A Lesson on Growing Lavender

Lori Kelly (right) was the guest speaker at our recent meeting. She brought along some of her lavender products to sell and they were a big hit. On the left is Elizabeth Churcher, one of the rotating presidents of the Society.

There was a great turnout at the Tweed and District Horticultural Society November meeting to learn about lavender in a presentation given by Lori Kelly and her husband, Bernie of Stone Mills Lavender. Her power point presentation highlighted their fields, the distilling process and the products they produce.

When Lori retired in 2019, she decided to grow lavender at their farm. They started with 60 lavender plugs the first year and then jumped 700 in the second year! Lori admitted they “learned as they went” …. somethings worked and others not so much. 

Their farm is located on a hill which provides excellent drainage as lavender plants do not like wet roots. Six hours of sunlight is also required. Locating “just the right” landscape fabric to help control weeds and water was a bit of a challenge. Lori feels they have solved that issue.

Although lavender can be propagated, Lori prefers to purchase plugs from a reliable source. Bonemeal is added to the soil in the spring to give it a “boast”. To winterize, the plants are covered with burlap. Their plants are pruned in the spring.

Lori often cuts her lavender before it is fully open -usually mid-July-more vibrant colour and stronger fragrance.  When cut, the lavender is tied in bundles and then hung upside down in a cool dark place. 

Using her lavender, Lori produces essential oils, hydrosol, bug spray, salve, sun blocker….all made with natural ingredients.

Members did some Christmas shopping from the selection of products Lori had for sale at the meeting.

Upcoming Events:

December 5 Meeting…. Details to be announced

Some Lavender and an AGM

Our annual general meeting will be held Tuesday Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Tweed Public Library.

Following the meeting, Lori Kelly of Stone Mills Lavender in Enterprise will give a talk on growing and harvesting lavender and making essential oils and sprays.

Lori will have lavender products for sale.

Everyone is welcome. Cost for non-members is $3.

All About Fungi

Members of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society were amazed that so many different fungi and mushrooms grow in their “backyard”. Through a power point presentation, Donna Fano, the guest speaker at the October meeting, showed members the many different kinds ofmushrooms and fungi that grow locally in Hastings County. Some members even recognized mushrooms that grow in their yards.

For many years, Donna has had a keen interest in fungi and mushroomsand their role in preserving our environment. Fungi are as important as plants and animals for the environment. Fungi breaks down the leaves and decayed wood to ensure that the world has a fertile layer of soil. Even after a forest fire destroys thousands of trees, fungi spores are tough and they often will survive a fire thus assisting the reestablishment of forests.

Fungi are beneficial…. yeast, cheese, cultivated mushrooms are a food source, discovery of penicillin, boasts immune system. On the other hand, fungi can cause plant diseases, infections like thrush, athlete’s foot and mouldy buildings. 

The power point presentation highlighted the many mushrooms in our local area. Donna explained the steps to identify fungi as each group of fungi has its own characteristics. Although some mushrooms are edible, Donna cautioned about tasting until you are absolutely sure of the mushroom’s identity…. if not sure, don’t eat!

Donna often joins groups to look for mushrooms. She mentioned that the group members always take a basket to collect the samples, a knife, plus a whistle and a compass in case one gets lost from the group. A good reference book is always useful to help with the identification. There are many websites and apps available. The question was asked about touching mushrooms…. Donna’s advice was to wash one’s hands thoroughly afterwards but she has not encountered any issues by simply touching a mushroom. 

Donna’s enthusiasm about fungi and mushrooms will have members looking for the many different species in their yards and trying their skills at identifying what they find!

Upcoming Events:

November 7…speaker will be from Stone Mills Lavender Farm

December 5…Christmas Potluck Dinner (members only)

Plant A Tree

Carson Arthur, host of the Saturday morning radio show, “Take it Outside” on CJBQ and owner of Carson Arthur’s Garden and Market in the Prince Edward County was the guest speaker at the September Meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society. Members of the community were also invited to attend this presentation which was thoroughly enjoyed by all present.

