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Home > Convention > Last Convention > Annual Convention Report

Annual Convention Reports

A report for each convention since 2004 is below.

Convention 2013 Thunder Bay  

This year’s 107th OHA Convention was proudly hosted in Thunder Bay by Northwestern Ontario’s District 14, comprised of nine societies. In the west, we have Atikokan, Dryden, Evergreen Thumbs, and Fort Frances. Sioux Lookout is one hour to the north of Dryden. To the east we have Geraldton, Longlac, and Nipigon-Red Rock, and in the centre, Thunder Bay. A total of 93 District 14 volunteers came together, wearing their purple t-shirts with the new District 14 logo, ready to assist the delegates. 

Opening Ceremonies were held on Friday, July 19th commencing with the Piper Ian MacLeod piping in the Flag party, dignitaries, Past Presidents, OHA Board, and District Directors. Announcements for those entering the room were given by Ian Robson. Bert Card led the delegates in singing the Canadian National Anthem, which was followed by greetings from dignitaries. 

The plenary sessions on Friday morning started with a power point presentation by Dr. Robert Stewart on the topic ‘The Great Lakes’ Action to protect, conserve, and restore the Lake Superior Basin Ecosystem’. On Saturday morning, Kevin Belluz of Belluz Farms spoke on ‘Slow Food Superior Style’ and left freshly picked strawberry baskets to be enjoyed by the delegates. James Graham spoke on Sunday morning on the importance of Community Gardens. 

The delegates had a choice of 11 seminars on a variety of topics which they could attend during the afternoons. Five different bus tours left both Friday and Saturday afternoon and on Sunday, volunteer drivers brought groups out to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery Garden Tour. Those interested in Floral Design had three judging updates to select from. The competitions for adults and youth in the various categories were on display in the hotel’s Viking and Scandia rooms. A meeting for the OHA Judges was held on Friday afternoon in the Scandia rooms where Ken Fink and Kathryn Lindsay had the judges in attendance practice judging on the entries that had been already judged in the morning. The participating judges gave their reasons for the choice and then the actual status of the entry was revealed. Several judges were thrilled to see they had selected the same winners. The judges were then reminded about the rules and guidelines used by judges to assess the quality of exhibits and the awarding of prizes. The Youth Leaders held their meeting late Saturday afternoon, so that they also could take advantage of the various seminars and bus tours. 

The barbeque and social held on Friday evening was very well attended. The delegates had the choice of eating in the Valhalla’s open air courtyard or bringing their plates to eat in the Ballroom. Jim ‘n’ I offered the delegates a wide repertoire of original, traditional and contemporary melodies in the courtyard and ballroom during the dinner hour. The delegates were given time to mingle, renew acquaintances, and make new ones. Delegates also had opportunities to look at photo albums on display and bid on the Silent Auction items. 4 Flipper Flannigan’s Flat Footed Four had some delegates up on their feet dancing to the music, while others enjoyed watching. They played a variety of Celtic and Bluegrass music. During the break in the entertainment, OHA President John Sellers presented Erika North, President of the Thunder Bay Horticultural Society, with a 90th Anniversary letter and Certificate from the OHA. Current and Past Presidents were invited to the celebrations. Photos were taken to document the event and Erika cut and distributed the celebratory cake. 

As with all other conventions, the OHA business and reports were conducted at the Saturday plenary session. At the Saturday night Gala Dinner and Awards, the names of the recipients of the Community Improvement, Youth Leader, Award of Merit (2), and Honour Roll Awards(2) were read and presented. Vice-President James Graham presented the Trillium Award to Cecile Young from District 12 and Katherine Andrachuk from District 15. President John Sellers presented the Silver Medal Award and certificate to Gary and Dianne Westlake from District 4. 

The Gala keynote speaker Fred Jones was introduced by Kathryn Lindsay. At each OHA Convention Awards Banquet, the keynote speaker is funded by the Richmond Hill Garden and Horticultural Society in memory of Gladys McLatchy. Fred entertained the delegates by recounting how he had to help both his mother and grandmother (both experts in the garden) and now wife Laura in a presentation entitled ‘Confessions of a Gardening Grunt’. Fred said he did not inherit his forbearer’s green thumb but is very happy that Laura has. 

Trevor Fielder’s floral installation ‘Stretching the Mind through Creative Design’ made an exceptional floral display. He created an outdoor picnic scene, with the sunset reflecting in the lake; an arrangement made with a variety of brightly coloured snapdragons that resembled a camp fire, sparks and all. A blanket lay across pine boughs along with a picnic sandwich made with birch bark (bread) with a filling of rose petals, a fruit salad, and sherbet for desert. Loblaw’s sponsored some of the flowers. 

