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Sept/Oct Newsletter 2015
by Sept/Oct Newsletter 2015

Rambling Rose

Bringing people and gardening together.

www.gardenontario.org/site.php/wilmot                                                                       September/October 2015


I don't think we'll ever know all there is to know about gardening, and I'm just as glad there will always be some magic about it! --Barbara Damrosch

Hello WHS Members!!!

Another summer has flown by!!! What pleasures did your yard bring to you? Did you pause to enjoy the Civic Gardens of Wilmot Township? WHS volunteers have created wonderful gardens to keep our public community spaces beautiful.

 What havoc did the late spring frost bring to your garden? Both gardeners and farmers suffered losses this year. The apple farmers suffered again and the tour of Martin’s Apple Farm discussed the impact and we got insight into the apple industry.

 WHS Garden Tour, after much planning, was held on June 28th and what beautiful gardens they were. It would have been nice if Mother Nature had given us a warm and sunny day to enjoy them.

 Since the last newsletter, WHS has been busy. Various WHS committees are working on next year’s program of speakers and on the 2018, 50th anniversary of WHS. Many of the directors and other members attended the Ont. Horticultural Convention in Ancaster and watched and learned all we could as our District 19 is hosting the convention in Waterloo next year. Our juniors gardeners won the Ruby Lobban High Points Award again this year. Congratulations! We look forward to many of YOU, our members, volunteering and participating in the flower show competitions.

 Japanese Knotweed: beware the lovely menace!!!

While driving to the east coast this summer, Japanese Knotweed was a featured topic on CBC radio. What an interesting listen!

In Britain, Japanese Knotweed, a shrub picked from the sides of Japanese volcanoes in the 19th century and imported to Europe as a medal-winning ornamental has become a botanical menace, resisting chemical control and causing $340M of damage to buildings each year as it forces its way through concrete and brickwork. In Britain, when selling your home, you must state if you have this plant in your yard and your house value goes down!!! It is not only an issue in Britain. Driving around the Cabot Trail, there was lots of it and I see it in Wilmot Township too. British Columbia has a unique issue as some of the Japanese Knotweed has bred with a relative and is even more invasive. The underground rhizome now even spreads from one side of the highway to the other going underneath. In Japan, insects and other natural controls keep the plant in check which is absent everywhere else. Digging and cutting can actually increase the rate growth. To control Japanese Knotweed you must be timely, tenacious, tough and thorough. Why control it if not near a house? Knotweed spreads quickly and displaces native plants and hence native wildlife. For controls, see the following links. We also have over another 440 invasive plants in Ontario.

 One very common invasive plant that you see everywhere in ditches and wetlands is Phragmite (European Common Reed) an aggressor that spreads quickly and out-competes native species for water and nutrients. It looks like really tall grass with the huge tassels. It releases toxins from its roots into the soil to hinder the growth of and kill surrounding plants. Phragmites prefers areas of standing water but its roots can grow to extreme lengths, allowing it to survive in relatively dry areas. I have seen the runners as long as 20ft (6.1m). It out competes cattails which is a major food source and habit for many native species.

Invading Species Hotline @1-800-563-7711 or www.invadingspecies.com or http://www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca/index.php/gardenersandhorticulturalists, http://www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca/files/35266_LandOwnersGuide_Appendix_Jul262013_D4_WEB.pdf


Apprentice yourself to nature. Not a day will pass without her opening a new and wondrous world of experience to learn from and enjoy. --Richard W. Langer

     WHS Garden Tour

 On June 28th, the WHS Garden Tour experienced a cool, rainy day to explore the lovely gardens of New Hamburg, Haysville and Baden. The gardens on the tour this year were: the eighteen civic flower beds surrounding the New Hamburg library and fire hall, Glenn & Mary Ellen Zehr, Bud & Maureen Dron, Lynn Yantzi & Nancy Steinmann Yantzi, Jeff and Sue Faessler,  Del & Judy Yutzi,  Paul & Debbie Hergott,  Allan & Lloy Grose their yard and the a large charity vegetable garden (40' X 225') for Zion United Church's Mission Committee,  Dennis & Lisa Clifford and Tom Wunder. Becky Zehr, one of WHS volunteers, was at Paul and Debbie Hergott's lovely home and garden. “Despite the grey sky, their front garden was bright with colour with tall, yellow irises and Sweet William spilling over the edge in all shades of pink. Hummingbirds even visited the feeder while I was there! A lovely, well-kept and welcoming garden!”

