Friday, March 30, 2012

"For The Love of Gardening"

April 5-7, 2012
Peterborough Garden Show “For the Love of Gardening”
Evinrude Centre, 911 Monaghan Road, Peterborough, ON  Admissision $6.00, children free  
- the biggest and best local garden show in Ontario, Canada.
The Peterborough Horticultural Society, the Peterborough and Area Master Gardeners , and the Northumberland Master Gardeners invite you to the 2011 Peterborough Garden Show. The 2010 show was a great success with nearly 8000 visitors and 180 booths of vendors and exhibitors all with gardening-related products and services spread over two arenas. 
Floral Competition
This year we will repeat last year's very successful Plant and Floral Design Competition..... You can contact us regarding the competition here>....

Show hours, location and admission
Thursday, April 5 (6 - 9 p.m.),
Friday, April 6 (10 a.m. - 6 p.m.),
Saturday, April 7 (10 a.m. - 4 p.m.),
$6 admission, children 14 and under free

- Evinrude Centre,  911 Monaghan Road, Peterborough $6 admission, children free
free coat check
The Rotary Club will be collecting a small donation for parking near the Evinrude.
    Come celebrate spring with us!
  • Many Garden-Related Vendors and Exhibitors
  • Speakers Friday and Saturday
  • Informative Demonstrations
  • Garden Displays
  • Garden Advice Clinic
  • Floral Competition *
  • Little Green Thumbs Children's Garden
Proceeds from the show are used for scholarships and beautification projects .. For more information:
CPS will have a booth at this show.  Volunteers should contact Judi Denny at

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Peonies in Chinook Country

By Nancy Brouwern

A four-acre property is a lot of playground, even for an obsessive gardener. My husband and I purchased this raw piece of paradise, just east of Calgary, nine years ago. There was a single boundary of spruce trees and poplars lining half the sides and the front of only two acres, with no other vegetation other than untouched prairie pasture.
The daunting task of tackling this was initially overwhelming, but, as a Landscape Designer, I approached the entire property with a Concept drawing. Considering the basic principles of design, and with our unique Chinook climate and weather, clay to grassland soil conditions, and saline water
composition, in mind, my plan was cultivated.
Each year, I would cut out a new bed, with my husband, the ―Lawn Ranger, fretfully complaining of the amount of ―lawn I was removing. Thankfully for him the septic field was safe from my clutches.
Since discovering the high saline water content in our area, plant choices were initially restricted to trees and shrubs, which would tolerate the clay and salt. Amending the soil and catching rainwater were to become the keys to our success.
Each spring, the new beds would display their natural low-lying areas by becoming a bog. I can safely say that peonies do not like their roots waterlogged! However, working with nature, rather than against it, I found my efforts became less each year. Watering is by rainfall only, except for the plant‘s first year.
Spring is my busiest time of the year, with cutting back last fall‘s spent foliage, amending soil with my kitchen and fire pit compost rather than fertilizer, and new plantings so as to take advantage of the spring rain-fall. Mulch is essential to retain the moisture in our short, but hot summers.
My peonies, even in their first season debut, reward me. There is always a bloom or two! Even though it is better to nip off any flower buds that first year, to encourage root development, I just can‘t bring myself to do it.
My goal for the gardens was to provide a four-season display of bloom, concentrating on mid-summer to fall as we have created an outdoor wedding facility. While we have carefully chosen roses and other shrubs and perennials to ensure continual blooming, I also wanted to ensure there would be magnificent peonies flowers as well. Although I adore most all peonies, I try to choose mostly white, later (weeks 5-6) blooming herbaceous and Itoh varieties, such as Ave Maria, Cora Louise, Honey Gold, and Nancy Nicholls. Storing my buds in refrigeration, and drying them, have become my new study, but more of this at later date.
Overall, I feel truly blessed to live here in Zone 3 Alberta. I think we have the best growing conditions anywhere for peonies!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Peterborough Garden Show

