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Nov/Dec 2015 Rambling Rose
by nov/dec 2015 Rambling Rose Newsletter

Rambling Rose

Bringing people and gardening together.

www.gardenontario.org/site.php/wilmot                                                              November/December 2015

 (Note all readers: this document only represents the written portion of the newsletter as the website does not allow photos)

How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss

Hello WHS Members!!!

 We experienced a warmer and drier fall this year but we still had an early snowfall thrown our way on Oct 18th. Brrrrrr!!!! The damp, gloomy days provided little precipitation. Give your evergreens a good drink before freeze up! They are still thirsty!!

 The new WHS program brochure is fresh off the press. See what speakers and events we have lined up for 2016 – it’s going to be another great year!! We have presentations on Australian flowers, garlic, economical gardening, preserves and much more. (Also posted on our website: www.gardenontario.org/site.php/wilmot)                 The annual Flower Show has been changed to the adult ‘Show and Share’ with the Junior Gardeners OHA competition. You’ll see more details on this later.

 Our 50th anniversary is coming in 2018 and we are working on all kinds of events to celebrate this milestone. We have already started the Photo Contest for the WHS Anniversary Calendar. Get your brochure with the details on the themes and dates of the contests. Keep your camera handy and start snapping!!! You can start with the themes “Soft Golden Days”, “Frozen in Time” and “Fresh Snow on Seed heads”.

 Did you know?

Poinsettias, natives of Mexico and Central America, were brought to the United States in 1825 by the first U.S. minister to Mexico, Joel Robb Poinsett, a botanist and physician, for whom the plant is named. Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is part of the spurge family and is a perennial shrub that will grow 10 (3m) -15 feet tall (4.5m). The colored bracts, which are traditionally bright red, can be cream, pink, white, or marbled—are actually leaves. In the centre of the coloured leaves is the flower. To get the coloured leaves, a biological process called photoperiodism occurs. The Poinsettia needs 12 hours of darkness for five days and bright daylight. There are more than 100 varieties of Poinsettia. The Ecke family of California had a poinsettia monopoly from 1923 to the 1990s. They had mastered the technique of making the naturally leggy plant more attractive and did not share the technique. They grafted two varieties together to create a full, bushy plant. In 1991, a researcher discovered the method and shared the information. The Ecke family is still in business but many others are now growing the plant.

Poinsettia is not poisonous but if children and pets eat a lot, they could be sick from the milky sap. (Leaves of any plant can be a choking hazard for young children.) The Aztecs used the Poinsettia bracts to make a reddish purple dye for fabrics, and used the sap medicinally to control fevers.

For tips on buying and care for the poinsettia, go to http://landscapeontario.com/home-care-tips-for-your-poinsettia or http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/html_pubs/point/point.htm and/or http://extension.illinois.edu/poinsettia/facts.cfm


No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.  - Hugh Johnson


General Meetings

 On Monday, October 19th, Marion Hesse, a horticulturist with 27 years of experience in the field of horticulture doing Retail, Design and Garden Maintenance spoke on “Putting the Garden to Bed”. Marion distributed a summary sheet which reviewed various things to do for the fall season. Many things were covered in the last newsletter, but Marion shared some interesting facts. Bone meal is the go-to fertilizer when planting bulbs but racoons also love bone meal apparently. They will come and dig up your plantings. I had never seen or heard of that! To prevent rabbit damage, use a product called SKOOT on shrubs or use burlap, white plastic or crepe wrap for trees. For late blooming perennials such as hibiscus, buddleia, Russian sage, candytuft and lavender, cut back in the spring.

To prevent vertical splits in the trunk of trees created by sun scald, use white plastic or the crepe wrap on trunks of young trees. Use white to reflect heat and keep the trunks cool. A couple of boards on the southwest side can be used to shield the trunk as well. Sun scald occurs when you have really sunny days in late winter and early spring. The sun warms up the tree and the tree thinks it is spring time so the sap starts and then it freezes at night or when we get a cold snap. It can take a tree up to five years to recover from the split or it may die. (http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/plant-diseases/print,winter-sunscald-frost-cracking.html)

 Our end of the year meeting on Monday, November 9th, was a great, annual Christmas Potluck. Thank you everyone. What a wonderful variety of dishes we shared. It was a feast for all the senses! Such a wide selection of foods made it difficult to keep the portions small! Mary Ellen Zehr (in photo on the left) had the tables decorated in lovely Christmas décor. 

