The Scarboro Garden Scene – that cabin on the lake
Controlling a Jurassic Park-like forest or growing veggies on the dry Alberta Prairies: both can take a huge amount of effort while you are there – best to plan ahead.
Know the probable extremes of rainfall (protect with trees, add manure) or summer drought (protect with mulch). Beware, a long growing season will provide a great environment for brambles, nettles, etc., and don’t take any potential problems with you, such as Himalayan Impatiens. Huge conifers will help protect the soil from being washed away, but of course also require large amounts of water, so you need drought tolerant plants beneath them. If it’s warmer than Calgary, try yews and holly for winter decoration, or Pampas grass, although that needs more care. No matter where you garden, look for attractive native plants that flourish in that particular location.
Compost containers will attract bears and other nuisances so locate and use them with caution. And then there are those rat-sized slugs in the warm east and west: some people offer up hostas to slugs and snails in the hope that they will leave other plants, but I’m not convinced that this works. Dogs and high fences – real high – deter deer. If they are hungry they will eat almost anything – ask the locals for advice.
If you can get local good help – do. If you have a grassed area, keep the edges simple as they take more upkeep than the interior. Destroy aggressive plants early in your stay: weed early and hard – it’s worth the effort. Chances are that the soil will be more acidic than Calgary’s: if so, you will be able to grow blueberries, and if winters are warm enough, rhododendrons too – enjoy something totally different from Calgary.
Glynn Wright – and friends.
March 24, 2013, May Issue
The Scarboro Garden Scene – winter survivors
Hopefully we are example of survivors too! A year ago many of us moaned about the harshness of the Calgary winter and the resultant death of or damage to low or “horizontal”, junipers, but this winter was good for many plants because of the almost continuous snow cover. Now is the time to make decisions about removal of half dead shrubs and perennial plants. Yes, you can save damaged shrubs, but is it really worth it? Probably not! One of the reasons we grow things is to add beauty to our yards, not just to see if we can get them to survive. For instance, daphne provides a delightful perfume in the spring – but really only in the wind-free, humid, 20°C confines of a garden centre. They struggle to live here in Calgary (admittedly caring experts can get them to thrive), so is it worthwhile?
Some small evergreens are happy – once you have found the right environment for them. In a normal winter, low junipers work well, but wind-swept sites are difficult for most plants, with the exception of some native plants: find local grasses – or versions of Prairie Crocus, for instance. We hope to bring Prairie Crocuses back into the Scarboro community this spring.
April is a good time to cut down last year’s decorative stems that you might have left over winter: they have fulfilled two jobs – providing variation of scene in the winter months, and more importantly, anchoring moisture to the soil. The tall grasses in our traffic island will get their usual haircut as soon as the new green shoots reach about 6 to 10” high; weather and volunteer help will dictate the precise timing.
March 16, 2013
Seductive spring magazines and planting catalogues are here now, and I see a huge variety of perennials just begging to be ordered ! Lilies for instance can be ordered until early May, but they are never completely dormant so if for some reason you are unable to plant your bulbs when you get them, then keep them refrigerated in a plastic bag in slightly damp peat moss in the crisper of the fridge. Most lilies are compatible with our climate and soil pH: some Scarboro gardeners have used them as late summer decoration, but their blooming time stretches from early June until late August.
The native Western Red Lily is Saskatchewan’s floral emblem, but commercial – “alien” or otherwise – lilies do very well here when planted in suitable sites. Asiatic hybrids are reliable where there is early morning sun followed by some afternoon shade, and some ‘species’ lilies do well too, especially with a layer of mulch to protect them from late frosts. They need good drainage, so you may have to work coarse sand into your soil, and make sure there is ample air circulation.
Falling pollen is a hazard inside the house: there’s an app for this … no, but there are some pollen-less lilies. Examples include, Easy Dance, Easy Salsa, and Easy Waltz varieties, all available from The Lily Nook, in Manitoba, who supplied the und-dated photos for the community website. I have had success with Lilium orientalis ‘Stargazer’ – more success than with the native lilies in my garden. Like many perennials they look best when in groups: a ground cover can be planted in the same area to protect them in the spring from late frosts. Maybe you should take up some more lawn and plant them there?
