Articles

Friday
Dec092016

Welcome Package (for the recipient of the membership gift)

The following email will be sent to the recipient of the membership gift, unless you want to give it to them personally. (Please let us know.)

Subject: Welcome to The Horticultural Societies of Parkdale & Toronto

Body: Happy Holidays!

Dear ____recipeint’s name_____,

____purchaser’s name_____ has purchased a one year membership to the Horticultural Societies of Parkdale & Toronto… just for you!

Attached, you will find a Welcome Package which includes a message from our president, details about upcoming horticultural talks, and a calendar of events.

We are so pleased to have you as a member.

Welcome to The Hort.

Sincerely,

The Hort Board

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

The following document will be attached to the email, as a pdf:

 

Monday
Aug152016

Plants In Opera

Reprinted from the Aug 2016 newsletter of THE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETIES OF PARKDALE AND TORONTO.

This summer, I went on a holiday trip to Europe. Curious as it may seem, my object was not to visit gardens but to see operas at the Munich and Bregenz Opera Festivals (7 shows in 11 days). I want to share this with you but how can I do this in the context of a horticultural society newsletter? Well, plants appear in opera, sometimes as important items in the action of the story, sometimes as potions for death or love, sometimes as poetic imagery.

Easily, I was able to call to mind a number of examples: from the Shakespeare set of operas by Verdi and others, like Macbeth’s Birnam Wood, the herb list in Hamlet/Amletto, and the strawberry handkerchief in  Othello (yes, there are operas on many of these plays), to Handel’s Xerxes, as a love song to a tree! Some more familiar operas containing even more references are: La Bohème and Madama Butterfly by Puccini, the Faust operas, Die Rosenkavalier about a silver rose, and the greatest rose reference of all, Carmen, and then Wagner and more Verdi and more Strauss, and more…what a richness! I can’t describe them all so I shall make a choice from all these riches.

First, some research. Research is very different from days past; I am no longer hauling heavy tomes from the shelf, now I Google it. So, searching on plants and flowers in opera produced a fair amount of information. Wait a minute…there is a better way…why don’t I just ask my friends.

I am active on a Facebook site called Met Opera Live in HD Fans. During the Metropolitan Opera season, we discuss the season’s productions, comparisons with previous productions, availability of DVDs and downloads, cast members, sets…all that stuff. Out of season, like now, we share info on what other productions have been put on YouTube, our bucket lists for productions we would like to see, what we have seen in summer festivals, and when we are going to see the new season productions. So I posted a note:

Greetings, Opera Buffs. I am writing an article for my horticultural society newsletter to join two of my passions, opera and plants. Can you think of some operas that reference plants or flowers? As examples, I have Carmen, some Wagner operas, the Shakespeare operas by Verdi and others, some Puccini references and Der Rosenkavalier.  Anything else come to mind?

Within a day I had more than 150 responses on a good 50 operas, some I had not previously known, by many, many composers. Be careful what you ask for. But thanks, guys!

Now…what to write about. I can’t include all due to space considerations, so I have chosen to write about some works of my favourite composer, Richard Wagner, and about botanical references in three operas, Parsifal, Die Meistersinger and The Ring of the Nibelung (which is actually 4 operas to tell the whole story).

PARSIFAL: This opera is about the Knights of the Holy Grail. It is a relatively short Wagner opera lasting only 4 hours. In the first act, potions and poultices (Balsam from Arabia) are offered to ease the pain of the injured King. They don’t work. In the second act, Parsifal, the still innocent tenor, visits the castle garden of the bad guy, which is inhabited by maidens traditionally dressed as flowers. These days the girls are oftenTraditional Production from 1975 shown as something crazily or symbolically different, sometimes entirely artificial, and from the way they act it is doubtful that they are maidens. Ah well, that’s the way of the modern designs in opera. In the third act, Parsifal, less innocent but still a tenor, returns to the Grail Knights on Good Friday and notes that the meadows are full of flowers. This is God’s Blessing on the holy day, which the very beautiful music describes. The Good Friday Spell is sometimes played on its own in orchestral concerts. 

DIE MEISTERSINGER: Longer, at 5.5 hours, this is Wagner’s only comedy and some of it is pretty raucous. It features Hans Sachs, a historical medieval poet and shoemaker (and curiously not a Tenor), and is about the nature of art and the creative process; is it determined by rules or by inspiration? At one point Hans Sachs smells the aroma of the Elder Tree and it stimulates him on to the first of his wonderful philosophical monologues. The love poem/prize song that is developed during the course of the opera is an ecstatic (yes, it really is) description of the garden in which sits the muse, the loved one.

