Like their green fingered British counterparts, Canadian gardeners take a great deal of pride in having a well tended garden. With so much natural beauty at every turn in this stunningly beautiful country, who can blame them?
Like their green fingered British counterparts, Canadian gardeners take a great deal of pride in having a well tended garden.
Whether it is a white picket fenced garden in the suburbs, a sprawling rural property or a tiny urban apartment, most Canadian home owners will endeavour to spend some time pruning, digging, planting, weeding and watering. Even if you don’t have any outdoor space to call your own, there are many community gardens across Canada where you can apply for a small plot and start growing. Like an allotment back in the UK.
Understanding your new environment
Canada has a varied and sometimes extreme climate. Winters can be harsh in many regions, particularly the interior and Prairie provinces which experience a continental climate. Around here daily temperatures can dip well below freezing, with snow covering the ground for almost six months of the year. However, once the snow melts in the central regions, the average temperature soars 25 to 30°C during summer. Whereas an area like coastal British Columbia, including Vancouver, enjoys a temperate climate, with mild and rainy winters and highs of around 25°C in summer.
Therefore, you need to find plants that can withstand the conditions that Canadian seasons will bring. Consider perennial plants and flowers – a plant that lives for more than two years – as the mainstay in your garden. Good examples of perennials that suit Canadian conditions include roses, peonies, poppies, irises, dahlias and foxgloves. These perennial plants will return year after year, no matter how much snow or frost you get over the winter.
You should also look to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge more established gardeners in your area have. Weekend trips to the garden centre are a great way to pick up some free advice while restocking on a gardening supplies, as is a membership of a gardening club. Your best bet is to find a small, independent establishment as these are typically run by local people with a shared passion, who will be only too pleased to pass on their extensive gardening knowledge – after all what is more Canadian then helping out your neighbour?
Canada has a varied and sometimes extreme climate.
There are also useful resources online, like the Gardening in Canada site and the gardening section of the Canadian Living site.
Growing your own produce
Utilising your garden space to grow vegetables for the dinner table is a great way to save some money, enjoy fantastic seasonal foods and have some rewarding fun. Your exact location will determine what will grow best for you, but in general lettuces and kale can be grown across Canada, as can tomatoes and strawberries. You may even find that your harvest is more than you can handle, providing an opportunity to share the fruits of your labour with your new friends and neighbours.