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District & Society Highlights from 2015
In collaboration with North Toronto Horticultural Society and the Rhododendron Society, a fun, educational and well-attended AGM in April at the Toronto Botanical Garden was planned and executed. In addition, two District meetings were held, one for Presidents and one that includes Presidents, VPs, Secretaries and Treasurers. We continued with our well-received District newsletter (three issues a year) and started planning for OHA convention 2017 in earnest as our District will be the host that year. Our Executive Committee coordinates the OHA booth at Canada Blooms including set up and take down of the booth, and arrange for volunteers on the booth. In partnership with Toronto Botanical Garden we participate in Get the Jump on Spring in February, where we arrange for speakers, set up and staff the OHA table. District 5 also stores and sets up the OHA booth at the CNE in August.
Agincourt - After starting out the month of May with the Annual Plant Sale, which was well-attended by the neighbouring community, Agincourt members went on a bus tour to the Potting Shed to purchase plants, had lunch at Shelly's restaurant in Cayuga, and a wonderful visit to Whistling Gardens. The Fall Flower and Vegetable Show with a Tea Room on September 12 included beautiful displays, luncheon for volunteers and judges – a good way to say thank you and hopefully get new members.
Aurora - This was an active year, with a local garden tour, eight flower shows, meetings with educational and fun speakers, and a photography competition. The second annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale was well attended and provided a forum for education. Outreach projects included festive decorating in a local historical house and the Aurora Cultural Centre. Volunteer advisors helped with a therapeutic garden at CHATS, to which members donated plants, tools, ornaments and strong backs to create lovely gardens for adult day program clients.
Beach - With fine weather, every plant was sold at the Annual Beach Plant Sale. In addition, 285 packages of interesting bulbs were processed at the members-only Bulb Sale. Five flower shows were held, with 225 horticultural entries and 27 design entries. Members maintained the gardens at the Beach Main Street Library, Queen Street Library and Northern Dancer Blvd. We did not hold a garden tour this year. Twelve members and guests participated in our bus tour, visiting Spindle Tree Gardens and two nearby private gardens.
East Gwillimbury - The 90th anniversary year began with the official end of “Mount Albert Garden and Horticultural Society” and the launch of the “East Gwillimbury Garden and Horticultural Society”, or informally “East Gwillimbury Gardeners” (EGG). A nomination for a Community Character Award was received, and GardenOntario Week was celebrated with a day trip to the Lucy Maud Montgomery Home. Along with East Gwillimbury Group of Artists Art in the Garden was created, matching artist’s paintings and member’s floral designs. A new Facebook group page was also launched.
East York - Participation in flower shows hit record highs in both the numbers of entries and the number of entrants. A miniature design workshop gave all more confidence to compete. The photography competitions also drew a good number of competitors with spectacular photographs. "Pop-up" members-only garden tours were held, with seven members opening their gardens when they were at their peak. An enthusiastic Board with wonderful ideas and commitment contributed to great attendance at the monthly meetings, and the highest membership total in several decades.
Greater Toronto Bulb - Six regular monthly meetings were held between March and November, along with a potluck party in a member's garden in Richmond Hill in late June. Members participated in the CNE's Bulb Show and five flower shows were held, with 14 entrants and over 160 entries. The Society welcomed a variety of interesting speakers who gave talks on Colocasias, alliums, tuberous begonias, successes and challenges in growing exotic bulbs, and alliums in the garden. Donations of interesting and hard-to-find bulbs/plants helped with fundraising.
Greater Toronto Rose - Speakers covered a wide-range of topics, including: “The Roses of Lyon”, “World Rose Convention 2015”, “The Roses of Italy and France”, “Designing a Romantic Garden”; and Elizabeth Schleicher and Richard Chambers on “Roses We Wish We Still Had”. The summer event, held in a member's garden, was Wine, Daylilies and Hostas. After five years of hard work and dedication, Iris Hazen stepped down. The Society continues on without a president, and is trying to build the membership.
Greater Toronto Water Garden - Members enjoyed excellent speakers at the meetings, a well-attended plant sale, and a garden tour showcasing water gardens in Brampton. The advantages of showcasing gardens in different areas allows members and their guests to see new garden designs, new plant material and a host of ideas that a novice may find educational. Seedy Saturdays and Get the Jump on Spring are part of the publicity and education commitment.
