A DAY IN THE GARDEN
If you live in an extreme climate, maintaining a healthy, varied garden can seem like an uphill struggle. Whether your main challenge is permafrost or perma-drought, here are some tips for planning successful landscaping projects in less-than-forgiving weather conditions.
If you haven’t done so already, find out which plant hardiness zone you’re located in by visiting www.planthardiness.gc.ca. Being aware of your zone is a good place to start your search for suitable plants to include in your garden, but the system isn’t without its flaws. A variety of other factors, including chill hours and sunset times, can narrow down local climate particularities that affect plant survival. Other characteristics to consider when researching plants hardy to your region include:
• Soil type (clay, loam, silt) • Volume and nature of precipitation (heavy rain or snowfall, frequent droughts) • Average seasonal temperature variation • Severe weather risk level Sure, you’ll impress your neighbours if you manage to grow a notoriously fickle exotic flower in your Yellowknife garden, but your chances of success are slim. Instead of fighting Mother Nature, work with her by favouring species that are native to your area. Rest assured that native doesn’t have to mean boring: you’d be surprised at the variety of species that thrive in seemingly hostile conditions. Cacti aren’t the only drought-resistant plants, and there’s more to Arctic flora than the odd coniferous shrub. Ask a local pro about their preferences.
Finally, if your area is experiencing a drought, heat wave or polar vortex, it’s best to either delay planting, or start your seedlings indoors.