Collingwood Horticultural Society

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This year Arboretum reports will contain updates on events/changes and some history which we feel you may find interesting. Read carefully because we may throw some “trivia” questions by you at one of our meetings. 


Last fall the Labyrinth group started work on their project which is located to the north of the Smart’s boiler. Because of a very wet fall and the amount of work that had to be done, the grounds along the path leading to what will be the Labyrinth were pretty “chewed up” and winter set in before the grounds could be tidied. We have been advised that, weather permitting, this will be corrected. Other than that, not much has transpired; but, spring is around the corner.

Mark your calendars for Earth Day clean-up at the Arboretum; Wednesday, April 22nd, starting at 9:00 a.m., rain or shine. CCI and Vanier students will be on hand once again this year to lend a hand. So let’s show them what a great group we are and how much we appreciate the help. Volunteers will be recruited. 


In upcoming newsletters you will learn a little about the layout of the Arboretum, the trees, the beds, the benches, the pergola and everything else you might not know. The Arboretum has a very interesting history and some very unique plants (trees); we want you to understand why it is so important to the club and our community.

This newsletter we want to explain how the Arboretum is divided. Won’t it be nice to be able to explain this to your family and friends as you stroll through the park and to know what we are talking about when we provide you with updates. 

The Arboretum is divided into 8 sections. As you enter the grounds from the Hickory Street parking lot (P on the aerial photograph to the right) the area on the right (which includes the picnic area) is Area 1. This goes counter clockwise all the way around to the Jack Saunders Pathway (where the raised flower bed once was). As you continue past the pathway/entrance you enter Area 2. This goes all the way around to the bridge from Harbourview Park. You have now travelled through Areas 1 and 2 and covered the southerly perimeter of the Arboretum. 

Areas 3, 4 and 5 are in the inner section of the Arboretum where the pergola is situated. Area 3 is very simple; we call it the “Evergreen Grove”. It is the small area to the left of the path that leads to the pergola. Area 4 is the area to the right of this same path and goes all the way around to the path near the southern entrance (the Jack Saunders Pathway). Area 5 is the remaining most easterly part of this inner section. 

Areas 6, 7 and 8 cover the section to the north of the pathway leading from the main entrance to Harbourview Park bridge. Area 6 is to the east (or right) of the water feature, Area 7 is to the west (or left) of the water feature and Area 8 is to the west (or left) of the path leading to the boiler. 

We have provided an aerial view of the Arboretum so you won’t get lost. Have fun in your travels and if you should ever need a guide, call on your committee for a “stroll in the park”. If you need a larger version of the aerial photo, then Click Here. 

Your Arboretum Committee 




In attendance: Dorothy Code, Jean Young, Jane McCabe

Regrets: Gisela Krueger, Betty Rowsome, Janet Reeder

We took a walk about the Arboretum and then went to coffee to discuss proposals for next year. The following was discussed:

1. Bob Prosser has completed his contract for 2014; last day was September 29th.

2. The founding members’ bed has been completed but one more length of cedar rail will be installed next spring to prevent short cuts being taken through bed.

3. The bed directly across from the founding members’ bed will be completed in 2015 with similar plantings as those in the founding members’ bed. Also we will ask the Town to update the posts of the sign (as they did with other signage this year); we will move one of the carvings in that bed so that it does not obstruct/obscure the sign (presently it is positioned awkwardly).

4. This year we had to remove a diseased maple that had been failing for a few years (the McKean tree). That maple will be replaced with a Sweetgum next spring; this is the tree recommended by Tobias

5. We will be monitoring the two new Eastern Redbuds as they failed early in the year but now appear that they may be saved.

6. The legend in the picnic area will be replaced with the Arboretum history. The sign will be repositioned within the picnic area to a better vantage point. Jane will investigate the cost (frame and sign) and report back to the committee and exec before any decisions are made.

7. The wooden structure of the pergola has deteriorated significantly. The committee has determined that it would be best to replace all wood in the open canopy at the same time (instead of in stages). We will therefore request three quotes for this project and report back on the cost and if appropriate, seek approval to move forward.

8. A suggestion has been presented to incorporate 4 curved benches within the pergola to provide a resting place for our visitors. The benches would be located on each side of the two entrances, on the outermost edge of the paved surface. These will be costed out and presented for further discussion.

