A Gardening Life

John Poland entertained members of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society at the June meeting with a power point presentation about his “Lifetime of Gardening”. Originally from England, John retired from teaching at Queen’s University in Kingston and is now focusing on gardening and butterflies. He has written a book…Pictorial Guide to the Butterflies of the Kingston Region.

John’s presentation started with a glimpse at his father’s life in England. His dad started working at the age of 14 for “6 millionaire estates”. He worked in the private greenhouses on the estates which resemble commercial greenhouses that we are familiar with in Canada. In 1945, his dad started his own nursery doing mainly propagating…on average he propagated 75,000 plants annually. He created new plants by cross pollinating. John worked along side his father in the nursery….thus John’s love for gardening!

John shared the development of his garden at his home in Kingston. When he bought the house, there was one apple tree in the backyard….that was the garden!

First John built a potting shed….then a deck…then another deck…..then a greenhouse and finally ponds complete with waterfalls! His greenhouse was amazing…..he grows his plants in the greenhouse…when the warm weather arrives, he folds up the sides on the greenhouse and the roof, adds soil to  the bottom of the greenhouse and plants his flowers right in the greenhouse…..and the result is an amazing garden!

John is also involved in the Lakeside Community Garden in Kingston which features plots of land for families and individuals to grow their own produce, a donation garden, pumpkin patch, garlic field and a native species/butterfly garden. John is instrumental in constructing the Butterfly Garden. He has learned that it is difficult to plan a butterfly garden as you need to have plants that attract butterflies to lay  their eggs in the garden…and  the variety of plants require different soil conditions. He has also learned that it is important to clump the plants in order to attract the butterflies…..this garden is proving to be a challenge that John is enjoying!

A few gardening tips….don’t water plants…this will force them to develop stronger root systems as the roots will grow deep to get water! His secret to controlling weeds….hoe the weeds and he has an amazing tool that allows him to do this!


 June 18…Paper Flower workshop at 10 am at the Tweed Library. Please pre-register.

July 7-9… Tweed Agricultural Fair….please see members booklet for more info.

July 13…Bus Trip to Mosaicanada 150…..FULL

July 21-23…OHA Convention in Richmond Hill.

August 1…Potluck dinner at 6 pm at Dave and Rhonda’s. Remember to bring your chair, your favourite potluck main dish and dessert, cup, plate and utensils.

September 5…Cooking with club members. Samples and recipes will be available!


  • Tuesday June 20
  • Tuesday July 18
  • Tuesday August 15

…Meet at 6 pm at Moira Gardens





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