Thank you all gardeners for sharing your gardens and for the efforts of the volunteers of WHS. A special thank you to our sponsors this year who were Colour Paradise, Meadow Acres and Heritage Pet and Garden.


The vanilla bean, the most popular flavouring in baking, comes from an orchid (V. planifolia) native to Central American. The bean was introduced to Europe in the 1520’s by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés along with chocolate.

 Marlene’s Musings

I have been enjoying the garden’s bounty and love watching the resident humming birds, robins and blue jays and hearing the buzz of insects. This garden season has brought several challenges to all gardeners with the late frost, dry spring and the recent heat wave and drought. As usual, some things are doing great and others have not thrived. All the young growth on the shrubs and trees that had been frozen this spring has been replaced. The robins and jays that I love to watch have loved my berries and I have had to net my raspberries for the first time. The jays when they realized they have been foiled…sat on the netting and loudly voiced their displeasure. I have been challenged with beetles in the squash and borer in the iris and squash this year and some plants have succumbed as I have been away often this season so could not stay on top of the nasty bugs.

Overall, the flower and vegetable gardens have done well. Presently, I am enjoying my everbearing raspberries. I have the variety ‘Aut Britten’ now which is more resistant to fungus than ‘Heritage. They are very tasty and appear to fruit sooner for the second crop. I was going to phase out the ‘Heritage’ but I plan on keeping them as it fruits later than the ‘Aut Britten’ in the fall so I’ll have a longer berry season.  I also have the ‘Fall Gold’ which tastes like candy because they are so sweet. Our 16-month-old grandson wolves down the berries but his parents are not always happy with the ‘end’ results!

 My back lawn of grass and micro clover has been great. During the dry spells, it has stayed lush and green. The downside, my husband has to cut the lawn more often!!

In the last weeks of August, I finally had a monarch visiting our yard. That was great to see and I have seen many more than other years since then. Now things are winding down and slowly the garden will be put to rest for the winter. I plan on planting rye grass as a cover crop and green manure and to prevent soil erosion of my veggie garden beds. I just need some rain!!!!


Cherry tomatoes are believed to be the cultivated descendants of Lycopersicon esculentum var. cerasiforme, a wild fruit that still grows in parts of South America 


 What is a native plant!!!???

Have you ever wondered what a native versus a non-native is truly?? I have an interest in utilizing more native plantings but have been very confused about what is a true native. Purple coneflower has been the darling native flower at the nurseries but I had never seen it in the wild. Until recently, Nith Valley Native Nursery stopped carrying as it is not a native to Ontario, but just south of the border. Recently I got some clarification on terms by one of the speakers at the Ontario Horticultural Convention.

 Indigenous: a native plant from your regional area.

Native: from larger geographic area or your country/continent.

Nativar: Native species that have been bred for increased variations in foliage, flower colours, increased disease resistance, etc.. Nativar are better than non-native for habit and wildlife and this is what you will mostly see at the garden centers. Coneflowers and the various ninebarks are examples.

You will not see these designations at plant nursery. Some nurseries may have knowledgeable staff but the wild plant nurseries will be a good resource and online research will give more information. See past newsletters for links. We tend to plant mostly non-native shrubs, trees and plants because we did not know the importance of the natives and the nursery industry is all about selling and offering new plants to entice us. Start looking at all the versions of natives. One benefit, for example, in using native trees is that they support double the number of bugs…and yes, the majority of bugs are good for us and the birds!!!

From the ‘Grow Me Instead” produced by Landscape Ontario and other partners, the suggestions are:


Instead of      

Use Instead

English Ivy, Periwinkle, Goutweed

Wild Strawberry, Wild ginger, Wintergreen, Bunchberry, Mayapple,

Running Euonymus (obovatus), Foamflower, Bearberry, Wild Geranium (maculatum)

Miscanthus (grasses)

Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, Switchgrass


Norway Maple

Hackberry, Downy and Smooth Serviceberry, Sugar, Silver and Freeman Maples


Russian Olive

Witch-hazel, Alternate-Leaf Dogwood, Chokecherry


Autumn Olive

Common Ninebark, Gray Dogwood, Fragrant Sumac


Tartarian, Amur, Morrow, Bells,              

European Fly Honeysuckle


Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago), Common Ninebark, Fragrant Sumac

