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Gardening Talks

Dr. Richard Westwood
Butterflies in the Garden
September 24, 2014

Richard Westwood is a Professor in the Departments of Biology and Environmental Studies and Science and Chair of the Science Graduate Program at the University of Winnipeg. He teaches courses in entomology, urban forestry and aboriculture, forest health and protection, research design and methodology and environmental impact assessment. His current research focuses on a wide variety of projects including conservation and protection of threatened and endangered butterflies and plants in prairie ecosystems, impacts of forestry activities on insect and plant diversity in boreal forests, impacts of climate warming on butterfly biology and ecology, conservation of insect pollinators in tall grass prairie habitats, improved tree health management techniques in urban forests and assessing the role of urban forests in sequestering carbon. He is an author of the Butterflies of Manitoba and is currently working on a sequel, the Moths of Manitoba.


Mick Manfield
Square foot Gardening  Basics
August 27, 2014

This workshop will cover the 10 basic principles of Square Foot Gardening and also show some different square foot garden layouts. It will also feature some different styles of vertical and container gardening and show how you can grow a large amount of food in a small space. Square Foot Gardening is a simple, unique and versatile system that adapts to all levels of experience, physical ability and geographical location. Grow all that you want and need in 20% of the space of a conventional row garden. Save time, water, work and money!

Mick Manfield gardens on a 1 acre lot in Lockport where he grows vegetables in a Square Foot Garden that measures 32 ft x 32ft. In this garden he grows 60 different varieties of vegetables, salads, herbs and fruits. Mick completed his Square Foot Gardening Teacher Certification in October 2011 in Austin, Texas and completed his Master Gardener and Master Composter in 2012. Over the last 2 years Mick has presented Square Foot Gardening techniques at Gardening Saturday, to gardening clubs, small businesses and housing projects. Mick is passionate about teaching this gardening method and showing people how easy it is to grow their own food in a small space.


Ian Wise
Insect Pests in the Garden:
Strategies to Manage Them

July 30, 2014

Presenter Ian Wise was raised on a 5 acre parcel of land in Surrey, BC by parents who loved to garden. He went on to serve as a Research Co-ordinator at Hoechst Canada Inc., who were responsible for the field testing of research chemicals for their potential use as pesticides in western Canada. These included many herbicides and insecticides that were registered and became widely used by farmers throughout the prairies. Wise then went on to work as a Biologist (Entomology) at Cereal Research Centre, AAFC in Winnipeg, studying the wheat midge and, to a lesser extent, the Hessian fly – both serious insect pests of spring wheat. He worked with a great group of entomologists and crop breeders, who not only discovered the only known source of resistance to the wheat midge , but also developed superior wheat varieties with resistance to this insect.

Since Wise’s retirement, he has been working with the City of Winnipeg, and, with the assistance of a grant from Manitoba Hydro, to convert a 35 acre baseball complex into an urban forest/baseball park for the enjoyment of future neighbours in a rapidly growing area of the city.


John RempelSusan Jensen
Gardening With Children
June 25, 2014

Susan Jensen has been in the horticultural industry for over 20 years. She runs Jensen Nursery and Garden Centre along with her father and sister. Susan is responsible for the landscaping design department as well as the greenhouse production at Jensen's. Susan, with the help of her sister Tammy, is standing in for Arlene Ortiz, who unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute. Arlene has run classes for Gardening with Children at the Jensen's Nursery and Susan brings the same excitement of growing plants to her talk. Children learn patience, respect for property and all growing and living things. Children experience a sense of pride when they see the seeds they have sown begin to grow. Gardening gets everyone out into the fresh air, is great exercise, and above all is fun!

Collin Briggs
Today’s Garden Plants – Yesterday’s Medicines
May 28, 2014

Colin Briggs is Emeritus professor of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba. His specialty is drugs of natural origin and his research has involved analytical studies on nutritional agents and potential toxic compounds in plants. Colin's interests include historical aspects of medicines and with his wife, Elizabeth, he transcribed the nineteenth century medical records of a York Factory physician. Colin is an enthusiastic gardener who enjoys the healthy exercise and relaxation associated with gardening. He is a graduate of the University of London, England.


