Go-to gardening books for the Prairies (and beyond!)

Wow!  It feels like spring has sprung here today!  What little snow we had is melting like crazy and we actually had a bit of rain early this morning.  My co-workers and I spent our coffee break talking about starting some tomato seeds and maybe we were a little sugar-buzzed from the pre-Valentine’s Day chocolates and too much coffee, but things got really cheerful…yeah, we’re definitely excited and inspired.  ;)

We still have about two (conservative estimate) or three (more like it) months to go before we can get out into the garden proper, but it’s nice to haul out the gardening books and catalogues and get cracking on the planning. I have a few gardening books in my personal collection and regulars I borrow from the library that are definite go-to’s for me.  For the most part, these are all “Prairie” books (hardiness zones 2-4; cold, arid climate), but there are a few more generally Canadian and North American ones that I really love as well.

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Lyndon Penner – The Chinook Short Season Yard: Quick and Beautiful in the Calgary Region (also available as The Prairie Short Season Yard)

Lydon Penner – Garden Design for the Short Season Yard

Dawn Vaessen – Perfect Perennials for the Prairie Gardener (See my review here)

Donna Balzar – Gardening for Goofs

Donna Balzar and Steven Biggs – No Guff Vegetable Gardening

June Flanagan – Native Plants for Prairie Gardens

June Flanagan – Edible Plants for Prairie Gardens

Sara Williams and Hugh Skinner – Gardening, Naturally: A Chemical Free Handbook for the Prairies

Sara Williams – Creating the Prairie Xeriscape

Calgary Horticultural Society – Calgary Gardener, Volumes 1 and 2

Calgary Rose Society – Growing Roses in Calgary  (See my review here)

Millarville Horticultural Society – Gardening Under the Arch

Hugh Skinner – The Best Groundcovers and Vines for the Prairies

Hugh Skinner – The Best Trees and Shrubs for the Prairies

Don Williamson – Tree and Shrub Gardening for Alberta (See my review here)

Barbara Kim and Nora Bryan – The Prairie Winterscape

Nora Bryan and Ruth Staal – The Prairie Gardener’s Book of Bugs (Mentioned here)

Jan Mather – Designing Alberta Gardens

Any of The Prairie Garden annuals

Linda Chalker-Scott – The Informed Gardener

Linda Chalker-Scott – How Plants Work

Niki Jabbour – The Year ‘Round Vegetable Gardener

Niki Jabbour – Groundbreaking Food Gardens

Bill Thorness – Cool Season Gardener

Laura Peters – Small Space Gardening for Canada

Melanie J. Watts – Growing Food in a Short Season

David Bainbridge – Gardening with Less Water

 

Did I miss any cold climate/Prairie books that should be on this list?

No matter where you live in the world, your favourite gardening books might be relevant/practical/inspirational/eye candy for another gardener!  Which books would you recommend for us?  

 

 

Alberta snapshot: Mount Black Prince and Warspite Lake.

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Mount Black Prince with Warspite Lake in foreground, Kananaskis Country – snowshoe trek on 6 February 2016.  Venturing across the lake would have been too risky due to avalanches.  

Absolute majesty.

Alberta snapshot: Along The Cowboy Trail.

The ranch lands in the foothills of the Rockies have been repeatedly Chinook-scoured – you won’t find much snow out here right now!  I took these photos on January 30, just east of Chain Lakes, where my hubby, brother, and I had spent a few hours ice fishing.

*If you’re interested, here’s the Cowboy Trail route information.  It’s a very scenic (if a bit meandering) 700 kilometer drive partway across the province.  We’ve traveled it on numerous occasions, albeit not the whole thing all at once.

Snowshoeing West Bragg Creek: Snowshoe Hare.

