Flowery Friday.

IMG_1359One of the tidiest, most low-maintenance plants in my garden, Silene uniflora ‘Druett’s Variegated’ (catchfly).  It’s also very amiable:  by the end of the season, the absolute brute that is my Engleman ivy will have flopped and clambered all over it.  No power struggle between these two – they’re like drunken buddies after a long night out.  “I love you, man.”  “No – I love YOU.”

I’ve been planting and watering my new babies like a madwoman…we had some rain earlier this week but it moistened only the top inch or so of soil.  I’m hearing that in the north, some farmers who had their crops wiped out by a late frost are not replanting because of the drought.  “Heat stress” might be the catchword of the summer, as we’re looking forward to some long hot weeks ahead.  I have always tried for mostly drought-tolerant plants because we don’t have a good watering system at the apartment I’m lazy and cannot be bothered to water – I hope I’ve made the right choices that will see the garden through.  Calgary is seriously arid, anyway – that rain shadow cast by the Rocky Mountains is pretty immense.  It’s something we have to take into consideration when we plant.  Or we should, anyway.

My other gardening news:  it looks like we’re finally on track to build a pergola for the community garden, a project I’ve been involved with since late last year.  Hopefully within a month or so I’ll be able to show photos.

I attended a container planting workshop held by the Calgary Horticultural Society last night and was introduced to the decidedly-non-Prairie-denizen dwarf papyrus (Cyperus profiler) – I was one of only a few gardeners in the room who were not familiar with it, so I guess that shows how little I’ve been out in the garden centres as of late (granted, I don’t plant more than one or two containers a year).  Apparently the papyrus sucks back water like no one’s business, which doesn’t really conform to my aforementioned gardening practices, but it’s so funky I will lug water for it daily if I have to.  (Please excuse the photo – I took it this morning in brilliant sunshine).

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What’s new in your garden this week?  What are your plans for this weekend (gardening or otherwise)?  I hope it’s a great one for you!  

Margaret Brown Memorial Garden – Calgary.

A walk on a very cool, foggy morning in late August brought me to the Margaret Brown Memorial Garden in the community of Varsity (Calgary).  Really happy I brought the camera along!   🙂

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Have a wonderful week!  Do you have any gardening (or other) projects planned?

Flowery blurbs, volume 6.

 

No show-snow (Photo credit - Rob Normandeau)

Last night, I had what should have been a lovely dream:  I went outside into my flowerbeds and all of my spring-flowering bulbs were up and growing like crazy.  That would be super – in April or May.  But it’s the first week of February, and I’m actually very fearful that it’s going to happen – high winds and unseasonably warm temperatures have completely eliminated what little snowcover we had, and the beds have been exposed for most of the winter.  I swear when I walked outside yesterday afternoon I could smell the earthy scent of spring thaw – even though our local version of a “groundhog,” a Richardson’s ground squirrel named Balzac Billy,  declared that we were up for another 6 weeks of winter.  (You can see Balzac Billy in all of his…um…ground squirrelly splendour here).  Oh well, I shouldn’t complain, really.  We’ll get our “winter” in March, guaranteed, with a ton of snow and cold, and then everyone can laugh at me and say “I told you so.” 

In the meantime, while I fret about my plants, you can peruse some Flowery Blurbs:

This is gonna be one popular poplar

Watch for a new poplar to be the “it” tree in a nursery near you (well, if you live in Canada, that is):  the hybrid AC Sundancer is the recent creation of the Agroforestry Development Centre (part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), and it comes with big promises!  AC Sundancer is everything traditional poplars aren’t:  relatively slow-growing (so it doesn’t shoot up and then die in a few decades), compact in size, disease resistant, lacking seeds, and – this is the best part – possessing a controlled root system.  No more cracked foundations and split sewer lines, no more poplar stigma!  Check out the bulletin here

And the winner is….

For the past few years, the Calgary Horticultural Society has taken to declaring its own “Perennial Plant of the Year.”  I like the idea of selecting a zone 3 hardy plant because quite often the Perennial Plant of the Year chosen by the Perennial Plant Association isn’t appropriate for our particular climate.  (See my previous post, Flowery Blurbs, Volume One, for information about the 2012 PPA PPOTY.  It’s actually a zone 3 plant this year!).  The CHS has announced that this year’s chosen one is Helenium autumnale ‘Mardi Gras’ (sneezeweed or Helen’s flower), a cheerful and hardy member of the Asteraceae family.  See a photo of the summer beauty here

Vertical farming viewpoint

Although this article was written in 2010, I just happened across it the other day, and I thought it offered another interesting perspective on the viability of vertical farms.  See the write-up in The Economist here

Streaming plant ID

Finally, if you want to spend an hour and a half on a basic botany lesson, you may want to check out Olds College instructor Annelise Doolaege’s talk on UStream.  She also discusses plant keys and how to use them in the field, and gives a brief photo tour of wildflowers found in central and southern Alberta, including the Rocky Mountains.  Doolaege’s talk is the first in a series to be offered over the next few months, as a teaser for the college’s annual Hort Week festivities.   Find the link to the lecture here.