Craig GillespieCraig Gillespie
Photography in the Garden
April 30, 2014

Craig Gillespie studied Horticulture at the University of Guelph, and has over 25 years of experience in the field. Currently he is the head gardener in the English Garden at Assiniboine Park, and a standing member of the Professional Gardeners Guild. He is also an avid photographer, receiving his Photography certificate with honours from Red River College. His photographs have appeared in a number of publications including The Winnipeg Free Press.


John RempelSusan Jensen
What's New in Plants
March 26, 2014

Susan Jensen has been in the horticultural industry for over 20 years. She runs Jensen Nursery and Garden Centre along with her father and sister. Susan is responsible for the landscaping design department as well as the greenhouse production at Jensen’s. Through her management of the greenhouse she has a keen knowledge of annuals, tropicals, and perennials and how to grow them and combine them to make stunning container and garden displays. She has a degree in Horticulture from the University of Guelph.


Past 2013 Talks

JJudy Schwartzudy Schwartz
Sewing Seeds at Home

Judy Schwartz Lives in East Fort Garry, a second Winnipeg location for her. In both home sites the lawn gave way to random planting of fruit trees and small fruits, perennials, annuals, vegetables and tropicals. Judy starts seeds indoors yearly and outdoors when weather permits. Judy was born in Oxford County Ontario and began assisting her mother and grandmother in weeding, picking and canning the produce of their garden. She has learned many things about seed starting which she will share this evening. Judy is the acting Vice-President and the bookkeeper for Friends of Gardens Manitoba.


John RempelJohn Rempel
Growing Lilies - It's Easy!

John Rempel retired from a long career in telecommunications. He has lived and gardened in Charleswood for 45 years. He is a life member of the Charleswood Garden Club and past president of the Manitoba Regional Lily society. Rempel has grown lilies for the last 20 years and has been hybridizing them for the last 12 years. His aim is to increase the gene pool of trumpet and orientpet lilies hardy to Zone 3. He is fascinated with the variations one can make from a select group of lilies. This talk will be interesting to those who would like to know the fundamentals of plant breeding.

Colleen ZachariasColleen Zacharias
Phlox: Annual and Perennial

Colleen Zacharias is a Master Gardener and Certified Prairie Horticulturalist. She is Co-chair of The Prairie Garden, Manitoba Master Gardener Association, and Gardening Saturday Tradeshow and is the gardening columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press. This evening Colleen will be discussing the many Phlox varieties available for Prairie Gardens, new perennials for summer bloom and annuals that make great additions to containers or fillers in flower beds.

John RempelProfessor Terry Galloway
Insects That Bite Gardeners

Terry Galloway has worked as veterinary and wildlife entomologist in the Department of Entomology at the University of Manitoba since 1973. He has studied different groups of biting arthropods including mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-ums, horseflies and deer flies, stable flies, louse flies swallow bugs , bed bugs, fleas, lice, ticks and mites. He has a wealth of first-hand experience with how they affect people. Terry will help us understand about the life of these annoying creatures, enough, hopefully, for you to appreciate their true beauty when you next encounter them in your garden.

John RempelCarla Hrycna
Fairy Gardens

Carla Hrycyna is president and co-owner of St. Mary’s Nursery and Garden Centre Ltd. in Winnipeg. Carla made a career shift twenty years ago into in the garden centre industry where she worked through the ranks from greenhouse grower, manager and finally to co-owner in 2007. Carla has a zeal for designing landscapes, growing plants and helping others create a beautiful environment. She believes creativity begins at the garden centre and carries into the customer’s home and garden for show pieces of garden, home and style.

Fairy Gardening is a current gardening project that is catching people’s interest – Carla will show how to design a tiny landscape fit for fairy dwellers. She will suggest interesting containers and found items, as well as the plants, that would make a perfect miniature dwelling place for little folk. It will be fun and inspiring to hear about.


Sandy Venton
Excitement About Peonies in 2013

John RempelCome and take a new look at peonies with Sandy. She will talk about old favourite peonies from decades ago and enlighten us on fern, tree and Itoh peonies, all less known to Manitoba gardeners than those old familiar beauties. We can enjoy them in our Prairie gardens. Remember that fall is the appropriate time to transplant peonies so Sandra will discuss transplanting and care just in time to prepare for that task.

