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Upcoming Events

The events listed here are video conferences unless stated otherwise.  All will be organized in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions, so check back for changes.

Thurs May 13 2021 7:30pm: Rob Staniland on Building Rock Gardens in Calgary

Rob Staniland, one of our club’s most experienced rock garden builders, will talk about the basics of building rock gardens in Calgary.

Crevice garden in Calgary using Paskapoo Sandstone

We are also scheduling workshops with Rob with both online and hands-on components, depending on weather and Covid restrictions, so watch for more event announcements.  This is an online talk. CRAGS Members will receive an emailed invitation and an emailed reminder with the Zoom link. Non-members are welcome to register for the talk on Eventbrite or purchase a CRAGS membership.

Thurs May 27 2021 7:30pm: Todd Boland on Campanulas for the Rock Garden

Todd Boland, Research Horticulturalist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Botanical Gardens in St John’s NL, will talk about members of the Campanulaceae famiy that are suitable for the rock and alpine garden. Campanula are one of the most important group of plants for any rock garden. This webinar will introduce you to the smaller members of the genus Campanula, breaking them down into groups based on their geographical origins.

Campanula chamissonis

Todd is the horticulturist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden. He is also the chair of the Newfoundland Chapter of NARGS.  Within NARGS he maintains their Plant of the Month feature as well as their photo gallery. Todd is an avid writer, having written several field guides to the native flora of Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada. He has now started to write gardening books. His most recent book is Favourite Perennials for Atlantic Canada. He is currently working on the next book, Favourite Shrubs and Vines for Atlantic Canada, due out shortly.

This is an online talk.  CRAGS Members will receive an emailed invitation and an emailed reminder with the Zoom link. Non-members are welcome to register for the talk on Eventbrite or purchase a CRAGS membership.

Mon May 31, 2021: Workshop on Building Rock Gardens, Part 1 of 2

Rob Staniland will instruct a 2-part workshop on building rock features. On May 31, he will give a Zoom talk to participants.

Workshop details such as cost and maximum participants will be announced when we have an update on Covid-19 restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Sat June 5 OR Sun June 6, 2021: Workshop on building rock gardens, Part 2 of 2

Rob Staniland will instruct participants on building a rock feature as part two of this set.  This part will be in-person and hands-on!   Participants may choose the Saturday OR the Sunday date.

Workshop details such as cost and maximum participants will be announced when we have an update on Covid-19 restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Sat June 12, 2021: Workshop by Janet Melrose on Building Bee Houses

This workshop, instructed by well-known Calgary gardener Janet Melrose, will show participants how to build a Bumblebee house and how to create good bee habitat.  Materials will be supplied so you can build your own Bee hose and bee mud bath.

Workshop details such as cost and maximum participants will be announced when we have an update on Covid-19 restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Sun June 13, 2021: Workshop on Creating a Snag as habitat for insects and birds

This in-person workshop, instructed by well-know Calgary gardener Janet Melrose, will show participants how to create a snag habitat for insects, butterlies, and small birds.

Workshop details such as cost and maximum participants will be announced when we have an update on Covid-19 restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Mon June 28 OR Mon July 5, 2021: Workshop on Identifying Native Plants

This workshop, instructed by Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed, will help participants identify native wildflowers during a walk at a private acreage south of Calgary.  Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed is the co-owner of ALCLA Native Plants, a Calgary grower and supplier of native plants.

Participants may choose one of the dates shown, as we expect that there will be enough people to fill both sessions. Workshop details such as cost and maximum participants will be announced when we have an update on Covid-19 restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Thurs Sep 9 2021 7:30pm: Liz Knowles on Alpines, Lilies, and Endemics of Japan

Liz has been gardening for 45 years in Hockley Valley ON. She will cover her 3 weeks of travel through Honshu and Hokkaido, Japan, in June/July 2019.

Dicentra peregrina copyright L. Knowles

Observing plants from sea level to 2100 m, some of which are familiar to N America as well as circumpolar alpines.  Liz will cover species Lilies that have been used extensively in breeding oriental lilies as well as an impressive array of endemicsThis is an online talk.  CRAGS Members will receive an emailed invitation and an emailed reminder with the Zoom link. Non-members are welcome to register for the talk or purchase a CRAGS membership.

Thurs Oct 14 7:30pm: Dr Karen Johnson on Wildflowers of Churchill

Dr Karen Johnson did research and led tours for many years based at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in Churchill, MB. She is the former Curator of Botany at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, and co-authored “Wildflowers of Churchill” among many other publications. She will introduce us to the arctic and alpine flora of the Churchill area.

This is an online talk. CRAGS Members will receive an emailed invitation and an emailed reminder with the Zoom link. Non-members are welcome to register for the talk or purchase a CRAGS membership.

