Dunnville Horticulture Society

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 Quint Night: the annual gathering of all Dunnville's Service Clubs. An Opportunity to socialize, network and share information of past and future projects. 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!

Oct. Dunnville Hort Update

Debbie Thomas

Dunnville Horticultural Societies Oct program didn’t disappoint the 63 in attendance. It was a full night of activities. A live auction was held consisting of a antique lawn mower donated by Velma Shirton; purchased by Kim Dickie. A solid pine, blue martin house built by DSS students was purchased by Richard Egger. Windecker Woods Flower Farm donated 6 beautiful bouquets, lucky recipients were randomly drawn from the sign in sheet. The annual “Fun Flower and Vegetable show,” was held. As always very imaginative creations were displayed. 8 categories reflected the groups talents for gardening and designing. ”Most Unusual Vegetable” went to Susan Milligan with a puff ball the size of a basketball. She also won “Fright Night” with her decorated pumpkin. The “Hats Off” category went to Marilyn Stavinga, “Hang it High” went to Gloria Hunter. “Annuals” to Angela Latham, “Perennials” to Gloria Hunter. Lester Fretz took “Best vegetable” We at DHS joked last month, that the Jr Gardeners displays were so good, it would intimidate our members, luckily we were proved wrong. Next up was our guest speaker Jeff Bokma from Vermeer’s Garden Centre. His topic was very timely “How to Prepare Your Garden for Winter” DHS members kept him busy with questions. “What to prune back now as opposed to spring?. How to mulch, fertilize and with what? Why it’s important to leave certain plants, grasses and shrubs standing over winter to provide shelter and food for birds. Bulbs you can still plant well into November for spring beauty. DHS held its annual fall flower bed cleanup Sat Oct 20th, done in record time. We had over 30 volunteers come out starting at 9am. Consisting of DHS members, 4H Jr Gardeners and DSS students acquiring volunteer hours. A huge thank you goes out to Mike Lessard and his son Caleb from Paul’s Outdoors. For a third year they brought a large landscape trailer that held everything easily. They also took care of disposal. Such a time saver, as in the past DHS members made multiple trips with personal pickup trucks.  Thank you also to Sweet Retro-spec surprising our volunteers with hot chocolate

While they worked and to Flyers for hosting this very hardy, slightly soiled group when the job was done providing muffins and hot drinks. A Big!! Thank you to Steve Elgersma. Worried it would rain Saturday, he went out most of Friday pulling and piling annuals making Saturdays cleanup day much easier for everyone. DHS is grateful to everyone that participated.  On Nov 1 DHS volunteers will be out completing their final task of 2018. Decorating the town pots and planters for the winter season. On November 15th starting at 6pm. DHS will hold its AGM, Potluck Supper Christmas Celebration, including a food drive for the Salvation Army. Guest speaker Geoff McDonald of Bains Road Cider Company, will provide a seminar on “Creating Ciders & Fruit Wines including a Tasting Event.”   visit www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or contact DHS Pres. Debbie Thomas 905 774 3064 for information.


Sept. Dunnville Hort Update

Debbie Thomas

Summer is behind us. The Dunnville beds still look beautiful going into Fall. Many dedicated volunteers keep the weeds at bay, while Brad Stirling and Charlie Hartsell  ensure the flowers stayed hydrated. Not a small task this past hot dry summer.  Behind the scenes DHS installed a new Living Wall at the Centennial Park Fountain donated by Tim Miotto from Devron Sales. With the help of a Haldimand County Partnership Grant, ongoing fund raising efforts and Community support, DHS was able to complete 4 projects this year. Nautical enhancements were added to two flower beds using recycled materials donated from Vic Powell and Hines Electric. The Historic Anchor bed was rehabilitated, Thanks to Dunnville Silo. DHS made repairs to the anchor and replaced the long lost historical plaque with a new one.

A bench has been installed by the bridge making it the 5th bench the group has added over the years. New decorative concrete edging is yet to be completed around the flower bed beneath the new BIA sign and the Thompson Creek Project is progressing.

DHS Jr Gardeners program in partnership with Haldimand 4H held its second workshop in August, hosted by DHS member and Jr Gardener leader Margret Bottrell  featuring Moodie Bees. The children were treated to a hands on experience tending to the beehives, donning the protective suits, peering into the hives, removing the frames to view the bees and all the internal workings of an active hive. Pollen and honey was available for tasting.

The Jr Gardeners will be attending the Thursday Sep 20th DHS program to showcase their achievements, by participating in a flower and vegetable show with items grown from their own gardens this past summer. Guest speaker Adrianne Lickers of Six Nations Market & Garden, will present  “Sweet Grass Gardening, the History, Basketry, Craft and Medicinal Uses.”

Programs are free, with draws and refreshments. Doors open 6:30 pm at the Optimist Hall in Dunnville (corner of Main and Cedar St) Program 7pm-9pm.

For information contact DHS Pres Debbie Thomas or visit www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org

Thompson Creek Eco Centre – Reboot

Debbie Thomas & Dan McKay

The Dunnville Thompson Creek Project was started over 20 years ago by a group of organizations headed by the Dunnville Bioregion Association. It was one of many possible projects identified at a week long workshop organized to develop a sustainable development plan for the Town of Dunnville.

