Saturday, May 26, 2012

Planting Pots is Personal

"Grow your own way!" I said as I finished my talk at the Springbreak Garden Centre in Hillcrest Mines Alberta. I wanted to empower gardeners, not lecture to them, as I  spoke to an enthusiastic crowd in a region low on frost free days (zero per year on average according to one enthusiastic gardener.)

It is easy after thirty plus years of working and reading and studying gardening to simplify everything down to five easy points or ten things to remember but I would rather guide than give clear answers. And that is why my patio pots look nothing like the ones I will write about in my Calgary Herald column next week. If you have been following my columns they are crazy fun with full-on cartoons. If you like them send a note to the Herald- they need positive feedback for new ventures such as this. Spoiler Alert: I liken dracaena to old school Elvis sideburns.

In the past I have used dramatic golden bamboo, tall dinner plate dahlias and exotic evergreens in my patio pots. This year I have put together a new palette because my backdrop is all green - as in a beautiful park. In the picture shown I have included Wine & Roses Weigelia in the back as the tall thriller plant because it its dark coloured leaves and golden veins; Golden delicious pineapple sage repeats the yellow veined thriller plant while tequila sunrise and ruby double superbells add blooms to the middle filler section.  Wojo variegated vinca and Caliente Orange ivy geraniums finish off the pot as the spillers. The pot is just planted so it will get bigger and better over the season because for the first time ever I added a slow release fertilizer in the pot and my husband built me a great little portable irrigation system (details to follow.) I am built and ready to go. But first I am off to Fort St. John in northern British Columbia where I will be speaking to the local horticultural club and visiting the reportedly amazing Dunvegan Gardens greenhouse. "It is the heart of gardening in this area" said the program organizer Lynette. I can hardly wait. There is a good chance I will be rebuilding or adding to my pots when I get back. Watch for it!

It is early days for the newly planted pot above - I will add updated photos as it grows.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Join Me for A free Talk

Free Public Lecture – Ready, Set, Grow: Ideas for Growing Vegetables in Calgary with Donna Balzer

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Free Public Lecture – Ready, Set, Grow: Ideas for Growing Vegetables in Calgary with Donna Balzer
May 17, 2012 7:00 pm
May 17, 2012 8:30 pm
Community Natural Foods
April 13, 2012
CNF 10th Avenue Location
Google Map
1304 10th Avenue SWCalgary, AlbertaT3C 0J2Canada
New to gardening? Start with a guff-free approach and discover what’s practical, what’s needed, and where to start. Already gardening? You’ll find out if that over-the-fence advice really makes sense. If you’ve always wondered whether to test your soil or how to make raised beds, this talk is for you.
Join Donna Balzer, award winning media personality, blogger and author of three books. Her Bugs & Blooms television show, originally aired on HGTV, still brings comments from fans and her seasonal CBC Garden phone-in show is popular across Alberta. Her latest book is No Guff Vegetable Gardening.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mild winter hard on plants

Well gardeners are facing the harsh truth that our mild winter trashed a lot of our favourite plants. Next friday when my cartoon column returns to the Herald (it is only going to appear every second week) you will see the list of plants that died in my garden this year. Did you have something die? Let me know.

Meanwhile here is an all too sad photo from one of my client's gardens of Picea abies 'Pumila. RIP.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Graphic Garden Column

From Sandy: "Loved your column today!  Fun and full of smart info."
From Heather: "Opened the paper and was delighted to see your new column – congratulations!"

Welcome back to the Calgary Herald Garden section in Calgary  today- Carole Dobson starts her new column and we hear from the Calgary Horticulture Society about one of my favourite perennial Mardi Gras Helenium.  In big news my garden column is going in a new direction. It is a joyful juicy cartoon-style column. Buy a Calgary Herald or check it out at the library. If you love it let me know! Grow your own way.