Sandy Venton is a gardener of many talents, one whose taste, talent and perseverance nurtures many different perennials, shrubs and trees. At one time she cared for as many as 135 roses of all classes. She grows dozens of hosta in shady corners, treasures hellebores and heuchera, and has a passion for lilies, particularly martegons. Sandy loves the many types of peony and grows many of them. Sandy is the Vice President-Canada for the North American Lily Society, Secretary for the Manitoba Regional Lily Society, an qualified lily judge and lily show Chairperson.

Susanne Olver
Manitoba Gardens in the 19th Century

Susanne trained as a horticulturist in Frankfurt, Germany, and studied Horticulture at the University of Guelph, Ontario. She worked for thirty years at the University of Manitoba as supervisor of the Department of Botany greenhouses. Susanne lectured across Manitoba and for Continuing Education, U of M, and was a frequent guest on CBC Radio. Her garden has always been home to her prize winning German Shepherd dogs.

Suzanne has been an active member of The Prairie Garden since 1976 and ran her own home plant care business for a number of years. She enjoys helping people find ways to maintain indoor gardens or houseplants.

Susanne will focus on the development of gardening in Winnipeg and St. Boniface during the 19th century. Of special interest are the settlers gardens in places like Lower Fort Garry, Point Douglas, and rural areas.

From the Archives of the Provincial House of the grey nuns of Red River there were very early reports and Susanne will tell about four sisters gardening there.

Early Mennonite settlements relied on large gardens and included them in a special way in their 'derp' or village.

She will tell about an early Free Press reporter rambling with horse and buggy through orchards and gardens in what are now St James, Silver Heights and Headingley in 1876.

And who could imagine the spectacular first flower show in 1887 with bands and visiting princes, or the beginning of our Winnipeg Parks with early legislation for large and small urban parks.


John RempelLorne Heshka
Growing Tropical Orchids

At this talk, Lorne will discuss the basics of growing tropical orchids in a home setting. Both indoor and outdoor gardeners will enjoy Lorne’s experience with these tropical beauties.

Lorne Heshka was born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, and studied agriculture at the University of Manitoba. In 1989 he was introduced to orchids while on a United Nations assignment in Thailand and his present orchid collection started with orchids given to him at that time. Knowing little about growing orchids, he joined the Manitoba Orchid Society to learn how to grow these fascinating plants. This hobby has become a passion and several of his orchids have received awards for cultural merit by the American Orchid Society. He has served as President of the Manitoba Orchid Society as well as Vice-President of the Canadian Orchid Congress. A published author and photographer, Lorne has written articles on orchids, illustrated with photographs for a number of publications.



2012 Presentations

Susan LeBlancSusan Le Blanc
It All Begins with a Seed:
Planting Garden Seeds

A long time gardening enthusiast, Susan Le Blanc is taking the Master Gardener’s course and is active in both the Manitoba Regional Lily Society and the Friends of Gardens Manitoba. She enjoys floral design work, bird watching and seed collecting. Her gardens are a mixture of new cultivars, seed-grown plants, trees and vegetables in the summer.


Susan LeBlancSandra Eggertson
Iris Confidential:  Secrets to Eight weeks of Blooming Iris

An avid gardener, Sandra is the owner of “Merlebleu” an acreage just north of Winnipeg. Sandra, a member of the Can West Iris Society, grows over 500 different named cultivars of iris, and has obtained display garden status from the Median Iris Society, the Historic Iris Preservation Society and the Dwarf Iris Society.  Her gardens consist of hundreds of lilies, daylilies, hosta and other perennials, interplanted in various vignettes.  She also grows a large vegetable crop in 17 raised beds.  Look for  www.merlebleu.net.

Sandra EggertsonAndy Tekauz
The Fungi are Ready to Attack – Yes, in Your Garden!

Andy Tekauz is a Plant Pathologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Cereal Research Centre in Winnipeg MB, where his work focuses on managing diseases of cereal crops on the prairies. For his talk, he will introduce you to the world of fungi, some of which are beneficial, but others are a menace both in agriculture and to the plants in your garden.


Bonnie TullochJennifer Bishop
Hosta the Wonder Plant

Jennifer Bishop gardens in North Kildonan where she reigns over a garden packed with perennials. Jennifer is a member of the American Hosta Society, the American Hemerocallis Society, the CanWest Iris Society, and the Manitoba Regional Lily Society. She grows Lilies – especially Martegons, Hosta, Thalictrum, and Verbascum - and loves them all. Which is her favourite? The one she is looking at. She’s a passionate gardener!

