Peterborough’s Spring Garden Show

for the love of gardening

Ann Greer-Wootten

What a winter Canada has had: floods and mud slides on the west coast; record breaking cold on the prairies; the usual snow and freezing rain in Ontario and massive snow storms yet again for the Maritimes. But it is almost behind us now and we gardeners are ready for spring and a new garden year. In the months of March, April and early May you’ll find eager gardeners patrolling the aisles of garden centres which have greenhouses. These centres are a paradise for us with annuals often in full bloom. The air is warm and moist and the colours are spectacular but remember we still have weeks and weeks to go of possible frost. A special treat for gardeners is coming up with the fourth For the Love of Gardening Show at the Evinrude Centre on April 15 and 16. This is a real gardening extravaganza put on by the Peterborough Horticultural Society and the Peterborough and Area Master Gardeners.

At the show that starts a week from today, you will find booths filled with the newest perennials and you’ll find vendors selling every kind of gardening accessory from statues to bird baths, bird houses, tools, clothing, pond equipment and gardening books. But the show is much more than an opportunity to shop. It has a very important educational component. Over the course of two days there will be eight lectures from well known experts from around the province and from Quebec. And each day there will be six workshops offered. In order to encourage young gardeners we have invited the two local high schools who have horticultural programmes, Kenner and T.A.S.S., to join with us in celebrating spring.

Peterborough is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and is entering the Communities in Bloom competition and so volunteers will be there to advise us all how we can make our neighbourhoods and city even more beautiful.

A new feature this year will be the Garden Café offering gourmet food and a place to rest and eat while listening to local musicians.

A gentle reminder to those of you who will buy plants, roses, perhaps even shrubs. You will have to keep those precious purchases inside for possibly up to a month depending on the weather. As temperatures increase, gradually expose them to outdoor conditions for a few hours a day at first and keep them out of the sun. When frost threatens at night bring them into a protected area and remember to water them with lukewarm water.

Be sure to talk to the vendor about the special needs and conditions of plants purchased. For example, most hostas prefer shade but there are new varieties that actually like the sun. Some roses can tolerate more hours of shade than others.

As gardeners we are very concerned that people have enough to eat and so twice a year we run a food drive for the Kawartha Food Share. At last year’s show we collected and enormous quantity of food and so we urge all those coming to the show to bring a non-perishable food item.

Finally, I should point out that the Peterborough Horticultural Society and the Master Gardeners are non-profit organizations. The monies which are raised from the show are turned back into the community. For students and their parents, we would advise you that we offer four one thousand dollar scholarships for students entering either university or college courses in any aspect of horticulture or related fields. We support projects in the city and villages around us. To date we have donated funds to Fleming Park, Riverside Park and Zoo, Peterborough Hospice, St. Joseph’s at Fleming, Peterborough Greenup, Bridgenorth Beautification, Warkworth Beautification, and Omemee Beautification. We also sent money to Halifax to assist in the restoration of a partk devastated by hurricane.

In the months ahead both of our organizations will work with the Communities in Bloom committee to ensure that we make Peterborough the best possible candidate. Happy 100th birthday Peterborough. Come and celebrate spring with us at the show next weekend. Ann Greer-Wootten is President of the Peterborough Horticultural Society.