At Home with Gardening on the Prairies

By Lourdes Casañares-Still

I read this quote from a fellow flower grower recently and I thought that it’s worth sharing.

“Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with the dream.” – Josephine Nuese

Everything is covered in white blanket of snow right now but it shouldn’t stop you from thinking of what you want to grow in your garden this coming summer. In fact, right now is the perfect time to do so. I am on dreaming mode myself aka planning mindset on what I want to cultivate at Masagana Flower Farm in 2021. This year, there will be a 4,800 sq ft of garden space I will be tending to, that is most of what used to be the lawn space that my husband mows regularly in the summer. It translates to about 30-20 feet long by 3 feet wide garden beds, 80% are annual cut and dye flowers. For the first time, our family’s annual vegetable garden will be on completely separate 10-by-20-feet space in our backyard. It was cleared out last Fall and planted with hard neck variety garlic for next season’s harvest.

Coming from the Philippines where we can basically start sowing seeds anytime we like, it took a few years before I got into the rhythm of living by the four seasons. In my life as a gardener, it looks like this now in a nutshell:

Winter is for garden planning, seed catalog browsing and ordering, reading new gardening books or revisiting my favorite ones
Spring is for seed starting, preparing garden beds, transplanting seedlings
Summer is for tending, watering, pruning, harvesting (tasks to name a few) and getting immersed to this short gardening season
Fall is preserving Summer’s bountiful harvest.

All the while, taking notes on what is transpiring in the garden answering questions like “did we get enough rain”, “pest and plant diseases I had to manage”, “what work and what didn’t”.
You can say gardening in its self can be like journaling activity or like writing on your diary – and it sure can! And in the process, I assure you that you will gain more than just a new skill. The act of cultivating edible and flowering plants will benefit you physically, mentally even spiritually.

If you are wondering how you can get started on dreaming or planning your next garden here are a few suggestions:
1. Order your new seed catalogs online. The following seed companies give theirs free of charge or to download: West Coast Seeds (BC), Prairie Originals (MB), Johnny’s Selected Seeds (USA), T&T Seeds (MB), Heritage Harvest Seeds (MB, web only)
2. Register to a free workshop. 16-week course on Edible Property Design is free to register for all Manitobans. It’s not too late to register even if it started already last December 28 and it includes a weekly live webinar and a chance to ask questions applicable to your actual garden settings. Recordings are also available to watch anytime. Did I say it’s completely free? Another workshop provider is Gardenline Online by University of Saskatchewan, some are free while others are available for a minimal fee. Find them on Facebook: Gardening at USask or
3. Recommended readings. The Prairie Garden, “Western Canada’s only gardening annual”. Back issues are available at discounted rate. Lone Pine books specific to Manitoba gardening topics. Books by Sara Williams, a Saskatchewan-based author on cold climate gardening.
4. Gardening groups and organizations to check out. Manitoba Master Gardener Association, Gardens Manitoba and Sustainable South Osborne Community Co-op. More information available online.

This is not in any way an exhaustive list but a good place to start with. And if you are needing more visual inspiration to get you started, join my flower community by joining my mailing list. Visit for more info or search masaganaflowerfarm on Facebook and Instagram.

Happy garden dreaming!

Photos courtesy of Lourdes Casañares-Still