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Greenleaf Newsletter

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March 2017 Greenleaf


Spring is in the ….aisles!

With 80 mph winds and below zero temperatures, I crossed the parking lot into Costco recently.

There it was! SPRING! I had been hoping to find it sprouting in my garden, with the greening and firming of my lawn or with the warmer air around me, but here it was! The aisles were filled with outdoor furniture, gardening tools, pots, grass seed and décor! Does grass seed even work in March?! Should I hurry up and buy it now. At this rate it could soon be replaced with Christmas items! I know Spring is coming, I love living in a part of the world where I can watch, delight and savour the changes each new season brings.

The Gardening Community is brimming with activities and events to inspire and educate you, as we get closer to time in our gardens. Please peruse and consider attending one of the events we have listed in our Greenleaf and listen for a special announcement we will be making at our meeting on Monday!

See you at the meeting!  Robin


Congratulations to Kathryn Taylor
The Oshawa Garden Club is proud to present a scholarship to the second place student in The Horticulture Technician Program, offered at the Whitby Campus of Durham College, Oshawa. This two-year course is part of the College’s Field to Fork Vision. (Field to Fork is the term used on campus to mean the production of local food)

Saturday, May 27, 2017
Growing Roots Oshawa Wide
South Oshawa Community Centre
1455 Cedar Street South, Oshawa

The Plant Sale is the Oshawa Garden Club’s major fund raiser and planning for 2017  is now underway. Funds from this sale, allow us to continue the Club’s activities. We are pleased to continue partnering with G.L. Roberts Collegiate, Peter Keeping (Clematis), Robert Young (Dahlias) and the Master Gardeners. 

Once again, we will be asking for plant donations in early May. Please keep us in mind as you open up your gardens. This year we would like to expand our plant selection to include vegetables. If you grow your own veggie plants (tomatoes, peppers, radishes, onions etc.) please consider donating some to the sale. Your support has made the Plant Sale a success in the past. Let’s work together to make this year’s sale the best ever.

Committee Chair Gloria McRae


Oshawa Garden Club has two upcoming events with the opportunity to work with YOUTH. If you enjoy children, please see Debi for details on these workshops.

Rose of Durham Community Picnic  May 27, 2017
Spend an hour or two assisting Debi, as she teaches children how to plant seeds.

Pollinatior Workshop, GardenOntario Week, June 10 - 18, 2017
Spend an hour or two assisting Debi, as she teaches children how to make a mason bee house.

April 11, 2017
Pruning Workshop
Durham Master Gardeners are teaching a Pruning Workshop for members of the Oshawa Garden Club. This workshop will be held outdoors at Hearth Place, 86 Colborne Street West, Oshawa, on Tuesday, April 11 at 7:00 pm. If you plan to attend, please see Debi or a Board member to have your name added to the list.

Since the 1990s, the eastern monarch population has declined by about 90 per cent. More than a billion monarchs once made the journey to Mexico. That number dropped to 35 million in the winter of 2013. Last March, an intense late-winter storm wiped out more than six million monarchs. Also last year, poor weather, during critical breeding periods, resulted in a 27 per cent reduction in population.

Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, visited the winter home of North America's butterflies in Mexico. Read her interesting story at this link


Last month our speaker gave a talk on information for gardeners, as we adapt to climate change. One area of change is plant hardiness zones. In Canada, most areas along the U.S. border are at least a half a zone higher now and changes in western Canada are more pronounced.

Garden Club member John P sent a question: What can be done about the many insects and blights that are attacking Canadian trees?

Last month Mary Olaveson mentioned that climate change and invasive species are changing the gardening landscape. For example, the mountain pine beetle devastation in British Columbia is blamed on climate change, as the winters were not cold enough to keep the beetles in check. The emerald ash borer in Ontario is an invasive species brought here on wood shipped from Asia. Cedar leafminer damage (above) is an easy fix and can usually be halted by pruning the damaged branches early in the spring, but the solutions for these problems are not always easy. We now understand that there are health issues and environmental harms caused by pesticide use. Specialized knowledge is often required to understand the many rules, regulations and precautions that are necessary before using these products. The best practice may be to call a professional arborist. The Saugeen Valley Conservation Foundation has a webpage listing problems and solutions for some Ontario trees. 
Appendix C contains information about pesticide use.

