Rain…and a garden update.

That ghastly s-word is accumulating heavily just west of Calgary as I write this, and I’m hoping the steady, slow rain that is currently falling here doesn’t decide to turn over to white flakes.  The city is greening up in a glorious way with this sudden moisture – it’s truly amazing to see what a few millimetres of rain can do to change the landscape.  On average, Calgary receives about 70 mm of rain and/or snow during the months of April and May, so it’s been a bit of a surprise to have barely cleared 30 mm in the past 53 days.  (No matter; the forecasters tell us 80 mm of rain is heading our way tomorrow.  Just goes to show there’s never a happy medium!).

The neighbourhood trees are all blooming at once:  apples, chokecherries, lilacs, cherries and plums.  They’re rushing headlong into fruit production, and while their blossoms seem more profuse and fragrant than usual, they won’t last more than a blink.  Everything seems accelerated this year, but maybe that’s more my state of mind than anything.  (Has anyone else noticed this?).

In my flowerbeds, the muscari are still hanging on, cheerfully poking out from the edges of the junipers.  The nepeta (I have both N. mussinii  and N. subsessilis) and the speedwell (Veronica penduncularis unbrosa ‘Georgia Blue’) is blooming and looking mighty fine in this suddenly cooler weather.   And the Aurinia saxatile ‘Gold Dust’ that I wrote about last year is just starting to put on her usual early show, although the plant has barely had time to mound as she usually does.


Basket of gold. 


There are a million photos of water droplets on lady’s mantle on the Internet.  Here’s another one. 


I love Artemis schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’.  I don’t love the quack grass that seems to be in every photo I took this afternoon.  (I just weeded two days ago, honest!). 

If I ever actually get the time for some serious shopping and planting, I plan to put in quite a few more perennials in the beds.  A couple of weeks ago, I planted some purple Liatris spicata, which may not be the most original choice, given that I think every single gardener in Calgary is already growing them.  Hey – at least I know they’re successful!  🙂  Phlox paniculata ‘Nicky’ and blue sea holly (Eryngium alpinum) are new additions as well, picked up at the same time as the liatris.  I’ve also thrown in a pretty lungwort that a co-worker gave me.  On my list of potential buys:  Monarda, Echinops, goldenrod, alpine lady’s mantle, and more Aurinia, gold flax (Linum flavum compactum), and scabiosa.

Of course, I will probably forget my grand plan when I finally get inside the garden centre.  We shall see what I actually come home with.  😉

What plant selections (perennial or otherwise) are you most excited about this year?


  1. Like the description and use of your words. I don’t know how you keep it all straight, but you do!! We are enjoying our ornamental choke cherry and its new blooms this year! We just planted it last year and it survived its first Alberta winter. Yay!! Our perennial favorites, tulips, cherry blossom, are coming along wonderfully and I agree…it does seem to be coming quicker this year now that the weather has gotten better.

  2. You are right about there never being a happy medium with the rainfall! I hope you don’t get any snow, only beautiful rain. I love liatris and planted more this year. You are right – successful is always nice to have! Good luck shopping for plants. I hope you get all in your grand plan, and a few fun surprises, too!

    • Thanks so much! I’m hoping to get out and do some shopping and planting this week…the cold and rain lasted a bit longer than I had anticipated and I’m busy with a bunch of projects this weekend. I’m so happy to hear that you’re a liatris fan, too – it’s a beauty! 🙂

  3. Everything has been accelerated here too this year and I have just not been able to keep up until the last few days, where it’s turned very cool and things are slowing down! I too have planted a Liatris, and I have a gold flax to put in too. I’m looking forward to seeing my clematis flower, if the snails can just keep off the buds!
    Hope that rain doesn’t turn white! 😀

  4. I planted Artemis schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’ last summer and just love it. The foliage is just outstanding. Hope that snow doesn’t show up! The temperature has dropped drastically here as well and there is a frost warning for tonight. Have a nice weekend Sheryl!

    • Oh, I sure hope you didn’t get that frost! The weather has been so changeable all over the country, hasn’t it? I heard it snowed in Quebec yesterday, and I know Newfoundland received quite a bit a week ago. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend as well! 🙂

  5. I see you are following my blog. Thank you. It’s an honor! I absolutely love my Basket of Gold alyssum, and it is complemented very nicely by some bright pink moss phlox and sparkling white candytuft.

    Be careful if you plant Monarda. In my experience, it likes to dominate the garden, and it moves fast!

    • I’ll bet that Basket of Gold alyssum looks amazing against the phlox and candytuft – what a fabulous combination!

      I will definitely watch the monarda – I have a large space to fill but I don’t want it to run too wild and out-compete my other plants.

      I look forward to reading all of your future posts on your blog! 🙂

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