The winning photo in our Resilient Garden photo contest is …

Weight of the World

Photo by Heather Knorr

Weight of the World’s Story

Scabiosa is incredibly resilient. It comes up year after year, attracts bees and butterflies, and blooms from summer until fall. Mine has grown from one plant to a lovely patch. This particular scabiosa seeded itself from the original patch a few feet away. I thought about taking it out but decided it would fill things in nicely and I’m so glad I did. When we had an unexpected September snowstorm, this little scabiosa took it like a trooper. While other plants died from the cold and the snow, this scabiosa kept calm and carried on. I’m looking forward to seeing her in my garden again this year! 

Congratulations to Heather Knorr for her winning entry. Heather receives the prize of a beautiful gift basket of Norwex goods. Thank you to Norwex for the donation.

Second Place: Hummingbird Moth and ValieriaThird Place: Coral Reef Oriental Poppies
Photos by Rosemary Bennett

Rosemary Bennett gets to claim bragging rights for both the second place photo, Hummingbird mother and Valieria, and the third place photo, Coral Reef Poppies. Congratulations Rosemary!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our contest: Alexandra De Bono-Kost, Alison Donald, Barb Angel, Cathreen Chow, Cathy Brodner, Elaine Haggith, Faye Hleucka, Gail Harrison, Heather Knorr, Jean Taylor, Katherine Larsen, Larry Benke, Maria Powell, Mary Suggett, Sheri Anderson, and Sue Warren.

To view all the entries and read the photograph’s story, click on an image in the gallery below. Use the arrows to move forward or backward through the gallery.

Birds-eye View

Birds-eye View: Water, food and cover are essential elements to draw in and sustain wildlife. If the garden supports a variety of wild beings, it is, in essence, not merely a garden but a sustainable habitat. Being treed, our garden is not well suited for sun-loving plants, but we are treated to bird-music all year and hares, heedless of human and feline interlopers, clear forms and hang out under our spruce trees the whole year through. Early robins and squirrels eat dried crab apples, and in summer lady birds feast on aphids in the ornamental caragana. Even hummingbirds have begun to frequent our yard, driving both the chickadees and our cats mad. Trees and bushes offer us countless gifts. They give colour and depth to our naturalistic garden. More importantly, they provide a safe home and cover for our wild companions and thereby create their own sustainable micro-ecosystem held within the borders of our yard.

Coral Reef Oriental Poppies

Coral Reef Oriental Poppies: This poppy was a gift to me about ten years ago. It gave us wonderful flowers early in the spring for many years. Unfortunately, it died the winter before last. We were so sad to see it go. It was a favourite with artists painting in my gardens. I fortunately have many photos of it I took over the years. so far, replacing it has not been successful...

Fall at the Pond

Fall at the Pond: In the spring my pond slowly stirs to life. By summer the lilies and marsh marigolds are blooming. Fall, with the surrounding colours and with all the water plants filling it with life, is my favourite season at my pond.

Gerbera Snowshine

Gerbera Snowshine: This Gerbera beauty of South African origin reminds me of the South African people we met who smiled in spite of hard times, their faces glowing in the African sun reflecting the joy of life. Despite the heavy snows this day the blooms held their height and radiated above the drifts like miniature suns bringing joy to a dreary cold day.

Hummingbird Moth and Valerian

Hummingbird Moth and Valerian: Moths are great pollinators in the garden. I discovered this hummingbird moth while on a painting trip to France in my friend Sue Goodchild’s garden. On returning to Calgary, I discovered that we also have hummingbird moths here and found them in my garden in late august and early September. They were busy in many of my flowers but seemed to like my blue salvia in particular.

I'm up Doc!

I'm up Doc! These tulips have survived the many years of munching bunnies in our front yard. Somehow they just keep coming and their beauty surprises me every year

Iris—My Happy Flower

Iris—My Happy Flower: These irises come up every year.

Loving Ladybugs

Loving Ladybugs: The photo demonstrates two beings that are resilient. The first is the dill plant; which was in fact not planted . Some seeds from a dill plant elsewhere landed in a dirt patch and began to grow and eventually flower. The second, are the ladybugs who are clinging onto the dill on a windy day during their mating session, demonstrating resiliency. Both beings are thriving in an unforeseen environment, and show their drive for survival and reproductive fitness. I am happy to be fostering a garden that hosts resilient beings.


Meadow: Hail, hail and more hail hammers Northwest Calgary each year. This part of my garden is populated with humble, easily grown self-seeding perennials. Jacob’s ladder, columbine, ox-eye daisies, tall campanula, Icelandic poppies, and rudbeckia give height while Himalayan primrose, Pasqueflower flower, violets, chionadoxa, and nettles provide textured and colourful ground cover. Most of the tall plants have sturdy stems and small leaves, which means the plants can, and do, withstand hail. Many gardeners might eschew these plants, considering them bridesmaids, not brides, but I love the wild jumble and the continual colour offered throughout the season. This garden also draws in a myriad of wildlife. Bees and I work side by side in my meadow-like garden, a garden that defies harsh and unforgiving elements.

Mighty Crocus

Mighty Crocus: The Crocus lies patiently beneath the earth all winter long, weathering storm after storm and boldly prepares to rise again. Every spring they meet us like an old friend, bringing warmth and joy along with a touch of hope that we all need, especially during these times.

Mikkeli Rhodendron

Mikkeli Rhodendron: The Marjatta rhododendrons are hardy to zone 4 and this one, planted in 2007, blooms every June here in Calgary. The leaves stay green all winter, another resilient feature!