“Shining in the rosy light of morning, the air heavy with blossom and scent, full of every unthought-of-joy,a garden invited me and, beneath a wondrous tree there, richly hung with fruit, to behold in blessed dream of love, boldly promising fulfilment to the highest of joy’s desires, the most beautiful woman: Eva in Paradise.”

THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG: These stories are from Norse mythology about a struggle amongst the Gods, dwarves, dragons, giants, and men and their descendants. This required 4 operas, Das Rheingold, Die Walkure (Valkyrie), Siegfried and Gotterdammerung (The Downfall of the Gods), of approximately 20 hours performed usually over 4 days. The struggle is for the usual stuff: gold, power and world domination, and follows the cursed Rhinegold (magic gold) as it leaves a path of death and destruction from the Rhinemaidens (water sprites); to the Nibelung (dwarf) Alberich; to the God Wotan; to the giant Fafner who then turns into a dragon; to the man Siegfried (Wotan’s grandson); to the Valkyrie Brunnhilde (Wotan’s daughter, formerly Goddess and then human); back to the Rhinemaidens after it has been cleansed of its curse by Brunnhilde’s love, by fire and by the river (deep breath). Love redeems the world, ok, and then the story starts again. The family lineages are a treat.  For a comedic and unforgettable description of these operas, see  Anna Russell.

Yggdrasil, the World Ash TreeThe World Ash Tree figures in this work as a very important part of the story line. Wotan, the chief God, has made his staff of power from a branch of this tree. The world is controlled by the laws and contracts that have been written on this staff but Wotan is not free to act on intuition as the wooden staff (the law) is stiff and cannot bend. In another ash tree growing through the roof of a house (yes, really), Wotan has stored a sword he made for his human son, Siegmund, for the time of his need. The staff is eventually broken by Siegfried, Siegmund’s son (using his father’s sword), who in his innocence is free to operate entirely on intuition and passion, and this act leads to the downfall of the Gods. (Wagnerian rock/paper/scissors).

The golden apples of the Goddess of Youth and Beauty, Freia, figure in the first opera, Das Rheingold. This goddess and the apples, which keep the gods young, were in danger of being used as payment to the giants but the cursed Rhinegold was used instead.

Three potions figure in these operas: one of sleep in Die Walkure, one of poison, which doesn’t work, in Siegfried, and the third of forgetfulness in Gotterdammerung. The first and the third cause a change in direction of the plotline.

So you can see this is complicated stuff but it only tickles the surface of what happens in works of other composers with a lot of references to roses, herbs, gardens, flower perfume, potions of sleep, love, magic and poison, magical transformations, miracles and of course, the greatest herbals of all time, wine, beer and schnapps.

Barbara Japp

Wednesday
Apr292015

Green Roofs and Living Walls Tour

Hello!  Hello, you have indicated interest in this tour, which will be held on June 14, 2015. You can purchase your ticket here. 

To pay with your credit card or Paypal, click on the button below. Select the ticket type you want, click Add to Cart, and then you can change the quantities. You add a different ticket types to add to your cart before paying.

Tickets

Thanks and enjoy the tour.

Monday
Feb242014

Elizabeth Stewart's Seed List

Prepared for the Horticultural Society of Parkdale and Toronto meeting, Feb 24, 2014. Thank you, Elizabeth. Click here to download a pdf of the list.

Ornamentals 

  • Amaranthus Viridis, green Love Lies Bleeding
  • Ammis Majus, Laceflower
  • Anagallis, blue pimpernel
  • Aquilegia, Royal Purple, double, dark
  • Bachelor Buttons, Jubilee Gem
  • Bachelor’s Button, dwarf, blue
  • Bachelor’s Button, regular, white
  • Blue Woodruff
  • Calendula Cream Beauty
  • Calendula, Dwarf Fiesta
  • Calendula, Indian Prince, orange/maroon
  • California Poppy
  • California Poppy, mixed
  • Chinese Larkspur
  • Cosmos,  Sunset
  • Cosmos, Bush Lights
  • Cosmos, Cosmic Orange
  • Cosmos, Sonata, mixed
  • Dianthus, Black & White Minstrels
  • Gomphrena, white
  • Larkspur, Blue Cloud / Chinese
  • Marigold, Tangerine Gem
  • Mignonette
  • Millet
  • Morning Glory Mix
  • Morning Glory, Grandpa Ott’s, purple
  • Nasturtium, Dwarf Jewel
  • Nigella hispanica
  • Nigella, Exotic
  • Poached Egg
  • Poppy, Cedric Morris, annual, mixed pastels
  • Poppy, Opium Pink
  • Poppy, Venus
  • Portulaca
  • Snapdragon, Peaches & Cream, short
  • Snapdragon, Royal Bride, tall, white
  • Statice, pale yellow
  • Stock, dwarf
  • Stock, Evening Scented
  • Stock, Starlight Sensation
  • Sunflower, Pacino Cola
  • Sunflower, Pacino, short, orange/maroon
  • Sweet Pea, Cupani
  • Sweet Pea, Matucana
  • Sweet William, Sooty, very dark maroon
  • Verbena Bonariensis