Thurs Nov 18 2021: Elaine Rude on The World of Unusual Bulbs

Bulbs are fascinating structures and are present on all continents other than Antarctica.  They grow in a variety of different environments including some of the harshest and wettest.  Only a few are commonly available in the trade but there are so many more unusual hardy and tender ones we can grow in our gardens, containers or as houseplants.  It can be a fun exercise sourcing  bulbs or seeds so let’s delve in to some of these unusual types.

Speaker Elaine Rude is a CRAGS and CHS member who instructs Master Gardener courses, gives talks and interviews on gardening topics, and runs Paintbrush Garden Design and Consulting in Calgary.

This is an online talk. CRAGS Members will receive an emailed invitation and an emailed reminder with the Zoom link. Non-members are welcome to register for the talk or purchase a CRAGS membership.

Past Events

Thursday April 8 2021: Yaro Horachek on “Steppe and alpine seed hunting in Central Asia”

In late summer of 2017, CRAGS member Yaro Horachek joined his Czech friends Mojmír Pavelka and Vladimír Staněk on a seed collecting trip to Tian Shan and Pamir mountains in Kyrgyzstan.

Leiospora eriocalyx, Tiean-Shan, Kyrgyzstan

They spent three weeks there, circling the small very mountainous central Asian country in a Toyota 4Runner. They were driving, camping and collecting both seeds and live plants at elevations ranging from under 1800 m around Lake Issyk Kul to 3460 m at Pereval Kalmakashu, and drinking glacier water at some 4000 m above Barskoon Pass. Yaro returned with seeds of 85 species and an experience he hopes to repeat with Mojmír and Vladimír in Turkey or Iran or anywhere they choose. On April 8th Yaro will share his memories of Kyrgyzstan with you, and show some of the wonderful hardy plants encountered.

This is an online talk. CRAGS Members will receive an emailed invitation and an emailed reminder with the Zoom link. Non-members are welcome to register for the talk on Eventbrite, or purchase a CRAGS membership.

 

Thursday March 11 2021: Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed/Ben Hartney on Native Plants for the Calgary Alpine Garden

Achillea millefolium

Zoom Conference: Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed and Ben Hartney will discuss Alberta native plant species of interest for use in alpine gardens in the Calgary area. This talk will also focus briefly on the importance of gardens for pollinator habitat. Latifa and Ben will give attendees a glimpse of operations at their recently purchased nursery.

Latifa and Ben are the new owners of ALCLA Native Plants which produces Alberta native plants and seeds. Latifa is a biologist and herbalist with special interest in medicinal and edible plants. Ben has a Red Seal in landscape horticulture from Olds College.

Members will receive an emailed invitation and an emailed reminder with the Zoom link.  Non-members are welcome to register for the talk or purchase a CRAGS membership .

Thursday Feb 11 2021: Matt Mattus on “Botanizing in the Land of the Blue Poppy”

Zoom Conference:  Matt Mattus, a former NARGS president, visited Yunnan and Western China in 2018, and this is an account of the wonderful plants observed. Members will receive an emailed invitation.  Non-members are welcome to register for this talk (or purchase a CRAGS membership and enjoy our talks free).  Event details and registration

Most people consider gardening just a hobby, but Matt sees little difference between his obsession with plants, biology and with design. Truly a life-long plantsman, Matt was raised (and still lives on) his ancestors’ family property in Massachusetts where three generations of gardeners have lived, and grown. Today, he has added his thumbprint with a large glass greenhouse, an alpine garden and interesting collections of plants. He is past president of the North American Rock Garden Society, and has spent time as editor of the American Primrose Society journal. He has most recently published a beautiful volume called “Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening:Rare Varieties – Unusual Options – Plant Lore and Guidance”.  His blog is at http://growingwithplants.com

 

Thursday, Jan 21, 2021: AGM plus Garden Photos from 2020

Zoom Conference:  Please join us via Zoom at 7:30pm for a brief Annual General Meeting.  This will be followed by Cathy Kurio’s photos from Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival of Feb 2020, and some photos from Calgary rock gardens. Some welcome blooms and greenery for mid-January!  Members will receive an emailed invitation.

Thursday Nov 19 2020: Carol Huggler on Barrens and Bogs: Plant Hunting in Newfoundland

Zoom Conference at 7:00pm:   (Note date change!)  Our first Zoom meeting will feature a wonderful slide presentation by member Carol Huggler, showing the unique landscapes, geology and flora of Newfoundland, including some very special endemic species. In 2018, Carol Huggler and her husband Ken attended the NARGS annual conference in St John’s, Newfoundland.  After the conference they took part in the special tour organized by Todd Boland to the western peninsula of Newfoundland, which has unique geology and plants much different from those seen in the rest of the province. Carol has a background in art and horticulture and has been a CRAGS member for a long time.  If you recall her earlier slide shows, the rocks are just as prominent as the plants!    Members will receive an emailed invitation to this meeting which will start at 7:00pm.

