Dunnville Horticulture Society


Welcome back to our 4H friends.

Garden expectations:

-garden labelled with your name to identify for inspections

-spacing, weeding, watering, staking

You will be judged on your garden’s overall appearance


Sat. May 12: Register and pick up your plants!

Sat. May 26: Planting Day! 8am-noon. Meet at Dunnville Bridge parking lot.

July: Home garden visits/inspections

August: Home garden visits/inspections

July 11: Workshop at Judy’s Plants and Garden Centre, 765 Bains Rd., South Cayuga. Birds and Bees. Make your own habitat.

Sept. 20: Junior Gardener Awards Night &  Flower/veggie Show at the Dunnville Optimist Hall, corner of Main/Cedar St. All entries must arrive by 6:30pm. Program begins at 7pm. Judging to follow. Parents, siblings, and other family members are welcome. Categories: largest sunflower, bouquet of flowers, plant animal, decorated pumpkin, your garden photo 4×6 with you in it

Sat. Oct. 20: Garden clean up day! Meet at the Dunnville Bridge parking lot, 9am-11am.

Margaret Bottrell, Jr. Gardener Coordinator

(289) 683-8850

2018 ADULT FUN FALL FLOWER SHOW Thursday Oct 18th Program night

*NOTE: only one entry per person per category. 1st, 2nd, 3rd prize for ANNUALS AND PERENNIAL categories*
 1. annuals       3 stems per vase
 2. perennials   including roses, only 1 stem or spray per vase
3. Veggies a. the longest cucumber
b. the largest tomato
4. Unusual veggies. Show us any new and unusual veggies you grew this year
Lets Have Some Fun
Hang it high: a swag (wall hanging only) or wreath (your choice) of autumn flowers, foliage, fruit, veggies, grasses…..or a mix of all of them.
Hats off to Gardening.: decorate a hat using only veggies and grasses
Happy Halloween: fright night…the scariest pumpkin

Dunnville Hort Update

Debbie Thomas



Dunnville Hort Update   submitted by Debbie Thomas Pres. DHS


Dunnville Horticultural Society volunteers were out in droves during May. The town bedsneeded weeding along with soil and mulch amendments and each year more perennials are added relocated some divided, even potted and sold at our annual plant sale. DHS is grateful to its members and the  community for supporting their plant sale with donations of plants or garden items and coming out to make purchases. Hardy DHS volunteers  set up in the rain and remained to help raise $1768. with the proceeds allocated to the Thompson Creek Project. Our May program had 75 attendees all arriving early for our tailgate plant sale, as we sold all left over perennials for a $1 pot any size. Our guest speaker Carla Carlson from Niagara Nature Tours enlightened everyone with her talk on weeds.”good verse bad” most surprising to everyone was that many types of common weeds, that we just pull from our gardens can actually be eaten. 10 lucky members went home with a free rose bush as we held our annual rose draw. Our town wide planting day May 26th started at 7am with the pickup of annuals, all donated from Konkle Greenhouses. Followed by the arrival of volunteers at 8am with trowels in hand. Planting was complete in record time, celebrated  with a parking lot tailgate coffee and muffin party for all volunteers. Behind the scenes DHS volunteers have been adding nautical enhancements to various beds with the telephone poles donated from Hines Electric and  marine rope from Vic Powell Welding Ltd. The anchor bed in Wingfield Park also got a subtle makeover with new garden cloth to keep weeds at bay and the addition of 2 tonnes of potato rock, all thanks to Ed Zylstra of Dunnville Silo Ltd. A new plaque is yet to be added with historic information on its origin. Plans are also underway for enhancements to the area beneath the new BIA sign. Our June program  with guest speaker Lester Fretz a returning favorite spoke on “Introduction to Trellis Gardening”  Guests learned that not just flowers can climb, many vegetables do quite well. If you have limited gardening space vertical is the way to go, and keeps you off your knees when harvesting. Lively banter among the 77 in attendance, providing all kinds of ideas and sources to get or make vertical structures. There will be no DHS programs during July and August. However  DHS volunteers will continue to weed the 24 town beds and planters ensuring  Dunnville looks its best. Regular programs commence Sep 20th. DHS has been invited to take part in the No 6 RCAF annual open house July 7th, members will be on hand to provide information on the Thompson Creek Project. 

info www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or Debbie Thomas DHS Pres. 905 774 3064

PHOTO: “one of the DHS nautical installations as it appeared before vandalized, with the bird stolen.
picture taken by Brant Richardson

Grow Blueberries for Health and Great Eating

Lester C. Fretz

Haldimand Press

Grow Blueberries for Health and Great Eating


Recently someone remarked, “I think I’m going to grow blueberries this year”.  She had an excellent idea but obviously lacked some important know-how.


Blueberries are an excellent addition to one’s garden as they are one of the most nutritious, low calorie, antioxidant rich type of fruit.  Their health benefits are many while being super sweet and delicious.   In addition, they are easy to grow if the necessary requirements are followed while  enjoying a twenty year life of productivity.


