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March April Newsletter 2016
by Marlene Knezevich

Hello WHS Members!!!               

It’s March!!!!  Hello Spring!!!!!!! The sap is running, the red-wing black birds are back, the snow drops are in full bloom and the gentle honks of tundra swans overhead are signs of spring! Visions of seeds, plants and gardens are dancing in our heads hoping spring has truly sprung!!!

For WHS, our new rite of spring is the Garden Explosion -  Hello Spring!!!!!!! which promises to be another fun and informative event on March 19th. For those attending, be snap-happy as this is one of the Photo Contest Themes!!!

 We are coming up to the second anniversary of the Rambling Rose’s rebirth. You are a shy bunch. We have invited you, the members, to send in pictures and stories. We are still waiting!!!!! We welcome your favourite garden story, photo and garden tips. Ruth Zehr is kicking off the first garden story for the Member’s Corner. For this issue, features are spring clean-up tips, the new Show and Share, History of past WHS anniversaries, the pest, Scarlet Lily Beetle, our Photo Contest and much more.  At the end of the newsletter is the listing of the themes of the Photo Contest of the Ontario Horticultural Convention at the end of July and also the Youth Competition May 2016.

 The WHS board continues to plan various activities and update our programs and activities to match the changing times and needs of our membership. This year there will not be a flower show for the adults but a Garden Show and Share. Stay tuned for details. Marilyn Saraus presented the latest versions of the new logo to honour Wilmot’s own lily, Wilmot Summer Sunset. This is part of the preparations for the 50th Anniversary Celebrations in 2018. The board is working on so many fronts. What great work everyone!!!!

 Thinking of adding more native plants in your garden? At the library, the book, 100 Easy–to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens, by Lorraine Johnson is an excellent resource.

General MeetingsBecky Zehr

Wouldn’t we all like to have a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy, without breaking the bank? In a presentation that was as informative as it was entertaining, Vicki Taylor-Scott, landscape architect and certified landscape designer, shared with us her ideas to create lovely gardens on a thrifty budget in “Cheap and Cheerful Gardening”.

Vicki suggested that we start from the ground up; having a plan and researching plants before you visit the nursery will help you avoid making costly impulse purchases on plants and flowers that don’t fit your needs. Keeping a neat and tidy garden by edging flower beds twice a year and maintaining a healthy lawn provide the framework for a great landscape. Refrigerating grass seed overnight before over- seeding for weed control will help the seed germinate faster. Fertilizers for lawn and garden need not be a costly expenditure. Vicki mentioned many homemade fertilizer recipes that she has found to be effective: stewed comfrey from plants she has grown herself, “poo tea” from sheep manure steeped in water, leftover water from the cooking of vegetables and used coffee grinds all help to feed her garden pots and soil. The costs of purchasing annual plants can also be kept low by purchasing self-seeding annuals such as candytuft, cosmos, nigella and alyssum, to name but a few.

Vicki shared with us many ideas to bring colour and personality into our outdoor spaces. She suggested crafting garden elements to get children involved and excited about gardening. Making rock creatures, fairy houses, mosaic pots and planting bulbs in eggshells are some of the ways she has inspired her junior gardeners. Vicki has taken advantage of plants and items already in her possession to save money and brighten the landscape – using a tree as a trellis for clematis, turning a broken pot into a water feature or priming and painting large garden pots with glow-in-the-dark paint to create a luminescent glow at night at a fraction of the cost of purchasing outdoor lights and illuminated pots.  

For recipes and for answers to your questions, Vicki provided her email address: vtaylorscott@gmail.com

All about Garlic – Marlene Knezevich

On March 14th, Warren Ham, the founder of the Stratford Garlic Festival and garlic grower addressed all the questions forwarded by the audience about growing garlic. Garlic (Allium sativum) is originally from central Asia and since we are similar latitude, we grow the hard neck varieties they do. As you go south, the garlic has changed to a soft neck variety. Did you know that elephant garlic is actually a leek! Warren scared us with all the diseases he deals with but it is an easy to grow plant. Rotate the location in your garden and enjoy!

