Posts Tagged ‘Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society’

What’s Growing On This May (Apr. 2016)

April 25, 2016

new benches, guest speakers, a plant sale and more!

Fenelon Falls’ very own Horticultural Society is at it again, back in full swing with another year of exciting programming, community garden planning and local garden care-taking…. and what’s this about butterfly benches?

Plant Sale 2016 FlyerBeautiful new benches are coming to the Fenelon Island park in downtown Fenelon Falls. Drop by Sweet Bottoms Coffee to see the first completed sculpted bench on display, done up in Parks Canada’s special shade of green. A smaller version has also been commissioned in red. The FF Hort. Society is pleased to help bring these works of art to Fenelon’s core. (To learn more about the community lead initiative to shape the island and showcase our falls, visit with Friends of Lock 34 at Sweet Bottoms Cafe on May 4th from 5 – 8pm.)

It’s time again for the annual FF Hort. Society Plant Sale, this year held on May 28 beginning at 9 am and running until noon. We’ll be back at the Salvation Army Citadel on Bond Street West. Be sure to drop by and see what local plants and hot tips are available for your garden this year.

Tony Spencer

Our next general meeting, held on May 30th, will feature Tony Spencer, a 2016 presenter at Canada Blooms and a teacher of workshops at the Toronto Botanical Garden. He has been inspired by the work of the influential Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf of the “New Perennial” movement which emphasizes combining plants naturalistically. His talk will feature photos of his former garden at Sturgeon Point (pictured at left).

Explains Tony, “this not-so-cottage garden is my homegrown Canadian version of something known as New Perennial Planting, a design movement with roots originating in Northern Europe, which looks to nature to express a more free-flowing, intermingled, and open-minded approach to the making of gardens. It’s now becoming far better known in the public sphere with a stream of marquee public projects like the High Line in NYC, the Lurie Gardens in Chicago, RHS Wisley in England.”

If you are curious for more, check out Tony’s former Kawartha garden here:

The Fenelon Falls Country Living Show is coming up April 29 to May 1 and the FF Hort. Society is pleased to once again have a booth. Drop by and say hello while you enjoy the show!

For more information, including the full 2016 program, please visit

May 2016 FFHS Mtg Flyer

Nature Captured at Local Photo Contest (Nov. 2015)

November 24, 2015

Last night (Monday November 23, 2015) the Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society held it’s annual end-of-season pot-luck dinner and back for another year was the annual Photo Contest. Organizers nearly ran out of table space, as the photographers in the group entered wonderful examples of nature in all its glory. Congrats to the first place winners and to all who entered.  Here for your viewing pleasure – the winning photographs…

Heather LeCraw – T’is The Season

Heather LeCraw - Copyright 2015 - T'is The Season

Marilyn Britt – Along The Way

Marilyn Britt - Copyright 2015 - Along The Way


Robbie Preston – Out Of The Ordinary

Robbie Preston - Copyright 2015 - Out Of The Ordinary

Jane Clark – Signs Of Summer


Jane Clark - Copyright 2015 - Signs of Summer

Heather LeCraw – On Close Inspection

Heather LeCraw - Copyright 2015 - On Close Inspection


Janet Scott – Garden Guests

Janet Scott - Copyright 2015 - Garden Guests

Meetings will start again in March 2016. Visit for more information.

Hey Look!! You Can See The Falls. (June 2015)

June 22, 2015

Volunteers Give the Falls’ Gardens a Facelift.

The Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society teamed up with the Friends of Lock 34 to rejuvenate the gardens and lands around the falls.

Over a year ago, it was decided that the lands along the walkway and lookout at the falls needed to be reclaimed. The shrubs, brush and trees had become overgrown and the few remaining plants of the gardens, planted years before, had succumbed to the weeds. Viewing the falls had become difficult and visitors had to walk to the bottom of the lower point to even get a peek at our beautiful landmark.

The restoration began last fall with the planning and the clearing of the larger trees and shrubs. In the spring it continued with removal of overgrown brush and vegetation and digging up the earth and preparing for the new plants.

On Tuesday June 16th, the planting day had arrived. The team of gardeners and community volunteers gathered at the falls and set to work. All of the plants were purchased from Rockwood Forest Nurseries and funded by the Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society. The city lent a hand with the transport and placement of the larger trees and accents. The grounds began their metamorphous.

