President's Message - 2015

Welcome to 2016! At this writing, the days are already over 20 minutes longer than at the Winter Solstice! Spring will be here in only a few short months.

The Saskatchewan Perennial Society has had another very successful year and this is in large part due to the enthusiasm and dedication of its Board Members. Thank you to Kathleen, Jodi, Anne, Nicole, Lawrence, Helen, Sandra, Bernadette and Patricia for giving of your time, knowledge and energy towards the continued success of our annual events and activities. The Board's initiative for this year was to create a Facebook page to complement our existing webpage. Check it out by searching on Facebook for saskperennial; of on the web at www.facebook.com/saskperennnial. The Facebook page appeals to people who rely more on social media for their information. Thank you to Jodi Francoeur for suggesting this and for making it happen. To go along with this, the Board has adopted a policy regarding obtaining permission for posting photos of SPS people and events on the web to ensure compliance with privacy laws.

Our membership continues to grow. At the end of December 2015 we had 211 members, an increase of almost 10% over last year. Thank you to our many members who contribute valuable volunteer hours to the success of our events.

The SPRING AND FALL PLANT EXCHANGES are perhaps our most popular events. Members exchange divisions of perennials that have proven hardy in our region. It's a great way to grow your garden collection! Again, we sold out of the small number of hardy perennial plants in the spring and bulbs in the fall that we brought in from wholesalers in Manitoba and British Columbia. Thanks to Helen Osback for coordinating the selection of plants and bulbs for sale. Thank you to Sandra Rose who provided the overall coordination of both exchanges this year. A special thank you to Brenda Korchinski, Mary Jean Roy, Sharon Lanigan, and Lawrence Klutz who aptly assisted in identifying "unknown" perennials.

The summer GARDEN TOURS in June and July were well attended. Thank you to Anne Hildebrand and Kathleen Chipperfield for organizing the June tour, and to Sandra Rose and Pat Wilson for the July tour. Of course this event depends on those avid gardeners who generously agree to show their yards, and toil long hours to create the beauty we enjoy: Thank you!

At our LABOUR AND LEARN program members can learn gardening tips while contributing to the upkeep of the beautiful Heritage Rose and Meditation Gardens at the Forestry Farm Park & Zoo. Bernadette Vangool coordinates these events which are scheduled every three weeks during spring and summer. If you miss us on Saturday morning, we are usually there the following Tuesday evening. We are always looking for people to join us.

For the past three years, Erl Svendsen has been volunteering his time and editing skills to write and coordinate others to write our weekly GARDENING COLUMN. The column is published in Bridges and other small community newspapers in the province, and now on our Facebook page. Perhaps you have a topic to suggest or would like to write something yourself about a favorite perennial or a gardening tip. Contact Erl erl_svendsen@hotmail,com for more information.

The Saskatchewan Perennial Society again offered respite from the long, cold winter months through its monthly PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS. Not only do we learn stimulating information to enhance our gardening efforts with perennials but the accompanying photos recall the colour and beauty of summer projects. In January, Barb Cote shared her story of leaving traditional farming to travel abroad with her family and eventually settle just outside Saskatoon to establish the vast, colourful cutting gardens at Tierra del Sol. In February, a video showed the creation of Butchart Gardens in Victoria which rose from a barren gravel pit to become a world class attraction. In March, Carolyn and Jeff Bondy, from Sylvan Lake, Alberta taught us about the many, many beautiful varieties of daylilies available and sent a daylily for everyone who attended their talk. In October Lyndon Penner entertained us with his commentary about favorite perennials. And in November, Sara Williams enlightened us with 'An Irreverent History of our Gardens - From the Romans, Brits and the French to the Prairies." Thanks to all of our presenters! Come out and join us this year! The meetings are held at Emmanuel Anglican Church on Dufferin Ave on the fourth Wednesday of winter and fall months.

The Saskatchewan Perennial Society has a LENDING LIBRARY! Margot Hawke has been the volunteer librarian now for five years. The holdings are available for borrowing at the monthly public education meetings. A recent survey about the future of the library strongly indicated that members consider it a useful component of our mandate to promote knowledge about perennials. We plan to increase the profile of the library by featuring some of our books at the monthly meetings.

Many of us look forward to GARDENSCAPE to herald the arrival of Spring. Each year Bernadette Vangool organizes volunteers to help publicize the benefits and activities of the Society and to sell memberships. Sign up in January and February or contact Bernadette directly at bernievangool@sasktel.net. Volunteers obtain a free one-day pass to the event. A special thank you to Bernadette, our treasurer and membership coordinator, whose invaluable reliability and organizational skills ensure effective continuity in the Society's activities throughout the year!

Please check out our WEBSITE at www.saskperennial.ca or visit our FACEBOOK page at www.facebook.com/sasperennial for regular updates about the calendar of events, bulletin board, list of board contacts and more. The website and Facebook page are maintained and regularly updated by a committee of three board members: Kathleen Chipperfield, Jodi Francoeur and Bernadette Vangool.

Thank you all for contributing to the success of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society!

Heather Brenneman, President