The Sunday Plenary dealt with more OHA business, elections, and presentations to retiring Directors and the retiring President, John Sellers. Incoming President James Graham spoke of the importance of a Community Garden and the sharing of its produce. In closing, Shirley Robson thanked everyone for coming ‘Up North and being Down to Earth’. Pat Stachon, Director of District 1, was invited to the stage for the transfer of the standard. Her crew of volunteers came on stage to welcome everyone to Cornwall and distributed loot bags filled with information about Cornwall and a gift of their local Maple Syrup. 

In closing, let me say that this process has been difficult yet exhilarating, exhausting yet uplifting, and above all rewarding. To quote William Arthur Ward – “I have found that the pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; and the realist adjusts the sails.” 

Shirley Robson, Director, District 14  


Niagara on the Lake, August , 2012

Well, we successfully made it through the weekend , tired but happy. In response to our invitation, over 450 of you arrived and sampled some of the horticultural delights of our District. Thanks for visiting. Whenever you return, you know that the private gardeners in the area will always welcome you. We also hope you left understanding how important the horticulture industry is to our economy since our produce & products are shipped throughout Canada and the USA.

District 9 knows how to work together,  135 volunteers in total offered to don the green shirt. Hard work, countless hours, new friendships, priceless! Comments tell us the volunteers were visible, helpful, and cheerful. Delegates were pleased with the ease of moving about the venue due to the clear and plentiful signage. The vendors aisle was a popular place. Many people went home with more "stuff" than they came with.

Our program was designed to provide you with great speakers, diverse seminars, and many fascinating destinations on the tours. Comments from happy delegates lead us to believe that we succeeded. Humorous speakers informed and entertained us adhering to the Then & Now theme in their respective topics of Garden Design, Garden Plant Choices by Consumers, and the Evolution of Gardening Literature.

Seminars tempted you in many ways, from wonderful plant material, ideas for our gardens or designs, the history of the plants, some methods for dealing with pests, the business of growing and selling, and improving your photographs to mention just a few. To prove horticulture is more than just planting, maintaining, and harvesting, we provided an unusual seminar - a culinary demonstration by Chef Jo Lusted, a local girl who has gone on to the bright lights of television. Judging by the delegates taking copious notes before being treated to the samples from the kitchen, it was entertaining and informative.

The 17 different tours took you to private gardens where you talked to the enthusiastic owners. Businesses like Cosmic Orchid took you behind the scenes to see the production process. The many wineries seemed to be popular stops and a lot of wine went home with delegates. Those who visited the Butterfly Conservatory also went behind the scenes and later enjoyed the Botanical Gardens. Tours visited a wide range of retail operations and took home some treasures.

A permanent symbol of the convention is the "Autumn Brilliant" Serviceberry tree planted to commemorate the site of the OHA's 2012 Convention at Niagara College's Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. Another successful area was the Competitions. Entries were plentiful. The art work showcased the talent of OHA with different media. The flower show overcame the problem of fixed tables and displayed the entries beautifully. Many stopped to read through the various publications and take home some good ideas. The Youth room showed everyone that our young people can be successfully attracted to horticulture.

At the Saturday night Gala the names of the recipients of the Award of Merit, Community Improvement Award, Environmental Award, Youth Leader Award (2), and Silver Fir Award (2) were announced. This is a wonderful way for excellence to be recognized by the OHA. The Gala keynote speaker, Trish Symons, taught us about the amazing Gifts from the Garden that are in our own gardens if we just take a moment to see.

Thunder Bay group certainly grabbed our attention with their invitation to visit District 14 next summer. Some people have already started to make plans. Drive or fly, seems to be the question. Whatever your answer, it is certain you will enjoy it and learn many new things on the western shore of Lake Superior. 


Submitted by Susan Lusted District 9 Director

Convention 2012 Competition Results in the Fall 2012 Trillium

For a complete Report with pictures click on the link to the right. (pdf)

OHA 105th Convention - Sudbury, July 2011

A Growing Experience - From The Ground Up

Just over 430 registrants including District 13 volunteers gathered at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Sudbury, Ontario for the 105th annual O.H.A. Convention which was held July 15-17, 2011. The weather cooperated and delivered a weekend of glorious sunny, sultry days. The city put its best foot forward with wonderful floral displays and welcoming signs which were visible at Bell Park and on the digital Jumbotron that was located on the top of the Rainbow Centre Mall that housed various shops, the Radisson and the cinema theatres where the seminars were presented.

This year's convention was hosted by District 13 which is comprised of 14 societies that span the geographical area between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury including French River and Manitoulin Island. Some 70 District 13 volunteers sporting warm orange t-shirts bearing the theme A Growing Experience and a seedling graphic, a dedicated O.H.A. Board and Executive and countless organizations and citizens of Sudbury worked earnestly and passionately together over the past two years to craft a truly unique program that would showcase the O.H.A. in action.

The theme - A Growing Experience-From the Ground Up - reflected District 13's desire to share with gardeners of widely varying skills and knowledge some initiatives that have originated from the ground up-from grassroots members who have led us to experience growing pains, the stretching of our imaginations, and the subsequent growth and rejuvenation in our societies. By fostering a sense of awareness and discovery and encouraging advocacy and interaction, we hoped to cultivate a sense of openness to all possibilities and allow ourselves to truly bloom where we are planted.

