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.
1) Workshops and Talks – Aim to engage, inspire and educate. A wide range of topics is presented throughout the year. Trees were a major focus this year following the 2014 fall snowstorm that devastated up to 10% of the city’s canopy. Workshops are open to the public and have a fee attached for attending and to cover costs and instructor’s honorariums.
2) 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.
3) The Community Gardens is designed to strengthen and promote the movement through education, the creation of a network of resources, expertise and collaborative connections to provide start-up assistance 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 such as Kitchen Table Talks for garden leaders to share information and ideas and a bi-monthly e-news full of community information and events. Community Gardens works closely with The City of Calgary Parks and gathers its strength and success from its association with the many other organizations in the city and province that form the network.
4) Yard Smart Education Series – Yard Smart Education Series. 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.
5) Harvest and Plant Shares – 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. The Garlic Fair celebrates and promotes growing heritage garlic hardy to the Calgary climate and to maintain the cultivation of varieties of heritage garlic for future gardening generations.
6) Publications – Calgary Gardening e-newsletter is created and sent out to members 8 times a year, a weekly e-news and a community gardens e-news to community garden enthusiasts and other gardening resources. We The Society also hosts a website full of resources and information, including a gardening advice services entitled: Ask the Expert where gardening questions can be posed by email and are answered by volunteer gardening experts.