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Get Your Garden Off To A Great Start This Spring

Posted on May 28, 2015 by Earl Raatz

Gardening in Calgary.

Landscaping your backyard or putting in a garden can be a bit overwhelming for most. Don’t worry—we have a few tips to help you out.

5 things you need to consider to get started:

1. Draw out a plan that includes permanent structures and measurements. This will help you get a clear understanding of your ideas for your space. If you need help with inspiration, you can search online (pinterest is a good place to start) or take a stroll and jot down ideas you see in other people yards. Be sure to look at how much sun you get and the direction of exposure as this will be important when choosing plants that need lots of sun or shade.

2. Try to be water-wise b­­y incorporating mulch or stones and rock into your plan. Mulch will save you time and money on watering and acts as a great weed barrier. Also, make note to where your down stouts are and utilize stones to make a path at the base to guide the water to your plants. It makes your job easier and helps against water runoff into our sewers.

3. Think zonal. First time gardeners might not realize Calgary is typically zoned as 3 and may pick pretty plants that are zoned higher and wonder why they didn’t come back next year. Look for perennials that are zoned 3 or below. They are hardy and can generally withstand our Calgary winters.

4. Think easy. Try using native, drought resistant, and low maintenance plants. This will help make your gardening endeavors succeed. Some great plant choices that thrive in Calgary are “Karl Foerster” Feather reed grass (Calmaggrostis x acutiflora), “Magnus” Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea Magnus), and Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis). For a full list of yard-smart perennials check out theCalgary Horticultural Society. Or go to the City of Calgary for a free downloadable list .

5. Be patient! Remember it’s nature and not science. We have Chinooks here and unpredictable weather. Try something and don’t worry if it doesn’t work—even experienced gardeners don’t have luck with every plant. Ask the experts at your local garden centers or become a member of the Calgary Horticultural Society. Their membership gives you discounts at all the popular garden centers and nurseries plus you get a bi-monthly publication with fabulous tips, workshops and interesting information on Calgary gardening.

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