Camissia and native columbine at Kathy’s Gove, Spring 2019



Riverwood Conservancy needs volunteers

The Riverwood Conservancy is moving forward on a special Rhododendron garden project. A donor has made available 10-12 large Rhodos, ranging from 4-8’ wide to 4-7’ tall. A 1,000 square foot garden space adjacent to the back terrace garden, which our members have generously worked on for the last two years, has been prepared. The next step is to transplant the Rhodos from the donor’s garden in Clarkson to Riverwood, transporting them by way of a City truck and trailer. Digging, loading and transplanting must be done the same day. The work is scheduled for the 2nd or 3rd week of September but no definite date has been determined. There would be volunteer crews at the donor’s garden and ones at Riverwood. If you’d like to help, please contact Robin by email at or call 905-279-5878.


Learn about Trees

LEAF will be conducting a four day Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Course this fall at the Toronto Botanical Garden.

This is a great opportunity for people to learn all about trees! The course trains people to be leaders in their communities to steward the urban forest and educate their neighbours. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about trees and how to properly care for them, then Tree Tenders is for you!

Each session provides basic arboriculture training, includes a combination of indoor and outdoor instruction led by tree experts and professionals, and a group tree planting. The course is designed to give you the tree-related knowledge and skills you need to care for your own trees, educate others, or to start a community project of your own. The course also offers ISA Continuing Education Units (CEU).

The Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Program is supported by Ontario Power Generation’s Biodiversity Program.

Course Details

Cost: $50 + HST / $70 + HST with ISA Citizen Arborist Manual (recommended).  Please note payment cannot be refunded or deferred to future classes.

Toronto Botanical Garden,777 Lawrence Ave E., Toronto.

  • Tues, Sept 24, 2013, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Thurs, Sept 26, 2013, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Sun, Sept 29, 2013, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Tues, Oct 1, 2013, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Course Topics

  • Tree biology, anatomy and functions
  • Trees and soils
  • Tree identification
  • Identifying and managing tree stresses
  • Tree planting and establishment
  • Tree care and maintenance
  • Municipal bylaws and policies
  • How to get involved in urban forest issues

Please help us spread the word about this exciting course offering. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you. 

Robyn Stewart, Education and Outreach Coordinator,  LEAF - Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests,  Artscape Wychwood Barns,  253 - 601 Christie St.  Toronto, ON M6G 4C7 416 413-9244 x 14


Windsor Orchid Society Show and Sale

The Windsor Orchid Society (WOS) is pleased to announce its first American Orchid Society judged International Orchid Show at the Teutonia Club that will be held on October 26 and Oct 27, 2013.

This show is Windsor’s premiere floral event with many exhibits of live plants with hundreds of different orchids from around the world being displayed including an art gallery. It is the first, of what we hope will be an annual event.

The sales area includes orchid hybridizers offering a range of outstanding plants and supplies. This is a fantastic opportunity to appreciate a diverse selection of orchids all in one venue.

The WOS wishes to extend an invitation to your members to attend this premiere event – please find our poster and a discount coupon attached.