Jennifer will show pictures of the most exciting hostas and talk about growing this great plant.


Bonnie TullochBonnie Tulloch
Inspiring Children to Garden

Bonnie began with Assiniboine Park in 2003 and moved into the education department in 2006. While pursuing an Honours degree in Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba, Bonnie enjoyed fulfilling a variety of passions including interior design, art history and women’s studies. Bonnie’s extensive horticultural experience comes from many years of gardening, as a manager at Shelmerdine Nurseries and as associate editor of the Prairie Garden annual book. She furthered her horticultural education through the University Of Guelph and Assiniboine Community College.


Getty StewartGetty Stewart
Picking, Preparing and Enjoying Prairie Fruit

Professional Home Economist, author and gardener, Getty Stewart loves growing, picking, preserving and, especially, eating local fruits and veggies. In 2010, after witnessing surplus fruit in Winnipeg backyards wasting away, she started Fruit Share – a volunteer organization that harvests and shares surplus fruit. In Spring 2012, she launched Prairie Fruit Cookbook: The Essential Guide for Picking, Preserving and Preparing Fruit to further help educate people on how to harvest, store, preserve, use and share prairie fruit. Getty and her kids grow veggies on a community plot along the banks of the Red River and are slowly converting their small front yard into a mini-orchard.


Bonnie TullochEd Czarnecki
Small bulbs for
Fall Planting

Ed Czarnecki, (BSA, MSc) retired as a cereal breeder from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Some of his interests include perennial hybridizing, gardening, travelling, photography and study of native flora.


Bonnie TullochFran Wershler & Sandy Venton
A Visit to Foggy Bottom &
Hidcote Gardens, England

In 2011 Sandy Venton and Fran Wershler circled England visiting famous gardens. Join them to see a presentation of highlights from that trip.

Fran Wershler is a former Editor of The Prairie Garden. Her gardening interests have included roses, hostas and lilies. She is involved with horticultural groups such as the St. James Horticultural Society, the Manitoba Regional and the North American Lily Societies. Touring gardens away from home is one of her fascinations.

Sandy Venton has been gardening for many years and Martagon lilies are her passion. She is Canadian Vice President of the North American Lily Society and Secretary for the Manitoba Regional Lily Society, a lily judge and 2012 show chair for the North American Lily Society show and convention held in Winnipeg. She lives to garden.

2011 Gardening Talks

Bonnie batchelorAfrican Violets

This was the ninth and last for 2011 installment in McNally Robinson Booksellers and the Prairie Garden Committee’s series of Gardening Information Talks, taking place the last Wednesday of each month.

Bonnie Batchelor has been President of the Winnipeg African Violet Society for the last 10 years. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the St. James Horticultural Society. Bonnie has had an interest in anything flower related since she was a small child helping her grandmother plant gladioli and dahlias. Even as she travelled from place to place as a military wife she always managed have houseplants and small flower beds. Now that her family is permanently landed in Winnipeg Bonnie has planted flower beds to her heart’s content and filled her house with African violets.

Bonnie will be speaking about ways to grow and care for African violets, giving easy methods for the propagation and nurture of small plants and describing the fascination many people have for this intriguing and familiar plant.

Susanne Olver Indoor Plants

Susanne Olver, holds an Ontario Diploma of Horticulture from the University of Guelph, and is a member of the Order of St. John Ambulance. Trained as a horticulturist in Frankfurt, Germany, Susanne worked for 30 years at the University of Manitoba as a supervisor of the Department of Botany greenhouses. She has lectured across Manitoba, for Continuing Education at the University of Manitoba and was a frequent guest of CBC Information Radio. Her garden is also home to her prize winning German Shepherd dogs. She has run her own home plant care business since retiring from the university. Susanne has been an active member of The Prairie Garden since 1976.


Sandy Venton"Think About Lilies"

Sandy Venton has been gardening for over 50 years. Martagon lilies are her passion. She is the vice president of the North American Lily Society and secretary of the Manitoba Regional Lily Society, a show organizer and a lily judge. Sandy presides over a garden in St. James that is crammed full of martegon lilies. She lives to garden.

As fall is the time to buy and plant lilies of all kinds Sandy will discuss where to get bulbs and how to plant and grow them.