Returning our gardens and farmland to native plants: is that what biodiversity means? To some
people, yes, but others are focussed on making their surroundings increasingly friendly to all
wildlife by broadening their plant selection. Biodiversity is almost always positive – until new
pests arrive! The term “biodiversity” refers to the complex and interdependent relationships of
the multitude of organisms in any ecosystem.
We benefit commercially, aesthetically, and spiritually from diversity. The opposite,
monoculture, has its advantages in terms benefits of scale, at least in the short term, when large
tracts of one crop are planted, or the benefit of simplicity if we plant only ash trees on our
boulevards. According to the Alberta government, fewer than 20 plant species make up about
80 per cent of the world’s food supply and it sounds dangerous to have so much focus on so
few varieties of food. Unfortunately in the past, monoculture has on occasion been disastrous,
as witnessed by the Irish who perished when the fungus Phytophthora infestans attacked their
potatoes in 1845, and after a decade had caused a million deaths and enforced massive waves
of emigration. Fortunately there are now some varieties available that are non-GM and potato-
Biodiversity in some regions has been reduced by changes in population, agriculture and by
industry, for instance deforestation projects reduce biodiversity and has negative impact on soil
and river systems. The earth’s flora and fauna has changed slowly but dramatically over the last
six hundred million years or so, and we should expect that evolution to continue even though
it means the loss of some species, and undomesticated native plants and animals have been
conditioned to survive the variations of climate in their current or recently past environment
and there is a balance between the hunter and the hunted in their ecosystems. This evolution
has produced natural biodiversity. Ecosystem diversity refers to the different kinds of organic
communities with their own specific geographic environments, from west coast Canada tidal
pools (and the immediately adjacent old- growth forest) to the English countryside and down
though the tropics to Antarctica, a vast spectrum of circumstances. The plant variety is huge in a
benign environment; Hidcote Manor in the UK for instance had 15,000 plant varieties when first
We tend to think of diversity only when we are impacted by changes to our familiar wildlife
– such as the disappearance of beloved birds, butterflies and mammals, but according to a
British study by Dunnett et al, the overwhelming majority of life in a garden is composed of
invertebrates, and the majority of these will be small or insignificant or hidden, but nonetheless
form the basis of wider food chains or ecological processes. A reduction in diversity is
regrettable, although the extinction of the sabre-toothed tiger may have helped our survival! Man
has changed his environment over the last 200,000 years, but the rate of change has accelerated,
probably since our forefather’s journeyed from their homelands and since the increase in carbon
dioxide of 41% since the beginning of the industrial revolution (i.e., since about 1750). On a
continent-wide scale, rapid climate changes may not be synchronized with animal and plant
migration. Birds nesting in new territory as a result of warmer temperatures need a reliable food
source: how slowly do earth worms migrate, I wonder. We need to better understand how the
speed and direction of animal or plant dispersal compares with the velocity of climate change.
Many of us try to control our environment. In the past, in order to restrict the success of
“inconvenient” native plants and animals, we sometimes imported controls into our ecosystems;
we also brought with us mementoes from “the old country”. Naivety has played a big part in
unsuccessful controls – we now know that intercontinental transfers can have disastrous effects
and that introduced species can sometimes be harmful. Importing plant material in many places
has introduced pathogens and pests to a greater degree than with imported seeds. Diversity is
present in both the before and after cases, it is simply different.
In the late 19th century European vineyards were devastated when new vines were introduced
from North America. The phylloxera epidemic occurred when vines carrying the insects were
brought to Europe from America. Because the tiny, sap-sucking (grape) phylloxera is native to
North America, some native grape species there were resistant, but the European wine grape
Vitis vinifera was very susceptible to the insect. One successful resolution was to graft healthy
European vines onto resistant North American rootstocks. Another 19th Century example of an
intercontinental problem was when European gypsy moths were introduced into Massachusetts
in 1869 by a French naturalist whose goal was to establish a silk industry in America. Some
moths escaped and have since defoliated many trees in Eastern Canada and the North-eastern
States, with a reduction in the numbers of healthy trees, and no doubt, other wildlife.
