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Gardening in Peterborough

Gary Westlake

If you garden in Peterborough or the surrounding areas you are blessed with many resources to support you. There are Horticultural Societies, a diverse collection of great garden centres, gardens where you can find inspiration and ideas, and many sources of advice.

One of our best assets is coming up Friday 6-9 p.m., Saturday 10-6 p.m., and Sunday 10-4 p.m., April 13, 14, and 15 with the Garden Show at the Evinrude Centre ( This show is on the weekend after Easter, not on Easter weekend as it has been in some past years. Since it is focussed completely on gardening, so you can find what you need all under one roof (well perhaps two roofs since the show has expanded this year into the second arena at the Evinrude). Last year nearly 7000 people visited the show. This year there will be more room to move around and many more vendors. In addition to the vendors, there are informative speakers and workshops. You can learn a lot about gardening just by attending this show.

Peterborough has many excellent garden centres. We have the traditional greenhouse garden centres like Horling’s, Griffin’s, Johnson’s, Burleys, and Hotner’s, a new one that opened in the old White Rose location. There are also a number of specialists. Dawn Tack’s Gardens Plus, specializes in hostas and daylilies; Hazel, Joe and Amy Cook’s Blossom Hill Nurseries specialize in Delphiniums and Peonies; and Jane’s Perennials that specializes in a large number of different perennials. As well, there are many seasonal operations associated with other businesses. Our friend, Beryl Harris works in the one at Loblaws in Landsdowne Place. Not only are our local garden centres a source of a great variety of plants, but also the people in these places are a wealth of information. They may be busy during the planting season, but you just have to ask and they will be generous with help for your gardening problems. Many of them will be at the garden show.

We have a number of Horticultural Societies in our area. There are societies in Peterborough, Lakefield, Omemee, Norwood, Lindsay, Minden, Rice Lake, and several other communities. You can contact the Ontario Horticultural Association to find your nearest society ( You can just show up for a meeting and fellow gardeners will welcome you. This is one of the best ways to improve your gardening skills. The societies have libraries of gardening books, they organize bus tours of gardens. Most of them organize annual plant sales where you can find great deals on plants for your garden.

We have a number of great gardens in our area and these are a wonderful source of ideas and inspiration. Most gardeners are tickled to show someone their garden. If you see something in a garden in your neighbourhood ask the gardeners how they did it. You can also hook up with one of the garden tours like the Art Gallery Garden Tour that will be on Sunday, June 24.


Of course one of your best sources of information about gardening is to ask us, the Master Gardeners. We have all had formal training and many of us have had years of gardening experience. When we come across a question that we cannot answer (This happens more than I care to admit.) we have access to the advice of the other 800 or so Master Gardeners in the province. We will be at the garden show – come by and talk to us.

There are many excellent books for gardening information. If you are just starting, the series which includes Alison Beck’s and Kathy Renwal’s Perennials for Ontario is an excellent start. There is a great book on design by Diarmuid Gairn called Design Your Garden. To find advice on how to look after your perennials once you have planted them try Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s The Well Tended Perennial Garden. We even have a local author, Peggy Immel, who has written a gardening handbook called I’d Rather be Gardening.

No gardening resource discussion would be complete without mentioning the Ecology Park. I am going to let you in on a secret. When we master gardeners want advice on trees or on native plants, we ask Cathy Dueck of the Ecology Park.

I hope to see you all at the garden show.