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How we use the Proceeds from the Garden Show

Gary Westlake

The Master Gardeners and the Peterborough Horticultural Society have held a very successful garden show in April at the Evinrude Centre for a number of years. This year it will be on April 11, 12, and 13. Our work on the show is not complete once the show is over for the year. In addition to jumping right into planning for the next year's show, we have work to do deciding where to spend the proceeds.

Of course our garden show gives us and other gardeners a great event early in the gardening year. But its other major objective is to make possible a number of gardening related initiatives in Peterborough and the surrounding communities. Through the the use of volunteers from the Horticultural Society and the Master Gardeners, we have been able to keep the fees charged the exhibitors reasonable and the costs of entry tickets low ($5 this year) while attracting approximately 7000 visitors. This affords us the means to support beautification, scholarships, and gardening education projects.

At the show, we are able to offer some booths to non-profit organizations that have gardening related activities free of charge. For example, the Peterborough Social Planning Council has a discount card honoured at several local garden centres offered for sale at the show. Several societies, such as the Peony Society, the Hosta Society, and the Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society have booths a the show. The Parkinsons Society will be selling tulips at the show as a fund raiser.

Last year the Peterborough Horticultural Society provided $1000 scholarships to four students studying horticultural or related fields. This year we expect to offer six of these. To be eligible, the students must be either a local student who has been accepted by a Canadian post-secondary institution into any year of a horticultural, landscape design, or other related program, as approved by the Scholarship Committee; or any Canadian student who has been accepted by either Trent University or Sir Sanford Fleming College into any year of a horticultural, landscape design, or other related program, as approved by the Scholarship Committee. Since gardening is increasing rapidly in popularity, there is a great need for people interested in making their careers in horticulture. It gives us great pleasure, even if in a small way, to help these students get started. We have assisted College and University students as well as graduate students. We have also offered two $100 bursaries to high school students for excellence in their horticultural programs. If you are eligible or know someone who is, please contact the Society.

The Society also offers grants to Peterborough and the surrounding communities for beautification projects. Last year, we provided a total of $6,000 for nine such projects (The budget for this year is for $10,000). Among them was funding for two gardens at the Riverview Park and Zoo, one at the new entrance gate and the other across from the Swan pond. We provided a grant to assist the Kawartha Miniature Project which is an interesting development that can be seen from the small train that goes across the river by the zoo. This tourist attraction is being created by a group of dedicated modelers that are building a group of scale miniature buildings at this location and we are assisting them with the landscaping. Last year we were approached by the librarians at the Otonabee South Monaghan Public Library. They had lost a large tree, under which children used to have stories read to them. The children asked if they could have a new tree and, of course, we could not turn down such a request. We have provided funding for other projects in the Lion's Park in Millbrook, in Bridgenorth, in Warkworth as well as funding for projects at the Ex animo Group Home and Activity Haven in Peterborough. If you know of a similar worthy project involving gardening related activities, please contact the Society.

For a number of years now we have maintained Fleming Park between of Aylmer and Bethune Streets Downtown. This has required many hours of volunteer time as well as money for plants and compost. There have been many people from the Society involved but Kathy Hewitt, Inge Buchardt and Ann Greer-Wootten have given many hours and much energy to the cause. The flood that ravaged Peterborough in 2004 meant we almost had to start from scratch gardening in the park. It has now replanted but we continue to modify the gardens to make them better and more easy for us to maintain. None of us are getting any younger!

The Master Gardeners also use the funds for our mandate of gardening education. We fund hotlines and websites and create factsheets on gardening topics. We are also assisting with the Urban Forestry project of the Ecology Park.