“I've lost my gardening mojo,” I confessed to a friend recently. A decade ago, I anticipated transforming a newly developed plot of land into a lush oasis of vegetation. The first summer, I patrolled the yard and carefully identified each plant that was already flourishing using Lois Hole’s Perennial Favorites, Lois Hole’s Favorite Trees & Shrubs and The Calgary Gardener. The next summer, I made a list of hardy plants for Zone 3 and went on a shopping spree in my local garden centre. With naive enthusiasm, I even started a scrapbook with before and after photos to record my gardening triumphs.
In the intervening years, I've come to the sobering realization that I've taken the word “perennial” far too literally as my journal racks up a lengthy obituary of trees, shrubs and perennials. Although the name implies otherwise, perennials do not live in perpetuity as I’d thought, or hoped, they would. Their lives can be cut short by a discouraging number of pests and diseases. And the plants that do manage to eke out a fragile existence from year to year face stiff competition from weeds bent on colonizing the entire yard.
In my current state of disillusionment, I've decided that instead of fighting a perennial battle to prevent my own garden from descending into anarchy, I’d rather enjoy the attractively rehabilitated gardens which surround Memorial Park Library. Here, I’m able to relax on a park bench next to a fountain amidst colourful flowers and blossoming trees without all the work it takes to maintain them. And without worrying about which plague is preparing to annihilate the forlorn remains of my dwindling oasis.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the garden our library lives in, you’re welcome to join Donna Balzer, Calgary-based Horticulture Consultant, and Michelle Reid, Conservation Landscape Architect, for a talk and tour of the beautifully restored, award-winning Central Memorial Park. Restoring the Heritage Landscape of Central Memorial Park takes place on Saturday, May 26 from 1:30 - 3:00p.m.
And if I haven’t discouraged you too greatly with my tales of gardening woe, check out these recent titles for inspiration:
Apartment gardening: plants projects and recipes for growing food in your urban home
Gardening in no time: 50 step-by-step projects and inspirational ideas
The Living garden: a place that works with nature
Small is bountiful: getting more crops from your pots
The Complete guide to Western Plains gardening