Veggies

 

  • Arugula
  • Arugula, Wild
  • Beans,  Painted Lady (runner, pole) CG
  • Beans,  Sunset  (runner, pole) CG
  • Beans, Blauhilde (blue pole)
  • Beans, Dragon’s Tongue
  • Beans, Dragon’s Tongue, yellow beans with purple stripes and spots
  • Beans, Fin de Bagnol
  • Beans, Hopi Black, purple flowers
  • Beans, Maxibel
  • Beans, Neckargold (yellow pole)
  • Beans, Royal Burgundy
  • Beans, Straight & Narrow
  • Beans, Straight and Narrow, filet style
  • Beans, Valdor (yellow bush)
  • Beet, Burpee’s Golden
  • Beet, Chiogga, pink and white concentric rings
  • Beets, Bull’s Blood
  • Beets, Lutz
  • Cucumber Lemon (Cottage Gardner)
  • Cucumber, Marketime
  • Cucumber, Salad Bush
  • Ground Cherry
  • Kale, Redbor
  • Kale, Tuscan, Nero
  • Leek, Blue Falaize
  • Lettuce, Bronze Arrow CG
  • Lettuce, Buttercrunch
  • Lettuce, Corn Salad, Jade
  • Lettuce, Little Gem
  • Lettuce, Red Coral CG
  • Lettuce, Rhodos (frisee)
  • Lettuce, Royal Oakleaf
  • Lettuce, Speckles
  • Lettuce, Tom Thumb CG
  • Lettuce, Traviso
  • Mesclun, Richter’s special mix
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard, Red Giant
  • Onion, Egyptian (plant)
  • Pepper, Ancho
  • Pepper, Earliest Red
  • Pepper, Hungarian Wax hot
  • Pepper, Kung Pao Chilli
  • Pepper, Sweet Banana
  • Pole Beans, Painted Lady, red & white flowers
  • Pole Beans, Rattlesnake Snap
  • Pole Beans, Trionfo Violetto, lavender blooms, purple beans
  • Rapini, San Marzano
  • Red Lambsquarters
  • Squash, Cornell’s Bush Delicata
  • Squash, Cream of the Crop
  • Swiss Chard, Bright Lights, multi coloured
  • Swiss Chard, Rainbow
  • Swiss Chard, Ruby
  • Tomato, Cherokee Purple
  • Tomato, Green Zebra
  • Tomato, Riesenstraube, bunches like grapes
  • Tomato, San Marzano
  • Tomato, Stupice
  • Tomato, Yellow Brandywine
  • Tomato, Yellow Currant
  • Tomato, Yellow Pear 

 

Friday
Apr192013

Blooms and Roses Hort Coach Tour

On Saturday June 22, 2012, we are off and rollin’ down the road, in our Deluxe Motor Coach. First we will visit Palatine Fruit & Roses. They are a grower of roses with lots to teach us and even more to show us. Eva and her husband will see that we have an instructive commentary on Roses and the chance to purchase some of the beautiful specimens that they grow.
Lunch is buffet style at the Best Western Beacon Inn. While we dine the glassed room we can view the marina and Lake Ontario. Our buffet will include a variety of salads, vegetables, Penne pasta, Roasted Chicken followed by an assortment of desserts and coffee or tea.
A Private garden is the next stop of the day. Wayne Rubel’s garden has been featured in more than one magazine and you will see why. A carpenter by trade, his arbors, ponds and plantings are sure to amaze. Better bring a camera!
Then we make our way to Magnotta Winery for a little sampling and tasting. Fruit of vine as they say. An award winning winery with lots of choose in their wines for sale.
When we arrive at our last stop you will be glad that we brought the big bus. There is lots of room for purchases in the luggage compartment! We are going to Northland Nurseries in Clapison Corners. Everything in the place is $5.99 for a 1 gal pot! I have never seen such a variety of plants, with colours available that are very hard to find. Make your wish list and bring it along. This is the stop that it is hard to get everyone to leave. From here we will make our way for home. We will have new ideas and new friends!!
  • Price of $70.00 per person
  • All transportation, stops as outlined, lunch, taxes included 
  • Coach Departs Bloor & Keele Subway at the Indian Road Side 
  • 8 am departure with an estimated return of 6:45 pm
  • Wear comfortable shoes, bring a sun hat, sun screen, a rain coat, water and spending money if you like
  • Tour is on rain or shine
  • Sorry no refunds
Forward cheque payable to “Hort. Societies of Parkdale and Toronto” to Patrick Mulroney, 153 Westminster Ave., Toronto, ON M6R 1N8. Please write on the back of the cheque the names of each participant you are paying for. Questions? Please email bustour@parkdaletorontohort.com
Friday
Apr052013

