Stories Tagged - backyard
Oct. 18, 2016 | Donna Balzer
The phone call came during my regular CBC radio phone-in show.
The caller had heard Dr. Scholl's foot powder was a fungicide. She knew lawn mushrooms were a type of fungus, so she wondered if she could kill her lawn mushrooms with foot powder – active ingredient Tolfanate, a synthetic thiocarbamate.
"No, definitely not," I exclaimed.
Sept. 07, 2016 | Donna Balzer
It was well after her neighbour had finished their veggie harvest and late into November last year when my daughter, Chelsie, allowed her son, Cohen, to fulfill his final garden wish of the season.
First, she asked eight-year old Cohen to fill eight more bags of Kale from their patch.
The next morning, when the temperatures crashed and the remaining crop was crisply covered with frosty icing, Chelsie gave Cohen the go-ahead. He bounced high on his trampoline and lept off into the frozen kale patch. The kale cracked into shards on impact, and the still-soft soil broke his fall as he tumbled like a gymnast down the row. You couldn't imagine a bigger smile and a better way to say goodbye to summer.
Aug. 26, 2016 | Donna Balzer
What's with crazy gardening terms like "deadheading?" It sounds like something done in a dark alley, in private, after midnight.
Patrick Horner, a reader and fairly new gardener, wasn't sure at first, but he figured out from an online search that it meant cutting flowers off after they fade to encourage more flowers. He sent me an email: "If I am deadheading [my dianthus], what do I remove?"
Horner's plant in question is a perennial dianthus – a hardy dwarf relative of the common-cut flower the carnation. If he deadheads it, it may bloom again a bit this season, and will certainly bloom more heavily next year because it won't use up its energy making seeds this year.
Aug. 22, 2016 | Miles Durie
Ahh, summer in the city. What a great time to be a homeowner, right? Step out your door and survey your domain, listen to the birds, smell the flowers and greenery — then plan your evening barbecue.
But wait. There's a flipside to all that. Did you water the lawn and garden? Does it need mowing before you can enjoy it? Better get it done, because tonight you're going to have to hover over the grill to make sure your steaks are done to perfection, while your friends and family enjoy the results of your backyard labour.
Well, we all know technology can't solve every problem, but it can certainly help reduce the stress and time you devote to looking after your outdoor living space.
Aug. 08, 2016 | Donna Balzer
"Help! This plant is growing behind my office in Calgary and I can't identify it" tweeted Christene.
Gloria had some "wonderful old flowers" suddenly appear in her Canmore yard, so she sent photos by email. Mehran fell in love with a beautiful plant he saw in a Springbank ditch. He texted me a photo. Pretty and mysterious plants were suddenly on all my media.
"Our office building is about two blocks west of the Bow River. There's always a bunch of interesting plants growing out back behind the warehouse loading dock so I'm always trying to identify them, see if there are any plants I can steal to put in my garden. I had never seen anything like this one before and probably spent a good hour trying to figure out what it was," said Christene by follow-up email. But of course anything this exotic and pretty and springing out of nowhere could only be one thing. Christene and Gloria and Mehran all had or wanted to know more about weeds. Pretty, vigorous weeds.
July 25, 2016 | Donna Balzer
Calgary real estate professional Lori Olijnyk remembers a particular home home in Calgary's hot inner city: "It had a large 50-foot lot with a dilapidated picket fence that might have been white at one time. Rolls of chicken wire actually had a bird in it. [The] grass was overgrown and the walkway was crumbling."
In other words, it was a mess, and it failed the curb appeal test. The curb appeal was so bad it was hard to get prospective buyers out of the car and into the home.
"A bad first impression is difficult to overcome," said Olijnyk.
May 27, 2016 | Donna Balzer
It's early spring and it seems like time to plant.
Well go ahead and shop 'till you drop. But consider holding back on planting the tender plants such as Hosta, Begonias and even Marigolds unless you have a backup plan this spring.
I'm not talking a big plan like a home greenhouse or sturdy cold-frame. The backup plan can be as simple as a few meters of insulating fleece, also sold as Reemay or spunbond polyester. This light fabric is sold in packages at hardware stores and by the meter from rolls in garden centres.
It is sold in different thickness levels and is good for different degrees of frost. Even the thinnest, lightest fleece materials will give a few degrees of frost protection, and that is what we need in May in Calgary.
April 01, 2016 | Jamie Zachary
Spring has sprung, meaning the handyman in your family is likely itching to tackle that outdoor project that's been nagging at him or her for months.
With patio season in sight, here are five tips from the City of Calgary's Planning and Development department before tackling your spring reno project:
Before you start, the City suggests determining whether you're building a pergola or roof structure that is attached to your house. If it's an extension to the house, it's considered an addition, in which case you will need to apply for a building permit. For uncovered decks that are not located on the same facade as a basement walkout entry, the maximum height is 1.5 metres in a developed area. In both the developed and developing areas, the height of a deck cannot exceed 0.3 metres above the main floor level of a house.
Feb. 26, 2016 | Rachel Naud
Not much can beat a ripe, juicy tomato picked fresh from the vine, or a crisp cucumber that packs a nutritious crunch. Homegrown veggies are delicious, nutritious and cost-effective.
Yet as Calgarians also know, there's a small window in which to grow their bounty.
That's why those with a green thumb like to plan out their seasonal gardens – from determining the garden's design to, of course, choosing the variety of crops – to make the most out of the planting and growing season.
If this is your first crack at planting and you're not sure how to get started, don't be intimidated, said Chelsie Anderson, owner and operator of Chelsie Squared Gardening.
Feb. 26, 2016 | CREBNow
Nobody arguably knows more about how to succeed as a gardener in Calgary than Donna Balzer. The noted horticulturist and speaker is author of No Guff Vegetable Gardening, a regular CREB®Now columnist and trusted messiah for countless Calgarians trying to discover their green thumbs.
On Feb. 26 and 28, Balzer will take the stage at this year's Home + Garden Show to talk about how we can change our world, one cabbage at a time. CREB®Now recent sat down with Balzer to get a sneak peek.
CREB®Now: Why should I start thinking about my garden now when there's still snow on the ground?
Balzer: Gardening is two parts dreaming and three parts doing. The best ideas might be waiting for you right now at a talk, on Pinterest or in a gardening book. If you are serious about starting a garden, you will want to start looking and reading now because by the time the weather is perfect for doing it is too late.