Celebrating Canada’s 150th in the Garden

Who doesn’t like a birthday celebration? Well, there were a few milestone birthdays that did give me pause. I think I’ve stayed around this long for the birthday cake and presents. One birthday that fills the nation with great excitement and pride is Canada’s 150th. This year, Canada recognizes one of her grand milestones when on July 1st the country will celebrate 150 years of Confederation. All year Canada will roll out the red carpet to welcome visitors from around the world.

There are plenty of activities you can do to help mark Canada’s birthday right in your backyard. Especially in the garden by planting annual or perennial plants in red and white, the national colours of Canada. My gardening friend, Kelly planted 150 tulip bulbs in the garden beds surrounding her yard. Check out the pictures of her Canada 150 tulips in bloom. As a gift to Canada, the Netherlands bred this special tulip to commemorate our sesquicentennial. The flower was created to look like the Canadian maple leaf flag.

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Here are just a few plants available in white and red shades that have a low OPALS ranking (allergy-friendly plant) for your flower bed or container garden.


Common Name (Cultivar) Botanical/Scientific Name OPALS Ranking
African daisy Osteospermum 4
Begonia Begonia – tuberous 2
China pink (Dianthus) Dianthus chinencis 1 – 3, varies
Cosmos Cosmos bipinnatus 3
Geranium Geranium 3
Gerbera daisy (Transvaal) Gerbera jamesonii 5
Impatiens Impatiens spp. 1
Pansy Viola x wittrockiana 1
Petunia Petunia 2
Snapdragon Antirrhinum majus 1
Vinca (Periwinkle) Vinca minor 2


Common Name (Cultivar) Botanical/Scientific Name OPALS Ranking
Autumn fire sedum

Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Fire’

Bridal veil astilbe Astilbe


Butterfly bush Buddleja davidii


Clematis Clematis

1 – double, 1 – female

Coneflower Echinacea


Dianthus Dianthus spp.

1 – 3, varies

Garden phlox Phlox spp.


Gloriosa daisy Rudbeckia hirta


Iris Iris

1 – 4, varies

Peony Paeonia spp.

3 – double, 1 – single

Sea thrift Armeria maritima


Shasta daisy Leucanthemum ‘Becky’

4 – double, 6 – single

Snowcap daisy Leucanthemum ‘Snowcap’

4 – double, 6 – single

Even if you don’t have an opportunity to garden, you can still get out and breathe in some fresh air and enjoy our natural glory. Did you know Canada’s natural parks and marine conservation areas offer free admission in 2017? Whatever you do this year, from dipping your toes in all the Great Lakes bordering Canada, or visiting a dream destination in one of the provinces or territories, this remarkable country has so much to offer and enjoy.

When you have a chance, be sure to Google “Canada’s 150 Birthday” to get a list of events held across this great land. I’m providing a link to the Government of Canada’s 150 website: http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1468262573081. Canada is a not only a nation of splendid beauty and majestic scenery but one full of very welcoming people. Come help us celebrate and we’ll even save you a slice of birthday cake!

Happy Gardening! Janice