A couple of snaps from a snowshoeing trek on a Chinook-cloudy, balmy day in West Bragg Creek two weeks ago.  The Snowshoe Hare loop is about 5.5 kilometers long, quite hilly, and treed nearly the entire way.  It’s not quite as scenic as the nearby Snowy Owl trail (which we snowshoed last year), but it’s a bit more of a workout.  There wasn’t much snow out there at the time, and the trail was pretty compacted from the heat and the traffic.  Wandering around out there that day, it rather felt like spring was near….

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February blog fun.

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Well, hello February!  Did anyone happen to see where January went?  Apparently I blinked at the wrong time and missed it.

While I haven’t actually been blogging over the past several weeks, and my commenting on others’ blogs has been sporadic horrible at best, I have managed to do just a bit of reading, and I’ve found a few entries that are practical and useful, delightfully inspiring, and/or just plain fun.  I know that some of us run in the same blogging circles, so you may have come across these before, but for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, or simply want a refresher, here are the links to a sample of my favourite blog reads of the past month or so:

Don’t Stint – Do Your Stint! (Love Those “Hands at Home”) – Kerry’s hugely inspiring post about time/project management is more than just food for thought.  This is a strategy that could apply to so many aspects of life…and eliminate a bit of stress along the way.

Birding in the Winter (Prairie Birder) – All of the species of birds Charlotte mentions in this blog entry may not live in your part of the world, but her excellent tips about winter birding are extremely useful for those of us in cold climates.

Sauerkraut Apple Latkes (Cooking with Aunt Juju) – Judi’s recipe is divine!  I made these as soon as I read about them and now you should go do the same.

Icefields Parkway (Adventure 69° North) – The photography on Inger and Tor’s blog is beyond spectacular.  This particular entry offers a taste of some of the incredible scenery close to my home.

Grow Your Own Italian Seasoning (Completed) (The Crafty Cultivator) – I absolutely love Wendy’s idea and I’m keen to try it myself during the upcoming growing season.

My 2015 Photography Year in Review (Life on the Bike and Other Fab Things) – Treat yourself and check out Laurie’s favourite images of the past year – so gorgeous!

More to love:

Rocky Mountain professional photographer Paul Zizka’s Top 15 Images of 2015 is a must-see!

Another photographer from Calgary, Richard Gottardo, assembled over 6,500 still photos that he took of the northern lights into an amazing video, found here.

A good friend (and maker of the most insanely delicious barbecue sauces you’ll ever eat) sent me a link to Canadian blogger/writer Karen Bertelsen’s gardening resolutions of 2016. We both agreed these are realistic, achievable goals – what do you think?

Enjoy the start of the month!

 

 

Flowery Friday.

It’s been all snow and grey gloom here today so I’m flashing back to a bright, candy-coloured Calibrachoa I trialed for Proven Winners this past summer.  This is ‘Superbells Holy Moly’ – holy moly, indeed! Those blooms are guaranteed to turn heads, that’s for sure.  What do you think of that colour combination?

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Snowshoeing trek: Wintour.

I hope the start of 2016 has been good to you!

I’m still trying to catch up on tasks I ought to have done last year (what’s that popular Internet meme again?  “My goal for 2016 is to accomplish the goals of 2015 which I should have done in 2014 because I promised them in 2013 and planned in 2012.”  Yeah, that sounds about right).

I’d rather go to the mountains.

My hubby and I did this snowshoeing trip on New Year’s Day.  The Wintour trail is a bit on the novel side…because you snowshoe (or cross-country ski, if you prefer) on a major highway.  A large chunk of Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country is closed to all vehicular traffic between December 1 and June 1 annually because of heavy snowfall accumulations and the fact that the area is critical wildlife habitat.

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The Wintour is mostly flat terrain and is considered by many to be “too easy” and “not scenic enough.”  But I totally beg to differ on the scenery front.  And the place is so amazingly quiet – we barely met anyone else in several hours on a day when half of the population of Calgary was out in K-Country.

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As for “easy,” I suspect I may have eaten a few too many holiday cookies.  We’ll leave it at that.  ;)