See our Events Calendar
for full details of this event.
The Show takes place on Easter weekend.
Thursday, April 5th, 5 pm - 9 pm, Friday, April 6th 10 am - 6 pm, Saturday, April 7th 10 am - 4 pm. Admission is $6 per day (children 14 & under free when accompanied by an adult.)
The Peterborough Horticultural Society, Peterborough & Area Master Gardeners, and Northumberland Master Gardeners invite you to the 2012 Peterborough Garden Show.  The 2011 show was a great success with nearly 8000 visitors and 175 booths of vendors and exhibitors all with gardening-related products and services spread over two arenas. Prestigious garden lecturers and demonstrations. Also a children's garden. Proceeds of the show are used for scholarships and beautification projects.

Free coat check. There will be free parking and shuttle bus service every 15 minutes Friday and Saturday to and from the Kinsmen Centre, Sherbrooke St. W. and Clonsilla Ave.
For more information

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Word from the President

by Blaine Marchand

In some ways, winter is my favourite season. It is a time of easy gardening. Rather than slogging away through the mists of black flies and mosquitoes, rather than toiling with your brow dripping salty sweat, in this season of blowing snow, gardening in your imagination is such pleasure.
An important part of this frosty husbandry is viewing peony blooms. All really simple, it is instantaneous with no muss or fuss. No matter what the time of day, armed with a piping hot cup of tea, it is no further away than your computer. Just plunk yourself down and, voilà, the world of Google or Favourites transports you to all of the great peony sites and updated on-line catalogues. An easy-peasy feast for eyes grown accustomed to the monotone white-on-white scenery of our land-scape. Hours pass like seconds. The only long thing is the list of peonies you want to order or the information you jot down as your learn more about peony cultivation and culture. It is a time for reflection and for planning so come spring, summer and fall, your garden will benefit from all that you have garnered in these glacial months.
Winter 2012 will also be a time for the Canadian Peony Society and its members to think about what it has done in the past, what holds the Society together, and how it can improve in the future. It is increasingly clear that the world is a different place from what it used to be, even a scant 10 years ago. Things are in transition. As described above, the way people access information is different. In North America, the population is aging. Younger people with families have many demands on their time.
As reported on in the last news-letter, the CPS Board has voted to undertake a comprehensive review of our Society. A firm has been engaged to seek in-put from the Board as well as from a representative number of members across the country whose names have been selected randomly. This exercise will help set our course for the years ahead. It will build a healthy and strong organization so the CPS can continue its mandate to promote the growing of peonies from sea to sea.
I was struck by Don Hollingsworth‘s recent e-mail to which was attached his catalogue. His assistant, Lucas P. Hudson, set out a challenge that struck me as particularly pertinent. It read: ―Hello friends, I want to challenge each and everyone of you to start each day by saying these three things - Always be posi-tive, Always be thankful, and Always have a project. There's not a better feeling in the world than to get up, stretch and yell out "let's rock and roll today". Just starting your day like this makes it much more enjoy-able.
                  Let the Canadian Peony Society rise to this challenge

