Dunnville Horticulture Society

Hosta Alternatives for Shade

Epimedium photo care of Pamela Koefoed
Tired of just Hostas in the shady areas of your garden?  This spring flowering, clump forming, carpet perennial will give your shade a burst of colour.  So what’s this wonderful plant called?? Epimedium (aka barrenwort, bishops hat or fairy wings)
The heart or arrow shaped leaves with red markings produce dainty flowers of either red,pink, white, purple or yellow flowers that resemble orchids or butterfly wings.
Epimedium are very easy to care for. Mediterranean varieties are often evergreen but asian types die back in the winter. Fall foliage may turn red, yellow and bronze. They are great for dry rocky soils and once established are drought tolerant. Plant these beauties under trees with dappled or full shade, but not in full sun or soggy areas. Epimedium grows in zones 5-8 and are usually pest and disease resistant.
New leaves in the spring emerge with a red tinge , mature to green and turn red in the fall. Adding compost or leaf mold yearly is also ideal helping this plant  fill in spaces with its woody rhizomes that aren’t invasive. Next time your in the garden centre try looking for these beauties, you wont be dissapointed.

Diverse and Unusual Native Plants

Photo credit to Lisa Dickson

Canada is home to many diverse and unusual plants. Some of which are very exotic-looking and hard to find. This is due to their diverse habitat requirements such as forests, woodlands, bogs and swamps.

We really do have some surprisingly Canadian Species.

First up, Fairy Slipper (Calyso bulbosa) is an exotic looking orchid with bright fushia-pink flowers and a pouch that resembles a slipper. It’s sweet smell attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies.


The yellow ladys Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum) has sunny bright yellow flowers and is one of the most desired hardy orchids. In the right growing conditions the inflated pouch can grow as big as an egg. Pretty Impressive. Unfortunately, it is one of the many species that are close to extinction.


The Jack in the Pulpit is found in the most eastern provinces and grows from corms/tubers or seed. Their name comes from their appearance that resembles a preacher standing in a pulpit. Canada Columbine is another gorgeous perennial with scarlet and yellow nodding flowers. Usually found in eastern woodlands and rocky areas, it attracts butterflies and is a great addition to any wildflower garden.


False Rue-Anemone (Enemonium biternatum) is a native to southwestern Ontario where I have found it growing in our local bush. It is in the buttercup family and produces multiple white flowers in the spring. It is also a threatened species, mostly due to human activity destroying its habitat. Lets not let these native gifts slip away. Enjoy our native plants and species but remember to respect their home when visiting.

Marlene Link

Easy, Low maintenance plants

Gardening Season is upon us.

Are you looking for easy low maintenance plants?

Choosing the right plants can make gardening an easier and more enjoyable task.

Here are some of my  suggestions :

Lavender: it likes lots of sun and not too much water. Clip the flowers and enjoy the fragrance but do not cut back in the fall.Wait till spring to prune and shape.

Sedums: very little care required once established,likes sun and the bees love it. Makes a great fall flowering plant as well.

Peony: These beauties put on a spectacular show with hundreds of varieties. Little care required except cutting back in the fall.

Hostas: a go to plant for shady spots.Many different types and sizes to choose from and to create visual interest in your garden. Very little maintenance.

Ornamental grass: add height,colour and texture and offer many different varieties.Remember you don’t need to cut back in the fall, leave for winter interest and seeds for birds.

Coreopsis: heat tolerant and comes in different shades of pretty blooms  yellow,orange ,pink and red. A plant it and forget it!

Iris: this perennial likes moist soil and are great near a water feature or wet area.Dividing helps to keep them blooming .

Hens and Chicks: one of the easiest plants and requires little water, lots of sun and can be used in rock gardens and containers.

Penstemon: this bright flower blooms early in the spring and continues until fall.Attracts hummingbirds as well.

Daylillies: another easy plant to grow and will spread to fill a space with striking flowers of numerous colours from spring to summer. Pull out flower stakes in the fall. Also classified as an edible flower, try it out sometime.

Hope these plants help you build a lovely low maintenance garden for you to enjoy. Happy Gardening

Lady MacGyver’s Indoor Garden

Spring is here!! Finally!!