9. The pergola will be our main project for 2015.

Many of the above suggestions/recommendations are subject to obtaining quotations and further approvals prior to proceeding.


Jane McCabe

For your Arboretum Committee


Lots of very positive things have happened in your Arboretum since our last update in the June..

The grounds have been fertilized and top dressed once again this year. You may have noted that some areas have dried; this happened when the fertilizing was done due to the very wet conditions the day that the compost/fertilizer was spread (spreading was not easy that day). These areas will be reseeded in the fall.


Our trees have been pruned and sprayed where necessary. A maple and Turkish filbert have been removed due to failure. The filbert has since been replaced; we are waiting for our arborist to recommend a replacement for the maple.


The cedar rails were recently updated with new rails/posts and wires where necessary. The fencing certainly looks much better.


The two beds (the founding member’s bed and the carved post bed) immediately across from the water feature have been cleared of the old shrubs. New plants, specifically hydrangeas, have been showcased in the founding member’s bed; the carved post bed will be completed next year. Please note that the founding members sign has been moved further back in the bed to allow for plantings in front.


The water feature has also been revamped. With the bindweed eliminated, large river stone has been added with plantings of a variety of grasses.


You will note that the sign, once in the raised bed at the south entrance of the Arboretum, has been moved back. By the end of the season the raised bed will be completely removed as the brick has become unstable. This south entrance will be opened up.

Many thanks should be extended to Bob Prosser for organizing the update of the cedar rails and helping with the numerous tasks during the revamp, to the Town for moving and updating the sign in the founding member’s bed and the raised bed, and to Dorothy and Cheryl for lending a hand throughout the summer. Your Arboretum looks lovely.


Jane McCabe

For your Arboretum Committee




April 22nd, 2014 was a misty (raining at times), cool, just plain miserable day, better suited to curling up with a cup of coffee, reading a book. However, April 22nd was also Earth Day, a day for celebrating our planet earth and all she has bestowed on us. So with rakes, yard waste bags, garbage bags in hand 134 students from Vanier and CCI high schools, their 5 teachers and 2 educational assistants, 8 CHS members and one very dedicated groundskeeper came out to “clean her up”.

By midday, the Arboretum looked like the jewel it is. In the parking lot was a large dumpster filled to capacity with yard waste and a dozen garbage bags filled with garbage that had somehow made its way into the vicinity.

What is most inspirational is the fact that in spite of the miserable weather conditions, 150 people, most of them students, were out to take care of our Mother Earth. Thank you everyone.

But Earth Week celebrations were not over. On April 24th, 50 members and guests attended one of the most successful events we have yet to host in the Arboretum. That Thursday, we were treated to an informative walkabout of the Arboretum (Tobias Effinger, arborist was our guide and pruning expert), then we gathered for a lovely luncheon (thanks, Joan and Social Committee), and ended our day with a very interesting session on care and pruning techniques of shrubs and trees. This event was so well received that we are contemplating repeating it again next year (with a few surprises). Oh, by the way, Thursday was a delightful day, warm and sunny!!

This summer you will see a few changes in the Arboretum. In an effort to make the grounds more manageable and maintenance free, two more of the flower beds will be revamped. The founding members’ bed (and the carving sign bed, opposite) will be cleared and replanted with a variety of hydrangea. The raised bed at the south entrance has become completely unmanageable; the walls are being pushed out by the overgrown plantings. The raised bed will therefore be removed and the signage moved back. Your committee is assessing what to do in that area.

For those of you who may have a little time to spare, the Arboretum needs ongoing maintenance. We normally meet on Thursday mornings for 2 – 3 hours for some good chat and garden work; please feel free to join us. If you cannot make it on Thursday, drop by anytime to do a little weeding, edging, or deadheading.

A list of ongoing tasks will be posted on the south side of the shed for your reference. This is our Arboretum, a place we can all be proud to be a part of, so please make a little time.

Jane McCabe

For your Arboretum Committee


2013 Vol. 4 (2013 Fall Newsletter)

Have you been walking in the Arboretum lately?  If not, take some time to see the numerous changes.  The hosta plants and lilies have been removed from the corner garden next to the parking lot on Hickory Street.  A tree and many shrubs and grasses have been planted, plus many other additions have been added to this garden. 

