View this email in your browser

Gardeners' Corner at the

Calgary Horticultural Society

More Yard Smart Perennials-Highlights
On June 15, the Society hosted the second online perennial talk with Jane Reksten. In this talk, she discussed bulbs, grasses, and ground covers. In the bulb segment, she covered true bulbs such as tulips, corms (e.g., crocuses), and rhizomes (e.g., irises). Did you know that the proper name for this group of plants is geophyte? Typically, the dwarf varieties of these plants bloom earlier than the full-sized versions. You can get a long season of blooms by growing them in a range of sizes.

While the feather reed grass 'Karl Foerster' is a popular plant around Calgary, Jane offered some other grass options: Big Bluestem—Andropogon gerardii (Schizachyrium scoparium); Tufted Hair Grass—Deschampsia cespitosa; Maiden Hair Grass—Miscanthus ‘Purpurascens'; Moor Grass–Molinea caerulea ssp. arundinacea ‘Skyracer’; and Switch Grass—Panicum virgatum. 

The ground cover plants generated quite a few questions, "What do you recommend for dry shade?" being a key one. Suggestions to address this garden area included: Barrenwort—Epimedium x rubrum; Lily of the Valley—Convallaria majalis; Snowdrop Anemone—Anemone sylvestris; and Lamium—Lamium maculatum 'Aureum'.

To ensure a perennial is a yard-smart plant in your garden, be sure to make your selections based on the growing conditions found there—a shaded garden will never be a place where a water-wise, native prickly-pear cactus thrives. 

Sidebar photos:  Turkistan onion (Allium karataviense) growing next to the path in the Society's garden; Snowdrop Anemone (Anemone sylvestris) as a groundcover; Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) an option for dry shade; Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia) growing in a garden bed at Lougheed House (Deborah Maier) 
Do Your Shrubs Look Dead?
Don't be in a hurry to dig up your leafless shrubs. We've had a cold spring and some plants are weeks behind in their seasonal development. Learn how to tell the difference between twigs that have died and twigs that are late leafing out by watching this CBC video featuring Kath Smyth, the Society's horticulturist. (Press the play button on the image to visit the CBC webpage and play the video.)
Reader Rock Garden
Ohio Buckeye

These photos were taken last Saturday (June 13, Deborah Maier) at Reader Rock Garden. The Ohio Buckeye, growing near the cairn with the missing dedication plaque, was in bloom and is starting to form seeds.  
Stop by the garden to see what else is in bloom.
Calgary Gardening—Architectural Plants and Plantings 
When creating containers, the direction is often to have filler, spiller, and thriller plants. The filler plants form the setting and backdrop of the container; the spiller plant tumbles out of the container and gives a sense of flow. The thriller is the eye-catching feature plant, which frequently rises above the other plants. The textures, colours, and shapes of the plants play a role in the design. Did you know these same structural concepts can be used when creating a garden bed or even a garden? Learn more by reading Glynn Wright's article Architectural Plants and Plantings in the June issue of 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—Last Weekend!
If you have plants to share or are looking for plants, be sure to sign up today! The Spring Plant Share Facebook group and forum topic will be active only until Monday, June 22. See below for participation details.
  • We have created a forum topic dedicated to member-to-member plant exchanges. It will be accessible from the Members Only section until June 22. Members can post about the plants they have to share and/or are looking to acquire. Visit the Plant Share page here
  • We have also created a private (members only) Facebook group. If you are a Facebook user and a Society member (we confirm membership status before admitting anyone into the group), then you may want to join our group to post information about plants you have to share and plants you want.  2020 Society Plant Share. We have more than 140 (and growing) members in this group.
Feel free to participate in both. Once you connect with someone to share plants, you will need to coordinate, using private messenger (PM), how and when the plant exchange will take place.

Please follow COVID-19 guidelines when conducting member-to-member plant exchanges, including following this tip from the City: "Sharing bulbs/cuttings or plants? Create a "sharing zone" where you can put plants. Leave them there for 24 hours before having your neighbour pick them up."

May you have a successful Spring Plant Share!
July Open Gardens
We are making arrangements to take videos of the gardens booked for July. We will make every effort to capture these gardens at their best. Given the effort require 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 will post details about our video releases on the Open Gardens Videos page under What's Happening on our website when we have them confirmed.
Video Resources—Slugs!
It's that time of year. We've had rain and the weather is warming up, which are perfect conditions for slug populations to thrive!  Learn more about slugs by watching the Eggs and Slugs video on our YouTube channel. 