Rob Marshall, a member of Ayr Horticultural Society, entertained us for the evening. What a joy!! Songs, jokes, and stories kept us entertained for a relaxing evening. What a great way to end the 2015 for WHS!

 Thank you to everyone who pitched in with the cleanup!! Many hands made very, very short order of the task!!


Did you know?  Snapdragon flowers resemble a dragon, and if you squeeze the sides, the dragon's mouth will appear to open and close.


 Thank you to our sponsors who contributed to the success of many of our events this year. The sponsors are:

 All Flowers & Charm, Arca Pizza, Baden Feed & Supply, Baden Pizza Express, Baden Woodworking Shop, Clover Leaf Farms Food, Colour Paradise, Cook’s Pharmacy, Erb Transport, Heritage Pet & Garden, Marlies Merling, Meadow Acres Nursery, Mennonite Savings & Credit Union, My Place Restaurant, New Hamburg Subway, New Hamburg Thrift Centre, Oak Grove Cheese Factory, Sun Life Financial, The Waterlot, and Town Pantry.

Please support your local sponsors!!

 Marlene’s Musings

The drier weather has been great to get things in order in my yard. In the past years, we have had lots of rain in the fall and with clay, it held up projects I wanted to complete. I have been splitting plants and moving things around as well as harvesting the veggie garden. The raspberries were finally fried by the killing frost in mid-October. I’m still creating new gardens.

 When our speaker Marion Hesse spoke of planting bulbs, planters and other plants, she seemed to use fertilizer liberally. I questioned her on that as I go the opposite direction. She has clients who want a great show of their gardens for the short season we have, although she philosophically prefers not to use it. I prefer to use compost and in some planters, I will use fertilizer because of the intensity of plantings. Why am I resistant to the use of fertilizer? If a soil is healthy and fed with compost, little if any fertilizer is required. Often fertilizer is overused. Soil testing is the most scientific way to know the deficiencies of the soil. The detrimental effects of over-fertilizing are the leaching of nutrients into our waterways which create many issues to our health and aquatic life, imbalance in soil composition and acidity (pH), pest imbalance, and imbalance in the growth of plants. I know someone who cannot drink their well water as nitrogen levels are too high. Too much nitrogen will generate lots of leafy growth and hinder fruit set and maturity. When I was young and had my first garden, I continued to add fertilizer to my tomatoes. The tomatoes had huge fruit but even by frost time, they were green as grass! Research has been looking at the role of fertilizers in the agricultural sector and how it contributes to degradation of the environment but articles I have read also see the city lawns being more problematic per acre. Use fertilizer wisely and also compost. http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=2453   http://www.unep.org/yearbook/2014/PDF/chapt1.pdf

 Man- despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains. --Author Unknown


 The History of Wilmot Horticultural Society Chapter 4     by Ruth Zehr

Ontario Horticultural Association continued from last newsletter:


The Ontario Horticultural Association (OHA) is a horticultural organization in Ontario, Canada.  It was established in 1906 by the Government of Ontario via an Act in the Ontario Legislature which split the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies into the Ontario Agricultural Fairs Association and the OHA.  

 The OHA consists of 19 Districts and 277 autonomous local societies; its executive council has representatives from each district.  As of 2012, the OHA counted over 30,000 members. Mrs. Edith Taylor, the first president, received the WHS charter at the OHA Convention in Timmins in 1970.

 Initially WHS belonged to District 7 which included Dufferin, Wellington and Waterloo Counties.  Being much too large, Waterloo became District 19.

 The nine societies belonging to District 19 are Ayr, Elmira and District; Galt, Hespeler, Kitchener, Preston, Waterloo, Wellesley,and Wilmot township.

