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Archives for June 8, 2013

Duluth workshops focus on climate-enhanced flooding

As the one-year anniversary of the Twin Ports area’s worst flooding approaches, two conservation groups are sponsoring workshops in Duluth on how the Northland can adapt to increased floods spurred by a warmer climate.

The St. Louis River Alliance and W.J. McCabe Chapter of the Izaak Walton League are holding climate-change adaption workshops June 19-20 in Duluth.

The official title, “A Flood of Options: Adapting to a Changing Climate,” is a nod to climate and engineering experts who say that changes that already have occurred in our weather patterns — more large storms interspersed by more dry periods, all with gradually higher temperatures and more water vapor — create a need to change how we deal with rainwater.

The free workshop is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 19 at the EPA’s Mid-Continent Ecology Division laboratory at 6201 Congdon Blvd. and will be repeated from 1-3:30 p.m. June 20 at Lincoln Park Middle School near West Third Street and 32nd Avenue West.

The workshops will give an overview of recent changes to local and regional climate, effects on local waterways and ideas on how residents can help protect area streams and the St. Louis River during extreme weather events.

Featured speakers include Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota climatologist and a Minnesota climate history and

climate-change expert; and Chris Kleist, city of Duluth stormwater and stream restoration program coordinator.

And while engineers are working to make public infrastructure for increased flooding — culverts, roads, bridges, etc. — people also can take action in their own yards to help local streams handle the bigger load.

Julene Boe, executive director of the St. Louis River Alliance, said that while the exact implications of future climate change may remain uncertain, the Northland already has seen documented changes in its average temperatures and precipitation patterns.

“There are some people who are skeptical, who think this is just happening by chance. But for people who had a wakeup call with the flood last year and who may want to do something to help — we want to give them the tools to do that,” Boe told the News Tribune. “People can take a look at their own property and the impact it has on the watershed they live in, and maybe they want to do something to keep the water on that property, to slow the turnoff and mitigate flooding, things like planting trees or creating rain gardens, landscaping techniques that all of us can do.”

Participants will have an opportunity to sign up for follow-up workshops that will assist interested residents in taking future actions towards climate-change adaptation in their communities. In addition, the Regional Stormwater Protection Team will have a display and materials to share. Attendees at each workshop will be able to register for a free drawing, which will include a rain barrel to capture rainwater for gardening use.

The workshops are funded by grants from the Coastal Management Act, by NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in conjunction with Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program and Climate Change Adaptation grants from Freshwater Future.

People are encouraged, but not required, to RSVP at or by calling (218) 733-9520.

news, environment, weather, flood

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Vines Gardening Inc., a Professional Landscape Service in North Georgia …

Vines Gardening announces the release of their new vibrant and easy to navigate website. The new site also houses their landscape portfolio as well as the services offered.

Gainesville, Georgia (PRWEB) June 07, 2013

Vines Gardening announces the release of their new vibrant and easy to navigate website. Vines Gardening has been known as one of North Georgia’s premier landscape and lawn maintenance companies for more than 12 years. Vines Gardening’s owner, Todd Beasley, is a degreed horticulturalist with over 20 years of experience and has a true passion for landscape design and the implementation process. Todd states, “I have always enjoyed taking an outdoor space, regardless of shape and size, and turning it into something spectacular. Home ownership is one of life’s most prized possessions so your landscape should be something that you and your family can enjoy for years to come.”

Vines Gardening’s new website is well designed and easy to navigate. Also, their portfolio can aid in new landscape ideas for those looking to make changes to their current outdoor space. Nice patios, water features, outdoor fireplaces and kitchens are just a few things that can simply make a backyard a destination place. Vines Gardening offers many services such as:

  •     Landscape Consultation/Architecture
  •     Landscape Design
  •     Landscape Maintenance
  •     Installation
  •     Hardscapes
  •     Masonry Work
  •     Drainage and Uniloader

For more information about Vines Gardening and North Georgia Landscaping ideas, visit Turn your dream into a reality.

Press Release submitted by Click Ready Marketing, an Atlanta SEO Company.

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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Grieving families demand fitting resting spot after Sunderland baby cemetery …

UNITED by grief, parents scarred by the death of their children are teaming up to fight for their memory.

Families are campaigning for Bishopwearmouth Cemetery’s baby garden – in which stillborn infants and babies who’ve died before reaching full term are buried – to become a fitting memorial for their children.

Over the years, they say they have seen it turn into a quagmire which is not a fitting resting place.

