a bouncy castle, as well as enjoy the cricket ride, octopus ride, and bear-and-monkey ride. Amid the rides and games, vendors serve carnival treats, and bright-orange pumpkins sit atop rows of straw bales. Inside Art Knapp’s store, meanwhile, an ornate Halloween display presents frightening spectacles such as one-eyed skeletons and a miniature haunted town where inhabitants can only get dial-up Internet service.
The sidewalk outside Garlands Florist's West Broadway storefront is often occupied by the colourful, locally sourced plant life that earned the shop its recent acclaim as one of the Vancouver Courier's best florists of 2011. A resident team of designers creates both classic and innovative arrangements from a fragrant cache of internationally and locally sourced flowers. They premake bouquets in contemporary, modern, and European compositions or collaborate with clients to invent one-of-a-kind arrangements using eight different colour schemes. The florists' blossoms can be paired with selections from the shop's gift inventory, which includes elegant stationery ideal for sending a special someone a heartfelt message, such as "You are Loved" or "Thanks for Passing the Salt."
At Vivio Flower Gallery, owner and floral design expert Patricia Navarro creates elegant arrangements with a blend of classic and exotic flora. The gallery showcases seasonal and occasional creations, with creative twists on valentine?s day bouquets?including a three-foot centerpiece of Ecuadorian roses?Christmas-themed vases, and wedding designs.
Southlands Nursery stocks a wide and diverse array of plants and gardening accessories carefully selected and tended by a green-thumbed staff. Specializing in hard-to-find photosynthesizers, the nursery’s expansive seasonal stock can include such rarities as the double-flowered trillium, whose dainty, double-decker blossoms are the honeybees' answer to the double cheeseburger ($49.99). Favourite standbys also display a distinctive flair, such as the nursery’s giant lily bulbs, which approximate the size of grapefruits ($20 for four). Meanwhile, custom-made, 100 per cent organic screened topsoil stands ready to serve as home to botanical wares ($8.99 for 30-litre bag). Customers can also outfit their grounds with outdoor accessories such as solar-powered, hanging fabric lanterns available in 10 colourful designs ($29.99 each) or hand-crocheted chimney cozies. The nursery’s knowledgeable plant gurus and owner Thomas Hobbs, who has published two books on gardening, dole out complimentary coffee and helpful advice amid picturesque surroundings boasting architectural delights, such as a 110-year-old greenhouse from England.