Long-time readers of Flowery Prose may recall a series of posts I did in the summer of 2020, in which I talked to several Alberta gardeners about their inspirations for gardening, the gardening projects they are working on, and about the challenges they face as gardeners in this province and how they are trying to overcome them. I have wanted to continue this series for quite some time, and this year – which the Canadian Garden Council has designated as Canada’s Year of the Garden – seems like a wonderful time to chat with and learn from more Alberta gardeners! Whether you live on the Canadian Prairies or you’re much further afield, I’m sure you’ll find ideas and solutions to consider for your own gardening endeavours.
Please allow me to introduce Connie Prendergast!
Where do you garden in Alberta?
What challenges do you think we face as gardeners in this province?
Everything is flat…especially in the spring. Everything is flat and brown in spring.
How can we overcome those challenges?
We need to plan landscaping to have winter interest with things of different winter colors, shapes and sizes, things that don’t die down to the ground when winter arrives and things that show green colour immediately in the spring.
What inspires you about gardening?
I like the challenge of creating beauty that is natural looking…especially shade gardens that look like you’re walking through the forest on Vancouver Island (where we are from).
What gardening projects do you have on the go this year?
Two years ago, we had removed two huge evergreen trees that were too close to the house and driveway. I love trees and hate removing them, but they were far too big for the spaces they were planted in. I have been amending the soil since and slowly creating huge flowerbeds in the spaces where the trees are now go. We also put in a long cement driveway that same year and I am now creating new flowerbeds lining the driveway. The project was delayed last summer as I spent too much time away from home when my husband was called away for a liver transplant April 26th, just after I had started spring clean up.
What are your goals for this growing season?
To complete all the plans I’ve had for the past 2 to 3 summers and did not get to finish last summer. This includes the two huge flowerbeds where the two trees were removed, but also rearranging existing flowerbeds for better arrangements between plants. Example: In 2016, my flowerbed along the fence between us and one neighbour was at its most beautiful. Since then plants have either died or grown out of their space. Lilies that were doing well that year are no longer doing well. So everything needed to be dug up and either replanted or rearranged. I also extended a flowerbed along the detached garage at the back of the property and need to finish deciding what plants will go in there.
What is your style?
A little on the wild side. Natural beauty. I don’t normally add annuals into my flowerbeds, I take pride in making it all work with perennials that come back each year.
A huge thank you to Connie for sharing your gorgeous photographs of your lush, beautiful landscapes and the details about how you’ve developed your gardens. I am particularly attracted to your winterscaping ideas! As well, you’ve given us a lot to think about regarding refreshing mature garden spaces. I hope you had a successful, enjoyable growing season and that you accomplished your short-term gardening goals!
Want to read more Prairie gardening viewpoints? Check out guest posts by: