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top prev next bottom Main Yard Details

We go counter clockwise through the main yard starting at the front in the South-East corner, then North-East, North-West and our orchard. Finally our heart-shape bed and vegetable yard. With the exception of the vegetable yard, we use mainly shrubs and trees.

Our environment

Before we give some details of what we are growing on our acreage, it is important to understand the environment. We live outside of Calgary in the North-West at an elevation of 4,250 feet or 1,295 meters. Our lot measures 70 meters North-South and 120 meters East-West. On average we have frost from September 15 until May 23, which gives us a 3½ month growing season. The ground heats up pretty slow as the land predominantly slopes towards the North. Our highest point is the South-West corner where we have our picnic table for that beautiful wide view. From there it slopes down to the North and the East. The lowest point is indeed on the North side where we have a seasonal pond. An ideal place for ducks and plovers.

Our main goals for the yard

Legend

top prev next bottom Main Yard, South-East (20-Jun-2007)

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Yard, South-East area: N.A.
topography: level
sun: whole day
soil: poor, dry

Mainly grass with beds of roses and lilacs. In the far corner young Colorado Spruce, and along the driveway Double Flowering Plum. In July 2005 a young Burr Oak is planted between the Lilacs and the Plums; should be a sight in 20 or 30 years from now.
Colorado Spruce Colorado Spruce (evergreen)
(Picea pungens 'Glauca')

zone: 2
height: 12 m, 40 ft
spread: 4.5 m, 15 ft
foliage: green to blue

Pyramidal evergreen, planted as seedlings, and are after 6 years about 125 cm (4 ft) tall. Put together in the far corner as a group of 17.
Common Lilac Common Lilac, Miss Canada Preston Lilac (shrub)
(Syringa vulgaris, Syringa prestoniae 'Miss Canada')

zone: 2/3
height: 3 m, 10 ft
spread: 2.5 m, 8 ft
flower: mauve to white, fragrant

This flowerbed contains 10 Lilacs. They have been struggling as the soil is pure clay, but finally after 6 years and a wet summer they are coming around. Fertilize with bonemeal in fall to promote flowering next spring. Notice our garden Pinocchio made from ordinary fence posts.
Hedge Roses Hedge Rose (rose)
(Rosa woodsii)

zone:
height: 1.5 m, 5 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
flower: small, single, pink

We have 4 flowerbeds with these roses along the East side of our property. These Hedge Roses have a tendency to sucker, which is fine with us as it fills up the flowerbed. In late summer the flowers make place for the rose bottles.
Double Flowering Plum Double Flowering Plum (shrub)
(Prunus tribola 'Multiplex')

zone: 2
height: 2.5 m, 8 ft
spread: 3 m, 10 ft
flower: pink, double
pruning: rigorously after blooming to promote new growth for next year

10 of these Double Flowering Plums line the South side of our driveway. Pruning is very important as flowers are formed in early spring on wood that grew the year before.
Burr Oak Burr Oak (tree)
(Quercus macrocarpa)

zone: 3
height: 10 m, 33 ft
spread: 10 m, 33 ft

Large lobed leaves, corky bark and large acorns. This oak is of the hardy variety and drought resistant.

top prev next bottom Main Yard, North-East (4-Sep-2009)

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Yard, North-East area: N.A.
topography: level
sun: whole day
soil: poor, moist

Mainly grass with a bed of Dogwood to hide a transformer in the far corner. Around the seasonal pond are beds of Elder and Cotoneaster, and various trees to give the pond more definition. Mountain Ash line the driveway on the North side.
American Mountain Ash American Mountain Ash, Showy Mountain Ash (tree)
(Sorbus Americana, Sorbus Decora)

zone: 2
height: 6 m, 20 ft
spread: 5 m, 17 ft
flower: white, scarlet
fruit: red berries in fall
foliage: orange in fall

These Mountain Ash line the North side of the driveway. Cedar Waxwings love the berries. Problem is that deer love the leaves.
Hedge Roses Hedge Rose (rose)
(Rosa woodsii)

zone:
height: 1.5 m, 5 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
flower: small, single, pink

We have 4 flowerbeds with these roses along the East side of our property. These Hedge Roses have a tendency to sucker, which is fine with us as it fills up the flowerbed. In late summer the flowers make place for the rose bottles.
Redosier Dogwood Redosier Dogwood (shrub)
(Cornus stolonifera)

zone: 3
height: 2 m, 7 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
flower: white cluster
fruit: ice blueish

