Last week’s Cochrane Eagle story described the first step: imagining the garden of your dreams and coming up with ideas. The second step includes assessing your values, lifestyle, and priorities.
Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series on gardening by Cochrane Eagle journalist Howard May. The third and final installment will be published in both print and online format.
Gardeners looking to design their dream backyard can follow a simple three-part process described by local expert Callandra Caulfield in a recent presentation at Cochrane, specifically focused on how to cope with the city’s harsh growth conditions.
Last week Cochrane Eagle The story describes the first step: imagine the garden of your dreams and gather ideas.
The second step includes assessing your values, lifestyle, and priorities. Ask yourself what matters to you. Your garden can be a hobby, a place to meet friends and family, or a place for quiet contemplation. Or it could be a place for kids to play or a dog to play with.
At this stage several considerations come into play: do you want to produce food? Attract bees or birds? Reduce water consumption? Regenerate the soil? Do you use native plants? Recognize biodiversity?
An important factor, according to Caulfield, is deciding whether you intend to grow a low-maintenance or high-maintenance garden.
Caulfield recommends taking a good look at how maintenance-free you want your space to be, as many early gardeners make mistakes with this estimate.
“The investment of time is very large. Some people plant well-maintained spaces and then camp every weekend, for example,” he said.
“Another common mistake I see is when people plant a lot of food that they don’t eat. They plant all these vegetables and don’t realize that no one in the family will eat bowls and bowls of spinach.”
A very common mistake you see is when people do not pay enough attention to how the space is already used, before deciding how to change it. Then they design a space, only to find that it is no longer functional for the family.
“If your kids or pets use this space in a particular way, sometimes you can just change it,” Caulfield said.
Caulfield offers an in-depth look at gardening in Cochrane and an opportunity to share experiences and ask questions about what can make your garden popular in your gardening design classes. For more information, go to backyardprojects.com.
To help start new green thumbs, the Cochrane City Organic Program offers free compost to anyone who shows up with their own tools (shovels, buckets, bags, etc.) at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Center. consecutive Saturdays, May 7 and 14. The limit is two buckets per vehicle (about 40 liters or 30 kilograms).
Next week: Third step in the design process: Observation and Cartography.