Multiflora Rose

Common Elderberry, Wild Roses, Flowering Raspberry


Common and Japanese Barberry


Shrubby Cinquefoil, Chokeberry, Bayberry

 See the website for other ideas for vines and pond/aquatic plants:


OHA conservation/landscaping: http://www.gardenontario.org/subdomains/conservation/


General meetings:

Tour of Martin’s Apple Farm

On June 8th, WHS members had a tour of Martin’s Apple farms. The weather cooperated by having the torrential downpours end fifteen minutes before the meeting so we could park and explore part of the orchard. The family apple farm has changed so much over the years. Apple production was decreasing but ‘the eat local’ movement has increased sales in the last 10 to 15 years. Martin’s Apple farm has 750 acres with the most of the acreage near Port Burwell. They also have contracts with local farmers who have 10 acres of apples. The 10 acre orchard is a manageable size for a family to manage the apple production on their own.

Remember the old orchards with the large trees. Now the trees are smaller and planted close together. The advantages are easier harvesting, production is three years earlier, the best fruit is close to the trunk and getting sun so the fruit quality is better. The disadvantages arean increase in potential diseases because of the monoculture, high cost to plant and trickle irrigation. Note from Marlene: I had forgotten my camera. In the photo above, the young trees are planted even closer than Martin’s. This is at my cousin’s farm in New Zealand and some of these apples show up at our local grocery stores.

Martin’s Farms grow 20 to 25 varieties of apples with the most common being the Honey Crisp. Some of the old varieties have fallen out of favour such as the ‘Northern Spy’ because of the high susceptibility to disease and late production time of the trees. The true cost of a bushel of Spy apples would be $50/bushel.

We had a tour of the plant and saw how the apples are sorted, cleaned and packed. Did you know why apples are waxed? When the apples are sorted and washed, the natural wax is washed off and so a wax is reapplied which decreases spoilage time. The same wax product has been used for 80 years. The Climate Controlled storage is so sophisticated that apples can be stored for up to fourteen months.

Pest and disease control is on as needed basis. Every year, the amount of spray used varies depending on moisture which affects dealing with scab and integrated pest management is used. There are tests to determine what pest is there and then spray is used at threshold levels.

Presently, Martin’s does not offer Pick Your Own (PYO) option as it is not profitable. In the past, families would come to pick apples to save money so they would buy a bushel or more. Now families come for the experience for their children and maybe purchase a basket of apples. The cost of managing PYO is too high. They are planning on introducing PYO with an entry fee to cover the cost of staffing and the apples would be an additional cost.

This is only a little bit of the information we learned. It was a good evening!!

Junior Awards night and speaker Mark Johnson – Sept. 16th.

Mark Johnson, who works for the Tim Horton’s Camp, provided entertaining stories about the children he has interacted with at camps and their extensive knowledge on butterflies and other interactions in nature. He encouraged us all to involve children in nature and gardening. There are so many benefits both socially and health wise.

Junior Awards

Major Mayor Les Armstrong with leaders, Janice Wagler and Sandra Cressman, presented the awards to the Juniors.  The photo was taken of Alexander Wagler, Danica Zehr and Madilynn Cressman - three of the seven Junior Gardeners who helped us achieve the Ruby Lobban High Points Award in placing first overall Ontario at the OHA convention in July.  This is the fourth time in a row!! Absent were Carley Cressman, Mackenzie Cressman, Cassidy Wagler and Shelby Wagler.  Congratulations to each of them!

