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Upcoming Events

Sunday Feb 11, 2:00pm MST: Jiri Papousek on “Small Daphnes and their Cultivation”

Daphne sp

Jiri Papousek

Our February meeting will be Zoom-only. Note the date and time which will accommodate our speaker who is in Czech Republic. Non-members may register on Eventbrite to attend this meeting. A recording of the talk will be available for a limited time.

Jiri Papousek is an expert rock gardener who visited CRAGS in June 2017. His garden is situated at altitude 200m, 10 km from Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. There are crevice rock gardens, various planted troughs, a woodland area with peat blocks, and an alpine tunnel with tufa wall. He has 35 years of experience of growing and exhibiting alpines at Prague Rock Gardens shows, and was part of the International Czech Rock Garden Conference committee in 2007, 2013, 2017 and 2023. His background is Chemical engineering and he works in the worldwide express shipping industry.

Jiri’s main interests include the cultivation of alpines, cushion plants, dionysias, small daphnes, and dwarf conifers and the design of crevice rock gardens, troughs, tufa wall, and peat blocks.

Daphnes are small shrubs with showy flowers, often evergreen, that are ideal for the rock garden. Many are hardy in Calgary’s Zone 3-4 climate. Usually the flowers are fragrant and they generally require well-drained soil. This genus is in the family Thymelaeaceae, native to Asia, Europe and north Africa.

Thursday March 14 7:00pm: Alexandria Farmer on “Plan Bee: Creating habitat for native bees “

This will be a Zoom-only meeting.. Non-members may register on Eventbrite to attend this meeting. A recording of the talk will be available for a limited time.

Talk title: Plan Bee: Creating habitat for native bees  
Focusing on native bumble bees, this talk will look at habitat through the eyes of a bee! Learn about how landscaping can influence the diversity and abundance of pollinators in your yard through the creation of nesting and foraging habitat. 

Alexandria Farmer is a Biology Instructor at MRU where she’s taught for 25 years. Alex has an MSc in Pollination Ecology with research focused on how bumble bee species respond in abundance, distribution, and fitness, to clearcut logging in the landscape.  She’s also been studying bumble bee usage of nesting boxes and other domiciles, for the last 14 years and is a cofounder of the Alberta Native bee Council.  For more information on Alberta’s plentiful native bees and ways that you can help them, visit https://www.albertanativebeecouncil.ca/.

Alberta Native Bee Council

Past Events

Saturday Jan 13 10:00am: Tom Freeth on “The Rock Gardens of Kew”

This will be a ZOOM-only meeting and the date and time will be different to accommodate our guest speaker, Tom Freeth, who is located in the UK.

Tom Freeth

Our speaker Tom Freeth is a professional horticulturist and botanist with a life-long love of wild plants and high places. He works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, looking after the curation of the Living Collections. Tom was formerly the curator and supervisor of the Alpine and Rock Garden Living Collection at Kew. When not at work, he is usually found somewhere wild taking pictures.

“The Rock Gardens of Kew”:  drawing on images and documents from Kew’s archives, this presentation looks at the evolution of the Rock Garden at Kew from its conception in the 1870’s through to the present day. Four gardens have come and gone before the current layout. This talk shows the endeavour that goes into such a landscaping feat over nearly a century and a half, and some of the plants that have lived there.

This talk will be recorded and put on YouTube for one week after it is posted.  Non-members may also register for the event via Eventbrite.

Thursday Nov 9 7:00pm: Oron Peri on “Alpine Bulbs”

This meeting will start off with our AGM which will be kept short so we can listen to the presentation.

This hybrid in-person and Zoom meeting will feature Oron Peri, a distinguished plantsman, botanist, author, as well as a leader of botanical tours in different parts of the world. He is a world expert on Bulbous plants of the Mediterranean and his book ‘Bulbs of the Eastern Mediterranean’ was published by the AGS in 2015. Oron was born in Jerusalem where his family has been living for many generations. Oron is also the owner of ‘Seeds of Peace’ a nursery specializing in bulbs, mainly from the Mediterranean.

Our thanks to NARGS (North American Rock Garden Society) for contributing to the travel expenses of this speaker so that we can enjoy an in-person visit from an internationally known rock garden expert.

