Enjoy gardening? Join the Horticultural Society

by Ann Warren, A&DHS.

Whether you are new to gardening or are a seasoned gardener, your local gardening club may be the place for you.  

Either way, you will find the best help you can get by becoming a member of the Almonte & District Horticultural Society.  Although the name may give the impression the Society is all experts, we are really just a garden club with members at all levels of experience who are more than happy to network with others by sharing problems and offering ideas and solutions. Whether a beginner or master gardener, you are certain to enjoy the benefits of the Society as an excellent resource to answer your gardening questions.  We provide a supportive environment for gardeners of all levels by encouraging the use of eco-friendly practices to promote the production of food, flowers and plants, and to conserve our environment.

A&DHS presents expert guest speakers at monthly meetings covering a wide range of topics.  Our first speaker this year is Scott Sigurdson, owner of Indian Creek Orchard Gardens, on the topic of Organic Gardening and Pest Management.  In the following months we will have speakers on such topics as Seed Starting Made Easy, Favourite Herbs and Uses, and The Top Perennials in 2019 for Sun and Shade. 

Other Society benefits include:  Networking opportunities with Lanark County Master Gardeners; Field trips, garden tours and flower shows; Member discounts from numerous local gardening businesses; Access to the Ontario Horticultural Association; and an annual plant sale offering vegetables and plants at discount prices (Saturday, May 11 this year).  In addition, following each meeting, you’ll enjoy refreshments and have time to share your gardening experiences or get personal one-on-one help. Raffles at each meeting provide a chance to win useful garden-related items.

A&DHS volunteer members spend an amazing number of hours planting and maintaining public gardens at the Cenotaph, Almonte Library (large circular bed and Albert’s Garden), Peace Park, Veteran’s Walkway, and Arena.  Volunteers are also responsible for planting, weeding and deadheading the sidewalk planters that are placed on Mill Street and in front of the legion. One exciting initiative that the members have undertaken, is the re-invention of the Library Garden as a pollinator-friendly perennial garden.  This project was begun in 2018 and will continue in 2019.

If you like gardening but do not have an opportunity to do so where you live, why not join the Society to have the opportunity to partake in a hobby you enjoy.  High school students are most welcome to join us and can apply their volunteer hours toward the 40-hour Ontario community involvement requirement.

 With the cooperation of the Mississippi Mills Beautification Committee, Society members assemble thank-you gifts, and select, photograph and submit winners to the Canadian Gazette and Millstone News for the ‘Yard of the Week’.  We hope to continue our partnership with Naismith School by continuing to plant flower and vegetable seeds with the Junior and Senior Kindergarten classes in the spring. These seedlings are then planted in the kindergarten play area and planters constructed by volunteers in front of the play area.  When the students return to school in September, they enjoy fresh vegetables.

Meetings are held the 4th Monday of the month (except in July and December at 7:30 P.M. at the Cornerstone Community Church (next to the Almonte Roundabout at the corner of Conc. 11A and County Rd. 49).  Pot luck suppers are held at the meetings in August and November. Membership is only $10 per year and any person 16 years of age or over may become a member. Registration for the 2019 season will take place at our first meeting on Monday, January 28 from 7:00 to 7:30 P.M. and continue throughout the year.

A&DHS members will also be in attendance at the ‘Seedy Saturday’ event on Saturday, February 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Almonte Civitan Hall to accept registrations and answer questions.   Seedy Saturday in Almonte is organized by Johvi Leeck of Beyond the Garden Gate in conjunction with Seeds of Diversity.  It provides the opportunity for people to come together to exchange information and to buy, sell or trade interesting and unusual heritage varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb, flower, wild and native Ontario seeds.  Guest speakers are available throughout the day to discuss a range of topics of interest for beginners to advanced gardeners.