Dunnville Horticulture Society

Steve Elgersma Interview

Bees were actively working in and around the sedums in the median at Broad and Main Streets in Dunnville as Steve Elgersma shared his commitment to help others. Steve is a worker bee’ for Dunnville Horticultural Society and has been tending to several flower beds for what he thinks is close to 15 years. This summer, Steve joked that he is out weeding whenever it hasn’t been raining which is often up to 10 hours per week.

It all started when Steve and his wife Jenny were out walking and they noticed weeds in the bed and felt that removing them would be a way to help. Steve had been caring for that flower bed for probably two years when a D.H.S. member noticed him working and invited him to join the
society. In addition to his work for D.H.S. Steve is one of the volunteers who maintain gardens at Dunnville Hospital and Edgewater Gardens. Steve is a volunteer with the Niagara Christian Gleaners two mornings a week. Steve and the other volunteers wash, cut and prepare donated produce for
dehydration. The group receives over 7000 pounds of produce daily that would otherwise be discarded. Through their efforts the dehydrated produce can be shipped to those in need around the world. Steve helps lead worship services at Dunnville Hospital and Grandview Lodge and is a member of
Gideons International.

Steve was born in Holland and moved in 1947 to Canada along with his parents and six siblings. Three more siblings were born in Canada. Steve learned about dedication and hard work growing up on a dairy farm and later working at Rosaflora for 19 years. Steve and Jenny raised two sons and
two daughters. To Steve the reward for doing his volunteer work for D.H.S. is seeing the simple beauty of the flowers.

Dunnville Horticultural Society would like to recognize the efforts of Steve Elgersma and all of the other volunteers who maintain numerous flower beds around the town. Members have been helping to keep Dunnville looking beautiful since 1929. Dunnville Horticultural Society meets monthly between September to June on the third Thursday of the month. Plan to join the members on Thursday September 21st at Dunnville Optimist Hall where we will be learning more about the bird banding program at Ruthven Park in Cayuga. Doors open at 6:30pm. Programs are free and open to everyone.

If you enjoy being outdoors and have one hour a week during the spring and summer months, then D.H.S. has a spot for you to beautify! Contact D.H.S. Weeding Coordinator Nelly Engelage through the website www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or call Past President Deb Zynomirski at 416-566-9337.

DHS Update April 2023

DHS had a delightful February, with a very informative presentation at our last Program night with Adam Chamberlin. He spoke about Dunnvilles tree program and our Carolinian Trees. Did You Know !! Haldimand has one of the biggest Paw Paw stands around. We are definitely lucky to have some amazing trees in our area. 

Up Next, the Lions Home and Garden show is fast approaching. Come on out to the Dunnville Arena on April 15 and 16th to see our Flower Power booth. Meet our board members, pick their brains, see all we have to offer and why not pick up a membership (10.00/adults and 5.00/jrs). We are an all inclusive, accessible, all ages group with a steadily increasing membership.

Later this month the DHS has submitted an article in the OHA Trillium. We have shared some exciting news to come . Also don’t forget to check out the Emerys monthly columns an all things plants here in the Haldimand Press. 

April is another busy month for the Hort Society. Not only are we preparing for out annual plant days, we are also apart of a huge collaboration Seedy Saturday with Haldimand Hort. This event will be held at the Cayuga Arena on Saturday April 29th from 10-5pm. Amdimissin is $5.00 for ages 13 and up. This family friendly event is a must attend with raffles, food, prizes, and much more, with over 30 green vendors. Spend the day learning about all things seeds, plants and green, with 3 fascinating speakers that are not to be missed. 

Also coming up this month is our monthly program night. It will be held March 16th from 7-9 at the Optimist Hall at 101 Main st W. Building is fully accessible and Light refreshments are provided. To do our part for the environment we are also asking everyone to participate in “lug a mug” and bring their own mug for coffee and tea. The ways and means table and memberships are always available. 

This month’s speaker is Kyle McLaughlin and he will be discussing the fascinating world of Mushrooms and Fungi. Also this month is St.Pattys day and DHS will be celebrating with prizes!! So come in your best greens, the member with the most green will be the winner. Looking forward to seeing all the St. Pattys Green Attire, 


Questions and comments can be directed to Jen Miller jlglaziermiller@gmail.com

Program Night Minutes: October 2022



By: Petra Kruis Daly


6:30pm.    Doors Open. Members purchased their Ways and Means tickets and enjoyed a coffee or tea. Pumpkin contest participants submitted their entries to the side table for judging later.

7:03pm.    Welcome by Deb Zynomirski, DHS President. Treasurer’s Report is Posted on the back wall.  Questions can be directed to our Treasurer Ellen Guenther.

