After a tempestuous start to spring which included high winds and widespread power outages just the day before, a sunny, warm day was specially ordered for the Ontario Horticultural Association’s (OHA) District 8 AGM held May 5th at the Point Clark Community Centre.
The Ripley and District Horticultural Society (RDHS) hosted over 100 members and guests representing 16 societies from Huron, Bruce and Grey Counties for a day of business, socializing, competition and inspiration.
RDHS President Sandra MacDonald and District 8 Director Vicky Culbert welcomed the crowd of gardening enthusiasts followed by greetings from Huron-Kinloss mayor, Mitch Twolan and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson who expressed their admiration and gratitude for the community beautification work of local horticultural societies.
Greetings from the OHA President Rose O’Dell were delivered by Gary Brenner, District 10 Director. He spoke about the OHA Pollinator Initiative and gardens at Queen’s Park and praised the RDHS and leader Tryntje Eisen for their active youth group while encouraging other societies to embrace social media as a means to attract younger people to gardening.
District 8 Assistant Directors Sharon Nivins, Theresa McLaughlin and Karen Redmond representing Bruce, Grey and Huron Counties performed the In Memorium tribute to members who had died the previous year in their respective counties.
In her Director’s Report Vicky Culbert reflected on the many events and experiences of the past year and encouraged members to attend the 2018 OHA convention in Kingston in late July.
During breaks attendees enjoyed browsing the flower show, poster and photo contest displays, shopping for plants and garden art and patronizing the penny auction. Draws for door prizes and penny auction items began after lunch with many happy winners choosing from a wide selection of garden and nature-themed prizes.
The first of two guest speakers was Betty Lamont, a well-known local Master Gardener and former Communities in Bloom judge who specializes in hybridizing day lilies. She took inspiration from the AGM theme, Nature Nurture, to design her presentation: Planet Earth, A World of Mutualistic Relationships, or simply put, how Nature helps us and how we can help Nature. Her presentation examined the energy and rhythms that connect all living things, climate change and cycles and issues surrounding water scarcity among many others.
The second speaker was Kerry Jarvis of Southampton, a photographer, naturalist, author, presenter and avid gardener whose passion for Monarchs resulted in the community-based project: The Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores ( www.butterflygardensofss.ca ). He chronicled the development of the pollinator garden network in a multi-media presentation featuring photos and video of volunteers planting and speaking about the benefits of their experiences. Jarvis ended his talk with advice on helping pollinators through expansion of habitat and awareness and an explanation of how to rear Monarch caterpillars using some of the materials provided in the table favours.
This seminar was geared to both adult and young horticulturalists and was well received by the 15 members of the RDHS youth group who were invited to attend it. They look forward to visiting the gardens and participating in an educational program in August.
Following the speakers, the next order of business was announcement of contest results. In the photo contest Teryl Sewell of Markdale and District Horticultural Society and Rose Weir of Chesley and District Horticultural Society took top honours. The top flower show competitor winning both the Judge’s and People’s Choice awards was Marie McCutcheon of Brussels Horticultural Society. Winners of the poster contest in the categories Grades 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 were divided between members of the Ripley and Durham horticultural societies while adult winners belonged to Ripley, Durham and Clinton societies.
As the AGM drew to its close the incoming District 8 executive was announced and Gary Brenner performed the installation. The board remains largely the same with the addition of Teryl Sewell to the photography committee.
With all the prizes awarded and/or drawn, and all the business concluded, District 8 Director Vicky Culbert thanked the many people responsible for making the AGM a success and sent everyone off into the sunshine to get growing.