REALTORS® serving Calgary and area


CREB Now Logo

Calgary's trusted source of real estate news, advice and statistics since 1983.


Stories Tagged - gardens

The Cliff Bungalow Community Garden is one of several similar installations sprinkled throughout the city, and interest in creating new community gardens continues to grow, according to the Calgary Horticultural Society.
Courtesy Lynn MacCallum

Aug. 30, 2017 | Gerald Vander Pyl

Growing closer

Community gardens bring neighbourhood residents together

When Lynn MacCallum helped out with the Cliff Bungalow Community Garden during its construction in 2014, it was with a view towards having some garden space of her own.

"We are in a condo, and like many people in the neighbourhood, we didn't have access to growing food in our own gardens," said MacCallum. "I think a lot of people in the garden live in an apartment, so other than growing a couple of herbs in a pot on a balcony, there wasn't much opportunity.

"Growing food was foremost, but what has happened is this community that has been created, which is pretty awesome."

A shelterbelt will prevent strong winds from battering your rural home, yard and garden.
Donna Balzer / For CREB®Now

July 13, 2017 | Donna Balzer

Gimme shelter

Shelterbelts provide a variety of benefits for country homeowners

The phrase "eat dirt" probably came from a country dweller without a shelterbelt.

When people move to the country, the first problem they often encounter is wind. Thankfully, a shelterbelt can solve that.

Outside the shelterbelt's protective boundary, it's the Wild West. But inside, the shelterbelt provides a cozy spot where flowerpots don't blow away and dust doesn't find its way into your eyes and mouth. The benefits don't stop there either. With a well-planned shelterbelt, falling snow will pile up on your lawn, instead of in the middle of your driveway.

With an overhanging roof for seating and barbecuing, a simple shed was transformed into a comfortable back yard retreat. Donna Balzer / For CREB®Now

May 18, 2017 | Donna Balzer

Back garden oasis

There is no need to leave town with a garden retreat in your back yard

Together with her husband Bruce, Linda converted a back yard shed into a retreat – a cabin retreat.

"You gotta have a cabin in the back yard," said Linda, my neighbour.


Sept. 22, 2016 | Donna Balzer

No regrets

Don't make the mistake; plant your bulbs now

newDonnawebIt's simple garden envy, but there is a cure.

And it doesn't matter if your patch is just a tiny spot beside a townhome or a broad sweeping patch in a big country acreage.

If you are in a new garden and don't add bulbs now, you will regret it next spring. There is no shortcut to the blooming beauty we welcome with spring bulbs.

Here are some further tips:
The usual definition of a weed is a plant growing where you don’t want it.   Identifying what's a weed, however, takes a bit more effort. Photo courtesy Donna Balzer/For CREB®Now

Aug. 08, 2016 | Donna Balzer

Crazy weeds

When you know it's too good to be true

newDonnaweb"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.

Donna Balzer

Feb. 04, 2016 | Donna Balzer

Who's afraid of the GMO?

Important to read the fine print when purchasing seeds


Last spring, my grandkids, so excited to hear about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), decided to make their own genetically modified food. Cohen, 7, worked with his brother Kale, 9, to develop a plant that would grow potatoes in the ground and pumpkins above ground. They cut a hole in each potato, stuffed a pumpkin seed into the hole and planted their modified potato as a unit.

"The leaves looked a bit like pumpkins," said Kale, "And we did get potatoes, but we never got any pumpkins."

While the experiment seemed to be a failure, Cohen later wondered aloud about a seedless kiwi he was eating. His mom explained that some foods don't have seeds because they have been genetically modified. She also told him some types of modified seed sprout and make grain that won't grow again because they have a suicide gene designed by big companies to die instead of grow.


Oct. 01, 2015 | Donna Balzer

Don't wait to plant bulbs

Proper planning will yield long-term results

newDonnawebReaders often ask me about the best time to plant flowering bulbs. Some, in fact, wait months to act – or react.

The answer is no. Seeds will still grow if held for years and fall bulbs might leaf out if left on the counter, but bulbs won't bloom if left sitting on the laundry-room shelf all winter.

Plant your fall bulbs as soon as you buy them. Don't wait until it rains. the next blue moon or when you finish your thesis. Planting bulbs sooner rather than later is the best bet for best spring blooms.

Unlike seeds, flowering bulbs are special sugar packets with fully formed flower buds. Once rooted, they are ready to pop instantly into bloom next spring.


Feb. 04, 2015 | CREBNow

Bringing the heat

Hot coffee and fires in winter good for both gardens and gardeners

If you are not already on a plane to a tropical destination, you are likely staying put this winter with a hot cup of coffee in front of the fireplace.

My friend Brenda McIntyre was doing just that when she sent a text and asked, whether it was alright to put wood ash from her fireplace into the composter?

"Is once-in-a-while OK?" she asked. "Maybe it will balance off all the acidic coffee grounds I add every day? The Calgary soil is higher pH, so is this useful?"

Oct. 22, 2014 | Donna Balzer

Dead flowers a downer

Don't abandon your garden too soon

The back of the truck was full of flowers – even though they still looked decent. The gardener, in this case, wasn't about to wait until all her blooms were frozen in her beds and flowerpots, so she was tearing everything out early.

Dead flowers are a downer and no one wants to look at them for the next eight – yes eight – months. 

June 18, 2014 | CREBNow

A peek at permaculture

Making yards beautiful while making space for the birds and the bees

* Part one of a three part YYC Grows series

Rob Avis is used to building things that last. With a background in mechanical engineering, the Calgary resident has always had a focus on what makes things tic.

These days, however, he's focused on building a sustainable future. Rob and wife Michelle are cofounders of Verge Permaculture, a Calgary-based company that incorporates the principals of permaculture into landscape design – a trend that`s becoming increasingly prominent throughout Calgary in recent years.

Connect With Us

Contact CREB®

300 Manning Road N.E.
Calgary, Alberta
T2E 8K4, Canada


CREB® acknowledges that its office is located, and that its REALTOR® members serve, on the traditional territories of the peoples of the Treaty 7 region and Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. We honour and acknowledge the members of the Métis community and specifically, the Métis Nation Region 3. In the spirit of reconciliation and because we are all treaty people, we also acknowledge all Calgarians who make our homes in the traditional Treaty 7 territory of Southern Alberta.

© CREB®  |  All rights reserved