Features blood-red stems which is very decorative in winter. Foliage has burgundy-red fall colour.
Red Elder Red Elder, Golden Elder (shrub)
(Sambucus racemosa 'Pubens', Sambucus canadensis 'Aurea')

zone: 3
height: 2.5-3 m, 8-10 ft
spread: 2-2.5 m, 7-8 ft
flower: white cluster
fruit: red, golden

Likes moisture. Takes several years to get going.
Sienna Glen Maple Sienna Glen Maple (tree)
(Acer x Freemanii 'Sienna Glen')

zone: 3
height: 19 m, 63 ft
spread: 10 m, 33 ft
foliage: will turn yellow-orange in fall

We have been looking for years for a maple suitable for our area and soil conditions. We planted this one in Jun-2007 and will see how it goes.

In the 2007/2008 winter it lost everything above 1 meter due to winter kill, and in the 2008/2009 winter it lost all branches again due to winter kill. The maple tree is now less than 1 meter high.
Cotoneaster Cotoneaster (shrub)
(Cotoneaster acutifolia)

zone: 2
height: 2 m, 7 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
flower: pink
fruit: dark
foliage: red in fall

A very reliable base shrub.
Quaking Aspen Quaking (trembling) Aspen (tree)
(Populus tremuloides)

zone: 2
height: 20 m, 66 ft
spread: 10 m, 33 ft
flower: catkins
foliage: not very dense

The leaves makes a very pleasant trembling sound when the wind moves through them, hence the name "quaking". produces cotton fluff.
Cutleaf Weeping Birch Cutleaf Weeping Birch (tree)
(Betula pendula 'Youngii')

zone: 3
height: 3 m, 10 ft
spread: 4 m, 13 ft
flower: catkins
foliage: not very dense

Takes a few years before it is established. Loves water, hence we have it next to the pond. Bark whitens with age.
Poplar Poplar Brooks #6 (tree)
(Populus 'Brooks #6')

zone: 2
height: 15 m, 50 ft
spread: 12 m, 40 ft
flower: catkins
foliage: very dense, large leaves

The Brook #6 is non-suckering, fast growing tree.
Siberian Elm
Siberian Elm
Siberian Elm (tree)
(Ulmus pumila)

zone: 2
height: 15 m, 50 ft
spread: 11 m, 16 ft
foliage: small, green leaves, yellow in fall

Fast growing spreading tree with fine branching. Brittle wood breaks easily, which could be a problem in open land and when ice forms on its branches in the winter. We planted it Jun-2007 and will see how it does. Right now it looks a bit small next to the 6 meter (20 feet) tall poplars.
We would have loved to plant an American Elm, but we settled for the Siberian Elm as it is resistant to Dutch elm disease. However, play it safe, and prune dead/sick branches immediately and destroy. Also pull seedlings unless you like to start a nursery.

The second picture shows what the elm looks like in August 2009.

top prev next bottom Main Yard, North-West (4-Sep-2009)

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Yard, North-West
Yard, North-West
area: N.A.
topography: level
sun: whole day
soil: good, moist

Mainly grass with more trees around the seasonal pond and our "senior" swing. Further a bed with Dogwood and Silver Buffalo Berry, and in the far corner young Colorado Spruce. Along the whole West side of the property a hedge of yellow Potentilla.

The second picture is a close-up of the senior-swing showing what it looks like in August 2009.
Shubert Chokecherry Shubert Chokecherry (tree)
(Prunus virginiana 'Shubert')

zone: 3
height: 4.5 m, 15 ft
spread: 3 m, 10 ft
flower: white, fragrant
fruit: black cherries
foliage: new leaves are green and then mature purple

Excellent ornamental accent tree.
Siberian Larch Siberian Larch (evergreen)
(Larix siberica)

zone: 2
height: 8 m, 25 ft
spread: 3.5 m, 12 ft
foliage: turn bright yellow in fall; water regularly

A unique deciduous conifer that sheds its soft clusters of needles in winter. Likes a moist place.
May Day May Day (tree)
(Prunus padus commutata)

zone: 3
height: 6 m, 20 ft
spread: 4.5 m, 15 ft
flower: showy white fragrant
fruit: black, bitter