Other slug managing tips can be found in the Society's Gardening FAQs under Resources on our website.

Be sure to visit our channel regularly to see what's new. You can find the Society's YouTube channel by visiting and searching for Calgary Horticultural Society.
The June 16 Water-wise Gardener Winner is...
Kathy W. is the winner of the June 16 draw. She completed our online contest form to be entered. In addition to using rain barrels, mulch, compost, and growing water-wise plants, Kathy kept leaves in her yard over the winter to shelter lady bugs, and has logs for native bee habitat.

Everyone who entered the contest in the past month plants cold hardiness zone 3 or hardier plants as part of their yard smart gardening plan. All but one of the gardeners adds compost to their garden beds. 

The next draw will be made on July 16. Enter the contest and tell us about your water-wise garden 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 gardening meant 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 or the 2021 calendar project.
Community Gardens
Community Gardens—Pot Worms
The Valley Ridge Community Garden discovered an abundance of pot worms; did yours? 

Pot worms (Enchytraeidae) are little translucent white worms that like moist, high-organic, acidic environments and are typically found in compost bins that are kept too wet. At first, they look like fine white roots, but their wiggle will give them away. Pot worms are usually in the soil in unnoticeable numbers, but may have a population explosion if the conditions are right. The conditions that pot worms thrive in are inhospitable to earthworms. An abundance of pot worms indicates that the compost should be turned to aerate it and help the bin dry out. Adding brown material such as paper or dried leaves can help absorb some of the excess water. Covering the compost bin with a tarp to prevent rainfall from adding more moisture can also help. If the population of pot worms doesn't decline with these changes, consider using some agricultural lime to buffer the pH. 

See the classes section for an upcoming Facebook Live event for community gardens.

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.
Garden Coaching 
Thursday, June 18, 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 June include: 
  • bug of the month 
  • on-going garden chores including composting, thinning
  • pruning evergreens 
  • what to do with spring bulb foliage 
  • deadheading 
  • watering 

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. 

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.  Then we will see a presentation about how they look in June, including key plants in bloom, and this year's annual 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.

Master Gardener Program 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. To learn more, visit What's Happening/Master Gardener!
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!
Community Gardens and Garden Theft—Facebook Live
Tuesday, June 23, 7:00 to 8:00 pm
Format: Facebook Live
Cost: Free, registration is not required

Join the Society and Constable Ursu from CPS District 3 for a conversation about addressing theft from community gardens. You'll be able to ask your questions using the chat window during the Facebook Live event or submit them in advance.

Submit Questions in Advance
Advance questions can be posted to our Facebook event or emailed to

Tips for Finding our Facebook Live Session
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.
Create a Mosaic Succulent Pot 
Wednesday, June 24, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Online—Zoom Cloud Meeting
Cost: $15 for members, $25 for non-members

Succulents thrive in our summer climate; they are easy to care for and they add a lot of interest to any container collection. Combining succulents in intriguing arrangements of colour and texture is very popular. Creating mosaic-style arrangements in a pot-within-a-pot adds a whole new twist to the possibilities. With a little creativity, imagination, and a variety of cuttings, a mosaic succulent pot is a quick, easy, and fun arrangement to make. In this workshop Elaine Rude will demonstrate how you can make a beautiful mosaic pot of your own.  

If you would like to make a planter along with the instructor or after the class, you will need the following supplies: 

  • a large container (at least 12 inches across) either shallow or regular depth 
  • a small container  
  • a variety of small succulents (potted or cuttings) such as: Echeveria; Aeoniums; Graptoveria; aloes; string of pearls, string of dolphins, string of bananas; sticks on fire 
  • cactus potting soil
  • decorative rock  

Instructor: Elaine Rude

Extended! Registration closes Monday, June 22.

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. 
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.
While the spring rush is settling down, garden centres are still busy. Visit the garden centre's website to review their guidelines before visiting. Try going later in the day as it may be quieter then. Plan for a crowd, be prepared to wait, and allow two garden cart lengths between you and other shoppers. Please only touch what you intend to purchase. May you find the plants that you want for your garden.
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.


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.

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

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can 
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.