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Wild Green Garden Consulting
Dear <<First Name>>,
The geese are back and I’ve noticed that my native prairie crocus has buds ready to open. This plant is well protected from the cold with heavy fuzz all over the stems and buds. So it is waiting, like the rest of us, for warmer weather before revealing its lovely purple flowers and nectar for wild bees.
 
Tuesday, April 11 – Preparing Your Garden – Soil and Seeds
Proper garden beds and healthy soil are the key to happy plants. We will discuss location, soil conditions and different types of garden beds. This session includes info about seed selection and planting techniques for indoors and out. We will start some seeds as well.
Time and Location: 7-9 pm, St. Augustine's Anglican Church, 6110 Fulton Rd, Edmonton
Register Here
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Tuesday, May 2 - Extending the Season for Longer Harvest
Learn to plan and implement techniques to have a longer harvest; row covers, cold frames, bucket garden or earthbox and fall planting. This session includes tips, challenges and opportunities related to a short growing season.
Time and Location: 7-9 pm, St. Augustine's Anglican Church, 6110 Fulton Rd, Edmonton
Register
Discount for multiple classes
 
Great Plants for Pollinators
Growing vegetables and fruit successfully requires the hard work from pollinators. Wild bees need nectar and pollen to feed and reproduce from flowering plants throughout the entire season. Here are some great plants for your landscape. The information is based on an article published in the Winter 2017 issue of the Nature Alberta magazine and confirms what I’ve observed in my own and other Edmonton yards. I have also added some other plants that are great for wild bees. Last year I wrote a bit of info on wild bee homes.

Perennial plants:
Giant Hyssop – Agastache foeniculum: This native plant is stellar! It is a very easy plant to grow in sun and part shade. The flowers are light purple and produce nectar all day long from July to late August. The leaves and flowers also make a nice tea. This plant is available from the Edmonton Native Plant Group, Clark Ecoscience and even some garden centres, though you won’t know for sure in the last case that it’s a true Alberta native.
Globe Thistle – Echinops ritro: If you don’t mind something prickly, this drought tolerant plant is also a bee magnet from early summer to fall. It is available in garden centres.
Chives: While I love chives, they can seed themselves around very readily. Yes, they are great for bees but you may need to cut the flowers before they go to seed or be prepared to dig out seedlings. A great “green onion” plant is Welsh Onion. It is also perennial and eventually makes a large white flower that the bees love. It also likes to spread but it’s a bit easier to remove than chives.
If you don’t want to deal with a prolific self-seeder, you can also plant the native Nodding Onion and let it spread. It is a small plant that’s hardly noticeable but provides early season flowers. This plant is also available from the Edmonton Native Plant Group.
Spirea japonica: You may already have this small shrub. It flowers in late May.
 
Annuals
Borage: This annual has a blue star-shaped flower that looks great in salads. It blooms all summer long into fall and the bees visit it all day long. It self-seeds, but it’s easy to pull extra plants and compost them.
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant – Cleome serrulata: This annual flowers for a very long time.
 
Other Plants I like for Wild Bees:
Spring
Dandelions: Yes, they are great for the bees! They flower very early, which is important for the wild bees hatched in April and May.
Moss Phlox: This gorgeous ground cover blooms in shades of pink most of May.
Canada Violet: Another fabulous native. This plant has edible flowers in early May and all through the summer. It spreads slowly but it’s a low plant and I don’t mind it between other plants.
White Clover: You can seed white clover into your lawn if it’s a bit patchy and you don’t want to mow, water and fertilize it regularly. Clover spreads by the roots, so if you don’t want it in your flowerbeds or garden, edging is important.
 
Summer and Fall
Garden Hyssop – Hyssopus officinalis: Another bee magnet that does well in sun or part shade and is drought tolerant. Available in garden centres.
Stiff Goldenrod – Solidago rigida: A great native fall bloomer that is well behaved but easy to divide. Available from the Edmonton Native Plant Group or Clark Ecoscience.
Easy annuals: Gem Marigolds, Sunflowers, Zinnias, Cosmos, Calendula and Dill
Herbs: Lemon Balm and Oregano. Both perennials are great for people and pollinators.
 
Pruning Time!
Trees and shrubs benefit from pruning in late winter (or early spring). Remove diseased, damaged and dead branches. Make sure to leave a nice collar.
Need help? Check out Amanda’s class this coming Saturday April 8.
If you have chokecherry trees with black knot (dark, thickened areas that look like excrement on the branches), prune out the stem while the temperature is below 15 degrees Celsius. Avoid doing this in warm, moist weather because this helps the fungus spread. Include at least 30 cm of the wood below the lump, disinfect the pruners after every cut and dispose of the diseased material in a closed garbage bag (do not compost).
 
Other Tidbits
Farmer visits Little Green Thumbs Classes
I had the pleasure of visiting some of “my” Little Green Thumbs classes with Sarah from Bumble Beets Farm. Check out my blog post.
 
Edmonton Resilience Festival – April 22, 2017
This event has it all – great workshops, food and a party. I will be presenting “Ideas for Edible Front Yards”.

Happy Spring!

Claudia Bolli, Wild Green Garden Consulting, www.wildgreen.ca
If you would like help with your plans, please contact me for a consultation or design, claudia@wildgreen.ca.
Copyright © *2017* *Wild Green*, All rights reserved.
 
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