A land without insects may sound like a gardener's dream, but because so many animals depend on insect protein for food, a land without insects is a land without most higher forms of life. 
Spiders make up half the diet that a mother wren feeds her babies. Birds that can fly but prefer life on the ground feed their young insects. Mr. Tallamy hopes that if we understand the role insects play, we won't feel compelled to squash them and hopefully we will stop spraying them.
Doug Tallamy studies insects and is the author of Bringing Nature Home. 


MARCH...only 7 days until Spring

Lobby Greetings
Thank you to Catherine for welcoming us to the meeting tonight

March Speaker
Angie Mennen-Allen from Pathways to Perennials is speaking and her topic is Pollinators

Thanks Gord for introducing  Mary

Table Debi
Sign up for the Pruning Workshop here. Volunteer inquiries here.

Registration Table for the District 17 Annual General Meeting

➤See Monika for information or to register for the meeting
➤See Debi to join the Group Design Competition

April 22, 2017

Pickering Horticultural Society is hosting the District 17 Annual General Meeting and Flower Show at the 4 Seasons Country Club, Claremont.
Theme: Still Growing and Blooming
doors open 8:00 am, hospitality 8:30 am, entries close 9:00 am 
Speakers: Lizzie Matheson and Malcolm Geast
Pass in your cheque at the Registration Table, made out to the Oshawa Garden Club for $30.00. Cost at the door is $35.00
➤payment deadline March 27, 2017

50-50 tickets
Support our little fundraiser and buy a ticket from Janice

Monika and Jan

Spring Basket tickets
Thank you to Jan K for this fundraiser. Tickets are $3.00 a ticket or two for $5.00.

Blooming Oshawa Photography Contest

Oshawa Garden Club is looking for photos for our 2018 Bookmark and we want you to participate. Blooms are coming, get your camera ready! See the Garden Journal on the website for the rules or speak with Debi.

Plant Table  Faye
There will be a Seed Exchange at the March meeting. Bring your seeds to the meeting, in a sealed and labelled container, to share with other members. Questions? Speak with Faye.

The Big Give-Away returns in April. Put aside your gently used garden items and share them with other garden club members. This is your chance to spring clean!

The Need a Seed, Leave a Seed event returns to the Oshawa Public Libraries from March until May. Look for their seed displays and start growing!

President Robin attended the first Seedy Saturday Event, hosted by Cannington, Beaverton, and Georgina-Brock Horticultural Societies. (members in our District 17) Robin reports back that they did a great job and that it was most inspiring to see the three clubs working together. Extra kudos to the volunteers, as they had to change the venue at the last minute, due to winter snow damage.

Featured Website
The Cottage Gardener is an heirloom seedhouse and plant nursery in Newtonville, ON. 
We have been providing rare and endangered heirloom varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers to gardeners and market growers since 1996. Our online catalogue has over 700 heirloom seed varieties available, in retail packet sizes and bulk amounts. We have one of the most diverse selections of Certified Organic seeds in Canada, and we add to this each year. Each spring we sell certified organic plants onsite.

Imagination Station Vida

March's Theme: Celebrate Spring!
Create a design that celebrates an image of Spring using plant material. Remember that vegetables and fruits are plant material. For example, you might create a shamrock using a leafy vegetable. You might create an Easter bunny using a piece of fruit for it's body. Accessories may be included sparingly. The majority of the design should be plant material. Spring flowers such as daffodils or tulips, red and white colours for National Commonwealth Day.

Ideas: Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the first day of spring or even National Commonwealth Day (13th) You might consider floral/plant arrangements that include: a pot of gold, a rainbow of colours, a leprechaun's outfit - hat or boots or belt, a shamrock, a mug of beer.

