The Calgary Horticultural Society is a registered charity and an established grassroots organization that has been serving Calgary communities for over 115 years. The Society is proud of its continuing legacy, delivering on our mandate to educate, promote, and support gardening in the Calgary area. 

We are one of the largest and most active gardening organizations in North America, serving 3,000 members, engaging with 100+ businesses and not-for-profit groups with diverse garden interests and experience levels, providing support and resources to 200+ community gardens, and being a resource for year-round gardening knowledge via programs, newsletters, newspapers, radio, and television.

The Society’s three building blocks and five values frame the work we do.  Here are our 2023 highlights:

COMMUNITY & CONNECTIONS 

Put Fun into Gardening  

The Society office and garden is evolving into a community hub for gardeners to gather, learn and experience:  

  • The fall Panabode Mural community building project, funded by an ActivateYYC grant and Cloverdale Paint, beautified our public space into a work of art.
  • The Society Garden grew with the opening of the YardSmart Native Plant Meadow garden and a bed planting using the pollinator friendly NaturesTurf panels provided by Eagle Lake Professional Landscape Supply.

We brought gardeners together for learning and sharing at many events:

  • Our online February garden-season-launching event Think Spring! 2023, engaged 225 participants.

  • Plant shares in the spring and fall hosted 270+ gardeners. At the Fall Plant Share & Garlic Exchange, a new Garlic Talk, presented by Parkland Peonies, encouraged many gardeners to learn about and plant garlic.

  • Open Gardens tours to 33 private gardens across the city, inspired 3,300 members and guests, as hosts showcased their gardens and demonstrated what grows well in the Calgary climate.

  • We value working with our Corporate and Affiliate members. This year, we supported their events instead of hosting our own, including the Blue Grass Spring Fling, Cabin Fever, Seedy Saturday, Centre For Newcomers Garden Expo, Pickle Palooza, Soupalicious, Garlic Breath, Pumpkin Fest, Golden Acre Home & Garden Community Market, and more. Visit the Get Involved section of our website for ways to engage with the Society.

  • Our popular shopping Hort Nights were expanded and offered at greengate Garden Centres, Countryside Garden Centre, and Incredigrow Garden Centre.

Connect and support new and experienced gardeners

  • Every week, the Society’s Gardeners’ Corner e-news connects 9,000 subscribers to our gardening tips, seasonal information, and promotions. It continues to grow each year.

  • Reaching over 26,500 followers, we share posts and answer questions on our social media channels, Facebook (@calhort), Instagram (@calgaryhorticulturalsociety), Twitter now called X (@YYCGardening), and YouTube.  842 gardeners are part of the new Facebook Group Share YYC Gardens which was created so Calgary area gardeners can share pictures of their large and small growing spaces.

  • As one of our eight Member Talks, and part of our 115-year celebration, the September talk featured Frankie Flowers, with the support of Spruce It Up Garden Centre.

  • We delivered 20+ senior-focused programs in locations where seniors meet, The Kerby Centre, Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association, Calgary Public Library, senior’s centres, and the Society office. The programs are funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

LEARNING & KNOWLEDGE

Promote learning and successful gardening  

  • The Society offers year-round core and specialty programs focused on gardening. We delivered 109 programs (in-person and online) that were supported by 215 volunteers and registered 3,033 participants.

  • Our three on-demand classes, Garden Fundamentals, Seed Starting Series, and YardSmart Perennials were popular, with 207 participants enrolling.

  • We explored other perspectives about growing and offered two new programs, Indigenous Horticulture: Past, Present, Future and Blackfoot Land-Based Teachings with Elder Grant Little Mustache.

  • Working alongside the Foothills Medical Centre, the Society created their Grounds for Gratitude Garden and, on May 24, with a team of volunteers, planted it.

STEWARDSHIP & ADAPTATION

Work with our environment to minimize our footprint

  • Our Big Yellow Bag drop-off depot partnership with Eagle Lake Professional Landscape Supply continues to be popular. We kept 409 nonrecyclable bags out of a landfill in 2023 which doubled collection from 2022, our first year. The program returns on Earth Day 2024.  

  • April 2023, to minimize truck travel throughout the city, The Wild Bird Store (TWBS) partnered with the Society to be a customer pick-up location (with birding Q&A) by hosting their Seed Truck. TWBS provided the Society bird feeders and seed to help our feathered friends and improve birdwatching opportunities for visitors.

  • Over 1,000 gardeners participated in the 36 free or low-cost classes about food growing and how gardeners can reduce waste, reuse common household items, conserve water, and build skills in environmentally responsible ways, all offered through the Seed to Table program. Seed to Table is a circular economy initiative offered in partnership with The City of Calgary.  

Lead in making Calgary a city of gardening excellence 

  • The new Be YardSmart event held on June 3, in conjunction with Green Calgary’s Rain Barrel Pick Up Day, invited nearby communities to our garden space in a celebration of water-wise practices and to learn how to be YardSmart gardeners. It included demonstrations and provided resources from exhibitors about water-wise plants and practices, mulch, and composting. As part of the event, over 110 Green Calgary rain barrels were picked up.

  • The Society piloted a community garden fruit tree care program with The City of Calgary Urban Forestry Department.

  • 10 Design Your Yard workshops were delivered to 149 participants, coaching them to create and implement their own water-wise yard designs. 

  • The Master Gardener Program continued to evolve in 2023 with 39 participants who have registered and 123 Master Gardeners who have been certified, thereby building knowledgeable gardening resources. Society Master Gardeners have contributed over 4,900 volunteer hours to the gardening community. The program’s learning experience has been enhanced by a Learning Management System.

Come Grow With Us

In 2024, let us work together to strengthen our community and purpose, to deliver programs and services and connect to unique partnerships in our gardening communities.

Watch our Highlights Reel

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