On Your Mark, Get Ready, for Christmas

 Roseanne Ballast of Stonepath Greenhouses launched the Christmas season for members of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society at the November meeting. Through several demonstrations, Roseanne showed members how to create outstanding Christmas arrangements for both indoors and outdoors.

According to Roseanne, a pot/container filled with soil works well for outdoor arrangements. An oasis soaked in water can also be used.  Using different types of greenery…pine, cedar, spruce, hemlock and boxwood will lend a professional touch to arrangements. She suggested using white pine as a “spiller” as it will soften the arrangement. Cedar creates an interesting texture and dogwood adds that hint of a colour. Of course, “glitz” is popular during the festive season. For balance, Roseanne suggests using uneven numbers of these glitz decorations.

Using a metal wreath frame, Roseanne created a wreath of natural greenery. The greenery is wired onto the frame. A bow adds a touch of colour.

Roseanne also demonstrated indoor centre pieces for the holiday season. An oasis needs to be cut to fit the container. This oasis must also be wet to preserve the greenery and flowers indoors. Use real flowers add colour to the arrangement. The flowers do not last as long as the greenery, so Roseanne suggested simply replacing the flowers when they die! A good piece of advice shared by Roseanne is to keep table arrangements low so people can easily talk across the table!

The highlight of the evening came when Roseanne invited members to create a Christmas angel. She supplied the angel frame (made from barn board and cedar),  greenery, wire and ribbons….and the room was suddenly filled with beautiful angels that members were proud to take home for the festive season…..the Christmas season had certainly started in Tweed!


 December 5Christmas Pot Luck Dinner @ 6 pm. Bring your favourite pot luck dish, dessert, plate, utensils and wine glass. There will be the annual power point presentation of the club’s activities throughout 2017. Bring quarters to play “Quarter Frenzy”….always a lot of fun!

Volunteers are needed to help set up for the dinner. Meet at the library at 1:00 on December 5th.

 December 9…Children are invited to create a Christmas ornament. All materials will be supplied. The event tales place at the Tweed library at 10:00. Please pre-register.

 December 15…Luncheon at Club 213 at Loyalist College at noon.



Jenna Empey shared her knowledge of fermentation at the October meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society. Jenna has over ten years experience in organic gardening and fermentation. She began a small business in Prince Edward County that focuses on the natural fermentation of sauerkrauts, kimchi, brined vegetables and pickles.

According to Jenna, eastern Ontario is a great area to grow high quality vegetables. She only uses local vegetables for her fermentating.  Fermented foods is the new buzz word for one of the oldest way to preserve foods.  All it takes is sea salt, vegetables and time…very low tech the way that Jenna described the process!

Fermentation is good for the digestive system as it contains good bacteria. Fermentation also increases the nutrients in vitamins.

The evening concluded with a demonstration on making a sauerkraut ferment. Jenna started with 10 cups of shredded cabbage and 1.25 tsp of sea salt. Wearing rubber gloves, she massaged and pounded the cabbage and salt mixture…amazing amount of liquid resulted. She then packed the mixture in a mason jar and pressed down with her pounder to pack it into the jar. Cleaning the inside of the jar will help prevent mould from developing. She then filled a small plastic bag with water and placed it on top of the cabbage mixture…to weigh down the cabbage. The lid was placed on the jar…Jenna cautioned the members to “burp” the jar to allow gases to escape. She suggested keeping the jar on the counter for 4 days and taste…if it is acceptable, place in fridge. If not, keep on counter and test on a daily basis until the the desired taste is achieved.

Jenna encouraged member to mark August 4,2018 on their calendars as the Ontario Fermentation Festival is being held at the Crystal Palace in Piction…a great way to learn more about this process through displays, workshops and speakers.


 November 7…Rosanne Ballast of Stonepath Greenhouses will demonstrate Christmas decorations for both inside and outside using local greenery and other natural products.

AGM will also be held at the November meeting.