The fruits attract birds.
Cutleaf Weeping Birch Cutleaf Weeping Birch (tree)
(Betula pendula 'Youngii')

zone: 3
height: 3 m, 10 ft
spread: 4 m, 13 ft
flower: catkins
foliage: not very dense

Takes a few years before it is established. Loves water, hence we have it next to the pond. Bark whitens with age.
Dolgo Crapapple Dolgo Crapapple (tree)
(Malus x 'Dolgo')

zone: 2
height: 5 m, 16 ft
spread: 3 m, 10 ft
flower: white
fruit: red, edible

Requires proper pruning to shape the tree. The fruits are excellent for jelly.
Laurel leaf Willow Laurel Leaf Willow (tree)
(Salix pentandra)

zone: 3
height: 13 m, 43 ft
spread: 9 m, 30 ft
flower: fuzzy yellow pendulous catkins
foliage: shiny green foliage, golden yellow in fall

Likes a moist location therefore it is close to the pond.
Chinese Weeping Willow
Chinese Weeping Willow
Chinese Weeping Willow (tree)
(Salix babylonica)

zone: 2 (??? others say suitable for zone 4 ???)
height: 12 m, 40 ft
spread: 9 m, 30 ft

Ideal for a big yard, close to a pond or stream. Those weeping branches, almost touching the ground, appear to be inviting you, "Please come under my branches, I will protect you." Planted in 2006 and survived the mild 2006/2007 winter. Area around the tree is constantly flooded.

In the winter of 2007/2008 the willow lost all its branches due to frost; basically reducing it to half its original height. After the 2008/2009 winter the willow lost again all its branches due to winter kill, and now looks like the second picture (August 2009), and that height is very handy for the deer to nibble on the tender leaves. If you like a shrub then plant a tree!!!
Russian Olive Russian Olive (tree)
(Elaeagnus angustifolia)

zone: 3
height: 8 m, 27 ft
spread: 8 m, 27 ft
flower: small fragrant yellow flower
Foliage: silver

A drought tolerant tree once established, but there is not much need for that as it is planted close to the pond.
Makamik Crapapple Makamik Crapapple, Royalty Flowering Crabapple (tree)
zone: 2
height: 8 m, 27 ft
spread: 3 m, 10 ft
flower: pink, reddish purple
foliage: purple leaves, orange in fall
fruit: purple

Requires proper pruning to shape the tree.
Colorado Spruce Colorado Spruce (evergreen)
(Picea pungens 'Glauca')

zone: 2
height: 12 m, 40 ft
spread: 4.5 m, 15 ft
foliage: green to blue

Pyramidal evergreen, planted as seedlings, and are after 6 years only about 50 cm (2 ft) tall due to the open exposure to the North-West dry wind in the winter. Put together in the far corner as a group of 12.
Silver Buffaloberry Silver Buffaloberry (shrub)
(Shepherdia argentea)

zone: 2
height: 3.5 m, 11 ft
spread: 3.5 m, 11 ft
flower: yellow on female plants
fruit: red berries

Drought resistant, spiny shrub. Takes a while to establish.
Alpine Currant Alpine Currant (shrub)
(Ribes Alpine)

zone: 2
height: 1.5 m, 5 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
flower: yellow

Redosier Dogwood Redosier Dogwood (shrub)
(Cornus stolonifera)

zone: 3
height: 2 m, 7 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
flower: white cluster
fruit: ice blueish

Features blood-red stems which is very decorative in winter. Foliage has burgundy-red fall colour.
Potentilla Goldfinger
Potentilla Goldfinger
Potentilla Goldfinger (shrub)
(Potentilla fruticosa 'Goldfinger')

zone: 2
height: 1.25 m, 4 ft
spread: 1 m, 3 ft
flower: dark yellow

Very hardy potentilla with the largest flowers. Encourage new growth by vigorous pruning in early spring. We planted (in fall 2003) some 130 potentillas (from seed) to create a hedge along the West side of our property. We also planted 20 potentillas between the Makamik Crabapple trees around the two-seater swing in 2004.

