Community Stories

Summer 2020: a great time to enjoy your backyard

July 22, 2020

“A garden is a friend you can visit any time” - Okakura Kakuzo

A silver lining that comes with staying closer to home this summer is the chance to spend more time in the yard. Some Red Deerians are taking advantage of The City’s Rain Barrel, and Plant and Mulch Rebate Programs to enhance their landscaping.  

Debbie, a gardening enthusiast, has received rebates for purchasing a rain barrel and Swedish Columnar aspen tree, which is drought-tolerant. “Collecting rain water has reduced our water utility bill,” said Debbie. “The major benefit I get from planting native and drought-tolerant plants is that I feel these plants are ‘at one’ with their environment. Using native plants reduces the amount of resources needed to keep them healthy. This includes time and effort, and most importantly, water.”

Debbie calls her garden her happy place. “It provides a tranquil place where I can switch off and de-stress after a busy day at work. I also enjoy seeing how the landscape can change and improve when you plant trees, shrubs, flowers. The garden is a living extension of the family and needs just as much love and care.”

Debbie has found that gardening offers a relaxing change in scenery while working from home. Being able to go into the garden after a long day of work has been beneficial. Debbie and her husband have spent their weekends in the garden and have also developed a vegetable patch.

Nicole, a lifetime gardener, has been spending much of her time in her ever-expanding garden. “There’s been so much taken away from us during this time, but gardening wasn’t taken away,” said Nicole. “Gardening for me is kind of like a meditation; I feel really present when I am working in the garden and find it calming and stress relieving. I also enjoy the health benefits of getting really healthy food that you have grown yourself which is so rewarding of a feeling.”

Nicole received rebates for purchasing bark mulch and a Mount Royal flowering plum tree.  “I thought it was amazing that Red Deer is encouraging people to plant things that are good for our area. More plants in the world are always a wonderful thing.”

For any new gardeners, Nicole advises, “Have fun playing in the soil. Gardening is meant to be creative and fun. Even if something fails there’s always something you can learn.”

Red Deer residents can apply to receive credits on their utility bills when they purchase a new rain barrel, qualifying native or drought-tolerant plants, or permeable mulch.

The rebate programs help Red Deerians beautify their gardens while conserving water and saving money on their utility bills. Rain barrels conserve water by capturing rainwater, which can be used instead of hose water to irrigate the yard. Permeable mulch – such as wood chips – absorb and retain moisture in soil, reducing the need for watering. Native and drought-tolerant plants also reduce the need for watering as they are better suited to grow in Red Deer’s conditions.

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