The Convention kicked off on Thursday, July 14th at 9 pm when some 60-70 people gathered outside the front lobby of the Radisson. Armed with "Get out of Jail Free" cards, trowels and surplus plants, this merry band of gardeners marched through the streets of downtown Sudbury to an area near the Market Square to do a bit of guerrilla gardening. Within a very short period of time, they weeded, planted trees along an unsightly chain link fence and transformed a bare patch of land into a prospective garden.

OHA President Vickie Wiemer blessed the garden and her husband, Rupert banged in a painted wooden sign bearing the message "OHA Gardeners---Please Water Me" into the ground. It was quite a proud moment to see and hear such an intergenerational affair-people of all ages including youth-working and laughing together as they " vandalized with nature". MCTV reporters were on hand to videotape the entire event and it was aired on television on Sunday for all to see.

Opening Ceremonies held on Friday, July 15th were announced by Mary Rossiter of Sault Ste. Marie who served as Town Crier. Piper, David Kennedy led the parade of flag bearers, special guests, Past Presidents, Directors, Youth Camp delegates, and Officers of the OHA into the session. Dr. Roger Nash, Sudbury's Poet Laureate read two stirring poems including one specially penned for this year's Convention. Dr. Stephen Monet spoke about "Sudbury's Regreening Story" and was followed by Helen Scutt of OMAFRA who presented "Growing Your Membership, Cultivating Diversity".

A total of eleven interesting power point presentations on a variety of topics were held at the Rainbow Cinemas to offer good acoustics and comfortable seating. Four different bus tours left the hotel on both Friday and Saturday afternoons. For those who craved hands-on learning opportunities, the Convention provided two workshops--one on initiating community greening projects and the other on seed saving, courtesy of the Evergreen Foundation and Seeds of Diversity Canada. Floral enthusiasts had four judging updates to choose from and two Computer Labs were manned for those who sought information or solutions to particular problems.

Competitions in the various categories for both adults and youth were set up and on display in the Notre Dame and Grand Paris rooms which were located next to one another. A meeting for OHA Judges was held on late Friday afternoon; the Youth Leaders' Meeting was scheduled on late Saturday afternoon.

Friday evening's dinner was full of fun and frolic! We were treated to a short visit from the Sud-berry Bear who brought greetings on behalf of the Sudbury Blueberry Festival and posed for photos. Markus Schwabe, host of CBC's Morning North program, acted as Master of Ceremonies. He introduced the three entertainment acts as they appeared and announced the winners of the Silent Auction which was organized by District 13. We were treated to lively swing music from the Hilltoppers Band that got people up and dancing including OHA President Vickie Wiemer and her husband, Rupert. This was followed by some nifty footwork displayed by the Manitoulin Saturday Night dancers and some wonderful tunes sung by M.C.Crooner. By the end of the evening, District 13 was proud to announce that they had realized a profit of just over $3900!

At the conclusion of the Silent Auction, a vanload of OHA representatives, Youth Leaders and District volunteers left for Camp Falcona, site of the Youth Camp. We had a short visit with the fifteen campers and their three Youth Leaders to welcome them and hear about their activities. Travelling along that bumpy camp road late at night was hair-raising but a lot of fun and a perfect way to complete Day One.

Saturday's Plenary session dealt briefly with OHA business and reports. Carol Dunk spoke enthusiastically about the Pollinator Patches initiated last year by the Conservation and Environment Committee and their progress to date. I spoke briefly about the trend of Guerrilla Gardening as well as the Paint the Picket Project.

District 13 issued a challenge to the OHA at last year's Convention held in Barrie. We distributed pickets to the 19 Districts, the OHA Board and Past Presidents and this year's Youth Camp participants and challenged them to work together. We wanted to produce a decorative fence that could be donated to a community organization such as a hospital or hospice in Sudbury as a thank you gift of sorts that would show our appreciation for Sudbury being such a generous and accommodating host. It would also serve as a permanent reminder to all citizens that the Ontario Horticultural Association exists to "Keep Ontario Beautiful."

Bob Wildfong, Executive Director of Seeds of Diversity Canada concluded the session by sharing his presentation "Seeds of Diversity Canada's Latest Initiatives" and encourageing all to get involved by saving seeds, adopting seed varieties and participating in Seedy Saturday events.

Saturday's Banquet was very moving, to say the least. John Sellers served as host and introduced Franco Mariotti who was our Banquet Speaker. Sponsored by the Richmond Hill Garden and Horticultural Society in memory of Gladys McLatchey, Franco moved us to laughter and then to tears as he presented his talk "Hope in a Changing World" in which he recounted the history of the Sudbury region and its decision to involve its citizenry to regreen its community. There wasn't a dry tablecloth in the room!

Metje Mabee presented the OHA awards with her usual flair. Sudbury's Dr. Stephen Monet and Linda Hugli, our Trillium Editor, were among the recipients who were recognized.