Everyone is welcome to this meeting held at the Lakeview Community Hall in Calgary.  See our Contact page for a map.  Members will be sent a Zoom link if they can’t attend in person.  It’s time to renew or buy your annual membership in CRAGS. so you can renew in person on on our website’s Members page.

Thursday Oct 12 7:00pm: Anne Spiegel on “Rock Gardening During Covid”

Silene acaulis ‘Anne Spiegel’

Rock Gardening During Covid:  Maintaining Sanity in a Pandemic.  Anne will talk about 2.5 years of gardening intensively with lots of time spent on projects and plants with no distractions.

This hybrid in-person and Zoom meeting features Anne Spiegel, a distinguished rock gardener from northeastern USA.  Anne, who will be visiting Calgary and other cities in Canada, was the winner of the 2011 NARGS Millstream Award for creating a superior garden.

Our thanks to NARGS (North American Rock Garden Society) for contributing to the travel expenses of this speaker so that we can enjoy an in-person visit from an internationally known rock garden expert.

Thursday Sept 14 6:00pm: “Last Chance Plant Sale” and talk on Medicinal Native Plants

Our first meeting of the fall season will start with a small plant sale featuring member growers outdoors at Lakeview Community Hall.  Then at 7:00pm we will enjoy Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed of ALCLA Native Plants speaking on Medicinal Native Plants. We will also use Zoom for those who wish to watch the talk at home.

Monarda fistulosa

Latifa holds a BSc in Botany from the University of Calgary and a MSc in Herbal Medicine from Middlesex University, London, UK. She has been working with native plants for over a decade including herbarium collections, field plant identification (Southern Alberta), forestry data collection, and specimen identification (Northern Alberta). In 2016 she founded Latifa’s Herbs, which primarily serves to educate the public on the edible and medicinal uses of wild plant species in both Alberta and British Columbia. She is a former faculty member at Pacific Rim College in Victoria, BC where she taught Botany and Horticulture in addition to Wild Plant Nutrition.

Saturday June 17 from 09:30am to noon: Planting workshop at Silver Springs Crevice Garden

Come to the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs to see what’s blooming. CRAGS has been maintaining the Crevice and Native Plant gardens there for several years. Come and learn the techniques for planting into crevices and sand. We will be transplanting some seedlings of native and alpine plants that we grew in the Silver Springs nursery beds, into the Crevice and Native Plant areas. If you have them, please bring your small and large trowels, a pointy tool like chopsticks, snippers, a bucket, gloves, kneepads, water & snacks, etc. We have small buckets, sieves, and larger garden tools.

For more information, or to let us know you are coming, please contact Linda at vp@crags.ca.
Please check this website for event changes due to weather.

SEE MAP. The CNP is marked with a star and number 9. Closest parking is off Silver Springs Way NW, on the stub road near the numerals 5 & 6 on the map. You can also drive to the back alley from there and park on the grass, but please do not park in the alley as it may block residents’ access to garages.

Sunday June 11 CANCELLED: Planting workshop at Silver Springs Crevice Garden

June 11 session cancelled due to poor air quality.  

Come to the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs to see what’s blooming.  CRAGS has been maintaining the Crevice and Native Plant gardens there for several years.  Come and learn the techniques for planting into crevices and sand. We will be transplanting some seedlings of native and alpine plants that we grew in the Silver Springs nursery beds, into the Crevice and Native Plant areas. If you have them, please bring your small and large trowels, a pointy tool like chopsticks, snippers, a bucket, gloves, kneepads, water & snacks, etc. We have small buckets, sieves, and larger garden tools.

For more information, or to let us know you are coming, please contact Linda at vp@crags.ca.
Please check this website for event changes due to weather.

SEE MAP. The CNP is marked with a star and number 9. Closest parking is off Silver Springs Way NW, on the stub road near the numerals 5 & 6 on the map. You can also drive to the back alley from there and park on the grass, but please do not park in the alley as it may block residents’ access to garages.

Thurs, June 8, 7:00pm: Paul Spriggs on Favourites for the Crevice Garden

Part of a crevice garden in the Calgary area.