Get your disease free bulbs such as Music, and German White from local sources. Warren plants garlic mid-September at a depth of the height of the bulb. You can plant later. Plant in raised beds with good drainage, lots of compost and then mulch. Plant the largest, individual cloves, not the whole bulb. The pointed bit should face upwards. In the spring, it is important to keep the weeds out and you can fertilize or add compost. In June, the scapes can be harvested and used to make a great pesto or leave on a few plants and the bulbils that develop can be used to generate new garlic. Removing the scapes lets the energy that would be used to feed the bulbils to be redirected to the garlic. Harvest can occur any time after 3 weeks after scapes removal and the leaves are turning brown. During harvest, treat the garlic like apples as it bruises easily and leave on the stem until dried. For good storage, it is important to dry the garlic for at least 10 days or more. See the following articles for more information. Warren is featured in the first one, so read it and get the rest of the tips. http://smallfarmcanada.ca/2012/growing-great-garlic/ http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/09-011w.htm

 From a botanical standpoint, avocados and pumpkins are fruits, not vegetables, because they bear the plants' seeds. Rhubarb, on the other hand, is a vegetable.


The Quilt is Complete!!!!

The Wilmot Quilt for the Ontario Horticultural Convention at the end of July has been pieced and hand quilted by our own Wilmot Horticultural  Society. This queen size quilt will be featured at Garden Explosion and the raffle tickets will be sold too. The tickets are $3.00 or 2/$5.00 and the funds will go support our own WHS activities. The Grand Prize Draw will be help on July 30th, 2016 at Castle Kilbride. Thank you everyone for the hours that was spent on creating the quilt. Beautiful!!!!!!!

 Photo contest                                                

I hope you were busy snapping the winter theme photos for the 50th Anniversary Calendar. Now it is time for a change of season with the focus on the following themes: “Spring Fever at the ‘Spring Explosion”, “Tiny Surprises”, “Proud to be Canadian” (native wildflowers), and “Wilmot in Bloom” (favourite Wilmot Civic Garden).

Our annual OHA convention July 29-31 also has a photo contest. It would be great if YOU decide to enter pictures in that too. The list of themes is at the end of the newsletter.


Bee careful!!!!!!!:   Fall yard cleanup bad for bees, warns apiaristJackie Sharkey  (Reprinted with permission of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Radio-Canada.)

(Yes, it is spring but there are some tips for the spring to help the bees. Marlene)

A local apiarist is encouraging people to skip major yard cleanups this fall for the sake of bee health.

 Bee expert Erica Shelley says people unwittingly destroy important bee habitats when they rake leaves and clean away dead wood. 

 While honeybee colonies overwinter in their hives, solitary bees don't survive the winter months and bury their larvae in the ground or in the hollows of branches. When spring arrives and temperatures warm up, the new insects know it's time to emerge, says Shelley. 

 "If people are throwing out their dead wood, rototilling their gardens and throwing down mulch in the spring, then they actually can't emerge," she said.

 For more of Shelley's  tips for keeping your yard tidy and preserving bee habitats go to:



 "Spring is a heart full of hope and a shoe full of rain." ~ Unknown


Tips and tricks for Spring Clean-up ~ by Sean James of Fern Ridge Landscapes:        

   Instead of trimming bits and pieces down with pruners, lay out a tarp beside the garden. Cut last year's perennial growth down with hedge shears (not 'head' shears), taking care not to cut woody plants, new bulb foliage or evergreen perennials. Rake everything out onto the tarp until it's full then drag it all to the composter! Faster and easier.

  Alternatively, cut down as above and rake onto the lawn. Chop up with the lawnmower and return to the garden as mulch. This adds nutrition to the top level of the garden and saves effort. It also avoids using diesel fuel for the municipality to pick up the waste and compost it.

  Now's a good time to watch for hardscaping (paths, walls etc.) that need repair. Get that scheduled while the garden is still dormant.

  Some of the left over brush from pruning can be cut into 3' lengths and piled behind some shrubs at the back of the garden. It's great habitat for birds and pollinators and even toads - all of which help control pests in the garden.

