Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Although the last few days have been a bit wet, this summer has been quite warm for Calgary.  Most of my seeds have already sprouted.  I'm still waiting on my banana and banana cousin but they can be a little finicky and often take a while.  I've been putting the pots outside on my balcony during the day and bringing them in for the nights.  It gets cool here in the evening and temperatures drop to about 12C some nights (or cooler) even though the days may be 28C or so.

Unfortunately I have them all a good soak right before we had three days of rain.  Most of the seedlings seem to be fine but I'm worried the Goji berries may be damping off.  Hopefully they'll dry out before I loose any more.  By the way, all of these seeds were stored in a fridge for over 4 months.  It doesn't seem to affect their vitality.  Anyways, without further adieu, here are the seedlings:

Eucalyptus pulverulenta (Silver Leaved Mountain Gum) - Most sprouted.

Brugmansia versicolor (Fragrant Peach Angel's Trumpet) - 1/5 I believe, just started yesterday.

Passiflora caerulea (Purple Passion Flower) - About 1/2 have sprouted.

Lycium chinense (Goji Berry) - Please don't damp off, please don't damp off...

Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) - Here's to hoping it's not just a stray poplar seed.  Ha hopefully I see some more.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Devonian Gardens Calgary

The Devonian Gardens in Calgary have been undergoing a facelift for some time.  They just reopened last week and are located downtown in The CORE shopping centre (essentially a big mall).  They are on the fourth level right beside the food court and will provide a much needed oasis during Calgary's cold winters.  I took a bunch of photos, so I hope you enjoy the virtual tour below.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Seed Planting Bonanaza & Happy Canada Day

Right before finding a job in Calgary I purchased a bunch of seeds online.  They arrived a few weeks before I left so I didn't have the opportunity to start them but I did take them with me.  Now that I have a balcony garden up and running I figured it was about time to fuel my tropical/rare plant addiction.

Now I didn't start all of my seeds, but there are seven varieties.  Two were impulse purchases I made while getting the pots and soil.  These include Ensete ventricosum (labelled Ensete musa which doesn't exist) and Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm).  My seeds from before the move are Musa velutina (Dwarf Pink Banana), Passiflora caerulea (Blue Passion Flower), Lycium chinense (Wolfberry, Goji Berry), Brugmansia versicolor (Fragrant Peach Angel's Trumpet), and Eucalyptus pulverulenta (Silver-Leaved Mountain Gum).

Now I'm really hoping these seeds sprout and do well.  The climate is Calgary is cooler than southern Ontario and a lot dryer.  I'll have to pay special attention to watering and if they heat doesn't seem like it's enough, I might have to get some heat mats and grow lights.

To my fellow Canadians, happy Canada Day!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Balcony Garden

So unable to exist for any length of time without greenery nearby, it only took a few weeks after moving to Calgary before I started accruing plants.  It's only USDA zone 3 here and plants generally loose a zone or so when kept in containers.  Instead of leaving my plants exposed, I'll wrap them and bring them in against the building.  I don't know if this will work but I have zone 2/3 plants and it's definitely worth a try.

The garden currently consists of two varieties of Lamium, Lysimachia, Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle), Ajuga (Bugleweed), Prunus tomentosa (Nanking Cherry), willow cuttings, and Physocarpus opulifolius 'Dart's Gold' (Ninebark).  A lovely purple Bougainvillea has also been added to the mix and will be kept inside for the winter.  Some pansies were also tossed in for filler until the other plants grew in, which took far less time than I thought.

Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for the future.  My balcony gets 4 hours of morning sun, about 45 minutes after noon, then 2 hours of low reflected light into the late afternoon/evening.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Balcony Gardening in Calgary

So I've been in Calgary just over two months and it's finally reached the point where the weather is consistently above zero.  The bulbs are out and the mayday, cherry, apple, caragana, and crabapple trees are in full bloom. I have a 20' by 5' balcony that receives morning sun.  What should I do with it? Keep in mind Calgary is USDA zone 3.  I've purchased a few plants hardy to zone 2, such as lamium, lysimachia and ajunga.  I'm thinking a combination of pots and window boxes.  What other plants should I try, and what balcony/container gardening tips do you have?
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