President's Message 2019

By Jill Thomson

I feel that 2019 has been a very successful year for our Society. The smooth running of the society is partly because in 2019 all board members remained on the executive and we all continued in the same roles. This meant we all knew our jobs and how to improve our performance. There were also many members who regularly volunteered to help at meetings, plant swaps, garden tours, etc and I would like to thank the board and all the volunteers within the society for their time and commitment, which makes the SPS so well organized.

There are currently 268 members on our mailing list, an increase from our membership of 225 at the AGM in February 2019. The fee for “membership only” remains at $10, and when it includes a subscription to The Gardener magazine, the cost is $27. Membership also includes discounts at the stores listed on the back of your membership card.

The educational evening talks were well attended, often between 60-80 people enjoyed these talks in the fall and winter. At the beginning of the year presentations were given by Vanessa Young (Digging Deeper into Common Gardening Advice), Grant Wood (Gardening in Containers), and Lyndon Penner (Friends of Pinks). This fall the presentations were by Sara Williams (Drought-tolerant perennials) and Lyndon Penner (Beans in the Border). We are very fortunate to have local speakers of such high calibre, willing to make these presentations. We have recently purchased a battery-operated microphone system to use in our meetings, and hopefully members will have found this has improved the clarity of the presentations.

Our spring and fall Plant Exchanges at the Forestry Farm Park were well attended. Lawrence Klutz, Pat Wilson and Criss Wiercinski were responsible for the organization of these events, and they ran very smoothly. Thank you to all the volunteers that helped with setting up tables, etc., with plant identification, refreshments, and tidying up at the end. Many hands do help make this task light.

Our society was again represented in a booth at Gardenscape, and many members stopped by to renew membership and to admire the display (put together by Bernadette Vangool). It was an excellent chance to check out the photos of the plants that were available in the sale at the spring Plant Exchange.

Garden tours were arranged by Sue Barrett and Pat Wilson. The first tour, in early June, visited gardens in Warman and Martensville. I really enjoyed the chance to visit gardens outside of the city, for a change, but the attendance was lower than for the July tour (when 80 people attended). Thank you very much to the members who allowed us to visit their gardens, it can be rather stressful, even though other gardeners are not critical - we are all there to enjoy different gardens and to learn from them.

We continue to represent the society in discussions with the city about development of the Civic Conservatory and the new plan for the Forestry Farm and Zoo. Bernadette Vangool has been a strong advocate for maintaining the status quo of the Robin Smith Meditation Garden and the Heritage Rose Gardens, to ensure that they remain accessible to the public at the cost of a parking fee. The society continued to maintain these 2 gardens. Bernadette and Pat Wilson organized the volunteers who came to help in the gardens every month from May to September. This is an excellent way to fine-tune your gardening skills if you have time to come and help. Bernadette also attended the meeting of the Saskatchewan Horticulture Association in Tisdale as our representative.

The library is run by Bev McLeod and Nancy Senior. They have colour coded the books, by content, so it is easy to find books on specific topics. We continued to add new books and I would encourage all members to take advantage of their society library.

Criss Wiercinski is our main hospitality coordinator, and she and her team of volunteers have done an excellent job in ensuring that there are beverages and many donated treats for us to enjoy at our gatherings. Thank you to all involved in this task.

The society has a web site ( managed by Bernadette) and a Facebook page (Saskatchewan Perennial Society@saskperennial managed by Kathleen Chipperfield), which ensures a wide access of information for many people. The Society also provides gardening articles to the Bridges newspaper, and Brad Leibel was the Garden column co-ordinator this year. This position involves preparing a list of topics and authors with the column-producing committee, making sure writers are on time submitting articles, and then sending them to the newspaper in a suitable format and in time for inclusion in the paper.

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to act as the society president for 2019. I hope the society continues to prosper and all its members enjoy the benefits of belonging to such a society.