Media and projects

In the media

Ken talks about the bronze leaf disease that’s hitting pockets of Swedish Columnar Aspen in the city, and how native aspen and poplar are resistant.

Bow Point Nursery shows us how to truly treat water as a precious resource through xeriscaping.

You can help grow and preserve Calgary’s urban forest . The NeighbourWoods Program is a residential street tree planting initiative developed by The City to encourage citizens and communities to do their part to make our city green.  Bow Point Nursery’s very own selection, Paskapoo Poplar, is a great tree for boulevard and urban yard plantings.  Also on this list and available at Bow Point Nursery are aspen, bur oak, hawthorn, larch and pine.

Gardening in the shadow of the Rockies can be very difficult. As everyone has seen in the past few weeks, the weather can be a little unpredictable, to say the least. But for one Springbank nursery, growing a beautiful garden is as simple as sticking with nature, and requires no watering, no fertilizer, no chemicals, and no worries. Bow Point Nursery grows only plants native to the area, a practice that owner Ken Wright says saves water, protects the environment, and ultimately is much easier than maintaining imported, container-grown plants.

Ken urges growers to “take a leap of faith” when taking the next step in growing plants. Most people water too much, which is often bad for plants and a waste of resources. Many growers go to great lengths to maintain their yards through pruning, watering, fertilizing, and killing unwanted pests. Ken wants people to “relax and enjoy” plant life. If plants can’t survive in their natural conditions, they are not suitable to grow. This way, growers don’t waste time on plants that may die in a harsh climate.

As spring approaches, many people look forward to planting their garden with the hope of attracting birds and butterflies. What a great idea! However, be sure that what you plant will benefit you, the birds and butterflies and the environment in the long-term — not destroy it all.  Whenever possible, plant native species in your garden. They are already pre-adapted to our soils and climate. When cultivated, they are every bit as interesting and as attractive as any introduced species.  Bow Point Nursery is listed as a recommended place to get your native plants.

We not only grow and provide plants produced in a sustainable manner, we take waste from several landscapers, a horse stable, and several arborists. We provide compost, wood chip mulch, firewood, and dimensional lumber produced from materials which would normally be dumped in the landfill.

We do some production in unheated greenhouses (cold frames) – these are very low impact production facilities. We do water our containerized plants – all of the container areas are built as flood irrigation beds and collect and re-circulate our water. We do buy water for the operation – trucked in, but with the recycle beds, rain water capture and low water needs of the plants we are about 1/5th to 1/10th the usage of mainstream growers.

Bow Point’s definition of Low Maintenance, Naturalized, Xeriscape Landscapes:  A system of landscaping which incorporates site specific plants into the existing conditions of climate,topography, and exposure to wind, rain, and sun. The use of a diverse number of species of native plants which will over time become a self-sustaining landscape – requiring low moisture levels, little maintenance, and which will not only survive, but thrive.

Why work against nature? Building an eco yard creates a healthy environment for plants, trees and people, not to mention your pocket book. And your lawn [Sheep's Fescue] and garden are now safe for the kids and your pets so soccer balls can be kicked around and human pyramids can be built on your chemical-free lawn.

‘Paskapoo’ Poplar (Populus balsamifera ’Paskapoo’) – Very nice, compact shade tree for the smaller yard.  Supremely drought tolerant, insect and disease resistant.  Available at Bow Point Nursery in Calgary.

Bow Point Nursery grows native Alberta species, and they have some really diverse and unique species of tree’s and plants. The Paskapoo Poplar is a stunning example of a tree which thrives in Alberta, and has some very interesting characteristics, nothing like the root sprawling poplars that took over my Calgary home as a child.

Alberta nurseries such as Bow Point Nursery near Calgary, AB, and Coaldale Nurseries at Coaldale, AB, are great places to start if you are considering bare root woody plants. Bow Point in particular has an excellent selection of native plants.