First picture shows the hedge viewing from the North in 2005, while the second picture shows the hedge from the South in August 2009.

top prev next bottom Orchard, West (3-Sep-2006)

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Orchard, West area: N.A.
topography: level
sun: whole day
soil: good, moist

Mainly grass with three rows of fruit trees and shrubs. Here an late summer picture.
Nanking Cherry Nanking Cherry (shrub)
(Prunus tomentosa)

zone: 2
height: 2 m, 6 ft
spread: 2 m, 6 ft
flower: light pink
fruit: red cherry, edible

We have them since 1968, they flower, but I still have to see the first cherry. Supposedly the cherries are great for jelly.
Heyer #12 Apple
Heyer #12 Apple
Heyer #12 Apple
Heyer #12 Apple (tree)
(Malus 'Heyer #12')

zone: 3
height: 6 m, 20 ft
spread: 5 m, 17 ft
flower: white
fruit: 2" to 2½" yellow-green fruit in late August

Although the fruit can be eaten fresh, making apple sauce from it is a much better way of using these tart apples.

In 2006 we had our best year. We picked 69 kg (152 lbs) from four trees, and converted all of the fruits into apple sauce and apple pies. The container shows what we picked from just one tree.
Saskatoon Smokey Saskatoon, Pembina Saskatoon, Northline Saskatoon (shrub)
(Amelanchier alniflora 'Smokey', Amelanchier alniflora 'Pembina', Amelanchier alniflora 'Northline')

zone: 2/3
height: 3 m, 10 ft
spread: 2 m, 7 ft
fruit: Smokey: purplish/blue berries; Pembina: sweet, mild-flavoured fruit; Northline: large berry with wonderful saskatoon flavour

Good for eating fresh, or for pies and jams.
Blackberry Black Raspberry Jewel, or Blackberry (shrub)
(Rubus spp.)

zone:
height:
spread:
fruit: deep purple

Sensitive to winter kill which is a problem as fruit develops on previous year growth.
Dakota Gooseberry Dakota Gooseberry (shrub)
(Ribes spp.)

zone:
height:
spread:
fruit: tard, small, yellowish fruit

Not very good for eating fresh.
Red Currant Red Currant (shrub)
(Ribes 'Redlake')

zone: 3
height: 1 m, 3 ft
spread: 1 m, 3 ft
fruit: small red fruit, a bit tart

Can be eaten fresh or made into jams. Sensitive to winter kill which is a problem as fruit develops on old growth.
Black Currant Black Currant (shrub)
(Ribes nigrum)

zone: 3
height: 1 m, 3 ft
spread: 1 m, 3 ft
fruit: small black fruit, very tart

Suitable for jams. Sensitive to winter kill which is a problem as fruit develops on old growth.
Buffalo Currant Buffalo Currant (shrub)
(Ribes odoratum)

zone: 2
height: 1.2 m, 4 ft
spread: 1 m, 3 ft
fruit: large black currants in the late summer

Excellent for jams, juice, syrups and wine. The foliage is light green which turns yellow/orange in autumn. Will grow well in full sun or shade and is tolerant of dryer soils. The flowers smell like cloves.
Rabbit Hill Cranberry Rabbit Hill Cranberry (shrub)
(Viburnum 'Rabbit Hill')

zone:
height: 2 m, 7 ft
spread: 2 m, 7 ft
fruit: tart red fruit

Excellent for jelly.
Raspberry Boyne Raspberry Boyne (shrub)
(Rubus 'Boyne')

zone: 3
height: 1.5 m, 5 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
fruit: Sweet, red fruit

Good for eating fresh. Sensitive to winter kill which is a problem as fruit develops on previous year growth. Does sucker.
Raspberry Primocane Raspberry Primocane (shrub)
(Rubus 'Primocane')

zone: 3
height: 1.5 m, 5 ft
spread: 30 cm, 1 ft
fruit: Sweet, red fruit

Good for eating fresh. These raspberries are also a hardy variety for the prairies. These raspberries do not require thinning or pruning. They can be mown down every year to within a couple of inches, but we prefer to cut ours down every 2 or 3 years to clean up the patch. Fruits mid summer through fall. Does sucker.

top prev next bottom Flowerbed, heart-shape, West (20-Jun-2007)

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Heart-shape Flowerbed, West
Heart-shape Flowerbed, West
Heart-shape Flowerbed, West
area: 32 m² (348 sqft)
topography: North sloping
sun: whole day
soil: very good, dry

The first picture was taken in 2004 after the sods were taken off and a foot of clay had been removed from underneath the good soil. After the winter 15 cubic yard (11-1/2 m3) of garden mix was added. This new bed was completed in June 2005, planted with various coloured shrubs, covered with landscaping fabric and with crystal white rocks on top.

