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Gardeners' Corner at the

Calgary Horticultural Society

July Open Gardens—Join Us Online July 5
It may be cool and wet, but summer is finally here and with it starts the Society's July Open Gardens tour. Thanks to our coordinators Judy Lowas, Pat Matthews, and Linda Walker for the behind the scenes work of coordinating gardens for us to visit. We have 12 gardens to visit this July. This summer's tour is going to be different than previous years, as we have a videographer visiting the gardens to create a virtual visit that we can watch online. 

July 5 is the launch of the summer gardens tour and we will be releasing the videos of Betty Ann Lough's and Cindy Bronconnier's gardens. These gardens are in Strathcona Park. In the videos, you will learn about the gardener's favourite plant, the inspiration for their garden, and how the garden has evolved with time. The videos feature tips for new gardeners, and for the more experienced gardeners insights into larger garden projects.

Be sure to log in to the Members Only section of the website ( and visit the Open Gardens Video page to tour these gardens on July 5. The videos will be available by noon.

Banner and image bar:These photos are a sneak-peek at the gardens featured in the July 5 videos. 
(Nisha Sridhar) 
Calgary Gardening—July Issue is Available
Are you looking for some great garden reading? Then log in to the Members Only section of our website, select the Calgary Gardening menu to open the library, and download the July Issue of the Calgary Gardening magazine. As we move into summer, garden tasks switch from planting to maintaining. Read the tips for July in Colleen's Tanner's What Do I Do Now? July article.
Video Resources—What's Happening at Your Local Garden Centre
Our visit to Eagle Lake Professional Landscape Supply is the latest addition to this series. The video is posted on our YouTube channel. Kath Smyth, Society horticulturist, chats with Brian Bolger of Eagle Lake about the merits of soils, mulches, grasses, and lawn alternatives at their facility. It's a nice overview about landscaping materials that are available to gardeners. 

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 were unable to attend, or would like to revisit the session, sign in and enjoy.

For other video resources, visit our YouTube channel by visiting and searching for Calgary Horticultural Society. Check our channel regularly to see what's new. 
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 to the winner, 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.  
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 is 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.
Community Gardens
Community Gardens—Taking Care of Raised Vegetable Beds
Now that our vegetable gardens are planted and growing, our attention can turn to caring for the bed and tasks that help ensure that we have a bountiful harvest. Here are a handful of tips to help your garden grow.
  • Watering—We may not need to worry about it this week, but our gardens need regular, consistent watering. When watering, avoid splashing soil onto the plants to prevent the transfer of soil-borne fungal diseases. 
  • Weeding—Typically, weeding is easier in raised beds as the soil tends to be lighter than in-ground soil, but it must be done to ensure that the soil nutrition feeds our vegetables and not the weeds. Be sure to pull weeds before they go to seed to reduce the potential for weeds self-seeding in the bed.
  • Thinning—Small seeds are hard to plant at the space interval recommend on the package. To ensure plants grow to their expected mature size, they need to be thinned out. It's easiest to just snip off the tops of unneeded seedlings until only those at the desired spacing remain. Many greens such as beet tops can be eaten in salads. It you don't use your snipped plant tops, compost them.
  • Fertilizing—Side dressing plants with compost improves the soil and provides nutrients to growing plants.
  • Staking—While stakes may have been added to the garden bed when the seeds were planted, check that the peas and pole beans are actually twining onto their supports. The growth of tomatoes and cucumbers should be monitored too, to see if their supports require adjustment.
  • Succession Planting—As you harvest, plant short season or cool season crops to make continuous use of the garden space. It may be time for more greens or radishes. Did you know that watermelon radishes should be planted mid-summer and harvested in the fall? 
  • Pest inspections: Keep an eye out for garden pests. Identify the problem so that you can effectively control it. It may be as simple as removing a few affected leaves, hand-picking adult pests, or planting preferred host plants nearby to attract the pest away from the vegetable bed. 
A visit to your community garden to check on your raised bed is a nice way to have a little quality time in the garden.

Note: We are working with the Acadia Community Garden and Art Society to schedule a date for the Facebook Live session on preventing theft from community gardens. We expect to have a date for the event in the next e-news.

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.

August Programs
We're just confirming some programs for August. Watch this section of the e-news and the What's Happening calendar on for updates.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to get started now on the yard of your dreams!
This is the last Design Your Yard workshop until the end of September.
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 year's Master Gardener Course will be held at the Calgary Zoo, public health guidelines 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?
Thanks to everyone who participated in our "Ask a Gardner" survey. We are working on improving our processes. Thank you for your patience.

Try one these resources for answers: 
  • Society members may submit questions to Ask an Expert. This service is found under the Members Only section of the website.
  • Read our Gardening FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page under the Resources section of our website.
  • Check out the information sheets and links under the Resources Gardening menu. 


If you have questions about volunteering with the Society, contact us 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 activities 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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