7:05pm.    Business on hand:

  • Reminded everyone that last month’s minutes are on the back of the program.
  • Thank you to Marlene Link for her continued articles in the Sachem, and also to Susan and Brad Emery for their Get Growing column in the Haldimand Press
  • 2022 DHS Bursary was awarded to Amelia Green-Johnson on October 7, she completed her required volunteer hours and is attending a horticultural program in Fleming College.
  • District 9 Fall Forum being hosted by Thorold Horticultural Society on October 29. Those  interested in going, please see Deb Zynomirski.  We will meet at the Optimist Club and carpool.
  • DHS is partnering with the Haldimand Horticultural Society in 2023 to do a joint Seedy Saturday event. This will take place at the arena in Cayuga. The proposed date is April 8, 2023. More details to come in the spring.
  • Ways and Means Table: Get your tickets at the break for a chance to win some great things. 
  • Our AGM is coming up in November, where we will swear in our new Board of Directors for 2023. Please consider being part of our Board!  Deb Zynomirski stepping down as President as is Jordan Wagter. Jennifer Miller is looking to join the board.
  • Since our AGM is our next meeting, everyone is asked to bring either a main course, salad or dessert to share for our POT Luck dinner.  OUR POT LUCK WILL BEGIN AT 6:00PM!
  • Thanks to everyone who helped with Clean Up Day on October 15!  We are also grateful to our community partner “Jeff’s Outdoor” for their assistance in collecting and disposing of all the garden debris. With all the hard work, the job was done in an hour!
  • Lions Home and Garden Show is a go…dates April 13,14,15 of 2023.  Volunteers needed to organise, set up and man our booth.  DHS will carry the cost of the booth
  • 2022 Year of the Garden “A Splash of Red

Remember: this year’s DHS photo contest at our November AGM will have a YOTG focus. Only one photo per person. Our judge will be Ben Tucci

  • Pumpkin competition tonight will be judged during the break, and results will be revealed after the speaker.  Thank you everyone who participated!
  • A new ‘Flowering Dogwood’ has been planted in the Thompson Creek Eco Centre. It was transplanted at the expense of a community member (Archie Marigold) and saved from land that was going to be developed. Saplings will also be planted in the spring.
  • November AGM will have an auction of items that the DHS board no longer needs (rototiller, hedge trimmer, weed wacker, carpet, tools, etc).and a few surprises.
  • At the end of the evening, we will have a draw prize of a beautiful plant donated by Agnes Walters.


Dates to Remember:

November 17, next Program Night (our AGM and potluck night)

7:15pm.    Break for Refreshments

7:30pm.   Presentation by Melissa North, topic: using plants for health and healing

8:30pm.    Wrap Up and Closing Remarks

  • Pumpkin Contest winners announced!
  • Flower arrangement in a pumpkin: 3rd: Pat Henderson. 2nd: Cindy Huitema. 1st: Marilyn Stavinga
  • Pumpkin as a Character: 2nd:Peter Zynomirski, 1st Bruce Burton
  • Scariest Pumpkin: 1st Marilyn Stavinga
  • Crafty Pumpkin: 3rd Nick Huitema, 2nd: Cindy Huitema, 1st: Marilyn Stavinga

Door Prize: Tina Janson

Ways and Means draws (Betty Ballenger and Gwen VanNatter)

Meeting Adjourn


Thanks to all our Board Members and volunteers who made tonight’s evening possible!  Together we all work together to make our Society a success!


Final numbers:

Guests tonight: 47

Ways and Means: $60

Kitchen $20

2 Aprons $10

Get growing: The robber fly – a beneficial insect for your garden

As much as I like working the soil and watching our garden grow, I’m not entirely fond of the insects I run into. However, it’s important to know which insects I should toss to Rosie, our chicken and garden ‘helper’, and which ones should be allowed to run free. A few weeks ago, I was standing among our tomatoes and spotted a nasty looking bug. My first instinct was to squash it, but then I thought I should see what bug it was. So I pull out my phone, went to the Seek app, and snapped a photo … Efferia aestuans, also known as a robber fly.

Now this is not a pretty bug and I’m glad I looked it up because I would have thought it to be a bad garden bug, but it turns out to be a beneficial bug. Robber flies should be a welcome sight in your garden, but their bee-like appearance and aggressive nature can leave gardeners wondering, “Are robber flies dangerous?”

Robber flies are distant relatives of the common housefly and their appearance can be somewhat frightening as they are a big, hairy, humped flying insect. Robber fly insects are a mixed blessing to gardeners; if they’re seriously perturbed, they can inflict a painful bite and they do prey on beneficial insects too. But most gardeners tolerate this visitor, even if they do munch a few butterflies or bees, as the extensive pest control they will provide in your garden and landscape far outweighs the damage they do to a few other individual beneficial insects. They help rid the garden of harmful pests like grasshoppers, other flies, wasps, leafhoppers, white grubs, and pupating beetles.

