President's Message - 2008

By Sara Williams
Twenty some years with the Saskatchewan Perennial Society has been an amazing journey. Slowly and steadily we've succeeded with the goals we set out.
We can look back with pride at the many presentations on a wide range of subjects we've had over the years, all free and open to the public. 2008 was no exception: Lyndon Penner began the year with 'Members of the Mint Family', followed by Erl Svendsen with 'Favourite Plants for the Mixed Border'. Our fall program focused on 'Hardy Ferns' (Bernadette Vangool and myself) and 'Ironclad Perennials' with Brenda Korchinski. Thanks to all these individuals for giving their time, knowledge and experience. A special thank you to Patricia Meszaros for looking after the refreshments and for providing us with the scrumptious dainties.
A new but very successful venture for the SPS was the Perennial Symposium: 'Expanding Our Borders', a weekend event in partnership with the Saskatoon Public Library. Held at the Cliff Wright Branch of the Library, we had speakers on Friday evening and all day Saturday. Topics included 'Hostas', 'Gentians and Filipendula', 'Best Perennials for the Prairies', 'The Spring Garden', 'Hardy Ferns', 'Roses', 'Best for Bogs' and 'Dwarf Deciduous Shrubs for the Mixed Border'. Sunday's program included lunch at the Forestry Farm Park followed by an afternoon of tours.
Thanks so very much to all of our speakers, as well as the following sponsors who made this free event possible and open to the public: Saskatoon Public Library, City of Saskatoon, Canadian Tire, Dutch Growers and the Canadian Prairie Lily Society. Based on almost 100 attendees and a lot of very positive feedback, the Board decided to hold this event every three years. Our appreciation especially to Bernadette Vangool who coped with the administration!
Our Sunday garden tours went well. The June tour, in conjunction with the Perennial Symposium, had the greatest attendance. A big thank you to all the inidividuals who shared their gardens with us through the summer. (It's no easy task to get one's yard 'ready' and your efforts are appreciated.) These tours are a real pleasure, an outing that gives those in attendance an excellent opportunity for 'experiential learning', a chance to see what others have done and what is possible in our prairie environment.
Our spring and fall plant exchanges went well, as always. Again, thanks to the many volunteers who made them possible. Our spring exchange featured a plant sale and our fall exchange a book sale, innovations that we hope to continue.
Thanks also to those who have come out on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings for the Labour and Learn work bees at the Forestry Farm Park gardens. Your efforts are so appreciated and the gardens looked great this summer. In early fall, we were the grateful recipients of plants and Japanese lanterns that had to be removed from the Joe Zary Garden to make way for the expansion of the Mendel Conservatory. Thanks to Angie Skiba and the Saskatoon Horticultural Society for suggesting the FFP gardens as a second home, and to Grace and Abe Berg, Willie Alexson and Bernadette Vangool for doing the grunt work involved in their move.
Gardenscape gave us an opportunity to let the world know about the Saskatchewan Perennial Society and its varied activities and to visit with the many folks who stopped at the booth. Sales of 'In a Cold Land: Saskatchewan's Horticultural Pioneers' have been steady throughout the year and only about 100 copies (of the 1000 printed) remain.
Our weekly Gardening Colums, now starting its 3rd year, and featured in 'The Saskatoon Sun' and about 25 other provincial newspapers, has been well received. Thanks to those writers who have volunteered their time, knowledge and talent, for this public service: Maureen Troesch, Jackie Bantle, Erl Svendsen, Sandra England, Darryl Fehr, Sharon Leach, Michelle Chartier, Cedric Gillot and Linda Matthews.
Last but not least a big thank you to Sandra England, Erl Svendsen and Sandra Rose for their contributions in organizing and running our Gardening at the Zoo programs, to Jim Wood for getting all those e-mails out to our membership, to Brenda Maitland-Whitelaw and Margot Hawke for running the library, to Ramona for revamping the Website, and anyone I might have missed.
We've had fun, accomplished lots, and worked well together. What more could one ask of an organization?