Trevor Fielder's awesome floral installation which was sponsored, in part, by Loblaw, was created during two Saturday floral judging updates and was on view during the Banquet. He graciously offered to allow the arrangements to be sold in a Live Auction which we spontaneously held at the end of the evening. To everyone's delight, the OHA raised $600 and members attending voted unanimously in favour of donating the funds to Sudbury's Maison Vale Inco Hospice.

The completed decorative fence featuring some 120+ pickets was on view during the Sunday Plenary that dealt with more OHA business, elections and various presentations to retiring Directors and the retiring President. Vickie was presented with a copy of "The Healing Landscape" from Suzanne Hanna on behalf of District 13. Sue Lusted, Director of District 9 invited everyone to attend the 2012 Convention in Niagara.

Gerry Lougheed Jr accepted the Picket Fence on behalf of Maison Vale Inco Hospice and commended the OHA for its generosity and contributions to communities across the province. His presentation "Harvesting in a Field of Dreams or a Hellish Wilderness" resulted in more laughter and a few tears and reminded us to be grateful for all we receive.

Youth delegates and leaders from District 13's Youth Camp held at Camp Falcona returned to the hotel and shared their memories of their visit. They presented painted rocks to Vickie Wiemer, Suzanne Hanna, and Theresa Cullum who helped organize the camp.

District 13 volunteers paraded in to the front of the room for the final wave of the OHA flag and thanked for all their hard work. Suzanne Hanna transferred the flag to Sue Lusted and declared the conclusion of the 2011 Convention.

Submitted by Suzanne Hanna

2011 Convention Competition Results

2011 Competition results will be in the Fall 2011 Trillium.


104th Convention, August 13-14 2010, Barrie.

Everything Old is New Again

Convention 2010 is over, but the memory lingers on. What a great time we had.

The theme "Everything Old is New Again" was mirrored in many of the seminars and talks, in the music we heard, and even in the length of the convention. This year, the convention was shortened from 2.5 days to 2 days -- something that hadn't been done since 1982. Many of those attending expressed the thought that it was nice to finish up on Saturday evening with a great banquet and then head for home first thing Sunday morning.

The seminars and the plenary speakers were inspiring. Twelve different speakers shared their expertise with the delegates. The seminar rooms were filled to capacity. Those delegates not at the seminars went on one of the 4 bus tours offered each day. The tours visited Barrie gardens and sights. At the end of most tours was a chance to shop. One tour each day was a cruise of Kempenfelt Bay giving participants a chance to see some of the lovely estates along the shore.

The Georgian College facility was just what we needed. The staff of the College could not have treated us better. The huge gymnasium area was divided between competitions and meeting space. This meant that the competitions were close to the main meeting space. Many delegates took advantage of this and visited the competitions -- several times. The competitions displayed the talents of members from all across the province and the number of entries was impressive.

My sincere thanks to Dorothy Shropshire who organized the volunteers. Her corps of volunteers came from almost every society in District 16 and made up a most congenial group anxious to help wherever they could. And a big "Thank you!" to Ann Finlayson and Janet Moyser for organizing the borrowing of the 3 quilts from 1994. The quilts had been raffled off in 1994 and resided in different areas of the province. Ann and Janet traveled to pick them up and organized the "hanging" of the quilts so that all delegates could view them.

Thanks to the Board as a whole for advice and assistance and special thanks to Celia Roberts, Anna Peterson, and Betty Morrison and all the competition chairs for running a great show. Thanks to the registrar, Barb O'Malley for the hours she spent accepting and acknowledging registrations and preparing the tickets for meals and tours. Thanks also to the treasurer, Sharon Hill, for her support through the whole process.

The planning and hosting of a Convention is a special experience. It is a great growing time for the organizers and an opportunity to pull a district together on a single project. I'm not going to say I'd do it again, but it was an experience I'm glad I had.

See you in Sudbury next July.

Carol Dunk

103rd Convention, July 2009, Peterborough.

Remember Yesterday - Protect Tomorrow

The theme for the 103rd Convention was Remember Yesterday - Protect Tomorrow and while this event is over, the societies of District 4 challenge each member of the OHA to continue to use this as a springboard for your future endeavours.

Thank you to the delegates who came to Peterborough. We hope you will come back again. Lots of activities occupied our days and nights: speakers, adult and youth competitions, bus trips and boat tours entertained and informed. The barbecue and banquet were also highlights of the weekend. The business of the OHA was also conducted at the AGM. This year an added bonus was having the Youth Camp located nearby. This meant that we were able to see some of their activities throughout the weekend.

Trent University was an impressive setting for the event and the conference staff bent over backwards to make sure that everyone was taken care of. Staying at the student residence may have given us all new insight and some new skills, like remembering to unlock the connecting bathroom door.

Even the weather cooperated - most of the time we were dry and the temperature was certainly comfortable. This was especially important as we walked around the campus.