“The Horticultural Society decided that this would be a fitting project in partnership with Friends of Lock 34,” explains Kathy Armstrong, Society President. “Although, it was a challenging undertaking with the size of the lands requiring rejuvenation and the amount of overgrown vegetation, we knew it would be a great asset to our community when completed.

The entire right side of the winding path to the staircase has been converted to a beautiful garden with new shrubs, trees and driftwood accents. Rosebushes and indigenous trees that had grown or been planted many years before have been reclaimed along the left side of the path. The entire grounds have been transformed into a masterpiece.

What once was a walkway through brush, is now a picturesque garden path with dimension and charm inviting the visitor to the water’s edge. The falls and the gorge can now be viewed without obstruction and the park allows for a peaceful and relaxing space to escape the busier downtown corridor. The grounds now offer ideal photography opportunities desired by residents and tourists alike.

On behalf of Fenelon Falls, thank you to these hardworking and creative volunteers who went beyond the ideas and opinions. Thank you for actually rolling up your sleeves and working together to make our community a better place to live.  You are the individuals making a difference!

To learn more about the Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society click here.


Packed House For Hort Society’s Permaculture Talk (March 2015)

March 30, 2015

Next Up “Photography in the Garden”

Permaculture Keesmat March 2015The 2015 season of the Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society kicked off in front of a packed house at the March 23rd meeting, held at the Salvation Army Citadel on Bond St. West.  Local permaculture expert Sylvia Keesmaat spoke to the reunited membership along with many new faces, about the importance of cultivating an ecosystem that takes every element into consideration – including people!  Sylvia did an amazing job inspiring the group of garden enthusiasts as they begin to plan their Spring plant. Many residents of Fenelon Falls know Sylvia from her involvement with the community gardens at St. James Church.

The April 27th meeting of the Horticultural Society will focus on a different aspect of garden creativity – Photography in the Garden.  Laura Mills will present her tips and tricks on how to capture the magic of your garden by improving your knowledge of composition, light and focus. The 3rd Annual FFHS Photo Contest, which takes place in November, 2015, might be an even fiercer competition this year due to Laura’s tutorial.

Get the most out of the season and become a member at the April meeting for only $15.  See our full line-up of meetings on our new website – check back often as the site is under development.  Keep an eye out for the FFHS 2015 bookmarks at local businesses and libraries around town.  All are welcome to check out a meeting or two before deciding to join.

April 2015 Mtg Flyer

For more information on this event click here.

Spring Into Planning Your Resilient Garden (Mar. 2015)

March 2, 2015

spring-sprung-cartoon-boy-598x512The Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society is excited to help turn today’s conversation from ‘enough of this winter!’ to warm and sunny thoughts of spring weather and gardening outside.  Join us on for our first meeting of the year on Monday, March 23, 2015 at the Salvation Army Citadel in Fenelon Falls.  We are very pleased to welcome feature speaker Sylvia Keesmaat to talk to us about permaculture, a way of harnessing the maximum energy in your garden using the resilience of nature.

Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.

—Bill Mollison, the ‘father of permaculture

The world-wide movement of “permaculture” explores how gardening can become more resilient and regenerative both for the land and the wider community. Sylvia’s presentation will explore what permaculture is and outline some practices for regenerative gardening, no matter what the size of your garden.

Sylvia Keesmaat is a farmer, gardener and scholar from nearby Cameron, Ontario. Sylvia has been the Co-ordinator of the St James Community Garden in Fenelon Falls for the past two years, as well as the teacher and supervisor of approximately 16 interns in sustainable gardening on her farm over the past 8 years. She recently completed the requirements for her Permaculture Design Certificate. Sylvia and her husband are slowly applying permaculture practices to their garden, hayfields and pastures. When not farming or gardening, Sylvia teaches Biblical Studies at Trinity College at the University of Toronto.

The Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society kicks off it’s 2015 season with Sylvia’s talk about permaculture on Monday, March 23rd, at 7:00 pm.  Guests and newcomers are welcome to attend for free.  Annual membership is $15 per person, $26 per couple.  Meetings are every fourth Monday of the month from March to November.  Email for more information.


