The Scarboro Garden Scene – that cabin on the lake
Controlling a Jurassic Park-like forest or growing veggies on the dry Alberta Prairies: both can take a huge amount of effort while you are there – best to plan ahead.
Know the probable extremes of rainfall (protect with trees, add manure) or summer drought (protect with mulch). Beware, a long growing season will provide a great environment for brambles, nettles, etc., and don’t take any potential problems with you, such as Himalayan Impatiens. Huge conifers will help protect the soil from being washed away, but of course also require large amounts of water, so you need drought tolerant plants beneath them. If it’s warmer than Calgary, try yews and holly for winter decoration, or Pampas grass, although that needs more care. No matter where you garden, look for attractive native plants that flourish in that particular location.
Compost containers will attract bears and other nuisances so locate and use them with caution. And then there are those rat-sized slugs in the warm east and west: some people offer up hostas to slugs and snails in the hope that they will leave other plants, but I’m not convinced that this works. Dogs and high fences – real high – deter deer. If they are hungry they will eat almost anything – ask the locals for advice.
If you can get local good help – do. If you have a grassed area, keep the edges simple as they take more upkeep than the interior. Destroy aggressive plants early in your stay: weed early and hard - it’s worth the effort. Chances are that the soil will be more acidic than Calgary’s: if so, you will be able to grow blueberries, and if winters are warm enough, rhododendrons too - enjoy something totally different from Calgary.
Glynn Wright 403-680-8289
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