 Activities: The OHA directly or through local horticultural societies, promotes education about horticulture and greater community involvement in local beautification.  It achieves this by environmental preservation and restoration; a quarterly society newsletter; supporting Fall Fairs and the Royal Winter Fair; supporting and holding horticultural shows and education exhibits; supporting a Master Gardening program; holding an annual convention and very importantly encouraging and promoting horticultural youth groups. 

 An annual convention is held hosted by different districts covering the entire province.  In the summer of 2016, in Waterloo Region, District 19 will host the 110th Convention of OHA.  Plans are underway. (We are looking for volunteers!!!...yes looking at YOU to volunteer!)

Based on the number of members, each society is entitled to have a number of voting delegates attend the convention.  WHS each year has sponsored their allotted members to attend.  Anyone is welcome to attend a convention. There are always great speakers, activities, the flower show and other exhibits, a silent auction and a marketplace.

 The focus of the OHA has also changed with the times. We now have a ‘Greening Up’ section to create awareness of climate change and what we do within our fence’and community has an impact ‘beyond the fence’. Douglas Tallamy, an ecologist and author was quoted at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in January, 2015:

“We have to raise the bar on our landscapes,” said Mr. Tallamy, a professor and chairman of the department of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware. “In the past, we have asked one thing of our gardens: that they be pretty. Now they have to support life, sequester carbon, feed pollinators and manage water.”


 Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. -- Mahatma Gandhi

November/December To Do List (Shoulda, Coulda or Might Get To List)

  • Throughout the winter, check your canna, dahlia and other summer bulbs from drying out, rotting or disease. If dry, spritz the packing material with a little water and discard rotten and diseased bulbs. Suggested packing materials are shredded newspaper, sphagnum moss, sawdust, or vermiculite. Store in cardboard box or paper bags. I keep mine in the cold storage. Do let not them freeze! Avoid storing in plastic bins or bags as moisture can be trapped in and the bulbs will rot.
  • Watch for pests (white flies, spider mites, and aphids) and diseases on houseplants.
    • Order seed catalogues or look online at the websites.
    • Do your tropical plants need repotting?  If the roots are growing into the surface of the soil and through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, it is time to up-size one pot size.  A 10 (25.4cm) inch pot [measured as the diameter of the mouth of the pot] should be moved up to a 12 (30.5cm) inch, for instance. Use quality soil and pull away the excess soil around the plant roots and cut back up to 1/3 of the existing roots.  Pack down the soil into the inside wall of the pot using a small ruler or paint stir stick or old spoon. This gets the air pockets out. Water well and place your plant in a well-lit room, in the brightest window in the room. Watering well does not mean drowning. Often plants die of ‘too much love’. Leaf drop is okay, just pull back on the frequency of watering and be patient.  Hopefully your plant will survive the winter in good enough shape to provide a great show again next season out-of-doors.
  • Protect your rose bushes. Once the ground freezes, protect with mulch or soil.
  • Apply mulch (it can go on top of the snow!).
  • Cut branches for winter decorations.
  • Rainfall has been below normal this fall so give the evergreens a good drink before freeze up especially if they are in the rain shadow by large trees or buildings.



I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. John Burroughs


 The Flowers of Australia

On January 11th, 2016, after a short AGM, we have Roger Suffling, an ecologist, environmental planner and adjunct professor at U of W, presenting Australian flowers. What a great way to brighten up a winter’s evening and to start the 2016 WHS season! I have been to Australian and that country has all kinds of amazing flowers. It seems that everything is showy from miniature plants to tall trees. Some of our flower shops use Australian ferns and flowers and you may have grown Straw Flowers that originated from west Australia. There are huge meadows of them. Here is a tantalizing view of some flowers of Oz. Come January 11th for much more!!

 Mom might tell you to eat your veggies, but did you know broccoli is technically a flower? The green florets on broccoli stalks are actually immature flowers. If left to grow, they open into tiny yellow flowers.


 Mark your Calendars!!!

Charity Wreath Silent Auction, November 21st to the 28th at Colour Paradise: Please visit and support this charity fundraiser for the House of Friendship. WHS creates a wreath each year for the auction.