Lake Simcoe Gardeners - Lake Simcoe Gardeners continued educating the community by raising awareness through informative speakers, meeting fellowship, and a June plant & bake sale. Competitions included dessert, flower & vegetable shows, poetry, photography, autumn, and Christmas. Members participated in Adopt-a-Road, tree planting, the Ontario's Heritage Tree Search, two Santa Claus parades and a July garden tour. Long serving members were honoured with OHA service pins and a cake noting 3685 volunteer hours.
Leaside - In cooperation with the City of Toronto and the School Board, the Society assisted four different schools' grade 3 classes in planting in local public parks. As well, a team planted and maintained the gardens at a school for children with physical and health needs, and provided hands-on classes for the children. The Society also maintains all the gardens at Lyndhurst Rehab Centre. At Canada Blooms, the Leaside team won a first place award and a Garden Clubs of Ontario Award for Best in Class.
Markham - Six flower shows were held in 2015, with increased floral design entries plus more new exhibitors. The Society continues to maintain flower beds at Farintosh House residence for adults with cerebral palsy. This year, they held a book swap, and provided a container-planting demonstration and herb and vegetable gardening discussion for a church community group and ESL group. The bi-annual bus tour visited two private gardens in the Hamilton area, followed by visit to Whistling Gardens. The photography competition was popular among the membership.
Newmarket - The annual plant sale was well attended and sold out completely within 40 minutes. The Society had its first seed exchange, which was very successful. The members’ garden tour, which consisted of six gardens and a commercial establishment that sells orchids and succulents, included a great variety of garden types. The winner of the annual bursary was noted as one of the most deserving candidates they have ever had.
North Toronto - 2015 saw a wonderful line up of speakers on topics such as “Gardens of Tuscany”, “Whistling Gardens”, “Flower Arranging”, “Great Public Gardens in Our Own Backyard”, “Attracting Birds to Your Garden”, and “Insects in the Garden”. There was a photography contest, and four flower shows, one open to the public. In July the Society held its members' garden tour.
North York - The 2015 gardening season started with a garden design contest for a community outreach project at Cummer Lodge Long Term Care. In May the annual plant sale was held, with all proceeds going towards the planting of the garden at Cummer Lodge. The Society had a public Flower and Vegetable show at the Edithvale Community Centre, and members exhibited and won prizes at Canada Blooms, Get the Jump on Spring, the CNE and the OHA Convention. Members participated in community events with Gibson House and local BBQs.
Rhododendron - Four meetings were held in 2015, and the annual plant sale took place in April. Along with North Toronto, the Society co-hosted the District 5 Annual General Meeting. Volunteers continued upkeep and new plantings in the rhododendron beds at Edwards Gardens.
Riverdale - In 2015, the Society enjoyed excellent speakers, more involvement by new members in flower shows, and more participation in the annual photography contest. A meeting with a lead gardener from the City of Toronto elicited advice in redesigning the garden in Withrow Park, and two members continued to help with gardening activities at Bridgepoint Health palliative care unit. Riverdale also published its first yearbook in more than 40 years!
Scarborough - Commemorating the Society’s 90th anniversary, the year was highlighted with celebrations that included a tour of eight members’ gardens that ended with afternoon tea in the President’s garden. There were also guided garden tours of Campbell farm, a second successful Flower Design workshop, and tables at the three-day Guildwood Art Festival and three other summer festivals. Outreach programs included maintaining a new garden at the Campbell farm, plus continuing care of gardens at six other gardens in Scarborough.
Stouffville - This was the third year for the garden recognition contest called “Happy Place”. Within an area that includes all of Stouffville as well as some rural areas, all front gardens visible from the street are judged, and signs are posted in each of 50 winning gardens. The contest has been a huge success and has helped to bring recognition to the Society and attention from residents. In addition, weekly weeding and maintenance of gardens at Parkview Home is performed by the Society. Special event care was also given at the Stouffville Cemetery for visitation Sunday.
Last Updated: 2016-06-28