Oshawa Garden Club

keeping our community green

Archived .pdf editions from January 2012 to February 2014 are here. Questions, suggestions, or articles for the newsletter can be sent to the . Please consider our forests if printing.

October 2016 Greenleaf


I have a mental sticky note that has been posted in my brain since early May. My sticky note reads ‘Check your knees!’. Now that fall is around the corner, it is almost time for me to remove it. My bulbs are planted, along with two bare root peonies and I still have a small heuchera and a Clematis to plant. I would like to add a climbing hydrangea to the garden, do a final clean up, and then things will be pretty much in order.

You see, I am a down on my knees kind of gardener. Yes, that occasionally means that I am praying for something to recover, but the truth is I just find it easier to spend my weeding time with my kneeling pad carefully positioned in between plants, while I stretch to and fro using my Yankee Hoe to pull and lift the weeds. My habit is to garden early in the morning, while it is still cool and before the sun gets too high. I move from shady patch to shady patch to help reduce the probability of becoming the human version of a freckled lobster. Once I finish gardening there are invariably errands to be run. A quick sponge bath, a change of clothes and out the door I dash. But this is where the sticky note becomes important. One too many times, I have returned home from shopping or a meeting, only to look down at my knees and discover they are still covered in gardening grime! I guess they match my garden season manicure, which are nails that never seem to be clean no matter how much I scrub. Knees and nails the new fashion pairing!

On a more serious note, this is my last President’s message. In November we will elect a new President and I will bid adieu in my year end report. Part of the reason I became a member of the Board and eventually moved into the President’s position is because I strongly believe volunteering is an integral part of any community and it is important to give back to the group. 

I hope you will consider joining the Board or filling one of the other vacancies, as it is the best way to learn about the Club. Come and speak with me at the meeting. You know where to find me…in the corner at the front of the room. I look forward to chatting with you!

Still delving in the dirt,

We have only 109 paid memberships as of October 11th. This is very concerning to the Board, as last membership season, OGC had 225 paid members within the same time period. To remain on our email list and to vote at our November Annual General Meeting, please mail-in your membership or renew your membership at the October 17 meeting. The Membership form can be found on the homepage of our website.

If you are not renewing your membership, please send a quick comment to our contact us page on the website to assist the Board in future planning.


We can all look forward to treats at the October meeting, thanks to Gloria T and Janey D, who volunteered to call the Bakers
Diene is pleased to have a partner to help prepare the tea and coffee and  she welcomes Monica H
We are still looking for a volunteer for the Environmental table
We are still looking for a volunteer for Meeting Set-up and Lviv Hall liaison
Board members will help you, support you, and empower you as a volunteer.

Thank you to our volunteers for the plant sale set-up at our September meeting and thank you to the members for purchasing the remaining plants from our spring sale. This added a little over $100.00 to our overall profit.

Plant Sale 2017
A successful Plant Sale is a considerable amount of work. The Board is wondering if this is the best way to raise funds or are there other ideas? The Board would love to have some member input on this issue. Please use the contact us box on the website or send your thoughts and comments, pro or con, to greenleaf@oshawagardenclub.ca.


Welcome to all guests tonight! We hope you enjoy this evening and this introduction to your community garden club. Pick up a brochure at the sign-in desk and see the many benefits of membership.

Lobby Greetings 
Thank you to tonight's greeter Gloria

Anna Mizyn from Anna's Perennials in Lindsay will speak to us about Ornamental Grasses

Table  Nadia
All inquiries here

Christmas Sweet and Savory Potluck Social
Monday, December 5, 2016 at 6:30 pm
Please stop by Monika's table to sign-up for a delicious night out with garden club friends.
Please bring an appetizer or a dessert.
Plates and cutlery are supplied, but lug-a-mug for coffee or tea.
There is no cost to Garden Club members. Guests are welcome and pay $5.00.

Therapeutic Gardening Display
Ann C is a community volunteer and she will have a display on Therapeutic Gardening at tonight's meeting. Ann will have all the information on this very fulfilling community outreach.

Plant Table   Faye and Maria
We are having a seed exchange tonight. Members are encouraged to bring seeds to share and to take seeds home to plant.

