Alberta snapshot: Larch and blue sky.


Amazing colour practically* in my backyard.

(*It’s in a public park just over the fence.  But if I actually had a backyard, there would absolutely be a larch or two in it).


Whether they’re the wrong hardiness zone or you don’t have the space or the right conditions for them, which plants do you dream about growing if you could? 

Primula pondering.


This Primula acaulis ‘Hethor’ recently came home with me from the grocery store (alongside a kingsize chocolate bar we won’t talk about).  Although not quite as flashy as the Polyanthus I bought last year, it is a bright splash of colour on the windowsill while my African violets rest after a long blooming period.

P. acaulis is hardy to zone 4 and so I’d be pushing the envelope just a bit, but I think I’m going to save it over if I can and plant it out in the spring.  I already grow primulas in the garden – a smooth-leaved variety I believe may be P. rubra (a friend gave me the plants years ago and she didn’t know what they were), so this P. acaulis will be a good companion.  It’s worth a try, anyway.

Do you grow primulas?


Winter solitude –

in a world of one color

the sound of wind.

                                         -(Matsuo Basho, 1644-1694)

You guessed it – it’s still snowing here.  But it’s not quite a “world of one color”:


Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)


Peking cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus)


European cranberry, guelder rose (Viburnum opulus)

I love the persistence of berries during winter!  Not only are they amazing pops of colour in the landscape, but some of them provide sustenance for fruit-eating birds during these cold, dark days.  I’ve been worrying a bit about the chickadees that have been huddling together in the lilacs in the yard – the property management company doesn’t encourage the use of feeders, so they’re not getting any sort of nut-seed mix from anyone in the complex.  I wonder if I could get away with buying a block of suet and placing it somewhere deep in the shrubs?

Of course, a covert operation such as this will require significant stealth tactics and a pre-dawn launch.  I’ve got the early morning part down pat, but I’m utterly hopeless at sneaky – I’m guaranteed to get caught!   Oh well, it’s all for a good cause….  😉

Do you feed wild birds during the wintertime (or year-round)?  And what are your favourite shrubs and trees for winter interest?

Late blooms at the Silver Springs Botanical Garden.


Now, there’s a wall with some fall flowery punch!  I definitely need to take a cue from the talented gardeners that make the Silver Springs Botanical Garden here in northwest Calgary such a special place to visit, and plant a few more selections that give more visual impact in late autumn.  My beds are somewhat…lacking.  (Well, actually, they’re covered in leaves right now so no one notices the paltry amount of flowers.  At least, I hope that’s the case!).   😉


Up close, the flowers may look a bit ragged around the edges, but who cares?  En masse, they are stunning.




The labyrinth is new to the Garden this year – what a lovely addition.  I wish I lived in the neighbourhood so I could go over whenever  I wanted to and walk or just sit quietly on the benches nearby.   Unfortunately, the community I live in is quite a hike from Silver Springs.



What plants in your garden are making a statement right now?

If you had the space, would you incorporate a labyrinth into your garden design?

“Sprinter” interest: Amur chokecherry.

Amur chokecherry FP

I’ve admired the beautiful bronze bark of this Amur chokecherry (Prunus maackii) since I discovered it and three companions a couple months ago on a site near my workplace.  I will be even more impressed once the trees start blooming….

I only have to wait for a couple more weeks, right?  😉  I had to laugh when I heard the season humorously referred to as “Sprinter” – that seems so perfectly apt!  More snow expected here this weekend….

Do you grow chokecherries or any other Prunus species?  Which ones are your favourites?

Sunshine in a vase.


Yes, they’re from the grocery store.

But I can’t help but smile when I see them on the kitchen table – especially as it’s snowing and blowing like crazy outside my window!

Are Narcissus a favourite with you? Do you grow them in your garden?