April's Theme: Celebrating and commemorating...
Create a design commemorating one of these special days using plant material.
April Fool's Day (1st)
Easter (16th)
Bat Appreciation Day (17th )
National Garlic Day (19th)
Vimy Ridge Day (9th)

Have fun with this. We are no longer voting for our favourite entry. Every participant will receive points for entries. Submit as many creations as you wish. Every meeting, one of the participants will receive a bonus point as a result of a random draw. Working with plant materials and feeling creative can be very rewarding. Start with small, simple arrangements until you find your comfort zone.

For inspiration, attend the District 17 meeting and watch Lizzie Matheson create large, stunning floral arrangements...all the while telling hilarious stories...mostly about hiding her garden purchases from her husband!


Thank you to volunteer Janey Dubrowsky for calling the Bakers each month.

Therapeutic Gardening Hillsdale Estates 
Support seniors in long term care and volunteer a little time to help keep the residents engaged with people and activities. The Oshawa Garden Club is proud of Ann and her group of volunteers. If you would like to join them, they volunteer from 09:45 to 11:30 on the 4th Thursday of every month from January to November. There are 12 residents, who look forward to working with plants. If you are interested and able to participate during some of these times.
Contact Ann at 905-725-1015 or

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Hostas

Brother Stefan 2017
Hostas are considered an easy to grow plant. They are resilient, cold hardy, good for beginners and often recommended when a shade plant is needed.
  • There are more than 7000 named hostas
  • Clay soil that forms a bowl and then receives too much water will drown your plants  
  • Hostas prefer slightly acidic soil 
  • Leaf yellowing  might be caused by incorrect soil  PH
  • Herbicide sprayed on your lawn or your neighbour's lawn could damage your plants 
  • Consider wind protection when you are planting your hostas
  • Hostas like organic materials (compost, well-rotted manure) added to the soil. It is usually recommended to give them a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20, just as the growing season is starting and again   6-weeks later 
  • Do not fertilize after July 31
  • Water close to the roots, especially if the hosta leaves are large and form an umbrella preventing the rain from reaching the roots 
  • If your hostas are competing with tree roots for water, consider planting them in a paper pot with a drainage hole and bury it in the garden
  • Hostas are tough, but if we have a winter with a lack of snow cover, protect them with leaves or straw
  • Hostas like an average of 6 hours of shade per day 
  • Solid green and blue hostas will grow in full shade, but hostas prefer some sun 
  • Dappled sun, early morning or late afternoon sun is best 
  • Green-yellow, and yellow centred hostas look best with 2-hours of direct sun
  • Mid-day sun can be too much for some hostas 
  • Sun is required to produce outstanding blossoms. The flowers vary in colour from white to deep purple. They can be bell shaped or funnel shaped
  • Fragrant hostas use sun to develop fragrance 
  • Hostas receiving more sun than desired might be saved by keeping the plant well watered 
  • Faded spots on leaves, brown leaf tips and brown edges are signs of sunburn
  • It is natural to see hosta leaves change colour as part of their annual growth 
  • Grey and blue hostas have a gene that creates extra crystalline wax on the top and/or bottom of the leaf. This can melt off in direct sun or high winds. If a  thunderstorm removes this wax, the leaves will be green until the next season.
  • Hostas take 5-6 years to mature. The bluest blue hosta colour comes with the plant's maturity.
  • Some hostas have very corrugated/textured leaves. These are often sturdy plants that are able to withstand a harsh winter. Rugose is the scientific term for corrugated leaves and comes from the latin word for wrinkles.
  • Hostas grow well in containers. Use a container with a drainage hole and a good potting mix and a slow release fertilizer. Keep your containers watered. 
  • You can treat your container hostas like annuals or you can overwinter them by burying the plants in the ground or place the container in an unheated shed and water lightly throughout the winter. Freezing is not a problem, but the freeze thaw cycle is not good. 
  • Basic hosta colours are green, blue, yellow. There are no white hostas, although white can be found in the centre or margins of the leaf. Plants use green pigmentation to create chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis. This means that all white hostas must either develop green tissue or die. There are some hostas that emerge entirely white, but will later develop green tissue as the season progresses. White hostas have thinner leaves that are susceptible to sunburn and melting out. They are also slower growing.
White Feather