These are the prize winnings from the OHA convention in Ancaster in July:
Royal Botanical Garden (Essay):  Alexander Wagler   1st, Cassidy Wagler  2nd, Shelby Wagler  1st                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
My Seedlings (Essay): Madilynn Cressman  2nd, Alexander Wagler   1st, Cassidy Wagler   2nd, Shelby                   Wagler   1st

Welcome To The Southern Tier (Bookmark): Mackenzie Cressman   1st, Madilynn Cressman  3rd, Carley Cressman   3rd, Alexander Wagler 2nd, Shelby Wagler   1st

Foodland Ontario (Poster): Mackenzie Cressman   1st, Madilynn Cressman  2nd, Carley Cressman  1st, Shelby Wagler   1st

Captured In Time (Dried Floral Arrangement): Madilynn Cressman   3rd; Mackenzie Cressman   2nd, Alexander Wagler   2nd, Cassidy Wagler   2nd, Shelby Wagler   1st

Having Fun (Floral Arrangement): Madilynn Cressman   1st, Alexander Wagler   1st, Cassidy Wagler   3rd,  Shelby Wagler   4th

Cootes Paradise (Drawing): Danica Zehr   1st
Seed Package (Don Matthews Award for Drawing and Printing): Carley Cressman   2nd, Shelby Wagler  1st
Maisie Bray Award - Cornus Florida (Dogwood Exhibit): WHS Junior Gardeners received first prize
WHS Youth Activity Report - 2nd prize ribbon


The WHS Junior Gardeners: there were 25 junior gardeners this year with 16 planting their gardens and having them judged. In the photo: Front, L to R: Madilynn Cressman, Elliott Erb, Casey Bender, Isaiah Bergel

Back, L to R: Jessica Schuller, Lauren White, Shona Frere, Jessica Barry, Danica Zehr, Alexander Wagler

 First time WHS Jr.. Gardeners are:  Olivia Epp, Alex Epp, Jessica Barry, and Elliott Erb

Congratulations to all and a special thank you to Janice Wagler and Sandra Cressman for their leadership and time.


The History of Wilmot Horticultural Society Chapter 4     by Ruth Zehr

 Our Parent Organization: Ontario Horticultural Association (OHA)

When the early pioneers settled in Ontario, then Upper Canada, most of the land was covered with trees.  To be able to grow food, trees and stumps had to be removed and the land cultivated and planted with primitive tools – extremely arduous work.  The newcomers, wishing to support and learn from each other, formed organizations for discussion.  The first of this kind was an agricultural society at Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1792 with Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe as Patron.  Other organizations were organized but ceased to exist and few records remain. 

 In addition to rural areas, urban industrial areas sprang up.  Farming in rural areas and limited gardening in urban areas had differences which led to horticultural societies also being formed. 

 Agriculture is the science or practice of cultivating the soil for growing crops and raising animals for food and other products such as wool.  It includes farming, husbandry, and tillage.

 Horticulture is the art and science of flowers, fruits, vegetables, plants, gardening and cultivation of a garden and landscaping with an artistic view.

The oldest Horticultural Society in continuous operation is the Toronto Horticultural Society formed in 1834.  (A historic plague was erected in Allan Gardens.)

 In 1830 agricultural societies became eligible for government grants.  In 1854 horticultural societies became eligible for grants, administered through the district agricultural societies.

In 1888, Agricultural Societies became the Ontario Department of Agricultural and Land, later becoming the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and then the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs – OMAFRA.

  “Landscaping and kitchen gardening do not secure the attention to which their importance entitles them.  A well laid out and carefully cultivated garden ranks among the highest efforts of artistic skill.”

 By 1900, Ontario had a total of 46 Horticultural societies and in 1906, an Act of Ontario Legislature sorted Agricultural and Horticultural Societies into two incorporated associations.

The Ontario Horticultural Association was organized in 1906 and the first meeting was held in Toronto.  An interesting note is that it was attended by one female among thirty delegates.  By 1922, female delegates outnumbered male.

 At the third convention in 1909, the president said, “If we are to provide a revulsion against untidy streets, hideous alleys, tumble-down houses, repulsive garbage heaps, offensive advertising, then

        we must become teachers of beauty.

The mission of the Ontario Horticultural Association is that of

Keeping Ontario Beautiful.

Watch for more about our parent organization in another issue.

To read the current newsletter of OHA, called OHA Trillium, the link is included. All the results of the convention competitions and news of other Societies are covered in the newsletter. Have a look. There is an interesting article on the trees and shrubs planted in our community and school yards and how they contribute to an increase in allergies. http://www.gardenontario.org/docs/trillium_news_2015-03_fall.pdf


Fall’s To Do List (Should or Might Get To List): From the Canadian Wildlife Federation Wildlife website: http://cwf-fcf.org/en/discover-wildlife/resources/calendar/gardening/mid-to-late-fall_resource.html


  • Leave some piles of leaves in your garden for hibernating frogs and       salamanders.
  • Clean fallen leaves out of your pond.
  • Leave stalks of sunflowers, rudbeckias, asters and goldenrod standing for birds to enjoy the seeds.

