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Upcoming Events

Monthly meetings are usually the second Thursday of the month, except July, August, and December. Meeting Social (beverages & snacks available, a chance to meet and talk with fellow gardeners) at 6:30 p.m., most meetings begin at 7:30 p.m.

Meetings are held at the Lakeview Community Association Hall (see map), 6110 – 34th Street SW, parking is free.

Our meetings are free for members.  For meetings with a local speaker, we ask non-members for a donation of $5. For those with an out-of-town speaker, we ask non-members for a donation of $10.

Friday Nov 29 2019: CRAGS Garden Information Session #1

On Friday, November 29th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm we welcome you to the first in a series of CRAGS Information Sessions.

Join us as we kick off this new CRAGS program of informal get-togethers meant to bring experienced and novice gardeners together to share questions and stories. This is an opportunity to:

Ask for solutions to your gardening problems.
Hear what works and what doesn’t work.
Share your successes.
Grumble about the weather.
Bounce your ideas for new garden spaces off those who know.
Learn more about plants that interest you.
Get to know other members.

The host for this get-together is Shirley Kabeary and the experienced gardeners include Yaro Horachek and Patti O’Keefe. Questions are welcome on all garden topics, but special attention will be on crevice garden building and Saxifrages.

This event is for CRAGS members only. For more information or to register please email secretary@crags.ca.

Sunday Dec 8 2019: Propagation Workshop

Please join us on Sunday, December 8th, 11:00 to 3:00 for a Propagation Workshop.

We are fortunate to have instruction by CRAGS member Stephanie Ferguson, an alpine and steppe plant grower who has vast experience with germinating and growing plants from many regions of the globe. She will share her basic procedures for seed starting and demonstrate specialized techniques to promote success with some species that are difficult to germinate, including Irises. Stephanie invites participants to send names of any problem seeds they would like to bring to the workshop and she will provide advice as time permits.

The workshop goes from 11:00am to 3:00pm so please bring a lunch. Beverages will be provided. There will be an opportunity to purchase seed starting supplies (planting media, pots, trays and tags) after the workshop. The workshop location will be in NW Calgary.

Cost is $25 for members ($35 for non-members). This includes the CRAGS Propagation Document developed over the past few years. We encourage those unfamiliar with the basics to review the provided information online ahead of time. Spaces are limited. Please email secretary@crags.ca to register.

Thursday Feb 13 2020: Marilyn Mayall on the Flora of Turkey

Iris sp from Marilyn’s plant tour of Turkey

Join CRAGS member Marilyn Mayall as she takes us on a trip through Eastern Turkey in the Spring. See some of your garden favourites in their native habitat as well as some species that have not (yet?) made the journey to North America.

Thursday March 12 2020: Mike Bone of Denver Botanic Gardens

Mike Bone in the field (Lesotho)

Title TBA. Mike has been with the Denver Botanic gardens since 2002 where he has focused on the study of plants of the steppe regions of the world and their adjacent mountain ranges. Mike has traveled to Central and Middle Asia, Southern Africa, and extensively throughout the American west to collect seed and study the plants and ecology of the steppes. When not traveling Mike oversees the Steppe Garden, trial gardens, plant breeding, and propagation of wild collected material brought into the gardens. Mike has worked with Plant Select® and is an enthusiastic gardener and collector of plants. He has written articles for several gardening journals and is a contributor for 6 books published through the Denver Botanic Gardens including Steppes: The Plants and Ecology of the World’s Semi-arid Regions.

Past Events

Thurs Nov 14, 2019: AGM, and Stephanie Ferguson on “Pleasing the Steppe Desert Iris”

In this brief, post AGM, talk, Stephanie Ferguson will present a general overview of the Near Eastern Irises she has grown so far.

Two species of Iris are seen in this crevice garden setting.

The emphasis will be, as always, on plant culture and the recreation of wild environments in an urban setting.

If time permits, she will provide a demonstration of “forced germination”….a mechanical way of speeding the germination of some iris species.
Stephanie Ferguson is a Calgary artist and crevice gardener.

Thurs Oct 10, 2019: Members’ Photo Night

We would love to see our fellow members’ photos from the last year or two, or your mini-talk about a garden topic! If you’ve had some great hiking or travelling, please show us the wildflowers and scenery. If you have a favourite garden plant or technique, please bring photos. Pictures of gardens – yours or others’ – are always welcome, whether established or under construction. Please let Linda know what you are bringing (vp@crags.ca) and either bring your photos on a memory stick or email them to her.

Thursday Sep 12 2019: Lawrence Harder on “Functional Beauty: How Flowers Work”

Lawrence Harder on Parker Ridge

Also – come early for the Last Chance Plant Sale! Lawrence Harder’s research has been in the area of plant pollination and reproductive ecology. He has travelled extensively and CRAGS has enjoyed his photos and accounts of plant hunting. This talk will give us some botanical background for the plants we enjoy. Lawrence is a CRAGS member whose extensive rock garden may see him more now that he has retired from the U of C.

Thursday June 13 2019: Marcela Ferreyra (Argentina), The Andean Range and its Flowers in Patagonia

We are delighted to welcome to CRAGS, Marcela Ferreya, who is a Biology Sciences Professor who lives and does botanical research in Patagonia, Argentina.  Marcela will speak to us on “The Andean range and its flowers in Patagonia”.

Her ground-breaking research has led to the publication of “High Mountain Flowers of the Patagonian Andes” – English and Spanish-(2006) and “High Mountain Flowers in Patagonia” -Spanish- (2018).  Marcela collaborated on “The Laws of the High Mountains” -Spanish- (2010); published several papers and articles about this flora; worked for National Park Administration surveying Flora and Vegetation in National Parks in Patagonia. In addition, Marcela published “Flowers of the Patagonian Steppe” -English and  Spanish- (2012). Recently she published a book about the Valdivian Forest: “Flowers of Puerto

Prof. Marcela Ferreyra, Argentina

Blest -Valdivian Forest” -Spanish- (2018).  Currently Marcela is working on: “Flowers of the Forest in Patagonia” and “Flowers of the Austral Monte”, both in Spanish. All of these publications feature her excellent photography.