This hybrid (in-person plus Zoom)  meeting will feature Paul Spriggs of Victoria, who is well known to CRAGS as a passionate and knowledgeable rock gardener. Paul will discuss some of his favourite plants for crevice gardens. Learn how the crevice environment is ideal for many alpine plants.

Paul Spriggs has been rock gardening for over 23 years and building crevice gardens for about 17 years. He is an avid plant explorer, photographer, mountaineer, owner of Spriggs Gardens Landscaping company, and past President of the Vancouver Island Rock and Alpine Garden Society. He has a passion for all wild plants especially those of dwarf stature and collects and cultivates them at various gardens in his hometown of Victoria, BC, Canada. Paul has learned the craft of crevice garden building directly from one of its innovators, Zdenek Zvolanek, of the Czech republic, and in the past decade and a half, has built many gardens in public parks and private homes that range in size from small feature troughs, to large installations involving many tonnes of stone. Paul is passionate about spreading the word of this style, through speaking to garden clubs all over the west, and by giving workshops for those keen on learning the finer points of this developing art form.

Paul and co-author Kenton Seth of Colorado published the first North American book on Crevice gardening, The Crevice Garden (Filbert Press, 2022)

The meeting will be held at Lakeview Community Hall for those who wish to meet in person.  Members will be also be sent the Zoom link prior to the meeting.  The talk will be recorded and made available to members for one week.

Thursday, May 11, 2023, 7:00pm: Kerry Ross on Greening Rooftops in Alberta

All are welcome at this in-person meeting which will be held at Lakeview Community Hall. Non-members of CRAGS are also cordially invited to attend our in-person meetings, where they can find out more about our club and join up. If they prefer not to join, we would appreciate their $5 donation for speaker costs.

This talk will also be available on Zoom.  Members will receive the Zoom links prior to the meeting and do not have to register for it.  Non-members are invited to take in the Zoom talk by registering in Eventbrite for a small fee.

Green roofs are a renewed building technique initiated in central Europe and catching on in Alberta. The local green roof market is seeing greater uptake in commercial, institutional and resident

Kerry and Bob with a Green Roof Shed

ial construction, bringing the multi-beneficial nature-based strategy to the roof.

Come learn about the basics including what green roofs are, what they do, their design considerations and how they help solve the most pressing ecological and developmental issues facing our communities. Cold-climate case studies from nearby and abroad will be presented and discussed to highlight the beauty and benefits of adding more vegetation to the built environment.  Green roofs can offer new opportunities to use alpine plants, and Kerry will discuss suitable plants for rooftops.

In 2000, Kerry Ross began working on one of the first buildings in Alberta to integrate contemporary green roof systems into the building’s design. Bison Courtyard, the project situated in the town of Banff, spurred her passion to learn more about green roof technology as an innovative method to lessen the impacts that buildings have on the natural environment. This experience, along with study and field research led her to become one of the first Green Roof Professionals in Canada. In 2010, she launched Green T Design, a company dedicated to green roof design, installations and maintenance. Kerry remains a local champion of incorporating green roofs where possible.

Friday April 14, 2023 at 7:00pm: Nick Courtens, Alpines in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

At this hybrid meeting we will hear from NIck Courtens about the extensive rock gardens near Vail Colorado.

Nick Courtens

Nestled in the ski town of Vail, Colorado at 8,200 ft, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is home to many alpine and rock garden plants from North America and beyond. Curator of Plant Collections, Nick Courtens, invites you on an exclusive tour of the various rock gardens that have been built throughout the past 30 years including several crevice gardens, trough gardens, rock walls and even an alpine house full of rare and unusual alpine plants. Learn about the construction of these rock gardens and the plants that grow in this 4.5-acre public botanic garden through stunning pictures and in depth stories.

A passion for skiing and mountains brought Nick Courtens to Vail, Colorado in the spring of 2010 after completing the Professional Horticulture program at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. Alpine plants and rock gardening quickly became Nick’s new passion after a summer internship at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Since then, Nick has become the Curator of Plant Collections at Betty Ford where he oversees the maintenance, design, propagation and curation of the living collections. In recent years, Nick has been responsible for building several new rock gardens, perennial gardens and an alpine house while also participating in seed collecting in the rocky mountains and travelling abroad to learn about alpine environments and gardens.