President's Report November 2012

As I prepare to hand over to the next President I’ve thought back to late 2010 – what I hoped to achieve, what we did achieve, and what remains to be done.
In 2010 I determined that moving the Hort into the web era was the most positive task and the one with the most potential for savings in the annual budget. I’m happy to report that two years later, we have largely completed the transition, have saved about 20% of our annual expenditures, and have lots of room for new material and ideas in our new newsletter and website. In fact, one of the win-win challenges for the Hort going forward will be to make more use, and more creative use, of the capabilities we now have for colour illustrations, for links, and for up-to-the-minute feedback to and from our members. Plus, we can do all this within our existing smaller production budget.
This success is largely due to the hard work of the Newsletter and Web committees, and I would like especially to thank Barbara Japp, Emieke Geldof, Michael Geldof, Kathy Andrechuk, Bill Cheng, and Judy Whalen for their efforts. Some change comes with losses. I would be the first to admit that our print-only newsletter had more elegant formatting, but its costs in both people time and $$ were higher than the new solution and we could not provide colour images. Most of membership have digital cameras – please send us some of your lovely garden or plant pictures.
In 2010 I thought we could increase the number of new younger members of the Hort. We have been only modestly successful, and I’d identify this as one of the most important priorities for us all going forward. Go meet those new neighbours who have a pot of basil or marigolds, chat with them, perhaps offer them a cutting from your garden, and invite them to a Hort meeting to enjoy a great speaker. And be sure to introduce them to other Hort members in your neighbourhood! This is how we grow.
I spent a significant amount of time in 2011 looking to find ways for us to tap into other sources of financing, such as charitable status. I reluctantly came to the conclusion that this is not feasible for us in the short term. However, there are many sources of plant and garden material, tools, and small grants which we can look at in the future. I think with a bit of focus on this, we could easily double our funding for community projects in the years to come.
It’s been an interesting two years! I thank the Board and all the volunteers in the Hort who have made it possible.
- Clement Kent
Sunday
Apr012012

Ten Tips for Dividing Perennials

  1. Start as early as possible—early April is good. Even if shoots are up only an inch or two, you can dig or divide it. (This presupposes you remember which plants are which in your garden.) It is better to pot up smaller, younger plants as, with less top growth, there is less set-back to the plant. Roots, once out of the ground, warm up faster. The main benefit of early digging is that the plant has time to overcome transplant shock and become established, resulting in a happier, better-looking plant in time for the sale.
  2. You can dig up the whole plant and divide it or chop pieces from the edges of a clump using a spade. If you decide to dig up the whole plant there are various ways of dividing it. You may be able to tease the root apart by hand (e.g. day lilies). A large woody or dense fibrous root will need to be chopped or cut apart using a spade, sharp knife, secateurs or small tree saw.
  3. Larger divisions are preferable to very small ones, however this is relative. Try to avoid potting up very large ones (or large whole plants); these can be difficult for people to carry home. Besides, if you can create two or more divisions from one plant, we will have more plants to sell. (Share the wealth.)
  4. You may need to trim the root ball to fit the pot. I use my secateurs for this but sharp scissors may also work. Ideally, there should be a minimum ½ inch space around the root ball, to be filled with potting soil.
  5. Please try to avoid having roots showing or hanging over the top of the pot. This causes the plant to dry out, and just looks bad. If the plant ends up sitting a little high in the pot, remove it and trim some of the root off the bottom! Or use a larger pot.
  6. Each new division should have some foliage (or shoots) and lots of roots. If the plant appears too top heavy trim some of the growth off! (Don’t be afraid, it will grow back.)
  7. When dividing iris or other rhizomatous plants, use a sharp, clean knife to cut the rhizomes into pieces, each containing two or three bud eyes. Allow them to air dry for about an hour to heal wounds before potting them up. If dividing peonies, a larger piece of root with more eyes is better, as they take longer to recover. Ideally, peonies should be divided in the fall. If you plan to donate a peony, consider potting it up whole, unless it is very large.
  8. Please, just donate your plants and not your garden soil. By using a light weight potting soil, compost or a mixture of these, you will end up with a lighter pot, while retaining your own good garden soil. Fill the space around the root ball with soil mix and tamp down with your fingers to eliminate air pockets and to firmly settle the division into the pot. 
  9. Once potted up, water your divisions thoroughly and place in a sheltered spot, out of sun and wind which can quickly dry out newly dug plants. Water as required, especially if the weather turns hot. After a couple of weeks, you can move the pots into sun for part of the day (early morning sun is best) to harden them off.
  10. It is not necessary to fertilize your new divisions; in fact it is probably better if you don’t. It’s best to fertilize after they have been planted in their new home.

