Edmonton

Native flowers can beat the heat in your Edmonton-area garden

Have you been fretting about your plants getting parched during this heat wave? Native plants don’t need much in the way of care because they’ve evolved to manage our extreme climate.

When it's this hot, native flowers don't break a sweat

An Edmonton-area native flower garden with giant hyssop, common tall sunflowers and rhombic-leaved sunflowers grown by Manna Parseyan, owner of Arnica Wildflowers. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

This summer, CBC Edmonton is doing a special column focusing on gardening in our Zone 3 climate. Everything from knowing your planting zone, to ditching the lawn for a water-wise garden, we'll explain why certain garden practices will help you get the best out of your Zone 3 garden.

During this heat wave have you been fretting about your plants? Native plants don't need much in the way of care because they've evolved to manage our extreme climate.

They're also good for local wildlife which has evolved side-by-side with native plants to develop mutually beneficial relationships.

CBC Edmonton's summer garden columnist, Tanara McLean, spoke about why it's smart to garden with native plants on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

Native plants know how to manage this extreme heat. Our summer gardening column has a few reasons why growing native plants in your garden is the way to go. 6:41

For information about wildflowers native to your area and how to sustainably source them, visit the Edmonton Native Plant Society or the Alberta Native Plant Council.

Here is a list of 10 plants native to the greater Edmonton area:

Monarda fistulosa (beebalm, wild bergamot)

  • Size: 70 centimetres tall
  • Light condition: sun, part shade
  • Soil condition: dry or moist
  • Bloom season: July, August
  • Wildlife use: butterflies, birds, hummingbirds
Wild bergamot, also known as beebalm. (Manna Parseyan, Arnica Wildflowers)

Antennaria rosea (rosy pussytoes)

  • Size: 25 centimetres tall
  • Light condition: sun, part shade
  • Soil condition: dry
  • Bloom season: June, July
Rosy pussytoes. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia fleabane)

  • Size: 70 centimetres tall
  • Light condition: sun, part shade
  • Soil condition: moist
  • Bloom season: May, June, July
Philadelphia fleabane. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

Linum lewisii (wild blue flax)

  • Size: 70 centimetres tall, 1 metre wide
  • Light condition: sun
  • Soil condition: dry, well-drained
  • Bloom season: May, June, July, August
  • Wildlife use: butterflies, birds, bees
Wild blue flax. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

Geum triflorum (three-flowered avens, prairie smoke, old man's whiskers)

  • Light condition: sun, light sahde
  • Soil condition: well drained or dry
  • Bloom season: May, June, July
  • Wildlife use: bees
Three-flowered avens, also known as prairie smoke and old man's whiskers. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

Sisyrinchium montanum (blue-eyed grass)

  • Size: 25 centimetres tall, 50 centimetres wide
  • Light condition: sun
  • Soil condition: moist or dry
  • Bloom season: April, May, June, July
  • Wildlife use: bees, birds
Blue-eyed grass. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

Canadanthus modestus (great northern aster, modest aster, giant mountain aster)

  • Size: 70 centimetres tall
  • Light condition: sun, part shade
  • Soil condition: moist or wet
  • Bloom season: August, September, October
  • Wildlife use: butterflies
Great northern aster, also known as modest aster or giant mountain aster. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

Liatris ligulistylis (meadow blazing star, Rocky Mountain blazing star)

  • Size: 50 centimetres tall, 50 centimetres wide
  • Light condition: sun, part shade
  • Soil condition: dry, moist, well-drained
  • Bloom season: July, August
Meadow blazing star, also known as Rocky Mountain blazing star. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

Gaillardia aristata (gaillardia, blanket flower, great blanket flower)

  • Size: 70 centimetres tall, 50 centimetres wide
  • Light condition: sun, dappled shade
  • Soil condition: dry, well-drained
  • Bloom season: June, July, August
  • Wildlife use: butterflies, birds, bees
Gaillardia, also known as blanket flower or great blanket flower. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

Solidago lepida (Western Canada goldenrod)

  • Size: 50 centimetres tall
  • Light condition: sun
  • Soil condition: dry, moist and well-drained
  • Bloom season: July, August, September
  • Wildlife use: butterflies, bees, birds
Western Canada goldenrod. (Manna Parseyan/Arnica Wildflowers)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanara McLean is an award-winning producer and journalist based at CBC Edmonton. She grew up in Red Deer and has spent her entire career in Alberta, working in print, radio and television.

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