Mellow Yellow

Richard Burke One of the constants in a garden is the changing colours, if you plan it that way. The dominant colour in our backyard these days is yellow, but splashes of purple, red, orange,white, pink, and, of course, green offer contrast and complement. The peace rose is one of my favourites. It was developed…

Penny Dodd Non-gardeners may look at us in wonder, but we know an opportunity to see a big garden show is worth an early start. And that is what four of us did last Saturday morning—we headed out in the Lethbridge wind to attend the Calgary Horticultural Society garden show. This two-day event, held at…

The Seeding season

By Richard Burke March and November around here are usually transitional months  – they prepare us for the seasons that follow. The difference for a gardener is that November signals the start of several months of plant dormancy, while March is fully of hope and anticipation of the growth part of the plant cycle. I’ve…

Backyard birding

From the Nov. 24, 2014 Horticultural Society meeting, compiled by Beatrice Milner Since Ken Orich started keeping track of the birds in his Lethbridge yard, he has seen the numbers rise each year, from 24 species in 2008 to 75 so far this year. The increase coincides with the addition of features that attract birds.…

Too cute to eat

by Penny Dodd My introduction to this little squash was a few years ago in southern France at the home of some gardening friends. Unfortunately, the only squash they had left was tiny and very shriveled up. But when it was cut open, its fragrance was irresistibly nutty. My French friends called it potimarron which…

Colour by the yard-full

by Richard Burke It’s one of those typical, ambiguous autumn days: sun shining but from an increasingly lower angle on the horizon, temperature 12 C, but wind so hard it seems to penetrate walls.  But, this is during the last week of October. What’s different about the scene is still-flowering sweet pea vines leaning…

Calgary Gardens Road Trip

Species Peony, cortusa matthiola and ornamental rhubarb By Penny Dodd After an early start, we arrived at Reader Rock Garden for our 90-minute visit enjoyed in brilliant sunshine. Many varieties of saxifrage, primrose, columbine, dianthus and clematis were all in bloom. Some rarely seen beauties included Cortusa matthiola (both pink and white), ornamental rhubarb, and…

Irresistible wildflowers


by Richard Burke Wildflowers are wonders of the Earth. That they exist at all suggests a force beyond man has been at work. The very definition of a wildflower – any flowering plant that grows without human aid – begs the question: how did they get there? It’s easy to credit divine intervention – God…

Waxwing drama

Have a short story about your garden, gardening, gardeners, plants? Send it to Backyard Blogger by Richard Burke Gardens are about more than plants. Many gardeners go out of their way to locate plants and other features in their yards to attract birds and butterflies. The past couple of days, we’ve had a flurry (not…