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The 2013 Prairie Garden cover

Table of Contents

  • Perennials by Jane Reksten
  • The Difference Between Bulbs, Corms, Tubers and Rhizomes by Melanie Mathieson
  • Easy Perennials from Seed by Linda Dietrick
  • Early Bloomers by Jane Reksten
  • The Perennial Trial Garden at the Calgary Zoo by Ann Van de Reep
  • The Future of Canadian Rose Breeding by Rick Durand
  • Sprekelia, a Story of Love and Loss by Dr. Carla D. Zelmer
  • Phlox by Colleen Zacharias
  • Salute to a True Blue Plant by Barry Greig
  • The Colour of Happiness  in the Garden - Blue by Dorothy Dobbie
  • Hardy Geraniums by Barbara Jean Jackson
  • Fleece Flowers by Sara Williams
  • Veronicas – Varied and Valuable! by Sara Williams
  • Salvias Galore! by Sara Williams
  • Peonies - The Perfect Spring Perennial by Melanie Mathieson
  • Calla Lilies –The All-Occasion Beauty by Sandy Venton
  • The Amaryllis That Isn’t by Susanne Olver
  • Tasty Edibles for Your Perennial Garden by June Flanagan
  • Strawberries - Did You Know? by Fran Wershler
  • Perennial Vegetables for the Prairie Garden by Janet Melrose
  • Blueberries – a Healthy Choice by Wilhemina Kalt
  • Native Perennials for Your Garden by Shirley Froehlich
  • Native Plants for Problem Spots by Chet Neufeld
  • Gardening with Ornamental Native Grasses and Grass-Like Species of Western Canada by Dr. Steven Tannas
  • Growing Brewing Hops Commercially in Manitoba by Sandra Gowan
  • Designing with Perennials by Sue Gaviller
  • Planting Containers with Perennials by Fran Wershler
  • Bring It All Inside in the Fall -  Overwintering Potted Perennials and Tropicals by Kath Symth
  • Ghosts of Summer:  Leave Them Standing by Barbara Kam
  • Winter Coverage of Perennials by Rita Campbell
  • Flowering Onions by David Punter
  • Spring Flowers for Naturalizing by David Punter
  • A Quest to Find the Ultimate Garden Lily by Wendy Daley
  • Diseases and Pests of Rhizomatous Iris by Ron Jackson
  • The Lively Garden – Perennials for Wildlife by Nora Bryan
  • Gasplant: Perennial on Fire by Sheryl Normandeau
  • Perennials 101 by Olivia Johns
  • Alberta Wildflowers by Pat Fedkenheuer
  • Gardening for the Five Senses by Lynn Collicut
  • A Pioneer Edible Forest Garden in Urban Winnipeg by Darlene Belton Cullimore
  • Alberta Keeping DED at Bay by Janet Feddes-Calpas
  • From Coneflower to Cactus: Climate Change and the Prairie Garden by Marilyn Maki
  • Facts About Peat Moss, Composts and Manures by Ieuan Evans
  • Red Lily Leaf Beetle by John Rempel
  • Perfect Perennials for the Prairie Gardener Reviewed by Jeannette Adams
  • Why an Interest in Insects? by Dr. Robert E. Wrigley
  • Selected Insects Affecting Perennials in the Prairie Garden by Terry D. Galloway
  • The Wind and the Prairies by Jeannette Adams
  • In Memoriam: Pete Peters
  • The 2012 Prairie Garden Award for Excellence by Colleen Zacharias and  Ed Czarnecki

The 2013 Prairie Garden features


Rick Durandwith guest editor Jane Reksten, Manager, Botanic Gardens & Wetland Treatment Facility, Olds College, Olds, Alberta.

