REALTORS® serving Calgary and area


CREB Now Logo

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


Stories Tagged - planting


April 03, 2020 | Donna Balzer

How to grow and harvest your own food garden

Thanks to COVID-19 – and the associated anxieties around grocery shopping and keeping occupied during long stretches at home – food gardens are suddenly fashionable.

Whether you have a window box, a small patio or a luxurious, pie-shaped lot, there is room to grow something on your property and now is the time to start.
Hiring a gardener is not the same as hiring a house cleaner, says 'No Guff Gardener' Donna Balzer.

June 30, 2016 | Donna Balzer

Get the right help in your garden

Finding a gardener that matches your mindset

newDonnawebMaybe you are getting your house ready for sale, expecting the in-laws to visit or you just brought home a new baby and now the shrubs are threatening to eat the front door. Either way, you need a gardener.

Hiring a gardener is not the same as hiring a house cleaner. Most indoor cleaning jobs follow an accepted system for removing dirt and fluffing pillows. They leave the home the same, but cleaner than before.

Outdoors, your personal style and sensitivity have to match the person you hire as a gardener because a garden evolves and changes over time. Your gardener has to be going in the same direction as you.


May 27, 2016 | Donna Balzer

Fools rush in

Create a back-up plan with insulating fleece

newDonnawebIt'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 11, 2016 | Donna Balzer

First signs of spring

Plants may not wear a watch, but they know what time it is

newDonnawebIt's March and days are ripe and sunny enough for a patio lunch downtown. Other days bring wind and snow and winter boots out of the closet. Seriously, is there really anything a newbie gardener can do outside this early in the season?

Sarah found out by accident that there is plenty you can do early. She attempted to plant her spinach in May with her other garden crops a couple of years ago and then found out, by surprise, that spinach could tell time. Perhaps not time the way people measure minutes but certainly plant time, as dictated by the sun and the moon.

When the days got longer close to summer solstice on June 21, Sarah's spinach, barely four leaves old, suddenly bloomed and went to seed. She was devastated because spinach is one of her favorite foods and it was finished for the season before July.

Donna flowers

Nov. 08, 2015 | Donna Balzer

Slow down . . . you move too fast

Three garden tasks you don't have to do this fall

newDonnawebMowing down your perennials the way you mow your lawn is not the best way to spend your time this fall. If you have your shears in hand, gently place them on the shelf in the shed and take a minute to read this fast-breaking gardening news.

1. There is no need to cut back most perennials in the fall:

Gardeners often cut plants back to within an inch of their life while plants are still green, still blooming or still providing interest. If you cut back green plants, you remove stored energy and weaken plants.


Oct. 22, 2015 | Donna Balzer

When can I plant a tree?

Roots run deep when talking about timing

newDonnawebDear Donna,
"I appreciate all of your gardening work, and thought you might be able to help me with a general question I have (or perhaps guide me to someone who can; so far a web search has not been successful)? When, roughly speaking, is the best time to plant trees in Calgary? Spring or fall? If spring, are we talking early spring – i.e. beginning of April, or more like the end of May?
- Joe K

Dear Joe,
With exceptions, I would plant trees in Calgary when the soil is thawed fully in spring from May into June. This gives the tree a chance to root more efficiently and benefit from our normal spring rains.


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.


June 25, 2015 | Donna Balzer

Show off with strawberries

Grow your own fruit from the comfort of your patio

newDonnawebIf you had a chance to get sweet fruit right off your patio instead of a California truck, would you go for it?

What if fruit from home was also a chance to use recycled materials and have a lot of fun?


In late May, money manager Rob Gray asked me to do a hands-on planting session with his clients. He wanted a chance to laugh and chat with clients and staff in an informal setting. We had worked together before, so he knew I was a closet urban farmer and keen food advocate.

April 01, 2015 | CREBNow

The perennial truth

To water or not to water in Calgary's early spring, that is the question

Perennial plants close to buildings were popping up in the heat wave a couple weeks ago, but my shovel clunked into ice just below the surface.

It reminded me winter is still transitioning into spring in Calgary. Our mild winter with yo-yo temperatures and light snow cover makes it both tricky for outdoor plants and stressful for gardeners such as Marilyn Brown, who was worried about her Columnar Blue Spruce and wanted to know if she should water it.

Jan. 13, 2015 | Donna Balzer

Shedding light on growth

Explore grow lights to boost seedlings this year

First the plants get tall and thin, and then they fall over and die.

Such is the fate of seeds grown too long on a winter windowsill.

Like Humpty Dumpty, a germinated seed can't be put back in the seed. Once seeds get enough water to germinate, they sprout and are suddenly desperate for light to grow. A windowsill can work for micro-greens, but larger plants need intense light to grow, and the easiest way to get it is to set up grow lights.

Connect With Us