Hort March 2015 Mtg Flyer

Exploring The Benefits of Growing Plants Indoors (Jan. 2015)

January 5, 2015

Shannon Peters Bain

The Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society might be taking a break from monthly meetings but the opportunities to garden certainly don’t have to stop during the winter months. Gardening indoors has long been touted for its air cleansing ability, the relaxing qualities of nurturing a plant and for the positive effects of living with greenery in your environment.  Seeing an orchid’s bloom opening slowly inside during a blistery and snowy month seems miraculous.  You can also produce food by turning a window sill into a greenhouse.  Fresh herbs and salad greens, spouts and tomatoes, can all grow indoors if the conditions are right.


Plants need light to produce energy through the chlorophyll molecule, a process called photosynthesis.  Having adequate light to grow is mandatory for a plant to produce flowers or fruit.  Without enough light a plant will grow tall and spindly.  Winter light in the Kawarthas is usually not enough to grow a plant indoor strictly on its own but certain plants will thrive.  A grow light might be the perfect option for you if you need a few extra rays.Herbs-indoors-380


Pay attention to the needs of your plants.  Plants that are too cold might develop yellow leaves that don’t hang around for very long while a plant that is too hot will tend to be on the tiny and weak side.


A challenge in the dry winter months is the lack of humidity in the air.  If your plants are turning brown at the tip of their leaves, look withered or loose their leaves due to humidity issues, you can try these tips from

To increase humidity:

  • Mist plants daily, or more often as needed. (Do not do this with hairy-leaved plants since the water hangs around longer and could cause disease.)
  • Place a tray of water near your garden (don’t put plants in the tray, this can lead to other problems). Fill the tray with lava rocks to increase surface area for evaporation.
  • Place plants close together to create a microenvironment with a higher relative humidity.
  • Run a humidifier (this might benefit your skin as well!).
  • Purchase an environmental controller, which can humidify or dehumidify depending on your needs.

The internet is full of ideas and so is your local library branch, or contact the Horticultural Society with your questions.  Get growing indoors to improve your air, your well being and to increase your fresh winter produce.  Have fun while getting in touch with the soil while the earth outside is frozen.a34383


Volunteers Clear View of The Falls (Oct-2014)

October 26, 2014


Where are the falls?? Where is the gorge? Where do I go to get a good look? What Fenelon Falls resident has not been asked these questions? A group of volunteers have joined together in an effort to create a better view of our beautiful Fenelon Falls.

The Friends of Lock 34, the Kawartha Conservation Foundation and the Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society teamed up with the Trent Severn Waterways to come up with a plan to better showcase the natural beauty that sits in the centre of our town.

It was decided that all the invasive species that have grown up in the approximately 1 acre parcel of land that sits between the Falls, gorge and the canal would be cleared, allowing a better view of the cascading waterway and gorge. Clearing everything off the land would not be conducive for preventing future erosion and maintaining a healthy eco system along the waterway.

The task began with identifying which plants, shrubs and trees were native to the area and which were not. Once all the plant life was tagged with green and red ribbons, the job of clearing out the invasive or not-native plant life began.      

The groups combined volunteer efforts and arrived with chainsaws, and brush clearing tools and began the process of removing the unwanted and tiding the landscape. After many weeks of work, the land has been brought back to it’s original native condition. The area still boasts many varieties of trees and shrubs but also allows for a unobstructed view of the falls and the gorge.

When driving over the bridge, we will now be able to see the natural beauty of the gorge and the river. When viewing the falls from the outlooks, you can now see the full expanse of the waterfalls.

Now if we can get a sign that says “Parking to View the Falls” – our visitors may be able to find our jewel on their own and enjoy our little piece of heaven.

Marjorie Mason to Inspire Fenelon Falls with a talk on International Gardens

August 31, 2014


The feature speaker for the Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society in their 2014 line-up is Marjorie Mason who will bring her experience traveling the great gardens of the world to the Fenelon Falls Seniors’ Centre on Monday, September 22, 2014.

In addition to being an avid traveller, Marjorie has owned and operated the Uxbridge garden Centre Mason House Gardens and hosts a popular live, weekly call-in radio show on Saturdays at 9 am on CKDO 1580 and 107.7 FM. Entitled “Inspirations from Gardens around the World”, Marjorie’s presentation will begin at 7:00 pm and to accommodate a larger audience the monthly meeting will be held at a different venue, the Fenelon Falls Seniors Centre at 70 Murray St.

