Dunnville Horticulture 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!

Search for hidden gems in Haldimand

Marlene Link encourages gardeners to seek out new sources of plants this year

A few years ago, I discovered an amazing place on Highway 3 near Simcoe. Having driven by several times, my curiosity finally got the best of me when I saw the “plant sale” sign, so I stopped in.

My stop was rewarded with a wonderful tour of a garden trials location. There were rows upon rows of beautiful, robust plants overflowing their containers. Most annuals and some perennials grown here are tested for their durability and performance in our southern Ontario summer.

This particular plant trials location started with 300 plants the first year and expanded to 3,000 in 2020. They supply several large big box stores.

When was the last time you searched out a new local garden centre?

Haldimand, Norfolk, Hamilton and even Niagara have many diverse plant suppliers to quench our thirst for something new in our gardens.

You will often be able to find unique and native plants that may have your neighbours green with envy. Watch for the signs, ask fellow gardeners about their “secret” places, and scour the internet for out-of-the-ordinary suppliers.

Make 2021 your year to explore new garden options. You may just stumble onto a gold mine of exciting new plants. As the saying goes, “seek and ye shall find.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings.

If you have questions or comments, please contact our president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com, or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Remembering Lester C. Fretz

By Co-publisher Jillian Zynomirski

On December 23, 2020, former Press columnist Lester C. Fretz passed away in his 89th year. Lester, a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society, wrote for The Press’ ‘Get Growing, tips from a local gardener’ column from 2017 to 2020. In October 2020, he passed the torch to new Get Growing columnists Brad and Susan Emery.

“I’m indebted to you folk at Haldimand Press for introducing me to the enjoyable opportunity of writing for you,” Lester wrote to us in October 2020. “I’m pleased to see the Emerys carry on with the column for which I give you the credit for creating.”

Lester inspired readers with his many gardening ideas and thoughtful tips.

Lester’s final column for The Press was on seeds and their sense of direction. We can’t help but think that Lester has planted many seeds in his lifetime, developing strong roots, which will live on in his memory.

Lester was so encouraging and never missed an opportunity to let us know what a great job we were doing at The Press. He was one of the most kind-hearted people, and we will never forget him.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.


It’s my turn now to be planted

Put out to seed again

While the fruits of my earthly labours

Flourish in the sun and rain


It’s a wonderful day to be planted

In rich, deep loamy soil

A natural bed, for a tired gardener’s head

With green fingered hands of toil


Please plant a tree or bush for me

To celebrate a gardener’s life ways

I strove to enrich the world with beauty

Over many, many gardening days

Not your granny’s peonies

Marlene Link has tips to help your peonies thrive
There are a wide variety of peonies to enjoy in the garden. - Torstar file photo

Peonies are better than ever, with more varieties to choose from than the ones your grandmother had in her garden.

Peonies have been grown for over 4,000 years. The most common herbaceous ones will bloom for seven to 10 days and die back in winter.

The woody tree peonies from China have been around for over 2,000 years and were grown as a medicinal plant. They need protection from hot afternoon sun but are hardy and don’t need cutting back.

Itoh intersectional peonies are a cross between an herbaceous and a tree peony, and they also die back in the winter. They flower for three to four weeks and are more tolerant of heat and humidity.

While most of today’s peonies are fairly easy to grow, sometimes they might not perform and bloom as expected. What are some of the reasons why your peonies are not blooming?

• They may be planted too deep

• They may have insufficient sunlight

• They have been moved too often or divided too much

• They are cut back too early in the growing season

• You are killing them with kindness. Peonies thrive on scant fertilizer.

If you plan to divide your peonies, the fall is the best time to do so. Keep in mind, it can take a year or two for your peonies to flower again.

If you love gardening, or are interested in developing your green thumb, the Dunnville Horticultural Society is always welcoming new members. Check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org, our Facebook page or contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or 416-566-9337.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Haldimand 4-H Garden Club reviews 2019

By Morgan Schaeffer, 

4-H Club Press Reporter

To The Haldimand Press


Meeting 1: We had our first meeting May 8, 2019 at the Schaeffer home. We had a great first meeting. We played a fun game about veggies. We discussed recipes that included our favourite fruits and veggies. We had our elections, which resulted in River as President, Olivia as Vice President, Caitlyn as Secretary, and Morgan as Press Reporter.

We received all of our plants for our gardens. We all received the criteria for growing our gardens. The meeting was adjourned. We then enjoyed snacks and drinks and went home excited about planting our gardens.

Meeting 2: We all met in Dunnville at the bridge parking lot on May 25 with the Dunnville Horticultural Society for the town planting day. We were given a bed to plant and we all worked hard to get it done.

