Best location for borderline shrubs and perennials in Calgary?

ostrich(3a AB)August 2, 2012

Finally, the prep work in my backyard is almost done!!! The trees are in, and the beds are almost done, so I can start planning the planting of my shrubs and perennials!

I am just wondering if I can get some advice as to whether borderline shrubs and perennials (zone 4) would do better in certain locations in my south facing backyard? It is a fenced in square area with beds on all 3 sides (north, west and east). As there is a deck by the house, the south facing location by the foundation is not available. Given the winter (sun and wind) condition in Calgary, does it matter which bed these borderline plants will be located? Obviously, for the east facing bed, I get mostly morning and early afternoon sun now, and for the west facing bed, afternoon and evening sun now. Even the north facing bed now gets a fair bit of sun now. Everything will change though during winter, I am sure! Since I am still new to this in Calgary, I would really appreciate your advice.


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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

My thought is against the East foundation or the south side of the deck. I found my perennials tended to do best on the East side in Calgary if they couldn't have the south location against the foundation. Although I grew many perennials on the West side, they were low to the foundation and protected by a shelter belt of trees. The chinooks are often from the west there so there is always the issue of freeze-thaw cycles in the winter which is sometimes tough on borderline plants and shrubs. My 2 cents worth. :)


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:34PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Hi Ginny,

Thanks! That does make sense.... I am wondering if the others have found the same thing? Maybe I will plant my Sambucus Black Lace along the east fence then, so that the wintry winds from the west will not be too much of a problem for it then. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 2:15AM
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Yes, east side. If you can also protect against the south sun in winter that's even better.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 3:27PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks, shazam!

How do I protect the south sun in winter please? OR should I be planting shrubs and perennials in the south bed (which is right against the deck) that can take the winter south sun? What would be good for this location please?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 11:34PM
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Do you have a fence on the south side? That makes a huge difference, since the winter sun is very low, and the fence keeps the plants shaded.

If not, snow cover. Since Calgary's snow cover is inconsistent at best, if you can muster up the strength you should shovel some snow onto the plants from other areas (grass, deck).

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:44PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Hi Shazam,

I do have a fence on the south side, which is just over 40 feet away from the house. Yes, I'd better keep an eye on that area - if it does not get sufficient shade from that winter sun, I'd better go and cover it up with snow!!! Or maybe I need to get lots of mulch, right?! Sigh....

I am thinking of planting some hardy and one or two tender roses there (with lots of protection), plus other things such as coreopsis (zagrab), artemisia, irises etc. Hopefully, these things will be hardy enough there!

Thanks so much for your help.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 12:28AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

BTW, Shazam, I did ask you this question before - regarding mulch, you gave me some great tips about that Ornamental place. If I wanted something that is very dark and black, what would you use?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 12:29AM
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