Dunnville Horticulture Society

Dunnville Hort Society’s May Update

To The Haldimand Press

DUNNVILLE—I love this time of year, when the garden centres swing their doors wide open. It’s my therapy to walk among the colourful plants, drinking in the earthy aroma! It’s exciting to peruse the aisles, scoping out what is new and interesting, and planning out just which corner of my garden I can squeeze in something else. Every year I strive to create a colourful masterpiece in my own little corner of the world.

At last month’s Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS)’s program night, we enjoyed a screening of the movie “The Gardener”. It left us mesmerized and inspired! This month, on May 16, we will welcome Adam Koziel of Earthgen. He will be sharing his insights on growing truffles in Haldimand County … yes, truffles!

We are excited to see how things are progressing with the rehabilitation work at the Thompson Creek Eco Centre. The controlled burn went extremely well, and we look forward to the planting of wildflowers over the coming weeks. This area is an ecological gem and it will be exciting to watch the educational component come into fruition this year.

Special thanks to Debbie Thomas and Dan McKay, who are co-chairs on the project. Together with Haldimand County and Ducks Unlimited Canada, this multi-faceted project is moving forward as planned.

May is a very busy month for DHS, as we also hold our annual Plant Sale on May 11. Why not consider dividing some plants and donating them? Labelled and potted plants can be dropped off at the municipal parking lot beside the bridge on Friday, May 10 between 5 to 7 p.m. We will also have a section for garden art and tools. As this is our biggest fundraiser of the year, we count on you to come out and support us. Remember us when you are doing your spring cleaning!

Finally, our Planting Day is coming up on May 25. Mark this date in your calendar and come out and join in the fun! It’s a gratifying experience to work together to make our town beautiful. We will meet downtown beside the bridge.

2019 marks the 90th anniversary of DHS. I’m sure the founding members of our society would be pleased to know that all these years later, their vision and goals continue to be carried out.

Join us and see what our club is all about. You are sure to make new friends and learn something great … not to mention enjoy some excellent refreshments!

So, come on out to our next Program Night! DHS 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 dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

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

   Deb Zynomirski is the DHS president.

Controlled burn makes way for rehabilitation project in Dunnville

A controlled burn was carried out near Robinson Road in Dunnville on Thursday, April 25, 2019. The burn was required as part of the Thompson Creek Parkland Restoration Project.

DUNNVILLE—In May 2018, Haldimand County Council awarded an $11,550 community partnership grant to the Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS) to bring the Thompson Creek Parkland Restoration Project to fruition.

Part of this Haldimand County-DHS-Ducks Unlimited Canada partnership project required that a controlled burn be conducted on the parkland adjacent to Robinson Road. The burn took place on Thursday, April 25, 2019.

The Thompson Creek Parkland Restoration Project aims to rehabilitate the wetlands and grassland, create naturalized walkable pathways and establish a Carolinian Arboretum Education Centre/outdoor classroom.

The purpose of the controlled burn was to clear the grassland site of accumulated debris, halt the growth of invading shrubs and rejuvenate the native tallgrass ecosystem.

Shown in photo are DHS Thompson Creek Reboot Co-chairs Debbie Thomas and Dan McKay. The pair were very pleased with the result of the burn and have great expectations for the space which will include sitting areas and brand new signage. —Haldimand Press photo by Valerie Posthumus

Dunnville Hort Society April Update

By Deb Zynomirski

To The Haldimand Press

DUNNVILLE—Seems like the switch has been flipped and just like that, spring is upon us! The Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS)’s March program night was a very busy one, with Kelly and Troy from Moodie Bees giving a very educational talk on bees. Representing the Haldimand-Norfolk Beekeepers Association, they provided great insight into the complex and interesting life of bees. In addition, they explained the whys and hows of helping these little critters to thrive in our area. Thank you, Kelly and Troy! We had 75 people sign in that night, making for a busy and packed house. It was also the final night to qualify for the early bird membership draw. This was won by John Cruickshank. Don’t worry if you didn’t get in on the early bird draw … you can still purchase a membership at the Lions Home and Garden Show! We will be there all-day Thursday (April 18) and Saturday (April 20). Come visit us and check out our booth and enjoy one of our great mini-demos on the Saturday!

Our next program night is also Thursday, April 18, 2019 when we will be featuring a wonderful screening of the documentary film titled The Gardener. This movie follows the work of one man’s passionate pursuit of perfection in his own 20-acre garden in Quebec. We will enjoy popcorn and other theatre-style goodies that night!

