Gift books to keep your gardener in our zone

It is the season of giving which means it is time to purchase presents for the gardeners in your life. There isn’t a shortage of ideas or selection when it comes to gardening.

It is the season of giving which means it is time to purchase presents for the gardeners in your life. There isn’t a shortage of ideas or selection when it comes to gardening.

Books and magazines are presents that can be enjoyed regardless of the weather.

Each year, more gardening books are on the market. Some are variations of old ideas and give a list of favorite plants containing new and improved cultivars. When purchasing one of these books make sure that most of the plants contained in the books are hardy to Zone 3. Central Alberta gardeners can grow some zone 4 material if is in a warm corner of the yard.

A must have for people that garden in containers is Gardening with Colour written by Rob Sproule and Published by Lone Pine. Rob one of the owners of Salisbury Greenhouses in Edmonton has compiled a book that contains plans and pictures of over 60 different designs of container gardens. It also includes information on soil, fertilizer and the care of containers.

For those who have never planted a vegetable garden and want to, Lone Pine published a book by Laura Peters called Vegetable Gardening for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This book covers the basics and is a good starting place.

Perennials for the Prairies by Edgar Toop and Sara Williams remains one of the best perennial book on the market.

Sara and Hugh were very prolific last year and also have published Best Trees and Shrubs for the Prairies, Best vines and Groundcovers for the Prairies along with Gardening, Naturally: a Chemical Free Handbook. All of these books offer practical information.

Sara Williams has authored and co-authored a number of gardening books.

She spent many years working for the University of Saskatchewan’s extension services and was the original editor of there magazine The Gardener for the Prairies.

Hugh Skinner is the son of one of the original Prairie Plantsmen “Frank Skinner” Hugh works to maintain his father’s legacy.

Other reading material of interest is gardening magazines. Once again, look past the title and make sure that the information pertains to Alberta or Prairie Gardens.

The Gardener for the Prairies magazine is published four times a year in Saskatoon. This magazine is known for its coverage of horticultural topics.

Alberta Gardening Living is primarily written by the Dobbie family who also write and publish Manitoba Gardener Living and Ontario Gardener Living . All there magazines contain some practical information along with a feature beautiful garden. While the name of the magazine says Alberta not all the plants mentioned in the articles thrive in a zone 2 or 3 climate.

Canadian Gardening Magazine is the oldest gardening magazine that is sold across Canada. The magazine contains wonderful photography and a mixture of information for every climate.

Gardens West – Prairies and Northern BC has practical information that is aimed at the cooler climate. Be sure to purchase this one as opposed to the ones for Ontario or the West coast.

There will be a cross over of articles but most will contain useful information. This magazine also has spectacular photography to inspire every gardener.

A new garden magazine on the market is Garden Making. While it makes an attempt to cover all of Canada, it is published in the east. Most of its articles are aimed for a climate that is not the same as the one in Central Alberta.

Gardeners’ learn and are inspired by the written word as well as pictures and diagrams. Choose a book or magazine that will interest and inspire the gardener in your life.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at and

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