Charlotte and Daniel Malley, from Houghton, lost their son Noah in January and are one of 15 families who have teamed up to improve the garden.

“The first time I went, we could see broken plaques on the ground and it just broke my heart,” said Charlotte, 22.

Daniel added: “We have to go through mud to get to the graves, and it’s so bad that my grandma can’t visit as she’s in a wheelchair. That’s one of the things we want to change: to have disabled access.”

The group, Sleeping Angels, has teamed up with 4Louis and Sands (Stillbirth and Death Society) to appeal to Sunderland City Council to repair the garden.

They are willing to pay costs themselves and have been fund-raising to pay for workmen, a memorial bench and landscaping.

Angela Beck, 48, from Grindon, has visited the garden every week since her daughter Grace was stillborn 12 years ago.

“It wasn’t great to begin with, but it’s really deteriorated over the years,” she said. “They put bark chippings down, but now they have gone to mulch and it’s just like a quagmire.

“There’s no drainage so it floods, and every winter it gets worse. It doesn’t matter how nice you make the individual grave when the area around it is a mess. We have said to the council we will pay for repairs and can find people who will do it, but we are waiting to hear back from them.

“Now, we want to put as much money as possible aside so that it’s there for when they come back to us.”

Fund-raising events include a sponsored walk in Herrington Park, a charity night at the Roker Hotel, and Asda in Grangetown is giving customers the chance to vote in the green token system for the fund throughout this month.

The families are also hoping the council will consider using a derelict chapel in the grounds to hold services for neonatal and stillbirths. Currently, those affected by deaths of this kind are only offered a graveside service.

Coun James Blackburn, portfolio holder for city services, said: “Following discussions with the charity to canvass their thoughts and ideas, we are now looking at the possibility of installing hedges to better delineate the baby grave sections at the cemetery.

“We have also agreed that we would like to relocate the entrance to the existing section and introduce some hard landscaping into the area to improve access, together with the appearance.

“The next steps will involve finding the resources to carry out this work and looking at how we can work with the charity as a ‘friends of’ organisation to make progress on the plans.”

l Anyone who would like to join Sleeping Angels, which meets weekly at The Chesters, can search for them on Facebook under ‘Sunderland baby garden.’

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Home of the Week: Asheville garden tour home

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Peter, whose professional name is Peter Rocks, built a river rock creek that uses storm runoff from the roof to water the plants and landscaping in the front yard. The couple often bring home rocks they find on hikes to place in the creek. They can tell you a story about each one.

“My morning ritual is to wander the garden with my coffee,” said Samantha, who’s also project manager at the Housing Authority of the city of Asheville. She checks up on all the plants, dispensing a pat or two here and there. It’s a calming way to start her day.

Birds big and small

Peter has seen pileated woodpeckers and, recently, an owl in the trees in their yard. Two kinds of hawks nest somewhere nearby, he said. Until that very morning, baby Carolina wrens were nested nearby, but it appeared they had flown the coop, Samantha said.

She and Peter collect sedum and have a large variety of the cheerful plant everywhere. Strawberries grow next to the house, on the side that has a fire pit that their neighbors were giving away.

The pit is at the end of the driveway that Peter has inlaid with bricks, creating the outline of a cityscape.

Peter has worked rocks and brick all around the grounds, in ways so arresting that you don’t realize you’re standing beside lovely ferns spewing forth from the ground, tucked into small ledges on boulders wrenched into place.

Digging in

For most people, buying a home is the biggest financial transaction they’ll ever undertake. Daunted, Samantha took a homebuyer class offered by the housing authority. (It’s now offered by OnTrack Financial Education Counseling.)

“Loans, lawyers, inspections, picking light fixtures — the class was really grounding,” she said. “And it made me realize (owning a home) really was possible and not just a dream I had.”

Working with Kyle Gilliland of Amarx Construction in Asheville, she built a sunny three-bedroom, two-bath house of about 1,600 square feet. After Samantha took the class, “it was really shocking how easy all the pieces fell together,” she said. She moved in December 2011.

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Lush Landscapes On Display At June 8 Garden Walk


Rim hillsides, big yards and small, as well as the large Payson Community Garden are features of the June 8 Garden Walk.

The Rim Area Gardeners will present their 2013 Garden Walk from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, June 8.

Participants are invited to visit some of Payson’s outstanding gardens. Each garden reflects the individual homeowner’s taste and gift for working with nature. At each site a RAG Club member will greet and guide guests through the garden. Several sites will feature artists and one will have live music.