The many volunteers who worked during the actual convention came from societies across the district and were highly visible in their green vests. Smiling faces and offers of help were always appreciated. They met challenges head on and I hope each one of them had the opportunity to chat with some of the interesting people who attended. For those who had never attended an OHA Convention, it was a wonderful opportunity to see what actually takes place.

In addition there was a legion of volunteers who worked off-site or in other locations, setting up or taking down. Dealing with the logistics of using two areas of the campus during the weekend was a challenge but everyone pitched in and got the job done. The organizing committee cannot thank our society members enough. It reminds us all that OHA is a volunteer organization and we depend on our volunteers for so many things.

Members of the OHA Board and our Youth Leaders were also out and about doing their part to make things run smoothly.

I would like to extend special thanks to Barb O'Malley, the OHA Registrar, who was a huge help to us all. Also to our 'volunteer wranglers', Anne Milne and Etela Vojnic and to, my husband, Gary for all computer related tasks he dealt with.

The organizing committee worked tirelessly to make sure everything was taken care of. Lenna Broatch, Beryl Harris, Rose Odell, Bev. Silk and Rodger Smith came through when we needed them most. They took on responsibilities and went beyond the call of duty. Our meetings were filled with laughter no matter how difficult a problem. They made the process much more enjoyable.

Lastly, I would like to especially thank John Sellers, our District Director, for all of the work he has done, not only for this convention but also for our district as a whole. He was our spokesperson throughout and we all appreciate his efforts. Now he can go back to his garden for a while.

We all learned a lot and grew as a result of our experience. It was a great ride! See you in Barrie in 2010.

Dianne Westlake

Organizing Committee

2009 OHA Convention

See Pat Bastien's (Belle River Horticultural Society) Convention Report

and Convention Photo Album

102nd Convention, August 2008, Brampton.

Sharing Our Diversity

Sharing Our Diversity, Sharing Our Knowledge and Sharing Our Fun was in store for the members of 286 Horticultural Societies from across the province meeting in Brampton at the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning's Davis Campus. Hosted by the 17 Societies in District 15, the 102nd Annual Convention of the Ontario Horticultural Association ran from August 22nd to 24th. The public was welcomed to join in the activities.

Sharing our knowledge is at the core of the OHA mandate and the convention offered skill development opportunities and gardening lectures by well-known speakers including Liz Primeau, Dennis Flanagan and Charlie Dobbin. Lecture topics include: Front Yard Gardens, Green Roof Gardens, Project CHIRP (creating habitat in residential & parkland areas), Water Gardens and Garden Design. For gardeners interested in keeping fit for life and for gardening, the topic Kinetics for Gardeners raised awareness of how to avoid aches and pains. On Saturday, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Donna Cansfield addressed the plenary session on the topic "Conserving Ontario's Biodiversity".

Green thumbs come in all sizes and the convention included the OHA Youth Camp: Based at the Lake St. George Field Centre in Richmond Hill and under the guidance of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, staff led a challenging weekend of hands on exploration of local ecosystems. Thirty-three young people from across the province attended along with 6 OHA Youth leaders, two of whom were recipients of the OHA's Youth Leader Award in 2007. Back at the Davis Campus, challenge took the form of the Flower Show and related competitions where entries met the expectation of horticultural excellence while illustrating the Sharing Our Diversity theme.

Sharing the fun was an integral part of the weekend and the program offered excursions to Humber Nursery, greenroof Gardens in the Sky in downtown Toronto, the Toronto Music Gardens and Casa Loma. Closer to home base, participants were able to follow the Flower Bed Route through Brampton, the 2006 Communities in Bloom National Champion.

Photo above left: The Brampton Parks Department planted 3 carpet beds with plants symbolizing the Ontario Horticultral Association's logo - a stylized white Trillium.

Brenda Heenan, Convention coordinator

101st Convention, August 10th - 12th, 2007, Owen Sound

Keeping Ontario Beautiful ... Visions Of Our Future

District 8 invited OHA delegates to the 2007 Convention, August 10th - 12th, 2007. District 8 consists of three spectacular counties...

  • Grey - beautiful Naturally
  • Bruce - Nature's Retreat
  • Huron - Ontario's beautiful West Coast

Delegates enjoyed kilometres of pristine shoreline, charming towns and villages, areas of rugged landscapes, abundant orchards, and clean flowing rivers.

The host city Owen Sound, in the picturesque harbour on Georgian Bay, proved to be a relaxing venue for OHA delegates. The convention site overlooked the bay and beautiful community gardens. The Harry Lumley Community Complex, provided the facilities for a first rate convention. Right next door the Inn on the Bay, a Best Western Hotel offered a reduced rate to OHA delegates. These two sites together provided a convenient, efficient convention with the atmosphere of a weekend at the cottage.