Biodiversity in Alberta
Natural biodiversity increases as we journey from the Arctic to the Equator, and also with a
decrease in elevation, going from Alpine conditions in the Rockies to the eastern Prairies, a
change from 3954 m at Mount Robson, to about 240 m at Winnipeg, and increased humidity
produces more variation. The changes in wildlife from mountain to plain and northern Alberta to
south of Lethbridge can clearly be seen on the plant hardiness map published by the Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada, www.agr.gc.ca. Within the last 10,000 years, since the end of the last ice
age in Canada, biological diversity has increased as species migrated from the south and west.
When the ice retreated, central and southern Alberta would have looked like the cold desert in
the Territories, but now we have a huge variety here, including the organisms that live entirely
within the soil. Prairie grasslands and river valley flora and fauna have evolved to withstand our
harsh climate: by understanding more about their characteristics we can select the most suitable
plants for our environment, be they native, commercial hybrids, or imports.
Logging, farming and ranching clearly change the natural vegetation of any region. Massive
logging projects are hard on diversity: P.S.Rose, from Manchester, England, writes “Forest
ecosystems generally possess greater efficiency, mutualism and biodiversity than other systems.
When cleared and replaced by sown pasture, the nature of plant litter reaching the soil changes
significantly. For example, forest floor litter accumulates, and effectively shelters fauna from
extremes of temperature and moisture. However, most surface litter is removed from grasslands
by grazing.” This re-enforces the idea that deforestation – and mowing lawns to a golf-green
surface – is harmful. Trees, shrubs, and perennials in Prairie gardens have a positive impact on
the underlying soils, as well as nurturing a broad spectrum of creatures from large mammals
and birds, to tiny beetles and larvae: some experiments have shown that the greater the plant
biodiversity, the healthier and more robust the ecosystem is.
Insect infestations have their own controls that we may not be familiar with: the Mountain Pine
Beetle for instance has its own enemies. Woodpeckers and nuthatches for example find the pine
beetles a good food source, and parasitic wasps lay their eggs in the pine beetle galleries which
in turn feed on the beetles. The beetle population will eventually decrease if it decimates its
food supply, but unfortunately when there is a major infestation, long hard winters are needed to
restrict the pine beetle population.
Preserving natural diversity is a wise: in some cases man-made diversity is not, for instance
when the Siberian pea shrub (caragana) was introduced to North America in 1752. Caragana
arborescens was imported onto Prairie farms as a useful windbreak, however in and around
Calgary the caragana has displaced some of the native vegetation. Smooth Brome Grass (Bromis
inermis) is another import from Europe with pros and cons as it reduces on soil erosion, but with
ample water, its resilient properties make it invasive and therefore it should be controlled.
Seventy thousand plants have been identified in Canada – let’s assume 10,000 in Calgary. Prairie
gardeners may plant several dozen plants types of plants on their property, even several hundred
in some cases, but this is a tiny number compared to the total native and commercial plant
varieties that can be grown here: we have an enormous choice for our gardens and can promote a
healthy and beautiful environment.
Biodiversity in Calgary gardens
The term “horticultural biodiversity” refers to the broad variety of organisms contained in
gardens. The Scottish National Heritage has published a great overview of gardening and
biodiversity. In part it concludes that biodiversity increases with taller vegetation, the number
of trees, the number of different flower varieties, compost heaps, hedges, log piles, leaf litter
and long grass, and a mix of flower forms, especially with a long growing season. The chapters
in Myrna Pearman – Ted Pike book “NatureScape – alberta” on moths, butterflies and bees
contains lots of information about these groups, and are essential reading for biodiversity
enthusiasts. According to a 2011 study of intensively managed farmland in Sweden by
Samnegård et al, “Gardens are good for biodiversity … the study has found that abundance and
species richness of pollinating bees is higher near domestic gardens, [and] the pollination of
native plants is also greater at these sites.”
“The most productive garden is one that provides food for leaf-eaters as well as nectar and
pollen. Joe-pye weed, for example, not only nourishes bees, wasps, butterflies, and moths at
its flowers, but it also supports 40 species of caterpillars on its leaves … the best garden for
native bees will include several types of flowers … that bloom sequentially from May through
September” according to Douglas Tallamy, a University of Delaware ecologist. It’s easy not to
notice caterpillars in the garden unless they devastate a bush or plant. In Alberta, the adult red-
winged (under-winged) Catocala moth feeds on nectar, while its larvae eat birch, poplar and elm
leaves; similarly the Milbert’s Tortoiseshell butterfly larvae also feeds on elm leaves, with adults
feeding on tree sap: these and other butterflies enrich our lives from mid-March until October.
