May 2010


Well,  I must say, I’m not too sad to see the end of May. What weather we have had this month! It has snowed at least three or four times (I’ve lost count), including this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There is a risk of frost tonight, but it looks like the weather will improve after tomorrow.  

Fortunately, many perennials are surprisingly tough and are still blooming away. Such weather is a good test, and really, that’s what we’re trying to do in the Alberta Perennial Trials. If a plant can’t take weather like this, it’s not good enough to plant in your Alberta garden! There are lots of plants that can survive and even thrive.  

There are two types of Siberian bugloss in the gardens. Brunnera ‘Variegata’ is a graduate from the 2002-2004 series.  

Brunnera 'Variegata'

 

Brunnera ‘Mr. Morse’ is in its final year in the trials. It has lovely silver and green variegated foliage and delicate white flowers early in the spring.  

Brunnera 'Mr. Morse'

 

 There are daffodils sprinkled throughout the gardens at the Calgary Zoo. After about ten years in the garden, they have multiplied into quite large clumps. Daffodils are usually not bothered by animal pests, so they’re a good choice in areas where deer and rabbits are a problem.  

Daffodils

 

 Doronicum ‘Little Leo’ is blooming away cheerfully, despite the cold weather.  

Doronicum 'Little Leo'

 

 Euphorbia polychroma ‘Bonfire’ is still one of my favourite plants in the trials. It was planted in 2008 and has performed wonderfully so far. The burgundy foliage and bright yellow flowers (actually bracts) are spectacular!  

Euphorbia polychroma 'Bonfire'

 

   

The  flowers of Gentiana acaulis are a stunning  shade of blue.    

Gentiana acaulis

 

 Our stand of Helleborus orientalis in the trial garden at the Calgary Zoo proves that hellebores can be grown in Alberta, given the right spot. These have been in the garden for at least ten years.  

Helleborus orientalis

 

Helleborus orientalis

 

 Lathyrus vernus is another graduate from previous years that continues to performvery well.  

Lathyrus vernus

 

 Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’ is in it’s third year  in the trial. They plants are absolutely covered in the tiny blue flowers.  

Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue'

 

Vinca ‘Blue and Gold’ was planted in 2009. The three plants have already made a nice groundcover and the glossy green leaves edged in gold are a beautiful contrast to the blue flowers.  

Vinca 'Blue and Gold'

 

 Several new violas were introduced to the trials last year. Viola ‘Columbine’ is blooming profusely already.  

Viola 'Columbine'

 

 Viola ‘Dark Freckles’ is just starting to bloom. The flowers are white with purple spots, or freckles, I guess!  

Viola 'Dark Freckles'

 

 Let’s hope June is warm and sunny. No more snow! The plants may be able to take it, but I don’t know if I can.

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Calgary Zoo site

Alberta Perennial Trials, Calgary site - May 5, 2010

 

Bergenia 'Baby Doll'

 

Primula elatior

 

Alberta Perennial Trials - May 5, 2010