The gardens of District 8 were outstanding. Public spaces, private town gardens and rural garden sites all met and exceeded expectations. All meals were based on the concept of The Hundred Mile Meal. All food served originated within a hundred mile radius of Owen Sound, supporting local farmers and food producers and avoiding the environmental impact of transporting food over a long distance. Coffee served was Fair Trade. All judged items from the many competitions were displayed in the same location.

The theme KEEPING ONTARIO BEAUTIFUL ... VISIONS OF OUR FUTURE focused on the challenges of our time to our personal lives, to the future viability of societies, and the strengthening of networks among organizations that share a common vision. As consumers and gardeners, we were made aware of changing conditions and choices for best practices to minimize our impact on available resources. Delegates were inspired to make choices to ensure a future that is healthy, enjoyable and sustainable.

We wish we could host all of you for a week or two. We have so much we'd like to show you. Maybe you'll come a few days early and linger a few days after! At the end of the convention, at the end of the day, we are sure you'll feel better for spending time in District 8. Alors, l'année prochaine, venez nous voir à Owen Sound. Venez participer et fêter avec nous!

Valerie Neal, Convention Coordinator

100th Convention, 2006, Ottawa

District 2 and its 21 member societies with over 3000 members extended warm greetings to 550 delegates who attended the 100th Annual Ontario Horticultural Association Convention in Ottawa. The District Societies are Stittsville-Goulbourn, West Carleton, Ottawa, Renfrew, Kemptville, Almonte, Beachburg, Carleton Place & District, Deep River, Eganville, Gloucester, Kanata-March, Madawaska Valley, Manotick, Nepean, Ottawa Valley Rock Garden, Pakenham, Pembroke, Perth & District, Petawawa and Smiths Falls. Click here to see photos from the Convention 2006

Convention Host:

District 2 Director, Ken Fink

Plenary Speakers:

  • Andre Poliquin "Clematis"

  • Alexander Reford "Historical Gardens"

  • Mary Pratte "Peonies"

  • Denise Edwards "More Sticky Situations for Horticultural Societies"

  • Keynote Speaker: Ed Lawrence


  • Brian Carson "My Luscious Lucretias - Poisonous Plants"

  • OVRGHS "Trough workshop"

  • Phillip Fry "Habitat Gardening"

  • Mary Young "Slide Competitions Viewing"

  • Mark Dallas "Hardy Roses"

  • Marc Ladouceur "Sub-tropical gardening"

  • Joanne Plummer "Flower Design"

  • Suzanne Patry "Perennials"

  • Paul Pospisil "Garlic"

Bus Tours:

  • Rideau Hall and Byward Market

  • Herb Garden in Almonte

  • Rideau Canal boat tour

  • Tour of Private Gardens

  • Experimental Farm


The Association encouraged all affiliated societies and their members to participate in the competitions, which were part of the annual Convention. Full details on the various competitions were circulated in the Association's Winter Newsletter.

Design and Cultural Competition:

The cultural show was run by District 2 and was open to all Association members.

Convention Photographic Team:

Robin Woods, Laurie Graham, Angela Snowdon, and Jean Stalker.

99th Convention, 2005, North Bay

District 18 and its 14 member societies extended warm greetings to 520 delegates who attended the 99th Annual Ontario Horticultural Association Convention in North Bay. The District Societies are Argyle, Baysville, Bracebridge, Callander, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Mattawa, North Bay, Parry Sound & District, Powassan, Rosseau, Sprucedale & District, Sundridge and Whitestone & Area.


Convention Host:

District 18 Director, Vickie Wiemer

Some Photos from the Convention


Plenary Session Speakers:

  • Denise Edwards "More Sticky Situations for Horticultural Societies"

  • David Hobson "A Look at the Lighter Side of Gardening"

  • Larry Hoffman "The Joys of Gardening: Gardening for Health and Wellness"

Keynote Speaker:

Bev Kingdon "The Naturalizing of Trumpeter Swans"


  • John Beaulieu - An Introduction to Gesneriads

  • Marjorie Bell - Flower Designing For Your Show

  • Ann Board - My Life with Honey Bees - a Passionate Journey

  • Bonnie Cappadocia - Organic Vegetable Gardening

  • Lorne Cutts - The Art of Bonsai

  • Linda Everly - Living Wreaths

  • Gerry Hogan - Photographing the Landscape and Garden

  • June Keevil - Best Kept Secrets of the Garden

  • Jim Merrick - Alpine Gardening

  • Audrey Morton & Geri Openshaw - Herbs: Growing, Harvesting and Using in the Kitchen

  • Fred Pinto - Gardening with Canadian Plants

  • John Tripp - What's New in Horticulture for the Home Gardener

  • Adrian van der Bijl - The Low Down on Pruning

  • Rupert Weimer - Cactii & Succulents

  • Mary Young - Slide Competition

Computer Lab:

  • Mike Dunk, Brenda Heenan - Exploring the Gardenontario web site

  • Carol Dunk - Gardening on the Internet

Bus Tour #1:

The bus trip featured:

  • A one hour walking tour of North Bay Heritage Gardener's Waterfront Gardens. The group explored the beautiful gardens along the Waterfront path and learned the story of the North Bay Heritage Gardeners, a very enthusiastic and committed group of volunteer gardeners that have restored the neglected gardens.

