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The Prairie Garden 2014 cover

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Table of Contents

  • What is a Garden? by Linda Pearn  and Jeannie Gilbert
  • More Than Meets the Eye… by Jane Reksten
  • The Garden as Its Own Artistic Medium by Stefan Fediuk
  • Gardening With Children by Warren Otto
  • A Blooming Parade by Marilyn Latta
  • Hostas The Workhorse of the Shady Garden by Sandy Venton
  • The “Other” Purple Coneflower by Shirley Froehlich
  • Growing Lavender on the Prairies by Colleen Zacharias
  • Impatiens Downy Mildew by Andy Tekauz
  • If You Want Visitors, Send Out Invitations by Jeannette Adams
  • Ellis Bird Farm by Myrna Pearman and Cynthia Pohl
  • Garden Personalities by Judy Schwartz
  • Lessen Your Environmental Footprint with Sustainable Gardening by Carla Keast
  • Gardening – Magically by Carla Hrycyna
  • Gardening in the Netherlands by Lianne Pot
  • In a Victorian Garden at the Dalnavert Museum by Jennifer Bisch
  • Garden Tours of Saskatchewan Government House by Hazel McMurchy
  • People Passionate About Their Gardens by Dianne Beaven, Donna Danyluk and Julia Schoen
  • A Journey into the Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth by Anne Nesbitt
  • Looking Back -19th Century Gardening In and Around Winnipeg by Susanne Olver ODH
  • Community Gardens – A Saskatoon Story by Renata Klassen
  • A Garden Wedding by Jeannie Gilbert
  • A Microguide to Microgreens by Sheryl Normandeau
  • Water Gardens by Melanie Mathieson
  • Gardening in a Big Way by Murray Dudgeon
  • The Construction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of a Perennial Shade Garden by Sandy Venton
  • The History of “hooty hortus” by Linda Pearn
  • A Rock and Alpine Gardening Primer by Cathy Kurio and Rob Staniland
  • Prairie Hardy Succulents by Lyndon Penner and Vanessa Young
  • Succulents in Containers for Prairie Gardens by Frances Wershler
  • Microarchitecture of Plants: Inspiration for Design and Art by Dr. Erwin Huebner
  • Backyard Bees by  Eliese Watson
  • Mosquitoes Put the Bite on Prairie Gardeners  by Terry D. Galloway
  • Cliff Green by Ed Czarnecki
  • Gardening In Winter by  Susanne Olver
  • Creating the Prairie Xeriscape Book Review by Hugh Skinner
  • Why Join a Garden Club or Horticultural Society?  by Valerie Denesiuk
  • Tending the Garden, Healing the Body by Chad Cornell
  • Waaywayeyaa Gitikan by Rhonda and Vern Morrissette
  • Poisonous House Plants  by Linda Pearn
  • Plants that are Harmful to Manitoba Pets and Livestock by Dr. Eva Pip
  • Manitoba’s Best Kept Secret - Living Roofs by Anna Thurmayr
  • The Prairie Garden Alumni compiled by Linda Pearn
  • The 2013 Prairie Garden Award for Excellence by Ed Czarnecki
  • The Prairie Garden Index

The 2014 Prairie Garden

75th Edition - GARDENS

Below our lead-off article, "What is a Garden", is the history of The Prairie Garden. While much has changed in regard to the people, affiliations, methods and the technology used to produce The Prairie Garden, the purpose of the book remains the same – a non-profit publication dedicated to the advancement of horticulture in the Prairie Provinces. Have a Look inside.

The Prairie Garden Committee
The Prairie Garden Committee
(l-r) Sandy Venton, Jean Pomo, Roger Brown, Linda Pearn, Carla Zelmer, Colleen Zacharais, Susanne Olver, Warren Otto, Ed Czarnecki, Fran Wershler & Richard Denesiuk. Taken at the Book Launch on Nov 27, 2013 at McNally Robinson Grant Park by Lorraine Stevenson.

