Green Calgary: Low cost gardening solutions

April 28, 2008

As I skimmed through my local newspaper print version I noted the article entitled Calculate your Paint Needs that sent readers to the link which was actually MarketPlace of a television home improvement products promotional series. I`m not sure if this in news or unpaid advertising. Unlike most posts however I finally did click on their pretty pictures. They have a full list of all the products promoted on this one episode alone. This MarketPlace is a Home Depot connection: See all products from episode HIWT-308

Since I have been thinking small, natural-looking, gurgling, calming outdoor water pond that would serve as bird bath as well as auditory meditative device, I was drawn to the Mystic Garden element which takes no electric pump but just develops on the natural gravity of the old humble rain spout.

Now there’s an attractive alternative to those old concrete slabs that carry water from the gutters of homes. Mystic Garden’s multi-tiered design keeps water from being dumped around the foundation of a home. Each dish stands on a post that is driven into the ground one after the other. The dishes can be arranged to go around a corner, or in a straight line.

I also wondered how I could build something similar to this at a low cost:

The 22″ Terracotta Solar Cascade 4 Tier Fountain creates a soothing, calming atmosphere with the melodic sound of gently trickling water. The fountain features hand-finished natural terracotta bowls with a four tier cascading solar powered system. The solar panel boasts an extra long 16 foot cable so you can position the panel to receive the most sunlight without hindering your preferred placement of the fountain. The low-voltage water pump and filter constantly recycle the water, so no need for messy and expensive water hookups. Experiencing some cloudy days? No problem! The fountain includes a handy AC adapter.”

I posted this to my twitter account as another way of remembering:

Postd to as follow-up to local newspaper print story that pointd 2 [marketplace_hgtv_com]

I had been thinking of embedding a small catchment basin (even a rubber maid type plastic) hidden under natural rocks and attaching a small pump that would allow water to trickle down three slabs of slate of other sharp edge “found rocks”. A gardener suggested letting carp swim freely since they would keep the pond clean of mosquito families.

The large front and backyard in this 1950s property, once had a considerable number of floral beds which can gradually be re-claimed and re-planted, this time with plants that are low-cost, low-maintenance and drought-resistant and give maximum effect in a short time. I am looking for plants that allow me to use them as a palette. I hope to group them together in threes playing with variations in colour, height and texture. I want some to contrast, some to harmonize and others to be quite similar. I want to focus on the ones we see the most, those momentary glimpses from the sidewalk or from the windows that lift the spirit.

The ice seems to have melted and filled my new “rain barrel” so I placed all pots and baskets I replanted yesterday out on the porch steps to give them some light and air and to give me space so I can collect potting soil that escaped in my sunny living room. The hanging upside down tomato plant is an aesthetic eyesore in its green, poorly decorated plastic bag container. It only cost $10 at Home Depot and I really think it is a great idea so I try to be patient with the way in which it is so unsightly. We are hoping to build a pole with arms that will hold several of these heavy pots at the same time. If we can build it so it swivels it will allow us to turn the plants so they are not burnt under the hot, dry Calgary sun. These planters apparently are much thirstier that tomato plants in a garden so I hope to place them near one of the rain barrels.

Also what kind of gray water can be recycled from a household without health hazards, high costs and too much effort?

The painting of my plants has remained untouched for weeks. Perhaps today I will at least put the protective canvas under it and return the folding tables to their positions beside the easel to make the transition back to painting a little easier.

But now I have to work on the program for next week’s event . . .


One Response to “Green Calgary: Low cost gardening solutions”

  1. Fringe Trims Says:

    Great, I have been scouring for something this good. Count me subscribed!

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