Arboretum Corner Garden at Hickory Street entrance replanted

Some additional changes have also been made at the water feature.

Thanks to all people who have so kindly given their personal time to assist in helping to make the changes and creating an even warmer welcoming Arboretum.  Thank you should also go out to the Town of Collingwood staff.

2013 Vol. 3

For those of you who have had an opportunity to walk through the Arboretum in the past few days you will have noted lots going on.

Firstly, the rear of the water feature flower bed has now been planted; and looking lovely may I add. All of the old shrubs/bushes were removed, Bob Prosser rotortilled the bed, compost was added and the Town brought in a little topsoil to replenish the area. The beds were planted and mulched at the end of July by Clearview Nursery. The bed has been planted with a variety of cedars, black cedars, emerald cedars, and two types of small globe cedars. Euonymous has been planted on the rock edge. And in the middle we now have a lovely magnolia which should add lovely colour and contrast next spring. This bed has been divided into quadrants with each quadrant available for dedication; two of these quadrants have already been purchased.

We are now contemplating a similar refurbish of the large bed just inside the picnic area at the front entrance. We will keep you posted on this.

One of the older spruces in the “evergreen” bed has been purchased for dedication. Whoever said, older is not better!!

Before and after of one of the benches refurbished, 2013

Four of our benches will be refurbished this year. The slats are made of Epai/epay wood and will last a very long time. Epai/epay is a very dense wood with similar properties to teak. Epai was used for the small child’s bench and has weathered beautifully. Bob Prosser has agreed to change the slats and will be working on them throughout the summer. We will be refurbishing the remainder of the benches in 2014.

We have also planted a holly bush (in the holly bed) and a burning bush (in the front bed inside the main entrance) to replace the bushes that died off last year.

As you can see, there is alot going on and much more to come. Special thanks go out to Dorothy for her relentless dedication, to Nellie for tidying the front bed as time permits, and for Cheryl and John for helping with tidying the water feature bed. A special thanks must go to a lovely young lady, Claire Charbonneau, who is currently attending Georgian College in Collingwood. Claire has volunteered a few Mondays to help us with pruning and grooming. Claire learned about us on the website (thanks to Nellie’s fine work) and just wanted to pitch in.

If you are in the area and just happen to have a pair of pruners in your pocket or a rake on your back, please feel free to work your wonders. Any help is appreciated. Stay tuned. Your Arboretum is looking lovely.

Contributed by Jane McCabe

2013 Vol. 2

Itʼs hard to believe that spring has finally arrived and that we can now look forward to another exciting year at our beautiful Arboretum.

Before we update you on activities, down by the bay, we should thank Paul Mazur for his years of dedication in maintaining the Arboretum; he will truly be missed by all. We welcome, Bob Prosser as our new groundskeeper. Bob is growing into his role with energy and enthusiasm and will be on the grounds every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please drop by to welcome him on your next visit to the Arboretum.

Your Arboretum Committee for 2013 is Gisela Krueger, Lynn Barkley, Betty Rowsome, Jean Young, Dorothy Code, Janet Reeder and me. If you have any questions these ladies would be pleased to help you out. And remember, we are always looking for committee members with new ideas/suggestions who may want to join.

Now to what has been going on. April 22nd was Earth Day. As in the past, Jean Vanier High School and Collingwood Collegiate joined our eager members in giving the Arboretum its first clean-up of the year. And what a clean-up it was. 133 students and teachers from Vanier, 22 students and teachers from Collingwood Collegiate and 18 of our own membership were on hand that beautiful day to rake and brush the area (and surrounding trails). We thank once again John Michalenko and Claire Pearson from Vanier, Bryden Jones and Daryl Sproule from CCI for being part of this most eventful day.

In the next month or so you will notice some significant change in the Arboretum. The flower beds that have become overgrown and unruly will be cleared to make room for new plantings. Sections of the newly upgraded beds will be offered for dedication. The slats on a few of the benches will be replaced as they have deteriorated significantly of late. The trees will be pruned, sprayed, and edged, the lawns will be fertilized and flowers will be planted. And we will continue to do our weekly maintenance to keep the beds looking beautiful.