There are three types:  highbush, half-high and lowbush.  highbush are well suited for this part of Ontario hence should be considered for the beginner as one mature bush will produce over 3 kg. of berries.  For cross pollination and more productivity, plant more than one cultivar.  Varieties beginning with “blue” are mid season and very productive; varieties beginning with “north” are earlier and hardy.  The plants should be set about 1 metre apart.   Of course, high bush require less bending to pick!


Soil acidity is the primary consideration.  Aluminum sulphate is an effective additive.  To achieve good growing conditions, simply dig a hole knee deep and 18″ in diameter and fill it with peat moss.  Not only does this medium provide ideal Ph, it is also good for water retention.  Mulching will prevent weed growth and reduce moisture fluctuation. 


Removing the flowers for the first two years will encourage vigorous growth and increased ultimate production.  For optimum productivity, they prefer full sun, however some shade is acceptable.  In fall, they add an ornamental value to your garden.


Lester C. Fretz, M.Sc.,

Member of Dunnville Horticulture Society


The photo shows a first year plant in production however removing the flowers to prevent fruiting is better for long term results.  Note its first year growth as well as its location.







May Program Night Minutes

May Program Night
May 17 2018. Minutes by Petra Kruis-Daly
At 7:06pm Debbie began the evening with a welcome to everyone, especially the new members
1. Reminder to all guests to sign in as you enter for safety reasons, as well as to win potential prizes
2. Check out the back bulletin board to see new business and other information.
3. Deb Z thanked Mary Fretz, Donna Cavers, Dorothy Minor and Agnes Wolters for the snacks for this evening. Hellen Edl, Sharon Sykes, Letha Burden, Pat Henderson and Kim Dickie are scheduled for June’s Program.
4. The Lions Home Garden and Craft show. Thank you to all who came to visit our booth, it was a great success with the volume of visitors and the mini demos from Lester F, Kim D and Marlene L. Thanks also to all the people who helped ‘man’ the booth. Those friendly faces were great ambassadors for our organization.
5. Plant sale report by Petra, despite the rain, we had a great turnout of donated plants and friendly volunteers. We ended up making $1851 including the leftover plants sold tonight.
6. Planting Day is May 26. Everyone is welcome to come 8am to help plant flowers to make our town look great. Come to the bridge parking lot and you will be guided to a flower bed to help plant. All annuals are donated by Konkles Greenhouses.
7. Junior Gardeners program has 25 signed up. Our second year partnering with Haldimand 4H. As part of the program the children help on planting day and clean up day, as well as planting and maintaining their own home garden under the direction of Margaret Bottrell.
8. The Members Only Free Garden Tour is on June 16 10am to 3pm. Please make sure you pick up a map/list. Feel free to come and check out all the great gardens. Rain or Shine. This is self guided so feel free to wander and admire. Feel free to bring a friend, they just need to purchase a membership at one of the gardens and they can enjoy. Website will also have details.
9. Plant and Bake Sale for Haldimand Hort Saturday May 19 Rain or Shine. St Paul’s Church, Caledonia.
10. 7th Annual Blooms and Bubbly Garden Tour, June 23. Proceeds- Senior Support Service. 905 774 3005
11. Our condolences to the family’s of two DHS members : Geoff Johnson and Dorothy Egger.
12. Weeders this year are to make sure they received an email from Deb Z with instructions. Weeders are encouraged not to break up the soil, just pull the weeds as this reduces the amount of weeds self seeding. Please remove the weeds from beds and not leave them on the sidewalks. This year we are going to leave any Milkweed that should sprout up, to help the rebound of Monarch Butterflies.
13. There are 17 beds that require weeding this year, many have annuals but some have a variety of perennials.The large flower pots throughout downtown will increase to 32 this year. The BIA provides the summer inserts, DHS decorates for Winter/Christmas to keep the town beautiful. Several community groups have volunteered to help our club weed some of our beds. The local Scouts/Cubs are taking care of one bed, and another by Community Living. The flower bed under the anchor has been redone. Two Tonne of potato stone has been added over new garden cloth, the weeds will no longer have a chance. Thanks to Ed Zylstra from Dunnville Silo for volunteering his time and resources and taking care of this project.
14. Break announced, everyone was encouraged to get a snack and drink, and purchase ways and means tickets before our speaker begins.
15. Deb Z introduced Carla Carlson from Niagara Nature Tours. She had been intrigued with nature her whole life, and had completed degrees in this area. Her topic tonight was on identifying weeds…. Good and bad.
16. Deb Z thanked Carla for her very informative talk. We will all go home trying different plants in our meals, have a new outlook on things that grow around us that we didn’t plant, and have a healthier respect for all plants and how they interact with animals, birds, bees, insects and ourselves.
17. Debbie began the annual ‘Rose Draw’ assisted by Nelly. The following members have won a beautiful rose bush: Don Davies, Anna Lam, Bob Baily, Clara Draalstra, Rose Allen, Virginia Harris, Bev Mclean, Wyn Overend, Stanley Carnes, Gloria Hunter. One rose was donated back by Don Davies and auctioned off to Ellen Guenther for $21
18. Debbie closed the meeting tonight reminding everyone that Carla is still available for questions about talk and if you give her your email your name will be entered in a free draw.
19. Meeting was adjourned at 8:35pm . Ways and Means followed.