  If you have a water garden, don't try too hard to clean it out perfectly. If you have adequate water flow, that organic matter will break down fast enough. DO however clean out around the pump and listen for a tell-tale hum which might be an indicator of a failing bearing which warns of possible upcoming pump failure.

  Now is an easy time to weed out perennial weeds like Dandelions and Couch Grass since their roots aren't fully established yet.

  Most importantly, to keep turf grass from invading the garden and to keep rainfall IN the garden, use a half moon to put a good deep edge on the bed. The soil that is excavated can be used to hill up a BIT around perennials that tend to grow themselves out of the ground (i.e. Heuchera, Bergenia, Hosta)

  When all the cleanup is done, mulch the garden with 2" of a good rich Composted Pine Mulch or Composted Hardwood Mulch - NOT just plain wood chips or shredded mulch. This is the most important thing we can do for garden health. Sean James http://www.fernridgelandscaping.com/     He has newsletters and information on his site.

                                  "Spring is nature's way of saying "Let's Party!" ~ Robin Williams


They are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those pesky Scarlet Lily Leaf Beetles are in the fritillaries and will be enjoying the Asiatic, triumph and oriental lilies later in the season. Another non-native! Some garden experts recommend getting rid of all the lilies to avoid the beetle. If you love your lilies, you’ll need to wage war by handpicking daily or spraying which has limited success. The larva is the grossest bug I have ever encountered. The defense mechanism is to have its poop cover itself to make it unattractive to predators…and us! When passing on lilies to others for plant sales or gifts, make sure you wash off all soil and replant in new potting soil before sharing so you do not pass on eggs harboured in the soil. For information on controlling Lily Beetle, go to:



Have you ever picked cattails growing alongside a stream? Pulling the fuzzy cattails apart is great fun, but those fuzzy flowers are also very useful. Pioneers roasted and ate young cattails and their shoots. They also used them to stuff their beds. Cattail juice was used to treat toothache and the leaves were woven into baskets. The root was pounded and used as a poultice to treat wounds.



The History of Wilmot Horticultural Society

            Chapter 5            Past Anniversaries of WHS    by Ruth Zehr

The tenth anniversary, celebrated on November 6, 1978 was held at the New Hamburg Community Centre.  A potluck supper was enjoyed by 135 horticulturists, of which 17 were original members.  An anniversary cake, made by Mrs. John Holst, added a sweet taste to the celebrative occasion.

As guests of honour, the first executive was introduced by President Lou Hill. Greetings were given by Mayor Ernst Ritz and by Past President Edith Taylor. Special music was supplied by the Laverne Gingerich family.

The guest speaker for the evening was Mr. Herbert Markle, Past President of the Ontario Horticultural Association. He was from the office of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.  Mr. Markle was appreciative of the progress of the comparatively small group saying that the work of horticulturalists is most gratifying when results are evident.

Each one present received an anniversary booklet which had been put together.  It contained a FOREWORD by Edith Taylor, PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE by Louis Hill; REFLECTION by Madeline Honderich and a history of the first ten years.

A celebration for the 25th Anniversary was held on May, 1993 at the New Hamburg Community Centre. Kathryn Eidt, Evelyn Haufchild, Isabel Seyler, and Ruth Zehr planned the event.  Attendees numbering 140 enjoyed a delicious meal prepared and served by Marj Jantzi and her family. An entertaining program was planned. A humourous skit under the direction of Marg West, a former teacher, brought out some loud laughs.  In “Wanted a House Keeper” a bachelor farmer advertised for a housekeeper.  Several questionable applicants came to his door.  One of them assured him she was a good cook and when he asked her what she can do, the reply was always “cook cabbage soup and fried pork.”  Actors included Gary and Brenda West, Kathryn Eidt, Ruth Zehr, Jessie Beariner and her granddaughter, Stephanie.

The Singing Sunflowers, 5 WHS ladies, put on their sunflower faces and while blooming on the platform rendered some sweet chords. The Clechen choir entertained with lovely strains of music.

Harry Wyma, a OHA past president, presented a wonderful slide show.  What contributed to making it so amazing was the fact that he used two projectors at the same time – quite an innovative show for the times.

