Why Grow Here
Essays on Edmonton's Gardening History
"A visitor from down south stared at my apple tree
and said: 'Those don't grow here you know. It's too cold.'
If the apricot tree in Highlands knew it couldn't live here,
it might stop scattering white blossoms over three lawns." – Bert Almon
Edmonton has a rich and diverse horticultural history. Vacant lot gardeners, rose gardeners, and horticultural societies have all contributed to the beautification of the capital city of Alberta, and through the enthusiasm of florists, seedsmen, and plant breeders the city has developed a distinct horticultural character. In this collection of nine essays, each with a different theme, Kathryn Chase Merrett depicts the development of Edmonton's social, cultural, and physical landscape as it has been shaped by champions of both nature and the garden. Edmontonians and all urbanites interested in gardening and local history, as well as professors and students of history, cultural studies, and urban design, will delight in the colourful storytelling of Why Grow Here.
About the Author
#10 on the Edmonton Journal's Bestsellers list (Edmonton Nonfiction) for the week of August 14, 2015—The Edmonton Journal
"Why Grow Here [is a] lovely read that's full of details that anyone will enjoy."—Mark Stumpf-Allen, Wildflower News
"well-written, meticulously researched stand-alone essays that illustrate the long history of what [Kathryn Chase Merrett] calls horticultural optimism in Edmonton, Alberta, on the Great Plains' northern edge. She interweaves major horticultural activities and the people who made Edmonton a garden city Merrett traces a common North American horticultural story: a new settlement concentrates on survival and subsistence first, then slowly on beautification. What makes Edmonton's story a bit different? I think it is the passionate plant breeders (almost a who's who of northern hybridists) who made it their life's mission to create hardy roses to make Edmonton the "city of roses."—Edwinna von Baeyer, Great Plains Research Vol. 26 No. 2
"For most Edmontonians and those with an interest in gardening, this book is a must."—Alberta History
I must tell you how fascinating your new book is and how much I learned!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The different essays were very enlightening and so much that I did not know. The section on the Chinese Gardeners and the contribution of Gladys Reeves were totally unknown to me and really are an interesting part of Edmonton's history!—Michael Phair
"I have just finished your book and am wanting to thank you for writing it. I found all of the essays very interesting, the writing excellent, and the development of themes riveting. I pictured you pouring over sources and enjoying all the small and big discoveries. Loved the way you traced the evolution of the City Beautiful theme to present day community gardens. I enjoyed the book and was impressed by your work on it."—Donna Cardinal