Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finally Frost- A month late

It's true - the tender annuals have frozen in my yard- finally. I was getting tired of them anyway and wasn't too upset. The amazing thing is I didn't lose it all until Oct 15th- this is an exceptionally long frost free period for Calgary. My book partner Steven Biggs has just loaded all the most current Environment Canada weather data on our Garden Coaches Chat web page (www.gardencoacheschat.com) after my friend Joan and I got the info as a scanned typed sheet from Environment Canada, made corrections and put it into an excel spread sheet. This was no small feat and there is only one problem- the info is 20 years old.

Yes- it's true the most current information provided by Environment Canada to us for thus project on frost periods across Canada was twenty years old. Does this make a difference? Sure- twenty years ago the average frost free period in Calgary was 112 days. Now, according to Calgary meteorologist Steven Rothfells we have on average 115 days without frost. Environment Canada's data says we usually didn't get frost from May 25-Sept 15 so this fall we got a month more than usual in the fall- absolutely amazing.

Is it climate change or just good luck? Well, I am a gardener, not a meteorologist so I can't say for sure. In any case annual flowers

reached a huge size this year with all the extra growing time and that is a good thing. Too bad I didn't get great pictures of all my favorites such as Dorotheanthus bellidiformis 'Mezoo'TM (Mezoo trialing Red) shown here and the golden 4 O'clock with its golden leaves and bright pink flowers. One of the least favorite new plants this year was the new mini double white petunia from Proven selections (Blanket Double White). It seemed like a non-event with its aphid attracting sticky leaves and fairly low ration of blooms to leaves. Just a non-starter.


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