  • The Living Quilt Community Garden where the vision is to offer space for everyone to come and learn, create, garden and produce healthy food for themselves. Then they visited a series of garden areas planted and looked after by the seniors living in a Senior Citizens apartment building where any person living in the apartment has an opportunity to indulge in their love of gardening.

  • A garden and home built on a piece of property that the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority had condemned as a building site. The house was designed to fit into the relatively small upper area without causing a problem to the bank and stream in the lower level.

Bus Tour #2

The tour visited six private gardens in North Bay:

  • An organic garden built on several levels with vegetable, perennial, annual, scree and shade gardens and a gazebo - all surrounded by maple woods.

  • An English Country style garden where the front yard is a collection of perennials and annuals surrounding a small pond and in the back, tumble stone walkways and patio area surround a modest in ground swimming pool and informal flower beds fill the surrounding space.

  • The award winning best front yard garden in North Bay's 2004 Communities in Bloom Front Yard Garden contest where the back is just as beautiful with perennials and annuals combined to provide colour all season long and rose standards are a highlight.

  • A sunny garden which showcases 3 water features including a small waterfall and highlights both perennial and annual plants in 1, 2 or 3 tiered layouts.

  • A garden featuring heuchera and daylilies where the gardener's passion for ironwork has created a unique garden.

  • A low maintenance yard reflecting the beauty of our northern landscape where the pond features are predominant using local stone and driftwood but cultured plant materials, where the front and side yard show the enthusiasm of a novice plant collector and the back yard a more restrained blend of esthetically pleasing weeping trees, low bushes and seating areas.


The Association encouraged all affiliated societies and their members to participate in the competitions, which were part of the annual Convention. Full details on the various competitions were circulated in the Association's Winter Newsletter.

Design and Cultural Competition:

The cultural show was run by District 18 and was open to all Association members.

98th Convention, August 13-15 2004, London

"The Garden Within"

Thames Valley District 10 and its 21 member societies extended warm greetings to 448 delegates who attended the 98th Annual Ontario Horticultural Association Convention in London. The District Societies are Dorchester, Dutton/Dunwich, Glencoe, Ingersoll, Kirkton, Lambeth, Listowel, London, London/Fanshawe, Parkhill, Port Burwell-Bayham, Rodney, St. Marys, St. Thomas, Stratford, Strathroy-Caradoc, Tavistock, Thorndale, Tillsonburg, West Lorne and Woodstock.

Convention Host:

District 10 Director, Jim Mabee


Guest Speakers:

  • Margot Dargatz "The Wonderful World of Hostas"

  • Carol Dunk "Gardening Hints and Tricks"

  • Denise Edwards "Sticky Situations for Horticultural Societies"

  • Jack Kent "Daylilies"

  • Mae Leonard "Challenges Of An Eccentric Gardener"

  • Tony Manders, AIFD, CAFA "No Limits Within These Designs"

  • Henry Reimer "Water Gardening"

  • Mary Young "Award Winning Association Slides"

Keynote Speaker:

Paul Zammit "The Garden Within: A Personal Space and A Sanctuary for the Soul"

Bus Tour #1:

Friday, August 13 and Saturday, August 14
This tour visited Lambeth's 'Rosebank' where the front garden was transformed into a show-stopping garden with a formal design. More than 400 roses of every shape and size, as well as perennials, adorned the back yard in a Celtic Cross design. From there we traveled to Byron to another private garden to enjoy their back garden where the homeowners converted a steep grade to an outstanding display of shrubbery and a variety of unique perennials and roses. Then we traveled back into the heart of the city to Eldon House - the oldest surviving mansion - where we enjoyed the 19th century gardens and tea or lemonade and scones.

Bus Tour #2:

Friday, August 13 and Saturday, August 14 from 1:15 to 4:30 p.m.
The bus went to Cuddy Gardens, Strathroy, where we enjoyed a guided tour of this magnificent estate that was filled with the charm of an English country manor. There was so much to enjoy - the sunken gardens, herbaceous borders filled with ornamental grasses, herbs and foliage plants, shade woodland garden , the courtyard pool with its stimulating and cascading fountain. While we were there, we also enjoyed a refreshing and delightful treat. Next we traveled to The Garden Patch - a garden centre where we viewed and some purchased many, many varieties of unique garden and lawn ornaments and a vast array of different plants, both annual and perennial.


The Association encouraged all affiliated societies and their members to participate in the competitions, which were part of the annual Convention. Full details on the various competitions were circulated in the Association's Winter Newsletter.

Design and Cultural Competition:

The cultural show was run by Thames Valley District 10 and was open to all Association members.


Annual Convention Report 2004, Conservation & Environment.

