Cactus In Alberta

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Did you know Cactus grow wild in southern Alberta, Canada?

Prickly Pear cacti have actually been know to grow as far north in the province as the Peace River area.

In central Alberta, they have grown in our family’s flower beds for over 30 years.

The above picture is one of our beds of cacti here at the lake which had a building for shelter during the 2014 damaging hail storm. It has its first of many blossoms for this season.

Below is a before and after picture of a different flower bed that needed love this year. It use to be crammed full of large cacti like the other bed. Many of the plant’s in this one didn’t survive that hail storm a few years ago. The ones that did have been fighting their way back. Recent wet weather though is washing away the soil and the landscape ties trap rainfall leaving them often living in a water puddle. I can’t even keep up weeding the growing moss and wet soil grass.

It was a dreaded chore, but we removed all the cacti, dug out the grass and moss, filled the bed with 8-10 inches of sand, then separated and replanted the cacti.

I hope they appreciate the work and flourish once again.

Late fall these cactus will start to shrieval and lay over, ready to be covered with snow. Each spring they bounce back. As in the first picture, this variety gets large yellow blossoms in June or early July, depending on the spring’s warmth. Ours are later then usual this year.

Do you like unusual bedding plants?

Can you grow cactus outside in your area?

If you are wondering, how I weed these cactus beds, I use long handle pliers or a fish hook remover.

Feeling Guilty

After sharing the posts, “Roses Take a Back Seat, and Fresh Growth,” I feel it only fair to show my starkest flowerbed. Taking this picture made me realize even calling it a flowerbed is an exaggeration.

Out of nine planted beds, this one in our back yard is a struggle, a work in progress, an embarrassment. This is a current picture (not this spring), and I have fertilized twice this season.

Over-the years I’ve planted many different things here and just can’t find anything that will thrive or often survive the winter. It use to be mainly in the shade because of a large tree outside our yard, but that was taken down last fall. Now, the bed gets morning and early afternoon sun. Maybe, I will have to switch varieties. I prefer flowers that come back ever year (perennials), but I have also tried annuals here.

The bush seems to have thousands of surface roots, so the ground hasn’t been worked up good for years, which I’m beginning to think is the main issue.

It could also be the resident bunny who usually hides out under the bush, but didn’t show up on picture day. Many of the flowers I’ve tried seem to end up as bunny snacks.

Do you have a planted area that grows better or worse than another?

What is your favourite hardy flowering plant?

Torturer or Green Thumb

Tigers

Tiger Lilly

I’m glad we’re home to enjoy these beauties. I wish all the buds were open for this picture, but not one of my 4 bushes listened when I told them what day this post goes out. Even telling them they were the headliners didn’t speed up the process.

Tiger Lillie’s, are high on my favorite outside flower list that I can grow with my faint green tinted thumb. Next on the list would be Daisies, Pansies and Phlox, all hardy, faithful perennials. I do love Begonias, Geraniums, Gazanias, and Portulacas, but I didn’t plant any annuals this year, they just end up being fancy rabbit food.

Lilac bushes are a must for me, wonderful for both their beauty and their fragrance.

A somewhat unique outside plant for where we live, yet we have had luck growing them in our yards for years is, Prickly Pear Cactus. Even being buried under snow for months doesn’t stop them from coming back to life each summer. Keeping them weeded is a pain, sometimes literally, but my trick is long handled needle nose pliers, or a long handle fish hook remover.

Cactus

Roses are a favorite, but I didn’t include them above because I’m ashamed to admit I’ve been torturing a bush for ten or so years. I water, prune, occasionally fertilize and sprinkle slug pellets when necessary, so it’s either a trooper or ornery. Don’t get me wrong it flowers, but is still only about a foot tall and often has less leaves than flowers. It’s planted in the sun as its tag suggested, I just don’t know how to make it happier.

Rose

Do you have a green thumb?

What flowers do you enjoy?

Which can you grow best?

Flowerbeds and Spring

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The Goal

The snow has melted and uncovered pitiful flowerbeds. Filled with last summers dead stalks, dead annuals and fallen leaves which act as cold weather insulation for roots and bulbs. I don’t prune perennial’s in the fall, because my mother believed not doing that keeps frost from going down the steams and damaging roots. She taught me most of what I know so, of course, I honor and garden by her rules.

Here’s another tip of hers that I’m certain has no real merit, yet it makes me smile and I still follow it, “Don’t water your plants at night”. She would add, “Do you like to go to bed with wet feet?”

Last Tuesday the beautiful spring day enticed my cleanup to begin.

A lack of this type of activity during the winter decreases my stamina for being bent over picking up leaves and pruning plants so after 3 hrs my back screamed, enough for one day.

It took three heaping wheelbarrows to get 4 out of 8 flowerbeds cleaned out. One more bed than planed because why walk a half full wheelbarrow to the compost bin.

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2 Back Corner Beds Before Clean-up

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After Clean-up

I miss the days when I could complete all my yard-work in one shot. Maintenance free landscaping sounds more appealing each year. I can picture graveled beds with large placed boulders, unique driftwood and waving sea grasses, but I know I’d miss the colorful blossoms come summer.

Wednesday morning, I struggled out of bed. My back hadn’t forgiven me and using a very technical term, my bend-over-butt and leg muscles also expressed great displeasure with yesterday’s activities.

With coffee in hand I sat in my recliner regretting, again like every year, my gung-ho approach for that first-day of yard-work.

Why can’t I learn to space it out, do one flowerbed to start or at least in the weeks ahead prepare my body by stretching and maybe exercising those dormant muscles? As I blow my nose, probably from all the dust and pollen stuff I disturbed the day before, I know the answers.

  • I enjoy being active but devoting time to actually exercising has never been something I can stick with for more than a few consecutive days.
  • Weeding is a chore I dread doing. I’m not one who says, “Oh, I love to putts in flowerbeds.” For me, it can’t end fast enough. Sometimes, I wonder what I’m missing that makes me not find the so-called pleasure in gardening.

Mister’s pride shows in how he takes care of our lawns. He may grumble once in a while about how quick it grows, but that’s because he keeps fertilizing it. They are still too wet for his work to start.

The flowerbeds are mine to tend. I wouldn’t consider myself having a green thumb but plants grow and blossom. I do the necessary things, I fertilize, water, weed and prune. The problem is I’d rather do just about anything else.

If you’re a returning reader you’ve heard me mention before,

I’m a winter girl.

I have indoor plants that bloom all year and I don’t have to kill my back, sweat, get sun burned, or swat mosquitos while tending them.

Okay, I’ve whined enough.

Attitude changes everything. It’s time for me to practice what I preach. Find the positives.

I’m grateful I woke and could get out of bed, many don’t or can’t.

I’m grateful for sunny days even though the snow is gone.

I’m grateful to have a yard and yes maybe even the demanding flowerbeds.

Most of all, I’m grateful for every extra day with Mister, family and friends.

Once the season gets into full swing, every morning like other years, I’ll be checking flowerbeds anxiously watching things grow.

Do you have a least favorite outside chore?

Do you enjoy gardening and have a green-thumb?