Imagination Station  Vida
This month, we are introducing a new category: DESIGN YOUR OWN
You make up a title (for example: time for tea)
You create an arrangement (for example: plant material in a tea cup)
Tap into your creative spirit!
Speak with Vida for more information or to be encouraged.

The September winner of A Knight's Night was Vida and second place to Debi

October Theme: Food for Thought
There will be no Imagination Station in November

Winter Basket Jan K
This is a small fundraiser for the Club. Please buy one ticket at $3.00 or two tickets for $5.00. Tickets will be sold at the October and November meetings and will be drawn at the Christmas Sweet and Savory Social. Jan K has spent a good amount of time putting together very interesting items. Don’t miss out.

50 - 50 Draw  Janice M
Congratulations to new member Teresa P on winning the Sept 50/50.


Club Logo Contest
Guidelines for the Logo contest are on the homepage of the website.

The Board has paid the OHA for insurance and the fee per member, as required annually.

OGC Website
Webmaster Jim is adding login to the home page ribbon. This is a new initiative to provide information to members only. For now, only Board members can login, but if you would like to read the Board meeting minutes, contact webmaster Jim.

Featured Website: www.durhammastergardeners.ca
This website has two excellent information sheets 
Drought Tolerant Plants and Growing Herbs in Containers

Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens: Day Lily Garden
The bulbs from We're In the Hayfield Now will be planted spring2017 by our volunteer members. There is space for 348 plants.


It’s important to note the major differences between chemical fertilizers and natural fertilizers. Natural fertilizers are organically-based, like compost, manure, fish emulsion, natural meals or seaweed. Natural fertilizers improve soil quality and help feed soil organisms effectively and they last longer.

After Halloween relocate your pumpkin to the garden or the compost. Chop it into pieces with a sharp shovel or kitchen knife and let Mother Nature work her magic. You will see your pumpkin parts slowly melt into the soil or compost, leaving nothing behind. That's because a pumpkin is 99% water.



I live in Bowmanville and my watershed is Bowmanville Creek/Soper Creek. Sherry

Did you find out which watershed you live in? (you have 18 choices if you live in the Whitby/Oshawa/Courtice/Bowmanville areas. Check the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority  watershed map at www.cloca.ca


Our health depends on the health of our watershed. A healthy watershed sustains life for many species and provides green space, clean beaches, clean drinking water, swimming and fishing. So...what's the problem? Development and city living and climate change and people living on flood plains and pavements and rooftops and decreasing wetlands and decreasing forests are all issues stressing our watershed and causing issues with flooding, erosion, and poor water quality. Conservation authorities are working to increase public awareness. They are rethinking urban design and promoting smart growth. They continue to protect natural areas, to increase the green in parking lots, to promote green roofs and to provide conservation areas for camping and hiking and other recreational opportunities. 


CLOCA keeps a close eye on the forests, wetlands, ground water and surface water in our watershed. 


This month's focus is surface water. Surface water is the water that travels above ground, picking up contaminants like salt and oil from our roads, pesticides and insecticides from our lawns, and bacteria from Canada geese, other animals, and poorly functioning septic systems.


A rain garden is a landscaped feature on a lawn that is designed to collect surface water, rain and melted snow, and basically act like a sponge around your home. It is a bowl shaped garden of native plants that is carved out of the lawn and contains loose, deep soil that soaks up runoff and water from a downspout. This keeps runoff out of the storm drainage system. Rain gardens are beautiful and simple solutions to reduce wet basements, filter pollution, and manage rain where it falls.