November 15…Volunteer hours are due. Please submit hours by email to info@tweedhort.ca or call 613-478-5535 for more information.



Master Chefs of Tweed

Elizabeth Churcher, Janet Kennedy and Penny Vance shared their cooking expertise during the September meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society.  The three members of the club focused on using local ingredients in the dishes they prepared for the meeting.

Elizabeth prepared two stews…meat and vegetarian. All the vegetables used were from her own garden and the meat for the stew was locally purchased.  Elizabeth grows her own vegetables and some fruit on her property in Tweed. She loves doing this for a variety of reasons….healthy food, physical activity, helps the environment as she uses no pesticides and the farming is done manually. Her stews contained zucchini, peppers, carrots, dried beans, potatoes, green/yellow beans, garlic, tomatoes and a blend of herbs…..thyme, oregano and savory….all from her garden.

Janet admitted that this year was a challenge for her vegetables due to the rain and cool temperature. Her garlic and tomatoes definitely suffered! She made a cabbage salad using Napa Cabbage from her garden. She also prepared baked beans using her own dried beans and her homemade chili sauce. She suggested growing the beans on chicken wire to prevent mold from forming….especially needed this year with the damp weather conditions.

Penny made savory cheese rounds using cheese from Maple Dale which is one of the two independently owned cheese factories sin the Quinte region. Flour and butter were also locally sourced. Penny also shared information about Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) in the area; she highlighted Earth Haven which is in this area. She brought a bin filled with produce that she has recently received since she is a part on the CSA……great interest was generated by the members about CSA and Penny had brochures and business cards available for members.

Members enjoyed the samples provided from the three chefs. Elizabeth also had extra zucchini so she made a zucchini cake which also a hit with members!


October 3…Jean Empery will discuss organic gardening and fermenting.




Watching Butterflies

Tweed and District Horticultural Society strives to encourage children to learn about various aspects of gardening.  One of the initiatives that has been pursued in 2016 and 2017 is the provision of butterfly kits to our two local schools, St. Carthagh’s Separate School and Tweed Elementary School.  We deliver the Painted Lady Butterfly kits to classrooms in mid-May.  After ensuring that the teachers have all of the supplies they need and are comfortable with the process, we stand back and watch the kindergarten classes enjoy the development of these butterflies from the larval stage through the pupal phase to the mature adult.

 Throughout approximately a month of study, the children observe the butterflies daily and record in their journals any changes that they see.  By witnessing each stage in the metamorphosis of the Painted Lady Butterfly, they develop an understanding of the life cycle of these insects and of the importance of having them live in our gardens.  The students write poems and stories about their butterflies, study the various kinds of butterflies that they may see in local gardens and categorize butterflies using specific criteria.  The children light up their classrooms with their creative and colourful butterfly artwork and they may even sing a tune about their beloved butterflies.  They, too, learn the value of caring for and working with nature.  This wonderful unit of study culminates in the release of the beautiful mature Painted Lady Butterflies.  While many of the children cheer as these majestic insects realize their freedom, some shed a tear at losing such good friends!   

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





Great Year For Plant Sale

A banner year for the Tweed Horticultural Society’s annual plant sale held on the Victoria Day weekend in Memorial Park. The lack of chestnut blossoms on the park trees this year was more than made up for by the sales of donated plants.

Plant Sale This Saturday

Saturday May 20 at 8 am at the Tweed Memorial Park
Members are asked to plant their plants as soon as possible for best display.  Please attach a label.  If you have a large quantity of one variety of flowers, it would be nice if you can supply a colour photo wrapped in plastic to help sell the plant.  All plant material should arrive by 7am.  The proceeds of this event help fund the planting of the town flower beds and will also help to fund the paving of the garden paths at Moira Gardens. Donations of plants and bulbs from friends and neighbours are also welcome. Please call Joan 613-478-6115 if you know someone who wishes to downsize their garden and would like to donate plant material.

