Little Known Facts About Horticultural Societies – And Why They Matter

May 7th, 2014

My route to become a Landscape Designer was  certainly a I have spoken about or mentioned how I ended up becoming a Landscape Designer a number of times in

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‘?+9a number of ways; my website, speaking engagements or ne on one with my clients. But until a recent chat at my local Pickering Horticultural Society meeting did I realize the importance that the society played in how I ended up doing what I love for a living.

After trying to figure things out in my own new garden and realizing that I loved doing it, I started to attend the Pickering Horticultural Society meetings. I enjoyed their annual plant sale, the speakers and meet knowledgeable people who helped me along the way. No one more than Christine Male.  At the time an executive on the committee and Assistant Manager at Weall & Cullen back in 2002. I approached Christine for a part-time job as I was very interested in learning more about the industry and excited to help others with their gardens and with a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old boy at home I decided to venture out of the house a little bit now that they were in school. My short stint at Weall & Cullen turned into a longer stay at Sheridan Nurseries.  While still wanting to learn more, I ended up taking the Landscape Design Certificate at Ryerson and the rest, as they say, is history…

But enough about me, I really wanted to write and inform you about the great and often unpublicized work by our local and provincial horticultural societies. Whether you have heard about them or not they have been around a long time.

To quote the Ontario Horticultural Website:

“It is a Tree with many branches. Since 1906, the Ontario Horticultural Association (OHA) has led Ontarians in all things horticultural. Our organization is an integral part of this province’s cultural fabric. OHA was created by the Province of Ontario in 1906. It is a well-rooted tree with many branches (19 Districts); twigs (270 autonomous local societies) and leaves (over 30,000 members)!”

Here is a list of all the societies in my area (Durham Region), which is district 17.

I have to confess I have only been a member off and on because as my boys have grown, their extracurricular activities kept interfering with mine! But I am really hoping to change that.

As a member, you have the opportunity to:
•    socialize with people who have a common interest
•    participate in or just enjoy viewing flower and floral design shows which are judged by professional judges
•    receive discounts at select local garden centres
•    gain hands-on experience by participating in the maintenance of public flower beds
•    listen to and interact with knowledgeable guest speakers at all meetings

Personally, I really enjoy the talks from the different speakers monthly and I am always learning something new. For instance, April’s speaker was Cathy Kozma on The Importance of Bee-ing. I was aware of some of the issues with bees and the impact that our environment is having on them but I didn’t realize the scale nor did I realize the financial impact the bee industry has on our Canadian economy.  Not just from their honey production but also the propagation business they affect.

As you drive around Durham many of the ‘public’ gardens or entrances to neighbourhood gardens that look good all season are maintained by members of the Horticultural Societies.

From issues with the environment, like the wacky weather, the devastation of bees and other pollinators and horticultural issues like Organic and GMO labelling in the news every day, I think it is important to not only support your local organization but to be a part of it. This will help us learn more about what is going on around us as I did with last month’s talk on bees.

Pickering Horticultural Society is having their Annual Plant Sale on Sat May 10th. Come early to shop or if you have plants to give to a new home, pot them up and bring them for the sale.

More details will be on my Facebook page.  If you have any questions about an organization near you, their website will have information on speakers and meeting times and they would love to have you drop in for a meeting.

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