Tulip Times - Fall 2010

Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society

Established 1917

President's message by Shirley Madsen

Trust everyone had a great summer? Warmer than usual! My cucumbers, well, all I could say is…what cucumbers.

Fall/Winter is just around the corner and as I put my gardens to bed, I am already thinking of what I will change and plant next year.

Our next few meetings will be informative and fun. 2011 speakers are confirmed and what a variety. There will be new things to learn and exciting topics to say the least!

I would like to thank all of our volunteers, too many to mention. Our committees, sponsors and fundraisers, what a success!

Our members decided they wanted the Society to bring back our annual plant sale. Thanks to all the volunteers and members who shared —From Their Gardens To Yours?, the Board has put this on the 2011 calendar. Date to be advised.

Our 2011 Garden Tour was the best yet! A record number of ticket sales and the total raised through sponsors was incredible! Next year the Society will be celebrating their 20th Annual Garden Tour, on Sat. July 9th and we intend to beat the 2011 record. We have an Executive Committee in place and they will be going out shortly to confirm which gardens will be on the 2011 —Friends & Neighbours Garden Tour. We are looking for volunteers to sit on this sub-committee so let us know if you are interested. If you have not had a chance to volunteer or get involved with one of the sub-committees, 2011 is your chance. Meet new friends and have fun.
I have said in the past….this is your Society and without you we cannot succeed.

As part of our society's desire to give back to the community, a donation of $1,000 was made to the new community centre.

Upcoming Meetings

  • Tues. Sept. 28th - Harvest Bounty - Chili & Corn Night at Kurtz Orchards - Time: 6:00 p.m. Location: 16006 Niagara Parkway, corner of East/West Line Walk or take a scenic tram ride through the vineyards, orchards and scenic pond of Kurtz Orchards. See a land to table presentation. Stop and taste the different varieties of grapes growing as they reach their peak of perfection. Kurtz Orchards continues its long tradition of showcasing "Niagara's Edible Heritage". Their aim is to put the fresh taste of Niagara's bountiful orchards, vineyards, gardens and farms into each of their products. Grapes 'n Apples from mid-September are a wonderful supplement to a fall foliage tour. We will have a surprise guest speaker….you won't want to miss this meeting. Special Guest: Lynn Ogryzlo Niagara's food, wine and travel writer.

  • Tues. Oct. 26th - "We love orchids and it shows! by Cosmic Plants & the Garden of the Year Awards Reception 6:00 p.m.

  • Tues. Nov. 23rd - Herbs, Herbs & Herbs by Ellen Mitchinson & Pot Luck/AGM 6:00 p.m.

Facts & Other Happenings

September 25th
District 9 Fall Forum "Thru the Garden Gate". Host Society is the Thorold Horticultural Society. Info will be emailed to members. All invited.

Web links to check out:


This website is a weed database and it's also possible to send a photo in to be identified by a weed expert.

Composting websites www.wormcomposting.ca


Ontario Horticultural Association www.gardenontario.org

2010 Executive

Shirley Madsen

1st Vice President
Marion Boon

2nd Vice President
Gloria Thurston

Secretary Volunteer Opportunity Treasurer
Donna Carter

Barb Waller
905- 468-8484

Fund raising
Betty Alexander

Special Events
Melissa Achal

Linda Derstine 905-685-9466

Public Relations
Shirley Northwood

Special Events
Jackie Heyden

Some exciting news….Kathy Humphries has recently been appointed to our Board as Secretary. Kathy has been a volunteer for many years. We would like to thank her for the time she has volunteered in the past and will be in the future. Elections are coming up in November. Most of the Board has agreed to stay on in 2011 however; we are looking to fill three positions. Please contact one of the Board members to let us know if you are interested to stand in the upcoming November elections. I personally would like to thank all the 2010 Board members for helping us direct the Society and making 2010 an outstanding year!

Jim Mabee's garden recipes

(1) - African Violet Soil -- 1/3 peat or leaf mould, 1/3 sand, vermiculite or perlite, 1/3 loam (compost). Add a little limestone to keep the soil sweet.

(2) - Smell of Garlic for Design Work -- 1 to 2 teaspoons Chlorine bleach in 1 litre of water. Place stems in the solution for 1 to 2 hours before arranging and there will be very little smell left.

(3) - To Green Up Geranium Leaves - 1/2 teaspoon baking powder to 1 litre of water. Only water twice with this solution, at one week interval.

(4) - To Kill Slugs and Snails -- mix 1 part household ammonia with 9 parts water (approximately 1 cup per gallon) and spray directly on slugs or snails. Usually early morning or late evening or at night is best. Ammonia adds nitrogen to the plants as a foliar feed so you don't have to worry about spraying it on most plants outdoors.

(5) - Begonia Soil Mix -- oak leaf mould mixed with a little peat moss and sharp sand.

The real meaning of plant catalog terminology:

"A favorite of birds" means to avoid planting near cars, sidewalks, or clotheslines.

"Grows more beautiful each year" means "Looks like roadkill for the foreseeable future."

"Zone 5 with protection" is a variation on the phrase "Russian roulette."