Tickets are $5 each and may be purchased at Ace Hardware, Plant Fair Nursery, Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Payson and Pine public libraries, Sweet Nostalgia and at the participating gardens.

The “Green Thumbs” around town will guide you to the gardens opened for the walk, including:

1501 W. Mesa Drive, Payson — owner Julie Coleman will host artist Donna Rokoff and her clay work in this hillside garden with golf course and lake views. The front patio and entry color scheme shows off red blooms and accent pieces, bird feeding areas and birdhouses, plus a butterfly garden all fitting among pines and aspens. Tomatoes and rhubarb grow near the back deck. A gray water system, plus water from gutters, keep many of the plants thriving. Native cactus, datura and rustic wagon wheels add to the charm.


Photo by Andy Towle

Some of the Rim Country’s most gifted gardeners will offer tours of their properties during the annual Garden Walk taking place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 8.

612 Coronado Way, Payson — owner Dr. Joe Falkner’s large backyard has many exotic and delightful plantings and water features. A hammock suggests dreamy afternoons in a shady, relaxed setting. There is room to stroll and discover hidden nooks and unique art. The sunken front garden has a variety of annuals and perennials.

510 N. Maranatha Road, Payson — owner and designer Jill Ridley will host artist Georgia Thorne and her fiber works at this family hideaway, reached by a curved driveway. This sprawling, six-acre ranch has animals, barns, corrals and outdoor entertainment space. Ridley enhances the natural setting of the home with potted plants and cozy seating in a romantic, curtained outdoor room.

2017 N. Verde Circle, Payson — owner Gayle Goodwin will host musician Linda Abbot on the viola in this well-designed small yard with a shaded back patio that is perfect for Arizona summers. Native plants and trees combine with landscaping for a pleasing impression. Bird feeders attract colorful visitors. A 350-gallon cistern ensures vigorous blooms and owner-crafted stained glass window panels decorate the entry.

1618C N. McLane Road, Payson — Martha and John Teubner have combined her artist’s eye and his strong back to build a haven showcasing nature’s bounty in a charming hillside area with rock gardens, water features, arbors, walkways, shaded patios and a large vegetable garden.

Payson Community Garden on Tyler Parkway — this young site (opened in 2012) has 165 plots rented to the public for seasonal gardening and each plot is an individual garden with flowers as well as vegetables. There is even a hydroponic garden on site. The participants in the garden share their excess produce with local food banks, helping their neighbors with limited resources eat healthy.

To view more images and purchase pictures, click here Garden Walk

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Cocktail gardens put a new twist on edible landscaping

Shake things up in the backyard this summer:

Fresh herbs and fruit have long been the key ingredients in some of summer’s most refreshing libations, and when they’re within easy reach of the backyard bartender, every cocktail becomes a flourishing signature drink.

Making a mojito with homegrown mint is only part of the picture, though. A successful cocktail garden should be a comfortable and inviting place to be.

“You can’t just translate the indoors to outdoors,” says J’Nell Bryson, a landscape architect in Charlotte, N.C. “An outdoor room needs more space to be in scale with nature.” Postage-stamp patios in big backyards don’t look right, Bryson says, but if a small space is all you have, there are lots of ways to make it work as a cocktail garden. “Even if you live in a condo and just have a tiny patio, you can do a vertical garden, or use pots,” she says.
Amy Stewart, author of “The Drunken Botanist” (Algonquin, $20), turned the challenging side yard of her home in Eureka, Calif., into a lush and colorful cocktail garden worthy of her book, which delves deep into the horticulture and lore of hops, rye, barley, grapes and dozens of other plants used to make and garnish the world’s greatest drinks.

Stewart worked with garden designer Susan Morrison on the plans for her limited space, which relies heavily on container plantings and includes an outdoor bar, where Stewart stirs up garden-fresh cocktails. Most of the garden is only 7 feet wide, with a wider patio at one end. Stewart grows hops on a trellis and raspberries and blueberries in pots. She keeps a romping clump of mint in check by growing it in a raised planter that also serves as a bar, and she installed shelves on a garden wall for pots full of herbs, with room for bottles and party glasses. Colorful liqueur bottles inspired the lively palette of the garden and the painted planters.
Stewart’s cocktail garden is furnished minimally with one chair and a bench; it’s basically a standing-room-only space. If you have a little more room, comfortable garden furniture makes guests feel right at home, Bryson says. Built-in seating with lots of pillows will encourage guests to relax with their drinks and enjoy the garden around them.