About the event: A potpourri of ideas gathered from Marjorie’s annual garden tours. There is something for everyone in this talk from interesting use of bulbs to gardening without watering, new ideas for lawns, growing edibles, and much, much more!

DID YOU KNOW? The Horticultural Society of Fenelon Falls was founded in 1919, making this it’s 95th anniversary year.  Event organizers will provide cake at the September meeting to celebrate this achievement.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at Stokes on Trent in Fenelon Falls or at the door for $5.  For more information contact FFHS at


Sep 2014 Mtg Flyer

Garden Art DIY At This Month’s FFHS Meeting

August 18, 2014

photoTransform a glass vase and bowl into a decorative piece of garden art! Make a mushroom shape or turn the bowl right-side-up and make a bird dish. Silicone glue will be supplied. Join us in making what will be a special contribution to any garden. 

Bring along a pot luck dish because DIY’ing spectacular garden art makes a person hungry!  

Email for more information.

Aug 2014 Mtg Flyer

An Evening Among The Blooms

August 4, 2014


Photography by Shannon Peters Bain

A beautiful variety of gardens were proudly on display July 28th, 2014 at the Garden Tour organized by the Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society.  The Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society wish to thank all who attended and the wonderful gardeners who opened up their private paradises.

Fenelon Falls Garden Tour 2014

July 21, 2014

July 2014 Mtg Flyer

For an insiders view of beautiful private gardens and public spaces look no further than our local backyards!  The Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society is hosting a Garden Tour on Monday July 28th and some of our villages’ best gardens are participating, to the delight of organizers.     Sure to be a wonderful evening for all plant appreciators. The cost of $15 covers membership until the end of 2014.  Arrive early to sign up at the Salvation Army Citadel.
Please email with any questions.

Grow a Pollinator Patch and Help to Get the World Buzzing!

June 9, 2014

By Shannon Bain

In recent years the plight of the pollinators has become important environmental news.  In 2005 / 2006 bees all over the world starting dying in alarming numbers, and until recently the science world had no explanation for what was dubbed ‘colony collapse disorder’ [CCD].  A recently released 2014 study from Havard has linked sub-lethal doses of neonics (the neonicotinoid class of pesticides) to CCD.  Bees in the study were feed small amounts of the chemicals, which are widely used as pesticides in crops like corn and soybeans but also on cotton, sorghum, sugar beets, apples, cherries, peaches, oranges, berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, and potatoes.  Half of the hives in the neonic-group suffered as the bees winterization was impaired and colony collapse followed in the summer.  

cartoon-beeAs media attention to the mystery of CCD escalated some governments have moved towards prohibiting the use of the chemicals, with the European Union imposing a 2 year ban while studies continue. Grassroots protests have also gained in popularity and call for the boycott of neonictinoid pesticides sold for home use.

As residents of an area surrounded by the natural world, we have a special opportunity to create a nurturing and welcoming environment for our nectar seeking friends.  Carol Dunk speaks at the June meeting of the Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society about Pollinator Patches.  Adding gorgeous colour and variety to your landscape with the added benefit of feeding the bees that work to pollinate the plants that feed us.  The meeting starts at 7 pm on Monday June 23, 2014.  Guests are always welcome and an annual membership is only $15 should you decide to join.

For more on Carol visit her website:

For a copy of the Harvard study, click here.


June 2014 Mtg Flyer

Have You Heard About Lasagna Gardening?

April 13, 2014


By Shannon Bain

Low Maintenance, Lasagna Gardening

LasagnaLayers_245I first heard this delicious term as a new gardener. It was at a Fenelon Falls Horticultural meeting and when the phrase was mentioned there was a murmur around the room of affirmative yep’s and rustling of nodding heads. Once explained to me it sounded like one of those things that sounds too good to be true; no tilling, no digging, no weeds, abundant crops, less watering? True or not, it sounded good to me. So I set off to research more about this magical way of gardening.