At DHS we are gearing up for a busy spring of planting, weeding and tending our town flower beds. We are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers. Join us and see what our club is all about. You are sure to make new friends and learn something great … not to mention enjoy some excellent refreshments! So come on out to our next program night! DHS meets every third Thursday at the Optimist Club Hall, 101 Main St. from 7-9 p.m. Or visit us online at our Facebook page or website dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org. For questions or comments, contact myself (President) at 416-566-9337 or debzyn@gmail.com.

Seeding Speedily

There are various ways a gardener can “get the jump” on the growing season. Not only can vegetables mature sooner, but it also enables multiple cropping.

The photos show some simple ways to warm up the soil to enable planting well before the last frost.

1. Cover the soil with plastic. Clear plastic invites the sun’s rays to go through the plastic while black plastic attracts the sun, thus warming the soil. Using plastic requires something to weight it and prevent the wind from blowing it away.

2. Laying a piece of thick glass also allows the sun’s rays to penetrate and warm the soil. Placing a thermometer into the earth enables observing the rise of temperature.

This photo shows the use of glass and black plastic to attract the warming sun’s rays.

3. By cutting the bottoms off juice containers, not only do they permit the sun to heat the soil, but can also act as a mini greenhouse after the seeds germinate and the plant emerges. If a frost is predicted, shredded leaves can be strewn over the jugs.

4. Wrapping an electric heating blanket in a tarp is yet another way to warm the soil and lengthen the growing season.

5. Starting tomato plants indoors in a pot large enough to prevent the roots from being disturbed is yet another method which will expedite the ripening of the crop.

The photos show the use of glass, black plastic, and juice containers to attract the warming sun’s rays.

Shown is a cut jug used as a mini-greenhouse.

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

Horticulture Havens in Haldimand

Horticulture havens in Haldimand

By Cassandra Fleet

The Haldimand Press

HALDIMAND—Haldimand is  home to not one, but two horticulture societies, both of which have a mission to beautify our local towns.

The Dunnville Horticulture Society was established in 1929 with only a plan to plant trees within Central Park. Now 90 years in, they have grown significantly and spearheaded many projects, including creating flowerbeds throughout Dunnville.

“As time has gone on, the club has become less formal and more of a gardening club,” said President Deb Zynomirski. She explained that when the club was founded, they focussed on more of a scientific approach. Zynomirski continued, “The club is now meant to appeal to the average person who just enjoys gardening.”

The society has just completed rehabilitating Centennial Park, where residents and tourists often stop to see the iconic Muddy The Mudcat. Included in the rehabilitation was rebuilding the historical aspect of the fountain, planting flowers, and repaving the pathways. This has led them to rebooting the Thompson Creek Eco Centre Project. In the coming season, the society will be restoring the 45-acre site for an educational purpose. They also will be working to fully repurpose the floral clock and add a story board including local historical sites.

“We could not continue doing what we do without our Board of Directors and volunteers. We have about 200 members currently who devote so much time to our projects, planting and maintaining our gardens,” said Zynomirski.

The Haldimand Horticulture Society, which meets in Caledonia, is still a sapling in comparison, having been established in 1984. At that time, they were planting various gardens throughout Haldimand and maintained them with pesticides and weed killers.

“The biggest change over the years is that people actually care about what they’re eating or bringing into their home,” said President Sharon Slack. “Weed killers are banned now, but we no longer use the pesticides to ensure safe ingestion because that is what people want now.”

This year, the society will be focussing on planting trees for the “future of our world” throughout the River Walk and Riverside Park, as well as maintaining their gardens at the West Haldimand General Hospital, the dam, Centennial Hall, and more.

“Our members and volunteers spend over 1,500 hours each season maintaining all of our flowerbeds. We couldn’t do any of it without them,” said Slack.

Both Dunnville and Haldimand are eagerly welcoming new members to join them to continue bringing out the beauty of our towns. For more information on the clubs, their events, or upcoming meeting dates you can visit Dunnville at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or Haldimand at haldimand.gardenontario.org.

Time to Start Sweet Potato Slips

Haldimand Press
By Lester Fretz


Considering that a gardener can easily grow as many pounds of sweet potatoes in a hill as white potatoes, it seems ridiculous to pay up to 10 times per  pound for sweet potatoes as white potatoes at the grocery store.