Meeting 3: On June 22 we were very lucky to be able to visit Shared Harvest Farm in  Dunnville. We met at the farm and the farmer took us on a tour. He explained all about the way things grow without the use of pesticides and how much better it is for our bodies. This was a great experience.

Meeting 4: On July 10 we met at Judy’s Greenhouse. Judy always does cool things with us. This year we got to build bird houses. We took them home unfinished and then painted them and decorated them the way we wanted and entered them in Achievement Day. During the meeting, we learned about home remedies to control mildew on plants. Thank you to Margret of Judy’s Greenhouses for all you do for this club.

Meeting 5: On September 19 we met at Windecker Woods Flower Farm. We toured the flowers and learned about different types of beds and about flowers from seeds and flowers from bulbs. These beds of flowers were beautiful and as we went through the flowers Petra cut flowers for each of us to take home a beautiful bouquet of fresh cut flowers.

Meeting 6: September 19 we had our Achievement Day with the Dunnville Horticulture Society at the Dunnville Optimist Hall.

We all put entries in for the largest sunflower head, an animal made from a vegetable, a decorated pumpkin, our bird houses all decorated, and a 4×6 picture of us in our garden. These classes were judged by Hort members and prizes and ribbons were given out to the winners. Congratulations to Ben for the best garden.
This was a great club with eight members and two leaders.
Some of our gardens did not do so well this summer, but we did have some that were great.
As a club we say thank you to our leaders.

November Pot Luck and AGM

Annual General Meeting
November 21st, 2019
Optimist Club Hall, Dunnville

Deb Z welcomed everyone to this year’s AGM and Christmas Potluck. She reminded everyone to purchase their raffle draw tickets to win one of the many wonderful donated prizes. She lead the singing of O Canada and welcomed Steve Elgersma to say grace before we began our dinner. Everyone was welcomed to enjoy a wonderful dinner and reminded to take a few minutes during your dinner to look at and vote for your favourite photos.
Just after 7pm, Deb Z called everyone’s attention to the front and gave them last chance to vote for their favourite photo. Deb called the AGM to order at 7:14. Brenda Z from the Optimist club and her two student volunteers were thanked for their assistance with setting out the meal. Amber Cuthbertson from District 9 was welcomed. Thank you to the members for being a part of this great organization, volunteering and participating in many ways. Deb called Kim C forward to present the continuous service pins. 5 year pins: George Admiral, Susan Allen, Keith Bak, Marie Bak, Rosemarie Bosak, Marg Bottrell, Mark Bottrell, Cheryl Brown, Darlene Bucsis, Letha Burden, Brenda DeRuiter, Herm De Ruiter, Kim Dickie, Mike Draaistra, Clara Draaistra, Ivan Ellison, Tom Henderson, Andy Hyma, Marion Kuiper-Lampman, Ben Lam, Denise Richardson, Sharon Sykes, Rod Thomas, Reg Wilson, Don Zynomirski, Alicia Stravinga 10 years: Darcy Christoff, Betty Clark, Cindy Huitema, Sue Mazi, Sam Visser, Marge Visser. Life Members: Ian Steel, Barb White.
2018 AGM Minutes were read by Petra, moved to accept by Cindy Huitema and seconded by Kim Dickie, it was passed. Treas. Kim Christoff came forward to present the 2019 financial statement. Lester Fretz motioned to accept this report, seconded by Steve Elgersma, passed. Cindy Huitema and Kim Dickie volunteered to audit the financial books for 2019, Bev Mclean and Betty Ballenger motioned to accept these ladies.
Deb Z introduced the 2019 board of directors and thanked specifically Denise Richardson, Lynn Loney and Marilyn Stavinga for their service and presented them each with a gift as they will be stepping down. She then continued with year review, recapping the large projects and many other activities and events DHS was involved in over the year. She thanked Debbie Thomas for all her work with several of these projects. She thanked Lester Fretz and Marlene Link who regularly write articles for the local papers and reviewed the several awards we have won.
Amber Cuthbertson came forward and asked for a motion to approve the disbandment of the 2019 board, Betty Ballenger moved and Gwen VanNatter seconded. Amber announced the installation of the new 2020 board of directors: Deb Zynomirski, Debbie Thomas, Kim Christoff, Petra Kruis Daly, Gloria Hunter, Nelly Engelage, Wray McLean, Sharon Sykes, Colleen O’Reilly, Angela Latham, Susan Emery
Deb Z then began a ‘non-expert’ slideshow on ‘Houseplants 101’. Since the guest speaker was suddenly unable to attend, Deb put together a simple informative slideshow on houseplants. After the informative lesson on house plants, the Raffle Draw prizes were drawn, Winners are: Petra KD, Anna O’Brian, Sarah Brown, Evelyn Wardell, Joan King, Denise Richardson, Kim Dickie, Pat Henderson, Velma Smith, Cindy Huitema, Larry P, Debbie Thomas, Brad Emery, Kim Dickie, Val A, Gloria Hunter, Richard Edgar, Marlene Link, Debbie Thomas, Petra KD, Denise Richardson, Susan Milligan, Bev Mclain, Angela Latham
Our raffle prizes were donated by many community businesses, which we wish to thank, and hope people visit these businesses: Deb’s Cuisine, Art Rocks and Healing Yoga, Grand Erie Home Hardware, The Music Room, Uncle Bob’s Workware, Grand Wellness, DeeAnn’s, A&W, Blooming Designs, Home Accents, Heatherston’s Florist, Sweet Retro-spect, Rexall, Dunnville Paint and Decorating, New Amsterdam, Houser Automotive, KFC, Canadian Tire, Barnwood Wine, Ruffins, Towne Café, Stefanie’s Hair Care, Only Place on Earth, House of Plus, Hunter’s Haven BnB.
Gloria Hunter announced the winners of the Photo Contest: Winter: Cheryl Brown, Spring: Lester Fretz, Summer: Marylou Johnson Fall: Gwen Van Natter. Each winner was presented with a $10 gift certificate donated by Small Dimensions.
Nelly then sang “We wish you a Merry Christmas “ to everyone and a safe drive home.