  • growing hostas can be very addicting and many theme gardens are created with hosta names. For example, a sewing theme might include H. Crazy Quilt, H. Corduroy, H. Zipper and many many more. See for more ideas.
  • Removing hosta flowers seems to be a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the foliage and trim the flowers. Others enjoy the flowers and keep them for the pollinators.
  • Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring, non-toxic material that has been used to deter slugs when sprinkled on the soil around your hosta plant. Slugs prefer wet conditions and diatomaceous earth does not work well in wet conditions. This product will also harm beneficial insects and bees, therefore it cannot be recommended.
  • Experts say that egg shells are not effective
  • Best practice is to plant thick leaved / slug-proof hostas. Clean up your hosta garden in the fall to prevent overwintering of slug eggs. Count on your local birds and garter snakes...yes, garter snakes love to dine out on slugs!
  • Consider accepting less than perfect in your garden and be proud that you are promoting the balance of nature
  • There are pros and cons to using mulch, but avoid large bark pieces, as slugs love to hide here. Keep mulch away from the base of your hosta.
  • Hosta Virus X is one of seven viruses that hostas are susceptible to. Hosta Virusa X is spread by sap, so best practice is to wipe your pruning blades with a chlorox wipe, before moving to the next plant. The virus causes "bleeding along the veins" and is sometimes difficult to identify, but pictures can be found on the internet. 
  • Hosta Virus X test strips can be ordered from and are easy to use. Diseased plants must be dug up and placed in the garbage
  • True-to-name hostas and hostas grown to quality size can be an investment, therefore new introductions to your collection should be purchased from reputable dealers.
  • If your hosta out grows the space, you can move it or divide it, but best results are obtained by leaving your plant undisturbed and allowing it to grow
  • Hosta information is endless! 
14950 Reginal Road 57, Blackstock
After ten plus years, Cindy and Carl, specialized hosta growers, are downsizing and retiring from their business. If you are interested in hostas, visit and shop their garden before they close. Go to their website to see a wide variety of hostas for sale. They will be at the Peterborough Garden Show and will be selling H. White Feather and more.


The Ontario Hosta Society is always looking for new members. A 1-year membership with electronic newsletter is $15. A 3-year membership is $40.00
All information can be found at


🔽This is a new event
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Ontario's top hosta retailers coming together for a one-time sales event
(I will try and find the location for the April Greenleaf)


April 23, 2017
This forum is organized by the Ontario Hosta Society. The venue is beautiful and if you like hostas, you will enjoy this very informative day.
Glencairn Golf Club, 9807 Regional Road 25, Halton Hills
8:30 registration 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
cost non-members $65.00
speakers, lunch, plant auction, silent auction and more
registration information can be found here

The American Hosta Growers Association established the Hosta of the Year in 1996. It is selected by a vote from the American Hosta Growers 
Association members. Award winners are hostas that are good garden plants in all regions of the country, are widely available, and cost less in the year of selection.

1996 'So Sweet'
1997 'Patriot'
1998 'Fragrant Bouquet'
1999 'Paul's Glory'
2000 'Sagae'
2001 'June'
2002 'Guacamole'
2003 'Regal Splendor'
2004 'Sum and Substance'
2005 'Striptease'
2006 'Stained Glass'
2007 'Paradigm'
2008 'Blue Mouse Ears'
2009 'Earth Angel'
2010 'First Frost'
2011 'Praying Hands'
2012 'Liberty'
2013 'Rainforest Sunrise'
2014 'Abiqua Drinking Gourd'
2015 'Victory'
2016 'Curly Fries'
2017 'Brother Stefan'


June 10 - 18, 2017

GardenOntario Week. 

June 12, 2017
Oshawa Garden Club GardenOntario Week Event
Strawberry Social
Doors open at 6:00 pm, strawberries served at 6:30 pm, followed by our
June meeting at 7:30 pm. We are looking forward to dynamic speaker Paul Zammit. This Garden Club Event will be free, but tickets must be signed for ahead of time, to assist the Committee in planning for food and set-up. If you can spare a small amount of time to assist with the berry-prep or the clean-up, please see Cathy or Monika or any Board member.

