The Scarboro Garden Scene
The Scarboro Garden Scene – less work, more play.
Focussing on what plants and ideas are ideal for Scarboro allows us to spend more time enjoying our garden space, whether we are providing fun for our kids or a peaceful scene for ourselves. Native plants and some heirloom plants from elsewhere have survived the test of time – from climate variation, insect invasion, and other trials. While some new plant variations are bred to be tough on pathogens – such as in the case of roses developed in Canada – some are bred for bigger or more numerous blooms, without sufficient regard for potential troubles in our climate. For example, older varieties of Bergenia cordifolia (also known as elephant's ears, or pigsqueak) seem tougher in Calgary than newer varieties of the more colourful, but smaller leaved Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’.
There’s less work involved in vegetable growing if you use raised beds as this reduces the number of weeds that will grow into the veggies from neighbouring plants with invasive roots – as well as providing a faster start to the growing season, and less back-ache!
Often lawns provide a lovely backdrop for showy beds, shrubs, and trees, or a space for games. The grass seed we choose should be appropriate to the use for that area: this is particularly true when we want to re-seed worn areas, although if the wear and tear is due to frequent walking, consider replacing the lawn in some places with flagstones. We typically have little choice in the grass used at turf farms, which must be grown for “typical” Calgary householders’ demands; I’m guessing most are provided for new developments in the outer city.
To reduce the time spent on maintenance, add plants that do not grow too quickly, or too slowly, as both lead to increased maintenance time. Annual plants and especially self-seeding annuals have their place to supplement perennials and brighten uninteresting areas, but stay away from these that will be too successful.
Now I must look at my garden to see where I can reduce maintenance and take time to relax. A hammock would be a start!
revised May 8th, 2015 ,
- for the May issue.