Donna Balzer

Photo by Gavin Young, Calgary Herald

Photo by Gavin Young, Calgary Herald

Donna Balzer

What is your latest release and what genre is it? No Guff Vegetable Gardening, Garden Coaches Chat: No guff. Lots of fun., 2012 (No Nonsense Vegetable Gardening in the USA, 2012). It is non-fiction.

Quick description: Oh what a fun way to quickly immerse yourself in vegetable gardening. Everything you really need to know to get started today and be successful this season. No need to build wasteful wood beds or wonder how to make your soil perfect. Everything you need to know is packed into this colourful, hilariously illustrated, glossy book. Buy this book and just grow it!


Brief biography:
Donna has an Agricultural degree from The University of Alberta with a specialty in Horticulture and a passion to help gardeners grow. She is a freelance garden consultant, author, journalist and speaker for print media, radio and television. She volunteers as the Region 7 National Director for the Garden Writers’ Association and has received several awards for her media and horticultural careers:

2012 Mayor’s Urban Design Award for her horticultural work on the historical garden, Central Memorial Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

2002 Golden Globe Silver Award for her on-air hosting role with Bugs & Blooms television show

2001 Carleton R. Worth Award for her book The Prairie Rock Garden from North American Rock Garden Society

Previously the Horticulturalist at The Calgary Zoo Botanical Garden and instructor of Horticulture at Olds College, Alberta, Donna now advises on cultural landscapes, historic gardens and edible landscapes. Donna also writes for newspapers and magazines and can be heard regularly on CBC Radio. Her most recent book, No Guff Vegetable Gardening (2011), is written with co-author Steven Biggs. (Steven was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in April 2015.)

Donna has recently moved to Vancouver Island where she has built a really big greenhouse for testing and experimenting new sustainable garden concepts in food production. She has joined Toastmasters International and received her Competent Communicator designation.

Links to buy Donna’s book:
My book is available via paypal right on my web page.

Donna’s promo links:

What are you working on now?
I write a regular column for the Calgary Herald and Crebnow Blog in Calgary and I am working on an iBook called Pop-Up Gardens. I have no idea when that will be ready because new ideas keep popping into my head and I have turned it into a fun-filled presentation that is great for all audiences – both keeners and beginners. This means I am work-shopping the idea and because of that I am constantly adding ideas on the topic.

I am also working on short twitter-style (ie very short) garden videos and have 6 done and 4 more to complete to make my first ten – they are are on YouTube under No Guff Gardening and you can also see them on my web page.

Donna’s reading recommendation:
I just finished Jean-Marc Fortier’s The Market Gardener and Lisa Congdon’s whimsical book of quotes, Whatever You are be a Good One. In a way, these two books go together! Meanwhile, I am reading the scary detective novel by Jo Nesbo, The Snowman,and in between I am glancing at Michael Singer’s, The Untethered Soul. I always have one, maybe two books on the go.

Steven Biggs

Steven Biggs 2010  05 Steven Biggs

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Grow Gardeners. Kid-Tested Gardening with Children: A 4-Step Approach. It’s non-fiction.

Quick description: I’m very excited about this book because it’s a project I undertook with my nine-year-old daughter, Emma. She illustrated and wrote captions. We help adults make gardening engaging for kids.


Brief biography:
I studied horticulture at the University of Guelph and worked in horticulture and farm marketing for a while. But I recreated myself as a work-from-home parent and farm/food/garden writer when my wife and I started a family. I am a contributing editor with the Canadian farm-business magazine, Country Guide.

Since co-authoring No Guff Vegetable Gardening and writing Grow Figs Where You Think You Can’t, I have been doing a lot of garden talks and workshops.

Links to buy Steven’s book:
Steven Bigg’s website
No Guff Gardening website
Grow Figs website
Grow Gardeners website

Steven’s promo links:
Facebook – Steven Biggs, Grow Figs, Garden Coaches Chat

What are you working on now?
I am working on a kids non-fiction about insects; and on a book to follow in the footsteps of Grow Figs Where You Think You Can’t—looking at fruit that people in cold climates would like to grow but don’t think they can.

Steven’s reading recommendation:
Any Roald Dahl. I wish he had written gardening books.

Denise Adams

Denise Adams Denise Adams

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Little Book of Sea & Soul is a small gift book.

Quick description: It contains 70 ocean-inspired reflections that are paired with my photos of sea themes.

Little Book of Sea & Soul

Brief biography:
Author of Atlantic Coastal Gardening (recently shortlisted for the Best Atlantic-Published Book Award!) I hold a Master in Art and Art Education from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. I am presently with Salt Spray Holdings Inc. as a landscaping consultant and as a partner in designing custom coastal homes.

Links to buy Denise’s book:

Denice’s promo links:

What are you working on now?
I’m writing a folksy book about lobsters and the fishery.

Denice’s reading recommendation:
A New Leaf: Growing with my Garden by Marilyn Simonds