What is a Garden?
by Linda Pearn and Jeannie Gilbert

The Merriam‐Webster dictionary defines a garden as: 1. a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers or vegetables are cultivated; 2. a public recreation area or park usually ornamented with plants and trees.

Lavender and Roses at Abbey Gardens

Other descriptors include the concepts of an area of land with planned use and one that is defined in space, or enclosed. Indeed, the origin of the word ‘garden’ refers to enclosure (Middle English ‘gardin’ derived from Old High German ‘gard’ or ‘gart’, meaning enclosure or compound, as in the German city Stuttgart.) In British English, the garden refers to an enclosed area of land usually adjoining a building. This describes all aspects of the space, the flower beds, lawns, trees, ponds, vegetable gardens, etc. In North American English the space around the house is referred to as the yard, while the garden is usually the area planted to flowers and vegetables.

A Brief History
Gardens have been designed and planted since the beginning of recorded time and often for reasons other than the production of food. The ancient Egyptian gardens were filled with trees such as sycamores which had religious significance. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and had a romantic origin. A recent theory suggests that the original garden may have been constructed at Nineveh by the Assyrian king Sennacherib, to please his queen who had grown up in a mountainous terrain.

These gardens were built up on pillars providing high walkways. A system was devised to bring a continuous supply of water from a source some 50 km distant through a vast array of canals and aqueducts.

In a later period, between 400 and 1400 AD, the medieval garden was the chief method of providing food for households, but also encompassed orchards, pleasure gardens and cemeteries. The ‘hortus conclusus’ was the enclosed garden and the vegetable or cottage garden was the primary source of food. In addition there might be a fruit orchard, a nuthey (nut orchard) and a herber for culinary and medicinal use.

By the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the wealthy and powerful had created large formal gardens ‘à la française’, such as the great stylized gardens at Versailles, which were intended to awe and impress visitors. These were imitated throughout Europe and England, but in the latter country there was a move away from the stylized gardens starting with William Kent and Charles Bridgeman in the early 1700s. Kent was an architect by training and brought into the landscape temples, cascades, grottoes and Palladian bridges. He had no training in horticulture and therefore worked with Charles Bridgeman who proposed designs that incorporated both elements of the formal garden ‘à la française’ with less-structured areas, such as winding paths through woodlands to viewing points. Bridgeman was a pioneer in the landscaping trend that spread throughout much of Europe in the 18th century and came to be known as the ‘jardin anglais’. The English landscape garden reached its height with the works of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. He received his nickname because he would often tell his wealthy landed clients that their estates had great ‘capability’ for landscape improvement. With Brown, the symmetry of the classical gardens was replaced by a natural landscape with rolling lawns across open vistas leading the eye across winding lakes (which were often created by damning small rivers) to a highpoint such as a grove of trees.

Gardens Today
Our gardens today bring the same joys and satisfaction even if often on a different scale. A garden can take many forms of size, shape and content. Size can vary from the very large farm vegetable garden down to a single pot of herbs on the windowsill. The shape is only limited by the developer’s imagination. All geometric shapes including square, circle and triangle, can be used for a garden as well as free-form shapes. Content is almost limitless.

The great estate gardens are now frequently opened to the public as are other large garden areas, including the botanical gardens at Kew (UK), Sydney (Australia), the Devonian Gardens (Canada) and the recently opened Botanic Gardens and New Wetlands at Olds College Alberta (see page 5 for Jane Reksten’s article). Other large gardens include public parks (some of which, in England at least, were designed by ‘Capability’ Brown), rural vegetable gardens (see page 100 for Murray Dudgeon’s article), orchards, and some perennial beds.

Medium gardens are those often found in front and back yards of an urban property. These can vary in size from an area that will hold half a dozen plants to pretty much the whole yard. Small gardens might be a single container of plants, or a square metre/yard plot outdoors, to a small pot indoors.