A recent visit to Bow Point Nursery just outside of Calgary proved that a wide variety of plants including willows, sages, currants, yuccas, pines, larch, wild rose, grasses, sunflower and much more, were available and viable in an urban setting.

An added advantage to native species, says Ken Wright of Bow Point, is that many wild species have beautiful stems that are attractive even when bare.  Yellow, gold, and tan hues of willow obtained from varying species in the area present a colorful palette even in the middle of February. The deep red of local dogwood brightens up the woods as well as a dreary winter yard. Native species also compete well with nuisance weeds and imported plants, making it very easy for them to establish themselves once re-introduced.

Many Calgarians have the typical Kentucky bluegrass lawn when this is the biggest user of water and chemicals and takes the most work to maintain. This is ridiculous considering we are living on what used to be grasslands before the ecosystem was disrupted by the growing city… You can find hardier grass seeds at Bow Point Nursery near Calgary.

Plants that are native to the area are hardy and usually low maintenance. Attractive ones make a great addition to the garden. Bow Point Nursery which is also west of Calgary specializes in native trees and shrubs. All plants are grown on site.

I attended  Ken Wright’s presentation on the beautiful array of truly native trees and shrubs that he has propagated and cultivated in our truly difficult climate. I almost wish I was starting over so I could try out some of these great Calgarian plants myself.

Bow Point Nursery is a sponsor of Mommylicious, a show primarily featuring local businesses offering products and services geared towards families.

The incredibly hardy and year-round attractive and useful Kinnikinnick, aka Bearberry or Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is not easy to find in Calgary in city parks let alone ditches (although robust 3.5″ plugs in ‘deep root trainers’ are available at Bow Point Nursery).

There are several local small businesses that market native wild plants while slowly educating the public to a shift in aesthetics towards water-wise planting. Bow Point Nursery is also a reliable place to get Sheep’s Fescue seed, an extraordinary lawn grass substitute that can be over-seeded with great results in three years.

North America’s northern-most botanic garden is noted for its collection of plants used by Canada’s First Nations people.  Bow Point Nursery is listed as a source for Alberta native plants and seeds.

Selected list of past projects

In 2009, Bow Point Nursery Ltd. was involved in a major reclamation project in Jasper National Park.  This project involved collecting seed and cuttings from the area, custom growing and contracting out where needed, and consultation.

A healthy riparian area includes a diversity of trees and shrubs with deep binding roots that naturally ‘glue’ the river banks together. 80% of all wildlife in Alberta use riparian areas for part or all of their life cycle… Create a healthy green zone by planting some or all of your river bank with a variety of native, water-loving trees and shrubs.  Bow Point Nursery is a grower of known source native plants.

Advantages to using native plants: 1. They’re part of the natural local ecosystem and support the integrity of the natural areas within parks. 2. They’re already adapted to the soils and climate of this region and require little care once established. 3. Native plants generally tolerate browsing better. Some attract or deter different wildlife species. 4. They do not contribute to abundance of non-native plants within park boundaries. Once established, they may also prevent the invasion of non- native plants to disturbed sites.

These gardens-in-progress feature plants found in the three vegetative communities of Banff National Park. The gardens are watered through an underground drip/self-draining irrigation system. This system, designed to replicate similar moisture levels found in nature, uses storm water that has been collected and stored in a cistern.  (ARCTOS & BIRD is a company that holds a vision for environmental protection, heritage preservation, community values and architectural excellence.)

Over 2,000 native plants, including wild alpine strawberry, yellow penstemon, Indian blanket flower, mountain goldenrod and mountain Jacob’s ladder, were planted on the roof in 2006. These were grown in local nurseries (ALCLA Native Plants and Bow Point Nursery).

Kerry Ross has been involved with several green roof projects and is passionate about the concept. Late last summer she was busy putting in plants for the project’s second phase, using a wide range of Alberta native species, including wild strawberries, bearberry, gaillardia, green needle grass, fleabane and golden rod. Pam and Ken Wright from Bow Point Nurseries supplied some of the plants.