Calgary Horticultural Society

we serve these populations

  • aging population
  • immigrant newcomers
  • women

we need help with:

  • education
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • food security

Requesting $8000


Description of Need

We wish to create a series of videos which address the ongoing challenges of growing in our Calgary Climate. With current world shifts, a new generation of growers have emerged. We continue to be overwhelmed with requests for more content that is catered to a much younger and energetic audience. We wish to produce over 65 short videos that focus on successful food growing and native plants in our region. The videos would be hosted by a charismatic student, passionate about self-sustenance and our local environment. We recently received support for our Video Production position and are currently engaged with a production company to assist us (and mentor our new employee) in producing the educational videos. Our request for funding would allow us to engage a new audience through a younger presenter and develop a more professional product. Please see attached for budget and video wish list.

Our Story – Why We Exist

The Calgary Horticultural Society was formed in April 1908 by a group of passionate individuals who wanted to share the love of gardening with others. In the early years, the Society focused on turning Calgary from prairie grasslands to a blooming oasis. Local business leaders dreamed of creating a more hospitable place with trees for shelter and windbreaks, irrigation and blossoms to welcome newcomers. Together with the City of Calgary, the Society planted over 20,000 trees between 1910 and 1914 and since then has become involved with a variety of community projects around Calgary. The Society and the City together have helped gardens become more eco-friendly by educating gardeners on the benefits of native and water-wise plants. Today, the Society is the largest and most active of its kind in Canada, providing a variety of workshops, events, and assistance to Calgary and area gardeners.

Our Impact – What We Do

Vision:  Gardening for Life! 

Mission: To encourage gardening for the enhancement of our environment and quality of life.


  • Put the fun into gardening
  • Connect and support new and experienced gardeners
  • Promote learning and successful gardening
  • Work with the environment to minimize our footprint 
  • Lead in making Calgary a city of gardening excellence

The Society’s mandate has a strong focus on gardening education and offers Calgarians the knowledge and skills to do it well. It is driven by the belief that as the gardening community grows, the city’s quality of life is enhanced, and so is the environment. Gardening is a healthy activity growing in popularity in Calgary and across the country.

The Calgary Horticultural Society contributes to the city of Calgary in four important ways:

  • Educates Calgarians on ways and means to garden successfully in this challenging climate, and as a result, assists gardeners to enhance and beautify the city one garden at a time
  • Works to reduce negative water quality and quantity issues through yard smart education
  • Encourages rebuilding of the urban forest canopy by providing tree education and
  • Contributes knowledge to food growing and building community connections through the supportive community gardens program.

Society participants can achieve these things because of our strong education focus and the philosophy that gardening is a lifelong pursuit and the mandate is creating experiences to capitalize on “Gardening for Life.

In addition to providing educational opportunities, staff and volunteers work together to operate an office, host a website, publish eight online magazines, and an e-newsletter throughout the year. They host talks and workshops online, on site, and in the community, organize and host garden tours, plant shares, and provide fun volunteer opportunities. Key volunteer positions include an 11-member board of directors; magazine managing editor, editors, and writers; website hosted gardening expert advisors; membership administration team;  office maintenance and carpentry; open garden tour coordinators and scouts; workshop monitors; speakers bureau speakers; signature event volunteers, Plant Share volunteers; and gardening team assisting with events and working in the demonstration and teaching garden.

Volunteers work alongside the staff, which includes one full-time director and employees, primarily in part-time positions, who support and deliver the programs. Current staff include: Administrative Assistant, Volunteer Coordinator, Community Gardens Coordinator, Program Coordinator, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Master Gardener Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, Events and Partnerships Coordinator,  and a Horticulturist.

Our Programs – How We Do It

Gardening in the Calgary area is challenging, from rapidly fluctuating temperatures and weather challenges, to cost of supplies, to actually finding space to garden. The Calgary Horticultural Society helps new and experienced gardeners learn ways to be successful by providing fun and educational programming all year round.  Programs are designed to help Calgarians enjoy a healthy, beautiful yard without compromising the environment. Volunteers play a major role in who we are, what we do and how we work.