So, when you spot one in your garden just be kind and don’t upset it.

Read more about robber flies at Gardening Know How online at gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/beneficial/robber-fly-information.htm.

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/.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Volcano phlox bring an explosion of colour to the garden

As with most plants, there are always new varieties coming down the pike; volcano phlox is one such plant.

It is a strong, shorter, denser and floriferous example that is exceptionally mildew resistant, although not entirely impervious. For this reason, you should plant them 12 to 16 inches apart to boost air circulation.

Best of all, volcano phlox is very fragrant.

In addition, if you cut back old stems by one-quarter of the growth, they will bloom again.

This plant comes in a variety of colours, even bicolours, and they bloom from early summer to fall.

It is best grown in full sun and fertile, well-worked soil. It will tolerate moderately dry soil. You should water this plant at the base and not from overhead to prevent the risk of mildew.

Phlox are great for filling in large areas or just for adding pops of colour. They are great for cottage-style gardens, native plantings and meadows; phlox are also popular with butterflies and birds.

Some varieties can provide form, colour and fragrance to mixed planters for summer arrangements. Give yourself a gift and get some for the serenity of flowers and nature.

The Dunnville Horticultural Society has resumed meeting on the third Thursday of the month at the Optimist Hall.

For more information, check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page under Dunnville Horticultural Society. Club president Deb Zynomirski can 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.

Program Night Minutes: April 2022


PROGRAM NIGHT: APRIL 21, 2022 Minutes



6:30pm.    Doors Open. Memberships available for 2022.


7:00pm.    Everyone is welcomed by Deb Zynomirski, DHS President

                 Treasurer’s Report is Posted on the back wall. Questions can 

                 be directed to our new Treasurer Ellen Guenther.


7:05pm.    Business at Hand presented by Petra Kruis Daly, Secretary

  • Email list has been based on information from as far back as 2019. If your information has changed, please let us know so that going forward we will have correct info. The phone/email list will be taken from the 2022 membership list from June 2022 on.
  • 2022 DHS memberships on sale tonight at break, see Ellen and Sharon for your membership.
  •  DHS Early Bird draw will take place tonight, prizes will be drawn for those who have already purchased their memberships. Draw prizes are ‘Pollinator Houses’
  •  Thank you to Marlene Link for her continued articles in the Sachem, and also to Susan and Brad Emery for their Get Growing column in the Haldimand Press
  •   Ways and Means Table has returned! Get your tickets before the Program begins tonight, or at the break. Betty B and Gwen V will be happy to sell you tickets. Money earned goes right back into our club to pay for hall rental, speakers, food and more.
  • Start thinking ahead to spring.  We will need volunteers to assist with cleaning up gardens, and with weeding and maintenance.  If you can help out with this, please see Nelly E and sign up on the sheets at the entrance of the room.
  • DHS Bursary for graduating student of DSS that is going to post secondary school in agriculture or horticulture. The Bursary winner must volunteer 10 hours to DHS.
  • Downtown Dunnville Tree Planting Plan by Haldimand County will be happening this spring. Look for a variety of new trees in the downtown core soon.
  • District 9 AGM taking place April 23 via Zoom, 9:30am-1:00pm (see Deb Z for details)
  • 2022 Year of the Garden “A Splash of Red”. Special Activities include:
    • Red feature garden by bridge (Lighthouse garden)
    • Consider planting red annuals this year
    • Haldimand County photo contest later this year.
    • Sign Up Sheets available:
      • Weeding/Clean Up of Gardens
      • Planters for Planting Days!
      • Plant Sale
    • Dates to Remember:
      • May 7 DHS Plant Sale (see Petra)
      • May 24/25/26 DHS Annual Planting Days
      • May 19 next Program Night

7:20m.    Break for Refreshments


7:35 pm.   Presentation by Deb Zynomirski:  Pollination 101.

         Deb presented an entertaining and educational talk on the ‘Birds and Bees’ of how plants pollinate. She used lots of great visuals to get her interesting points across.


8:15pm.    Wrap Up and Closing Remarks

  • Draws for Early Bird membership: Jan Loots, Marline Link, Anne Wilde
  • Special Door prize donated by Don Davies. (2 Peace lilies, one Bromillia ) Margaret Meyer-Smith, Steve Elgersma, Bruce Burton.
  •  Ways and Means draws (Betty Ballenger and Gwen Van Natter)
  •  Meeting Adjourns



46 Members/Guests present this evening

$53.00 taken in by Ways and Means

$ 27.00 taken in by Kitchen Donation

$ 90.00 in memberships: ___3 single, __4 couple

Thanks to all our Board Members and volunteers who made tonight’s evening possible!  Together we all work together to make our Society a success!