Last year we introduced the idea of creating a learning centre in the woodlot behind the water feature. This concept remains strong on our wish list however we have decided to defer this project till the end of the summer, when we will reassess its feasibility. 

More help is needed to maintain what has been created by our founders and to ensure a vibrant future. We are proud of what has been achieved but need a few more hands to keep it going. Our members meet every Thursday morning (weather permitting) to work in the flower beds. If you have an hour or two or three (we will take any help you can offer) please come by for a few chuckles as we toil the soil together. You will always leave with a good feeling.

Jane McCabe, on behalf of Your Arboretum Committee

2013 Vol. 1


As mentioned at our Pot Luck dinner in January, Paul Mazur has retired from his groundskeeper job at the Arboretum; he will be greatly missed. Unfortunately, we are, therefore, looking for someone who would be interested in working 3 mornings a week at the Arboretum, doing general clean up, tree edging, and watering. If you know of anyone who can work Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings throughout the summer, please let me know (or anyone of the committee members).

For more than a year now, your Arboretum Committee has been exploring the idea of developing a small learning centre (within the arboretum) to teach everyone, young and old, about trees. We are hoping to break ground this year by clearing the brush in the woodlot to the immediate north of the water feature. We have tossed around a few ideas on what we envision for this learning centre, but we would like to hear from you, the membership. To our teachers, our world travelers, and our wonderful gardeners, we ask for inspiration, ideas, or advice on how we can make this vision a success. We want to hear from you.

Mark your calendar, April 22nd for Earth Day clean-up at the Arboretum. Come join the students of CCI and Jean Vanier High Schools as they give our Arboretum a spring face lift.

In 2012, four members took on the challenge of cultivating our Arboretum. Four members are not enough to do the work that is required to keep it looking beautiful. My challenge to you all this year is simply put, “Do you have 1-3 hours, once a month to join our group in weeding, pruning, planting or dead-heading?” Incredibly, when you get out there and mingle with gardening friends, the task takes on a whole new meaning. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that we can give back to our community by doing something we all love so much—working with nature.

2013 promises to be an exciting year. We will keep you posted at upcoming meetings and future newsletters.

Jane McCabe, for the Arboretum Committee



2012 Vol. 4


The large flower bed in the picnic area has been weeded and edged; a large clump of invasive bushes have been removed. We have to thank Nellie for the hard work in getting this bed looking pretty good.

The large flower bed, just inside the front entrance has been weeded again and it too looks pretty good. The red geraniums are taking their time getting established due to the extreme weather conditions, but they are surviving and hopefully will make a show once the weather normalizes and before the Rededication.

Myrna Westcott’s flower bed has been weeded (again) and the bushes trimmed. It needs a few more plants. Hopefully, we will be able to get to that later this summer.

The two corner flower beds (where the signs are) have been weeded and cleared. The one that has the carved posts is a little bare right now due to the aggressive cutting back of the false spirea, but it is looking much better, and maybe now the red wiegelia will have room to show off.

The pergola is finally getting some attention. Some pruning has been done on the climbing hydrangea and roses; more to come. We have shifted our attention to getting the beds in the Friendship gardens weeded and manicured. Regrettably, we have had vandalism in the pergola this summer. The Siberian Crab Apple in the centre has had one branch ripped off. This is unfortunate as this tree had just been pruned and looked lovely.

Marg Crawford’s petunia bed is finally starting to make a show (but for one small area where a couple of petunias were pulled out). We will try to move things around if the area doesn’t fill in and when the weather is normalized.

The water feature has been invaded by bindweed (I think it migrated from the beds at Central Park) and we will be attempting to get a handle on this in August.

The Crab Apples and a few other trees have recently had summer pruning and have really put on a lovely show each year.

Signage, for the newly purchased trees, has been installed (except for the two that we are still waiting for wording on). We will be replacing a few of the older signs later in the summer if budget allows.

The newly planted trees are starting to show less signs of stress; thanks to Paul for keeping them well watered.

Our Arboretum Rededication is scheduled for Saturday, September 15th, at 11.00 AM. We invite you all to come to enjoy the beauty of your lovely Arboretum and participate in this year’s dedication of our newly planted trees.