(I have my own interesting tale to tell about that evening.  Lou Hill, a Past President had a greenhouse and generously supplied WHS with plants and flowers for special occasions.  For the table centres, he promised to bring young geraniums just beginning to bloom.  The plants were a healthy green with lush foliage and plenty of buds – but not a single bloomin’ flower in sight, nor did we have any other flower arrangement.  It was rather ironic to have a horticultural celebration with not a single flower in bloom!

The 40th Anniversary was held June 9, 2008. Ninety people gathered at the New Dundee Community Centre to celebrate the 40th Anniversary.  President Theresa Dietrich presided and honoured the presence of two original members, Madeline Honderich and Gwen Tye.  Greetings were brought by Mayor Wayne Roth who brought a Certificate of Honour.

The tables were graced with pink Gerbera to be enjoyed while eating a delicious meal catered by Angie’s Restaurant.  Ruth Zehr gave a historical synopsis of the society after which acknowledgement was given to the committee members of the many different programmes of the society. The entertainment of the Ayr/Paris Band was enjoyed by all.


"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden." ~ Ruth Stout


Member’s Corner - The Tale of My Ill-fated Gardening Shovel  - written by Ruth Zehr                                                                                                       

It happened on a beautiful autumn day the latter part of October in 2015.  My husband Ron and I went to London to visit our granddaughter Elisabeth in her first- ever own apartment.  We oohed and ahhed over her creativity using cast-offs to furnish her place.  We had a lovely dinner together, a shopping trip, and we headed out to arrive home before dark. 

 Usually, I carefully watch where we are going and at times I blurt out a driving command, much to the annoyance of the driver.  As we were making our way east on Fanshawe Road, at that moment, I was peering out my side window, deep in a reverie of my own.  Suddenly, we were jolted to an abrupt halt with a crash and a bang.  Instantly, the two air bags deployed and the one on the passenger side hit me hard on my chest.  My knees “hollered” from having smashed into the cubbyhole door.  It took me some time to asses my hurts.

Someone called 911 and I heard the wail of sirens.  The whole parade arrived – two fire trucks, two ambulances, and police.  The car in front of us had braked suddenly when the traffic light turned yellow.  Ron did not get stopped in time and we crashed.  Fortunately, no one required hospitalization.  I was asked to get out of the car because of fumes from the air bags.  Even though it was sunny, the wind was cold and blustery.  I had nowhere to go except stand outside.  A paramedic saw me shivering and kindly brought me a blanket.  Ron had a cut on his hand and received first aid from another paramedic.  In time our car was pushed onto the side street and firemen cleaned up the debris.  Eventually, a flat-bed tow truck came to take our car – somewhere in London. 

 To see our wrecked car towed away was disheartening and even more so when I remembered what was in the trunk – my light-weight lady’s shovel and irrigation system consisting of five plastic gallon jugs!  Yes, I could have rescued my gardening equipment before the car was towed, but being in pain and cold while standing on a street corner, I was in no mood for gardening.  Secretly, I shed my tears and mourned the loss of my old stand-byes! 

 Since the late eighties, I have been involved with Civic Beautification for the Wilmot Horticultural Society and cared for flower beds in the township.  My handy-dandy shovel along with a hoe became my constant companions in gardening season.   In 2014 my right hip began to hurt.  I could no longer rest on my right side – my favourite position to sleep.  During the winter months, the pain subsided and I knew I had a choice to make – either have a sore hip or hang up my shovel.  I chose the latter even though I could/would not stop gardening in 2015.  All summer the shovel rode in the trunk of my car and when I had some digging to do, I begged for help from my right-hand man, my grandchildren, or friends.  Being a dry year, I used my irrigation system frequently to water thirsty plants.

 Eventually, the policewoman asked Ron to sit in her cruiser so she could fill in her report.  Kindly, she invited me to sit in the back of her vehicle.  Believe me, there is not much room in the back of a cruiser.  I could barely get my legs inside!  At one point she asked me if I had ever been in the back of a police car before.  That had never been on my bucket list!!  I asked her how they possibly get some larger men inside.  They call for a larger vehicle she informed me. 