The project involved the restoration of a 45 acre site of community owned property that included Thompson Creek which was seriously degraded and in need of remediation.

It was identified as an ideal opportunity to rehabilitate the creek as well as plant a Carolinian Arboretum, establish a Wetland Complex and Tall Grass Prairie Plantation. All of which would be used as a outdoor education facility for local schools as well as providing a naturalized walking trail system for the community.

Over 800 trees were planted by volunteer groups,  all Carolinian species were incorporated. A riparian zone was restored along the creek banks. Ducks Unlimited restored a wetland in the 35 acre field and planted it with native Tall Grass species and native wildflowers.The local Ducks Unlimited committee built the existing pavilion on site, in hopes of it becoming an outdoor classroom. However the original plan stalled allowing Mother Nature to take over. The Carolinian trees grew, the Tall Grass flourished, the Wetland regenerated and the Creeks health improved. Fast forward Dunnville Horticultural Society fresh off the success of the Dunnville Centennial Park and Fountain restoration, was approached by Dan Mckay one of the original members of the Bioregion Association. Dan felt DHS was the perfect organization to partner with and take up the challenge to complete the original project and finish the trail system.

Dunnville Horticultural Society has since secured permission, along with a partnership agreement and grant from Haldimand County. Dan Mckay is the Project Coordinator with DHS Pres. Debbie Thomas as co-chair. DHS is pleased to announce the trail system including outdoor educational components will be known as  Thompson Creek Eco Centre. The motto will be Restore-Educate-Preserve. It will have four distinct ecological cells. They will each have a trail system, species identification signs, large color information panels describing each of the cells habitat and ecology as well as its wildlife residents.

The four cells include Carolinian Arboretum, Creek Restoration, Wetland Complex and Tallgrass Prairie. The trail around the prairie is 1.5 km, the other trail areas will be shorter providing for all hiking levels. The future hope is to link these trails to The Trans Canada Trail and the town’s existing Rail Trail that runs along South Cayuga St. from Cedar St. The parking lot at Centennial Park where the Fountain and Muddy reside, will have a large map directing the public to the the various eco cell locations. Signage will have QR codes linked to various information websites to  learn about what species, flora and fauna reside within. Fundraising efforts and work on site has begun with the routing of trails. DHS has coordinated with professionals that will assist with the eradication of invasive plant species this fall (phragmites) with a controlled burn planned for the Tallgrass area early next spring. The Project is expected to be complete by fall of 2019.

DHS is seeking public support, and is a non profit registered charity #886092816RR001.

For inquiries on project please contact www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org   Dan Mckay

or DHS Pres. Debbie Thomas 905 774 3064

Dunnville Hort Update

Debbie Thomas



Dunnville Hort Update   submitted by Debbie Thomas Pres. DHS


Dunnville Horticultural Society volunteers were out in droves during May. The town bedsneeded weeding along with soil and mulch amendments and each year more perennials are added relocated some divided, even potted and sold at our annual plant sale. DHS is grateful to its members and the  community for supporting their plant sale with donations of plants or garden items and coming out to make purchases. Hardy DHS volunteers  set up in the rain and remained to help raise $1768. with the proceeds allocated to the Thompson Creek Project. Our May program had 75 attendees all arriving early for our tailgate plant sale, as we sold all left over perennials for a $1 pot any size. Our guest speaker Carla Carlson from Niagara Nature Tours enlightened everyone with her talk on weeds.”good verse bad” most surprising to everyone was that many types of common weeds, that we just pull from our gardens can actually be eaten. 10 lucky members went home with a free rose bush as we held our annual rose draw. Our town wide planting day May 26th started at 7am with the pickup of annuals, all donated from Konkle Greenhouses. Followed by the arrival of volunteers at 8am with trowels in hand. Planting was complete in record time, celebrated  with a parking lot tailgate coffee and muffin party for all volunteers. Behind the scenes DHS volunteers have been adding nautical enhancements to various beds with the telephone poles donated from Hines Electric and  marine rope from Vic Powell Welding Ltd. The anchor bed in Wingfield Park also got a subtle makeover with new garden cloth to keep weeds at bay and the addition of 2 tonnes of potato rock, all thanks to Ed Zylstra of Dunnville Silo Ltd. A new plaque is yet to be added with historic information on its origin. Plans are also underway for enhancements to the area beneath the new BIA sign. Our June program  with guest speaker Lester Fretz a returning favorite spoke on “Introduction to Trellis Gardening”  Guests learned that not just flowers can climb, many vegetables do quite well. If you have limited gardening space vertical is the way to go, and keeps you off your knees when harvesting. Lively banter among the 77 in attendance, providing all kinds of ideas and sources to get or make vertical structures. There will be no DHS programs during July and August. However  DHS volunteers will continue to weed the 24 town beds and planters ensuring  Dunnville looks its best. Regular programs commence Sep 20th. DHS has been invited to take part in the No 6 RCAF annual open house July 7th, members will be on hand to provide information on the Thompson Creek Project. 

info www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or Debbie Thomas DHS Pres. 905 774 3064

PHOTO: “one of the DHS nautical installations as it appeared before vandalized, with the bird stolen.
picture taken by Brant Richardson