Perhaps the difficulty in locating slips and the exorbitant cost of purchasing rooted sweet potato slips also discourages growing sweet potatoes. Growing slips is exceedingly easy. As a house plant, it’s probably the easiest!

The alternative is to purchase a couple sweet potatoes from the local grocery. By placing the potato in a container of water in a warm, sunny location, it will soon send up sprouts.

The photo shows one growing in a well-lit window. There is enough nutrition in the potato that allows it to be grown in water while producing this voluminous growth, although growing submerged in soil produces healthier slips.

Near the middle of May, the vine can be cut into 30cm lengths with all but a few leaves removed up to the upper end. When placed in water, the pieces of the vine will root in less than a week for planting into the garden when the soil warms by the second week of June.

There are many varieties of sweet potatoes. Superior, with leaves resembling a soft maple tree, is easy to grow. By saving a few tubers each year, this particular variety has been growing in our garden for over 50 years!

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

DHS March Update

By Deb Zynomirski

To The Haldimand Press

Calling all Leprechauns! It is almost time to get your green on! If we can’t quite see green in our lawns and gardens, then our green sweaters, hats and gloves will have to suffice. We have made it through the coldest months with those short daylight hours and now we can look forward to milder temperatures and the reawakening of spring.

Our Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS) had a wonderful program night on February 21, welcoming Dr. Janice Gilbert who shared much on getting rid of those invasive phragmites. Fifty-two people signed in to share in a great evening. Tina Janssen donated three bunches of Siberian irises, won by Betty Balanger, Rose Marie Bosak, and Tony Daly.


Dan Mckay, DHS lead on the Thompson Creek Project & Janice Gilbert, of IPCC Invasive Phragmites Control

Next month is our Early Bird Draw for members who buy their 2019 membership on or before March 21, so make sure to come early to do so. At just $10 ($15 for a couple), it is great value. Our guests that evening will be Troy and Kelly Bowers of Moodie Bees, and Natalie Hahn speaking “All About the Bees”. This important topic is sure to be of interest to many.

At DHS we are gearing up for a busy spring of planting, weeding, and tending our town flowerbeds. We are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers. Join us and see what our club is all about. You are sure to make new friends and learn something great … not to mention enjoy some excellent refreshments.

So, come on out to our next Program Night! The DHS meets every third Thursday of the month at the Optimist Club Hall, 101 Main St. from 7 to 9 p.m., or visit us online at our Facebook page or website


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

            Deb Zynomirski is the president of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Quint Night

DUNNVILLE—Shown at Dunnville’s annual “Quint Night”, a gather of the local service clubs on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 is (back, l-r) Lion Steve Allen, Kinsmen David Welsh, Optimist Don Zynomirski, (front) Legion member John Wood, Lioness Vicky Almas, and Horticultural Society member Deb Zynomirski. Absent from photo is Rotary member Sandie Herweigh. —Submitted photo.

To The Haldimand Press

DUNNVILLE—The Dunnville Lionesses hosted the annual Quint Night at the Optimist Hall on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. Guest speaker for the evening was Dunville resident, Josie Penny – author of “So Few on Earth” and “On the Goose”. She shared some of her life experiences growing up in Labrador.

The Dunnville Service Clubs – Kinsmen, Legion Branch 142, Lions/Lioness, Optimist, and Rotary, along with the Dunnville Horticultural Society, gathered for an opportunity to network and share their stories and their upcoming projects.

Emcee Lioness President Vicky Almas introduced the Service Clubs in order of the years that they were founded. The Rotary (est. 1905) focuses on literacy, poverty, seniors, and mental health. Upcoming Rotary fundraisers include the April Urban Challenge and the September Golf Tournament.   The Lions (est. 1918) support local sports, the Sports Park, and the White Cane Club. Upcoming events include the April Home & Garden Show, Lobsterfest, and Mudcat Festival activities. 

The Optimists are celebrating 100 years of Optimism. Dunnville Optimists placed first of 57 clubs in the District last year (see more on Page 13). March fundraisers to support the Optimists’ work with the youth in the community include ABBAmania and the Holiday Bazaar.

Kinsmen (est. 1920) raise funds through hall rentals and selling fireworks.  They also support a local amputee.

Legion Branch 142 (est. 1929) support veterans, the Salvation Army, Air Cadets, Dunnville Hospital & Healthcare Foundation, and more. They will be holding an open house to celebrate their 90th anniversary.