Have a good look at the second picture. Do you see the smiling face: blonde eyebrows, blue-grey eyes, red nose, pinkish cheeks and a smiling mouth with teeth?

The third picture shows what it looks like in August 2009.
Sunsation Barberry Sunsation Barberry (shrub)
(Berberis thunbergii 'Monry')

zone: 3/4
height: 1 m, 3 ft
spread: 1 m, 3 ft
foliage: golden-yellow

The eyebrows.
Spruce Blue Globe Spruce Blue Globe (evergreen)
(Picea pungens 'Glauca Globosa')

zone: 2
height: 1.5 m, 5 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
foliage: blue

The eyes. Prune in spring to maintain a globe form.
Cherry Bomb Japanese Barberry Cherry Bomb Japanese Barberry (shrub)
(Berberis thunbergii 'Cherry Bomb')

zone: 3/4
height: 1 m, 3 ft
spread: 1 m, 3 ft
foliage: deep crimson

The nose.
Dwarf Korean Lilac Dwarf Korean Lilac (shrub)
(Syringa meyeri 'Palibin')

zone: 3
height: 1.5 m, 5 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
flower: lavender, fragrant

The cheeks.
Mugho Pine Mugho Pine (evergreen)
(Pinus mugo)

zone: 2
height: 2 m, 7 ft
spread: 2 m, 7 ft

The mouth. Takes about 15 years to mature. Trim 1/3 of the buds for a compacter growth.

top prev next bottom Vegetable Yard, South (29-Jun-2008)

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Vegetable yard S. area: 48 m² (517 sqft)
topography: level
sun: until early evening
soil: very good

Our annual supply of fresh vegetables for the summer and for in the freezer for the winter. Normally no fertilizers and no pesticides (herbicides, insecticides); just some compost, some water and some tender love and care. This year (2006) we use for the first time a bit of 8-12-6 fertilizer from PINK. We have three long beds of about 50" wide, separated by two paths. The whole is surrounded by chicken wire to keep gophers (Richardson Ground squirrel) and deer out.

The 2006 crop was: broad bean (Broad Windsor), pole bean (Scarlet Runner & Smeraldo), radish (Cherry Bell), spinach (Long Standing Bloomsdale), Swiss chard (Rhubarb), Pea (Snowpea Snowflake), rhubarb (perennial), strawberry (Eversweet, Kent & Seascape -- perennials), bush bean (Stringless Green Pod), red beet (Detroit Dark Red), carrot (Scarlet Nantes), pea (Alaska), lettuce (Red Butterworth & Early Curled Simpson), endive (Green Curled Ruffec), and onion (Annual Bunching).

The 2007 crop was: broad bean (Broad Windsor), pole bean (Scarlet Runner & Romano), radish (Cherry Bell), spinach (Long Standing Bloomsdale), Swiss chard (Rhubarb), Pea (Snowpea Snowflake), rhubarb (perennial), strawberry (Eversweet, Kent & Seascape -- perennials), bush bean (Stringless Green Pod), red beet (Detroit Dark Red), carrot (Scarlet Nantes), common green purslane (Portulaca oleracea), pea (Alaska), lettuce (Grand Rapids & Early Curled Simpson), endive (Full Heart Batavian), and Brussels Chicory (Cichorium intybus; a two-step growing process).

The 2008 crop is: pole bean (Scarlet Runner & Romano), radish (Cherry Bell), spinach (Long Standing Bloomsdale), Swiss chard (Rhubarb), Pea (Snowpea Snowflake), rhubarb (perennial), strawberry (Eversweet, Kent & Seascape -- perennials), bush bean (Stringless Green Pod), red beet (Detroit Dark Red), carrot (Scarlet Nantes), common green purslane (Portulaca oleracea), pea (Alaska), lettuce (Grand Rapids & Early Curled Simpson), endive (Full Heart Batavian), and Brussels Chicory (Cichorium intybus; a two-step growing process).

We do our best to rotate the crop between the beds in a three year cycle.
Rosa Explorer John Cabot Rosa Explorer 'John Cabot' (rose)
Rosa Explorer 'John Cabot'

zone: 3
height: 2.5 m, 8 ft
spread: 1.5 m, 5 ft
flower: pink, double, strong fragrance

Requires trellis or other support. We transplated (Jun-2007) these roses from the swing in the Northwest part of the yard to our more sheltered vegetable yard next to the garden gate. Disease resistant.

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