Alan Batke, Chairperson

"Our Environment - Ours To Save"

Mission Statement:

We are not a political group; we provide education, encouragement and promote environmentally friendly solutions for our lives and horticultural practices.



The membership, our youth and all future generations deserve and have the right to have good health and a clean green planet.


Government and Corporation dollars and profits must not affect our Air, Food, Water or Health, as so many times the almighty dollar seems to always take precedence.


The air we breath - free of pollution.


The food we consume wholesome and nutritious - free of Genetically Modified Organisms, (G.M.O.)


Frankenfoods - Please read the labels before you buy or put it into your mouth, "After all you are what you eat"


Our water - clean and pure.


Our health - not to have fear to touch a plant, walk upon lawns, the grasses, which we use, our pets and children play on, be free of pesticides.


We are experiencing an alarming destruction and loss of our plants and wildflowers by the following alien invaders, help us to stop and control their proliferation!


1) Garlic-mustard -Alliaria officinalis Native to Europe, 18 inches - 2 feet, biennial, coarsely toothed, kidney to heart shaped alternate leaves. When crushed smells like garlic, small white flowers, produces lots of seeds. Before seeds set, pull and place in black garbage bags for hot sun to destroy, then landfill.


2) Common Reed - Phragmites maxima (P. communis), Native North America, Europe and Asia, 8-10 feet. A rampant tall perennial reed grass, plumed seed heads. Dig and place all parts of plant into black garbage bag for hot sun to destroy, then landfill.


3) Purple Loosestrife - Lythrum salicaria, Native to Europe, 3-4 feet, a vigorous perennial that chokes out our native vegetation. Pull and dig out before seeds set, place all parts of plant into black garbage bag for hot sun to destroy, then landfill


4) Japanese Knotweed - Polygonum cuspidatum, Native to Japan. 6-8 feet high, perennial weed and extremely vigorous spreader, hollow stems and greenish white flowers. Their roots send up many shoots. Pull and dig out before seeds set, place all parts of plant into black garbage bag for hot sun to destroy, then landfill


Do not dispose of unwanted pets or exotic species (turtles, snakes, fish or reptiles) into sewers, streams or lakes. Take them to pet store for a new home.


Do not dump toxic chemicals into sewers, streams or lakes, (paint, used oil, drugs, etc.) take them to recycle depots to be disposed of properly.


2 cycle engines have an effect on our air quality use a 4 cycle mulching mower- leave the grass clippings on the lawn and cut no lower than 3 inches. This will also aid in helping reduce weed population. Water grass in early morning once a week to the amount of I inch also when it is not windy


Get your plants off of drugs and steroids, use compost, well rotted manure & compost tea, your plants will love you for this. My wife Karen and I have been totally natural and organic at our home for over 40 years with great, great successes


We wish all of you to practice the 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. When was the last time, you asked for or used any recycled paper products?


We presented a challenge 3 years ago to you, the membership and the Ontario Horticultural Association, to reduce or not use new bleached paper. How many have taken up this challenge or are using at least 30% recycled paper now?


Thank you to Judy Scott for asking and insisting that our yearbook printer only use recycled paper and our year book looks just as good as any other.


I was very pleased to hear that we planted another tree for our 98th Convention, in London, which was a mighty oak, we do need trees, and I could not imagine a world without TREES. However we lost 5 trees in the making of this convention. Please let us consider a change; we do not need mankind to help lessen our trees. There are all kinds of elements at work to do this destruction for us e.g. European Ash Tree Borer, Asian Long Horn Beetle.


Plant native species and use recycled paper, send a letter, email, or phone to your representative. Involve youth. "We Must All Learn to Accept Life's Blemishes", and to an extent we all do, because every morning we all look into our mirrors.


We do not need that perfect apple.


Resources and Partnerships


  • The Master Gardeners of Ontario Inc.

  • Dr. David Suzuki Foundation (Nature Challenge)

  • Ontario Agriculture Association,

  • Canadian Wildlife Federation (Birds, Bats, Butterfly, Backyard Habitat Program)

  • Ontario Resources Center

  • Oak Ridges Moraine

  • Earth Stewardship

  • Trees Canada

  • Evergreen

  • Seeds of Diversity

  • Canadian Organic Growers

  • Native Plant Society

  • North American Wildflower Society

  • Ontario Wildlife Federation

  • Conservation Authorities

  • Best Management Practices Committees

  • Conservation Authorities, Friends of Watersheds



  • Windsor Best Management Practices Committee

  • Essex Region Conservation Authority,

  • Friends of Mill & Wigle Creek, Friends of Cedar Creek Essex-Kent Organic Growers


Networking with the Societies

Coverage by Newspaper, Radio and National Television


Mandate - Natural Resources Handbook, partially done, draft will be done for fall or at least by spring board meeting, it will be ready for 2005 in North Bay.


In closing "Our Environment - Ours to Save" Leaving a lasting legacy, for future generations to enjoy! Dare to care, make a difference.


Yours in horticulture


Conservation & Environment - Chairperson, Alan Batke



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