While the hort society and Northern Gardener magazine are based in Minnesota, we have many other gardeners from the Upper Midwest and Canadian gardeners who are members and subscribers. Kathleen Abbott and Doug Nowers garden in zone 3b in Canada.
“Doug is my helper,” says Kathleen of her husband. “I’m the gardener, but he does the digging.”
Kathleen and Doug tend their gardens at their cottage in the small town of Métis-sur-Mer along the St. Lawrence River in the province of Quebec where they live five months of the year. “The property came with Doug when I married him 17 years ago,” she says. The couple live in a high rise in downtown Toronto the rest of the year, where gardening is limited to indoor plants.
The cottage property was filled with wild raspberry patches when Kathleen first arrived but had a lot of potential. “It was quite a challenge expressing my passion for perennials here—especially in zone 3B,” she says. Her goal was to build the gardens into “something less wild.”
Doug hoped to help Kathleen out and provide some cold-climate inspiration for their Canadian garden, so he purchased a gift subscription to Northern Gardener magazine for her birthday in 2020. “I found you guys online when I googled gardening magazines, northern,” he says. “Wow—something for those of us up north!”
Kathleen wasn’t new to northern gardening when she met Doug. She grew up gardening on Prince Edward Island where her mother was an avid gardener. “She was a pure perennial person, too, who taught me that it’s not as hard as you think it is,” Kathleen says of her mother. Whatever skills she didn’t pick up from her mom were acquired when she worked for her grandmother for two summers in high school. “She needed some help in the gardens because her knees were a problem. I ended up leaving with a lifelong love of gardening,” says Kathleen.
Kathleen and Doug began donating to the society shortly after they started their magazine subscription. “Gardening is such a great activity and adds so much value to our lives and communities,” says Kathleen of their decision to support the hort. “You’re providing opportunities to learn.”
Enjoy valuable northern gardening tips all year long—join the hort!