Your favourite garden centre in the Calgary area?

ostrich(3a AB)May 27, 2012

Hi everyone,

As I am starting my gardening life in Calgary, I am exploring the different garden centres in the area. So far, I have visited the following:

1. Sunnyside - it is close to where I live, has a large selection of perennials and things, but the prices seem to be outrageous! Is it just me, or does anyone else find that too? For instance, a 2 gallon pot of Pinky Winky hydrangea would cost you $36.99 there!!! WOW!

2. Spruce-It-Up - nice selection of caliper trees and shrubs! The prices seem reasonable too.

3. Greengate - smaller selection of trees, but nice selection of perennials. Price seems OK.

Which are the other garden centres that I should visit, and what are your favourite ones and why?


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Also try Golden Acre, Greengate, Blue Grass and Cobblestone for the big ones. Cobblestone is on the other of the city for you though and I find their quality of plants shockingly poor.

I would've heartily recommended Edward's but they seem to have gone out of business :(

Cochrane has Anything Grows. If you don't want a warranty then shrubs and trees are 35% off.

Smaller places are Garden Retreat (best selection of seeds and veggie plants in town) and Plantation (inner city, but they always have some interesting perennials).

Yes, Sunnyside can be very expensive. Everything goes 50% off though around the last week of August - first week of September (never an exact date, they move it around each year to keep people guessing).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 4:49PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

shazam, thank you for the information. This is very useful indeed!

Anything Grows sounds good - I think that as long as I select the right hardy plants, I should not need any warranty, right!? Well, I could be wrong.... but 35% off sounds good!

I really like those Proven Winners flowering shrubs like those hydrangea paniculatas that they have. Which nursery or garden centre would have a big selection of these please?

I would love to check out these places, esp. Plantation, as I am not too far away from them and I like to find interesting perennials too!

BTW, do you think that the local big box stores, e.g. Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, carry a decent selection of shrubs and perennials?

Thank you again.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Costco has really good prices on their shrubs...the garden center is only open for a short time and their selection is limited, but all the plants I've ever bought from them has survived. My Pinky Winky hydrangea was from there and I paid less than $20 for it (in a 2-3 gal pot).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 7:30PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

WOW! Donna, that was a great deal!!! Let me go to Costco soon....!!!! Thanks for the great tip.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 8:30PM
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I like Spruce It Up, good selection and the plants are healthy and somewhat hardened off. I also like Vales in Black Diamond.

Home Depot has some good stuff if you hit it the days the trucks come in.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Costco is good but has a limited selection and they close up quite early.

The CT near where you live is okay but the garden centre there is quite small. The CT near Southcentre is their biggest in the city and they take care of their stuff. Prices are quite good too. CT Dalhousie is also very good but that might be a hike for you.

I don't really like HD because they carry far too much out of zone plants, but if you know exactly what you need they're not bad. The Macleod Trail one next to Chinook Centre takes care of their stuff all season. They do bring in awesome specials throughout the season - they had lilies for around a $1/pot a couple years ago, for instance.

Costco and Sobey's have the best ready-to-show hanging baskets for the big box stores.

Walmart has a very good selection of roses for $10. They go super duper quick though. They bring in at least three shipments in.

RCSS is also another good place to buy stuff. Also they have a great selection of pots at a reasonable price.

Golden Acre should have a good selection of hydrangeas for you, along with a one year warranty.

Forgot to mention, Sunnyside gives a two year warranty on plants now so I suspect that's what accounts for their really high prices these days. Also I think they still have a guarantee on annuals and perennials for the current season.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 12:12PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Justjoey, thank you - I think I am going to get the trees from Spruce It Up!

shazam - thank you very much for the great tips. In fact, I followed your advice and went to Canadian Tire at Dalhousie today (not too far from my work place) this evening - guess what? I really scored big time! LOL! I got a couple of 5 gallon Quick Fire for about $28 each!!! I was SO HAPPY! The plants looked very healthy and already had buds. I also got a 2 gallon Coppertina Ninebark but that was not on sale.

Mind you, I was a bit sickened by how poorly treated most of the plants were at Canadian Tire. Many of them were bone dry and drooping! I was mad....

I need to visit the CT near Southcentre to see what they have! Now I really want a 5 gallon Blacklace Sambucus - it's my favourite shrub and I really want one here so badly....