January, 11, 2016, WHS AGM General Meeting; Guest Speaker: Robert Sufflingspeaking on ‘Australian Flowers’ (Marlene’s note: Australia has so many beautiful flowers … you will love this talk!).

Saturday, March 19, 2016, Garden Explosion:9:00 am -3:00 pm, New Dundee Community Centre. Mark your calendars!!! 

Sometime in the summer, 2016 Ont. Horticultural Convention hosted by our District 19 in Waterloo!!!!! Mark your calendars and get ready to volunteer. We will need lots of help. Also, once the schedule of competitions is announced, plan your entries. http://www.waterloohort.org/2016-convention.html

Photo Contest:  You are snapping pictures for the Photo Contest with the first exhibits and voting starting in September 2016. Check the brochure or the WHS website for details and themes. Get ready for the winter themed photos!


Flowers have different meanings in different cultures. The Japanese associate chrysanthemums with happiness and joy. The flower is portrayed on flags and murals. In Malta, though, chrysanthemums are associated with death and funerals. It is considered bad luck to bring them indoors.


 Wilmot Horticultural accomplishments in 2015:

There are many members involved in the board, the board of directors and the subcommittees who organize the general meetings, Garden Explosion, Flower Show, Junior Gardeners, Civic Beautification and the upcoming 50th Anniversary (2018) celebrations (by the way, we would love more of you to join in!). Thank you for your time and dedication. These are some of the other things that were accomplished:

  • Our Wilmot Horticultural Society Junior Gardeners placed first over all in Ontario for the fourth consecutive year at OHA winning the Ruby Lobban High Points Award.
  • Annie Cober and her team, has managed the Food Booth selling chili, sausage on a bun and pies at the New Hamburg Fall Fair food booth for many years. The monies raised funded many WHS projects.
  • Our members Gywn Brundrett, a Master Gardener, with Marlene Knezevich provided consultation to the Baden Community Association on the native plant material for The Foundry Street Parkette project in Baden.
  • An Autumn Blaze Maple tree was planted in Riverside Park by Meadow Acres on Monday April 20. A $200 grant from OHA financed the cost of the tree.
  • In the past, WHS has bought Horticultural books for the Waterloo Regional Library. This year we renewed the subscription for ‘Gardening Life’ magazine.
  • Judy Yutzi created the wreath for Charity Christmas Wreath Auction at Colour Paradise. Thank you Jan Burmaster who has created the wreaths in previous years, for your time and support.
  • Vesey’s Seed Co. donated spring flowering bulbs and Sharon Ross and Marlene Knezevich worked with two classes at Forest Glen PS to plant the bulbs. The school is on the road to being an Eco-School and the project is called “Green the Glen”.http://fgl.wrdsb.ca/greening-committee-2/
  • For the OHA convention, Mary Ellen Zehr, Ruth Trussler and Pat Luckhart are creating a quilt for a raffle on behalf of WHS to raise funds for District 19.


Disclaimer:  WHS does not verify the facts contained in the articles associated with web links listed in articles.  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.



                                             *** see note on birch log centre piece below

Wilmot Horticultural Society wishes everyone a joyous Christmas with your family, friends and community. Health and prosperity in 2016!

Many years ago, Christmas Birch Bark Logs were created by Lloyd and Vera Becker and given to the Wilmot Horticultural Society.  The 22 decorated logs were probably made from trees that grew on their farm in North Easthope Township in Perth County.  Vera, as an active member of WHS, sold tickets for quilt raffles, cared for flower beds, baked for socials and much more.  When Vera moved into New Hamburg in 1991, she gave the box of logs to Isobel Seyler to be the caretaker, and when Isobel and Harold moved to town in 2007, she gave the box to Ruth Zehr.  With the completion of the new Recreation Complex, WHS was given a permanent storage space for records – and the Birch logs.  It was time to once again appreciate the workmanship and the beauty of the Birch logs, so they were used for the Christmas Potluck in 2014 and again in 2015.  The original design was for a wax candle and Glenn Zehr converted the logs to be used with a safer LED tea candle to meet current fire code. - Ruth Zehr


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



> 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