Hi all, from East Central, Almost south? Alberta

Submitted by Schier on

Hi there,
Thought I'd make the leap, log in for the first time, and introduce myself. I haven't joined a new forum for so long, and also, I tend not to be very good at these introductions!

For those of you who know Alberta, Canada at all, I'm just a tad north of Stettler, Alberta, and that also makes me a wee bit more - south of Camrose Alberta. For those not in Alberta, I'm on the map
between Edmonton and Calgary. The area I'm in is very close to the Battle River Valley, and our weather I'm certain is quite influenced by these lovely coulees. ( these coulees are very, very interesting when it comes to plants as well, many cacti and dryland plants, I very much enjoy tramping around these areas whenever I can ) Any forecasts for long, longed for rain, never seem to reach us when it is forecast to, but we'll get it often when no one else does! ( thinking of last year anyway, when we finally got rain, after so many years of drought )
The soil here is quite good, mostly loamy/sand, and a lot of good old black for farming purposes.

I love to garden, obviously, and have been - I think! - working my way up the gardening chain, so to speak, after starting out as a petunia balcony gardener in Edmonton in the 80's. I'm afraid I wasn't very imaginative in those day, but I still enjoyed my small assortment of container plants. I'm not too big on petunias these days, except for a pot of white and purples that I love to have each year for the good smells! From balcony gardening in Edmonton, I went on to a lush planting spree when I moved to Southern Ontario ( Ridgeway, Ontario, almost " across the street " from Buffalo, NY ) More container gardening, and raised beds with still! a lot of annuals, begonias, ferns, and at last, a start at perennials.
Oh, to be able to almost literally watch things grow in that heat and humidity. I still wasn't quite at a fanatic stage, oh, no. But I did love the fancy gardening magazines, which now I'm afraid don't do too much for me. But, the pictures sure were pretty! and it kept sending me on my way to more and more gardening, so no experience is wasted.... I only wish I had planted some grapes while I was there, that would have been fun had I only known, since it is an area very close to a lot of the Niagara vinyards.
After several years in Ridgeway, my mom passed on, and we moved back here to Alberta, and moved to a tiny village not too far from where I am now. I continued with the gardening, having a very large yard, I dug up many, many beds in the yard, and dug in. Shrubs and perennials were my thing. Not too much from seed yet, except for a few self sowers. But I learned so much from those years there. And I learned a great deal the hard way, of course. I had been squishing so many plants close together, in order to fill my new beds, never thinking I could maybe, just maybe put in a few annuals to tide me over. No, everything was stuffed in including shrubs, which of course, had to be moved in a couple of years. But I loved it.
In 2003, after my dad too passed on, we moved back here to the homestead farm, now a quarter section. I came back full circle - and I love it here. And - so much room for gardens!
It was here that I started in earnest with growing from seed, after seeing and hearing about so many fascinating plants that simply were- and are not available around here. And the wonderful areas for gardens, and rock gardens. At last, some alpines and tiny treasures, along with shrubs, trees, peonies and lilies! Along the way, for many years, I had been ordering from Gardens North, and had some success but hadn't tried all that many seeds/plants that I considered a tad difficult. But at last I acquired some patience - meaning I could wait until something finally grew out to maturity in all it's glory. And that patience had been lacking for a lot of my gardening years. Now, most fun of all, is to order the seeds, after much thinking, dreaming, and planning, and get them in the soil to do what they do, ( or not! all too many times, in which case, I try again, ... occasionally I have to say the heck with it, but I don't give up very easily ... )
Some of my favorite plants now include many dryland plants that seem to thrive once they get going, this is course evolved during the years of drought. I simply couldn't baby many plants that needed a lot of watering, we have a very slow drilled well here, and only a very few select plants can be given plenty to drink, in times of no rain. So, that's been yet another learning experience, but it's been fascinating too.

I'm afraid I've written far too much, but I think I'll leave this as is!
Cohen, I don't know if you would be the closest Nargs "person" to me on here, there are probably others closer by? Anyway, I know your general area reasonably well, having been out to Rocky many times, but of course I don't know the nooks and crannies of plants you have around very well. But it is beautiful country, I know that much.

I look forward to reading more and more on here, and getting to know everyone. It's probably not likely that I'll get to many, if any chapter meetings but I know I'll learn a lot from this forum, and I look forward to the seeds exchange next year....



Submitted by Lori S. on Tue, 03/08/2011 - 20:25

Welcome, F.J.S.!  It's nice to hear from another cold climate gardener!  Can't wait to hear more about your gardening experiences, and adventures in the Battle River area! 

