Dunnville Horticulture Society

Get Growing—Tips from local gardeners

One veggie we still need to seed is our Scarlett Runner Beans. Let me tell you, this is one pretty bean when dried. The plant itself, with its rich green leaves and bright red flowers winding up a trellis, make for a beautiful display or privacy shield. We plan to use an old metal garage frame to create a little haven of shade for other plants in the garden. It’s also a favourite if you wish to attract bees and hummingbirds.

We can say these beans are pretty easy to grow, but give this bean some room and a strong support as they can grow up to 9ft tall and the bean pods are approximately 20 cm in length. Start seeds indoors and plant outdoors when the soil is at least 15C; if the soil is too cold it could cause the seed to rot. Sow 3-5cm deep and 15-30cm apart.

The pods are edible at any stage and you can eat them raw while they are young and not yet fibrous. However, be warned that once they have matured and small beans develop, they are not safe to eat raw any longer. They must be cooked once small beans develop or let them dry for next year’s seeds as the plant will not survive our winter. In warmer climates, this is a perennial plant with tuberous roots.

So, if you don’t want to save your seeds, here’s an alternative: dig it up and store in cool, damp sand for replanting in spring. The resulting plants should flower much sooner than plants started from seed.

Brad and Susan Emery are members of the Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, DHS has suspended member meetings.

      If you have questions or comments, please contact DHS President Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out    dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org. Note that 2021 DHS memberships are currently available through mail. Send a cheque or money order ($10 single, $15 couple) to Dunnville Horticultural Society, P.O. Box 274, Dunnville, Ontario N1A 2X5.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Baptisia and bear’s breeches can be great anchors for the garden

Marlene Link says she’s had these plants in her garden for years

Looking for undemanding plants to structure your flower beds around? Two plants that come to mind are baptisia and bear’s breeches.

They have both found their way into my garden for some years. I first planted the purple baptisia and then later acquired the yellow variety.

They both bloom in late spring. I prefer the yellow baptisia, as it is like a ray of sunshine after our long, dark winter. After flowering, the deep blue-green foliage acts as a shrub, growing to a size of about a square metre.

Baptisia tolerates some shade and dry conditions and does well in full sun.

Bear’s breeches is big, bold and beautiful, and can be used as a cut flower and for drying, too.

It should be cut at its peak bloom time. The flower spikes grow around a metre tall, with spiny purple bracelets emerging first before the white flowers appear. The blooms last for several weeks. The flowers resemble snapdragons; the glossy foliage resembles thistle leaves; and the plant has a mounding growth appearance.

The roots grow deep on both baptisia and bear’s breeches, and they are hard to move without leaving root pieces behind, which may regenerate. Keep them in check by placing a bottomless pot in the ground around them, as they will crowd out other plants near them.

Both plants make a great anchor in the garden to build the bed around. Be sure to leave lots of room.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Obituary for Ian Steel

Ian Steel

It’s with a heavy heart that mom May Steel, brother Tom Steel (Beth – Sarah and Matthew) and sister Karen Paterson (Graham – Sean and David) share the loss of our beloved son, brother and uncle Ian who passed away on Nov 2, 2020. He fought against a cancer diagnosis with courage and pragmatism, knowing that his time was precious.

He was hopeful as he began chemotherapy and when undergoing extensive surgery. However, his condition unexpectedly deteriorated and investigation found extensive disease throughout his body. He was admitted to the hospital on a Friday but it was apparent by then that his battle was nearly over, and Ian passed in comfort and peace on the Monday, with his family surrounding him.

We know Ian would want to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at The Walker Cancer Center in St. Catharines. Throughout this ordeal we have been blessed by those who treated Ian with exceptional kindness, gave Ian superior treatment and reached out to him in encouragement. Those supporting Ian include his friends, family, also those back home in Scotland, and his amazing neighbours in Attercliffe Station.

Ian loved hearing from his colleagues from The Canadian Armed Forces, as his time of service to our country included some of his most fulfilling years. He recently told us that he had no regrets in life. He saw so many places around the world and in retirement enjoyed the Horticultural Society in Dunnville and also making and sharing his “very good” wine. We toasted Ian following his passing with a glass of his cabernet sauvignon.

We already miss our son, big brother and uncle more than we can ever say. Ian was tenacious in maintaining relationships with family and friends. Ian was the glue that held his friends and our extended family – split between continents – together. He helped all of us all to be able to share in celebration, lend support times of struggle and commiserate in times of mourning. His contributions to friends and family were considerable, and to honour his memory we will need to work to maintain the bonds that he made and sustained.

Farewell Ian, rest in peace!