Hugh Knowles (1920—2008)

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - News -

Knowles was an in­ter­na­tion­ally re­spected land­scape ar­chi­tect and hor­ti­cul­tural sci­en­tist at univer­si­ties in On­tario, Al­berta and Michi­gan. Through his long ca­reer, start­ing in 1948, Knowles served as pro­fes­sor in both dis­ci­plines at the Univer­sity of Al­berta as well as hold­ing the post of su­per­in­ten­dent of the univer­sity’s grounds. In that job, as the univer­sity’s pres­i­dent noted, he trans­formed the cam­pus into a ver­i­ta­ble park.

In the hands of this much-hon­oured teacher and prac­ti­tioner, the dis­ci­plines of hor­ti­cul­ture and land­scape ar­chi­tec­ture worked to­gether with some­times stun­ning re­sults. Hugh Knowles’ in­ter­ests were broad. They could span con­cur­rently such widely di­ver­gent sub­jects as tur­f­grass, soft­wood ap­ple cut­tings, eu­ony­mus, ju­nipers and other woody or­na­men­tals.

His book, Woody Or­na­men­tals for the Prairies, went into sev­eral print­ings and was long the de­fin­i­tive work for tree en­thu­si­asts in west­ern Canada, while his work in turf re­search was also widely sought after both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. He re­ceived many hon­ours and ci­ta­tions for his work. In 1984, Knowles was awarded a fel­low­ship in the Cana­dian So­ci­ety of Land­scape Ar­chi­tects and re­ceived the Univer­sity of Al­berta Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion's hon­our award in 2004.

Alex Munro (1895—1966)

Known as “Mr. Gar­dener” for much of his ca­reer, Alex Munro was in­volved with the plan­ning of sev­eral parks, in­clud­ing Memo­rial Park, Ri­ley Park, Reader Rock Gar­den and Glen­more Park. He was a house­hold name, though, thanks to his in­for­ma­tive and pop­u­lar weekly gar­den­ing col­umn in the Cal­gary Her­ald, which he be­gan writ­ing in 1955, and to his 1961 book, the Cal­gary Her­ald Gar­den­ing Book, which sold 18,000 copies.

Alex Munro was a young Scot­tish gar­dener who ar­rived in Al­berta in 1920. He went first to Ed­mon­ton, where he hoped to homestead, but ended up head­ing south after be­ing ad­vised that Cal­gary was a bet­ter place for gar­den­ers.

In 1923 he joined the Cal­gary parks depart­ment, be­came head gar­dener in 1929, and city parks su­per­in­ten­dent 20 years later. When he re­tired in 1960 a plaque was erected in his hon­our at the Sen­a­tor Pa­trick Burns Rock Gar­den.

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