The Lioness are the youngest Service Club at 70 years old.  All funds raised by the Lioness from the January Thaw, Murder Mystery, and Girls’ Night goes directly back into the community.  They are currently partnering with the Lions on the building of the Splash Pad in Lions Park.

Dunnville Horticultural Society currently plants and maintains 23 flower beds in Dunnville. There are two projects in Dunnville – the current Floral Clock will be restored as a storyboard to depict the landmarks of Dunnville;  and the Thompson Creek Ecosystem Phase 2.

For more information on clubs or upcoming events, check Facebook and/or the various clubs’ websites.

Tomatoes: How to Prevent “Blossom End Rot”

Items you can use to prevent Blossom End Rot

Often gardeners ask, “Why do my tomatoes develop blossom end rot?” A simple solution to this disappointing situation is to save your egg shells.

Although nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are important for healthy plants, calcium is also very essential, especially to produce a great tomato crop. As shown in the photo, by placing a container in a convenient place, egg shells for your garden can be easily “harvested”.

1. Place the shells in a container without washing them, as the inner soft skin contains valuable organic matter.

2. After they have dried for a couple of days, use a grinder or some sort of item to crush them. The photo shows a simple item to ensure they are finely ground.

3. The contents of the kitchen container can then be transferred to a larger container to accumulate for spring planting.

4. At planting, place a handful of crushed shells in the bottom of the hole dug for the tomato plants. Adding coffee grounds will also add nitrogen to the soil.

5. Rotate the location each year for growing crops such as tomatoes.

6. For an abundant supply of egg shells, request a restaurant which specializes in breakfasts to give you what they produce in one day.

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

Lester Fretz-Tomoto Vine

January Dunnville Horticultural Society Update

Deb Zynomirski

Haldimand Press Update January 2019

2019 marks the 90th anniversary of the Dunnville Horticultural Society!  The world has been transformed in many ways over 90 years, but a few things remain the same:  the beauty of nature around us and the pursuit to enjoy that nature!   Change has come to our garden club as well this year.

Our longstanding president Debbie Thomas has stepped down, and yours truly will be taking the reins.  We owe Debbie a debt of gratitude, since it was under her outstanding leadership that the Dunnville Hort Society grew its membership to over 200.  She also spearheaded many community projects that have made Dunnville a better place to live, work and raise a family.  Thank you Debbie!

Having such big shoes to fill feels a little overwhelming quite frankly.  If it weren’t for the talented group on our board, it would seem impossible! I would like to thank Kim Christoff (Treasurer), Petra Kruis-Daly (Recording Secretary), Gloria Hunter, Denise Richardson, Marilyn Stavinga, Lynn Loney, Nelly Engelage, Wray McLean, and of course Debbie Thomas (Past President) for staying the course this year as I learn the ropes.  Your many hours of dedicated volunteering makes our garden club a fun and welcoming place for all!

Our November AGM was a wonderful evening celebrating our successes of 2018.  Geoff MacDonald of Bains Road Cider Company presented on “Making Ciders” and provided delicious tastes of his yummy products.  In addition, we held our annual 4-season photo contest, awarded Continuing Service Award pins, and held a penny sale raffle with the many items generously donated by local Dunnville business.  A delicious potluck dinner was a highlight of the evening.  Our 2019 Board of Directors was also sworn in.

This year promises to be just as busy as ever, with ongoing projects like the revitalization of the Thompson Creek watershed, changes to the face of our town’s floral clock, and planting and maintaining Dunnville’s beautiful flower beds. In addition, we are honoured to be hosting the OHA District 9 Fall Forum and President’s meeting right here in Dunnville.  This will be a chance to showcase our Society’s contributions to making Dunnville such a charming and lovely town.

I hope you will join us for our first Program Night of the year on January 17, 7:00pm at the Optimist Hall.  Our talented and knowledgeable members will be sharing their expertise on planning a garden, growing flowers, and pressing flowers.  Members Beth Powell and Petra Kruis-Daly will surely provide an entertaining evening. Come on out and make some new friends or meet some old ones, share in some refreshments and dream of warmer days ahead!

I am both humbled and honoured to represent this wonderful club.  The Dunnville Horticultural Society’s 90 years of service to our community will continue in 2019, as we work to beautify Dunnville and make it a town you can feel proud of.  You can always reach me at debzyn@gmail.com or (416)566-9337.  Or check us out at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or visit us on Facebook!