Canada's 150th, Man­i­toba Gar­dener's 20th year We cel­e­brate!

Manitoba Gardener Magazine - - NEWS -

It was 1997 when I first de­cided to cre­ate Man­i­toba Gar­dener magazine. The reason was sim­ple. There was sim­ply no in­for­ma­tion about lo­cal gar­den­ing to be had at the book­stands and I was a novice gar­dener, ea­ger to learn about what was be­com­ing a pas­sion­ate in­ter­est.

I didn’t know then about the Prairie Gar­dener, the lit­tle digest-sized gar­den­ing book that had been around for years — if you knew where to look — and all I could find, and rarely at that, was Cana­dian Gar­den­ing which seemed to be all about Toronto. There was also Van­cou­ver-based Gar­dens West, which be­came my model as I de­vel­oped our own pub­li­ca­tion for the lo­cal gar­dener launched in 1998. Both th­ese other mag­a­zines have folded now and we find our­selves alone in the field (no pun in­tended).

Two years later, in 2000, we cre­ated On­tario Gar­dener and two years after that we came out with Al­berta Gar­dener, both of them still ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing lo­cal in­sight into the joys of gar­den­ing in each re­gion.

When we launched Man­i­toba Gar­dener at the Home and Gar­den show in March 1998 (we sold 3,000 sub­scrip­tions in the first three months), it was a vastly dif­fer­ent world from the one we now live in. The gar­den cen­tres were small and the plants were mostly an­nu­als done up in six- and even nine-packs of seedlings. There were very few peren­nial va­ri­eties — even hostas were con­sid­ered ex­otics and some peo­ple won­dered why any­one would want to plant those tire­some, green things. I re­call meet­ing a woman from On­tario at Shelmer­dine, then just a small store on Roblin Blvd., where she was be­moan­ing all the lovely va­ri­eties she had left be­hind. Clema­tis was just a word hardly any­one knew how to pro­nounce (was is clem’- a- tis or cle-mat’-us?) and there was one pur­ple va­ri­ety avail­able. Daylilies were all or­ange and find­ing astilbe was con­sid­ered a coup. As for daf­fodils — why, they weren’t hardy here, were they?

Peo­ple planted other bulbs — dahlias and glad­i­ola were im­por­tant. We knew about canna from civic plant­ings. We were just learn­ing about the tiny scilla and the lovely grape hy­acinth. We dug up the ten­der bulbs and corms and stored them care­fully for the win­ter. Every year brought some­thing new and ex­cit­ing to our lo­cal stores.

We couldn’t wait for seeds to come in each fall. I planted the lovely four o’clocks and pow­der puff asters and State Fair zin­nias, and of course, I al­ways had bach­e­lor but­tons and cos­mos. My bor­ders were neat with sweet alyssum sur­round­ing hot­house im­pa­tiens in the shady ar­eas.

We had an editorial board back then that in­cluded peo­ple like Wendy Mackie, Dr. Wil­bert Ronald, Jan Ped­er­sen, Prof. Char­lie Thom­sen, Prof. Ted McLaugh­lin and Mike Allen, among oth­ers who joined over the years. Joan Co­hen, who is still with us, was our tire­less ed­i­tor. Su­san Mor­gan was our graphic de­signer. Th­ese folks were in­valu­able in pro­vid­ing hard work, ex­per­tise and ideas.

John and Ju­dith Per­rin were our part­ners then and they spent count­less hours dili­gently pro­mot­ing the magazine and help­ing with all the end­less de­tail magazine pub­lish­ing takes. Along the way, Pro­lific Graph­ics be­came an eq­uity part­ner and Al Alex- an­druk and Tom Wil­ton have been tremen­dous as­so­ciates and sup­ports.

I also want to thank all my many guests and lis­ten­ers on my weekly radio show on CJOB. We have been on the air since 2001, and every show has been a spe­cial thrill as I learn from my lis­ten­ers and my guests alike. Kevin Twomey de­serves a bow for his will­ing­ness to fill in, some­times at short no­tice.

So here we are, about to cel­e­brate Canada’s 150th birth­day. We are thrilled to be able to present this spe­cial edi­tion to hon­our our na­tion and our prov­ince’s his­tory in the gar­den. We have tried to men­tion as many of our pi­o­neer gar­den­ers and gar­dens as pos­si­ble. If we have in­ad­ver­tently left a sig­nif­i­cant player out, please let us know be­cause we plan to do a re­turn edi­tion next fall, look­ing to­ward the next 150 years. Dorothy Dob­bie

Founder and Pres­i­dent Pe­ga­sus Pub­li­ca­tions Inc.

P.S. don’t for­get to en­ter the gar­den con­test.

Our first is­sue of the Man­i­toba Gar­dener.

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