Ontario Horticultural Convention highlights

Several area horticultural­ists attended the Ontario Horti­cultural Association convention on the weekend of August 22 in Brampton.

Elisabeth Keursten, Willa Wick, Bonnie Whitehead, and Margaret Reidt, of Harriston attended the 102nd Ontario Horticultural Association con­vention in Brampton Aug. 23

Following opening cere­monies, greetings, business, and keynote speakers, it was time for competitions, vendors, bus tours, seminars, a silent auction, variety night, a buffet dinner – and that was just Friday.

Minister of Natural Re­sources Donna Cansfield, shar­ed her views on conserving On­tario’s bio-diversity. Protecting wetlands, heritage lands, en­dan­gered species, sustainable resources, and globally signi­ficant species is essential to Ontario’s diverse eco system. Continuing to play a role in combating climate change is neces­sary. Establishing part­ner­ships and creating respon­sible stewardship programs like turning tobacco crops into fields of prairie grass will go a long way in preserving the land.

A whole sense of com­munity commitment can be felt when someone follows the United Nations initiative to plant one tulip tree, nurture its growth, and care for its health and longevity. There is a need to focus on native species to diversify and modify existing standards to keep invasive spe­cies from landing in Ontario. Cansfield found the flower show quite impressive and thanked the 17 societies of District 15 for inviting her.

Liz Primeau, founding edi­t­or of Canadian Gardening spoke on transforming im­macu­late, lovely, green, but bar­ren lawns into front yard gardens and tapestries of peren­nial pageantry. Each garden reflects the personality of the home owner and the commit­ment of time needed to main­tain the project.

Start with a simple plan. Check the bylaws and boun­daries and be sure to include your neighbours who may or may not share your views on nature and what indeed is a vision of beauty.

A variety of seminars held the interest of hundreds of dele­gates. Garden design, gardens around the world, water gar­dening, orchids, hand-tied bou­quets, fabulous foliage, pesti­cides, and insects were all on the agenda.

Christina Sharma, of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, is committed to Project CHIRP. It is designed to help indi­viduals create certified back­yard conservation areas to sup­ply safe havens for songbirds on their migratory journeys. The birds will gravitate to the sound of running water, find shelter from stormy weather in the branches of a tree, and feed on berry laden shrubs, but will need to be protected from natural predators like cats. This requires a year round commit­ment and an area even as small as 12-feet by 12-feet is a good start.

Dianne Woodruff, a profes­sional dancer and educator, showed a variety of stretching movements to rejuvenate and re­store vitality to winter weary gardeners just in time for spring planting. She literally had everyone on the edge of their seats gently and correctly stretching 30 seconds at a time. Start with the hands, wrists, and forearms and gradually incor­porate the whole body with bal­ance, resistance, and weights. Go garden. Repeat stretches.

Her DVD provides instruc­tion on a total program of integrating exercise, not excus­es into every day.

A banquet and awards cere­mony rounded out the evening with a business meeting and closing ceremonies on Sunday. Next year, the convention will be held in Peterborough.

For more information, on the Ontario Horticultural Association visit the website www.gardenontario.org.