Flowery Friday.

SONY DSC

Today’s flower is an interesting one (and a native, to boot!) – woolly gromwell (Lithospermum ruderale).  According to Plants of Alberta (France Rover, Richard Dickinson), there are only thirty species of the Borage family growing wild in Alberta, of which this is one. In early summer, the west slopes of Nose Hill here in Calgary are dotted with these strange spiky-leaved plants, in full bloom.

What ruderal plants are common where you live?  I always think of fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium, syn. Chamerion angustifolium) – in mid-summer, it is simply spectacular in roadside ditches and in mountain meadows.

Alberta snapshot: Nose Hill.

A flashback to a very frosty, foggy, and spectacularly quiet November morning here in Calgary, before the snow arrived to stay.

Hope you’re enjoying your holiday preparations!  If you’re setting up your Christmas tree this weekend or putting up some lights (or if you already have), have fun watching this completely over-the-top way to do the job. Have a wonderful weekend!

Flowery (foliage) Friday.

leaves0003

Leafy fun with the scanner on my printer….

The leaves haven’t all fallen from the trees yet, but I’m not sure we have much more autumn left in store here on the Prairies – we’re headed straight into winter, it seems! Plenty of snow in some parts already and, as I write this, the white stuff is accumulating on the ground here in Calgary.

Early wishes to everyone in Canada for a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

Mock orange.

The mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii cvs.) won’t bloom here for a while yet but I was going through some old photo files and I came across a series I took when my hubby and I visited the Patterson Garden Arboretum in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in summer 2014.  I am more than a little enamoured with mock orange so I spent considerable time gawking at them and inhaling their magnificent fragrance while in the garden, despite the fact that the mosquitoes were eating us alive.  (Insect repellent apparently doesn’t work in Saskatchewan – their mosquitoes are even more ridiculously nasty than ours in Alberta. Then again, they had just come off of weeks of rain and flooding in some areas of the province and the hatches were massive).

These are all hardy mock orange, rated for zone 3.  Do you grow mock orange in your garden?

‘Jackii’

'Jackii' Mockorange 2

‘Marjorie’

'Marjorie' Mockorange 4

‘Snow Goose’

'Snow Goose' Mockorange 2

‘Waterton’

'Waterton' Mockorange 5

Go-to gardening books for the Prairies (and beyond!)

Wow!  It feels like spring has sprung here today!  What little snow we had is melting like crazy and we actually had a bit of rain early this morning.  My co-workers and I spent our coffee break talking about starting some tomato seeds and maybe we were a little sugar-buzzed from the pre-Valentine’s Day chocolates and too much coffee, but things got really cheerful…yeah, we’re definitely excited and inspired.  😉

We still have about two (conservative estimate) or three (more like it) months to go before we can get out into the garden proper, but it’s nice to haul out the gardening books and catalogues and get cracking on the planning. I have a few gardening books in my personal collection and regulars I borrow from the library that are definite go-to’s for me.  For the most part, these are all “Prairie” books (hardiness zones 2-4; cold, arid climate), but there are a few more generally Canadian and North American ones that I really love as well.

FPGBNormandeau

Lyndon Penner – The Chinook Short Season Yard: Quick and Beautiful in the Calgary Region (also available as The Prairie Short Season Yard)

Lydon Penner – Garden Design for the Short Season Yard

Dawn Vaessen – Perfect Perennials for the Prairie Gardener (See my review here)

Donna Balzar – Gardening for Goofs

Donna Balzar and Steven Biggs – No Guff Vegetable Gardening

June Flanagan – Native Plants for Prairie Gardens

June Flanagan – Edible Plants for Prairie Gardens

Sara Williams and Hugh Skinner – Gardening, Naturally: A Chemical Free Handbook for the Prairies

Sara Williams – Creating the Prairie Xeriscape

Calgary Horticultural Society – Calgary Gardener, Volumes 1 and 2

Calgary Rose Society – Growing Roses in Calgary  (See my review here)

Millarville Horticultural Society – Gardening Under the Arch

Hugh Skinner – The Best Groundcovers and Vines for the Prairies

Hugh Skinner – The Best Trees and Shrubs for the Prairies

Don Williamson – Tree and Shrub Gardening for Alberta (See my review here)

Barbara Kim and Nora Bryan – The Prairie Winterscape

Nora Bryan and Ruth Staal – The Prairie Gardener’s Book of Bugs (Mentioned here)

Jan Mather – Designing Alberta Gardens

Any of The Prairie Garden annuals

Linda Chalker-Scott – The Informed Gardener

Linda Chalker-Scott – How Plants Work

Niki Jabbour – The Year ‘Round Vegetable Gardener

Niki Jabbour – Groundbreaking Food Gardens

Bill Thorness – Cool Season Gardener

Laura Peters – Small Space Gardening for Canada

Melanie J. Watts – Growing Food in a Short Season

David Bainbridge – Gardening with Less Water

 

Did I miss any cold climate/Prairie books that should be on this list?

No matter where you live in the world, your favourite gardening books might be relevant/practical/inspirational/eye candy for another gardener!  Which books would you recommend for us?  

 

 

Alberta Snapshot: Nature Preserve at Carseland.

October 2015 141RFP

This absolutely incredible view is from the top of the Bow River escarpment at the Agrium Nodwell Nature Preserve near Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park in southern Alberta (photo taken in late September).  The Preserve was created in 2008 and is comprised of 59 acres of prairie grassland and riparian areas.  Best of all, it is fully accessible to the public – foot traffic only, of course!

The Preserve is home to 300 different species of native plants.  I’m eager to do some more exploring when the wildflowers are in bloom. An amazing place!

If autumn is in full swing where you are, where do you like to go to take in the spectacular colours?  If it’s spring where you live, what favourite flowers are blooming right now?