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Let the kids get dirty

Kids love to get dirty, so why not introduce them to gardening, no matter what age? Just enjoying some quality time together will benefit both kids and adults. There are many benefits to learning from the garden, and the big one is getting outside and away from screen time. If you are not an outside person, there are numerous indoor plants that you can explore, too.

Engaging all of your child’s senses like feeling, smelling, tasting and observing, is a great way to explore the garden. Gardening can also teach responsibility; giving your child the task of watering will show them that if they neglect their job, the plants will wither and die.

Gardening helps children develop their motor skills by using gardening tools, bending and balancing to avoid walking on plants.

Gardening also teaches patience, whereby children must wait for the seeds to start growing. Lots of herbs or sunflowers are easy to grow and show children that good things are worth the wait.

Gardening teaches children where their food comes from and it encourages them to eat healthy foods. Start kids off with easy-to-grow plants like herbs, or flowers like sunflowers and marigolds. Vegetables such as carrots, beans and pumpkins are also great options. Kids love to explore, feeling unique textures like fuzzy, rubbery, prickly and smooth as they feel the plants, making it a fun time. Grow some plants that you would use when making a pizza, like onions, peppers or cherry tomatoes.

You can start with a raised bed or simply use containers for a small garden. Gardening tools come in child-friendly sizes, too. Now is a great time to start growing seeds indoors with your children. When the weather gets warm enough, it will be an exciting project to transplant their seedlings to the garden outdoors.

So, when the weather permits, let’s get dirty!


The Dunnville Horticultural Society normally meets the third Thursday of the month at the Optimist Hall. With many provincial COVID-19 mandates coming to an end on March 1, we are hoping to resume in-person meetings in March. For more information, check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page. Dunnville Horticultural Society president Deb Zynomirski can be reached by email at debzyn@gmail.com or by phone at 416-566-9337.

Letter to the editor—Invasive Phragmites threatens municipal budgets in 2022

To the Editors,

Municipal budgets can expect to take a hit in 2022 from an unexpected direction. The cost to control the rapidly expanding and fast growing tall invasive species called Phragmites can be expected to add red ink to many municipal budgets.

As Phragmites (Phrag) spreads rapidly along rural roadsides, it has become a significant safety hazard at intersections by obstructing driver sightlines. The dense roots impact municipal infrastructure by clogging drains, ditches, and culverts, causing road flooding and related damage.

Already there are over 1,000 kilometres of roadside with Phrag in Ontario. The current cost to treat and eradicate a single kilometre of roadside infested with “Phrag” is estimated at $6,000. When municipalities work closely with local partners and budget proactively for Phrag control they can limit the spread, protect biodiversity, and manage their liability.  

Phrag also impacts recreational opportunities such as swimming, boating, fishing, birdwatching, and hunting, which is costing local economies an estimated $42.7M annually. Waterfront landowners take a double hit; in addition to recreation impacts, a recent study indicates these property values have been reduced by $357M due to Phrag encroachment.

In partnership with the local municipality and other organizations, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has been actively reducing Phragmites. To be Phrag-free and eliminate this economic and environmental burden, it’s time for a substantial investment by government in Phrag control that supports municipalities and their partners’ efforts.  


Deb Zynomirski, 

President, Dunnville Horticultural Society

Ontario Phragmites Working Group

Ontario Invasive Plant Council

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Indoor plants can be beneficial to your health

My columns are usually about outdoor plants, but many of us enjoy having houseplants — especially during the cold winter months, and they can be beneficial to your health.

Sansevieria plant is also known as snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue plant.

The sansevieria plant releases oxygen especially well and can improve indoor air quality by removing 87 per cent of airborne toxins in a small or medium area at night. It also reduces the level of nitrate ions. Sansevieria can help people with breathing problems from airborne allergies.

Overwatering is the main reason sansevieria plants die. They prefer to be root-bound in small pots and allowed to dry out between watering.

Fertilize only when they are actively growing. They will grow in any light settings, but will grow faster in more light and may even flower every few years.

They seem to have few pest issues.

One drawback of sansevieria plants is they are poisonous to pets, children and even adults, so be aware of this when selecting plants for your home and deciding where you will place them.

The Dunnville Horticultural Society normally meets the third Thursday of the month at the Optimist Hall. However, due to the current provincial COVID-19 restrictions, please note that our January program has been cancelled.

For more information, check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page under Dunnville Horticultural Society. Club president, Deb Zynomirski can be reached by email at debzyn@gmail.com or by phone at 416-566-9337.

Keep thinking green thoughts!

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.