This meeting, held in-person at Lakeview Community Hall, will be live-streamed via Zoom for those members at home. CRAGS members who wish to participate via Zoom do not have to register. Non-members who wish to participate in the Zoom talk may register via Eventbrite.
Non-members are also cordially invited to attend our in-person meetings, where they can find out more about our club and join up. If they prefer not to join, we would appreciate their $5 donation for speaker costs.

 

 

Thurs March 9, 2023 7:00pm: Adam Yakabuskie, For the Love of Peonies

This Zoom hybrid meeting will feature Adam Yakabuskie speaking on the types and cultivation of peonies in our area. Adam is the owner of Parkland Peonies.  Adam says, “I grew up on a small farm in Ontario and for

Peony nursery, Alberta

us kids working on the land was more of a chore than a pleasure. However, that experience made me receptive and appreciative of the beauty of living plants. So when I moved to Calgary in my 30’s, the desire to grow flowers came naturally to me. Together with my first wife we turned bare land of our yard into a beautiful flower garden. In 2008, our passion for horticulture got us featured in Vol. 22 “Gardens West” magazine as the winners of the monthly garden competition!
At that time, I also started growing and breeding Asiatic, Oriental and Martagon Lilies on a little piece of land that I was renting from a local farmer. I had much delight in seeing these beauties grow and bloom for me every year: the only thing that set me back was the constant fight with the lily beetle that seemed to be liking my lilies way too much.
However, my dream to live on the land and develop gorgeous gardens and flower fields for people to visit and enjoy became even bigger. It was around that time in 2016 that I was offered to purchase a peony business from Bob Yaremko, who had a collection of 450 peony varieties – Bob was the owner of Parkland Perennials which had a rich history of delivering customers with beautiful peonies for almost 40 years. Once introduced to the beauty, hardiness and magnificence of the peony plant I decided to continue Bob’s legacy”.

This meeting, held in-person at Lakeview Community Hall, will be live-streamed via Zoom for those members at home.   CRAGS members who wish to participate via Zoom do not have to register.  Non-members who wish to participate in the Zoom talk may register via Eventbrite.
The public is also welcome to attend the in-person meeting and get to know our club.

 

Sunday Feb 5, 2023 at 10:00am MST: Harry Jans on Alpines Down Under

Our monthly meeting will feature a Zoom talk on Sunday February 5 at 10:00am MST, from Harry Jans of the Netherlands.  Harry, an accomplished alpine gardener and traveler, will discuss “Alpines Down Under”:  We’ll  look at Alpines in Australia and Tasmania, which is an unknown area for many of us, but with a wealth of very attractive (alpine) plants and other interesting species.

Harry Jans with Rheum nobile (related to Rhubarb) somewhere in Asia

Harry Jans has been employed since 1982 by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment as an expert on Winter Maintenance. Beside this he is a passionate plant explorer and rock gardener for more than 40 years and is also founder member of the Dutch Rock Garden Society of which he has been President for six years. In 2014, he received the prestigious Alpine Garden Society (AGS) Lyttel Trophy, the highest award for individuals who have made a substantial contribution to the knowledge of alpine plants. Harry is a regular lecturer at conferences and study weekends in many countries throughout the world and has written many articles on various plant subjects. His own garden is well known for its tufa wall with a large colony of the rare and difficult Jancaea heldreichii growing on it. Harry has led and organised many botanical tours to various mountain ranges throughout the world. His website www.jansalpines.com contains more than 28.000 pictures, as he is also a keen photographer, taken during his travels around the globe in search of alpine plants.

CRAGS members will be sent an email with the Zoom links, and do not have to register.  Non-members are welcome to register in Eventbrite for a small fee to attend the Zoom talk.  The talk will be recorded and posted, and the recording will be available for one week after posting.

Sunday Jan 15, 2023 at 10:00am MST: Ian Young on Ericaceous Plants for the Garden

Ian Young in his garden

Ian Young, a distinguished gardener and author from Aberdeen, Scotland, will speak to CRAGS about plants in the Ericaceae family, which includes heathers, rhododendrons and many others.

