Messages posted to thread:

Shere13-Dec-02 07:00 PM EST 3a   
Susan15-Dec-02 10:11 AM EST 6a   
donna@icangarden.com15-Dec-02 01:51 PM EST 3a   
Shere16-Dec-02 12:04 PM EST 3a   
Lyn16-Dec-02 12:29 PM EST 3a   
16-Dec-02 10:58 PM EST   
donna@icangarden.com17-Dec-02 12:31 AM EST 3a   
donna@icangarden.com18-Dec-02 11:21 AM EST 3a   
Chris Biesheuvel21-Dec-02 01:02 PM EST   
jstraayer@specialty.ab.ca02-Jan-03 01:34 PM EST 3a   
02-Jan-03 02:59 PM EST   
Shere07-Jan-03 05:45 PM EST 3a   
Northern Gardener08-Jan-03 01:18 PM EST 3   
Cathy27-Jan-03 12:26 AM EST   

Subject: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: Shere
Zone: 3a
Date: 13-Dec-02 07:00 PM EST

Hi everyone, I'm hoping I can find some help here. Let me tell you a little about my situation.

I grew up in Hawaii and currently live in St. Louis, Missouri US. I am getting married and moving to Edmonton, AB soon. My boyfriend, Glen, has built us a nice house (front faces north) and as required by the subdivision, we have to plant certain things in the front and Glen is NOT a plant person at all. I haven't got a clue what will live up there.

In the front we are supposed to have lawn (will have landscaper do that part), 1 tree and 1 bush/shrub.

Tree - Personally I would love something smaller in size as the front yard is small. By small I mean something that shouldn't grow too tall - 8-9 ft would be perfect. Something that turns red or orange would be awesome. flowers are cool but fruit isn't as Glen doesn't want to have to rake up fruit or have it stink. Do Japanese maples do well there? Any other suggestions?

Shrub - again color would be awesome. Berries are ok and so are flowers. It need not be an evergreen but something that doesn't require too much special care would be nice.

Also, if anyone knows of any web sites I could go to that lists plants/flowers that would do well in Edmonton, I would really appreciate it. I will also have to plan for the back yard and perhaps some planters on the sides of the house as well.

Thank you for your help!

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 15-Dec-02 10:11 AM EST

Welcome to Canada!

I'm surprised that you haven't been inundated with suggestions from fellow Edmontonians! There's very active gardening community there and they're usually very active on this Forum. Maybe they're all busy getting ready for Christmas....

One tree and one shrub sounds a bit skimpy, even in a small yard, but it's a start... Evergreen shrubs offer a wide range of choice even in Edmonton's growing zone. (I'm talking about coniferous shubs - ones with needles - not broadleafed evergreens....) Evergreen shrubs are notorious for getting overgrown and a bit ugly as they age so I'd be inclined to stick with dwarf types - there's an interesting range of shapes and colors to choose from. Your best bet would be to go to a local nursery and take a look at what they have. Try Hole's Greenhouses and Gardens Ltd., 101 Bellrose Drive St. Albert, Alberta, Canada T8N 8N8 phone: 780-419-6800 fax: 780-459-6042 e-mail:

They are not too far away from you I'm sure. Lois Hole has also written many gardenng books - you should look for some of them - and you should get a copy of their catalog which would list plants that grow in your new home's area.

As for trees, Japanese Maples are definitely not hardy in Edmonton. An 8-9' limit on size is very, very small. There are few trees that small so you're really talking about large shrubs I think. For a tree-like look, one of your best options may be a liliac. If you keep the root suckers cleaned off and just allow a few strong stems to grow tall, lilacs make very nice small trees that take on the interesting shapes that are so attractive in trees like Japanese Maples. The wonderfully scented spring flowers are an added bonus and no messy fruit to annoy your husband! Lilacs bloom on the previous year's growth so you have to be careful not to accidentally prune off the flower buds. They can also take a few years to get big enough to start blossoming so you have to have patience.

Since gardening in the cold, dry climate of Edmonton is going to be a very different experience, you might want to consider joining a local garden club/society. You can find information on the Edmonton Horticultural Society at:

Gardening is a great (somewhat addictive....!) hobby and a great way to meet people too, so enjoy your new home and garden!