Without accepting caterpillars, we can’t enjoy their adult forms – and pollination would be much
One of the advantages of growing native plants is that they usually do not need the extra care
that exotics do, and are more likely to provide suitable habitats for our native animals. In
general, native woodland species support a great number of invertebrate species than aliens, yet
not all alien species of plants and animals are harmful. We see flocks of migrating waxwings
in Calgary that find fruit-bearing trees a great source of food in the late fall and winter: the
European Mountain Ash is an example of an alien tree here that helps maintain biodiversity (as
does cotoneaster), although it is not as hardy as the North American variety. Some alien trees
are beneficial in unexpected ways: a UK example is the sycamore which attracts aphids, and
consequently some bird species, and apparently will adapt faster to a warmer climate than other
species of trees.
Extending the flowering season increases wildlife diversity. One very early-flowering perennial
is the Prairie Crocus (Pulsatilla vulgaris), a native plant visible on some higher elevations
in Calgary. Alien early flowering perennials include Bergenia cordifolia, the May flower
(Hepatica), Scilla siberica, and the perennial or biennial Iceland Poppy, Papaver nudicaule.
Alpine perennials often bloom early – think of Glacier Lilies – a survival feature of theirs.
Further into the summer we can attract pollinators with California Poppies (Eschscholzia
californica), Origanum, or Papaver rhoeas, or annual Calendulas and Clarkia: in the fall,
Veronica spicata and pink turtlehead (Chelone oblique), heliopsis and bugbanes are particularly
attractive, and good sources of food for insects. Sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant’ and S. x ‘Autumn
Joy’ also give early winter colour too.
Calgary’s geographic location at the boundary between the short grasslands to the east and aspen
parkland to the west means we need to be aware of unexpected weather variations, and select
plants to ensure the robustness of our gardens. Near the boundaries of their “comfort” zone,
plants need extra care: one advantage of local native plants is that they are within their comfort
zone. Calgary’s private gardens, public parks and rivers can provide critical migration routes to
connect organic life on one side of our city with that on the opposite side, and this connectivity
will sustain wildlife here. Residential and industrial expansion can interfere with migration
routes for animals and insects: we must strive to maintain connectivity.
We benefit from understanding the connections between every living thing in our backyards. We
do not know what our climate will be like next year – or in the coming decades, but if the plants
we grow can withstand both the average weather condition over the last century and/or a climate
of increased temperature and reduced rainfall then our gardens will be in good shape to produce
an attractive, diverse, environment in which to enjoy life and find rejuvenation. As gardens
mature or if the climate changes we need to modify the locations of our more sensitive plants:
one more challenge to our next growing season!
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Plant Hardiness Zone Map, 2000. www.agr.gc.ca
Bryan, N., and Staal, R., The Prairie gardener’s Book of Bugs, 2003.
Marland, G., personal correspondence.
Pearman, M., and Pike, T., NatureScape – alberta: Creating and caring for wildlife habitat at home. 2000.
Samnegård, U., Persson, A.S., Smith, H.G., Gardens benefit bees and enhance pollination in intensively
managed farmland. Biological Conservation, 2011.
Shortt, K.B., and Vamosi, S.M., A review of the biology of the weedy Siberian peashrub,
Caragana arborescens, with an emphasis on its potential effects in North America. Botanical Studies,
Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No 244. Dunnett, N., Hitchmough, J., et al, University
of Sheffield. 2007.
Illustrations: C.D.C.Wright, J. McCoy, G. Wright
I’m thinking of winter decoration here – together with planting seeds this spring for summer and continuing enjoyment. Calgary is a great place for many types of poppies: oriental, Icelandic, and several others types that like our alkaline soils. Some make decorative in winter arrangements, and all bring summer joy.
Perennials, self-seeding annuals, and biennials –what more choice could you have? One answer could be freedom from squirrels! I used to blame my kids for de-heading Icelandic poppies until I saw a squirrel bending one over to take the tender young head off.