"May require support" means your daughter's engineering degree will finally pay off.

"Moisture-loving" plants are ideal for landscaping all your bogs and swamps.

"Carefree" refers more to the plant's attitude than to your workload.

"Vigorous" is code for "has a Napoleonic compulsion to take over the world."

"Grandma's Favorite" -- until she discovered free-flowering, disease-resistant hybrids.

Past Happenings

The April meeting was held at the Butterfly Conservatory and it was a huge success.

The group, of approximately 50 members, was split into 2 groups. Each group was taken on a tour through the complete facility by a very knowledgeable staff member. The highlight had to be the —behind the scenes? areas which showed the cocoons as they are when shipped in from places as exotic as Columbia, then the different stages as they mature into the wonderful, beautiful butterflies that we equate with summer.

After the tour a social was held in the Lounge of the Horticulture School and everyone enjoyed the complimentary pizza, desserts and drinks. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

The ensuing meeting was a lively affair with lots of information about the then upcoming Plant Sale and Garden Tour. The best comment overhead was that it was like an old time Town Hall meeting in which everyone took part in a lively repartee.

Inside the conservatory

At May's meeting Jim Mabee shared his tips and tricks for a greener healthier garden – see Jim's garden recipe's at the end of the newsletter.

July 10th was our 19th annual Garden tour. This year's tour was the most successful to date. We had many visitors from the Toronto area and our neighbours from across the river were well represented.

The six beautiful residential gardens covered the gamut from a small Japanese inspired backyard to a wonderful Victorian garden from an original 1812 residence.


Photo courtesy of Hopman portraits

The two commercial properties, Reif Wineries and Busy Bee Lavender Gardens provided an interesting view into specific niche markets.

Thanks to a team of 40 volunteers the Garden Tour went off splendidly and we were extremely lucky to have a perfect day weather-wise!

Next year is our 20th anniversary and we're looking for gardens, our theme for 2011 is Friends and Neighbours, so members please help us make this a very special 20th Anniversary

A delightful reception was held later in July to thank all the garden sitters and volunteers.

Garden sitter reception bartenders
David Waller, Jon Thurston & Finn Madsen

Fall gardening checklist.
From Fernlea Flowers

Many garden activities are best performed during the autumn months. While the timing of garden activities is not precise, consider the following as a guide for the autumn gardener.

• Replace spent annuals
• Prepare soil for autumn planting
• Plant spring bulbs
• Dig and store tender bulbs
• Rake and remove fallen leaves
• Cut back spent perennials / biennials
• Remove annuals damaged by frost
• Harvest herb stems and roots
• Cease cutting roses and flowers
• Fertilize plants as needed
• Sow seeds for succession planting
• Plant peonies, poppies and irises
• Add winter mulch, if needed
• Prepare bulbs for forcing and chill
• Repair garden accessories
• Clean, sharpen and oil lawn and garden tools
• Divide and transplant perennials and ground covers
• Apply dormant fertilizer to trees, shrubs, ground covers and vines
• Plant and mulch hardy annuals for winter
• Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, ground covers and vines
• Transplant roses
• Plant bare-root roses
• Cease watering to induce dormancy.

Winterizing your plants

Yews and Alberta spruce are the most susceptible to winter wind and sun burn. It is, therefore, advisable to keep these plants wrapped with burlap from top to bottom, beginning in the late fall. Never use plastic as a wrap — even in the winter months plants must be able to —breathe.? Evergreens should be well-watered before the severe ground frost of mid-December to guard against desiccation (drying-out) caused by cold winter winds.

Upright evergreens, such as Skyrocket, Mountbatten and Spartan juniper suffer the most damage from the weight of snow on their branches. This will not usually kill the plant, but can make it unsightly the following year. The best protection is to cover the juniper with Vexar netting. Apply in late fall and leave on the plant until the threat of snow has passed in early spring.

Rhododendrons and Azaleas
These plants are very susceptible to wind, sun and snow damage through the winter months, especially if they have been planted in an unprotected location. Be sure to cover the root area with up to eight inches of mulch, preferably oak leaves or peat moss. Then build a shelter around each plant with burlap to keep out the wind and the sun.

Cut your roses back to approximately 50 cm by removing all frozen buds after the first heavy frost. Remove all leaves as much as possible and dust the lower branches with a general fungicide. Using a rose collar, build fresh garden soil 25 cm high around each rose bush. Do not use manure, peat moss or other material high in organic matter. Once the soil is slightly frozen, a light application of straw or other protection is also beneficial, but should not be substitutes for the soil itself.

Climbing roses
Climbing roses should be pruned only very slightly in the fall by removing the frozen buds and tips of the most tender growth. The branches of climbing roses should be tied together and wrapped in burlap. Again, never use plastic. Build up soil around the roots the same as for other roses.

Apply fall fertilizer any time in the fall. If weeds are a problem, consider applying fall fertilizer plus weeder. Fall fertilizing helps to strengthen your lawn and the lawn's roots, providing stamina to help it survive the long winter. The last mowing should be done very close to the ground and the clippings raked away. This will prevent fungal diseases from destroying grass roots over the winter.