Perhaps because of the challenges of gardening on the Canadian Prairies with its short growing season and potential for extreme cold snaps, there is a fine tradition among gardeners in the Prairie provinces and the Northern Great Plains states to share knowledge and ideas. This is evidenced by the annual release of The Prairie Garden, a non-profit publication “dedicated to the advancement of horticulture in the northern Prairies.” The 2021 edition of The Prairie Garden focuses on flowering shrubs, especially roses.
The Prairie Garden is a digest-sized, soft-covered book published annually by a volunteer committee consisting of about a dozen members, with assignments organized by the editor and an annual guest editor. Started in 1956 as a standing committee of the Winnipeg Horticultural Society, the project has long extended across all the prairie provinces.
The last edition to focus on shrubs was its 2009 edition, but hundreds of new flowering shrub cultivars have been introduced, many of which are well suited to prairie gardens. The previous edition that focused on roses was in 2008, but since then new hardy roses such as the Canadian Artists and 49th Parallel Series have come on the market.
Plant developers play a major role in breeding, selecting and trialling all kinds of hardy flowering shrubs for the prairie landscape. Philip Ronald , the 2021 guest editor, was raised in the Canadian Prairies and educated in plant breeding and horticulture at the University of Manitoba and the University of Saskatchewan. He currently devotes his time to teaching ornamental horticulture at the University of Manitoba, managing Riverbend Orchards, and providing support to the research and marketing programs at Jeffries Nurseries.
Linda Dietrick, the 2021 editor, retired in 2016 as a professor of German language and literature at the University of Winnipeg, and is a Master Gardener who has gardened for more than 30 years.
Get the 2021 Prairie Garden
The Prairie Garden is published by The Prairie Garden Committee; $17.95. It will be available in garden centres and book stores across the prairies as well as from bookseller McNallyRobinson.com where there is an online launch on Nov. 18.
Win a copy of the 2021 edition of The Prairie Garden
We’ve arranged for one copy to be mailed to the winner of a random draw. To enter the draw, provide your name and email below.