A Great Group of Green Thumbs

While it seems like winter isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, spring is really just around the corner meaning it’s time to pull out those green thumbs and get gardening.

Calgary’s Home + Garden Show is a must attend event for the garden lover, the Garden Stage has a line-up of some great presenters all speaking on various gardening ideas and there will be tons of booths giving you the fresh inspiration to get growing.

Jill Kivett the show manager for the Calgary Home + Garden Show said, “Calgary is still in the throes of winter in February and March, so the Garden Stage is a must-see for anyone who needs a little break from the cold while gathering inspiration for their own gardens – planning ahead is important with such a short growing season.”

This year the Garden Stage experts include: Annelise Doolaege, Joanne Dafoe, Pavlina Krivy, Janet Melrose, Darren Maclean, Kath Smyth, Dawn Vaessen, Meryl Coombs and William Doorman.

“Container gardening and urban gardening are hot topics this year, there is even a presentation on creating the right garden for your four-legged friends,” said Kivett.

Joanne Dafoe, is the owner of Dafoe Design, a successful exterior design company here in Calgary, her presentation at the Calgary Home + Garden Show will be 21st Century Gardening.

“In my lifetime, there has been incredible growth in every industry, from energy to medicine to communications,” said Dafoe. “I started pondering if gardening has evolved along with everything else. My presentation on 21st Century Gardening explores where we have been and focuses on what we are doing in our gardens now, who is gardening and what we foresee doing in the future.”

Dafoe picked up her passion for gardening from her parents, “From a very early age we tilled, seeded and harvested our large backyard garden in Calgary.”

When the weeds needed to be plucked from the ground Dafoe didn’t shy away or complain she wanted to learn the difference between weeds and plants. “My current training and focus is landscape design and horticulture, but when I need to relax you can find me weeding my garden and fluffing the soil,” said Dafoe.

Having her own company, Dafoe Design is there to bring any landscape vision to a reality. “Every homeowner has an idea of what their dream yard looks like – dining tables, conversation areas, growing spots,” said Dafoe. “We specialize in putting those dreams into 3D drawings so clients can envision what their yard will look like when completed.”

Whether you have been gardening for years and are just looking for new ideas and tips, or you’re a first time gardener Dafoe’s presentation will be worth taking a look at. “Busy lifestyles, smaller yards and carbon footprints are forcing us to look at gardening differently,” said Dafoe. “It is a fun, casual conversation with lots of time at the end for Q&A.”

Janet Melrose, Calgary’s “Cottage Gardener”, will also be headlining on the Garden Stage at Calgary’s Home + Garden Show presenting Edible Container Gardening and Square Foot Gardening.

Melrose’s Edible Container Gardening will focus on how to grow food when you don’t have a lot of space. “Topics include facts about the growing season in Calgary, soil for containers, watering and nutritional requirements of container grown plants, plants that love to be grown in containers, friendly plant neighbours and those that don’t get along, ideas for containers and harvesting,” said Melrose.

The Square Foot Gardening presentation will also talk about growing plants in a small area. “Designed by Mel Bartholomew three decades ago, this ever-popular method for increasing food production in small spaces is ideally suited for all gardeners with limited space, time, mobility or expertise,” said Melrose. “My talk covers the principles of Square Foot Gardening, what crops work well in Calgary Square Foot Garden beds and tips for making sure that your garden is productive all season long.”

Melrose has an established microbusiness that allows her to give her knowledge, skills, talent and enthusiasm for gardening to other Calgarians. “My business specializes in garden coaching and consulting, garden education and horticultural therapy programming for those living with disabilities,” said Melrose.

“Gardening has always been a part of my life, from my earliest memories of watering flowers on the veranda in Trinidad where I was born, to helping my Granddad with the compost pile at the bottom of the garden in England, to helping my Mother with weeding in our garden in Canada, to creating my own garden.”

Anyone who is interested in getting into edible gardening should go listen to Melrose’s presentations, “Both of these talks are intended to be an introduction to two different techniques or systems to grow edibles that do not involve the amount of work that in-ground gardening entails,” said Melrose.

Dafoe, Melrose and all of the other presenters on the Garden Stage will be at the Calgary Home + Garden Show at the BMO Centre Feb. 27 to March 2, visit www.calgaryhgs.com for the full schedule.

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