Choosing Perennials and Fall Containers

Bonnie TullochBonnie Tulloch comes to the Assiniboine Park Conservatory (APC) Park Programming department from the Conservatory, where she spent four years as an education coordinator.    What Bonnie loves most about her job is “watching the children’s faces light up with enthusiasm as they touch red wiggler worms, make edible dirt, or learn for the first time about the fascinating diversity of plant life all around us”. While pursuing an Honours degree in Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba, Bonnie enjoyed fulfilling a variety of passions including Interior Design, Art History and Women’s Studies.  Bonnie’s extensive horticultural knowledge comes from years of gardening and working in the horticultural industry as department manager and buyer.  She furthered her horticultural education through distance education courses from the University Of Guelph and Assiniboine Community College.   Bonnie strives to stay current in the field of horticulture and is an associate editor of the Prairie Garden Committee.


Colleen Zacharais Master Gardener Program for Winnipeg & Manitoba

Colleen Zacharias is a Master Gardener and will complete the Prairie Horticulture Certificate Program, U of M, in 2011. She is President of the Friends of the Assiniboine Park Conservatory, Chair of Gardening Saturday, and Co-Chair of The Prairie Garden, Western Canada's only gardening annual since 1937. Colleen also solicits and edits articles from local gardening experts for a weekly gardening column that appears in the Free Press Homes section. Colleen has been actively involved in successfully advocating for a locally delivered Master Gardener program and is currently working toward the creation of a Manitoba Master Gardener Association.


Darlene McPherson Gardening with Arthritis

Darlene McPherson is an avid butterfly gardener in St. James who has gardened over 20 years with rheumatoid arthritis. She is a volunteer Arthritis Self Management Leader for the Arthritis Society. The evening’s presentation focused on tips, strategies and getting the most from your gardening tools while promoting more gain and less pain in the garden.

Fran Wershler Growing Roses

Fran Wershler was the Editor of The Prairie Garden for 13 years, before “retiring” to Associate Editor status in 2002. Her winning smile and confident manner speak to the joy she brings to the topic of gardening. Within the wide-ranging hobby of gardening, Fran concentrates on roses and lilies. A graduate of the Home Economics Faculty of the University of Manitoba, she worked for many years as a home economist for the Manitoba Department of Agriculture.

Her variety of skills have made Fran a sought after judge of horticulture, food and clothing at summer fairs. She is involved with horticultural groups and activities in the St. James area of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she gardens with her husband Darcy. She is a regular contributor to The Prairie Garden and an avid gardener.


Carla Hrycyna New Plants for 2011

Carla Hrycyna was Guest editor for the Annuals & Biennials 2010 Prairie Garden. Her expertise on this topic provided down to earth help to new and the experienced gardeners. This issue featured new and improved plants for prairie gardens in informative articles and 32 pages of colour. Carla is president and co-owner of St. Mary’s Nursery & Garden Centre Ltd. in Winnipeg. Her seventeen years of retail greenhouse management blends nicely with her natural flair for landscape design. Carla is the primary grower for St. Mary’s Nursery. She has been with the Prairie Garden Committee since 2008. Carla was nominated for Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, 2010 award.


Roger BrownGeneral Gardening Tips

Roger Brown has recently left the Prairie Garden Committee, but still attends some meetings. He is one of its pioneers having been with it since the 1970’s. Born in Britain, Roger comes from a heritage of garden experts. He is a knowledgeable plantsman and landscape designer. While being modest, he cheerfully admits to his 30 year tenure as Superintendent of Government Grounds for the Province of Manitoba. Yes, he supervised the care and development of Manitoba’s beautiful and extensive Legislative grounds in downtown Winnipeg. During his career, he was simultaneously involved in various leadership roles with both The Prairie Garden publication and the Manitoba Horticultural Association. He is involved with these two organizations to this day. Roger has also been involved in leading garden tours, is a personable speaker, and is knowledgeable about existing horticultural organizations and groups on the Prairies.


The Prairie Garden Committee and McNally Robinson Booksellers are presenting a series of

Gardening Information Talks
taking place the last Wednesday of each month at
7:30 p.m.
in the Travel Alcove of McNally Robinson Booksellers Grant Park, 1120 Grant Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba.

McNally Robinson Booksellers




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