Before you decide where to place a patio, study the terrain and the sun and shade patterns in your yard, Bryson says. Pull up some garden chairs and check on the views from several angles. “Choose an expansive view, not a view right into the back door,” she says. “If you have the house walls on one side, a fence on the other, and in the third you can look up into the trees, that’s what I would choose,” she says. “Focus on a view away from the house.”
Bryson suggests hanging strings of lights to suggest “a sense of a ceiling,” but “don’t dare turn on the spotlights,” she says. “You really want soft, muted lighting.”

Clients are always eager to talk about flowers in a garden’s design, but you should not neglect foliage texture, Bryson says. Thyme and oregano are both good groundcovers with interesting texture; she also likes purple basil, lemon thyme, lavender and other aromatic plants.

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In brief: June tips from El Paso Master Gardeners

June tips from El Paso Master Gardeners. Have a question? Call their hotline at 566-1276 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. most weekdays. If a Master Gardener is not available when you call, leave a message, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

  • There is still time to plant heat-tolerant summer annuals. Just be sure to water transplants as needed until roots become established.
  • Remove faded flowers from plants before they set seed; this will encourage them to continue flowering.
  • Frequent mowing (every four to five days) is best for your grass and helps to reduce weeds by preventing seed heads from forming.
  • A light application of fertilizer every four to six weeks will help keep annual flowers healthy and blooming.
  • Gardening workshops

    El Paso Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a series of free “Gardening 101” workshops. The next, “Integrated Pest Management: Common Garden Insects,” will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Multipurpose Recreation Center (Dance Room), 9031 Viscount.

    The focus will be on the basics of home gardening in the El Paso region with Denise Rodriguez, Texas AM AgriLife Extension horticulturist, and members of the El Paso County Master Gardeners.

    No previous gardening experience is necessary to attend. Workshops are suitable for new or experienced gardeners. Other workshops:

  • “Plant Propagation,” 4-5:30 p.m. July 12.
  • “Getting Ready for Fall Gardening,” 4-5:30 p.m. Sept. 13.
  • An RSVP is required for each workshop. Seating is limited to the first 30 participants. Registration deadline for the next workshop is Wednesday.

    Information: Register by calling Marci Tuck at 541-4020 or email

    ‘SunScape’ class

    Water conservation is important in the desert Southwest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful garden. Learn how to garden with gorgeous native plants and find out which plants work best for your space at the annual “SunScape: Gardening the Sensible Way” workshop. The all-day class will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 22 at the UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens. Area professionals, including botanical curator John White and Oscar Mestas, a West Texas regional forester with the Texas Forest Service, will lead the workshop.

    The cost is $25. It’s limited to the first 25 participants.

    Information: To register, call the museum at 747-8994.

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    Get Organized: Room-by-room Organizing Tips

    A downtown couple merges households and brings in professional organizers to help them downsize and declutter.

    Photos by Tessa Berg

    Executive Coach Mary Ann Singer appreciates the value of a productive environment.

    So when she and her new husband, Ezra, an executive with Limited Brands, decided to merge their households into a two-bedroom condominium at North Bank, they pulled together a team of home organizers and a decorator to tackle the job.

    “As a coach, I have to walk the talk, so it’s only fitting that I should create a personal space that is highly productive and energetic,” Singer says.

    In merging households, they had a combined 5,800 square feet of space. When they moved into a condo half that size, they said goodbye to several items, found new uses for others and put in place systems to organize the rest.

    Today, their highly functional space offers plenty of inspiration for the organizationally challenged.


    The first step was to sort through the couple’s existing stash to figure out what would work in the new space. Their decorator, Chris King of Manifesto Inc., says he first shops the “free store”—the existing supply of furniture.

    For example, Mary Ann’s dining room buffet now serves as the TV stand in the living room. A chest of drawers from her foyer is a night stand, and an armoire that was in her living room now stores linens near the bedroom.

    A vintage Singer sewing machine from the family business was converted to a desk stand for Ezra, and an heirloom Sweda cash register from Mary Ann’s family business was mounted on a stand as a conversation piece.


    The next step was to establish a unified color palette and design to bring together the couple’s varied pieces within the condo’s open floor plan.

    “The challenge was working together a minimalist with a modern sofa and a Southern belle (with) a large trousseau of traditional furnishings,” King says.