My Garden Oasis

My Garden Oasis: Plants are drought resistant and the shade of the trees above provide a nice backdrop for the perennials. The mountain ash was grown naturally by a seed dropped by a bird, so we nurtured it and it has been thriving ever since. A friend of ours gave us the 1950’s chair from her garden when she moved and it now has a home in our garden. The perennials come back each year with minimal fuss. I use mulch from the garden leaves etc in the fall and cover the roots. The bees love the cornflower and forget-me-nots. It is truly a garden oasis.

My Irises

My Irises: In a small corner of our front garden 'My Irises' are protected to bring beauty to our yard every year.

Nothing like a Sunflower

Nothing like a Sunflower: The helix shape is a symbol of resilience, found throughout nature. Look at that spiral.

Powerful Poppy

Powerful Poppy: The brilliant red poppy celebrates all that is resilient. Its wispy thin petals withstand the fiercest of winds, the narrow stem bends with the breezes like the boughs of the strongest tree as it shines brightly in the sun in the days that follow the storm.

Raspberry Harvest

Raspberry Harvest: Raspberries are my favourite fruit, which is very fortunate as they are reliably hardy in Calgary. Over the month or so they are in season, my patch can produce enough berries to keep me in smoothies until next year.

Resilient, or Persistent

Resilient, or Persistent: I have a love hate relationship with this thistle. I have tried to pull it out but it keeps coming back and inviting the bees.

Resurrected Tiny Padhye

Resurrected Tiny Padhye: This lily came to me as an orphan after blooming, I decided to plant it in the ground towards the end of the summer. I didn't think the lily beetles would bother with it as there wasn't much to eat but I was wrong. The beetles totally devoured it! I thought for sure the lily was 'Done'. The next season I noticed something was popping up and to my surprise it had increased 4 times in size. The lilies bloomed with vengeance, smiling at me and reassuring me that they are alright!

Rudbeckia in Winter

Rudbeckia in Winter: I planted Rudbeckia 20 years ago. Not only have they come back faithfully, producing a multitude of blooms every year with little effort, they provide my garden with winter interest, standing tall against the cold and snow.

Snow White

Snow White: Sanguinaria canadensis Multiplex ‘Plena’ (double bloodroot) Every spring such delicate white flowers explodes on the shady side of my garden. Even with late snow coverage it always bounce back up to display a show. It's such joy each year and it never fails me.

Snowy Cranberries

Snowy Cranberries: My cranberries were just starting into their annual fall colours. But this is Calgary ... snow happens. The resulting contrasts created an even more spectacular show than normal.

Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty: This golden leaf elder was planted 20+ years ago in my garden. It was one of the first shrubs to gain a home in our "new" garden. The house and garden are 40 years old. Each year it's leaves make an appearance. Last year, 2020, was the first year I noticed the delicate nature of the leafing out process.

Spring Crocus

Spring Crocus: Crocus flowers mark the arrival of spring. These early bloomers can often be seen peeking up through the snow way before any other flowers. We often get a big dump of heavy spring snow along with frigid temperature yet these colorful blooms can withstand these elements and open up along with the sunshine!

Sunflower and Painted Lady

Sunflower and Painted Lady: Butterflies bring lots of joy while observing them in the garden. The Painted ladies sometimes flock in my yard. Though hard on hollyhocks, they are quite beautiful to watch. They are also good pollinators...

The Weight of the World

The Weight of the World: Scabiosa is incredibly resilient. It comes up year after year, attracts bees and butterflies, and blooms from summer until fall. Mine has grown from one plant to a lovely patch. This particular scabiosa seeded itself from the original patch a few feet away. I thought about taking it out, but decided it would fill things in nicely and I’m so glad I did. When we had an unexpected September snowstorm, this little scabiosa took it like a trooper. While other plants died from the cold and the snow, this scabiosa kept calm and carried on. I’m looking forward to seeing her in my garden again this year!

Tilted and Fruitful

Tilted and Fruitful: Over time, the apple tree that was originally planted vertically, became tilted. Each summer, I scale the brick wall to reach my tree and make attempts to straighten it by pulling it upright, and tying it to an implanted pole. During dry summer weeks, I hoist buckets of water up to the tree as my garden hose cannot reach over the brick wall to the tree's trunk. In addition, I climb the hillside where it resides and thin the tree to ensure that the fruit do not weigh the tree down further to one side, and to gain larger apples. Although it has been a struggle, the resilient gardening pays off with sweet apples year after year.

To Some ... A Weed ...

To Some ... A Weed ...: The first "flowers" of spring. Always present in my garden.

Tuxedo Park Tulips

Tuxedo Park Tulips: I worked at Tuxedo Park School when it closed in 2003. A couple of years before the closing, we planted tulips with the students in the front "garden". At the end of the school's final year, we invited students and staff to dig up the tulips and replant them in their own gardens as a memento. My Tuxedo Park tulips have been reliably growing and blooming ever since. I have never dug them up, divided them, or done any of the things that you are supposed to do. I've left them alone and they come back every year as a sweet reminder of a special place and time. Resilient, just like the students and the community where they were first planted.

Winnipeg Parks October 2020

Winnipeg Parks October 2020: This Rose bush was a gift after my Mom's passing 5 years ago. I have named it "Emma", my Mom's name. This Rose is resilient, just as her namesake, blooming until the end of October in 2020

Lily beetles be damned!

Lily beetles be damned!: Lily beetles have been overwhelmingly destructive for the last few years, yet this clump of lilies bloomed where others succumbed to them. They give me hope that we can all be this resilient.

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