President's Message - 2010

By Leslie Sanders
Our November meeting has come and gone marking the end of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society activities for another year. The Board of Directors is still working behind the scenes to put the finishing touches to the upcoming attractions for 2011.
In 2010 we had our regular action packed program and events. The information meetings featured guests who were greeted by an average of about 45 avid gardeners anxious to share in the colorfur, thoughtful and informative presentations. We thank Jackie Bantle, who gave us a tour of Mongolia as seen from a gardener's prespective. Brenda Korchinski took us to the shady corners of her yard, and we learned about Alan Weninger's horticultural obsessions. In the fall Sara Williams presented us with 'Monet the Man and his Garden' and Sharon Lanigan shared her garden annuals, bulbs and tender perennials with us. Thank you all who made these evenings run smoothly, the prople who brought goodies and the hospitality crew.
A full slate of volunteers manned the SPS booth at Gardenscape. This is a busy time for membership renewals and an opportunity for us to showcase our Society to the public. We had over 20 volunteers sign up, making the work very manageable. Thanks to all who helped out.
The gardening season started with the Spring plant exchange which also featured a perennial plant sale. Thank you to Karen Larson and Mary Jean Roy who made the road trip to Manitoba to pick up the plants from Vanstone Nurseries, and to Sara Williams who sorted through catalogues and put in the order. The spring plant sale is fast becoming a tradition with many of our members looking forward to access different perennials that may otherwise not be available to them. From our standpoint the sale was successful, since every last plant brought in was sold. The Fall plant exchange was a little more subdues. I think everyone was a little 'under the weather', so to speak, with tomatoes and potatoes suffering from late blight and other plants sporting mildew and rust due to our very wet summer. I believe the only ones loving all this rain were the weeds.
Speaking of the weather, we had quite a bit of die back on our roses at the Heritage Rose Garden this spring, with some varieties disappearing all together. The past winter and spring with its fluctuating temperatures and little snow cover resulted in some losses for most gardeners. Those of us who did not immediately dig up apparently dead plants, were pleasantly surprised that in late summer some of the roses showed some new shoots. We will see if those make it through the winter. Anyway to get back to the Heritage Rose Garden, we planted four new rose bushes, as a demonstration to and with the help of 4H students who were learning about the history of the park and tree planting in the prairies. We also added some peonies in the spring. Because of the very wet weather the roses are all starting to suffer from iron deficiency. This is especially a problem for this area which has very heavy clay soil and tends to retain moisture, hopefully next year will dry up a little.
The Meditation Garden showed well this year, we had an extremely good showing of Martigon lilies. The upkeep was easier because of having mulched last year. The only draw back is that some bi-annuals that usually self-seeded will probably disappear over time. We would like to thank all the volunteers who showed up for the labour and learn sessions. Some members have commented that Saturday mornings, or Tuesday evenings are not convenient times for them to help out. Although those are the times suggested in the Calendar of Events, feel free to organize a work bee of your very own, and come out with your friends to spend some quality time together.
We have now completed our fourth year of writing a column for the Saskatoon Sun and other weekly newspapers in Saskatchewan. It gives our organization an opportunity of advertising our upcoming events to the public. Many thanks to Sara Williams who has edited this column from its inception and to Erl Svendsen who has assumed this role over the last months. We also thank the writers who have made contributions in the past, and encourage any one of you who likes to write to send your garden articles to Erl or Sara
As you all know we have enjoyed the hospitality of Augustana Lutheran Church for many years. Augustana has joined with St Timothy's and are thus hosting two congregations in their building. As a result they are no longer able to house our library because of space restrictions. We are now storing the books off site and bringing in small collections for each meeting. Even this is a lot of work because books are heavy, and none of us is getting any younger. The Board has been actively looking for another location that would be able to house our books as well as host our meetings.
We have found a new home. St James church will be storing our books and we will be meeting in the basement of the church at the corner of 12th Street and Dufferin Avenue. Our meetings will be held the fourth Wednesday of the month, giving those people who can never make it on Tuesday and opportunity to attend.
It has been a pleasure to serve as president of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society. I appreciate the efforts of all the board and the many volunteers who made sure that programs rolled along smoothly. Their quiet dedication is the backbone of this organization.