Carson’s presentation was called, “Going Green” and throughout the presentation, he encouraged audience members to make the best choices for their outdoor spaces. And according to Carson, one of the easiest ways to do this is to “PLANT A TREE”!

Throughout the power point presentation, Carson highlighted facts directly related to our choices about our outdoor spaces. For example, people living in concrete cities are twice as likely to suffer from heat exhaustion as well as cardiovascular, lung and respiratory diseases. And the reason for this is pollution. How do we change this…“PLANT A TREE”!

Low maintenance gardens which are often requested add to this pollution as it limits the green spaces available for trees and gardens. According to research, Carson stated that 3 trees alone will save a homeowner 30% on their yearly hydro bill. 

The concern about water conservation is also another important item to be considered. Canadians use more fresh water that any other country in the world! And where do we use the most water…. watering our grass and gardens. A yard with trees will use 30% less water than a sunny yard. 

With the increase of forest fires in Canada, air pollution is also a major concern. Use native plants in our gardens as well as trees to help clean the air. 

Trees provide homes for wildlife…. bird population has been decreasing due to climate change. We need to “PLANT A TREE” like the Canadian Maple to bring the wildlife back. 

The leaves from the trees provide fertilizer for our plants and grass naturally…so much better for the environment than the commercial fertilizers. So, “PLANT A TREE”!

The tree canopy, especially in urban areas is declining and this is starting to happen in the rural areas as well due to the wind storms and other types of weather that the country has started to experience. Planting trees will help to increase the canopy which in turn will help the environment.

People wanting to have decks built might consider using TREX Decking as no trees are used to make this composite decking material and the decking can safely be recycled…just another way to make a good choice for our outdoor spaces. 

By simply following Carson’s advice to “PLANT A TREE”, homeowners can save money on their hydro bill, fertilizer costs and even increase the value of their home. And even a potted tree can also help the environment. 

Carson’s presentation certainly had the audience talking about the value of planting a simple tree and its impact on the environment. His presentation highlighted many ways to make better choices for our outdoor spaces. Carson concluded his presentation with three simple words… “PLANT A TREE”!

Upcoming Events:

October 3…speaker will be Donna Fano who will be talking about mushroom foraging.

September’s Guest Speaker

Carson Arthur, landscape expert featured on 800 CBJQ radio on Saturday mornings and owner of Carson’s Garden and Market in the County, will be our guest speaker for our September meeting. His talk will be “Going Green…the move to environmentally friendly choices for your garden”.

The presentation will be held at the Agricultural Building (White Building) at the fairgrounds on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p..m.

Hope to see you there.

Maple and Honey

Jeremy Yearwood of Pure 62 was the guest speaker at the Tweed and District Horticultural Society’s June meeting. Jeremy wears “many hats” in his life…..father, husband, son, firefighter (Markham), maple syrup producer, beekeeper and sawmill operator. His presentation was filled with interesting information about his many “hats”!

He credits his Dad for his love of the land. As a child he enjoyed a varietyof outdoor activities…hunting and gardening that helped to foster his love of nature. 

In 2016, he purchased a place in Madoc on Highway 62 (hence the name Pure 62) at Crookston Road. Initially, he had 36 acres with a mixture of hardwood and cedar. After a consultation with the forestry planner and a forest walkthrough, the “Maple Bug” was planted. Jeremy decided to tap the trees to make maple syrup. Using a You tube video, he studied the process and thought, “I can do this!” He bought a small 2×4 evaporator, tapped 150 trees using the bucket method and collected sap using his ATV. He sold out of his maple syrup in 3 weeks!!!

He then decided to use the tubing method…more efficient in terms of time, waste, and production. He purchased a used evaporator and tapped 1000 trees. He uses the diseased and fallen trees on his property as hissource of heat. By using the “reverse osmosis” method, he is able to get the water out of the sap by cutting the boiling time by 80%….less wood needed…more efficient!