 The female officer was very pleasant and when she was finished with the paperwork, she called for a taxi to take us home and kindly waited until he arrived.  No, we did not get home before dark!   Gratefully, we arrived home without serious injury even though I sported deep purple, the outline of the seatbelt.  I cringed whenever I felt a cough or sneeze coming on.  Loud complaints came from my black and blue knees, but I was so thankful to our God and Guardian Angel for sparing us from serious injury.

 Even yet, I wonder about the whereabouts of my gardening shovel.   Sigh!!!

                                       In the 1600s, tulips were so valued that they were worth more than gold!


Junior Gardeners

Contact:  Sandra Cressman  (519) 662-2030  or Janice Wagler (519) 662-2436 to have your children or grandchildren enter the WHS Youth Competition May 2016. Details are at the end of the newsletter. How about growing a garden?! Contact Sandra and Janice about the summer project. Seeds are provided. At the May 9th, Show and Share, the WHS Youth Competition May 2016is judged and on display. That day, there will be other activities for the whole family. Come all!

Stratford Garden Festival ~ Dig it!

I had the pleasure of attending the Lung Association's 16th annual Stratford Garden Festival on March 5. What a lovely show! There were numerous vendors, landscapers, and an excellent program of speakers. I stayed to see what Lorraine Johnson (Growing Edible Native Plants), Darren Heimbecker (The Myths and Facts of Gardening) and Sean James (20+ Bulletproof Plants for Your Garden) had to say. LOTS!! I will share some of the information in upcoming newsletters. My favourite landscape exhibitor was Richard’s Landscaping of Stratford. He had a beautiful water garden with musical instruments…the piano was the waterfall!!!

Mark your Calendars!!!


Canada Blooms, March 11th to 20nd, 2016 www.canadablooms.com

rare Charitable Research Reserve  http://www.raresites.org/events-calendar/  see the Mar/Apr calendar.

 Come Grow With Us! Hosted by the Canadian Master Gardeners, this educational and entertaining conference will take place April 8 – 10, 2016, at the Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville, Ontario. Pre-conference workshops, plenary presentations and dozens of educational breakout sessions will address  and provoke discussion about the idea of “doing the right thing” in gardening. www.conference.mgoi.ca

July 29-31, 2016 Ont. Horticultural Convention hosted by our District 19 at the Crowne Plaza in Kitchener!!!!! Mark your calendars and get ready to volunteer. We will need lots of help. http://www.gardenontario.org/sho/up_conf.php        See schedules for speakers and competitions.

Photo Contest:  You are taking pictures for the Photo Contest with the first exhibits and voting starting in September 2016. Check the brochure or website for details.           The season themes for now are: “Spring Fever at the ‘Spring Explosion’”, “Tiny Surprises”, “Proud to be Canadian” (native wildflowers), and “Wilmot in Bloom” (your favourite Wilmot Civic Garden).

   FREE NATURESCAPING SEMINAR SERIES in April: Region of Waterloo                                               http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/aboutTheEnvironment/Naturescaping-Seminars-2014.asp

 We are always looking for articles, photos and suggestions for the newsletter. We want to hear from YOU! Please email us. wilmothortsociety@gmail.com

                                                           Share the newsletter with friends!

 Created by: Marlene Knezevich,                   Edited by: Ruth Zehr            

Websitewww.gardenontario.org/site.php/wilmot      email: wilmothortsociety@gmail.com


WHS does not verify the facts contained in the articles associated with these links.  Please use the information provided as a starting point for research into various topics of interest.   Listing a link does not imply WHS endorsement of an organization, its principles or its policies.

“Experience the Grand”   OHA Photo Contest for this July 29th  OHA Convention in Kitchener.


