A DAY IN THE GAR­DEN

Tribune Express - - LA UNE -

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.

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