Carolyn’s Corner: Welcome, May!

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As May ushers in the warmth and vibrancy of spring, Calgary gardeners are busy preparing their outdoor spaces for the season ahead. However, with the potential for water rationing, hailstorms, temperature fluctuations, and strong winds, it’s essential to plan thoughtfully to ensure a vibrant and resilient garden.

First and foremost, make sure you prioritize soil preparation. Begin by loosening compacted soil and incorporating organic matter such as compost to improve drainage and nutrient retention. This step not only promotes healthy plant growth but also enhances soil structure, allowing deeper water penetration and water holding capacity.

In light of potential water rationing, it’s crucial to adopt water-saving techniques. Consider installing drip irrigation systems to deliver water directly to plant roots, minimizing evaporation and water waste. Mulching flower beds and garden/veggie areas can help retain soil moisture, reduce weed growth, and insulate plant roots from temperature fluctuations. Water lawn areas in the early hours or let your irrigation system do the work while you sleep.

When planning your landscape design, opt for low-maintenance drought-tolerant plants that can withstand Calgary’s challenging climate. Hardy perennials such as yarrow, sedum, and blanket flowers, along with native grasses and shrubs, require minimal upkeep once established and can thrive in Calgary’s adverse ever-present conditions.

To protect your garden from hailstorms and wind damage, consider incorporating windbreaks such as fences, hedges, or strategically placed shrubs and trees. These barriers can help deflect strong winds and reduce the impact of hail; structures such as pergolas can safeguard your herbs and annuals pots.

Home gardeners should stay vigilant against pests and diseases, which can proliferate in warm and humid conditions. Regularly inspect plants for signs of infestation or disease, and promptly address any issues to prevent them from spreading throughout the garden. The Calgary Horticultural Society, as an affiliate member, allows you to access the experienced advice you need.

Embrace the beauty of diversity in your garden by incorporating a variety of colours, textures, and heights. Mix and match different plant species to create visual interest and provide habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects. Incorporate everlastings to add that pop of colour and be the subject of fun party talk!

With careful planning, thoughtful design, and strategic implementation, your garden can thrive despite the unpredictable nature of Calgary’s climate. So, roll up your sleeves, dig in the dirt, and let’s create a garden that’s as resilient as it is beautiful.

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