Best Plants for Your Calgary Garden
An essential part of a successful landscape design in Calgary is choosing the right plants. One of the most important factors to is the way in which our climate affects growing conditions. All of Canada is divided into what horticulturists call “hardiness zones.” These zones take a wide range of climate characteristics into account, including predominant soil types, temperature ranges, and average annual precipitation, to determine which plants and flowers are most likely to thrive in specific regions. Here in Calgary, we straddle hardiness zones 2b and 3a, meaning that plants with hardiness ratings between 0 and 3a are most likely to thrive here, though you’ll be safer to confine yourself to a range of 0 to 2b. If you have any questions about a certain plant’s hardiness rating, it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced gardener or visit your local garden centre.
Landscape Design in Calgary: Common Questions from Calgary Gardeners
Four of the most common questions that people ask about landscape design in the Calgary are:
- Should I favour annuals or perennials?
- I want flowers all summer long; which are the best flowers to choose?
- How can I attract butterflies to my garden?
- What are the best dry shade plants?
Let’s answer each of these questions in turn.
First, on the question of annuals vs. perennials, the answer is that it’s really up to you. Perennials tend to cost more initially, but they will blossom year after year, saving you money in the long run. Annuals are less expensive, but need to be replaced every year. If budgeting isn’t your primary concern, consider it a question of labour. Perennials tend to require less labour, since you don’t have to worry about planting every spring. However, you need to be sure you’ve prepared your soil properly, and that’s where landscape construction services such as those supplied by Mirage can be a big help.
Next, if you want flowers all summer long, there are two major strategies you can use. The first is to select plants with varying bloom cycles so that you’ll get flowers in spring, summer and early autumn. The second is to choose plants with long blooming cycles.
Early bloomers that thrive in Calgary growing conditions include blue corydalis, mukdenia, great white trillium and merrybells. Classic late bloomers include turtleheads, chrysanthemums, sunflowers and eupatoriums. Most other plants of the appropriate hardiness zone rating will flower during the summer. Gaillardia or “blanket flowers” are an excellent option for gardeners who want to add beautiful, long-blooming plants to their gardens and landscapes.
As for attracting butterflies, there are two principles to keep in mind to guide your landscape design in Calgary: first, butterflies like sunshine. The more shade there is in your garden, the less likely it is that butterflies will visit frequently. Second, butterflies like colour variations. Some plants that can be grown in Calgary that butterflies are known to enjoy include asters, honeysuckle, blanket flowers, daylilies, goldenrods and scabiosa. Vary your flower colours and keep your garden in the sunshine and the butterflies will follow.
Hardy, coniferous spruce trees are one of the most common landscape features in Calgary, and as such, many gardeners look for perennial plants that will thrive in the dry, acidic conditions underneath. Excellent dry shade plants for the Calgary area include bergenia, goatsbeard, lady’s mantle, lamium, lily-of-the-valley, snow-on-the-mountain and sweet woodruff.
Professional Services for Landscape Design in Calgary
At Mirage Landscaping, we want your yard and garden to look their absolute best. Well-cared-for landscapes add a great deal of value to your home, and our affordable services help you maintain optimal home value while getting more enjoyment out of your outdoor areas. In addition to landscape construction services, we offer lawn maintenance packages as well as spring and fall cleanup services. To learn more, or to request a no-obligation price quote, please contact one of our friendly customer service representatives.