About The Prairie Garden
Since 1937, The Prairie Garden has published an affordable, digest-sized book written and edited by an enthusiastic volunteer committee. Dedicated to the advancement of horticulture in the prairies, The Prairie Garden is proudly published in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA. The Prairie Garden is western Canada's only gardening annual publication.
Each year, The Prairie Garden committee selects a theme and invites a Guest Editor, who is an expert on the theme, to join The Prairie Garden committee. Articles, and photos, submitted by skilled gardeners, horticulturists, academics, and committee members are edited to meet The Prairie Garden style and standards. The Prairie Garden Committee also includes associates who write articles, edit and provide photos and images for the book. Collectively, all of these contributors, are what make The Prairie Garden possible, as are our sponsors, and you, our loyal readership.
Click here to learn more about our history.
The Prairie Garden Committee
My educational and working background is in entomology. Originally from BC, I graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BSC in Biology and a Master Degree in Pest Management. In 1980 I moved to Regina to become the Research Provincial Co-ordinator with Hoechst Canada Inc., and then it was off to Winnipeg in 1988 for 25 years as a research biologist with Agriculture Canada at the Cereal Research Centre in Winnipeg., specializing in host-plant resistance.
Since I can remember, I have been involved in gardening, first on the family hobby farm where there was a small orchard, a bountiful of berries and currants, and a large vegetable garden. While I was not especially enthralled as a boy at doing all the chores needed to grow and pick the garden produce, as I grew older I became to appreciate the lessons I was taught and what it takes to grow your own food. And why food should never be wasted! Gardening on the prairies for the past 40+ years has taught me many different techniques not required in the temperate west coast. Besides growing fruits and vegetables in my backyard in Winnipeg, since my retirement I have had the opportunity to plant dozens of trees and vines every year at a baseball complex in the city. I encourage all our readers, if possible, to seek out any volunteer opportunities that would enable you to add to the biodiversity and abundance of flora in your community.
I have been interested in gardening since about four years of age. I remember waking up very early one summer morning and wandering outside in my pyjamas and bare feet onto the wet, dew-covered grass to see my father occupied with all these wonderful tiny green things in little brown pots. My education carried me onto a totally different path as I ended up becoming a nurse - first working in the ICU and, when I grew tired of working every second weekend, being away from family on many holidays and switching back between day and night shifts, I became an instructor at Winnipeg’s Red River College. I retired after chasing nursing students around the hospital wards for 25 years. My love of gardening sustained me in a career that had many highs but also many lows. That love continues to this day and I still go out many a summer morning in my pyjamas and bare feet to see how all the “tiny green things” in my garden are doing.
Danny Blair is a climatologist and professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg, where he has been teaching courses related to climate and weather since 1987. He is also a co-founder and Co-Director of the university’s Prairie Climate Centre research centre where he leads the team that provides users of the online Climate Atlas of Canada with high quality data and visualizations of climate projections for all parts of Canada.
His main research interest is climate change in Canada and the Prairie Provinces. He also has interest in climate variability, natural hazards, and data visualization.
He received his PhD from the University of Manitoba, and his MSc and BSc degrees from the University of Regina.
He and his partner, Laurel, enjoy gardening, but not weeding.
I was raised on a farm in southwestern Manitoba, where my family grew canola, wheat, and barley for others while relying on its own subsistence gardening; I saw from an early age that growing one's own food is essential to true food security. Growing food and flowers has been a key part of my life ever since, all through university (while earning B.A. and M.A. degrees in English), then in my tiny balcony garden in Toronto,
and today in my backyard in Winnipeg.
A freelance copy editor and proofreader of academic journals and business and financial reports for over 20 years, I recently enrolled in the Prairie Horticulture Certificate and Urban Agriculture Certificate programs (through University of Saskatchewan and Toronto Metropolitan University, respectively), and specialize in soil management, applied botany, and Indigenous food sovereignty. When not studying or working in my garden, I can be found perfecting vegan recipes, reading seed catalogues, and researching old-school food preservation techniques.