The Year of the Garden 2022 is a celebration of our national garden culture and also commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association.

Whenever there is a good idea for the City of Winnipeg, Janice Lukes is sure to be not far behind. After hearing about the Year of the Garden 2022 and that other cities were issuing proclamations, Janice took steps to bring Winnipeg into the fold.

It didn’t take a battle. For once at City Hall, everybody agreed and on July 22, 2021, there was unanimous agreement by all councilors to proclaim 2022 the Year of the Garden, becoming the fourth community in Canada to do so, following Toronto, then Brantford Ont., and Red Deer County, Alta.

Gardeners will know Janice as the mother of Milan Lukes, the youngster who has gained fame as the champion grower of giant pumpkins, although currently Milan is deep in his studies at university (his bedroom for the past two years!) learning more about biology and genetics and all the things that go into understanding our natural world.

Milan comes by his garden passion naturally. Janice grew up on a farm and brought her garden interests to the city with her. At 22, she started the flower shop across from the Health Sciences Centre, which she sold 15 years later.  She still gardens and takes a keen interest in the gardens of Winnipeg and all its green spaces.

Janice and Dorothy talk about some of the ideas that could follow the official announcement at the national level. Nationally, an anniversary book of Canada’s public gardens is being planned – two of them in Manitoba (The Diversity Gardens in Winnipeg and the International Peace Garden at the Border south of Boissevain).

They also talk about some of the spectacular gardens in Winnipeg, many public and some private and lots of them unknown to the public. Dorothy confesses that she has never been to Kings Park and Janice responds that it is a gem. Janice was instrumental in having a fountain installed there when it was part of her ward.

The plan was to officially announce the start of the year of the Garden at the Ontario Landscape Congress, but this has just been cancelled so plans are back to the drawing board. Stay tuned!