It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that our dear Maura Cooper passed away on January 31st at the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital in Dunnville. Maura truly loved gardening and has been an integral part of the DHS for many years. She had been looking after the kitchen during our monthly programs for a number of years and behind the scenes she was a tireless worker on many committees assisting with our numerous projects. Maura will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
This weather has certainly been a mystery, especially after last year’s long winter deep freeze. Hopefully Wiarton Willy got it wrong and there won’t be 6 more weeks of winter. As I write this the sun is shining and it’s 4 degrees. The only downside to this is that many garden plants are confused and starting to sprout. Hopefully they won’t be damaged by the cold weather that’s supposed to be coming next week.
At last month’s program, President Debbie Thomas highlighted some changes that will be made for 2016. We surveyed our members in the fall and their suggestions led to these changes. For starters, the layout of the hall has been rearranged for a better flow of traffic. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the program will start each month promptly at 7:00. A short video will begin at 6:50 which will be your signal that the meeting is about to begin. In order to keep boring business stuff to a minimum the Minutes and Treasurer’s Reports will be posted on the bulletin board. These reports are always available on our website if you wish to see them.
The nicest thing about doing the survey is finding out what people really like about the DHS, such as: “Fellowship, friendship, welcoming, relaxing, fun, Ways & Means, refreshments, learning new things, entertaining, informative speakers, well run and organized, great leadership, proud of flowerbeds”. DHS members are truly a great group of people who love to learn and socialize at our monthly programs. We do have a wonderful leader in our president and our executive and directors work very hard each month to keep things well organized. However, it still is a work in progress. Finding out what people don’t like helps us make those necessary changes. Remember, there is a suggestion book at the back of the hall if you have any ideas that may help. We will continue periodically to do surveys to make sure things are going well.
Our Master Gardener panel was a huge hit again at last month’s program. I guess this is going to be an annual thing! Nothing like picking the brains of our very own experts. Thank you to Lester Fretz, Marlene Link and Doris Thomson for sharing your vast knowledge with the members. Everyone truly enjoyed it.
Our guest speaker at the upcoming program on February 18th will be Theresa Forte who is a journalist, photographer and has been a speaker at Canada Blooms. Her topic will be: “If you plant it they will come: birds, butterflies and bees”.
Do you know what a “Witches’ Broom is? In medieval times, mysterious and unexplainable occurrences were often blamed on witchcraft. Brooms during this time were made of bundles of twigs. The term witches’ broom comes from the German word Hexenbesen, which means to bewitch (hex) a bundle of twigs (besom). In horticulture, witches’ brooms occur on many different woody plant species, including deciduous trees such as maple and willow, and conifers such as pine and spruce. There may be only one broom in a tree, or there may be many scattered throughout the tree. In some cases, the brooms are quite large in size and are easily spotted. In others, they are small and well-hidden. A number of stresses, both biological and environmental, can lead to the formation of brooms. Organisms such as fungi, mites, and aphids can cause abnormal growth when they attack a host tree. Environmental stresses that injure the growing points of the branches can also trigger the formation of shoots with short internodes that resemble a bundle of twigs, or a witches’ broom. In other cases they look like a ball shaped dwarf plant growing in a tree. There is one at Dunnville’s Grandview Lodge so if you’re in the area stop and have a look.
Sue Mazi, DHS Corresponding secretary.
Essential advice for the gardener: grow peas of mind, lettuce be thankful, squash selfishness, turnip to help thy neighbor, and always make thyme for loved ones. ~Author Unknown