downed street tree, Vancouver, Canada

Why Planting More Street Trees Isn’t the Answer to Climate Change

Recently I came across a study that confirms it, our street trees live fast and die young. The research shows, that urban trees (in comparison…

Our writing is a labour of love, a way to share the fascinating world of horticulture with others through blogs, articles and ebooks.

The Virens blog is all about the best in modern gardening culture. Presented free of charge, as a way to build and foster gardening magic both in Vancouver, Canada, and further afield.

If you are interested in having your work published on the site, hiring us to write for other publications or re-print our articles, please get in touch. We love a good collaboration.

Sara-Jane & Alica at Virens Studio

ps You can also find us on Substack at

Botanical Curiozine Sunflower snippet

A Fun & Fascinating Sneaky Peak at, Botanical Curiozine – Sunflower

We’ve written and designed a fun ebook! And we’ve decided to share a few select pages, so that you can see what we’ve been up…

tiny wasp on blanket flower

Weeds & Pests in the Garden: A New Perspective

It’s always good to take a step back and see the world from a different point of view. So why not put aside cultural perceptions…

Meadow yard by Northwest Meadowscapes

Habitat Gardening – Make a Meaningful Difference in Your Own Yard

Here at Virens, we’re always looking for great guest writers to join our blog. This time we’re excited to welcome the work of Tricia Striker….

Get Our New eBook Today

A fun look at a beloved flower, Sunflowers, will open your mind to the secret history, biology and significance of a common plant. Filled with vibrant visuals and fascinating facts, this Botanical Curiozine is a throwback to the curio cabinets of days gone by.

From Aztec temples and the canvases of Vincent Van Gogh, to anti-war protests around the world, sunflowers are a powerful symbol as well as an ecological powerhouse in the garden...

sunflowers ebook
Deschampsia cespitosa, Lichtenegger, E. (1960), Wurzelatlas

Have you ever wondered why Dandelions are so hard to get rid of? Just one look at this drawing of its root system says it all. As you can see, they anchor the plant over 4.5m (14 feet) into the soil.   There’s a certain shorthand that an image can perform that carries a greater…

Wurzelatlas: The Roots of Great Planting Design


You may have noticed that we’ve made some changes lately. A new name and a brand-new website! So, while we’re are still offering all the same great horticultural practices and blogs that you’ve come to know we’ve also added a few new things. Expanding our eco-planting design services to include consultation for urban greening and…

Get to Know Us: A Virens Q&A

narcissus, uv photo

Have you ever paused to watch bees work their way through a flower patch? They seemingly know just when the flowers are in bloom, full of nectar and pollen, and zero in, like magic. Well, it turns out that pollinators see a garden in an entirely unique way compared to you and I, and it’s…

A Bee’s-eye View of your Garden

high line planting

Back in 2017, we had the pleasure of seeing NYC’s High Line park in person and I have to say that it made us rethink many aspects of modern park and planting design. In the days between then and now, we have often referred back to it’s unique hardscape that cleverly references the areas historic…

The High Line: Lessons for Urban Greenways

winter garden

Undoubtedly you’ve come across a monochromatic planting, a White Garden or even a black flowering Goth Garden, at least once in your travels. For me, there’s a certain magic that’s unique to these single hued spaces. They’re a celebration of texture, structure and calm clear energy, filled with life and seasonal change. They’ll stop you…

The New Monochromatic Garden

Grace Design

In an age where wildfires have become a yearly occurrence, a few thoughtful choices in the garden can make all the difference to your property. “Depending on the fire, one fire engine may be responsible for three or even a dozen homes. It’s also possible that they may not be allowed to utilize water from…

Firewise: Gardening With Wildfires in Mind

Blue Gold Canadas Coastal Camas Meadows

There’s nothing quite like the Garry oak ecosystem in the spring; a softly undulating dreamscape of purply-blue Camassia punctuated by low twisted oaks and mossy boulders. The story of its existence is a complex history of humans and plants evolving together. A unique ecosystem, once highly prized but now fighting extinction, a case study in…

Blue Gold: Canada’s Coastal Camas Meadows

Primula veris Sissinghurst Cas

The cheerful countenance of a primula is such a welcome sight. They pierce late winter’s gloom with their earnest wee faces, announcing the arrival of spring. Their dainty, little beauty speaks to a simpler time, of childhood innocence and bygone days, wistfully recalled. And within these small, brightly coloured packages come the best of things-…

In Praise of Primulas

eccentric gardens

When the world is just too much, gardens are a safe space to breathe and take a break. And some of the best, are places where gardeners really let their imaginations take over. Accessing the odd recesses of their minds to transport us to new leafy green worlds. So, brew a cuppa of whatever you…

Need a Break? Checkout These Eccentric Gardens