President's Message - 2014

By Heather Brenneman

BRRRRR Another cold New Year's welcome for 2015! But the days already grow longer and soon spring will be upon us. The unchanging cycle of the seasons is reassuring in a world with so much upheaval. And so we can look forward to the coming growing season with hope.

Over the past few years the Board of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society has accomplished a great deal in setting new bylaws (2012), developing a new website (2013), and preparing written descriptions of Board executive duties and event 'protocols' (2012-14). This latest initiative clarifies the roles of Board executives and provides information helpful in organizing our calendar of events. Our ten Board members are a very energetic and committed group and I thank each of them for their contributions to the successful working of our Society!

Our current membership sits at 192 people, and increase of about 7% over last year at this time. Thanks to many of you who also volunteer your time, knowledge and energy to various activities and events. The fee for membership remains at $10.00; however, the fee which includes a subscription to The Gardener will increase from $25.00 to $27.00 to reflect the increase of $2.00 for the gardener subscription.

During fall and winter the Society organizes monthly PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS held at Emmanuel Anglican Church on Dufferin Avenue. These meetings offer informative reminders of our love of gardening when the weather is frosty. In January Jackie Bantle took us on a vicarious tour of gardens and other delights in Turkey; the wild flowers of this ancient country have been the source of many of our modern perennials. In March Jeff Boone, the City of Saskatoon's entomologist, shared his knowledge of beneficial and problematic insects found in our gardens, and shared his collection of these small creatures. In October Sara Williams regaled us with several humorous and interesting tales about the history of the Forestry Farm Park & Zoo, from a book she wrote to help commemorate the centenary of the park. In November we heard about unique garden projects from three of our members: Don Shepherd described the City Park Collegiate gardening program, Rosemary Slater presented a photo essay of creating her family park, and Jennifer Osachoff shared her innovations in native water gardening. Thank you to Lori Horky who arranges for the refreshments to be served at these and other Society events.

Margot Hawke is the volunteer librarian for the Saskatchewan Perennial Society's LIBRARY. The library has grown from 5 books in 1989 to over 300 publications at present. These are available for borrowing during the monthly public education meetings. See our website for a list of holdings and yearly acquisitions.

Bernadette Vangool will again be looking for volunteers for GARDENSCAPE to promote the benefits and activities of our Society and to sell memberships. Volunteers obtain a free day's pass to this annual event in March.

Many of you eagerly await our SPRING AND FALL PLANT EXCHANGES where you can find treasures that you know will be hardy to our area because other gardeners have had success with them. This year, we sold out of the small selection of hardy spring perennials and fall bulbs specially brought in from wholesalers in Manitoba and British Columbia. Thank you to Donna Cuttler and to Sandra Rose who organized the volunteers whose many hands make for light work. Thanks, too, to our perennial experts Brenda Korchinski, Mary Jean Roy, Sharon Lanigan, and Lawrence Klutz who helped identify 'mystery' plants.

Our LABOUR AND LEARN program provides opportunities for members to learn gardening tips and to contribute to the beauty of the gardens at the Forestry Farm Park & Zoo. These 'work bees' are organized by Bernadette Vangool at about three week intervals during spring and summer. If you miss a Saturday morning, you can find us there the following Tuesday evening. Extra tulip bulbs were planted in the fall, so come out and see these new additions for spring. We are looking for more people to join us this year at the gardens which are in need of some special care this coming year.

Our two GARDEN TOURS were popular again this past summer. The rain during the June tour, which was organized by Sandra Rose and Pat Wilson, did not seem to deter tour enthusiasts. Not surprisingly, the beautiful weather during the July tour, organized by Irene Knott, brought out a record number of viewers. As in the past two years, we encouraged our members to support the Nest Garden Tour in August; this tour raises money for services to new immigrants. As always I was impressed by the creativity that gardeners show in developing their beautifully designed outdoor masterpieces. Thank you for your generosity in opening your beautiful gardens and yards to us!

Erl Svendsen is the volunteer editor for the Society's weekly GARDENING COLUMN published in Saskatoon's Bridges and other small newspapers in the province. Topics range from potato blight and pruning to roses and New Year's resolutions for gardening. You, the members of the Society are invited to write articles for the column. If you would like to promote your favourite plant or share a gardening secret please contact Erl for information about article length etc,

Please check out our WEBSITE. It contains valuable information about the Saskatchewan Perennial Society and includes an updated calendar of events, a membership renewal form, and a contact list of Board members. Recently an In Memoriam page was added, to honour founding members of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society. The website is maintained and regularly updated by a committee of three Board members; Heather Brenneman, Bernadette Vangool, and Pat Wilson.

Thanks to all of you who make the activities of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society successful!