He now has 80+ acres with 2200 trees, 75,000 feet of tubing that leads to his sugarshack. He only uses the sap from the trees on his property in his maple syrup. Like wine, the soil plays a crucial factor in the taste of maple syrup…so maple syrup from his trees may taste different from maple syrup produced in the county or from another farm just north of his farm. Everything is packaged and labelled at the farm. 

Using his maple syrup, Jeremy has started to make maple bourbon. The barrel needed to make the bourbon is imported from the States and can be used only one. It takes approximately 6-8 months from start to finish to make the bourbon.

When he is wearing his beekeeper “hat”, Jeremy looks after 20 hives. Although initially he had more hives, he finds that 20 is a good number for him. He gets more honey as he can pay closer attention to the care of the hives. Although he has no bear issues due to his proximity to the highway, he admitted that ants are often a threat to the hives.

As the owner of a sawmill, Jeremy does small jobs for local people. The bigger mills do production work and do not have the time for small orders.

Members eagerly purchased the honey, maple syrup and maple bourbonthat Jeremy had for sale at the meeting. Maple candy, maple butter and maple sugar can also be purchased at the store. 

For more information about Pure 62, check out the website…

www.pure62local.com

Upcoming Events:

July 21-23…OHA Convention in Kanata

September 5….guest speaker will be Carson Arthur of Carson’s Garden and Market in the County. At the Agricultural Building (White Building) in the fairgrounds

Let’s Talk bout Honey and Maple

Jeremy Yearwood of Madoc, owner of  Pure 62 Local will tell us how he has built a business from making maple syrup, maple syrup bourbon, bee keeping, gift baskets and his lumber business. Jeremy is looking forward to answering your questions, and will sell you hives if you are  interested in purchasing your own. Product will be available for sale at the June meeting (cash only). Meeting date June 6, 7 p.m. at the Library.

Some Creative Recycling

Janis St John of 506 Tailgate Creations in Cloyne was the guest speaker at the Tweed and District Horticultural Society’s May meeting. Janis described herself as a “crafty” person who loves to create and try new things. She loves to repurpose the “old” to make it “new” again. She  admitted that she loves to “make a mess” but she did say she is very fortunate to have a husband who will clean up!!!

Growing up, Janis’ family always recycled items such as clothing and furniture. Her mother would repaint the furniture and sell it “at the end of their driveway.” And Janis still has a bin at the end of her driveway where people drop off furniture, old windows, screens and even an artificial Christmas tree and Janis loves to use these old items to make them new again!

One of Janis proudest moments occurred when she lived in Port Perry and she was on the cover of Country Woman and her beautiful garden was featured as the centre fold in the magazine. She has lived in Cloyne for 6 years so her present garden is still a work in progress!

During her presentation, she shared some of her “new” works of art…painted screens, stain glass windows, bird baths, a purse with a spring floral arrangement, driftwood creations, a wall hanging that she is rug hooking using old clothes, to mention a few.

Janis used an old picture frame with plexiglass to create a garden art piece during the presentation. She coated the plexiglass with clear silicone and smoothed the silicone with her hand wearing a plastic glove. She added battery operated fairy lights, stained glass that she has previously cut and coloured glass pieces. To add glitter, she sprinkled smashed patio door pieces. She then patted it down when completed and placed it on a birch tripod that she had made from trees on her property…..stunning! And one lucky member won the creation as Janis donated it as a door prize!

Janis stressed that she rarely buys new items for her creations…the bin at the end of her driveway is her “store”!! She uses stones, shells, buttons, old jewellery-basically whatever she can find. Much of her stained class came from a local church where the windows were being replaced. 

It will be interesting to see how many members will look at their “old stuff” with new eyes after seeing and listening to Janis! 

Upcoming Events:

May 20…Plant Sale at Memorial Park in Tweed….8:00 am

June 6…speaker will be Jeremy Yearwood who will be talking about maple syrup, maple bourbon and even the beehives he has on his property.

July 21-23…OHA Convention in Kanata