President's Message - 2009

By Sara Williams
The Saskatchewan Perennial Society is many things to many people and perhaps therein lies its strength. 2009 was a stellar year for sharing perennial experiences and expertise. We began with an excellent video at our January AGM: 'The Lily King', the story of Barrie Strohman of Neepawa, Manitoba.
Based on the growing experience, knowledge and plants of local experts Jeanine Smith, Jim Sullivan, Brenda Korchinski and others, Bernadette Vangool and I photographed, researched and presented 'Hardy Grasses'.
Our speakers 'from afar' were a delight: Connie Reavie of Carrot River with 'Favourite Perennials' (and an encore of 'Bog Gardens'; and from Edmonton, Alan Daku with 'Alliums and Other Hardy Bulbs' and Terry and Shauna Willoughby with 'Lilies other than Asiatic'.
As always, a presence at Gardenscape provided an opportunity to network with other horticultural organizations as well as a venue to tell the world about the SPS. Thanks to Bernadette and Koren Vangool for setting up and to Sheila Liota who looked after staffing our booth.
The gardens at the Forestry Farm Park continue to attract positive feedback. And it's gratifying to hear 'thank yous' while working there - from both regular visitors and those who are discovering the gardens for the first time. Our biggest project this year was an attemp to make future labour & learn work bees within the Meditation Garden less arduous. We 'edited out' many of the more aggressive perennials as well as those that were prolific re-seeders. We also mulched most of the borders with post peelings - all in an effort to reduce weeking.
With funds donated by Artizoons, a sculpture of a raven was purchased from Nisse Foundry and will be installed in the Heritage Rose Garden in 2010. Heartfelt thanks to Ramona Gignac and Judy Stevenson for 'marshalling the troops', and to all of you who gave of your time on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings in these public gardens. Our only regret? The ice cream shop on Central closed.
Our spring and fall plant exchanges were enthusiastically attended, as always. Once again we were able to bring some different perennials for sale - this year's emphasis was on ferns and grasses. Thanks to our exchange organizers, Koren Vangool, Brenda Maitland-Whitelaw, Criss Wiercinski, Fern Fitzharris, Patricia Meszaros and everyone who helped out.
In spite of detailed planning, two of our summer Sunday afternoon garden tours fell foul of foul weather and were rained (deluged) out. We are rescheduling our outing to the Little Tree Nursery and hope for better weather next year. Thanks to all the people who shared (or tried to shar) their gardens and Leslie Sanders who did the planning.
My 'personal favourite' of 2009 was the spring tour of Devon and Cornwall, England: gardens galore, Dartmoor ponies, and Devonshire black currant ice cream. It doesn't get much better. And if you missed England, we're considering a tour of French gardens in 2011.
Also on a personal note, I'll have the enviable position of 'Past President' on the 2010 SPS Board. It's been a pleasure. Many hands do indeed make light work. We've had an enthusiastic and dedicated Board. My thanks to you all! And to those of you who have enjoyed our programs, please consider volunteering some time as a Board member.
I have every confidence that the SPS will continue to serve our community as it has for so long. Hope to see you all at the 2010 AGM on January 12 with Jackie Bantle on 'Gardens of Mongolia".