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MHS Resources: The Prairie Garden

Link to:
Chairs | Editors | Themes and Guest Editors | Sources

The Prairie Garden is a non-profit, annual publication dedicated to the advancement of horticulture in the northern Prairies. It is a digest-sized (about 5.5 by 8.5 inches), soft-covered book that has been published by a Winnipeg-based volunteer committee since 1937.

The Prairie Garden began as the Annual Report of the Winnipeg Horticultural Society and included not only the society’s annual reports, but also informative articles by prominent local horticulturists. Except during the war years 1940, 1943, and 1944, it appeared under the title The Winnipeg Flower Garden from 1937 to 1954 and was free to the society’s members when they paid their annual membership. Its unique focus on gardening under the challenging conditions of the northern Prairies made it popular far beyond Winnipeg. Reflecting its ever-expanding readership, the 1955 edition was renamed The Flower Garden. Two years later, it was renamed again: from the 1957 edition on, it has been called The Prairie Garden.

This reinvention as a regional publication coincides with the tenure of its first official editor Gladwyn Switzer “Glad” Reycraft. A long-time director of the Winnipeg Horticultural Society, he became chairman of the Flower Garden and then Prairie Garden Committee from 1955 to 1961, in effect the editor, a title expressly ascribed to him in the editions from 1962 to 1973.

The book continued to be published under the auspices of the Winnipeg Horticultural Society until 1999-2000, when the society was disbanded and the Prairie Garden Committee became an independent non-profit. Since 2020, the committee has been officially incorporated as TPG Publications Inc.

The hundreds of experts who have written for The Prairie Garden are a virtual Who’s Who of prairie horticulture: for example, Frank Leith Skinner, Henry Heard Marshall, John Walker, Louis Lenz, and Lynn Collicutt; more recently Wilbert Ronald, Sara Williams, Kevin Twomey, and Colleen Zacharias, to name just a few. Past contributors have included professional plant developers and scientists associated with institutions like the Morden Research Station, nurseries, and universities. Others have been landscape designers, horticultural educators, and garden journalists, as well as experienced amateurs and, of course, members of the committee. For a listing by subject of all the articles to date with their authors and the issues and page numbers where they appear, please refer to the Prairie Garden Index.

The format of the book has changed over time. Colour photos first appeared in 1961, and starting in 1974, a colour section on a special topic became a popular feature. A portion of the articles were also chosen to reflect that theme. In 1987, Lynn Collicutt was the first to be invited to serve as a guest editor to help assemble material on that year’s theme, Perennials for the Prairies. The practice continued for most issues. The books now featured a 16-page colour insert that illustrated both the theme articles and the general gardening articles. In 2012, with guest editor Rick Durand for the theme Trees, The Prairie Garden produced its first edition with colour photos throughout.

Chairs (Prairie Garden Committee)

Period

Chair

1959-1969

Gladwyn Switzer “Glad” Reycraft (1905-1986)

1970-1980

Peter Jacob “Potato Pete” Peters (1914-2012)

1981-1989

Louis Lenz

1990-1993

Gary Platford
Charles Thomsen

1994-2002

Gary Platford

2003-2008

Gary Platford
Roger Brown

2009

Gary Platford

2010-2015

Ed Czarnecki
Colleen Zacharias

2016

Ed Czarnecki

2017

Sandra Venton

2018

Linda Dietrick

2019-present

Ian Wise

Editors (by Edition Year)

Period

Editor

1955-1973

Gladwyn Switzer “Glad” Reycraft (1905-1986)

1974-1981

Phyllis Thomson-McGrath

1982-1989

Diane Wreford

1990-2002

Frances Wershler

2003

Yvonne Dean

2004-2007

Audrey Law Hosegood

2008-2016

Richard Denesiuk

2017

David Hanson (guest editor)

2018

Lynsey Sable

2019-2021

Linda Dietrick

2021-present

Dorothy Dobbie

Themes and Guest Editors

Year

Theme

Guest Editor

1987

Perennials for the Prairies

Lynn Collicutt

1988

Gardening Indoors

 

1989

The Best of Fifty Years of Prairie Gardening

 

1990

Bulbs and Perennials, Lilies

Wilbert G. Ronald

1991

The Sustainable Landscape

JoAnn Joyce

1992

Gardening Oddities

 

1993

Herbs

Lorraine Loptson

1994

Xeriscaping – Gardening in Dry Conditions

Sara Williams

1995

Accessible Gardening

Phil Graham

1996

New Themes in Prairie Landscapes

 

1997

Propagation

 

1998

Prairie Trees

Rick Durand

1999

Perennials

Brian Duncan

2000

Herbs

David Hanson

2001

Container Gardening

Christopher Tarrant

2002

Landscape Design

Roger Brown

2003

Themes & Extremes

Linda Stilkowski

2004

Pleasing Prairie Places

Bob Golinoski

2005

Lilies

Jennifer Bishop
Barbara Jean Jackson

2006

Myth, Magic & Meditation

Stefan Fediuk

2007

The Edible Landscape

Jim Kohut

2008

Roses

Paul Olsen

2009

Deciduous Shrubs

Philip Ronald

2010

Annuals & Biennials

Carla Hrycyna

2011

Healthy Gardening

 

2012

Trees

Rick Durand

2013

Perennials

Jane Reksten

2014

75th Edition - Gardens

 

2015

Grasses & Succulents

Tammy Jensen

2016

Fruit & Berries

Bob Bors

2017

Herbs & Spices

David Hanson

2018

Shade

 

2019

Growing Food

Tiffany Grenkow

2020

Inspired by Nature

Maureen Krauss

2011

Flowering Shrubs, with a Special Feature on Roses

Philip Ronald

See also:

World-Famous Plants from Manitoba and the Breeders Behind Them by Linda Dietrick
Prairie History, Number 3, Fall 2020

The Prairie Garden

Sources:

This page was prepared by Linda Dietrick and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 April 2021

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