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
Zone: 3a
Date: 15-Dec-02 01:51 PM EST

Hi Shere, I live just outside Edmonton in St. Albert, but am also very involved in the Edmonton Hort. Society - on the board :)

Susan is correct, are you able to get some of Lois Holes books to read. This would be a great help to you in picking that tree and shrub out, then I would just wait until I got here to figure out what you wanted after that. Our growing season is very good in the spring/summer/fall with long days.

We can grow a wonderful variety of perennials - in fact, if you want to go to the PIX area of the site, you can even look at my give you some ideas...

it's a start...and you can go from there...:)

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: Shere
Zone: 3a
Date: 16-Dec-02 12:04 PM EST

Thank you, both of you for your suggestions. :) I just saw the pictures of your back yard Donna and was totally blown away! It is very impressive. My mother-in-law says you live about half way between she and I. Our house is in Lakeview. Not sure where she's at.

The problem I'm having is that I won't be living up there until the spring. And my husband needs to plant that stuff asap in the spring to meet the subdivision requirments. So I have to tell him what we want because he has no opinion on the matter. If it were left up to him we'd have rocks all around our house.

As for the front yard, it's really small. It's probably about 7 ft. wide by 15 ft long (the houses are really close together). Did I also tell you I'm metrically impaired? Also it's right in front of the windows that are in the living room. That's why it really needs to be a small tree. Anything too tall or too wide would run into house or the neighbors yard or front porch.

There is also a small strip on the other side of the driveway... probably about 4ft wide that runs along the house and the property line... Maybe 5 ft. It's hard to estimate.

Anyway, since he's going to have to do the tree and the shrub I thought if I could just tell him what to plant and where we'd be ok until I can get up there and plant the other stuff.

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: Lyn
Zone: 3a
Date: 16-Dec-02 12:29 PM EST

Just to let you all know - Shere is my soon to be daughter and she is a true sweetheart.

As it turns out, we both need help with gardens this year. We currently live in Spruce Grove but are building a new home in Stony Plain.

The house will be ready around June. And looking at Donna's pix - this is quite like what I have in mind.

Pie shaped lot backing on the golf course with walk out basement.

Any suggestions?

Thanks Lyn

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
Date: 16-Dec-02 10:58 PM EST

Wow--I am a bit horrified at the restrictions Shere faces! There is one slow-growing evergreen I like especially--although over years, it will get larger--dwarf Alberta spruce, picea glauca albertiana. No doubt available in Edmonton! Also, I love lilacs, I think you can't go wrong with one--lots of different varieties. Tell Glen to find a good nursery and ask for assistance from the horticultural staff. I wish you both much happiness. Jill

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
Zone: 3a
Date: 17-Dec-02 12:31 AM EST

OK Shere, I am going to have someone answer this for you from a greenhouse..she is an expert in trees and shrubs and can give you exactly what you need to tell Glen to get...:))

I will get back to you

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
Zone: 3a
Date: 18-Dec-02 11:21 AM EST

Hi Shere, here is what was sent to me by Greenland Garden Center in our area...

There are not many trees that stay to a height of only 9', but here are a few suggestions: Amur Maple - a small tree, probably 12' high at maturity, it has attractive but small seed pods, and a wonderful red fall colour. Another suggestion might be to use a bush that is trained into tree form. Two of my favorites are the Miss Canada Lilac (tree form), and the Snowball Bush (tree form).

As for the shrub, there are quite a few things to consider, like desired height and colour preference. Both the spirea and potentilla families are very hardy shrubs and both have flowers. The spirea family is very diverse but a few of my favorites are "Anthony Waterer" (3.5' x 3.5') with pink flowers in late spring, and "Shirobana" which is the same height, but has white and pink flowers combined.

Though the belief is that not much does grow in our cool Edmonton climate, there are many, many choices for small yards, and if you require further ideas, any reputable Garden Centre in Edmonton can help you out with choices and information.

