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Gardeners' Corner at the

Calgary Horticultural Society

Practical Irrigation: Highlights
On Saturday, June 20, Tom Martin and Kath Smyth hosted the Practical Irrigation for the Home Gardener workshop. As part of the presentation, a video of Tom connecting the pieces of the irrigation system used in the Society's garden was presented in lieu of a demonstration in the garden. Kath provided an overview of the benefits and challenges of different irrigation systems. Using a drip emitter that delivers water directly to a plant was determined to be the most efficient. 

They shared a simple way to calculate the capacity of the water source for the irrigation system. Use a timer to measure how long it takes to fill a 5 US gallon pail with water, from the tap that will be used for the irrigation water source. Divide the number of seconds in an hour (3,600) by the fill time in seconds (in their example it took 64 seconds), multiply by the number of gallons (5). That yields the gallons per hour flow rate from the water source. In this case it worked out to (3600/64) x 5 = 281 gallons per hour. This value helps to determine how many irrigation heads you can use. For example, the drip irrigation heads they used were rated for one gallon per hour. To compensate for loss due to friction in the hose, Tom recommends reducing the emitter capacity by 20%. They determined that they could run a system with up to 225 one gallon/hour emitters. Running your system for 15 minutes would provide each plant with a quart (almost a litre) of water. That's a lot of plants getting deep, individualized water coverage! 

Note: U.S. customary units of measure were used because the flow rates noted on most irrigation system packaging is describe in this system of measurement.

Sidebar photos—Top: Hand watering (Pixabay); Society garden irrigation system: water source, conveyor hose with end cap and tubing to drip emitter, sprayer head (Deborah Maier) 
Hail!!! Now What Do I Do?
It appears that hail season has come early to Calgary. Has your garden been damaged by hail? Don't despair, most of your plants will recover. Kath Smyth, the Society's horticulturist shares tips on how to help your plants recover from hail damage and the impacts of this spring's weather, in a Global News interview. Press the play button on the image to load and play the Global video and hear her advice.
Calgary Gardening—Why Would I Need A Greenhouse in Calgary? 
The weather this spring has been very cool. This is fine for cool weather crops, but plants that prefer warmer conditions may be off to a slow start. This can mean that when temperatures cool down again in the fall, they may not quite have reached maturity. What can a gardener do? Row covers and frost cloths can help extend the season, but perhaps you'd like a more permanent solution? Now may be the time to consider the merits of adding a greenhouse to your garden. To learn more about greenhouses, read Simon Brame's article in Calgary Gardening, the Society's member magazine.

Visit the Members Only section of the website, log in, select the Calgary Gardening menu, and enjoy reading about gardening.
Spring Plant Share—A Success!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Spring Plant Share. It's a wrap for this season. We received a lot of feedback confirming that members enjoyed the member-to-member Plant Share. New gardeners were especially pleased to be able to receive plants to start their gardens. It was nice to see the photos of the plants in their new homes. We look forward to doing this again in the fall!
July Open Gardens
We are making arrangements to take videos of the gardens booked for July and we will make every effort to capture these gardens at their best. Given the effort required to make a video tour of the gardens, our plan is to release the videos throughout the month, instead of only on the two July Open Gardens dates. We expect to release videos for the first three of the 12 gardens we will visit in July on July 5. Details about our video releases will be posted on the Open Gardens Videos page under What's Happening on our website.
Video Resources—Garden Coaching
We have posted the June 18 session of Garden Coaching on the Garden Coaching page under the Members Online section of the website. If you we're unable to attend, or would like to revisit the session, sign in and select Garden Coaching from the menu.

The June Member Talk video is posted on the Member Talk page if you would like to watch Cathy Kurio's presentation about alpine plants. We have information posted about the July 2 Member Talk, so scroll down the page until you come to the video link for Kathy's presentation.

For other video resources, visit our YouTube channel. Check our channel regularly to see what's new. You can find the Society's YouTube channel by visiting and searching for Calgary Horticultural Society.
Enter to Win!
Are you a water-wise gardener? Do you capture rainwater in your yard? Are you a right-plant, right-place gardener? Then tell us about it by entering our Yard Smart Gardening Contest. The entry form can be found under What's Happening on 

The next draw will be made on July 16. Enter the contest and let us know about your water-wise gardening practices. This month's prize is a copy of the Society's garden journal and $25 of Blue Grass Bucks (vouchers that may be use at Blue Grass garden centre). Please note that we cannot mail the journal, but can provide contactless pick-up.

The contest runs until September 15, 2020. A winner will be selected at random on the 16th of each month for the months of July, August, and September, from the entries received in the period between draws. You may enter only once during each draw period. The Society will use the information collected from the contest submissions to help with program planning and water-wise gardening awareness. 