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Blank Canvas

by Charlotte Jackson

I consider myself very fortunate to have lived in 2 beautiful homes in the charming town of High River, Alberta, 60 km south of Calgary.
The first home we moved into in 1984, 3 scant years after I immigrated to Calgary from Texas to marry my husband Ken.
The home was a lovely brick California bungalow built in 1914 and reminiscent of the homes in eastern Canada -a rarity in this part of the country. It came complete with a giant carragana hedge, a plethora of Cottonwoods several crab-apples and of course several evergreens. While the lot was almost half an acre there was very little planted in flowers‘ a couple of shrub roses and three older peonies that struggled to bloom amongst the trees and hedge.
These 3 peonies were the first peonies I actually remember ever noticing, Texas being too hot for them‘ and I was charmed when they produced a few blooms. After doing some research I decided that this was the flower for a novice gardener in a brutal climate. It seemed it couldn't miss; it was made for this harsh environment.
I did indeed plant several peonies in that lovely garden and when we left it in 2002 the hedge was gone as were most of the cottonwoods‘ replaced by sweeping beds; but this isn't really about that garden but my lucky "second chance‖ and a blank canvas.
Gardening in an old established yard is tough unless you have the resources- physical and financial- to rip out a lot and replace it all-- amending soil in spots among large established plants and dealing with decades old weed loads-- need I say more?
In 2001 we decided to move to a new community in the NW corner of town - a totally blank canvass backing onto the Highwood River on virtually virgin prairie.
Our house sold 3 months be-fore the new one was completed and I spent that summer in a 600 sq ft log cabin, sans electricity and plumbing so I had lots of time to plan my new garden on paper. I suspect it was mostly what kept me sane. Turned out I wasn't much of a pioneer.
New communities often come with many restrictive covenants. The only major concern I voiced to the developer was that I would be able to garden, as I wanted to in my new yard. I think he got the message that I was a serious gardener, not a golfer. The hint came when he
informed me he had decided to name our street "Riverside Garden". It is the only street in town with the word "garden" in it and that pleases me immensely.
I'd been told by the ladies in the previous cul-de-sac that the landscaper we would have to use was very good at nodding and saying "yes ma'am" then going and doing what he felt should be done when you weren't around. I am sure he thought I was a visitation from below sent to hound him for as the time neared for his crew to be working on the yards on our cul-de-sac I was in attendance from morning to evening with a spray bomb of marking paint to mark out the flowerbeds, as I wanted them to be. The standard landscape plans were 2 little mounds‘ like grave-sites‘ in the front‘ with a lilac or honeysuckle, covered in rock‘ and 2 trees - one in back, one in front!
Because of the proximity to the river the soil ranged from solid clay to gravel beds and sand bars so rather than live in gardening purgatory in my golden years- this is after all my retirement home- I insisted that they bring in a mini backhoe and excavate out a minimum 1 foot depth in the beds I had marked out and replace it with screened garden loam. He in-formed me that my landscape allowance was only $7000.00 .I informed him that I wasn't up-grading with granite counters in the kitchen but rather an extra $5000 in soil and we would cut him a cheque! Another 7 half-ton loads of compost were off loaded that fall and winter. In the spring of 2003 I began ordering plants and visiting local nurseries and haven't stopped since.
The largest beds run along the east, south, and west of the lot and range from 2 feet wide to 25 feet wide. They contain a mixture of prairie hardy perennials lilies, iris, hostas, lilacs, Therese Bugnet roses, clematis, Bergenia, hundreds of daffodils, and at last count more than 50 different varieties of peonies. I have appropriated space for a 2ftx 110ft bed on the outside of the fence as I "ran out of space" in
the yard but the town seems not to mind my land grab and of course there are peonies in some of the island beds on the boulevard along the river walk! I know I need to stop buying them but it seems impossible with so many catalogues of beautiful blooms arriving every year.
It is coming up to 10 years now since we moved in and the garden brings many people to the fence to view it, take pictures and ask what the lovely flowers are all summer long. I sell blooms to the local florist and donate rootstock to charity auctions almost every year.
With the borrowed view of the river as a backdrop I couldn't have landed in a more delightful spot to retire. The plaque hidden in the clematis on the arbour truly says it all..."one IS nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Peony of the Year / Pivoine de l'année

The Canadian Peony Society has just launched its first ever peony of the year contest.  Send us a note telling why you think the peony you've chosen should win this top honour.
For more details see the 'Peony of the Year' page at the top .Peony of the Year

This competition is only open to members of the Canadian Peony Society.
Have fun and good luck.

La Société canadienne de la pivoine vient de lancer sa première pivoine de la concours de l'année. Envoyez-nous une note pour dire pourquoi vous pensez que la pivoine que vous avez choisi devrait remporter cet honneur en haut.
Pour plus de détails, voir le 'Pivoine de l'année »de page en haut. Pivoine de l'année

Ce concours est ouvert uniquement aux membres de la Société canadienne de la pivoine.
Amusez-vous bien et bon.