Armeria maritima  Sea Thrift Pink

In Parkdale, Calgary the Sea Thrift is a drought-tolerant, showy, reliable, trouble-free, small, mounding ground cover and naturalizing perennial. It can grow in full sunlight and survives dry conditions even in shallow rocky soil. It can be easily divided and if left can begin to rot in the centre, particularly if it is over-watered. Mine has pink blossoms starting in June and lasting through July. The attractive mounds reach over a foot in diameter appear to almost evergreen with fresh green growth showing through the snow. Although it is listed as zone 4 to 8, mine thrives in Calgary’s zone 3.

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden “Genus name is Latinized from the old French name armoires for a cluster-headed dianthus. Specific epithet means pertaining to the sea or coastal.”

Armeria maritima Missouri Botanical Garden.


June 13 featured perennial Centaurea pulcherrima Pink Bachelor’s Button – Cornflower

Centaurea pulcherrima Cornflower

Pink Bachelor’s Button Flynn-Burhoe meta4site (wp) ParkdalePerennialsYYC (FB)

Tall Pink Bachelor’s Button Centaurea pulcherrima, (sen-tore-EE-uh pul-KAIR-ih-muh) cornflower; is a a clump forming perennial with lance shaped to broadly lance shaped leaves, pinnatifid, silvery green, to 10″ long. In my Calgary garden in can grow to over a meter high. It becomes floppy by the time it blossoms, which in 2015 was in June. Its large 2″ pink flowerheads with rose pink or purple-pink florets attract bees> The long-stemmed cut flowers with beautiful foliage, go well with blue catmint blossoms for a June bouquet. I planted Centaurea pulcherrima in front of Catmint and they flower at the same time. I once had it beside Bee Balm but the Bee Balm got lost in the Centaurea pulcherrima foliage and its growth was stunted. It tends to get floppy in my garden which is alright if there are no smaller plants around it. I sometimes support it.

Family: Asteraceae
Synonym: Psephellus pulcherrimus
Common Name: Centaurea
Plant Type: perennial
Height to: 16″
Width to: 24″
Zone 4 but grows in Calgary
Bloom Description: Centaurea pulcherrima bear solitary flowerheads to 2″ across, with silvery yellow involucral bracts and rose pink or purple-pink florets.
Bloom Season: mid summer
Sun Exposure:full sun
Soil Type: prefer well drained soil
Native to: Caucasus, Turkey, Iran


Various resources including The American Horticultural Society’s A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants



According to the Historic Iris Preservation Society (HIPS), this historic tall bearded Iris cultivar ‘Mrs. Andrist’ was hybridized by Willis E. Fryer (Mantorville, Minnesota) in 1919.




‘Mrs. Andrist’

It is a hardy bearded rhizomatous iris that grows vigorously and is easily subdivided. It has thrived in Calgary and is a feature of many older gardens and is not sold in nurseries. Most gardeners are happy to share ‘Mrs. Andrist’ Iris as it spreads and is very easy to subdivide by separating its rhizomes. It is about 22″ in height. It prefers full sunlight. Its “fall” colour is “rich velvety purple” with an amoena pattern and a distinct white border. Its “standard” colour is “pure white” and its “beard” is a light lemony yellow. It is very fragrant. In Calgary it is often in full-blossom by mid-June when Phlox sublata Creeping phlox ‘Candytuft Pink Stripe’, creeping thyme, tall Blue Cornflower, cranesbill geranium, snow-in-summer, blue jacob’s ladder, decorative allium, veronica speedwell, Dianthus ‘Tiny Rubies’, and white clips are also in blossom. Bearded Iris is a drought-tolerant perennial with low-water needs as are Day Lilies, Echinacea, Lavender, Sedum, Gaillardia, Rudbeckia and Phlox, to name only a few. They can be planted together.

Willis established his nursery in 1898 in Mantorville, Minnesota.  In his 1922 catalogue, he claimed to have tested over 600 varieties of iris. ‘Mrs. Andris” and ‘Dr. Andris’ were two of many  cultivars that he advertised in the section ‘New Iris. ” He claimed that he had more seeds and more Iris than any other grower in the United States at that time.  In 1922 ‘Mrs. Andrist’ cost 30 cents each or 3 dollars a dozen.