Want to learn more about creating a water-wise garden? Then sign up for a Design Your Yard workshop. See the Classes section for dates and more information.
We're Here for You!
While the Society office is closed for drop-in visits, we're still supporting our members Tuesday to Friday between 9 am and 4 pm—just give us a call at 403.287.3469, ext. 0. If the phone isn't answered, leave a message and Gail, the Society's administrative assistant, will return your call. If you call after hours and leave a message, your call will be returned the next business day.  

Note: July 1 is a holiday and the office is closed. If you are concerned about logging in to the Members Only Section of the website for the July 2 Member Talk, please check your access by June 30.  
2021 Calendar
Has your garden been a COVID-19 sanctuary? Did you decide to create a Victory Garden? Have you planted more edibles this year? Share the beauty of the bounty of your garden: fruit, vegetable, and/or floral by submitting a photo to our 2021 calendar project. We will be accepting photos until September 16, midnight.

We are also asking for your 2020 garden story—what did gardening mean to you this year and why was it important?

The photographer whose photograph and/or story are used in the calendar will receive a free copy of the calendar. Visit's Happening/Calendar 2021 to submit a photo, your story, and be part of the 2021 calendar project.
Lougheed House Gardens—Member Talk
Thursday, July 2, 6:45 to 8:30 pm
Talk begins at 7:00 pm
Speaker: Jane Reksten, Lougheed House Head Gardener
Registration is not required.

Join us to learn about the past, present, and future of the gardens at Lougheed House. We'll explore the history and significance of these Beltline gardens. Enjoy a presentation showing how they looked in June, including key plants in bloom, and this year's display as it starts to unfold. You will learn more about the planned evolution of the Lougheed House gardens, which are intensely used and loved by their inner-city neighbours and visitors.

To join the Member Talk, visit the Members Only Section of the Website. Select the Member Talk item from the dropdown list. This will open the Member Talk page with information about Zoom Cloud meetings and it hosts the meeting link. Please sign in at least 15 minutes before the talk starts.You may visit the page at any time to set up Zoom on your computer.
Community Gardens
Community Gardens—Theft from Community Gardens
Unfortunately, Constable Ursu was unable to join us for the Facebook Live meeting. We are working on rescheduling for a July date.

Visit Gardens for more Community Gardens information.
Visit the What's Happening Calendar for Program Details
To see the calendar, visit | What's Happening.
Need help registering? Call the office at 403.287.3469, ext.0 and leave a message for Gail.
Tea with Kath—Facebook Live
Wednesday, July 8, 2:00 to 3:00 pm
Format: Facebook Live
Cost: Free, registration is not required

Tea with Kath is continuing through the summer and is replacing the Society's Conversations in the Garden. As a result, please note that the July date is a Wednesday.

To have the video automatically display on your Facebook page, we recommend that you visit our page, like and follow us, search for us on your "Add a Friend" list, and send us a friend request by selecting the "Add a Friend" button next to our name.

Submit Your Questions
You may message questions in advance using Messenger (Message Host button) on the Facebook Event post. Be sure to start your question with "Could Kath answer". That way we're sure to know it's a question for this event. 
Plants for Shade Gardens 
Tuesday, July 21, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Online—Zoom Cloud Meeting
Cost: $15 for members, $25 for non-members

Unsure of what to do in your north-facing garden? Have your trees matured and reduced the amount of sunlight available to plants? What is the difference between wet shade and dry shade? Are you dealing with the need to under-plant trees or are you planting beside tall buildings or fences?

If you are trying to address any of these questions, then this is a class for you! Come learn about different ratings for shade and which perennials and annuals will grow, and even thrive, in areas with minimal light.  

Instructor: Kath Smyth

Registration closes on Thursday, July 16.

Garden Coaching 
Thursday, July 16, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Online—Zoom Cloud Meeting

Join us virtually in the garden for this monthly demonstration where we coach you through the practical tasks required each month in your garden. 

Watch a video on garden tasks as they were performed by staff and volunteers in the garden. Learn more as horticulturist Kath Smyth adds tips and tricks and answers some questions related to the topics at hand. 

The topics for July include: 
  • Cutting the grass: leave your clippings and don't cut shorter than 5.5 cm
  • Watering annuals
  • Tricks to retain moisture in the soil
  • Hill your potatoes and carrots
  • Deadheading
  • Sow a second seeding

Instructor: Kath Smyth

This is a Society member event. Registration is not required.

To join the Garden Coaching meeting, visit the Members Only Section of the Website. Select the Garden Coaching item from the dropdown list. This will open the Garden Coaching page with information about Zoom Cloud meetings and it hosts the meeting link. Please sign in at least 15 minutes before the talk starts.You may visit the page at any time to set up Zoom on your computer. 

