Garden Art for Cheapskates

Dianne and Gary Westlake ( of Peterborough were the guest speakers at the Tweed and District Horticultural Meeting on June 7, 2011. The topic of their presentation was “Garden Art for Cheapskates”

Using a power point presentation, Dianne and Gary gave many helpful tips and ideas to enhance gardens “on the cheap”. As Diane stated, they do not like to throw anything out, so they are always looking for news way to reuse items in their garden.

Gary said that garden art sets the tone for a garden but he also warned the audience that more is not necessarily better. Dianne and Gary get their ideas by touring gardens and incorporating ideas they have seen into their own garden…..gardeners are always so willing to share their ideas with each other according to Dianne.

Garden art can be as simple as painting on an interestingly shaped rock or hanging a bed spring on a wall for clematis to climb on.

Many tips were given throughout the presentation. To make cooper looked aged, Dianne suggested using vinegar and salt and spraying the solution on the copper. Stepping stones can be made by using cement and extra large leaves like elephant ears or rhubarb. Dianne feels all gardens need stepping stones to walk on during the spring when gardeners are dying to get out into the garden as soon as the last bit of snow melts! Mushrooms can also be simply made using cement, a colander lined with plastic and a yogurt container for the stem. Or cut a sonic tube to a width of 3 inches, fill with cement and add a Dollar Store trivet.

If you are creating a pathway in the garden, ensure that it is wide enough for 2 people to walk along together (5 feet). Forget about the landscape fabric; remember cheap…just use layers of newspaper and add gravel on top of the newspaper.

The Westlakes’ garden will be featured in Garden Central, August 2011 issue. As they said during the talk…..they just try to put something of themselves in their garden and their presentation certainly illustrated that point.

FLOWERAMA….Friday July 1 at Tweed Memorial Park

Members are asked to bring their displays to the park by 9:00 am on July 1. Sheila Frost, Committee Chair asked members to bring their containers with annuals, perennials and hanging baskets to be displayed. She also suggested categories where the members can use their gardening expertise and creative skills….

•Water and Time Savers

•Cut Flowers arranged in a favourite container

•Hosta La Vista…hosta in containers

•Candles and flowers

•Herbs and Edibles

•Garden Ornaments, indoor plants

•Anything you would like to “show off”

Easy-Care Perennials

Dawn Tack of “Gardens Plus” was the guest speaker at Tweed and District Horticultural Society’s May meeting. Dawn’s presentation showed the evolution of her “gardenless” property near Peterborough to a beautiful oasis of hostas, day lilies and many “low maintenance” perennials. Dawn’s goal is to enjoy her garden-not just work in it. According to Dawn, you don’t need to sacrifice colour, texture or foliage to achieve a garden of easy care perennials. Since Dawn lives in the country, drought resistant perennials are important and she uses mulch as well. Throughout her presentation, Dawn advised members to be aware of the importance of light on their plants. If a plant seems to be doing poorly, there’s a good chance it’s getting either too much or too little sunlight….simply move the plant and try in a new location! As Dawn says, “You might be pleasantly surprised!”

Dawn’s presentation concluded with a slide of her extensive gardens surrounding her farmhouse…..”What a journey and loving it!”

For more information about “Gardens Plus”, check out the website at


1. Plant Sale…Tweed Memorial Park, May 21@8am

2. Flowerama…”Under the Tent” at Tweed Memorial Park, July 1

…Some theme ideas for plantings…hostas in pots, planting in terra cotta pots, candle arrangements

JUNE 7….Meeting will feature Diane and Gary Westlake on the topic of “Garden Art for Cheap Scapes”.

May meeting

Dawn Tack of Gardens Plus will be the guest speaker. She will discuss low maintenance perennials including hostas and daylilies. Meetings are held at the Tweed Public Library, Metcalf St.
Don’t forget the Annual Plant Sale  Saturday May 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tweed Memorial Park. Event takes place rain or shine.

Cam Mather on All You Can Eat Gardening

Cam Mather of Tamworth was the guest speaker at the Tweed and District Horticultural Meeting on March 2, 2011. Mather, author of The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook and Thriving during Challenging Times: The Energy, Food and Financial Independence Handbook and publisher of The Renewable Energy Handbook for Homeowners lives off the grid and shared his expertise on growing vegetables organically.

Mather’s PowerPoint presentation opened with some background information regarding fossil fuels which likely will cause higher food costs in the future. His talk highlighted the need for proper soil preparation (compost, compost and compost!), weeding, watering, dealing with garden pests and storing the harvest. Mather included photos of different kinds of root cellars that exist and can be built to keep the produce that is grown. The right temperature and humidity in the root cellar is crucial to store the food properly.

Members were invited to ask questions following the presentation and many members purchased Mather’s books which were for sale. “A fantastic informative evening” was the comment heard after the presentation.
NEXT MEETING: Tuesday April 5th… Hazel Cook from Blossom Hill Nursery will be speaking about growing and caring for peonies.
Upcoming Events…Canada Bloom Bus Trip….Fri. Mar. 18, 2011

Forest Sustainability

Elizabeth and George chat with Jim Pederson (right)
 from Stewardship Ontario.
Jim was our guest speaker this month.

