Manitoba’s Prairie Garden book series is a must-have
If it plays well in Winnipeg, it’ll be a hit in Fargo, and all points within planting distance.
When gardeners aren’t busy gardening, we’re usually plotting and planning our next moves. We mark up our new seed catalogs, circling the must-haves, and soak up knowledge and inspiration from books, magazines and gardening shows.
No matter what aspect of gardening excites you, a dependable resource is worth its weight in chlorophyll. "The Prairie Garden" book series, originating in Manitoba, Canada, is a must-have for gardeners in the Upper Midwest. If it plays well in Winnipeg, it’ll be a hit in Fargo, and all points within planting distance.
I’ve long valued horticultural research originating in the prairie provinces of Canada, because it partners perfectly with gardening in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. There might be a national boundary line dividing the two countries, but the growing conditions extend similarly through the entire region, and the climate doesn’t recognize a national dividing line. If we formed a new nation based on gardening conditions, we could lump most of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba and Saskatchewan into one big botanical garden.
My favorite winter-hardy roses are an example of the valuable shared technology. My best-performing roses were all developed through Canadian research and breeding, including Morden Sunrise, Campfire, Canada Blooms, Morden Blush, William Baffin, and the list goes on.
That’s why I value Manitoba’s "The Prairie Garden" book series. It’s a nonprofit annual publication dedicated to the advancement of horticulture in the northern prairies. It’s a digest-sized paperback that’s been published by a Winnipeg based volunteer committee since 1937.
Each yearly edition of The Prairie Garden is devoted to a particular aspect of horticulture. For example, the 2022 edition was “Smaller Spaces.” 2021 “Flowering Shrubs,” 2018 “Shade,” 2016 “Fruits and Berries,” 2015 “Grasses and Succulents,” 2013 “Perennials,” 2007 “The Edible Landscape,” About half of each digest is devoted to a yearly focus topic, and the book’s other half offers a wide variety of timely topics.
The 2023 edition of "The Prairie Garden" is hot off the press, entitled “Climate-Aware Gardening.” From the website’s description, “As gardeners, we care. We care for our bountiful vegetable gardens, our beautiful perennial flower beds, and the fruit bushes and trees in our region.
“Because we care, we need to ask ourselves what exactly is climate change? How will this affect my gardening practices? There is much that home gardeners can do to adapt their gardening practices in the face of a changing climate. Read about the use of native and drought-resistant plants, water management; composting, and the importance of healthy soil. Discover how to reduce your carbon footprint by using less plastic, planting more trees and using mulch.”
As the digest says, “Whether you are a newcomer or a veteran gardener, there are articles of general interest to all who garden in our short-season planting zones.”
Contained in the 2023 digest “Climate-Aware Gardening” are 32 climate-related articles including “Imagining the future prairie climate,” “How to replace a lawn with food,” “How to grow lettuce in a milk jug,” “Creating healthy soils,” “Choosing perennials for a new reality,” “Growing tomatoes in nursery pots,” and “Turn your yard into a climate change friendly oasis,” just to name a few.
Also contained within are 22 general gardening topics such as “How to create a beautiful border,” “Preparing trees and shrubs for winter,” “Underused perennial winners,” “Growing giant vegetables,” “Irises; rainbows of the early summer garden,” “Winter damage to evergreen trees” any many more.
Each yearly digest contains an array of short, easy-to-read essay-type articles chock-full of practical yard and garden tips, specially suited for the Upper Midwest states and the prairie provinces of Canada.
For more information, including price and ordering details, visit their website: https://www.theprairiegarden.ca/ . Besides the new 2023 “Climate-Aware Gardening, the site lists previous years’ editions, most of which can still be ordered. I’ve got 16 different editions myself, and I consider these among the most valuable resources in my gardening book collection.