Even on a cloudy day, the adjective that comes to mind when describing the flower bed on Main Street in Dunnville is grand. Certainly some might say that this is because of the nearby Grand River but it could also be due to the dedication of George and Shirley Hoto. The couple have been tending to this space for well over a decade and couldn’t recall the actual year that they started. They were asked by a friend to take care of the flower bed when the Town of Dunnville was attempting to achieve a ‘Communities In Bloom’ designation. Communities In Bloom is an organization that promotes community pride through people and plants.

The flower bed is surrounded by mature shade trees and benches for those who wish to sit and take in the view. It is brimming with petunias and a variety of perennials such Black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, daylilies and hostas.

Gardening in itself is rewarding for the couple but they really feel appreciated when people walk by and comment on their efforts. “Many people do not realize that volunteers care for these flower beds,” said Shirley. Working side by side the couple spends up to two hours a week caring for this space. In the past, they were spending more time weeding and pruning but as the perennials, trees and bushes mature they have nicely filled in the area. The addition of mulch by Dunnville Horticultural Society this past spring has helped reduce the time required for weeding each week.

 George and Shirley are both retired from full time employment but stay very active with golfing, playing volleyball, travelling and gardening. The couple have vegetable and flower gardens at home and say that their interest in perennial gardening stems from George’s mother’s love of flowers.

Dunnville Horticultural Society would like to recognize the efforts of George and Shirley Hoto 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 when they 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 to volunteer during the spring and summer months, then D.H.S. has a spot for you to beautify! For more information contact D.H.S. Weeding Coordinator Nelly Engelage or Corresponding Secretary Jennifer Miller through the group’s website www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Melanie Ruigrok

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