Ian Young has had a lifelong interest in plants and along with his wife Margaret has developed a well-stocked garden in Aberdeen. Over more than forty years the trees and shrubs have matured and Ian has developed a rich under planting of bulbs and woodland plants which provides a progression of seasonal colour, texture and form. Most of the plants, including bulbs, trees and shrubs, have been raised from seed.

Ian is also experienced in alpines and rock gardens having developed various innovative ways of making troughs including the method of turning polystyrene (Styrofoam) fish boxes into troughs that mimic the appearance of real stone. At the Scottish Rock Garden Club he has won many Gold Medals and Best in Show Awards at National Shows using these troughs and this method has been taken up widely, with demonstrations of the technique being given across the UK, in New Zealand, Canada and America by all sorts of different alpine groups.

For twenty years Ian has written a weekly online diary, the Bulb Log, where he shares his enthusiasm for plants and their garden. In 2015 he also started a YouTube channel where there are over 180 videos from the garden.

He has published an electronic book ‘Erythroniums in Cultivation’ which is available for free download at SRGC.net

Ian has lectured widely in the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand, USA and Canada including at many prestigious international conferences. For over 15 years he was a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio Scotland.

Ian is also an artist and photographer and uses both these skills in the garden and his presentations.

In 2007 he and Margaret were honoured to be (jointly) awarded the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Medal by the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society for outstanding service to Scottish horticulture. In 2008 Ian was awarded the SRGC Golden Jubilee Salver for outstanding service to the SRGC. In 2020 Ian was awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal by the Royal Horticultural Society for ‘exceptional involvement in the advancement of the science art and practice of horticulture’.

This will be a Zoom-only meeting. Members will receive an email reminder with the links prior to the meeting.  Non-members may register on Eventbrite for a small fee for the talk.

 

Thursday Nov 10, 2022: AGM and Ken Wright

This will be a combined in-person and Zoom meeting, starting at 7 pm.  Members will receive a reminder email with the Zoom links.

First, CRAGS’ Annual General Meeting for fiscal year 2021-2022 will take about 30 minutes, followed by our speaker.

Our speaker, Ken Wright, will discuss growing native plants and will be at Lakeview Hall to include a demo of cleaning seeds, stratifying and planting methods.

Ken Wright is the founder of Bow Point Nursery, and he presently owns Wright Nursery, a wholesale nursery started in 2015 as a supplier of native seed sourced plugs and seedlings.

Ken Wright

In 1988 Ken and his wife Pam started Bow Point Nursery with the objective to supply native, indigenous woody plants for urban and rural landscapes. Initially Ken was growing and starting the nursery, Pam was landscaping and using the plants they grew in her landscapes. As time passed and the nursery got busier, Pam shut down landscapes and they started working together at Bow Point Nursery. Ken says, “We learned as we grew – when to pick seed (right before the birds take it) , propagation methods and the marketing of native woody plants. And of course, travelling the back roads of Southern Alberta looking for the native plants growing there. We always were looking for the trees and shrubs that were growing in the most rigorous sites – those open, full sun, windy and generally harsh conditions – of which Southern Alberta has many. That became our full time focus – selecting plants and seed sources, picking seed, cleaning and storing seed, germinating/propagating and growing those plants into landscape sized trees and shrubs.
In 2015 we sold Bow Point Nursery – our goal was to move to a new site 2 hours north by Caroline, Alberta. We did start a new nursery -with a different goal – to focus on selecting plants, collecting seed and propagating our native trees and shrubs. The main difference this time around – no retail and no employees. It has been a great adventure which continues”.

Thursday Oct 13, 2022: Gary Stedman on Adding Roses to your Garden

Gary Stedman

This will be a combined in-person and Zoom meeting.starting at 7pm.

Gary Stedman is a former board member of the Calgary Rose Society.  His interest in gardening started at a young age working with his grandfather in his vegetable garden in Southern Ontario.  After retiring, he and his wife have been successively rehabilitating their various flower and vegetable beds and introducing roses into the mix. At the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area, he is leading a special project to re-introduce native grasses and plants and remediate a natural growth area. Over the past couple of years, he has taken advantage of the emerging virtual training options, completing a number of courses in insect identification and management, zone 3 vegetable gardening, and, most recently, gaining his Master Gardener of Alberta Certification.