Jane Reksten has a BA from the University of Victoria in Microbiology and Environmental Studies as well as a Diploma in Horticulture from Olds College. She worked in the landscape maintenance and development industry for five years before joining the Calgary Zoo and Botanical Gardens, first as the Schoolyard Naturalization Project leader, and then five years as Botanical Education Coordinator and Manager of Continuing Education.  Jane is currently the Manager Botanic Gardens at Olds College.  Jane is a regular writer and speaker on a variety of gardening topics and her love of learning and infectious enthusiasm for all aspects of horticulture is evident in all that she does.


The Guest Editorial

When I was approached to be the guest editor for this issue of The Prairie Garden, I was flattered and excited. I have always loved print media - books, magazines, newsletters or any other type of publication. They provide such a wonderful way for gardeners to share information, knowledge and experience. This publication in particular, with its long history and reputation, plays a valuable role for prairie gardeners. I was even more pleased to learn that the issue I would be involved with had perennials as its theme, as they are my gardening passion.

As I started to think about what topics might be covered and what articles this issue might include I found myself wondering what we were using for our definition of perennials. I come from a science background and am a linear thinker, so when I am teaching or writing I aim to present topics in as clear and precise a manner as possible. It seems important to clarify what we mean when we talk, or write, about perennials. The first feature article you will find in these pages should explain in detail what we considered to be a ‘perennial’ and therefore fair game for inclusion in this year’s edition of The Prairie Garden.

For myself on a personal level, perennials are my raison d’etre for gardening. There are those who put the emphasis on the design of the landscape – shaping the land – the purview of landscape architects in particular. For me, I design a space in order to make a good home for perennials – a place for me to experiment with growing and combining plants. Hard landscaping elements and woody plant material certainly are essential in creating the skeleton and framework of a successful garden design, but once that structure is established I am eager to focus on the ‘décor’ of the site. Perennials are like the furniture in a room – more easily moved than walls, and less financial investment. (In this analogy, annuals could be considered the artwork and the throw cushions, changed up seasonally to allow the space to be continually refreshed and for the gardener to flex their design muscles.) Perennials are endlessly versatile. They can be used to dress up a fence or wall with vines, to cover the soil surface with ground covers, to attracting pollinators to our yards.

I am fascinated by everything about perennials, including their history and the personalities with which they are intertwined. From plant hunters past (Frank Kingdon-Ward) and present (Dan Hinkley), to the people that have made perennials famous through their gardens and their writing (Vita Sackville West, Gertrude Jeckyll, Beth Chatto), the plants in our gardens connect us to a rich world of people whose passion matches our own. Following the work of today’s innovative designers who place the emphasis on the use of plants (Piet Oudolf, Noel Kingsbury) allows us to stay current. Closer to home we populate our gardens with plants introduced by breeders such as Frank Skinner, and follow the writings of gardeners such as June Flanagan and Sara Williams when we seek to add to our gardening knowledge base. All contribute to our collective gardening experiences.

Gardeners love a challenge, and experimenting with zone denial and perennials assumed beyond our reach (hellebores, Itoh peonies) fits the bill. Sharing our gardens and plants with fellow gardeners connects us our local gardening communities. This publication allows us to connect with each other – our fellow prairie gardeners. We hope that this year’s edition of The Prairie Garden adds to your knowledge of perennials, and inspires you to learn much more – we have only scratched the surface.


See a 10 page sample of the 2013 edition
as an Acrobat file (10.55MB).

The Launch of the 2013 Prairie garden at McNally Robinson Winnipeg
The launch of the 2013 Prairie Garden at
McNally Robinson Book SEllers in Winnipeg on November 28

Free Gardening Talks

A perennial plant or simply perennial (Latin per, "through", annus, "year") is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter lived annuals and biennials.

Book Launch of the 2013 Prairie Garden on Wednesdsay, November 28 at 8pm, McNally Robinson Winnipeg



See a 10 page sample of the 2013 edition as an Acrobat file (10.55MB).


Match the Flower quiz

Lead-off Perennial article                            


©2017 The Prairie Garden Committee