CLASS 1:  “Monet’s Garden” - Your interpretation

CLASS 2:  “Fairies” -                A Fairy Garden

CLASS 3:  “Harvest Time” –   Crops being harvested

CLASS 4:  “My Friend Herb” – Your favourite herb

CLASS 5:  “Waterloo Glads” – A Gladiolus

CLASS 6:  “Fantastic Ferns” – Ferns in the garden or wild

CLASS 7:  “Patterns in Black & White” – Patterns created by plants (Black & White class)

CLASS 8:  “Woodland Landscape” - Woodlands

CLASS 9:  “Your Grand River” –    Photo of your local river (must include vegetation)

CLASS 10: “Wilmot Rose” -            A single red Rose

CLASS 11: “Wellesley Hollyhocks” - Hollyhocks

Youth Classes

CLASS 12: “Ribbit” -            A frog of course a) 6-11 b) 12-17

CLASS 13: “I Grew That!” – A plant or vegetable that you grew a) 6-11 b)12-17 



Do you know any youths who love to be outside and perhaps have an interest in gardening? The OHA competition is outlined:

WHS Youth Competition May 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016                          Haysville Community Centre                                                                                    Meeting starts at 7 pm.                                        Entries will be received between 3-4:45 pm.

Entries will be judged in four categories:  Category 1 ~ Grades 1 & 2   Category 2 ~ Grades 3 & 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Category 3 ~ Grades 5 & 6          Category 4 ~ Grades 7, 8 & High School

Class 1.   “Grand River Trails”   Essay     To be composed in your own words, information may be computer/Internet generated and researched. Describe what plant and wild life you might see while walking or cycling one of the many trails found within the Region of Waterloo. Drawings (hand or pre-drawn), photos and/or magazine/website pictures are allowed. Display in a folder with a clear cover so that title page is visible.              Ages 6-11 ~ not to exceed 150 words   Ages 12-18 ~ should have a minimum of 150 words

Class 2.  “The Monarch Butterfly”   Essay    Describe the life-cycle of the Monarch butterfly. Information should include the requirements necessary for the monarch to survive and the dangers it faces. Drawings (hand or pre-drawn), photos, and/or magazine/website pictures are allowed. Display in a folder with a clear cover so that title page is visible.     Inspired by the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.  Ages 6-11 ~not to exceed 150 words;  Ages 12-18 ~ should have a minimum of 150 words        http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/

Class 3.  Tulips, 3 stems, any colours

Class 4.   “Oktoberfest”     Create a seed mosaic depicting a vegetable or flower you might have in your garden in October.  Using seeds, beans, lentils, nuts, rice, etc. create your image on a 22cm x 28 cm (8 ½ x 11 in.) piece of construction or card stock (white or coloured) glued on a piece of card board of the same size.   Seeds should NOT be painted or dyed.  Cover with MacTac.

Class 5“Memories of Last Summer  A bouquet of dried flowers in a mason jar, not to exceed 30 cm in any direction.

Class 6.  “Garden Quilt”   Create a “quilt” on a 22cm x 28 cm (8 ½ x 11 in) paper or card stock which represents the vegetables and flowers in a square foot garden.  You may use drawings, computer generated or magazine photos, coloured pencils, crayons, markers and or paint to complete your picture.  http://www.vegetable-gardening-online.com/square-foot-garden.html

Class 7“My Favourite Houseplant”   Entry to a drawing (hand or pre-drawn) on a 21.5 cm x 28 cm (8 ½ x 11) sheet of paper, may use crayon, paint, pencil crayon, magazine pictures, etc. in any combination.

Class 8“Market Day” A display in a basket with a handle.  Should include flowers and vegetables.  Herbs may also be included (minimum of 5 cultivars in oasis, jar or tube).   Basket not to exceed 25 cm in any direction.

Prizes ~     First ~ $5.00      Second ~ $4.00     Third ~ $3.00

For Further Information ~    Contact:   Sandra Cressman  (519) 662-2030

                                                                Janice Wagler       (519) 662-2436



> September/October Rambling Rose Newsletter

> November/December Rambling Rose Newsletter

> May June Newsletter 2016

> August Rambling Rose 2016

> March April Newsletter 2016

> Jan/Feb 2016 Rambling Rose

> Nov/Dec 2015 Rambling Rose

> Sept/Oct Newsletter 2015

> March April Newsletter 2015

> May June Newsletter 2015

> January 2015

Last Updated: 2018-05-06