There you have it—in 10 easy steps! Think of the benefits: you will have finally got out into the garden to enjoy a lovely spring day; you will have thinned out your plants; and your Hort will benefit from receiving your divisions. I call this a win-win situation. Happy digging.

Sunday
Sep112011

Vegetable Garden Tour 2011

One sunny Saturday in September 2011 the Hort took patrons on a tour of many productive vegetable and herb gardens in the Parkdale-High Park area. Well known Toronto garden writer Lorraine Johnson gave a talk and signed copies of her book, City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Gardening. There were also speakers in some of the gardens, including Carolin Taron who has helped create several public gardens in West Toronto.

The inaugural 2011 tour was a great success, due no doubt to the fine weather ordered in advance by Beth Kapusta. (You don’t have to take my word, she told me she did it!) We saw great gardens, ranging from the 19th century heritage vegetables at Colborne Lodge to a thoroughly 21st century garage-top planting.

For more Vegetable Garden Tour photos click here.

Monday
May262008

Spirit of '68 at the Spring Flower Show

Can it be true? Yes, 40 years have sped by since Prague Spring, the Paris Student Riots, and Monterey Pop. Now we’re all so sedate, swaning around all in black with our opera tickets and yoga mats. Well, I say let’s get back the esprit of that exciting, anything could happen era. Only this time around, instead of Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll, we’ll say it with flowers (well, maybe a bit of Advil….). So, get in touch with your inner soixante-huitarde/’Flower Child’ and, using (legal) plant material from your own spring garden, create an arrangement that revisits the Sixties, riotous colour, rules made to be broken, Jimi and Janis and the Age of Aquarius. Have your creation ready for admiration and judging by 6:45 PM.  Peace, brothers and sisters.

Joni Boyer

Monday
May282007

Hindsight is 20/20 at the Spring Flower Show

Yes, the Hort (Toronto & Parkdale together) is now (gasp!) 20 years old. Will it have to cut its hair and get a job? Or will it simply carry on in its charming and idiosyncratic way, offering a warm welcome and wide range of ‘growth’ opportunities to any and all who enjoy the delights of the garden? We can only hope… In this year’s spring Flower Show we pay tribute to ourselves and this thing we call the “HORT”.

1. WE BRANCH OUT

An exquisite flowering branch or vine as an expression of our history when (deep breath), The Horticultural Societies of Parkdale and Toronto were finally entwined. Note: therein lies, I think, the origin of the term ‘Hort’ as our common name, with the other more unwieldy title representing the true botanical nomenclature, as it were.

2. A MATTER OF TASTE

A flavourful gathering of herbs and edible flowers to give honour to Kathy Andrachuk and Bill Cheng for their thoroughly enjoyable annual BBQ at St Christopher House (not to mention every thing else they do).

3. SIZE DOESN’T MATTER

Your carefully thought out miniature arrangement is the perfect metaphor for our celebrated Newsletter, an artful giant-killer in annual competition! Bravo to Editors past and present and to all contributors.

4. GARDEN VARIETY

A big, boisterous gathering of perennials, annuals, roses, bulb flowers and foliage. It’s May in the garden and thus we are able to offer a reflection of our wonderfully varied and always scintillating lecture series. Always something for everyone. Thank-you to Mari-Lise Stonehouse and Barry Parker.

5. IN OUR THOUGHTS

For those who cherish the memory of Barbara Bell and Connie Maurice, an opportunity to express their particular grace in floral tribute. And, if you include a bloom from a plant they gave you, why, so much the better.

As usual, the plant material used must be from your own garden. Please enter any and all categories to ensure the acclaim you so richly deserve. Have it all ready for judging by 6:45 pm.

VIVE LA HORT!

Joni Boyer