President's Message - 2017

By Jodi Francoeur

More than a few times this winter I felt the illusion of Spring coming as we had warmer weather more than usual. I reminded myself of the new Canadian hardiness zone map that was announced early in 2017. Perhaps this is why I had better luck last winter with some 'challenging plants' that are for higher zones? Now I can't help but dream of the other potential plants I can add to my growing garden. Spring can't come soon enough!

As Vice President, I'm writing this report on behalf of our President, Kathleen Chipperfield, who is currently on leave. Over the past year our ten volunteer Board members were busy handling our calendar of events and scheduled activities. Our Board is a very energetic and committed group and we thank each of them for their contributions to the successful working of our Society.

Our current membership sits at 220 people. Thanks to many of you who volunteer your time, knowledge and energy at various activities and events. The fee for "membership only" remains at $10.00; with a subscription to The Gardener magazine it is $27.00.

During the winter and fall months we were treated to five Public Education Presentation at Emmanuel Anglican Church on Dufferin Ave. In January, David Kearns gave us some pointers on "Keeping Your Trees and Shrubs Healthy and Vigorous". He also showed a fascinating YouTube video called "The Most Amazing Thing About Trees" explaining how tall trees manage to move water to their top branches and why. At our annual general meeting in February, Heather Brenneman presented the video, "The Caring Garden", about little-known but fabulous Kingsbrea Garden located at St Andrews-By-The-Sea which she had recently visited on a trip to New Brunswick. As we eagerly awaited spring in March, Shirley Tuttosi and Isabelle Ladwig drove from Regina to tell us how to care for succulents. In October, Lori Weidenhammer from Vancouver enlightened us about 'Bumblebees in Your Garden" and how our gardening can encourage the survival of these and other bee pollinators. And finally in November, Sara Williams told us about her wonderful travels to various historically and horticultural significant sites in Iceland. Who knew Iceland had a world-class botanic garden at its northern most city, Akureyri! Thank you to Lorie Horky, Norma Meyer and Criss Wiercinski, our volunteer Hospitality Coordinators, who organize the refreshments and goodies served at out Society events.

As for the Saskatchewan Perennial Society's Library, Margot Hawke has been our librarian for many years and is ready to give someone else an opportunity to volunteer for this position. If anyone is interested in this opportunity, please contact Heather Brenneman. We'd like to thank Margot for her many years of dedication keeping track of the books and assisting others with access to the library. Our 300+ library publications are available for borrowing during the monthly public education meetings. Please 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 get a free day 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 brought in from wholesalers in Manitoba and British Columbia. Thank you to Lawrence Klutz who helped me organize the volunteers whose many hands make for light work, and Kathleen Chipperfield and Sandra Rose who took turns emceeing the events. Thanks too to our perennial experts, Brenda Korchinski, Sharon Lanigan, Janet Wanner, 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 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 in spring.

Our June and July Garden Tours, organized by Pat Wilson and Sue Barrett, brought out a great number of attendees to both tours. As in previous years, we encourage our members to support the Nest Garden Tour in late July; 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 marvelous 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 watering tips and garden pests and Canadian wildflowers for your garden. 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 secred please contact Erl for information about article lengths, etc.

Our Facebook page and website have a listing of our events. The Gardening Column is also posted to our Facebook page.

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