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District annual meeting provided many planting, growing, decorating tips

by Bonnie Whitehead

CLIFFORD - The Ontario Horticultural Association’s District 7 meeting was hosted by the Clifford society here on Oct. 22.

Eighty-six people representing 14 societies shared in the day.

The hall looked “spooktacular” draped in black and white bands of cloth, for a Halloween motive accented with hues of autumn splendour under the supervision of Ethel Weber. Winners won the floral table centre pieces crafted from hollowed pumpkins. Door prize draws were plentiful and the raffle tables held the interest of multiple winners.

Minto Councillor Ron Faulkner credited his mother with all he knows about horticulture and he said he owes a debt of gratitude to the volunteers who keep the village looking so inviting.

Wayne Pfeffer of Ayton demonstrated “simple autumn floral designs.” He showed a variety of ways to dress up a table with centre pieces. Use “frogs” that look like cushions made of pins to keep flowers and foliage in place and fill the vase to the brim with water for a water design. Use eco-pearls to add a different dimension. Fill a summer planter with wheat, bullrushes, ornamental grasses, millet, and gourds and place it in the porch or kitchen.

Add anemones, mini gladiolus, purple monks head, and other flowers to a head of kale. Pfeffer is self taught and suggests people can benefit from reading books and magazines, attending society meetings and flower shows, and enrolling in judging classes to learn about design. Keep balance, rhythm, height, and colours in mind. He said people can please themselves at home, but should follow the rules for competitions.

Dorelene Anderson shared highlights from the OHA, including the successful allium fundraiser; tree dedication; updating your society website; completing forms online; hosting a seed exchange - Seedy Saturday; convention for 2012 in Niagara; and the Garden Show at the International Centre in April 2012.

Judge Fran Farrell of Ripley chose Clara Bauman’s Autumn’s Glory design for judge’s choice. She commented on the excellent quality and selection of every entry, offering praise and suggestions. Watch for damage to the foliage, paying particular attention to grooming and conditioning.

Show convenor Jane McDonald listed the prize winners, noting 53 entries, with Clifford being well represented by Carol Lange, Eleanor Litt, and Jean Yenssen. This is the first time she recalled having at least three entries in each category.

Barb Harris and the women in the kitchen kept platters of apple sauce muffins, molasses muffins, pumpkin muffins, and cheese readily available in the morning, until serving a luncheon of lasagna, salad, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and fruit salad.

With the arrival of Trish Symons, the power point presentation was readied for guest speaker Paul Zammit. His resume reads like a Who’s Who of the gardening world. He believes in Gardening All Four Seasons and showed convincing pictures for his argument to plan and plant for all them.

His enthusiasm, excitement, and charismatic nature is evident in every word and action regarding gardening. He instills a spirit of national pride as he explores the landscape of a northern climate.

During the winter, he envisions a world of sparkle and shine for the garden and countryside. Imagine the beautiful potential of seed heads topped with a light dusting of fresh fallen powdery snow. He encourages people to know their soil to promote a healthy robust harvest. Compost leaves and spread them over the garden.

During a warm spring rainfall, stop and listen for the symphony of worms as they pull the nutrients from the mulch into the soil. Commanding plants to grow on cue is not realistic as plants respond to nature, not the calendar date.

Create pockets of plants and photograph them every ten days to follow their magical transformation. He listed his favourite flowers for their foliage, bloom, size, or scent.

He passed some pieces of aromatic basil about the room. He cited the workhorse plants that refuse to disappoint and the array of incredible succulents. Celebrate the summer season with a burst of tropical colours. Create a paradise attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

In the longer days of autumn, he is thrilled to find pumpkins of all textures and colours, the wartier and more bizarre the better, with all their lumps and bumps. Fall presents an opportunity to experience the brilliant lights of Swiss chard, and not just mums.

Let ornamental grasses sway in the breeze and leave seed heads to experience the winds of change. Trees in all their glory need to bend and sway to the elements.

Burlap wrapped trees will remain one of Paul’s pet peeves. Reflect on the diversity of the seasons, be one with nature, listen, learn, and do not put a garden to bed. You can reach Zammit at  or

Anderson was thankful to all for the wonderful meeting and invited everyone to the annual general meeting to be held April 21 in Harriston in celebration of its 60th anniversary.



November 18, 2011


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