  • moles are carnivorous and are not interested in bulbs
  • voles are vegetarian and are the #2 pest after squirrels
  • plant bulbs root down and point up. Still not sure? Plant on their side and mother nature will take care of it for you
  • after planting, water in to settle the soil and to start the roots growing
  • plant in well-drained soil, as bulbs are susceptible to rot
  • plant tulip bulbs in full sun or at the very least 5 - 6 hours of sun
  • tulip bulbs are best planted in late autumn when the soil has cooled. Plant late and hope the squirrels have done most of their food caching 
  • plant deeply, as the general rule is to plant 3 x the depth of the bulb (up to10 inches), hoping that planting deeply will make it more difficult for pests to find the bulb
  • mass planting helps...one for me one for you
  • feed the squirrels dried corn or peanuts. This might work or it might attract more squirrels. The Whitehouse puts up 6 peanut feeders to distract the squirrels from their new plantings
  • squirrels love crocus and tulips bulbs
  • squirrels hate daffodil allium scilla hyacinth muscari or fritillaria
  • the best way to deter squirrels is to place chicken wire directly on top of the planting bed, extending out 3 feet and held down with landscape stakes or rocks. The stems will grow up through the chicken wire 
  • you can try wrapping the bulb in chicken wire and then planting it 
  • after planting, clean up  and remove all evidence of bulbs, including dried bulb casings
  • squirrels are attracted to disturbed soil. Covering the area for a month or two may be enough to let the soil settle and trick the squirrels  
  • adding sharp gravel to the top and sides of your planting hole might discourage pests
  • groom your dog over the tulip bed and mulch your garden with dog hair. All pests that like bulbs fear dogs
  • Acti-Sol hen manure pellets come in a carton and can be found at most garden centres. It repels squirrels and enriches the soil at the same time
  • Plantskydd is another product meant to repel pests and does not need to be reapplied after a rain
  • avoid moth balls as they add toxins to the soil
  • the Humane Society asks us not to use hot pepper as it gets into eyes and causes blindness and pain
  • Bone Meal is no longer recommended as it attracts dogs and critters to dig. Ken Brown recommends Blood Meal
  • spring flowering bulbs do not require fertilizer for their first season of blooming. Well rotted manure applied in the fall works well in following years
  • if you have deer, do not plant tulips
  • species tulips are the parents of our spectacular hybrids and are essentially as found in nature. They are the most perennial of the tulips, smaller and fragrant. They are not as easily available as the hybrids but can be ordered on the Internet
  • after blooming in the spring, remove the tulip flower, bulb and all and discard. Avid gardeners do this to ensure fresh strong flowers every year. If you leave them in the ground you must let the leaves die back naturally to store the energy needed for the next year's bloom. This ripening takes about six weeks. When the leaves have withered, cut them back. High quality tulip bulbs should come back for about 3 years, but they do get weaker year after year
  • if tulip bulbs are planted near perennials that are receiving constant water and fertilizer, they will not be happy
  • severe temperature fluctuations in winter may damage bulbs. A mulch of leaves will add protection. Apply mulch after the ground freezes to prevent rodents making a warm nest here
  • if you have been unable to purchase the Canada 150 bulbs from Home Hardware, look for Carnaval de Rio, as this is the same bulb. For more information on this tulip go to www.gardenmyths.com/canada-150-tulip-confusion-cultivar-names/ 
Genus: Tulipa
Cultivar Group: Triumph Group
Cultivar: ‘Carnaval de Rio’
Trade name: Canada 150



Member Interviews with Merle Cole

Ken is a new member to the OGC and he brings with him some Oshawa History. Readers may have noticed that I have a keen interest in local history and when I first met Ken, I just 
had to know if he was associated with Oshawa’s Lancaster Hotel. It turns out, he is. 

The photo above shows the Commercial Hotel in 1855. In 1936, Ken’s grandfather took over the hotel and it became known as the Lancaster Hotel. Ken’s dad and uncle took over its management after they returned from WWII. A long family history of hoteliers, who operated hotels in England, Montreal, Toronto and our own Oshawa, ended in 1980 when the hotel was demolished and the site became part of the land for the Michael Starr Building.

A number of life-changing events have touched Ken. In that same year, 1980, he opened his Family Law Practice in Oshawa. He enjoyed a successful career for over 36 years. Very sadly, his wife Monica died of cancer in 2014, after 35 years of marriage. This was a deep loss for Ken, as they had created a great rhythm of life together. Her domain was the kitchen and his domain was the outside of the house, including the gardens. Ken smiled as he shared that Monica always made him feel welcome in her kitchen and invited him to take part in her cooking. Recently, he has signed up for some cooking classes to honour her interest in cooking. In turn, Ken always made Monica welcome in his gardens and she shared in the planning of major projects. A happy time for Ken and Monica was the birth of their daughter Sarah-Rose. Sarah-Rose studied mechanical engineering in Guelph and is now completing her co-op placement in California. 