Between 2005 and 2009 Marcela worked in a nursery trying to understand the cultivation of High Andean and Steppe Flowers and produce some protocol of cultivation. She helped in the establishment of a little nursery in the steppe, in the rural community of Pilcaniyeu. She also headed a project to recover the vegetation in a high mountain trail in Los Glaciares National Park in Santa Cruz. Between 2010 and 2017 she lead a group of students that constructed a small Botanic Garden at the Educational Institute.

Marcela has worked as an educator at all levels between 1982 until her retirement in 2018. She continues to teach wherever she travels.

Sunday April 7 and Sunday June 2, 2018: Workshop on Photography

Want to add visual impact to your photos? 

Carduncellus pinnatus in a Calgary garden

CRAGS is offering a two part workshop to help you capture stunning shots of your plants. From gardenscapes to closeup macro photography, information will be presented and practiced. Learn the tips and tricks to improve exposure, composition and focus. Learn what lenses and equipment to chose and how to work with the lighting conditions to get the results you want. Learn to achieve sharp focus and background blur. A garden setting will provide opportunities to photograph flowering plants with suggestions and assistance from a local camera club instructor. Content will be geared to a wide range of expertise and equipment. All that’s needed from participants is a good working knowledge of the device (cell phone or camera) that they will be using for the workshop.

This will include an indoor two hour presentation on Sunday, April 7 from 2-4 pm, covering exposure, depth of field, angle of view and composition, as well as a three hour session on Sunday, June 2 from 2-5 pm, to review techniques and take photographs at the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs. Cost including both sessions is $50 for members and $70 for non-members.

Sign up by contacting secretary@crags.ca. Payment information and resource materials provided on registration.

Saturday June 1, 2019: CRAGS Plant Sale, 12 noon to 3:00pm

Open to the public.  We are pleased to again offer alpine and rock garden plants for sale. Plants suitable for various environments will be available; whether rock garden, alpine bed, or container. Many of these plants are not available at local garden centers. Our special home grown tomato plants and Martagon lilies will again make an appearance.  We have an assortment of styrofoam troughs for sale that have been crafted to look like rock material.  Bid on silent auction items.  More info on Plant Sale tab.

Thursday, May 9, 2019: David Sellars (Vancouver BC) on Photographing Alpine Plants, a Landscape Point of View

© David Sellars

David Sellars, from Vancouver BC, is well-known to CRAGS as a speaker and a key member of the Alpine Garden Club of BC.  David and his wife Wendy, are keen hikers, and their gardens received the NARGS Millstream Prize in 2012. In this talk, he will share insights into his approach to plant photography including camera selection, camera setup, and composition.  An example of his award-winning work can be found in the Summer 2012 NARGS Quarterly.

Thursday Apr 11, 2019: Ian Wilson/Jacinthe Lavoie, Wildflowers of the Canadian Rockies

© Ian Wilson

Authors and photographers Ian and Jacinthe have a new presentation on wildflowers, complete with music and narration. The show begins with the first flowers of spring, and moves on to bold blossoms, delicate gems, wild creatures enjoying flowers, and majestic mountain scenery of Jasper, Banff, and Waterton Parks. The presentation closes with autumn colours and the first snow as flowers complete their annual cycle.

Thursday Mar 14 2019: John Mitchell from Edinburgh Botanical Gardens

John Mitchell

John’s topic will be “Central Asian Plants:  Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan”. 

John Mitchell last visited CRAGS in 2010.  He is well-known as the Supervisor of the Alpine Department at the famed Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. He has been on botanical expeditions in China, Tibet, Iran, Central Asia, Siberia, and Alaska. We will hear about his recent travels in Central Asia where there are both steppe and alpine plants that should be hardy for our area.

Thursday Feb 14 2019: Diane Dalkin on “Reader Rock Garden”

A scene from Reader Rock Garden, 2016

Diane will discuss Reader Rock Garden’s history from its start in 1913, to the glory days, its slow demise, re-development and the designation last year as a National Historic Site.  Such a rich history deserves to be revisited, and she’ll also discuss the noteworthy plant inventory in this three-acre garden.  CRAGS and some of our members contributed to the re-development of the Gardens. Diane is president of the Friends of Reader Rock Garden Society.

Thursday Jan 10 2019: Annual Potluck supper and Newfoundland report

Cypripedium reginae in Newfoundland, © Patti O’Keefe

Join us at 6:30pm for our annual potluck supper.  After supper, various CRAGS members and friends will show us photos from their 2017 trip to Newfoundland for the annual meeting of the North American Rock Garden Society.  Some members participated in a guided post-conference tour of the western penninsula, which has unique geology and interesting endemic flora.  All will show us highlights from gardens and outings of the conference and from other places in Newfoundland they visited.

Thursday Nov 8, 2018: AGM and Joan Ganley on “Sunnylands, a Desert Oasis for Everyone”

Short AGM will start at 7:00 pm before speaker presentation.  Members please attend so we have quorum.

Are you already bracing for winter?! Join us as we explore Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage (Palm Springs), California. Not only a garden oasis in the desert (thanks to a variety of irrigation technologies), Sunnylands is rich with historical significance, and a stunning example of mid-century modern architecture, making it a popular destination for locals and visitors from around the globe. If you’re in Palm Springs, you won’t want to miss this desert jewel.

Joan is a CRAGS member with eclectic interests in gardening and a real knack for garden design.