by Noreen Young

A big thanks to the Mississippi Mills Chamber of Commerce and the town’s Beautification Committee for co-presenting “Branching Out – Tree Talk and Forest Forum”, on March 18th at the Almonte Old Town Hall. Not only was the admission free, but the coffee was free as well!!

Every Monday on CBC’s “Ontario Today”, you can hear popular garden guru Ed Lawrence dispense easy and entertaining information to all the call-ins from across Ontario. The fortunate folks that packed the Ron Caron Auditorium at the Town Hall last night were delighted to have Ed in person – all to themselves – as their guest speaker.

Around the Hall were displays and booths on gardening, birding and rain barrels, plus all kinds of pamphlets and information about trees – the subject of the evening. You could even order a big tree or a little tree from the Chamber of Commerce (www.mississippimills.com) .

Fern Martin, Chair of the Beautification Committee, began the evening by welcoming everyone warmly then tossed it over to Miss Mills, puppet Ambassador for the Town of Mississippi Mills who admitted that while she knew a lot about puppets and what’s going on around Town, she didn’t know very much about trees. A stray dog shared his love and use of trees – especially the one at the corner of Bridge and Country streets.

Enter Ed Lawrence, Horticulturalist Extraordinaire (www.gardeningwithed.com), with good news and bad news about trees.

The bad news? The Ash Borer Beetle is going to win… sorry… and we will have lost 25% of our tree foliage this year after the hard winter.

The good news? It’s all about pruning.

As Ed’s mentor, horticulturalist Trevor Cole, used to say, “The best time to do the pruning is when you have the pruner in your hand”. And it doesn’t hurt to wear your pruner in a holster for easy access. According to Ed, the essence of gardening is control – even for a garden that wants to looks natural.

Ed’s main message was “The 5 D’s of Pruning”. It’s pretty clear. Prune a tree branch when it’s

DEAD,

DAMAGED

DISEASED

DANGEROUS

and DESIRABLE – in other words, prune to get the shape and look that you want. But never cut more than 25% of the tree or bush.

Following a short intermission and the free coffee, there was an hour-long Q & A session for the audience with the panel of tree experts: Ed Lawrence, Ron Ayling and Allan Goddard.

Thanks again to Mississippi Mills Chamber of Commerce and the Town’s Beautification Committee for providing this evening to gardening enthusiasts!!