Getting a Spring & Fall Crop

Egyptian onion, also called tree, top setting, and walking onions are unique in different ways. They grow a cluster of bulblets where most onions have a flower. These sets can be planted in the fall for very early spring green onions.

After the bulblets, as shown in the first photo, have matured and its stem has become dry and brittle, by cutting the stem off at ground level in late summer, a second crop of green onions will grow up from the parent bulb in the fall. The second photo taken in September shows this tasty fall crop.

Egyptian onions tend to be much stronger than other bunching onions, but for someone who relishes that taste and enjoys having an abundance to eat, they can be enjoyed as early as the spring and again in the fall.

While enjoying the green onions in the fall, the sets harvested earlier can be planted at the same time. They should be planted in good soil about 2 cm deep and 15 cm apart. They will be the earliest green onions to mature.

It is very obvious that Egyptian onions propagate and multiply profusely. They will even self-propagate if the gardener fails to harvest the bulblets, as they will mature, fall to the ground, and begin to grow the following year’s crop.

Lester C. Fretz, M.Sc., is a member of the Dunnville Horticulture Society.

Create a Pint-Sized Pond

You can start small if you want to introduce a pond to your garden, says Marlene Link

Water features are a great asset to any garden or patio, but some people might find it overwhelming. Starting out with a mini pond may be the answer.

All you need is a small galvanized tub, some bricks, water and plants in plastic pots. Place the bricks in the tub, add water, add the tallest plant at the back and smaller ones in the front.

You may also place floating plants, like water hyacinth and water lettuce on the surface.

Maintain the water level to keep all roots covered.

If a plant becomes too big, simply remove it, divide it and place a smaller portion back in the tub.

Mini ponds are great for attracting damsel flies and pond skaters.

Local garden centres carry a variety of pond plants such as cardinal flowers, iris, water lilies, hyacinth and water lettuce. In fact, any plant that loves wet feet will do great in your mini pond.

Why not join other happy gardeners and would-be gardeners at our next program night, June 20?

Our featured speaker is Loretta Shields, talking about backyard birding.

The Dunnville Horticultural Society meets every third Thursday at the Optimist Club Hall, 101 Main St., from 7 to 9 p.m.

Or visit us online at our Facebook page or website, www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

For questions or comments, contact president Deb Zynomirski at 416-566-9337 or debzyn@gmail.com.

Letter to the Editor

Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS) would like to say Thank you.

First to the community for supporting DHS efforts with our vision for the Thompson Creek Project Reboot. Also for the understanding and patience leading up to the very successful prescribed burn held April 25th as part of the rehabilitation of the Thompson Creek Wetland and Tallgrass Prairie section of the project. The planning and coordinating of this took considerable time, effort, resources and manpower to pull off  both safely at the optimal time and to provide the needed results to move this project forward. DHS vetted several prescribed burn specialists before contracting Lands & Forests Consulting. We couldn’t have been more pleased with Jason Sickle’s professionalism along with his skilled burn team for executing a well planned and flawless burn. Thank you to Haldimand County for your continued confidence in DHS by providing a 35% CPP grant towards our total project budget and for coordinating assistance from Haldimand County staff and employees.Thank you to both Dunnville and Hagersville Fire Depts for providing on site standby with both equipment and manpower. Thank you to EMS for being at the ready. Thank you to Haldimand employees for setting up the road/trail closures and staying on site. A Very Big Thank you to all DHS members for believing in and providing support .


DHS Thompson Creek Reboot

Co-chairs Dan McKay and  Debbie Thomas