    Inspired by the Downtown high-rise’s striking views, he proposed a unified color palette reflecting the skyline’s grays, tans and blues. He also suggested a soft contemporary vibe to mesh the couple’s polar styles.


    The look starts just inside the front door in the library. Here, King added crown molding and a vintage library ladder to tone down the modern feel of Ezra’s utilitarian bookshelves. In addition, he negotiated space for accessories in eight of Ezra’s 42 jam-packed bookshelf cubicles.

     Ezra’s gray sectional provided the anchor for the open adjoining living area. Mary Ann’s traditional end tables are mixed with upholstered chairs in contemporary fabrics. Rugs and contemporary art, both in the chosen color palette, add to a unified finish.

    Nearby, the dining room was converted to Mary Ann’s office. A large traditional desk is positioned in the center of the room like a dining table, and a custom-built wall unit hides unattractive binders, files, printers and stereo equipment.

    When it came to accessorizing, King demanded restraint to maintain the clean look of the contemporary styling.

    Mary Ann’s 60-plus miniature tea sets and Limoges box collections were contained in inconspicuous display cabinets, and various art pieces were grouped by frame colors.

     Favorite accessories were displayed sparingly with the intent of occasionally exchanging them for others tucked away in storage.


    Once the furnishings were complete, Mary Ann decided to dive deeper into organizing her storage spaces. She called on Leah Sneed and Brooks Brown of OCD@Home, so named for its mission to help clients organize, contain and declutter.

    The duo started with the kitchen cabinets, making piles of items to toss, sell or donate.

    Next, they organized the remaining items according to function. For example, grab-and-go foods were placed on a Lazy Susan in the pantry while entertaining pieces were stored in higher cabinets.

    The home organizers then tackled the bedroom closet, an armoire of linens, an office supply closet and a laundry room.

    “You don’t come in here overwhelmed,” says Singer about her laundry room. “Everything now has a place.”

    Teresa Woodard is a freelance writer.


    This article appears in the Home Garden – May/June 2013 issue of Columbus Monthly

    Did you like what you read here? Subscribe to Columbus Monthly »

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    Edible Garden Tips

    Turn Your Balcony into an Edible Garden

    Tips for Growing Farm-fresh Herbs Veggies in the City

    Improvements in container gardening equipment and techniques have cleared the way for even the most “brown thumb” city dwellers, and anyone without a yard, to grow their own groceries.

    “There’s nothing to stop anyone who wants a garden from having one,” says Roy Joulus, CEO of Greenbo,, a company that designs award-winning innovative products for urban gardening including the new Greenbo XL flowerbox.

    “Plants add a great deal to our quality of life – from cleaning the air we breathe to keeping us in touch with nature. Fresh, home-grown herbs and vegetables not only taste so much better than supermarket produce, they’re convenient, and you know exactly where they came from and what was used, or not used, on them.”

    While hydroponic and vertical gardening systems have been developed to maximize the yield in small spaces, Joulus says starting a balcony garden needn’t cost much. Start with the right materials and choose plants that are right for your conditions, and you’ll soon be eating from the pots on your porch.

    He offers these tips especially for balcony gardeners:

    Plant the right plants for the amount of sunlight you have:

    Most herbs and vegetables require six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day. So what do you do if you have just one balcony and it doesn’t get that much sun?

     Choose edibles that can take partial sun/shade (three to six hours of sun in the morning or early afternoon) or light shade (two to three hours of direct sun or lightly shaded all day.)

    Some partial shade herbs: cilantro and parsley (both prefer cooler weather); dill, bee balm, spearmint chamomile.

    Some light shade herbs: garlic chives, peppermint, rosemary.

    Some partial or light shade veggies: lettuce, broccoli, green onion, collards, cabbage, peas, carrots, strawberries, beans, sweet potatoes.

    • Remember, pale-colored surfaces increase the light your plants receive. Plants in regions with short growing seasons usually need the full six to eight hours of light per day. 

    Choose the right pots:

     Bigger pots require less water and are less likely to blow over on high-rise balconies where the winds can be fierce. Terra cotta allows moisture to escape fairly quickly, which is helpful for people who like to water a lot. Non-porous plastic or glazed pots hold water longer and are better for windy balconies, where soil dries out quickly. Use brightly colored containers to add style and visual interest to your garden.

     Most vegetable plants require even watering – don’t let them dry out completely and don’t keep them soggy. Apply water directly to the soil.