July 21, 22, 23, 2017
GardenOntario Convention
Theme: GREEN From Shore To Shore
Sheraton Parkway North Hotel, Richmond Hill
Early registration is due by June 27, 2017. Cost $140.00
Registration is done by mail

See all convention information here:


March 10 - 19, 2017
Everybody's growing to...CANADA BLOOMS
Held at the Enercare Centre, 100 Princes' Blvd, Toronto

March 1 - May 14, 2017

The Spring Flower Show Allan Gardens
Allan Gardens Conservatory is a major landmark and tourist attraction in downtown Toronto The historic cast iron and glass domed Palm House was built in 1910.
Open 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, 365 days per year, FREE admission
Allan Gardens Conservatory, 19 Horticultural Avenue, Toronto

March 25, 2017
Earth Hour Stargazing Party
8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Where: Port Whitby Marina, 301 Watson Street West, Whitby.
The Town of Whitby has been participating in the worldwide Earth Hour event since 2008. Residents and businesses are encouraged to turn off their lights, power down and unplug any unnecessary electronic equipment from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, 2017. While your lights are out, take advantage of the darkened skies during Earth Hour and join Town of Whitby staff and the Durham Region Astronomical Association (DRAA) at our FREE Stargazing Party at the Port Whitby Marina. See the moon, planets, and the stars from telescopes from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Join us inside the Marina Clubhouse for displays and activities. Snacks and refreshments will also be available. Come join us!

March 29, 2017
Toronto Botanical Garden Book Club
American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama

March 30, 2017
Durham Integrated Growers (DIG) Annual General Meeting  
7:00 pm
DIG's purpose is to support local community food production
Salvation Army Oshawa Temple, 570 Thornton Road North, Oshawa
Keynote Speaker: Eric Bowman from Gallery on the Farm will share his story and the philosophy that built an organic beef farm and gallery shop.

March April 2017
Richters Free Seminars
Richters Herbs, 357 Highway 47, Goodwood 

  • March 29 Surrender to Succulents, Paul Zammit
  • April 9 Tasty Herbs and Edible Flowers for Small Spaces, Sara Katz
  • April 23 Mixology Herbal Cocktails and Mocktails, Laura Gilmour
  • April 30 is Herb Day. Cilantro Secrets Revealed, Sonia Day

March April May 2017
Whitby in Bloom Garden Seminars
Whitby in Bloom Garden Seminars are offered in partnership with the town of Whitby and the Brooklin Horticultural Society. Brooklin United Church, 19 Cassels Road East, Brooklin at 7:30 pm
Cost: Admission is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item.
Please pre-register
March 22
Helen Battersby: Shade Gardening
April 26
Dawn Gollohar: New Easy Care Perennials
May 24
Collin Casin: Invasive Species

April 7, 8, 9, 2017
For the Love of Gardening: Peterborough Garden Show
Evinrude Centre, 911 Monaghan Road, Peterborough

April 9, 2017
Come Fly With Me: Saving Monarch Butterflies
Newcastle Recreation Complex, 1780 Rudell Road, Newcastle
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Dr. Tom Hossie, a Conservation Biologist will speak at this all-ages community event

April 11, 2017
Oshawa Garden Club Pruning Workshop
Hearth Place, 86 Colborne Street West, Oshawa at 7:00 pm
Dress for the weather
Sign-up at the sign-in table or speak with Debi

May 27, 2017
Oshawa Garden Club Plant Sale 
GROW: Growing Roots Oshawa Wide

June 10 and 11, 2017
The Oshawa Peony Festival
Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens
Children’s Arena, 155 Arena Street, Oshawa
from 10 am – 4 pm
See the largest contemporary collection of peonies in North America

Plant Hardiness Zone Oshawa 5b
Contact Sherry:
Contact Jim:
Contact a Board member:
Communications: Thank You Susan
E-blast: Thank You Pat
The next newsletter deadline is April 3, 2017
The next meeting is April 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm