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May June Newsletter 2016
by May-June Rambling Rose 2016


    WHS                      Bringing people and gardening together since 1968.


“It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want—oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

              ― Mark Twain

www.gardenontario.org/site.php/wilmot                                                                                             May/June 2016                                                                                                                                                        

Hello WHS Members!!!                (Note: due to restrictions of this website, no photos and artwork of the original newsletter are included)

Yeah!!! Planting time is here and fingernails and knees are dirty!! The cool weather plants such as cabbage and onion family, spinach, lettuce and peas, can be planted. What a spring though! March brought warm temperatures and promise of an early spring. Then April arrived….what can I say…it was ugly and cold for the first bit with a glimmer of warmth. While I finish this issue up on May 15, we have a bit of snow!!!

Here are some things to keep in mind this spring. In our enthusiasm, we often start too many plants of one type. Consider your family’s needs. Are you always giving away zucchini!!! Cut back. When buying greenhouse plants or indoor plants, take time to harden off the plants before bringing outside. Start with a couple of hours and add an hour or so that plants adjust to temperature and especially to sun. Warm weather plants such as peppers, beans, melons, cucumber, tomatoes and eggplants need 16 to 20 C soil temperatures. If planted in cold soil, growth will be stunted. Mix it up in the flower beds. Add herbs and some vegetables. Many of these look lovely. Some of the cold weather veggies such as lettuce, can fill a bare spot which may be covered later by your perennials once the lettuce is harvested. All those lovely blooms at the garden centre are so tempting!!! Go with a list. If looking for blooms go to the garden centre throughout the growing season so that you have something blooming all year and try to add natives. Read the labels of the plants and plant in the right soil type. For success, location, location and location are important!! That means the plant is going in the preferred soil type, growing zone (we are 5) and the right amount of sunlight.

Watering is also critical for new plantings. Even if it is drought tolerant, the root system needs to be mature for this to happen. For trees, this can mean at least 2 summers of watering. Water in the morning, at the root level and preferably use tepid temperature water. Watering at night promotes fungal diseases, slugs and snails. Keep plants dry at night.  Invest in rain barrels.


Flowers grow in inches, but are destroyed by feet. ~Gardening Saying


Helloooo!!!!!  Spring!!!

 This year’s colourful, informative, energizing and fun Garden Explosion was a great success! Again!! This was the 14th year. Thank you to Marilyn Sararus and her committee for putting together this wonderful event for Wilmot Horticultural Society. Our featured speakers Sean James and Peter Rasberry were entertaining and informative. Meadow Acres’ Jenna Sardella (décor) and Lisa Elg (landscape) demonstrated how to make our front landscapes and entrances to our homes beautiful with easy and cost effective methods. The Wilmot Quilt was featured and the raffle tickets were on sale. The Silent Auction had a wide array of items up for grabs. Thank you to all who donated and purchased.

 The traditional closing with the Fashion Show by Meadow Acres, was a fun, colourful and enjoyable finale commentated by Donna Moss. Both Donna and Heidi Schroeder outfitted the models.

Photo: not available on this website: Left to right: our beautiful models are Marilyn Sararus, Donna Moss, Yvonne Zyma, Marlene Knezevich, Joanne Green,  Marion Shantz, Annie Cober, Judy Rivers, Pauline Stirling, Ruth Trussler, Judy Yutzi, and Heidi Schroeder.

 Sean James spoke on the beauty and value of capturing the rain water on our properties to prevent storm runoff from flooding and polluting our waterways, which here, is our drinking water sources. Sean reviewed the many easy to more technical and beautiful ways to create rain gardens and biodiversity. They also help the environment by infiltrating water to clean it and restore the water table and base-flow (the water that seeps through the ground to our creeks). He showed many of the native cultivars that are excellent as well as other plantings for rain gardens as well as low maintenance gardening.

   Rain Gardens can be a beautiful addition to any yard and allow the planting of some truly interesting plants. http://www.neviews.ca/Samples/28%20james.pdf

 Peter Rasberry, the OEE Specialist at the Blair Outdoor and Environmental Education Centre,spoke about the school programs and the wildlife. He spoke about the capture and studies of the local insects and how the school children are involved. His beautiful photography illustrated the beauty of our natural world from the odd looking tiny, freshwater crustaceans to the beautiful birds and mammals we have in our own backyards and wild spaces. If you like to find out more or see their blog go to https://outdooredguys.wordpress.com/

Donating plants to the Relief Sale on Friday May 27 and 28th? Pot ASAP so plants are perky. Please label with name of plant and colour of bloom if you know it. Easy labels can be made of cut up yogurt containers. 


You don't need to be a dedicated composter to reap similar benefits.
Call it cheating, but applying used coffee grounds, eggshells, chopped-up banana peels, and other organic matter directly to your soil (no composting required) can offer plants nutrients as they decompose. For already-growing beds, scatter and bury the items within the first few inches of soil.


 Photo contest  

Spring has sprung and we have many themes to focus on.  “Tiny Surprises”; Monet’s Garden”your  interpretation; Into the Secret Garden”arbour, gate, bridge or path; “Proud to be Canadian” is for our native flowers, Wilmot in Bloom” a look at your favourite Civic Garden; Soft Golden Days”; and “Fungus Among Us”, a search for various forms of mushrooms we have from spring to fall.

For the Junior Gardener’s, the themes are “Favourite Flower” and “Look what I grew in my Garden!”

Our annual OHA convention also has a photo contest and it would be great if YOU decide to enter pictures in that too. See: www.gardenontario.org/docs/convention2016/competitions/2016PhotoCompetitionSchedule_Guidelines.pdf


Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it. ~Author Unknown


What truly is Ontarian!!!????

With so many introductions of plants from Europe and other parts of the world that have naturalized, it is difficult to know what a true native is. Foreign introductions that have become our normal ‘weeds’ are dandelion, are Queen’s Ann Lace, chicory, coltsfoot to name a few.

What is truly native? Explore our natural areas to see the variety of our wild flowers.

Spring: skunk cabbage, fiddleheads (ostrich ferns), cinnamon fern, marsh marigolds, spring beauty, purple and yellow violets, bloodroot, trout lily, white and purple trillium, wild ginger, jack-in-the-pulpit, Solomon’s seal,  false Solomon seal, Dutchman’s breeches, may apple, columbine, black cohosh, yellow lady’s slipper, bunch flower, bellwort, and cardinal flower.

For more, see: http://www.ontariowildflowers.com/


I recently attended a workshop at Reep House in Kitchener on the top 10 wild plants to use in the garden. Here is the link to that information and morehttp://reepgreen.ca/local-plant-species/


Watermelons are actually vegetables, related to pumpkins, cucumbers and squash.


For the Photo Contest: ‘Fungus Among Us”, look for mushrooms throughout the year in your yard, forest, and hill and dale. Spy with your little eyes all the types, colours and shapes of our mushrooms. Check the websites for the names of the fungi in your backyard.

http://www.ojibway.ca/mushrooms.htm http://northernbushcraft.com/guide.php?ctgy=edible_mushrooms&region=ontario



"My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view."

~ H. Fred Dale




Our local garden celebrity, Dave Hobson, has videos on the KW Record website on many garden topics including a short tour of Whistling Gardens. Have a look:




General Meetings


On April 11th, Anita Buehner of Bonnie Heath Estate Lavender and Wine provided a delightful story of their farm. Initially, the original owners had grown fruit and Anita’s family has grown tobacco. In 2003 they began to trial lavender. Now, the sandy soils of this Norfolk County farm is also growing wine grapes, apples for hard cider, and a planting of native grasses and wildflowers to promote biodiversity and pollinator habitat, including a wetland.

 Anita covered the difference between English (Lavandula angustifolia) and French (Lavandula dentate) varieties. The English Lavender which is not from England…bred there… is shorter, blooms earlier and has camphor. The French varieties are taller, have longer stems and higher oil content.

Anita said the lavender is pruned in August after harvest to keep the plants compact to prevent winter damage.

Lavender is a relatively new crop for Ontario so they, with the U. of Guelph, study a variety of lavender species for various qualities such as oil production and especially hardiness. The hardiest English Lavender is Folgate and it is difficult to find for purchase. Some of the other varieties are Royal Velvet, Dark Supreme, and Melissa.  The recommended French varieties are Fat Spike Grosso, Edelwise, Gros Bleu and Grosso. For more information and directions if you would like to visit: http://www.bonnieheathestate.ca/


Garden Show and Share and Junior Competition

On Monday May, 9th, was an evening of members sharing garden pictures, favourite plants, floral arrangements, gadgets, and the WHS history scrap books. The Kitchener Master Gardeners, Nith River Native Plants, Heritage Pet and Garden, Region of Waterloo RAIN program, Gary Brenner for the OHA convention and 4H were available to answer questions and provide information on their services or products. Seeds and plants were brought in for the swap.

Ruth Zehr, our WHS historian, brought the first three scrapbooks of the WHS history. She gave the “Keeper of the File” Report which outlined the travels of the WHS filing cabinet from home to home to office to community centre. That file cabinet with other boxes were continually being filled with ‘stuff’. Ruth has been sifting through 40+ years of ‘stuff’ and condensing the materials into the scrapbooks. Ruth is hoping that for members who wish to see them, we can do a sign-out system.

Doris Weicker explained how to make the ‘hands’ using quick set concrete (see photo below). Dorothy Wilson talked about her favourite gadget, Garden Bandit™ Hand Loop Weeder, a Canadian product available at Lee Valley. I have heard from others that it is very easy on the wrists when used for weeding and more.

The Adult Mystery Garden game was won by Gwyn Brundrett who got a perfect score. There was a three way tie for second. Cinnamon fern and bellwort identification questions tripped up most. For bonus, the sycamore and plane trees also was a challenge. We are at the north end boundary of the Carolinian Forest. See the New Hamburg Arboretum for them and one is on the east side of Hincks St just south of Forest St.. Look for bark that is very patchy looking.

Thank you to everyone who generously donated items  and purchased for the Penny Auction which resulted in $114 generated for the junior program.


Cranberries, Concord grapes, and blueberries are three popular fruits native to North America.


 Carrots - a history:

Did you know that there is a Carrot Museum??!! Created in England and only online!  The carrot’s homeland is Iran and Afghanistan. Originally, the aromatic leaves and seeds were the only parts used. Carrot seeds have been found in Switzerland and Southern Germany dating to 2000–3000 BC. Some close relatives of the carrot are still grown for their leaves and seeds, for example parsley, fennel, dill and cumin. The first use of the root seems to be in the first century.  The carrot was introduced into Europe in the 8th century by the Spanish Moors and in the 10th century to West Asia, India and Europe. The roots were purple. The modern carrot originated in Afghanistan at about this time. The scholars describe both red and yellow carrots in the 11th century. Cultivated carrots appeared in China in the 14th century and in Japan in the 18th century. Orange-coloured carrots appeared in the Netherlands in the 17th century, which has been related to the fact that the Dutch flag at the time, the Prince's Flag, included orange. European settlers brought the carrot to North America in the 17th century.            http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history.html


“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...

"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

 Member’s Corner

A Tip For Picky or Very Selective Eaters --- Verda Cook

Our Grand Daughter is a child who is part of the Autism Spectrum, having Asperger’s. Most Autistic children have a very narrow choice of food they will eat, especially vegetables.  When she was quite young, this was very frustrating for me. One spring I decided to try a new tactic. I purchased the seeds for Bright Lights Swiss Chard. In the summer, when this vegetable was ready to be harvested, she came for a visit. This vegetable, which looks similar to Rhubarb, has stalks in various colors – pink, red, orange, white and yellow.  I took her to the garden and asked her which color she would like to eat.  She chose the color, helped to harvest it, wash it and put it into the pot.  After it was cooked, I put a little margarine on it and placed it on her plate. She ate it all. I was so pleased. At each visit, I would take her to the garden and have her choose the color she wanted for our meal. 

Swiss Chard packs a powerful health punch. It is a very good source of fibre, calcium, phosphorus, iron and protein among many Vitamins required for good health. It is considered one of the world's healthiest foods.  Never tried it?  When our granddaughter is not at our house, I serve it with a cheese sauce topped with buttered bread crumbs. Swiss Chard can also be eaten raw as a snack, or added to salad. It begins to grow very early in spring (like rhubarb), and will produce into late autumn. Swiss Chard is hardy and will not be harmed by autumn frosts. Mulch it, and it will survive winter providing you with healthy eating the following year. Don't have a garden?  It is colorful enough that it can be grown in the flower bed among your perennials or annuals.

This colorful vegetable, whether served in one color or a rainbow of colors, is very attractive on the plate. Try growing it in your garden/flower bed and next time a child is reluctant to eat, visit the garden, have them choose the color they want to eat. The chard is healthiest vegetable available, so easy to grow and so attractive. Give it a try!

(photos from clipart)


The average strawberry has 200 seeds. It's the only fruit that bears its seeds on the outside.


 The History of Wilmot Horticultural  Society – Chapter 6    

        Glimpses of the Past  -  Civic Beautification     researched and written by Ruth Zehr


An objective of the Wilmot Horticultural Society is to encourage interest and improvement in horticulture and by encouraging the improvement of home and public grounds by the planting of trees, shrubs and flowers, and by otherwise promoting outdoor art and public beautification. 


Photographer  unknown

 In 1968 members of the newly formed Wilmot Horticultural Society wasted no time whatsoever to promote the beautification of public places. They began with the centre of New Hamburg at the corner of Peel and Huron Streets.      

  In 1974 Ed Klinkman and President Ann Fergusson toured the township to search for suitable places to make flower beds and plant trees.

  In 1975 they planted 3200 spring-flowering bulbs and 6 trees.  The following spring when the daffodil and tulips were spent, the bulbs were dug up so that annuals could be planted.  Lou Hill provided the space on his property to heel in the bulbs so they could continue storing energy for planting again in the fall. Riverside Park was a field of weeds and grass, an unsightly scene.  It was developed into a beautifully groomed area of trees, flowers beds, and playground equipment.  It became the show piece of New Hamburg.  (It was where presently the New Hamburg sign is located.)

   In 1976 WHS purchased 20 concrete planters, 36 inches in diameter, each planted with a tree and annuals, all placed in downtown New Hamburg.  The following year, 6 trees were vandalized and had to be replaced.  They put steel posts in each planter to anchor the trees.  In 1978 the posts were painted “to harmonize with the trees.”


The 1977 minutes record “the New Hamburg Board of Trade honoured the Executive of Wilmot Horticultural Society at their October meeting with an invitation to their dinner and made a presentation to the Society of photographs of the floral beds in downtown New Hamburg.   The Executive included Mrs. Anne Fergusson, past president; Lou Hill, president; Howard Schmidt, 1st vice-president; Mrs. Fraser McMillan, 2nd vice-president; Mrs. Edward Klinkman, secretary; Mrs. Ernie Ritz, treasurer.

  In 1977 Mr. Hill reported that 3500 spring flowering bulbs were planted.  A photo shows Ed Klinkman and Lou Hill planting around Centennial Fountain in New Hamburg.

   In 1978 a donation was made to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton showing the generosity of the society.  That same year the decision was made to hire a summer student to help with grooming the flower beds in the summer months.

   A Civic Beautification Report, written by Howard Schmidt, reads as follows:   The Society was fortunate to hire a student, Miss Dee Roth, New Hamburg.  She is a student at the University of Guelph.  She took a keen interest in her job, planting, hoeing, weeding, watering and pruning the flowers throughout the township.  We were grateful for all her effort, time, and work.  In the fall we planted 4,175 bulbs in beds throughout the township.  Thanks was given to Lou Hill for storing, cleaning, treating all the bulbs. 1978 was considered a very successful year and appreciation has been shown by comments from local residents.  It was very dry this spring and had some difficulty in taking up the tulip bulbs.  Planting the beds was delayed approximately two weeks.  Shrubs were planted at the library, Municipal Building, Fire Hall and fountain in New Hamburg; also at Haysville Community Centre and at St. Agatha Community Centre, along with planting the beds with flowers that were ordered by Doloras Shearer from the Garden Centre.  Additional beds were designed at the Municipal Building in Baden.  Considerable amount of work was done at the entrance to the park, removing old shrubs, trees, and the rockery.  WHS wanted to see an increase in beds at New Dundee, Petersburg, and St. Agatha.  We wanted the Park Board, Board of Trade or any other organization to contact the Civic Beautification Committee.  Lou had a greenhouse and a green thumb.  Thanks to Taylor Hardware for a donation of 500 bulbs.  Let us try to make 1979 even bigger and better for the interest of WILMOT HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY.”  

  The committee consisted of Coordinators Howard Schmidt, Ed Klinkman, and Doloras Shearer.  Volunteers were for Haysville, Earl Shramm; Baden, Norman Haufchild; New Dundee, Cameron Bock; St. Agatha, Orville Heimpel; Petersburg and New Hamburg Cenotaph, coordinators.

  In 1978 they planted 1700 annuals, over 4000 bulbs, 66 shrubs, and 15 trees.  Gwyn Brundrett became a volunteer for the society after she was invited to enter the Outdoor Competition.

 In 1979 at the 10th Anniversary Celebration, Howard Schmidt reported that shrubs were planted in New Hamburg at the library, fire hall, municipal building, and the fountain.  Plantings were also done at St. Agatha, Haysville, Petersburg, and New Dundee.  Spring flowering bulbs planted numbered 4170. 

In 1981 free rocks were offered to WHS from a property in Kitchener.  These were used to build a rockery at Riverside Park in New Hamburg.  Howard Schmidt reported that bedding plants would be purchased from Tavistock Nursery.

 In 1982 in May, the plants were dug up at Peel and Huron Streets by the Water Department to install a drinking fountain.

 In1983 Gwyn made a motion to call a meeting with the volunteers to discuss ideas.  The need for a watering system was one of the items addressed by President Earl Shramm who purchase a tank, trailer and a rototiller.  To help pay for these purchases, that same year the ladies worked diligently to make a quilt which was raffled as a fund raiser.  In the following years, at least six more quilt raffles were held.

Past Presidents Lou Hill, Howard Schmidt and Earl Shramm worked together very efficiently and effectively to care for Civic Beautification in the township.  They had the interest, knowledge, equipment, and man-power to make sure thatthe flowers in the Township of Wilmot flourished.

 In 1986 Gwyn Brundrett became president and along with Annie Cober co-chaired Civic Beautification.  Gwyn and her husband Ewart measured each bed in the township and put it on graph paper.  She then estimated how many bedding plants to put into each bed so that she could make up a plant order for Tavistock Nursery.  She was very careful to stay within the budget.  That same year Gwyn purchased soil amendments for the flower beds – 70 bags of manure, 30 bags of peat moss.  Gwyn and Annie distributed them to the volunteers of the various flower beds. 

 In 1987 12 flats of pansies were distributed in April for planting.  That same year the water tank and trailer were sold.  In 1989 the rototiller was sold.  When the men could no longer volunteer, where to store the equipment, how to haul it from place to place, and who to run it became problematic, so it was sold.

 In 1988 the number of volunteers recorded was 24. In 1989 when Catherine Eidt became President, Gwyn and Annie continued to chair Civic Beautification.  Each year in the middle of winter, Gwyn called a meeting for all the CB volunteers to plan what to plant in each flower bed so that she could place the order with Tavistock Nursery.  Their truck delivered the plants to her place the week before May 24.  She hardened the plants for a week, then she and Annie delivered them along with peat moss, sheep manure, and fertilizer to the volunteers assigned to each bed.   In 1990 she reported the planting of 5000 plants in 28 locations. In 1991 permission was granted by the board to purchase $200 worth of daffodil bulbs. 

 In 1994 after Castle Kilbride was purchased by the Township of Wilmot and restored, including the grounds, Gwyn became actively involved with the landscaping and the planting of flower beds.

 In time, some of the volunteers raised the question why we were taking our sizable plant order outside of our own township especially since we had Westwood Green Houses in Wilmot Township.  Some of the volunteers also preferred to plan what to plant on their own – not in the dead of winter, but when the flowers were blooming in the green houses and colours could be seen and better coordinated.  Gwyn made arrangements with Westwood for the volunteers who wished to purchase their plants there.

 Gwyn Brundrett and Annie Cober co-chaired Civic Beautification until 1999. Gwyn and Annie deserve to be commended for all the effort and hard work they put into making the township beautiful.  By then, the matter of liability insurance was being questioned. Organizational changes were in the offing. Story will be continued in the next issue of Rambling Rose.

 Mark your Calendars!!!

Throughout the month of May, Meadow Acres has numerous sale specials on. Get out your membership card and get additional 10% off. Get their magazine with the May Calendar of specials. http://meadowacres.com/

Paris HS Annual Garden Tour June 4, 10am – 4pm in conjunction with Spring Time in Paris. Five gorgeous gardens to visit. Tickets are $10.00 per person. Call or                                                                                                                                                                                                                              email Mel for details; 1-519-442-3754 or melandlinda@hotmail.com

Colour Paradise Power of Pink, Thursday, June 9th, Wellspring-Grand River (formerly Hope Spring Cancer Support Centre). The event showcases live demonstrations, a Vendors Market Place, Silent Auction, free food samples, live music and a whole lot of fun!  http://www.colourparadise.com/news.php

                      June 18th, Club Sprouts, 10 am – 12:00. For more details: http://www.colourparadise.com/

Sunday, July 3rd, Stratford HS Garden Tour, 10am – 4pm. $15 or 2 for $25.

Contact:    sdhs1878@outlook.com

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

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: “Proud to be Canadian, Wilmot in Bloom”, Soft Golden Days”, “Fungus Among Us”. For the Junior Gardener’s, the themes are “Favourite Flower” and “Look what I grew in my Garden!” (For more details, see the brochure or check on the website (go to Meetings and on left side, to Programs)


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            


email:      wilmothortsociety@gmail.com   

Wilmot Horticultural Society is a member of the Ontario Horticultural Association (OHA).http://www.gardenontario.org/ 


WHS does not verify the facts contained in the articles and the associated 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.



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Last Updated: 2018-03-19