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.


Sedum kamtschaticum var. floriferum cv. ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’

(Orange Stonecrop, Kamschatka Stonecrop, Live Forever, Russian Stonecrop)

Sedum floriferum4webSedum floriferum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’

A robust naturalizer in Parkdale YYC.

I purchased this plant at greengate Garden Centre in Calgary in the fall of 2011 along with a number of perennials that were on sale in late September. This garden bed called September surprise has been consistently productive in every season.

On their website Green Gate Farms in the US describes it as,

“‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ Sedum is among the most popular groundcover sedums with its covering of tiny canary yellow star-shaped flower clusters in late spring. ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ is a low-growing stonecrop that spreads by trailing stems to form an attractive ground cover. Flowers appear on reddish stems rising above the thick, triangular, succulent green leaves sharply toothed near the ends. The leaves turn purple in fall and into winter. The clusters of star-shaped, yellow-tinted, bronze-orange flowers are very attractive to butterflies and bees. An excellent selection for difficult sites such as banks and rocky areas.”

They also recommend that “Stonecrop be planted in “average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Needs good soil drainage to perform well. Avoid over-watering. Drought tolerant. Tip cuttings from plants may be rooted directly in soil around the plants.”

Height: 3-6 Inches, Spread: 12-18 Inches, Zone 3 – 9;


• Sun

Soil Moisture Preference

• Dry
• Average

Attracts Wildlife

• Butterflies

Critter Resistance

• Deer Resistant
• Rabbit Resistant

Season of Interest (Flowering)

• Summer

Season of Interest (Foliage)

• Summer
• Fall
• Winter

Growth Habit

• Spreading


• 4-8 Inches


• Container
• Mass Planting
• Edging
• Rock Garden
• Evergreen
• Drought Tolerant
• Ground Cover
• Border or Bed
• Great Foliage
Foliage Color
• Green

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.

Sisyrinchium campestre Blue-eyed-grass

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Blue-eyed Grass Flynn-Burhoe ParkdalePerennialsYYC

Blue-eyed-grass Sisyrinchium angustifolium is “not really a grass, these are close cousins to the more familiar garden Iris” according to Heritage Perennials. I think I purchased mine years ago from wildaboutflowers. Each year they seem to appear in a different part of the garden and I only get a few visible flowers.

According to Wikipedia Sisyrinchium angustifolium, is commonly known as narrow-leaf blue-eyed-grass, is a herbaceous perennial growing from rhizomes, native to moist meadow and open woodland.”

Prairie Moon Nursery described it as a “spring-blooming wildflower that is related to the iris and sports pale lavender blossoms and grass-like leaves that overlap in iris-like fans. This low-growing (6″) sun-lover will tolerate some shade but prefers well-drained soils. It forms clumps and will self-seed in optimal conditions. This species may be difficult and/or slow to germinate and grow to maturity.”

The delicate web on the flowers is from my cottonwood poplar tree that “snows” under the garden in June, blanketing it balls of cotton fluff that fill the air and are carried everywhere. I filled the wheelbarrow with the “warm snow”, the catkins, yesterday and the garden is covered again today. The wind in the poplar is poetry to my ears evoking the best of childhood memories. I could do without the cottonwood’s warm snow in summer…


Sisyrinchium campestre Blue-eyed-grass” Prairie Moon Nursery

Sisyrinchium angustifoliumWikipedia

Heritage Perennials