Submitted by cohan on Wed, 03/09/2011 - 01:54

Wow--that's 3 of us here in Alberta! pretty good  ;D There is a fellow 'cool' plant grower in Red Deer-- Linda, she has been on SRGC, not sure if she has made it over here, I should ask her!

I only recently heard of the plant communities around the Battle River area, via a hardy cactus forum, I didn't realise this sort of habitat existed over there, and I am hoping to get a chance to drive that way this summer to look at native dryland/prairie species, I'm thinking it must be a much shorter drive than areas we have visited around Drumheller..

Looking forward to hearing about/seeing your gardens and natural surroundings! Not that far, yet very different from here!

Submitted by Schier on Wed, 03/09/2011 - 12:49

Thank you Lori, for the welcome! and cohan, I have been to the beautifulblooms site too, in fact I ordered some seeds from Linda last year. I'm glad to hear she's on the SRGC, it would be great if she were on here too. Among other things, I ordered from delph seeds from her, and with any luck, I should see some blooms this year. She has some beauties..

I'm not surprised there are some hardy cactus folks around the area, in some places in the valleys you can hardly walk without hitting a few, or many! It is an interesting area, that's for certain. Right here on the farm, there aren't any, but I'm kind of half planning on making a type of raised bed along one side of the house where almost nothing grows, and I can't really dig it up since it's too close to the gas line. So, a raised bed, with cacti would be just the thing. I've already got someone lined up for the gravel, and I "collect" good sand whenever I can ha!

I have my other so called frying pan gardens around the house already, the heat and sun just blazes down, yet just down the path through the trees, I have a decent woodland garden since there is so much native bush, that the soil holds the moisture nicely - well, in a year with rain it does...

Yes, I would think the drive for you would be shorter than around and about Drumheller..and there are some great spots for plant hunting and poking around. 

Submitted by cohan on Wed, 03/09/2011 - 12:57

I have lots of woodland on my property, blazing sun spots unfortunately are much more limited :( Oh well, it means a lot less wind in the winter...lol

I'll definitely head over that way, maybe you can recommend some spots if you know any particularly good areas (though my driver wont leave the paved roads..lol--it seems the highway crosses the valley in some places, so should be able to see some nice spots..)
Do you get Pulsatilla patens (ludoviciana now?)/prairie crocus? I know its widespread, but never seem to manage to see any at the right time..

Submitted by Mark McD on Thu, 03/10/2011 - 08:11

Hello F.J., welcome to the NARGS Forum.  I see that you have met up with some Alberta "neighbors" already.  Thanks for sharing your plant interest history, always interesting to see how the simple innocent act of growing a few annuals or planting up some nice flower boxes can eventually "blossom" into a full fledged plant obsession ;D

May I recommend that you visit the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) topics in the Announcements from Moderators and Administrators board:  http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?board=1.0  and in particular, look at the profile options.  It is useful to include a short signature block which gets automatically appended to your posts; having a general geographic/climate reference in your messages will help forumists respond to your posts with information useful for your area.

If you have any questions on using the forum, or uploading images, don't hesitate to ask, us Moderators are here to help. :D

Submitted by Schier on Fri, 03/11/2011 - 10:44

Hello - and thank you once again for the lovely welcomes!

Yes, I will go to the FAQ's and see about my profile, etc. I know my posts are quite
"naked"! without any information about my area, etc. I need to read up the FAQ's and information in any case to know the in's and out's of the forum...thanks for the reminder.

Cohan, I'd be happy to point you to some good spots to wander about, even without getting off the highway there's plenty to see...

Submitted by Schier on Thu, 03/17/2011 - 13:47

I've not been online to check the forum for a few days - we've got trouble with our well, and I've been busy having fun - including melting snow for washing and flushing! ( still have a tank full of drinking water though, thank goodness ) anyway - I'll get back here very soon and put in some more info under my profile, etc.... in the meantime, my name is Faith. ( last name Schier...) I don't know why I didn't put that in right away!

Submitted by Schier on Sun, 03/27/2011 - 22:53

Hi all, .... crikeys, I'm still melting snow here, and of course, there's still no lack of it!
Should have something done with the well later this coming week, and I'll be back to
"do-up" my profile! I can hardly wait to get on here and really dig in..

Submitted by Schier on Wed, 04/06/2011 - 14:10

I think as of yesterday we got the well in working order, what a treat! Still have to do some tweaking with the priming of it, and that should be it. So I should be good to go online in a day or so... thanks all!