Gardening in Southern Alberta: Perfect Perennials & More!
The seventh of June marks the first day of National Garden Week - as a garden centre with greenhouses full of gorgeous plants and flowers, we are so excited about this theme! Be sure to consult Calgary Plants for all your garden needs this week and beyond.
To start this week of tips and facts for green-thumbs both old and new, we’re going to explore which plants and flowers grow best in the various Alberta climates. Long winters lead to a short growing season and cool spring weather, making many water-wise and hardy plants grow very well in our region. On average, the frost-free growing season in Calgary starts May 23 and ends Sep 15, totalling 115 days.
You can use this handy planting calendar to figure out the most accurate frost dates and other useful info for your precise location, and this interactive map that shows the different zones in Alberta for plant hardiness.
One of the easiest ways to make the right choice for your garden is to plant wildflowers and trees that are native to your area - indigenous plants have been growing independently for centuries, making them tried, true, and trustworthy options. Luckily for us, there are several beautiful plant species to choose from!
If you’re looking for annuals, try brown-eyed Susans or fireweed; for perennials, there are alpine asters, goldenrod, giant anise hyssop, yarrow, prickly pear cactus, and Western Wood lily. Trees and shrubs that are native to Alberta include saskatoon berry, dogwood, willows, paper birch, and twining honeysuckle. For plants, greens, or grasses try cattails, aspen poplar, horsemint, moss, and blue oat grass. If you do try to grow native plants, please consult the Alberta Native Plants Council’s guide on how to properly care for these species sustainably. We are incredibly blessed to live in such a breathtakingly beautiful area, so let’s do our best to take care of it!
Fifth-generation Albertan and certified horticulturist Kath Smyth paired up with the City of Calgary to create a guide of yard-smart perennials and what to plant them with in order to create the best environment for their growth. Check out our Instagram for some of her suggestions!
Stay tuned this National Garden week for more info, facts, and tips about all things gardening - our next article will be about how to grow fruits and vegetables in your home and community gardens!