When planting outside, add fine soil or sand to the seeds – it allows for better distribution. Don’t buy or accept as a gift the Celandine Poppy (Chelidonium majus) – it’s nice, but you cannot control it. The California poppy, the Alpine poppy and the Himalayan Blue Poppy are hard to grow here. One of the two most reliable types here are the scarlet-red Oriental poppies: their hairy, deeply dissected leaves start to grow early but their bloom time depends on exposure: my neighbour’s flowers arrive a month before mine because they are in a sunnier spot, warmed in part by reflection from the house walls (a benefit from using other peoples’ gardens as an extension to your own garden, enhancing your view!)
The other popular variety is the orange version of the Icelandic Poppy: I say orange as they seem hardiest here … or the white and pink ones may revert to the orange colour. A reminder: neither Icelandic or Oriental forms like being transplanted.
The poppy I like for winter decoration is the giant form of the paeoniflorum variety of Papaver somniferum. As long as the seed heads have not opened (or are completely empty), they can be dried for winter accent in arrangements inside or outside the house. They have the same species name as the opium poppy, but are a different variety, and live in a very different climate.
A productive biodiverse garden “… provides food for leaf-eaters as well as nectar and pollen. Joe-Pye weed, for example, not only nourishes bees, wasps, butterflies, and moths, but also supports 40 species of caterpillars on its leaves … [and] in an ideal world, our garden will include several types of flower shapes that bloom sequentially from May through September … * ” A compatible combination of plants and pollinating creatures is important: for instance some flowers with long tube-like blooms rely on insects – or birds such as humming birds – that have the ability to get deep into the blooms and instinctively look for those plants.
Variation in our gardens is good for appearance – and for reproduction. Nourishing the plants and “critters” that enrich our complex biome is essential for our world, and we should be wary of monocultures. For example, rows of poplar, ash or elm trees on the boulevard can become diseased or die of old age all at the same time, and then our streets and communities are no longer so attractive. While northern coniferous forests may give the impression of monoculture, they in fact protect an immense variety of flora and fauna that thrives beneath that canopy of trees; however, should the trees be decimated by spruce budworm or mountain pine beetle, that variation would be greatly reduced.
Fortunately, Calgary wants to “… manage invasive species … promote native biodiversity … [and the] conservation of land and water to reduce habitat fragmentation and ensure wildlife and fisheries connectivity.” Biodiversity – and the careful use of chemicals – is key to the health of our environment.
*Reference: Doug Tallamy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEhl2ZwzCr4
November 16 Glynn Wright
Three books for children got special praise in August “Planting the Wild Garden” by Kathryn O. Galbraith et al, “The Mangrove Tree” by Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore, and “Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story” by Thomas F. Yezerski. Adult readers might check out “Flowers” by Carolyne Roehm, and “The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage” by David L. Culp, et al – but both are based on USA gardens. If you are interested in herbs or veggies, try three other books, one by Michelle Obama, and others by Rebecca Rupp, Rosemary Gladstar and Lee Reich.
Consider three aspects of winter in Scarboro gardens – sunscald, wind desiccation … and equally now, the rabbit problem. How do we protect our plants from all three problems? Loosely wrapped burlap helps young shrubs which are at most risk from jack rabbits, and chicken wire will also help protect the tender bark, as will those green City watering bags. If snow-birds could have a house-sitter disturb the jack rabbits in the evening, great. Other solutions include throwing snowballs at them – good exercise and improvement of eye-hand co-ordination as well … or maybe a soft crab apple or two.
Don’t be too anxious to get rid of your leaves – most of them except poplar make excellent mulch to keep your soil moist. Now is a good time to see what flowers are still in bloom (e.g. see late October flowers on Pink Turtlehead on our website). This winter, re-examine your garden to see if it has items of beauty to carry you through the winter – and ensure you improve things for next year.
October 18 Glynn Wright
Clothes, climatic and economic expectations, and garden practices: all vary with time, and sometimes with great speed. Gardening reflects our thoughts on food and fashion too. Many of the design ideas we employ today have been recycled over the centuries and we can appreciate past and present gardening accomplishments and find varieties of hardy plants developed in Canada utilizing the information and illustrations on the internet.