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 12:00AM
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I thought I would chime in to give my $0.02 about the Black lace elderberry you mentioned. I bought that shrub a few years back and it only lasted through one winter. Luckily I had bought it from Sunnyside where I was able to get my money back with their 2 year guarantee. I'm not sure if others have had better experience with this plant in Calgary but it might be a shrub worth buying from a place that gives a guarantee!

They are beautiful though...

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 12:50AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

groggyfrog, thank you for your input! Did you plant the Black Lace Sambucus in any area that might be more protected at all? Or was it in a more exposed area?

I really miss my lace leaf Japanese maple so I really want to have this shrub as a "substitute" for my Japanese maple!!! :-)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 12:57AM
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Yeah, that elderberry was all the rage a few years ago. It proved not hardy for many of us on the prairies. I think your best best would be a dark-leafed ninebark or something like it. I would love to be able to grow a Japanese maple here! The Canadian Tire here brought in Japanese maples and porcelain vine one year...I wonder how that went.

Just a note for buying roses at places like Walmart. They are, more often than not, mislabeled. It's a good deal if you aren't particularly fussy about getting the exact cultivar. $10 beats over $30 at the nursery if you aren't fussy.

When buying hostas at the big box stores, be aware of the hosta virus (HVX) that is quite often apparent in their stock. It is a fatal disease of hostas and will spread through infected sap to your healthy hostas (through garden tools, etc). Look up images on the internet so you know what to avoid.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 2:03AM
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Darn, too bad about the Dalhousie CT treating their plants so poorly. I wonder if the garden manager changed. Ah well.

I found the $10 roses at Walmart properly labeled. No warranty though of course, which accounts for the price.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 8:48AM
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Ostrich, I had the Black Lace planted in a somewhat protected area - it was located quite close to my house.

I remember hearing or reading somewhere that even if you do get that shrub to overwinter our zone, it will still die back to the ground.

I do love my ninebarks though. There are several dark ones that would be a nice substitute, as already mentioned. I've had better luck with the darker-leafed ninebarks than the chartreuse-leafed ones as well.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 10:55PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Donna, thank you for the tips. I tend to buy the more "reliable" stuff from the big box stores, and I usually go to independent garden centres for roses and things. Talking about Japanese Maples, I actually saw a beautiful lace leaf Japanese Maple at Golden Acre a couple of days ago. It was big and full and beautiful... and only selling for $149.99!!! Something like this would have sold for over $300 where I was before in the States! Can I overwinter it here???? Just kidding.....

Shazam!!! Look what you have done! I went to the Canadian Tire on Southland and MaCleod Trail today - it's a wonderful garden centre there! They really took care of their plants and then there was a great selection too. Anyway, I got a Pinky Winky in a 5 gallon pot for $28 there too! I think the 25% off sale for these 5 gallon shrubs end today. Then I went to another Canadian Tire and they just opened up a crate full of 2 gallon shrubs. I found 3 very full and healthy looking Incrediball there! So I just could not resist the temptation and got 3. Somehow, everywhere else I went, the Incrediball's all looked terrible. So I just had to get these nice and healthy ones!

groggyfrog, I have grown ninebarks too - while they are nice, they are nowhere near as nice as the Sambucus BlackLace! Just my opinion... I guess I will try it this year. If it does not come back, then at least I have tried.... sigh!

Thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 1:25AM
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Heh. I was at that CT today too. I liked the hydrangeas on a stick but I can't think of where to put one. They also had viburnums on a stick too. I think I have a place for that one.

Cimicifuga (bugbane) can be a very good replacement for sambucus.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 2:09AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

shazam, thanks for the tip about bugbane! I had never considered it before, so this is great to know. I will watch out for it!

I was also looking at those hydrangea standards too - I was wondering if I should get one but then I was worrying that it would not look as good if some branches actually die back after winter. And it's pretty expensive too... oh well, let me rationalize why I didn't get one! LOL

BTW, I went after work, and the traffic was BAD. Now I remembered why I didn't want to live in the beautiful southern Calgary...

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 2:41AM
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Cimicifuga are awesome. I saw them on the calhort garden tour a couple of years ago - beautiful clumps about 2.5 feet tall.

The traffic on Macleod Trail that time of day is brutal.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 4:13PM
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xaroline(zone 3 Calgary)

I try them all as often one carries plants that the others don't.
They are all expensive so I raise most of my own from seeds.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:33AM
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xaroline(zone 3 Calgary)

New Gardeners in the Calgary area should join the Calgary Horticulural Society
so you can get information that is relevant to the Calgary area.
Go to :

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:37AM
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