It seems like spring has finally arrived, but this is probably one of the latest ones we have ever witnessed at Mirage Landscaping. Calgary is well-known for its Lilac Festival, which was cancelled this year but is usually held on one of the first Sundays in June. It was sometimes a gamble, but consistently, for 30 years in a row, the Mission neighbourhood has burst full of the fragrant purple blooms to celebrate a proper start to summer. Looking around now, though, we would wager a bet that streak might have come to an end this year.
A late spring provides a rather interesting conundrum for those of us who are wanting to start garden prep and planting. Of course, the old adage in Calgary for planting is to wait until after the May long weekend, which is something we tend to adhere to. And since this weekend is looking to be quite nice, we believe it’s time to get out the old gardening gloves and start getting dirty again!
Summer garden prep includes yanking all the stuff you didn’t plant out of the ground, but it’s sometimes difficult to tell what is a weed and what isn’t, even to experienced gardeners. A very basic rule of thumb is that if something is growing way faster than everything else, it’s more than likely a weed.
Some of the more common weeds you may spot in your yard include blueweed, Canada thistle, common tansy, diffuse knapweed, leafy spurge, nodding thistle, purple loosestrife, scentless chamomile, spotted knapweed, toadflax, and creeping bellflower. These are classified as “noxious and invasive” by the City of Calgary, and there are guidelines as to how to get rid of them. Once they have been removed, they must be bagged, and the bag should be sealed tightly to help stop the spread of the seeds. Do not just throw these into your compost, as they can then contaminate many other yards and garden spaces. They must be taken separately to the landfill, as they are sent to a special place. For more information, call 311.
When removing weeds, ensure to get the entire plant, including all of the root system. Even just a small bit of root left behind can result in another new weed. To make it a bit easier, we recommend weeding after a good rain or watering. The looser ground allows for weeds to be pulled out with far less struggle.
A new layer of mulch is a great idea to help keep your weeds down and protect the plants you want to grow.
Garden prep should always include a good cultivation. The garden soil for your perennials, annuals, shrubs, and trees needs to be woken up and moved around. Cultivating rearranges and breaks up the hard surface of the soil, which allows for air, nutrients, and water to penetrate much easier. This means you will need less water to keep your garden hydrated. Plus, a freshly cultivated patch of dirt just looks nice.
Another reason why cultivating is great for garden prep is that it helps to disrupt the root systems of unwanted weeds, plus can expose nests and pests. Disturb a colony of ants with cultivation, and also provide some yummy food for Calgary’s many birds. Other pests that can be exposed during cultivation include slugs, snails, and the dreaded red lily beetle. It’s better to attack them sooner rather than later, when it may be too late.
How to Tell if it’s Budding or Dead?
Given the very long weekend and extremely slow spring, lots of plants are taking their time coming out of dormancy. But it can be difficult to tell if something is dormant or just dead. If you are not sure, we recommend leaving the plant for a while to see what will happen. You may be surprised in a few weeks when it manages to struggle back to life. Give it a chance, as we have found that slowly nursing a plant back to health through fertilizing, pruning, and cultivation often gives it a better chance of survival than introducing a whole new species.
Very generally speaking, shrubs that are dead will be woody and dry, while dead perennials will seem squishy and rotten. To know for sure, you can snip a small or stem branch from your shrub or perennial and check for new wood or a green interior.
Southeast Calgary Commercial and Residential Landscaping Services
Mirage landscaping provides complete landscape maintenance services includes mowing, fertilizing, spraying for dandelions, edging, weeding, and litter removal. Our landscape construction services include irrigation service and maintenance, and patio and retaining wall construction, as well as sod and tree installation. We specialize in serving the southeast area of Calgary, including the communities of:
Auburn Bay, Chaparral, Chaparral Valley, Copperfield, Cranston, Douglasdale, Heritage Pointe, Lake Bonavista, Mahogany, McKenzie Lake, Mackenzie Towne, Maple Ridge, New Brighton, Odgen/Lynwood/Millican, Parkland, Riverbend, Sundance, Walden, and Willow Park.