Although lasagna gardening has nothing what-so-ever to do with growing pasta, its name represents the concept nicely. A garden is built up on any existing surface by putting down layer after layer of organic mulch and much like layering a lasagna in a pan, once the organic layers are ‘cooked down’ over the summer (or winter) you will be left with rich, fluffy, nutrient-rich soil. The goal is to put enough layers down to equal at least two feet of organic matter (repeating 1 part ‘green’ material to 2 parts ‘brown’). Vegetable scraps, garden trimmings, grass clippings, even weeds that haven’t yet gone to seed, all can be used in your ‘green’ layer. Fall leaves, pine needles, shredded newspaper, hay and peat are examples of material that can be used for the ‘brown’ layers.

Benefits of gardening this way are numerous and in the end, all save you time and stress. Few weeds will pop their charming, life-seeking-selves up through the initial layer of cardboard that is recommended for a new bed. Rain water is retained in the layers of compost better than it would be in just plain old dirt, especially if your existing soil is sandy. Feeding your garden fertilizers isn’t necessary since you’ve created a compost bed of nutrient-rich organic matter. A worm paradise is formed when sun and time decompose the layers and those squirmy wrigglers will naturally and effectively till the soil for you.

From what I’ve read once you go lasagna, you never go back. This year we’ll be doing 2 beds of vegetables using this method, which is also called sheet mulching. The more I learn about gardening the more it is drilled into me that it’s all about the soil. Starting a lasagna garden in the Spring means we’ll add a bit more soil-like amendments or even topsoil, so that we can start planting right away. If we do again in the fall we can use all of our leaves as brown mulch, taking advantage of the winter months to achieve the same result of rich planting soil for the following Spring.

If I run into any trouble it’s such a relief to know that on the fourth Monday of every month (March to November) there is a gathering of gardeners, many of them seasoned lasagna gardeners, to answer any questions I may have. This month we’re excited to welcome local Drew Monkman and hear his talk on Changing Seasons in a Changing Climate.

For meeting details please click here.

Hello, Spring! March Meeting Recap + Info about April Meeting

March 31, 2014

By Shannon Bain

Recap: 1st Meeting of the Season for the FF Hort Society

2014 FFHS Mtg Line-UpMarch 24th may have felt and looked a lot like winter, but inside the Salvation Army Citadel on Bond St, the topic of discussion was entirely about what to do when we can once again see the earth.   Over 30 people attended the first meeting of the season, many of them familiar Fenelon Falls Hort Society members and it was lovely to welcome some new faces into the group.  Sharing a little about each of our gardens gave everyone a chance to get to know a little about each other and what we hope to learn in the coming year.  If you ‘grow rocks’ in your garden, you are not alone in these parts!  President Kathy Armstrong gave us a recap of this year’s programme and it sounds like a fabulous year.  Highlights include an excursion to the Kawartha Winery (May), guest speakers Carol Dunk on how to attract those wonderful and necessary pollinators to our gardens (June) and Marjorie Mason who will give a talk on garden inspirations from around the world (September).

April speaker: Drew Monkman Changing Seasons in a Changing Climate.

For April’s meeting the guest speaker will be Drew Monkman with his presentation of Changing Seasons in a Changing Climate.  Drew lives in the Kawartha Lakes region and is a naturalist, with a specific interest in phenology, which is the study of how the natural world reacts with the climate and the change of seasons.  It is sure to be a fascinating night.  The meeting takes place on the 4th Monday of the month, April 28th, 2014 at 7:00 pm, Salvation Army Citadel, 42 Bond St. W, Fenelon Falls.  Email for more information.


April 28th Meeting details can be found in Events on – Click here.

Hope to see you there!

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THINK SPRING! Spring edition of Backyard Buzz released; newsletter of the Fenelon Falls Hort. Society

March 15, 2014

March 2014 Header

The Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society released it’s Spring issue of Backyard Buzz last week, the newsletter they launched last year.  With the first meeting coming up on the 24th of March, it’s a sure sign that Spring is around the corner, no matter what the white stuff says!  The focus of the March 24th meeting is a celebrating a new season with an ‘Everyone is Welcome’ meet & greet, where members new and old can mingle and get to know one another.  The March meeting is also a seed or seedling exchange, where members and guests are encouraged to bring any seed or seelings they may have to exchange.  If you don’t have anything to bring, don’t let that stop you from coming!  As part of our service to the community, we thrive on helping gardeners who’s thumbs are just starting to turn green.

Check out the newsletter by clicking here.

March 24th Meeting details can be found in Events on – Click here.

Hope to see you there!

Read more “Green Scene” stories.