About Me

Me and big sisSo where to begin?

I guess my earliest memories of the garden were at my Grandparents’ large country home. ‘Nana’ was a skilful gardener, and ‘Nandad’ who was by profession a surgeon, liked nothing better than to move large amounts of dirt around with a bobcat – a landscaper at heart. I didn’t realize until much later, how enthused I had actually been about the gardens surrounding their home – my sister once asked me ‘how did you know all the names of the plants that were in their garden?’ I guess it was in my blood even then.

Later though, we inherited this property. At first of course I was thrilled – the wide open spaces, the beautiful gardens, and endless opportunities to explore the countryside. However, my enthusiasm for the garden waned when it became my job to weed the very large cucumber patch. I whined that it was hot and dusty – as a young teenager, what I really wanted to be doing was working on my tan on the shores of nearby Georgain Bay.

I sullenly vowed then that I would never have a garden.

Fast forward several decades and destiny it seems, had called – I was in the firstBio Pic resize graduating class of the Calgary Zoo’s Landscape Design Certificate Program. I was handed my first client on the last day of class and contracted to team teach that same program the following year. I went on to develop and teach additional design classes for the zoo and continued to do so until the zoo discontinued their horticultural programming in 2016. In addition I run my own Landscape Design and Consulting business year round.

And I do indeed have a garden – now a seasoned gardener, I have been meeting the challenges of gardening in Calgary for 30 years. And never one to pass up an opportunity to share my expertise and passion with others, I also lecture, speak and write on the subject whenever asked.

This blog then, is one more way I can do that.


22 comments on “About Me

  1. Carole says:

    Bravo, you have a lovely blog Sue!

  2. holly says:

    May I use one of your pictures for tree tags for our wholesale nursery: https://notanothergardeningblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/syringa-vulgaris-katherine-havemeyer.png
    Thank you!

    Holly Sester

  3. So enjoyed reading your piece for February! I live in Connecticut, USA and recently my focus has been to improve the charm of my backyard in the winter. I’m searching for plants, shrubs, trees, design ideas that will enhance the yard (for me and for wildlife) in the cold winter months. Your blog was a joy to read! I will be following!

    • Sue Gaviller says:

      Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks so much for checking out the blog and for your kind comments.

      While it may seem counterintuitive to think about winter beauty in the middle of summer, indeed you are wise to be planning ahead for those many months our gardens are asleep – glad I could offer some ideas.


  4. I love your blog! You have provided great examples of design principles! I am a Master Gardener in Colorado and am giving presentations on garden design to citizens in our community. I would love to be able to use your landscape plan examples (rectilinear and curvilinear) and rectilinear front yard photo as examples. Please let me know if this is possible and what is required. Thanks!.

  5. Jan LeCocq says:

    Beautiful images, Sue!

  6. Sue, great blog! I was wondering if you speak to community groups about gardening? I can get you details on our group.

  7. Michael Reid says:

    Hello Sue, what an interesting blog. I loved your article on colour perspective. I live in Somerset and earning my gardening through mistakes! Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your comment – glad you find the blog interesting.

      As for my colour theory series, there are still more chapters to come – hopefully I’ll find the time to post again soon.

      I gather gardening season is winding up in your part of the world too – autumn is so bittersweet isn’t it?

      Thanks for reading,

  8. Ros says:

    Very helpful blog for a gardener in Finland!

    • Hi Ros,

      Yes I think we have similar climates, i.e. cold winters. So anything we can grow here you can surely grow in Finland – and then some (since you get more moisture than we do). Anyway glad you find the blog helpful.

      Thanks for reading,

  9. Sarafina says:

    Hi Sue, Love your blog! Especially about your colour wheels and focal points, wow wow wow. I am having trouble sorting out my front yard… it feels very cluttered! If I sent you a photo of my front yard, would you be able to give me a tip (or two?) about what I can do to make a more cohesive design please?

  10. Jenn Leiker says:

    Thanks so much, Sue–your blog is exactly what I’ve been looking for. We recently purchased a farmhouse (with 138 acres and huge farmyard!) in the Cold Lake area, and I’ve been stumbling through library books and sites that tell me scads about individual plants and/or gardening techniques, or how to design an individual perennial bed. These are great, but frustrating when you sense you lack a solid grasp of the bigger picture, how to get to and work with the bones of your own site first. I wish you had all of this in a physical book! Keep up the great work–and thank you for your generous spirit. Hooray for well-designed yards and gardens! ~Jenn in Cherry Grove

    • Hi Jenn – I remember feeling the same way when I first started gardening. It’s what ultimately led me to study design, and subsequently teach it. I’ve often thought I might write a book – perhaps a retirement project….

      Best of luck with your garden in Cold Lake – that’s a big piece of land to garden!

      Thanks for reading,

  11. Hayley Tibbles says:

    Hi Sue , I have just discovered your amazing blog. Your knowledge and the style that you write is so direct to the point and for me as a student of Horticulture and garden design has been my saving grace. Thankyou so much for taking the time to gather all of you knowledge and allow me to be able to have access to it has been so helpful in my learning journey. I love gardening but struggle with reading lots of information and retaining it , having access to your blog which has clear diagrams is a great visual aid and the way you explain everything to the point makes it sl clear and easy to understand. Thankyou. Oh by the way I meant to ask are you a author of books I would love to buy one , I love books especially if they have lots of lovely photographs. Before I go I have just hit a part of my course that refers to the History of gardening including medieval and Renaissance periods , can you recommend any books that might help me gain more knowledge of this subject. Please excuse my poor grammar I am not an academic more of a hands in the earth kind of girl.
    Many thanks

    • Hi Hayley,

      Thank you for your kind comments – I hope the blog continues to be helpful in your learning journey. I started this blog so my own students would have access to design information once they were out on their own building their design practices. I know it has helped many other students as well – so it’s been well worth my efforts.

      Unfortunately I haven’t authored any books – one day I hope. When I have some time….

      As for books on gardening history, there are so many of them – some are quite academic and others more pictorial. I think the best thing for you to do would be to go to a bookstore and check out the gardening section – that way you can go through some of the books and see if they provide the kind of info you need.

      Best of luck – and thanks for reading!


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