Inspiration From Around the World

At the May meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society, members enjoyed viewing gardens from British Columbia to Newfoundland and across the ocean to England, France and the Netherlands. Marjorie Mason, from Mason House Gardens in Uxbridge shared her travels through an informative power point presentation highlighting unique features of the various gardens.

Marjorie is a horticulturalist who has been traveling with gardeners of all levels to destinations throughout North America and Europe. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for history and culture was evident throughout her presentation. As Marjorie says, “You go to an art gallery and enjoy the paintings and art work there. The same applies to gardening; you can enjoy the beauty of gardens and never garden!”

According to Marjorie, Mother Nature is the best gardener of all! If she does something, then we should follow her example.

Some of the highlights of the presentation…..

-create a blended hedge-plant different plant material together and shear to create a hedge of various colours and textures

-support vines when they are young (and not necessarily with a trellis)

-it is OK to mix annuals and perennials in a garden

-plant bulbs at the back of your garden and the perennials will cover up the dying foliage

-potscaping…plants in pots….use garbage cans, rolling planters, living walls, troughs (stone or wood)

-put houseplants outdoors in the summer

-days of pristine lawns are a thing of the past…now
”relaxed”lawns are a mixture of clover and wildflowers which is great for the birds, butterflies and pollinators

-create a hedge from your pruning debris


 June 6…John Poland, from Kingston will provide insights into his gardening experiences. He developed a love of gardening by observing and helping his father and these experiences as a young child have helped him as he established pollinator and vegetable gardens on his property.

May 20…Plant Sale at Tweed Memorial Park. Set-up starts at 7 am and sale opens to the public at 8 am.

May 30…Planting the town planters and flower beds. Meet at the lot across from Valumart at 5:30 pm.

July 13…Bus Trip to Mosaicanada 150 at Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau.  Price is $45.


Spring Clean Up

Spring is here and its time for the first garden clean up of the town flower beds. We will be meeting at the Moira Garden (near Tim Horton’s) at 9 am. Please bring your gloves, trowels, and snipers. Also if you can bring a container to put the yard waste in while working, then we can dump it in a garbage bag for pick up.

If you are unable to attend Sat., please feel free to stop by and weed when it’s convenient.

We are hoping to get work done on the garden paths this spring so it is so important we get in there and do the repairs needed prior to the paving.

Good Soil

Doug Gabelman, from Thomasburg was the guest speaker at the April meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society. Doug, a biological farmer or non-conventional farmer or more commonly known as organic farmer, grows vegetables and fruit for a market garden in Ottawa. This year, he is planning to expand into flowers to add to his market garden.

Good soil or dirt (one and the same according to Doug), is 45% mineral content, 25% water, 25% air and 5% organic. The perfect soil/dirt is like “black cottage cheese”….dark in colour and crumbly like cottage cheese.

According to research that Doug has studied, people are turning back to growing their own fruits and vegetables for the nutritional value. Today, there is a much lower nutritional value in store bought fruits and vegetables.

Doug suggested the members refer to the following videos for detailed information about improving soil quality.
Keys to Building a Healthier Soil
Soil and Soil Dynamics

His advice to the members…

  • minimum tilling of the soil…let the earthworms do the work! Good soil needs to be porous to let the plant roots spread
  • use a diversity of plant material
  • limit use of chemicals
  • use raised beds as this helps avoid saturation
  • limit amount of compost…can actually have too much compost


 May 2… Marjorie Mason, from Mason House Gardens in Uxbridge will use a slide show to share her travels to inspirational gardens around the world.  Plant material from Mason House Gardens will be available for sale…CASH ONLY. Please note that this meeting will be help at the White Building. Free for members, $3 entry fee for non-members.

 April 22…Tweed and District Horticultural is hosting this year’s AGM.

April 29…Meet at Moira Garden at 9:00 am for first garden clean-up of the season. Everyone is welcome!

July 13…Bus Trip to Mosaicanada 150 at Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau.  Price is $45.