Another significant event was the expropriation of their home at Division and Bond streets to make way for the new Courthouse. Ken and Monica loved their home and gardens and Ken, a true gardener, spent a week preparing his beloved plants to be moved to their new home. With the help of a friend, Ken transplanted white lilacs, mock orange shrubs, and a Japanese quince that failed to thrive in the new location.

I interviewed Ken at their new-to-them home that backs onto the Oshawa Creek valley. He has done a wonderful job of blending his urban garden stock into a very natural and almost wild setting. He has furthered his interest in being environmentally conscious and being more in harmony with nature. His focus is keeping things low-maintenance and as natural as possible by incorporating many drought tolerant perennials.  Over the years, Ken’s philosophy has been that gardening should not become another job or burden. As a result, you feel very relaxed and in tune with nature in his back yard that borders onto the wild of the creek valley. He has a lovely catalpa tree that produces large dark brown seed pods in the fall. In the front of his home, you feel welcomed by friendly and familiar perennials and shrubs. 

Ken has served on many Community Boards over the years, a family tradition, and we chatted about common roots that go back to Simcoe Hall Settlement House, where his parents were very active. Ken has been involved with The John Howard Society and Senior Services. Ken is retired now and spending time learning new skills and developing new relationships, as Maureen hoped he would. He still finds time to ski and is looking forward to an outing to Revelstoke with his daughter in the coming months.

When asked about his interest in the OGC, Ken shared that it was the social aspects that attracted him and being able to share his love of gardening with others. He has an interest in hands-on projects and has already been part of the Hearth Place garden maintenance group, as well as helping out with the recent OGC Plant Sale. He would like to see more learning opportunities available through the Club. His next challenge is to learn more about transitioning his traditional lawn to a more natural form of landscaping and he feels that others might like to be involved in a workshop on this topic.

Ken knows that life can change and you have to create new opportunities for yourself. We are only too pleased that one of those opportunities for Ken is membership in the OGC. Look for Ken at the meeting and get to know this interesting member.

The following 3 photos were submitted by member Rose P. These pictures are very topical after Helen Battersby spoke about shade gardening at our September meeting. Rose has chosen colourful containers, an iron bed and an assortment of art to add interest to her shady hosta garden. She has an easel on her front porch, beside the Japanese Maple, giving us a hint that maybe an artist lives here?!



October 9 - November 6, 2016
19 Horticultural Ave. Toronto
Open daily. Free admission. 

October 18, 2016
10:00am - 12:00pm
Join President Debi for the season end garden clean-up day. Dress for the weather and bring your favourite weeding tool.

October 21 - 30, 2016
Theme: Mardi Gras
Gage Park Tropical Greenhouse

October 17, 2016
Committee chairs and other Club volunteers, please send your November AGM Report to secretary Catherine ASAP
Use the contact us on the website if you need her email address

October 26, 2016
The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply and What We Can Do About It by Thomas Pawlick

October 27-28, 2016
This is a 2-day workshop in Peterborough. Cost $300.00

November 6, 2016
Daylight saving time ends. Sunrise and sunset will be about one hour earlier

November 4, 2016
Highway of Heroes
New planting events are coming online regularly. To stay up to date with the Highway of Heroes or to see how you can help, sign up for the newsletter or visit their website

November 5, 2016 at 9:00am
Burns Presbyterian Church, 765 Myrtle Road West, Ashburn.
Debi and Robin will attend

November 14, 2016
The Oshawa Garden Club Annual Report will be available at the November Meeting and you will meet your new President and your new Board members. Remember we will have one resolution to vote on. This resolution can be read on the home page of our website and in the September Greenleaf

December 5, 2016

Website www.oshawagardenclub.ca
Please submit your ideas, comments, and questions to greenleaf@oshawagardenclub.ca
The next deadline is November 7
Webmaster Jim
Greenleaf Team: Merle and Sherry