     Make sure your containers have drainage holes or a drainage system. If they have an attached tray to catch excess water, don’t allow the plants’ roots to sit in the water, which promotes rot and fungus. Either empty the tray regularly, or use a design that holds the water away from the roots.

    Use the right dirt:

    • It’s important to use dirt that allows for good drainage. Most edible plants don’t like to sit in wet dirt, and soil without good drainage tends to become compacted – a difficult medium for plants that like to stretch their roots out. You can buy a sterile soilless potting mix, a soil-based potting mix, or mix up your own batch using 1 part compost, 1 part perlite and 1 part potting soil.

     Don’t use garden soil or top soil, which won’t allow adequate drainage.

     On windy balconies, top-dress your container with small rocks to keep the soil from drying out so quickly.

    Joulus offers one more tip for high-rise dwellers: Rely on self-pollinating plants, or plants that don’t need pollination by insects, unless you’re willing to hand-pollinate.

    “You likely won’t see many bees buzzing around the 40th story,” he says.

    Don’t worry about pollination for root vegetables, like carrots and potatoes. Some self-pollinators include beans, peas, tomatoes and peppers.

    About Roy Joulus

    Roy Joulus is CEO of Greenbo, which was founded in 2012 in Florida with a focus on simplicity, efficiency and innovation in creating urban agricultural products. Its Greenbo XL flowerbox, designed to hang securely on any balcony railing up to 6 inches wide, won the prestigious 2012 Red Dot Design Award. Greenbo products are manufactured in a multi-cultural Israeli-Arab setting using sustainable and recyclable materials, and with safety the No. 1 priority. Find Greenbo products at garden centers and independent nurseries in the United States and Europe, and online at

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    One of Canada’s most famous gardeners once told me that Calgary was the toughest place in which to garden. The usual complaints are the fleeting frost-free season, punishing hails, bone-sucking semi-desert conditions and the diabolical Chinook winds. These are wicked challenges for sure, but I think the most overlooked challenge is the combination of bright sun with too little heat.

    Sun but no heat? Sounds like someone’s been in the sun too long. The altitude is the key to understanding this seeming contradiction. During the main part of the day, Calgary is exposed to relentless rays of sun penetrating a thin atmosphere at an altitude of more than 1,000 metres. But the heat fades quickly as the sun sets, as anyone who has lingered in the garden after dusk knows.

    The lack of night time heat shuts plant growth down. So, even if we experience a nice long stretch of warm days, our plants shiver through the cool nights, and maybe warm up enough to start growing again in late morning. So, they grow more slowly than in other Canadian cities of similar latitude.

    The secret to success with heat-loving plants like tomatoes involves trapping as much daytime heat as possible and harnessing it through the night. One way to do that is to grow tomatoes in large black pots or in special bags designed to trap daytime heat that will keep roots warm all night.

    Cut the bottoms off two-litre pop containers and place them over young transplants at night before things cool off to trap cosy warm air around the tender stems and leaves.

    Some gardeners cover all their heat-loving veggies in small portable greenhouses. The trick is to keep the sides open during the heat of the day and to close it up at night, thus trapping valuable BTUs inside.

    It’s a little trickier to grow some of the flamboyant tropical beauties such as callas and cannas. These bold patio enhancers will accept all the heat you can give them, but even though it rarely gets as hot as it does in tropical places, the intensity of our high altitude sun can scorch their large tender leaves.

    As with tomatoes, growing tropicals is more successful in containers than in the ground. And containers situated on warm patios have a further advantage.

    I have found moderate success avoiding leaf scorch while still providing heat by slowly introducing plants started indoors to warm shady areas, and eventually bringing them into areas with morning sun and light afternoon shade. But it’s always a race with Jack Frost.

    In the garden, place large dark stones around plants that need a boost to cope with cool nights. Dark coloured mulches will absorb more heat than light coloured mulches. But avoid using black plastic over root zones. Plastic does not allow for air or water circulation and heat could build up to killing levels.

    If you think of heat as something to conserve, as you do water, your efforts in the short months we have to grow stuff are more likely to be fruitful.

    Sidebar: Growing a hot bank account

    Horticulturists and farmers use a measure called growing degree days (GDD) or growing degree units (GDU) to measure the accumulated heat over a season. Usually, this is the number of hours in a day that the temperature is over some minimum temperature, below which the plant does not grow. Different plants need different amounts of accumulated heat over the season to grow, flower and set seed. These are known for most plants, and keeping track of growing degree days helps gardeners and farmers predict when bloom or fruit ripening might occur.

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