Apr 22, 2012

Trees (for Earth Day)

Trees.  We finally bought some yesterday!  We cut ALL of them down out of the yard last year as they were either scraggly or useless bushes with ugly foliage. Half our backyard was taken up by overgrown Cotoneaster.

Note we actually had removed a row of these suckers on the far right.  The whole yard was filled with them. 
These ubiquitous bushes in Calgary are just stunning for about 5 minutes in the fall when the leaves turn a fiery red.  The rest of the year, they are patchy green, poky and nearly impossible to remove.  The story behind them is that they helped save countless farms during the Depression here on the Prairies, with years of severe drought conditions.  Those farms with Cotoneasters (which are drought resistant) were apparently protected from dust bowl conditions.

As I mentioned in the last post, we are in the 'brown' gardening stage here in Calgary. Garden centres are only just starting to open and stock summer plants.  I have been dying to go to Countryside Landscapes & Gardens in Dewinton, about 30 minutes south of downtown since we saw them at the Home Show back in February. This one seemed right up our alley - modern design, no kitschy garden ornaments, and they sell terrariums!

Find the kids in the Potentilla
They opened last week so we made the trek out there yesterday and spent most of the day browsing through their beautiful store.  The kids played in a neat little playhouse, leaving us some kid-free time (rare) to browse at our leisure.  We had decided on an Amur Maple for the backyard.  The criteria are that the tree had to be climbable/shady/fairly quick growth/no annoying sticky leaves or useless berries. The Amur Maple seemed to have a beautiful canopy and those little helicopters, which are hours of fun for parents and kids. 

Amur Maple in Fall
We found one in the tree nursery and it was actually pretty scraggly (there's nary a leaf on any of the trees right now, which actually makes it easier find the shape we want).  One of the sales staff told us that they always look slightly scraggly and only when they mature (like above) do they start to look good.  So we ended up with something I had never heard of: a mature 15 foot Mayday (Bird Cherry).  The lines of the tree are lovely and it has beautiful fragrant white flower clusters in the spring with small black chokecherries in the summer (can I eat these? Or are they useless berries?).

Spring flowers on Mayday
Ours is the one with the pink tag (I should really learn how to add an arrow)
We also found a tree we had been stalking in garden stores across Calgary for over a year now. These little Scotch Pines were raised and pruned in the Countryside nursery and are about half the price of others we've seen in the city.  We're planting him somewhere in the front yard.

Hiding under the 'hats'
I also bought a Double-Flowering plum, which I have coveted for years.  I took Ikebana courses for a couple of years and it was a staple in the class.  

Apparently this bush needs lots of sun and is most successful when it's on its own. Hmmm.  May have to make another kidney-bean garden for this guy on the front lawn. 

The trees will be delivered and planted in a couple of weeks.  Very exciting!  



Heather said...

Such beautiful choices. Good job! :)

Laura said...

Thanks H. Trees = the future. You have to think about what you'd like to do with the tree in the next x years. sit under/climb/harvest fruit. I always feel the burden of tree selection and placement. That' might also be because I overanalyze everything....

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