General Gardening Chores

  • Build up the base of tender plants with a foot of earth to protect the roots over the winter. Climbing roses need to be covered or laid down.  Hardy shrub roses may be fine with just some evergreen boughs to catch snow around them.
  • Compost raked leaves in a temporary wire enclosure if they overflow your compost bin. Alternatively save your leaves for adding to your compost bin as the level goes down, in which case you can store them in a garbage bin with the lid on.
  • If you haven’t already, empty and cover any rain barrels before the temperature drops below freezing.
  • Spread leaves in a carpet under trees and shrubs to form a protective mulch; don’t leave them on the lawn, which can damage the grass. Water the mulch down a bit to help it stay in place. This can be permanent mulch and a fine place to grow wildflowers.
  • After the ground has frozen, protect vulnerable plants from temperature fluctuations with 15 to 20 centimetres of mulch. If you have only a few plants to protect, try encircling the plant with stakes and fill the area with dried leaves.
  • To prevent damage from winter winds, cut back very tall raspberry and rosebush canes to about 1.5 metres.
  • If your plants are healthy, delay the clean-up of perennials until the spring as they provide shelter and possibly seeds for birds.
  • Destroy the foliage and stems of any diseased plants to prevent recurrence. (DO NOT place in composter.)
  • Conduct a soil test to see what is needed.
  • After the first hard frost, add a mulch of compost or well-rotted manure to your gardens.
  • Water trees and shrubs (especially evergreens) deeply before frost.
  • If your trees have had their bark split vertically in previous winters, prevent a recurrence by tying a 2.5 by 15 centimetre board on the sunny side of the tree. The winter sun can warm the trunks on the southwestern exposure. The trees are then damaged by the sudden contraction and freezing as the sun goes down and winter cold returns.
  • Use burlap to wrap and protect plants from road salt or areas where ice may accumulate or drip. If deer tend to strip your trees or shrubs, a burlap barrier will protect from this as well.
  • Clean and sharpen your gardening tools to prepare them for next spring.

Planting and Pruning

  • Plant tough, reliable blooming plants like sedum and butterfly bush so you can enjoy them in the spring.
  • Crabapple and chokecherry trees can be planted fall or spring.
  • Dig gladioluses, cannas and dahlias and cut off stalks. Dry the tubers and store indoors in a cool, dry place.
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs and use chicken wire to protect them from squirrels.
  • For open ground, plant annual ryegrass as green manure to improve the soil and protect it from erosion; then till it under in the spring.
  • Though you should do most of your pruning in spring in Canada, repair storm damage or remove dead branches at any time. DO NOT use pruning paints to do this, however, as modern research shows they often cause more harm than good.
  • Move potted plants indoors or bury them in the garden soil.

Mark your Calendars!!!

Monday, October 19, 2015: Wilmot Recreation Complex Topic:  Putting the Garden to Bed Speaker:  Marion Hesse       

Monday, November 9, 2015: WHS Christmas Program    6:00pm    Haysville Community Centre, Potluck Supper – Please bring you own dishes.  Entertainment:  Robert Marshal   

Monday, Nov 30th,   6:00-7:30pm  Create your own festive door swag,  Location: Meadow Acres in New Dundee, Cost: $28 (includes tax). Preregister at the general meeting on Monday October 19th, please bring cash or cheque.

Charity Wreath Silent Auction, November 21st to the 28th Colour Paradise: Please visit and support. WHS donates a wreath each year.

July 8 – 10th, 2016 Ont. Horticultural Convention hosted by our District 19 at the Waterloo Motor Inn, 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.

Some other Horticultural Societies meetings:

Wellesley HS meets 7:30 pm on the third Monday of each month at Wellesley Community Centre.

Ayr HS meets 7:30 pm on the last Monday of each month at Ayr Firehall on Scott St..

Waterloo HS: http://www.gardenontario.org/site.php/waterloo/about/meetings/

Kitchener HS: http://www.kitchenerhs.ca/cms/events/  meets at Kitchener Public Library, 85 Queen St N. Kitchener

 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



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Last Updated: 2018-05-06