THE PRAIRIE GARDEN HISTORY & COMMITTEE
A non-profit publication dedicated to the advancement of horticulture in the Prairie Provinces
The Prairie Garden is a digest sized, soft-covered book published annually by a volunteer committee consisting of about
15-20 members. The work is organized by
the Editor and an annual Guest Editor. Each year, a theme is selected from which a large portion of the articles follow. The theme articles are the responsibility of the Guest Editor, who is chosen because of his or her knowledge in the
chosen subject area. The books are edited in part and as a whole by The Prairie Garden Committee, before being published each year in time for Christmas. Members of the committee often write articles for the book as well as provide images for the 16/32-page colour section aside from their role as Associate Editors. These individuals are what makes this book possible, as are our sponsors, and you, our loyal readership.
The 2014/15 Committee: Co-chairs: Ed Czarnecki & Colleen Zacharias, Guest Editor: Rick Durand, Secretary: Linda Pearn,
Treasurer: Jean Pomo/Dawn Harris (Jean Pomo resigned Aug 1 2014), Editor: Richard Denesiuk. Associate Editors: Colin Briggs, Craig Gillespie, Susanne Olver,
Warren Otto, Linda Pearn, Andy Tekauz, Kevin Twomey, Sandy Venton and
Frances Wershler. Award for Excellence Committee: Reg Curle,
Roger Brown. Regional Representatives: Sara Williams (Grasswood, Saskatchewan), Jane Reksten (Calgary, Alberta) and Melanie Mathieson (Thunder Bay, Ontario).
Click here to read an article about The
Prairie Garden Committee
from the Winnipeg Free Press.
Some of the committee at the 2009 Award for Excellence
lunch: (l-r) Ed Czarnecki, Jean Pomo, Colleen Zacharias, (award recipients: Ken Ivey & Brenda Cameron), Roger Brown, Reg Curle, (sitting) Susanne Olver & Linda Pearn.
From left: Co-chairs Ed Czarnecki and Colleen Zacharias, Susanne Olver, Sandy Venton, Richard Denesiuk, Jean Pomo, Fran Wershler, Carla Hrycyna and Valerie Denesiuk
(photo Boris Minkevich - Winnipeg Free Press)
The 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.
The Prairie Garden Committee
Co-Chairs: Colleen Zacharias
Past President of the Friends of Gardens Manitoba. Serving as Chair of Gardening Saturday, Co-chair of the Manitoba Master Gardener Association and has a weekly gardening column in the Winnipeg Free Press. Colleen resigned in the fall of 2014, 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.
Linda Pearn: Secretary, and Chair of The Prairie Garden Awards Board. Linda Pearn is retired from Plant Science Dept,
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.
Dawn Harris: Treasurer, Sales and Distribution.
Richard Denesiuk, Editor
Richard is the latest The Prairie Garden's editor starting in March, 2007. He brings organizational and computer skills to the committee used to collect and manage the raw materials to produce next year's The Prairie Garden. Raised in Winnipeg, he has worked with Creative Retirement Manitoba for 30 years as their Information Systems manager. He enjoys gardening, photography, computers and music in Winnipeg, MB.
Frances A. Wershler, Editor 1990 to 2002 issues
Fran 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.
Susanne Olver, Horticulturist
Ontario Diploma of Horticulture, University of Guelph, and 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 and for Continuing Education U of M and was a frequent guest of CBC Information Radio. Other interests include reading, training, and showing prize winning German Shepherd dogs, therapy dog work, and music. Suzanne has been an active member of The Prairie Garden since 1976.
Andy Tekauz. Andy is a Research Scientist - Plant Pathologist of Crop Production Systems (Sustainable Production Systems) with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Plant Science, University of Manitoba. Andy has several research publications. His expertise is in disease surveys, chemical control, cultivar evaluation ,epidemiology, fusarium, fusarium head blight, biological control, oats, cereal leaf diseases, wheat, disease resistance, barley and plant diseases.
Sandy Venton has been gardening for over 50 years. Martagon lilies are her passion. She is the secretary of the North American Lily Society and the Manitoba Regional Lily Society, a lily judge, and is studying to be a Master Gardener. She lives to garden.
Warren Otto has been involved in a number of capacities related to horticulture education for almost 20 years. He served as administrator of the Prairie Horticulture Certificate at the University of Manitoba from 1997 until 2010, and currently teaches Botanical Latin for the Master Gardener Program at Assiniboine Community College. When not engaged in activities related to his children, or on the home front, he is currently taking a sabbatical to pursue a Master of Arts in Military History.
Jeannie Gilbert is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba. She studies the epidemiology of fusarium head blight (FHB) and evaluates wheat lines and germplasm for reaction to FHB and leaf spot diseases. She has several research publications.
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 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.
Carla Zelmer is a Biology Instructor and Greenhouse Manager for the Dept. of Biological Sciences at the U of M. She has written many research articles, teaches in the Master Gardener Program and enjoys photography. Carla resigned from the committee in the spring of 2014.
Roger Brown, Past Co-Chair
Roger 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.
Jean Pomo: Treasurer, Sales and Distribution. Jean was appointed to The Prairie Garden Committee in December 1996 taking over the duties of Treasurer, Sales and Book Distribution from Roger Brown. Jean resigned from the committee in the summer of 2014