Jane McCabe for your Arboretum Committee 

2012 Vol. 3  



Friday, June 1st and I sit here looking out at the rain (long overdue) sipping my coffee and reflecting how much has transpired since out last newsletter; wow!

Our membership volunteers have been busy. Central Park beds have been weeded and await our creative touches. The four sickly cedar trees were removed by the Town, so we have a few “gaps” to fill. Planting will be completed at the beginning of June. Thanks to Margot, Lois, and Fran for pitching in to get this job done.

As for the Arboretum, I will try to keep it to a few paragraphs. Lots and lots going on.

All flower beds have had a general clean-up; we now have to start all over again. So much for digging deep to get all of the weed roots; those persistent little cultivars just keep popping up all over the place.

Crabapples, Locusts and a couple of other problematic trees were sprayed in early Spring. Trees are looking healthy and incredibly lovely during bloom time. Spring formative pruning of new trees has also been completed to ensure good structural growth.

The messy “woodlot” to the north of the pergola has finally seen its day; it was cleared, graded, and seeded. Grass is growing but already the persistent little cultivars have found their way into this area too; more weeding for later in the summer!!

Two Crack Willows, precariously overhanging the eastern perimeter, have been removed. For safety reasons we continue to monitor the older trees for brittle bones (oops, limbs) and weak structure.

All dedicated trees have been edged, weeded, fertilized and mulched. If you are strolling through at any time and notice those persistent little cultivars around the trees, you have our permission to give them a pull.

Seven new trees have been planted, a Shagbark Hickory near the front entrance, a Kwanzan Japanese Cherry on the left corner, just behind the water feature, two more lovely Eastern Redbuds to complement the other one near the pergola, an American sycamore near the boulders remaining from the cleared woodlot, and two lovely Eastern Hemlocks on the easterly perimeter where the overhanging trees were removed. Regrettably, tree planting is coming to an end as the canopies of existing trees are stretching out beautifully. We will be reassessing this in the Fall.

Lawns will be fertilized at the beginning of June with mineralized compost. This is the fourth year for this fertilizing programme; trees and lawns are showing the benefits.

Your Arboretum Committee is currently exploring opportunities for a new nature trail “tree learning centre/walk” in the woodlot behind the water feature. Suggestions/ideas are most welcome; please talk to one of our committee members.

As you can see lots has happened since our first 2012 report; now for the lazy days of summer. However, those persistent little cultivars will not let up, and routine flower bed maintenance is ongoing. We get together for chat and digging every Thursday morning 8.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. (weather permitting). Please come out for one hour or four; any help you can provide is most welcome. Your Arboretum needs you; Dorothy, Aira, Nellie, and Kathleen would enjoy your company.

Jane McCabe for your Arboretum Committee.



2012 Vol. 1

The Arboretum Committee met in January and after a short lay-off we had lots to discuss.

As you may well be aware, we are nearing the saturation point for the planting of new trees. The canopies of the 150+ trees already planted will soon be stretching out, so we have to allow them room to grow. In 2012 the plan is to plant a further 7 or 8 trees but that will pretty much be it.  We will, therefore, be focusing on underplantings in the years to come; more to come on that.

Particularly exciting for 2012 will be the ground breaking of an exciting “learning” area within the Arboretum. The Town's Parks Department will clear some paths and remove fallen brush from the woodlot to the North of the water feature. This will be home to the new adventure trail where people, young and old, can learn about trees. Lots of planning and lots of ideas from our committee, but we will soon have more to share with you.

Please don't forget, Earth Day Clean-up at the Arboretum; this year it will be Friday, April 20

th.  Once again, our eager beaver friends from the local high schools will be there to lend a hand. So please mark your calendars and come out for a day of fun.

You may also want to mark your calendars for our Annual Rededication at the Arboretum; Saturday, September 15th. We are well on the way to another good year; three of those 7-9 trees have already been reserved.

For those of you who can help out with weeding, pruning, we generally meet every Thursday morning at the Arboretum 8:00 to 11:00 once the snow has gone and as weather permits; lots of gardening stories are shared while toiling in the soil. Join us for a few chuckles.

So stay tuned; 2012 is shaping up to be another very good year.

Jane McCabe - For the Arboretum Committee


Last Updated: 2019-02-12