Our Programs:

1) Workshops, Talks, and Courses: The aim of our programs to engage, inspire, and educate and are focussed on gardening in Calgary’s unique environment. A wide range of topics is presented throughout the year. Each year, the programs offered are refreshed based on feedback provided by program participants. Workshops, talks, and courses are open to everyone. Most programs have a fee to attend to cover costs, including instructor fees.

2) Master Gardener Program: The Master Gardener program is a program for those interested in learning more about the art and science of gardening such as botany, plant identification and propagation, pest and weed management, sustainable gardening techniques and more. It is both theoretical and practical, taught by horticulturists, experienced practitioners and industry experts. Participants are encouraged to work together as a group in order to enhance knowledge and to solve problems. Different perspectives enrich the discussions and the learning experience. This non-credit program is designed to train volunteers who then can share their knowledge in the community.

3) Demonstration and Teaching Garden at the Society Office: The back and front yards located at the Society’s office have been transformed from a traditional lawn into an outdoor classroom. The area includes variety of beds, spaces with yard smart modifications such as a rain garden, redirected downspouts for use with rain barrels and three large-size demonstration compost bins, and a wide range of plants and vegetables. Volunteers manage and tend the garden and classes held here enable participants to get their hands dirty.

4) Community Gardens support is designed to strengthen and promote the movement through education, expertise, and collaborative connections to provide start-up guidance for new gardens and ongoing support for established ones. Program staff maintains an informative website and a searchable database to locate gardens; facilitate education workshops, and sessions to share information and ideas. Our Gardeners’ Corner e-news has a section dedicate to community gardens and gardeners.  Community Gardens works closely with The City of Calgary Parks and their community association and gathers its strength and success from a strong link to its local community, including supporting food programs for those in need.

5) Signature Events Twice a Year: These events are dedicated to gardening in the Calgary area. Growers, gardeners, horticulturists, and expert guest speakers share their knowledge. The events include demonstrations, workshops, and a marketplace. Members enjoy discounted tickets. The next signature event is Think Spring! on February 5 and 6, 2022.

6) Design Your Yard (DYY) Workshops: DYY workshops are delivered in partnership with the City of Calgary and is part of their YardSmart program. The purpose is to engage, educate, and empower Calgarians to reduce outdoor water consumption and manage stormwater quality and quantity on their properties, while learning to successfully garden in Calgary and creating a design for their yard.

7)Plant Shares: The Society hosts two plant shares a year in the fall and spring for members to share excess plant material with other members and provide information about plants, their cultures, and habits.

8) Publications: The Society’s current publications include the Calgary Gardening magazine that is sent out to Society members eight times a year, a weekly Gardeners’ Corner e-newsletter is emailed every Friday morning, an annual calendar, and a gardening journal.

Our Requests – What You Can Do

We invite you to:

Join us. We are the best and oldest resource for gardening! With discounts from local gardening businesses, informative classes, plant shares, summer garden tours, fun volunteering opportunities, we set our members for success. Society memberships also make a super gift for the gardener in your life. For membership information see our website

Volunteer with us. Volunteer with us. The Society knows that gardening is an incredibly rewarding experience and we want to share that with you. Several volunteers of the Society hold valuable positions such as board members, committee planners, workshop monitors, gardeners, garden show hosts, horticultural experts, house painters, builders and building maintainers, Calgary Gardening e-newsletter writers and editors, compost turners, pruners and more. We have a variety of opportunities to choose from. Volunteering with us is fun and educational.

Come grow with us. Sure Calgary’s growing conditions can be tricky but grow with us and learn about tools, resource, and knowledge to implement long-term, sustainable yard practices. You will find there is a lot more to this activity than one initially thinks: health, beauty, good food, friends, community, relaxation…one can garden for life!

Donate to us. The Calgary Horticultural Society is a charitable organization. Donations over $20 will be eligible for a tax receipt. Donations help sustain the organization and enable it to continue helping gardeners and communities grow for years to come. As well as support a historical gardening organization that has been educating, promoting, and celebrating gardening for more than a century.

It is through kind donors and sponsors that we continue to thrive in Calgary, so please donate now.

Are you a Calgary Foundation Fundholder?

Contact Info

Natasha Guillot



More Info

Charity Number: #118823624RR0001

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