Deb's email is so if this is not good enough for you, then send her an email directly and she would be pleased to help you get this sorted out...:)

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: Chris Biesheuvel
Date: 21-Dec-02 01:02 PM EST

Edmonton offers lots of great oppertunities for the gardener, Although located in Northern Alberta it has a milder climate than for exsample Calgary, For shrubs you also can concider some roses the parkland roses will do fine. The variety Prairie Joy this shrub rose produces an abundance of pink flowers ( same color as in the hybrid tea rose Queen Elisabeth) in early summer and often again in late summer early fall. An other great variety is the Morden Blush, this rose has the longest blooming period of all parkland roses, this rose change from gorgeous pink into white, All roses like full sun but I was amazed how nice the above mentioned roses are in a spot with only 4 hours of sunlight. An other great shrub will be the Hydrangea, they like shade but need a moist retaining well drained soil, but sure to keep the soil always moist and never let the soil dry out, A good variety is the PeeGee hydrangea, grows approximately 150 cm 5 feet tall and will produce gorgeous cone shaped flower heads 25 to 30 cm 10 to 12 inches wide contrasting nicely with light green leaves. Flowers are excellent to dry and to work into a dried flower arrangement. The Amur maple is a great small tree and the fall colors of this tree are amazing. I am sure that you will be able to buy the above mentioned shrubs and tree at the Edmonton Garden centres. Happy Gardening!

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: (
Zone: 3a
Date: 02-Jan-03 01:34 PM EST

Welcome to Alberta. Once here, you will be astonished at the choice and variety of plantings available. I know Holes Greenhouse has been mentioned and it is a fabulous resource. Plan to make a day of it. As you head to Holes, stop at the drive through coffee shop just off Bellerose on the left-hand side, get a latte or capuccino, and then just wander up and down the aisles at Holes, trying to narrow down what you choose.

As for planting in June, that is not considered late here. No one, except the very brave, plants anything until the May long weekend, which is around the 21st. I would guess that if you husband checks, he will find out that planting in June will be okay. We are a northern climate and the chance of frost in May is still strong. And you certainly can't plant when the ground is still frozen.

By the way, you will loooove our long summer days. I think they are one of the best things about living here. Summer evenings last forever and I often read in my back yard until 10:00 PM, without artificial light.

If you join the Hort. Society, our paths will probably cross.

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: (
Date: 02-Jan-03 02:59 PM EST

Shere, thought you might enjoy this e-mail I received, coincidentally, today. It is just a joke, so don't worry.

Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C): Californians shiver uncontrollably. Canadians plant gardens. 35 Fahrenheit (1.6 C): Italian cars won't start. Canadians drive with the windows down. 32 Fahrenheit (0 C): American water freezes. Canadian water gets thicker. 0 Fahrenheit (-17.9 C): New York City landlords finally turn on the heat. Canadians have the last cookout of the season. -60 Fahrenheit (-51 C): Mt. St. Helens freezes. Canadian Girl Guides sell cookies door-to-door. -100 Fahrenheit (-73 C): Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Canadians pull down their ear flaps. -173 Fahrenheit (-114 C) Ethyl alcohol Freezes. Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg. -460 Fahrenheit (-273 C) Absolute zero; all atomic motion stops. Canadians start saying "cold, eh?" -500 Fahrenheit (-295 C): Hell freezes over. The Leafs win the Stanley Cup.

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: Shere
Zone: 3a
Date: 07-Jan-03 05:45 PM EST

Thank you everyone for your wonderful suggestions! You've all been very helpful. :)

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: Northern Gardener (
Zone: 3
Date: 08-Jan-03 01:18 PM EST

Welcome to Edmonton, Shere. The suggestions Donna & others gave are excellent.

Although late May is best for planting, especially seeds, June is not too late to plant container-grown trees, shrubs, roses or perennials. I, and many other gardeners here, have successfully planted in June.

Best advice: read books, such as Lois Holes', drive around to see what you like, read magazines for our area and visit garden centres & greenhouses. There is a local radio show every Sunday morning, 8:00a.m., hosted by local horticulturalist Stan Thompson on 630 CHED (AM dial) that thousands of gardeners listen to. It's another great way to learn.

There are several excellent garden clubs: Edm Hort; Strathcona Garden Club; Spruce Grove/Stony Plain; St Albert; Leduc....visit them. They have fabulous guest speakers!

If you require more info on these clubs, feel free to email me:

Subject: RE: non-native needs helpful suggestions
From: Cathy
Date: 27-Jan-03 12:26 AM EST

Gosh, go to Hole's. You are so lucky to be that close to them. They'll help you out tremendously. OR why don't you just take this summer to look around to see what people are growing and take down information of what you like? Then you can use next winter to properly plan what you want to do.

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