There are dozens of Mrs. Andrist Iris in the Parkdale Community Garden transplanted by thirty Brookfield Residence volunteers from the lane way garden in September 2015 prior to the construction of The Henry.

Double Flowering Plum Prunus triloba ‘Multiplex’

Iberis sempervirens Evergreen Candytuft

Iberis sempervirens Evergreen Candytuft

Evergreen Candytuft Flynn-Burhoe WP:meta4site FB:ParkdalePerennialsYYC

The Iberis sempervirens Evergreen Candytuft was in bloom on June 5, 2017. It was a gift from our lovely next door neighbour Dale many years ago and only recently did a friend, Brianne W., tell me its name. I had called it my mystery white spring flower for years.

This naturalizer makes an excellent ground cover and is almost evergreen in our Zone 3ish Calgary climate. It is among the first to blossom starting in early May. I have since divided it and transplanted it in my home garden and in the Parkdale Community Garden. It has a sticky surface that attaches to garden gloves pulling up a small piece for automatic transplanting. Its blossoms sway at the top of the long thin stem. My mounds are usually not wider than 30 cm. It was one of the plants in my lane way garden that Brookfield Residential helped transplant in September 2015. We have kept dividing it at the Community Garden around the edges of perennial beds and food forest guilds as a defense against invasive plants and grasses.


Iberis sempervirens Evergreen Candytuft Heritage Perennials


June 22, 2014


Tisane: Morden Sunrise rose petals, catmint petals, wild bergamot, mint and stevia leaves… steep 15 minutes

Silk road tea sold an infusion called angelwater that is “euphoric, peaceful and comforting” using lavender, spearmint, elder flowers and rose petals. They now make a similar angelwater, their “tea of serenity” that is “subtle, sweet and mellow” using “ spearmint leaves, lavender blossoms, rose petals, elder flowers and red clover.” Once dried, only one teaspoon of the same ingredients shown above with 2 cups boiling water, would be sufficient for the full flavour.

English Lavender Lavender augustifoliaZone: 4-9; 30-90 cm height, 30-45 cm spread; Full Sun, Dry; Low-growing shrub; Grey-green foliage, Bright lavender-blue flowers.  See Heritage Perennials Plant Profile Accordiing to Lois Hole, in most Alberta gardens lavender will need to be replaced every three years as they become tough and woody. She recommends pruning in spring to remove winter-killed growth but cautions not to cut into old wood. Both fresh leaves and flowers are edible and can be harvested anytime but she recommends harvesting leaves by “cutting sprigs where they attach to the main stem” just before the last flowers open fully for the best flavour. Lavender flowers can be preserved by freezing immediately after harvesting and the leaves can be dried (Hole 2000:86-87).

French Lavender


Hole, Lois. 2000. Herbs and Edible Flowers. Enjoy Gardening series: Gardening for the Kitchen. ISBN 0-962791-3-4. St. Albert, Alberta.

Silk Road Tea

Heritage Perennials Plant Profile


Decorative Allium 5 June '14 Orange poppies 5 June '14 Yellow Poppies 5 June '14

Decorative Allium, Orange and yellow poppies

The City of Calgary has planted dozens of this tall decorative allium with day lilies for a dramatic display beside 10th ST NW bridge. The orange California poppies Eschscholzia californica also known as California poppy, golden poppy, California sunlight, cup of gold are hardy volunteers. One is growing in the greenhouse doorway. See wikipedia. The yellow poppies are now in different garden beds since first purchased in 2008 from Cobblestone Nursery. The French lilac with its strong fragrance and the caragana trees are starting to blossom as the Nanking and Romeo cherry, the Saskatoon berry and crab apple tree white and pink blossoms are fading. The creeping phlox, Basket of Gold alyssum, bleeding heart, are in blossom and the Avens, anemone and early violets are past their prime. Creeping thyme “Magic carpet’ is beginning to blossom and the Bachelor Buttons, centaura montana, catmint are full of buds. The David Thompson Explorer rose continues to flower and the Morden sunrise has buds.

It was 11 degrees today and overcast. Weeding dandilions, couch grass etc. Cut neighbour’s lawn.