Growing Watermelons

Lester C. Fretz

Haldimand Press

Watermelons: Tasty and Terrific To Grow


Watermelons are fun and easy to grow.  there are some simple things to do  for successful results. 


The first decision is whether to grow seedless or seeded; seeded tend to be sweeter.  In selecting the seed, consider size (e.g. up to 14 kg.) and length of growing season (80 days plus).


The growing time can be shortened by planting 5 seeds in each peat pot indoors 10 days prior to setting out.  Thin to 3 plants per hill.


Watermelon do well  if the vines (up to 6 meters long) are allowed to grow on rocks.  Using crevices between rocks for a place to discard compost can become an ideal location to grow watermelons.


Creating a hill of cow manure covered with good soil induces needed warmth.  Side dress with nitrogen when  the vines begin to grow.   When the fruit  sets (3 to 5 cm.) apply borax water with 1 tablespoon borax to 4 litres of water to provide needed magnesium or 1 tbsp. Epsom salt to 4 litres of water


Because watermelon have deep roots, a generous watering which will go deep is better than frequent watering of lesser amounts.  Excessive watering can cause Fusarium wilt. Reduce watering as ripeness nears (e.g. 2 weeks)  to prevent reduction of sweetness.


By noting when the female flower is in full bloom, the melon should be ready to pick in 35 days.  Two other good predictors are when the underside turns yellow and the vine to the melon dries and turns brown.


As the photos show, melons do well growing on rocks; the yellowing colour with dried, brown  vine indicates the melon is ready to eat!


Lester C. Fretz, M.Sc,

Member:  Dunnville Horticulture Society











Letter to the Editor

Debbie Thomas
Vandalism of public property
      All I can say is unbelievable, heart breaking and disheartening to a group of dedicated community volunteers.
Just last week Tuesday, Dunnville Horticultural Society volunteers completed a project to enhance the town beds.
Two nautical themed public art pieces were constructed with the donation a telephone pole, from Hines Electric and Marine rope from Vic Powell. Two cast steel geese that had been broken off different town locations 2 years ago were re purposed to sit upon the newly created nautical structures.
     Volunteers from DHS worked very hard to design, create and build these feature pieces. Only to discover Sat morning when they arrived to commence planting the town beds with annuals, that sometime Friday evening after 9pm an individual(s) thought that destruction of something beautiful for all to enjoy, would give them some sort of rush, satisfaction by destroying public property.
 One of the cast steel geese had been removed from its perch on the East side of the Dunnville Bridge bed.
      I cannot tell you how upset and disenchanted  my group is, this happened within days of being done. DHS is a group of volunteers that put countless hours of their own time and sweat equity into beatifying Dunnville, only to have their hard work thoughtlessly disrespected and blatantly ruined.  Shame on who ever did this!! If the goose is not at the bottom of the Grand River, consider its return. This act of vandalism however, will not prevent DHS volunteers from continuing their work beautifying the town of Dunnville.

Bringing Garden Flowers Indoors

Sandi Marr


I love to grow perennials so I have beautiful bouquets to bring into our house all summer long.

Lilacs grace our table with beauty and fragrance in May. A tiny bouquet of dainty lily-of-the-valley remind me of my grandma Gilmore. She had a large bed of these delicate flowers at their home on hwy. 3.

Peonies bloom shortly after lilacs. Their spectacular large, fragrant flowers are breathtaking. I make sure I bring a bouquet into the house before a rain knocks them to the ground.

By the time the peonies are done blooming, our roses are in full glory. As the summer continues we are blessed with  lupins, iris, daylily, hydrangea, yarrow, astilbe, coneflower, and phlox to name a few.

If you enjoy fresh cut bouquets, here are a few tips to prolong the life of your garden flowers indoors:

“Condition” your cut plant material to make foliage and flowers last and look their best. Cut flowers during the cool of the day (early morning or evening). Submerge stem immediately into TEPID water as you gather flowers. Once inside, choose a clean container with fresh water and floral preservative (1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. bleach, 2 tsp. lemon juice, water.)

Remove all leaves below the water level. Change the water often and recut the stems to prolong the life of the bouquet. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat.  

For more gardening tips, join us at the Optimist Hall, 7-9pm on June 21 to hear Lester C. Fretz, DHS Member, speaking on “Introduction to Trellis Gardening….Learn to take your garden Vertical to save space & your back!


Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members. Visit our Facebook page and website at: www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org. Contact Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064 debbie.j.thomas@gmail.com or Vice-President Deb Zynomirski (416) 556-9337 debzyn@gmail.com.