Identifying suitable and economically viable materials for our specific environment is important. Protection from animals – or wind and sun – is key. Stone walls were used 5,000 years ago in the Middle East whereas now in Calgary we may use roses or cotoneaster hedges as a cost effective alternate. The further we go back in time, the more basic the needs were. Originally the focus was food: over centuries, some powerful families could afford “exotic” decorative plants and pots; for instance the pharaoh Hatshepsut and her hubby Thutmosis imported rooted frankincense and myrrh from near Somalia (I wonder, would anyone condemn them for delighting in alien plants).The more affluent the gardener, the more spectacular the material: contrast Roman or Greek mosaics for instance with the cement pavers that we may use.
Economics produce their own consequences, positive and negative: How starry eyed were the tulip collectors before the crash of 1637 in Holland? The advances of the industrial revolution in the 19th Century brought the introduction of accessible gardening magazines and manufactured goods including mechanical lawnmowers, and different gardening practises. Clearly for some groups the affluence of the last two centuries has had major impact as gardens went from food producing (especially in times of war) to becoming decorative additions to properties.
Design ideas vary hugely with time and physical and political circumstances, and are often recycled. Compare Beaulieu Gardens at Lougheed House with the Reader Rock Gardens: both styles were inherited from Europe, but with very different scenarios. One fashion of the last decade has been the integration of inside and outside living but this is also recorded after the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 in the colonnades of Pompeii. Similarly the delightful waterways of the 14th and 15th Century Islamic gardens of the Alhambra and Generalife exemplify this integration. Changes in attitude are interesting, for instance, the geometric designs of André Le Nôtre’s Versailles were exported throughout Europe, then a century later in post Revolutionary times the French wanted none of the old “politically incorrect” designs, but happily imported English practices that had evolved over that time.
Our garden world has benefitted tremendously from explorers. Alexander the Great sent back plants to Aristotle, and later, Europeans brought back new plants from Asia, and the Americas. The “Grand Tour” European and American travellers of the 18th and 19th Centuries returned with new ideas. Currently we see old railway and industrial tracts in Europe and the US being renewed as gardens (check out the Promenade Plantée in Paris). We also see the rapid transfer round the world of new ideas, such as the re-introduction of Prairie Grasses into Western European gardens – even to the Prairies; and the most recent export from France, the vertical gardens of Patrick Blanc. Perhaps Blanc got the idea from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon! Personally, I’m happy to take good ideas from anywhere and from any era and put them to good use in Calgary. The more extensive our background and the more optimistic our outlook, the broader our gardening palette: start with a good idea, then edit it for the necessities of Prairie gardening.
Glynn will garden and consult (for food).
Patric Blanc’s Vertical Garden at the Musée du Quai Branly
paris green wall detail bergenia
click on images to enlarge
all images and text © Scarboro Garden Design, 2010
Annual flowering plants are almost always very rewarding in Calgary – with of course some
exceptions, usually because of strange weather – or plants with some genetic abnormality – or
because they are not planted in the best location, or even soil type.
I think of three broad types of desirable annual plants, apart from vegetables: those that self-
seed in locations we choose, those we plant in our garden beds, often in combination with
perennials, and those we put in pots. All can be great additions to our gardens, but we really
have to find the right plant for each situation. I often plant nasturtiums in pots or on garden beds
– but my mistake this year was to plant the seeds in soil that was too rich and moist – ideal for
other plants, but not nasturtiums: mine had great leaves (good peppery taste for salads) but few
flowers. Similarly nasturtiums can have too much shade, with the same results. Annuals in pots
do well here especially if we water them sufficiently, because the soil warms up so much faster
than our frozen soil and sub-soil. My recent visit to Alsace showed the potential for beautiful
flowers in pots – see the photos on our website – but because of our late spring in Scarboro I
suggest using pots that are large and attractive in their own right to make our May and June
gardens a pleasure.
Planting annuals in beds can be surprisingly rewarding: although I have had poor performance
from Osteospermum in the past, I picked up some plants from the Co-op (on sale too ! ) that with
deadheading had three sets of flowers and are still doing well in late September.
The October article will focus on annual plants, both placed within beds, and sited in pots on decks and lawns – meanwhile Glynn is checking out gardens in the UK and France. Just a reminder here that you can look at the most effective decorative ideas at the Calgary Zoo (check out the fabulous new butterfly garden, and the penguin house too) and wander around other inner city parks, including the Reader Rock Garden, to see what annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs would work best in September.