Thursday March 12 2020: Mike Bone on “Steppe Plants for the Rock Garden”

Mike Bone in the field (Lesotho)

The Steppes of the world house many thousands of interesting plants. The dry often rocky environments make a wonderful place to explore for plants suited to the unique situations created by rock and crevice plants. In this lecture we will discuss what makes a steppe, why the plants are so well suited for rock gardens, as well as look at some plants that have found a special home in the Denver Botanic Gardens Steppe Garden.

Mike Bone 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 travelled 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 travelling 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. Mike is currently Curator of the Steppe Collection at DBG.

Sunday Mar 1 2020: Workshop on Water Features in the Rock & Alpine Garden

Waterfall in Rob’s garden with local sandstone.

This workshop (Part 1 of a series) will address the potential benefits of adding water features to the rock garden setting, including aesthetics and the potential for unique planting environments.

We will describe the many types of features possible, and deal with design, construction and operation. Participants are encouraged to view some online material that we will send links for, to learn the basics. Many additional topics can then be covered such as:

  • Water, wetland, and moraine plants
  • Attracting birds and wildlife
  • Our climate and locally available materials
  • Water quality and common issues

Instructor for Part 1 is CRAGS member Rob Staniland, an Environmental Biologist who has, over 40 years and two sites, successfully incorporated virtually all listed types of water features into his rock and alpine gardens.

The workshop will be held at the Country Hills Library on Sunday, March 1st, from 1:00 to 4:30 pm. Cost is $25 for members, $35 for member families and $35 for non-members. Please email secretary@crags.ca to register.

We plant to conduct a follow-up Workshop on Sunday, April 5. This would be tailored to the interests and needs of participants. We also hope to offer participants the opportunity to join a guided day of visits in late spring to some local gardens that illustrate the use of water features in the rock garden.
If you already have a water feature, we invite you to be part of this collaborative experience. Whether you wish to attend the informative presentation or not, please consider opening your garden to workshop participants this spring or early summer.

Thurs Feb 27 7pm: Members’ Information Session #3

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, is where your alpine plants should be, not your gardening progress! Join other CRAGS members as we share our problems and solutions related to rock and alpine gardening in this challenging Chinook climate.

Our next meet-up will be hosted by Patti O’Keefe on Thursday, February 27 from 7 to 9 pm. There will be discussion focused on CRAGS favourite sources, including rock, sand, soils, potting materials and seed. This event is open to members only and there is no cost. Tea and water provided. Please reply to this email if you plan to attend and the address in SE Calgary will be supplied.

You are encouraged to bring your questions and a few photos of your garden that would provide context for your queries, and remember to add in a few shots of your favourite plants. Spaces are limited and filled in succession by email replies to president@crags.ca.

This is part of a 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.

Sunday Jan 26 2020: Greenhouse Design and Management Workshop

Have you been dreaming about a greenhouse for starting seeds and extending the season for your plants? There are still a few spaces left for our Jan 26 Greenhouse Workshop. We are pleased to have as instructor Daniel Walker of Reader Rock Garden, who will cover building options, insulation, heating and cooling, lighting, ventilation and other basic topics. All this and much more will be covered, as we sit surrounded in a greenhouse by his trays of seedlings. If it is nice out, we will tour some of the greenhouses! We will also be arranging greenhouse tours in the spring to get comments from the owners, including issues they have encountered and how they overcame them.
Cost $25 for members, $35 for family memberships, $35 for non-members. Workshop goes 1pm to 3pm. Please register with Patti O’Keefe at president@crags.ca.

Thursday Jan 16 2020: CRAGS Garden Information Session #2

On Thursday Jan 16th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm we welcome you to the another in a series of CRAGS Information Sessions.

Join us in 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 Joan Ganley and the experienced gardeners include Rob Staniland. Questions are welcome on all garden topics, but special attention will be on gardening tools.

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

Thursday Jan 9, 2020: Annual Potluck dinner and Rock Gardens of the Vancouver Area

The Vancouver garden of Chris and Jane Byra

Join us at 6:30pm for CRAGS’ annual potluck.  After supper, we will enjoy a presentation from Patti O’Keefe with photos by Shirley Kabeary. Patti and Shirley visited Vancouver in late August 2019 to pick up an order of dwarf conifers for CRAGS. They also were fortunate enough to visit several nurseries and private rock gardens. Despite the late season, they had rave reviews of the places they visited, so we are excited to see their photos.

Sunday Dec 8 2019: Propagation Workshop (now full)

Registration is now closed for our Propagation Workshop on Sunday, December 8th, 11:00 to 3:00.

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.

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.