Jim Pedersen was the guest speaker at the Tweed and District Horticultural meeting on February 1, 2011. Jim is a forest technician who works for the Ministry of Natural Resources. According to Jim, “Hastings County is a mosaic of rich biodiversity from Lake Ontario to Algonquin Park. As one travels through the county it is evident these different landforms promote different vegetation.” Although 45% of the county is forests, people have been “hard” on the forests during the years. What we need to do, says Jim is to work and maintain what we have in our forests. Many members at the meeting were surprised to learn that having a woodlot on their property could result in a sustainable break on their property taxes!

Jim mentioned “Harvest Hastings” which was developed to raise the profile of local farmers and to “buy local”. He said to mark April 30th on our calendars as that is the Community Tree Event in Tweed. On that day, residents are invited to pick up a free tree from a designated location and plant it on their property.

MARCH MEETING: Cam Mather will discuss growing vegetables organically.

CANADA BLOOMS BUS TRIP: Friday March 18, 2011. Cost is 48.00 before February 28 or $55.00 after Feb. 28.

Trees and the Environment

Join the Tweed and District Horticultural Group on Tuesday, February 1 at 7:30 pm for a presentation by Jim Pedersen. Jim, who works with Stewardship Ontario, will be speaking about the benefits of trees in our community. Jim will also discuss how climate affects trees.

Annual membership fee can also be paid.

The meeting will take place at the Municipality of Tweed Public Library on Metcalf Street.

Christmas Potluck

Members of the Tweed Horticultural Society showcased their culinary talents at the Christmas potluck dinner. Gold ribbons among boughs of fresh evergreen gave the tables a festive flavour. Poinsettias were used to add colour to the table settings and several members were lucky as they won the poinsettias.
Roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy gave members an early Christmas dinner. Of course there were many other hot dishes and salads to accompany the turkey. A table laden with dessert satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth.
A great time was had by all. Merry Christmas and a reminder that the next meeting is Feb. 7….hopefully at the new library!

Getting Ready for Christmas

Members of the Tweed and District were as busy as Santa’s elves at the November meeting. Club members Ray, Jean and Linda assisted those attending to design and create Christmas arrangements. Greenery, oasis and small decorative ornaments were supplied for members to use in their arrangements. Everyone’s creativity was evident as no two arrangements were the same. As Ray commented,” the creative energy if just flowing tonight”. Everyone went home with a beautiful Christmas arrangement and many said that they were going to make more!

December’s meeting is the Christmas Potluck at 6:00 complete with turkey and stuffing! Members are to bring their favourite potluck dish. Remember to bring your dishes and cutlery for the dinner!

Soup’s On!

Drew Ferguson, a chef and instructor from Loyalist College chopped, mixed and stirred while giving Horticultural members many cooking tips at their October meeting. Drew cooked batches of squash soup and potato-leek soup using locally grown ingredients. When asked about the recipe for the soups, Drew admitted that he rarely uses one. According to Drew, anyone can make soup but it is the presentation and the correct combination of seasonings that “make” the soup one to remember. Members sampled the soups agreeing with Drew about the seasoning and the presentation….squash soup with sour cream and caramelized pecans!!

Drew also explained that he grew 5000 garlic bulbs on his farm this year and they are sold out! Next year he plans to plant 7000…so get your orders in early.

Drew started a new venture with his students at Loyalist last year. As part of his program to encourage the concept to “grow locally”, students came to his farm in the spring to plant vegetables and returned in Sept to harvest the produce to be use in the cooking classes at Loyalist. Drew also developed a “partnership” with Richters Garden Centre on Highway #62. Richters donated some land for vegetable planting and the students planted in the spring and returned to harvest in the Fall. It was such a successful venture that Richters is planning to utilize more land for the veggie garden in 2011.

As members were sipping the delicious soup, Drew concluded his presentation by stressing the importance of buying locally and knowing what we are eating!

The Autumn Garden

Cutting back perennials and visiting the local garden centre to purchase that mandatory mum plant are how many people prepare their gardens for Fall. Through a colourful slide presentation, Phil Kennedy, a Master Gardener from Prince Edward County showed members of the Tweed Horticultural Society how colour, form and texture in the garden can lead to a beautiful Fall landscape. And there is no need to rush to the garden centre to purchase that mum plant!

A variety of conifers and deciduous trees in a garden add beauty to the landscape especially in the Fall. Some of Phil’s favourites are Golden Ginko, Red Maple, Golden Eclipse and Purple Diablo Ninebark. From personal experience, Phil reminded the audience to do their homework when designing their garden. It is important to read the labels on trees and shrubs regarding height and diameter. Another point to keep in mind when planting is that deciduous trees change colour at different times throughout the Fall.

Visiting the Garden Centre in the Fall is a good time to purchase trees and shrubs as they are usually on sale. Mass planting is more effective in large country gardens.

Rose hips add both colour and interest to a Fall garden. Phil recommend NOT to deadhead roses after the end of August in order to encourage the formation of the hips and strengthen the canes.

Grasses add elegance to Fall gardens. Some of Phil’s favourites were Miscanthus, Pampus Grass and Zebra Grass. Leaving the grass until spring to cut back adds interest to the garden in winter.

Perennials like Russian Sage add colour, form and texture to the Fall landscape. Mass planting of annuals such as zinnias adds colour until the frost comes.