If you can't attend the online session, watch for a posting of the session video on the Garden Coaching page under the Members Only section of the website.

Tomato Tip
To ensure that you have good fruit development on your tomato plant, it's time to pinch out the suckers that sprout between the stem and the leaf.
Design Your Yard
Not sure what to do with your new yard? Need to reimagine your mature yard? Learn how to create a well-thought-out, functional yard in this multi-day workshop.  Homeowners will work on scale layouts of their own properties and complete step-by-step tasks to create a design that meets their needs.

Two people residing at the same address may attend this workshop at no additional charge, with the requirement that they work on ONE yard plan together. Names of both participants must be provided at the time of registration.

Participants will learn how to:
  • work through the process to develop a yard design
  • apply basic design principles and techniques for creating a beautiful, environmentally responsible, functional yard
  • calculate volumes of soil and mulch and access available resources in the community (such as free compost from the City)
  • irrigate their yard
  • select plants at a garden centre to fulfill their design's requirements 
Participants will need:
  • property dimensions - Real Property Report (RPR)
  • graph paper, ruler, pencil, and eraser
  • wish-list requirements
  • photos from your wish list

This workshop is sponsored by the 
City of Calgary

Cost: $75 members, $100 non-members
Design Your Yard: July
Wednesdays, July 8, 15, and 22
6:30 to 9:00 pm
The next Design Your Yard workshops will be offered in September.

Registration is Open!
Do you want to take your gardening knowledge to the next level? This multi-week course is tailored to gardening in Calgary. This years’ Master Gardener Course will be held at the Calgary Zoo, public health emergency permitting. In the case where it cannot be held at the Zoo the Society reserves the right to offer it at another location or via an online platform instead. The Master Gardener program is perfect for those interested in learning more about the art and science of gardening.

To learn more, visit What's Happening/Master Gardener!
Do You Have Gardening Questions?
The try one of our sources for answers: 
  • Read our Gardening FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page under the Resources section of our website.
  • Submit a question to Ask a Gardener. This service is also found in the Resources section of our website, and is available to members and non-members.
  • Society members may submit questions to Ask an Expert. This service is found under the Members Only section of the website.
Members' Forum
Are you looking for insights from fellow Society members to guide your ideas for developing your yard or garden? Consider posting a request in the Members' Forum. The forum was created to let members share ideas and have garden discussions. The current topics are displayed on the website's home page when you are logged in, making it easy to see what members are looking for advice on. If you click the topic link it will take you directly to the discussion. If you don't see the Recent Topics area when you display the home page, scroll down until it shows on your monitor.


If you have questions about volunteering with the Society, contact Norm at
Volunteers are a valued resource of the Society. The safety and well-being of our volunteers is important to us. We are mindful of all the Society's future events and how the changing situation may affect them. Decisions about these event plans will be made closer to these event dates.
Support the Society

Membership—a Gift that Blooms Year-round
It's a gift that gives throughout the year—free Member Talks, workshop discounts, merchant discounts including garden centres, online resources, e-news, e-magazines, and Open Gardens tours. Gift memberships may be purchased online—visit Membership/Join the Society and scroll to the bottom of the page, or come to the office (208 50 Avenue SW) when it reopens to purchase the gift membership and you can take the membership card home.

Start a Plan with a Garden Journal

The Society's journal is a terrific tool to help keep track of your plans and activity in the garden. The pages are not dated, so you can journal at your own pace without the stress of finishing an annual diary. It's a great gift for a gardener for any occasion. Purchase this gardening resource and support the Society. When the office reopens, stop by to purchase your copy ($20) of The Growing Journal.

Help Us Grow!

The Calgary Horticultural Society is a registered charity dedicated to cultivating Calgary’s gardening community. Your support helps us continue our mission to enrich the lives of Calgarians by supporting gardening and enhancing the environment through our programs of talks, workshops, and courses. Donations enable the Society to engage Calgarians in Gardening for Life—every donation is appreciated. Thank you for supporting the Calgary Horticultural Society. Donate online.

You are welcome to drop by the office (208 50 Avenue SW) when it reopens to make a donation, or in the meantime, call us at 403.287.3469 and we will be happy to assist you.

Spread the word! 
Invite your friends to subscribe to this e-news. Forward this email and ask your friends to subscribe by clicking this JOIN link. 
Thanks—come grow with us!
Do you have a gardening question? Did you find a great source for unique seeds you'd like to share? Log in to the Members' Forum, choose a topic and let other members know. We look forward to hearing from you!
Copyright Calgary Horticultural Society | 2020 | All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
208 50 Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta T2S 2S1

Phone: 403.287.3469

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