Having ventured out from being cooped up inside,I was invited for supper at our neighbours place.
When we arrived we were greeted with her cute little plant growing display.
Everyone has a favorite outdoor annual plant that does really well in their gardens, but get tired of replacing them year after year, including
Lady MacGyver (aka;my neighbour) .
Hence the indoor garden was imagined, and LMG decided to build her own growing area in a corner of the kitchen with a northern window exposure.
On a 3’x3′ table top a  4′ tall wood frame made with 2″x4″ and 1″x2″ wood pieces was constructed. It included, four clip sockets with grow lights and tin pie plates to direct the light on a 12 hr timer.
One mister is on for a few hours most days.
The  plants were dug out of the garden keeping the garden soil with no added fertilizer or new potting soil.
She lost 2 of 18 plants but admitted it was likely due to lack of watering,opps!
Some of her plants are Hypoestes Phyllostachya (Hyppo Rose), which has a few flowers.
3 New Guinea Impatiens (Rose Flow) one of which is closest to the window has had flowers all along.
Gerbera daisys,Gollum Jade,Ivy,Begonias,Hibiscus all seem to be sleeping but doing well.
She also has a Mandevilla hoping it will survive and it is still sending out new green shoots.
A very simple way of keeping plants over winterBy the appearance of her plants she is well ahead of planting in the spring and saving some money too.
I’m sure there are lots of people with inventive ideas just like this one. So why not give this simple grow table a try!
Way to go Lady MacGyver! Keep growing everyone!
Marlene Link

Dunnville Horticulture Society: The fascinating effects of fasciation

What is going on with my wonderful gaura? This weird, funky, fascinating looking plant has what’s known as fasciation.

What is fasciation? Fasciation causes an elongation of the apical meristem, producing a flattened, ribbon-like growth that has a fan-like or crested appearance.

This condition is not very common, but has occurred in hundreds of different species, including but not limited to: ferns, woody plants, herbaceous annuals, perennials, fruit and vegetables. It can even develop in conifers and broad-leaved trees, and is called witches’ broom. When this happens to cacti, they are prized for their now unusual appearance and are highly sought after by collectors.

While most plants will only do this once, horticulturalists and growers have propagated such flowers as cacti and cockscomb (celosia) to keep their unique appearance.

Another fascinating use of fascinated plants is the Japanese fantail willow. This is a cloned plant with fascinated stems, propagated from cuttings — such a beautiful specimen.

The cause of fasciation is varied. Infection by a bacteria, viruses, phytoplasmas, insects, animals, chemical and mechanical have all be implicated. Other suggestions have also been somatic mutations, hormonal imbalance and the environment, such as extreme weather.

There is no treatment for fasciation, but it also has little effect on the health of the plant. You can prune it out if you really don’t like the appearance. I think it looks pretty funky, but to each their own!

Don’t forget to save the date. This year’s collaborative Seedy Saturday event by the Dunnville Horticulture Society and the Haldimand Horticulture Society will be held at the Cayuga arena on April 29. There will be tons of vendors, lots of prizes and great speakers; you don’t want to miss out. Admission is only $5.

Golden shadows pagoda dogwood an exciting addition to the garden

Do you need something exciting in your garden? I know I do. Do you need to add elegant structure and unbelievable colour? Who doesn’t?

Well, golden shadows pagoda dogwood is the plant for you. With a natural horizontal branching habit giving it a tiered appearance, and its glorious variegated leaves of bright yellow with a splotch of emerald green, this is definitely a showstopper.

This spectacular dogwood takes on a pink tone on the new growth and in the spring produces clumps of lacy, yellowish white flowers. This is definitely a spectacular addition to any landscape.

It is a tough native North American shrub tree that gives year-round presents and beauty. It thrives in dappled shade, but will withstand some sun. Moisture is the key component and weekly watering during hot spells is necessary. They will also benefit from mulching to maintain the moisture.

Golden shadows will grow in different soils, like loam and clay, while giving it compost in the spring is all the fertilizer it will need. No pruning is necessary, but you can, only to keep a desired shape. Therefore, it is a low maintenance specimen.

Of course, with all plants you might need to protect them from our wildlife, as they tend to nibble on new growth. You also need to protect them from weed whackers and lawn mowers, too.

Don’t forget the Dunnville Horticultural Society holds its monthly program night every third Thursday of the month, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Optimist Club of Dunnville hall, 101 Main St. E. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with light refreshments provided. The group is now sponsoring lug a mug, so don’t forget to bring your reusable mug. This month, our program is all about favourite YouTube gardeners. Memberships are available to purchase.

Also, don’t forget to save the date for April 29, for the collaboration Seedy Saturday with the Haldimand Horticultural Society. It will be held at the Cayuga Memorial Arena, 55 Thorburn St. S., Cayuga. It is sure to be a spectacular day.


Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Tips and tricks for successful fall planting

Well, here we are, going into fall, which is a great time to plant and divide perennials, bulbs, shrubs and trees.

The weather is usually cooler, and wetter compared to spring and summer, which gives the plants a better chance to get established, rather than during hot weather, when they are competing for moisture.

Now is the best time to move and divide peonies. But be mindful to plant the small, pink buds on the roots no more than 2.5 to five centimetres (one to two inches) below the soil, as they need the sun to grow and produce the beautiful blooms next year. They may take a few years to reproduce, as they do not like to be disturbed. Do not cover with mulch around the crown.

Having found a new shrub at one of our local garden centres, I was quite pleased to find an orange diervilla, which is a gorgeous native, non-invasive honeysuckle. It is a very hardy, easy-care shrub, unlike the invasive Asian type.

It has brilliant orange foliage in spring and fall, with small yellow flowers that attract bees and butterflies. It is also available in a red variety that has deep burgundy tones in spring and vivid red in the fall.

It tolerates shade and dry conditions, but would appreciate an occasional drink.

Both varieties provide exciting autumn displays of yellow, orange, red and purple. They grow a metre tall and can be trimmed in the spring.

This shrub is a great addition to add low-maintenance variety and colour to your landscape.

If you want to learn more about orange diervilla and other plants, the Dunnville Horticultural Society meets on the third Thursday of the month at the Optimist Hall, from September to June. For more information, check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page. Club president Deb Zynomirski can also be reached by email at debzyn@gmail.com or by phone at 416-566-9337.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Rose of Sharon comes in many varieties

Purpureus variegated shrub hibiscus, or rose of Sharon, comes in many different varieties, but the one I find most striking is althea purpureus variegatus. This rose of Sharon is unlike the other varieties, and has beautiful variegated blue/green and velvety creamy white foliage from spring to fall. It flowers in late summer and the blooms resemble raspberries. The flowers are very tight and do not open entirely, like the other types. The blooms are dark purple or black in colour.

Another variegated variety is called sugar tip and, unlike the purpureus variegatus, the blooms open to reveal a double pale pink flower.

Plant these in full sun to part shade and prune in late fall or early spring.

Rose of Sharon can be used as a hedge or specimen shrub. Sugar tip and purpureus variegatus shrubs do not self-seed, so no pulling of seedlings is required like with some varieties.

They can be propagated by layering. Nick the branch, cover it with soil and place a rock on top until roots form — this could take up to a year — then cut the branch off below the roots.

This shrub will add lots of interest to your garden.

If you want to learn more about rose of Sharon and other plants, the Dunnville Horticultural Society meets on the third Thursday of the month at the Optimist Hall, from September to June. For more information, check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page. Club president Deb Zynomirski can also be reached by email at debzyn@gmail.com or by phone at 416-566-9337.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Beautyberry shrub lives up to its name

The beautyberry shrub is an unusual shrub with long, arching branches producing many small pink flowers, usually in August. It has yellow-green fall foliage. However, its most eye-catching features are the clusters of glossy, iridescent purple berries that cover the branches after the leaves fall following a hard frost.

The berries are an important food source for 40 species of birds. They can also be used in teas, jelly and wine. Beautyberry berries have been used for medicinal purposes for many years, but only consumed in very small quantities.

The beautyberry shrub is a good understory bush, and it prefers moist soil. It can be propagated by softwood cuttings. It will grow from one to two metres high and can be pruned severely to 30 centimetres from the base just before the new spring growth appears. Pruning will keep it more compact. There are several different varieties.

I have five bushes, which the birds feast on during the winter.

Marlene’s gardening tip: To organize your plant tags, punch a hole in them and hang them on a shower curtain ring or in a three ring binder.

The Dunnville Horticultural Society meets on the third Thursday of the month in the Dunnville Optimist Hall, 101 Main St. E. For more information, check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page under Dunnville Horticultural Society. Our president, Deb Zynomirski, can be reached by email at debzyn@gmail.comor by phone at 416-566-9337.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Dunnville Horticultural Society hosting annual plant sale

Are you looking to add a bit more green to your garden?

The Dunnville Horticultural Society is holding its annual plant sale this Saturday, May 7, from 8 a.m. to noon, at 210 Main St., in the bridge parking lot.

This is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year.

The evening prior, the group will be accepting donations for the sale from 5 to 7 p.m. Donations needed are plants, garden tools, garden art, pots and seeds.

For more information about the club and its upcoming meetings, visit http://www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org/.