As the space of the garden or yard is usually defined in some way (the neighbour’s fence, the sidewalk, a line of trees, a river, the buildings the area surrounds etc.) this will influence the shapes that make best use of the space available. The existing landscape will also affect the light and moisture reaching the garden which in turn will determine the plants that will flourish there. A beautiful example of the shape of a garden being influenced by the existing landscape is the Sunken Garden in the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, created in an exhausted limestone quarry. At a more local level the homeowner’s garden will be influenced by the shape of the plot. Perennial borders might follow the perimeter of the garden or free-form shapes might nestle around existing trees or shrubs, a patio or the slope of the garden.

Content (purpose & theme):
The purpose and theme will dictate the content of a garden and the scope is endless. Wikipedia lists twenty-seven types of garden (from botanical to zoological) which might feature sixteen plant types (roses, lilies, etc.) and twenty-five styles (Alpine to Zen). Many people have a garden in their home yard as a form of recreation or a hobby. These gardens often contain herbaceous perennials, annuals and shrubs. Many of these plants are grown for their colourful flowers and/or foliage. Conversely, a monochromatic garden will contain plants which all have the same flower and/or foliage colour. The famous White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle in the UK comes to mind. The location of the garden will influence the type of plants to be grown. A garden in full sun will support different plants from one that is in full or part shade.

A monoculture garden would be planted with one species of plant (eg. lilies, roses). The layout of the garden may be formal or informal. In the formal garden, the plants are placed to form very specific patterns. This can be seen in some of the old estate gardens in Europe. An informal garden pays less attention to specific placement of plants and may even go to the haphazard appearance of an English cottage garden.

Food production may be the purpose of a garden. Often this type of garden grows vegetables to use fresh or to preserve for the winter. As well, fruit gardens may contain fruit trees (apple, plum, pear, apricot), small fruit bushes (raspberries, currants) and herbaceous perennial fruits (strawberries, rhubarb). At one time almost every farm and most urban households maintained these types of gardens. With the advent of availability at grocery stores and summer markets, fewer people grow their own food. Don’t forget though, that carrots grown by a market gardener still come from a garden, even though it is a much larger garden.
Container gardens have recently become very popular. Plants are grouped together in containers which can be stationary or moved from one location to another in the yard. The containers might range from the very small to the very large. Attention must be paid to the soil and watering needs of these containers, since the roots are fully contained in the vessel.

Indoor gardens are those in which the plants are confined to an indoor space such as the house. This gives the gardener an opportunity to grow plants which would not survive outside, especially in the Prairie winter. Plants can be grown year round and more exotic species experimented with. The size of the indoor garden can range from a tiny 5 cm (2 in.) pot holding a single small plant up to a very large pot with a plant that grows from floor to ceiling. As well, the garden can consist of a single plant in a pot on the windowsill, a few plants scattered throughout the house, a large grouping of plants forming a forest‐like setting or a whole room dedicated to plants.

The question to answer is really not “what is a garden?”, but, “what is your garden?”, and wherein lies the joy you derive from it. The great gardens like Butchart are there for us to enjoy no less than our more humble back yards that give such pleasure as we watch each species come into bloom in its own season. A garden is whatever you want it to be – let your imagination run wild. Whatever garden you choose to develop– enjoy it to the fullest.


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History of the Prairie Garden

The 1947 coverThe Prairie Garden Committee began in 1956 as a standing committee of the Winnipeg Horticultural Society, which had published The Winnipeg Flower Garden and The Flower Garden, the precursor of The Prairie Garden, starting in 1937. The book began as the annual report of the Winnipeg Horticultural Society, and was free to members when they paid their annual membership fees. It was first called The Winnipeg Flower Garden and included not only the official annual report of the society, but also informational articles by prominent local horticulturists of the time. The name was changed to The Flower Garden in 1955 because of the book’s ever-increasing readership. However, it was only to be called The Flower Garden for two years before becoming The Prairie Garden in 1957, once again because of its ever-broadening popularity, now extending right across the Prairies and beyond; and its applicability to gardening in this region in general, and not to Winnipeg in particular. (See more history)

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©2017 The Prairie Garden Committee