Best bang for your buck: Horticultural society membership just $10

Since they can’t open their gardens to the public this year, the Advertiser has invited local horticultural societies to write about what’s going on in their gardens. For questions or to submit articles, email

By Ken Johnston

FERGUS – Where can you get a full year’s worth of seminars, practical experience, enjoy ongoing events, get free consulting expertise and monthly camaraderie with a great group of people for $10?

Well, if you have been looking at your garden and wondering what to do to improve it but have limited knowledge and need some help, look no further than your local horticultural society.

This is what you get for the $10 membership fee:

1. A night out with friends every month for 10 months of the year. Meetings end with coffee, tea, baked goods and conversation with other members.

2. Professional speakers bringing gardening knowledge to you in easy to understand, colourful presentations.

All societies in our region have the same level of professional speakers that make the horticulture circuit. You can expect to learn from speakers such as Mississauga Master Gardener Diana Pooke speaking on ornamental grasses and sedges; the University of Guelph trial garden program by Rodger Tschanz; Jenn McPhee discussing invasive species and what to plant in their place; and  Benn Cullen, horticulturist, master gardener, author, owner of Cullen Foods and son to Mark Cullen speaking on plants, flowers, and general information on gardens.

The Fergus club has also hosted Joanna Baars of  Arthur Greenhouse, who spoke about growing annuals in a perennial garden; David Galbraith of the Royal Botanical Gardens speaking on dealing with shade and shade gardens.

Julia Dimakos spoke of successful vegetable gardening and Christine Gilhuly spoke about lazy gardening.

Other topics include understanding top soil, pollinator gardens, do’s and don’ts with perennials, trees, shrubs, flowering bushes. The list is endless. The knowledge is invaluable.

3. Photography competitions; flower, fruit, vegetable and design competitions all with prizes and trophies.

4. Potluck dinners at the Annual General Meetings. Just bring your plate, cup, utensils and enjoy some really great food.

5. A yearbook and a monthly newsletter.

6. Events such as Seedy Saturday, Mother’s Day Pansies, Best Bloomin’ Plant Sale and the yearly Garden Tour.

7. Be part of a group that supports the community with outreach programs for the food bank and bursaries at local schools.

8. Become a member of the “Diggin’ in the Dirt” team that works the public gardens in Fergus. Enjoy the practical experience under the direction of the co-chairs and gardeners on the team.   

9. Discuss and see the beautiful gardens many of our members have created. Learn and even share plants with them. All are eager to share their knowledge.

Objectives of the club are to encourage interest and improvement in horticulture through our meetings; respecting the theory and practice of horticulture; promoting and encouraging community beautification projects; arranging field trips, contests and exhibitions; distributing seeds, plants, bulbs, flowers, shrubs and trees; promoting the protection of the environment and the therapeutic use of horticulture; and finally promoting the circulation of horticulture information through the media and online.

It’s a great deal.

We welcome new members. You can find us at the Garden Ontario website, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Or contact us at

Those public events didn’t happen this year, but we’ll be back with a vengence, hopefully next year.

So contact us. We would love you to join our group. Happy gardening.

Ken Johnston is a member of the Fergus and District Horticultural Society and is chair of the public relations committee.