The herb circle and the first perennial circle were ready for planting in June 2015 when I first began to work as volunteer with the Parkdale Garden and Gathering Place. Marcel Hebert, Marjorie Olafson and family, Yvonne Hodge, Valerie Walker, Margot Morrell, Ruby Miller, Cayley Webber, Terry Allardyce and of course Garden Director Audrey Smith contributed to make the Perennial beds and Herb Circle a reality.
For many years I have enjoyed contributing photos and creating or editing content for Wikipedia, web pages and blogs much in the same way I maintain my Parkdale garden. I bring that curiosity and love of lifelong learning, research and teaching into the garden. It helps with designing a sustainable garden. I use my garden blog – Another Calgary Garden – to help me organize information about individual plants, companion plants, etc. Calgary is an ideal place for many but not all Zone 3 perennials – with periods of extreme cold and heat, drought and of course hares and squirrels. So it is important to consider these factors and many others when acquiring plants. We aim for a selection of low-maintenance, hardy, disease-resistant, water-wise plants from ground covers to tall explorer roses and gladiolus, with something blooming all season: plants that bloom early spring and others late in the fall, plants that attract birds, bees and butterflies.
How you can help:
Weeding: Starting now we need help with mulching the perennial beds for weed control. It’s not a difficult job and done correctly it can save a lot of work over the summer. A fun job for children is planting oat seeds as a green fertilizer. That can be done early as well.
Planting, transplanting: When the first starter plants arrive in April we will need help getting them into the ground. The native plants can be planted right away in the herb garden to give them a good start. The Gladiolus bulbs need to be planted in the greenhouse when they arrive. Sometime in May we can start planting seeds, and transplanting.
Educational content, labels: Labels protect valuable individual plants especially when they are dormant. Sharing articles, photos, stories about the garden…
Plant wish list: Donating plants either from your own perennial garden, deep-discount sales, etc. The wish list includes herbs that you know grow well here. We already have chives, tarragon, oregano… We would like to have a variety of irises. Armeria maritima Sea Thrift Pink, Aster alpinus Alpine Aster, Avens, Campanula cochlearifolio Fairy Thimble Bellflower, and most of all Veronica longifolio ‘Candied Candles’ Speedwell… More to come!
Harvesting: Mints, stevia, lemon grass, etc in the herb garden that are ideal for herbal teas, and culinary herbs like tarragon and chives are encouraged to grow when harvested regularly. Not too early, not too much…
Maureen Flynn-Burhoe is a Parkdale visual artist who spends a lot of time gardening. If you are interested in volunteering with the Perennial beds or the Herb Circle contact Maureen at firstname.lastname@example.org For more general information about the garden contact the Parkdale Garden and Gathering Space Director Audrey Smith at email@example.com