Clifford and District Horticultural Society holds annual summer flower show

Master gardener Robert Pavlis was the guest speaker at the Clifford and District Horticultural Society summer flower show.

Pavlis, of Guelph, hosts a weekly blog (, contributes articles to local papers, teaches classes on gardening, and maintains his Aspen Grove Garden with 3,000 perennials.

Continually updating old beliefs about gardening, Pavlis said he was currently putting vinegar and salt to the weed killing test. He likes to test theories and myths and said he usually discovers that nature rights itself.

A slide presentation featured lesser-known spring bulbs which are predominantly grown in the Middle East, Iran, Iraq and Africa, not just Holland as most people believe. Bulbs are a complete plant that like to be wet when they are growing and dry when at rest. Planting bulbs in a hole three times their height in the fall ensures hearty plants in the spring.

Pavlis finds most local soil is enriched well enough with phosphorous and calcium and does not need the addition of bone meal which is quite enjoyable to rodents. He suggests planting bulbs in layers to see how the mix grows. Dead head the flowers to beautify the plant, but don’t cut the leaves, he suggests, and allow them to nourish the plant. When plants are not growing well, it could be a sign they are being crowded and should be relocated to another part of the garden.

Pavlis recommends planting snowdrops, crocus, iris, muscari, anemones, species tulips, summer snowflakes, corydalis, chives, and alliums. Be wary, he warns of plants like Star of Bethlehem and grape hyacinth that like to multiply and seed themselves in garden spaces. He encouraged everyone to plant a variety of bulbs that will offer a magnificent colourful display for multiple years. To get everyone started, he brought along a number of iris and grape hyacinth bulbs to share.

Tulip planting planned

Society president Georgie Hutchison noted the organization has applied for a grant to plant 700 tulip bulbs at the Cenotaph park.

The society is supporting the Clifford Homecoming 2017 and has purchased a square on the Homecoming quilt.

Thanks was offered to everyone who helped with the community yard and bake sale in June that helped raise $893 for the society.

A garden tour with Jean Yenssen attracted 14 people who travelled to see four gardens in Neustadt, Hanover and Durham on July 25.

Barb Harris reported six youth entered 59 exhibits. The youth awards will be announced at the November pot luck dinner meeting.

Nineteen adults exhibited 139 entries in the flower show which was judged by Jean Phillips. Isabel Senek and Blanche Freeman handed out the prizes to: cut flowers, Ethel Weber; gladiolas, Marg Reidt; grasses, Isabel Senek; roses, Ethel Weber; potted plants, a tie between Isabel Senek and Karen Dowler; fruit and vegetables, Elsie Grummett; designs, Jean Yenssen; and photography, Brian Harris. The President Specials were won by Jean Yenssen and Ethel Weber. Prizes were donated by the Ontario Seed Company, North Wellington Co-op, Georgie and Bruce Hutchison, Steckles Produce and Flowers, Blanche Freeman, Irene Judge, Bonnie Whitehead and Jean Yenssen.

Door prizes were won by Barb Harris, Marion Pfeffer, Joy Burnett, Karen Dowler, Bernice Binkley, Marion Wylie and Ethel Weber.

A luncheon of fruit bread, cheese, and grapes was prepared by Doris Jaunzemis, Marg Reidt and Esther Hallman.

Society meetings are open to everyone and are held the fourth Tuesday of most months. There is no fee, but donations are accepted at the door.

There are over 800 residents in 325 homes in the community. Over 250 support the society through the membership drive. Sometimes 30 to 50 people are in attendance at a meeting. Twenty-five youth and adult members showed their fruits, vegetables, flowers, grasses, designs and photographs.

Guest speakers offer presentations and demonstrations on a variety of topics.

Everyone is welcome to attend the next meeting scheduled for Sept. 22 at 7:30pm to hear Steve Martin talk about apples from the Martin’s Family Fruit Farm.

The District 7 fall meeting will be held Oct. 31 in Orangeville.