A New Twist (on the Ancient Copse) : Multipurpose Landscape Design

Picture in your mind, your ideal woodland landscape. Perhaps there are loose grasses and wildflowers that slowly morph into small, multi-stemmed trees. Open canopies, allowing…

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

delos at sissinghurst

Garden Disturbance: How to Think Like a Goat & Build Resilience

I watched a seminar given by Dan Pearson earlier today. Detailing the renewal and redesign of the Delos garden at Sissinghurst. And, as you can…

urban terrazzo

Urban Terrazzo: a New Eco-Twist on the Landscape Classic

We like to keep up on current gardening trends, especially those that match up with our ethos as ecological and therapeutic landscape designers. So, I’m…

meadow planting design

The Beautiful Wild Garden, It’s all in the Details

There a few things that have been percolating in the back of my mind in relation to eco-friendly plantings. One is the thought, that high…

I live in a city that’s (for the most part) been pesticide-free for at least 20 years. Here, they have been used sparingly, only against highly invasive species like Japanese knotweed and Giant hogweed. Recently I learned that my city is now starting a spray program in an effort to eradicate the Japanese beetle (Popillia…

Is There a Better Solution (Beyond Pesticides) for Invasive Insects?

storm damaged street tree

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 to their rural counterparts), experience (4x) accelerated growth and double the mortality rates. All of this means that we are experiencing a net loss in carbon storage, over time. According…

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

Botanical Curiozine Sunflower snippet

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 to.   Botanical Curiozine, Sunflower is a deep dive into the fascinating biology, history and beauty of Helianthus annus, one of the most beloved flowers in the world. Far from…

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

tiny wasp on blanket flower

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 and traditions to view our gardening foes with fresh eyes?   In this article, let’s take a relaxed look at some common weeds in a way. Exploring, why we don’t…

Weeds & Pests in the Garden: A New Perspective

Meadow yard by Northwest Meadowscapes

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. Tricia is an Ecologist with the Parks Department in Calgary, Canada. She is also the human behind @backtowildyyc on Instagram, where she shares her passion for the human-nature connection with…

Habitat Gardening – Make a Meaningful Difference in Your Own Yard

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

Digital Download Available Now

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