Clement Kent - A Letter About The Birds And The Bees

July 13, 2013
Dear Hort,
I’m writing this aboard a train heading to Quebec. It’s a gorgeous time of the year to ride the rails in Canada. Golden drifts of Black-eyed Susans brighten the side of the track, interrupted by occasional vivid orange flashes as we whip by a naturalized clump of daylilies. Pale tan giant cylinders of hay make mown farm fields look like a Magritte painting. In one area near the Kingston limestone flats I think I saw wild white phlox blooming, and every few kilometers brings a new ecozone with different flowers to enjoy. Zipping past a swamp, I saw a brilliant mound of what looked like Canada lilies growing on a bluff above the water…
Paul mugging it up with one of my giant heritage tomatoes.I’m on my way to Quebec City, whence a rental car and I will take a pleasant afternoon drive along the south shore of the St. Lawrence. We’ll stop at Grand-Métis where my world-traveller cousin Paul. He awaits us in a cabin looking out over the great river, which here partakes largely of the sea with two meter tides and fascinating tidepools just beside the deck. Tomorrow morning we will be off to celebrate Bastille Day at Les Jardins du Métis/Reford Gardens. I’ve brought my “Prince des Jardiniers” gardening hat from France along to shelter my balding pate from the hot July sun as we wander through the kilometers of gardens and landscapes of what is arguably Canada’s finest grand garden. We have the promise of a personal tour from Alexander Reford, the gardens’ owner, to look forward too, then dining at an auberge with a view of the sunset over the great river.
But I’m visiting Grand-Métis for more than just garden tourism. I’ll be giving a talk in the gardens about the birds and the bees, and if you know me you’ll guess it won’t be about sex, it will be about tobacco.
Nicotiana Rustica - tobacco plant
Some of you may have caught my discussion with farmer and beekeeper Dave Schuit on Canada AM last week. Dave and I were there to talk about the catastrophic losses he and other beekeepers are experiencing, as more and more of their honeybees die off over winter or during corn planting season. Dave and I agreed that although many diseases and pests are bothering the bees, the straw that breaks the camel’s back is the widespread use of nicotine-based pesticides.
Do you grow tobacco plants in your garden? Last year I had three different species. Some were sweet smelling and attracted night-flying moths, like the beautiful white Nicotiana sylvestris, while the unusual blue leaves and golden tubular bells of Brazilian tree tobacco Nicotiana glauca gave foliage interest and flowers for daytime pollinators. But all tobacco species share one botanical innovation: the acutely toxic (to insects) nerve poison nicotine.Nicotiana sylvestis
Yes, that’s right: nerve poison. The stuff is to most insects and water bugs as the horrible chemical nerve gases are to us. That’s why chemists at Bayer, Monsanto, and other companies modified the structure of nicotine to make it last longer (up to years in some soils), reside permanently in the plant it is applied to, and be as toxic to bees as nerve gases are to us. These “neonicotinoid” pesticides now coat the seeds of most commercial field crops, including corn, canola, soybeans, and even sometimes wheat. The manufacturers sell billions of dollars of product every year.
If “neonics” (as most farmers and beekeepers call them) only killed corn rootworms, I wouldn’t be talking about them in the gorgeous surroundings of Reford Gardens. But they go where they aren’t meant to. Bees gather them up in pollen and in the sweet-tasting little droplets of sap young corn seedlings release at dawn. Birds eat them as they hunt for seeds that the sowing drill didn’t get all the way underground. One droplet of seedling sap kills a bee, one coated kernel of corn can kill a blue jay, one grain of wheat can make a songbird sterile. Washed into streams and ponds, neonics kill the water bugs fish thrive on. And, just in case you don’t care about the natural world at all, recent studies show small quantities cause abnormal development in the brains of newborn rats…an organism often used to test for possible teratogenic effects on human fetuses and infants. Mothers who smoke have children with ADHD more often than non-smokers - and nicotine is the reason. Do we want neonics in our food?
This spring, for the first time in history, there weren’t  enough honeybees to pollinate the California almond crop when the trees bloomed. The price of almonds is expected to double this winter. This summer, a landscaper was called in by a Target store in Oregon to get rid of pesky aphids in the trees around the parking lot which were shedding sticky honeydew on shoppers’ cars. Problem is, a neonic pesticide was used (“knocks ‘em right down”), the trees were linden trees in full bloom, and over the next day or so perhaps 50,000 dead bumblebees were found on the asphalt of the lot. Dave Schuit lost over 40% of his honey bees when neonic-treated corn was grown near his hives, and has had to sell his farm to recoup his losses (he had to choose between buying new bees or paying the mortgage, and opted for the bees).
Some of us are old enough to remember Rachel Carson and her game-changing book Silent Spring. Dave and his fellow beekeepers in Ontario and Quebec are asking the federal government (which regulates pesticides) to follow the lead of the European Union in banning neonicotinoids before it’s too late and we have silent springs, summers, and falls. We are well along this deadly path already. Numbers of birds like swallows and purple martins that depend on flying insects are down by 70-80% and still dropping. Please, will you consider writing to your M.P. and asking her or him to push the government to ban neonicotinoid pesticides to save the birds and the bees?
I close this letter with a silent prayer that future years will bring back the buzzing of the bees and the sounds of the songbirds.

- Clement Kent


Upcoming Events

Coach Tour - Saturday, June 22 

We still have some seats on the bus for our fabulous tour to the Niagara area with visits to nurseries and a winery. This tour includes a buffet lunch at a lovely lakeside hotel. To find out more click here.

Strawberry Social - Monday, June 24

This delightful event will be held in the gardens of the church of St Martin in the Fields. What could be nicer than eating strawberries and cake on tha lawn in a beautiful garden? To find out more click here.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Garden Tour - Saturday, July 7

10 Unique Gardens for $10.00 with hidden garden treasures await…behind some garden gates. Don’t miss the artists in the garden.  Buy tickets online or at various locations.  Brochure and map also available on the website.


Neighbourhood Garden Sheds

Neighbourhood Garden Sheds is an easy to use online share service that helps facilitate sharing and use of lawn and garden tools within local neighbourhoods. Members can freely share lawn and garden and other property maintenance items. Membership is free so NGS is great for younger gardening enthusiasts who lack the tools for garden and property maintenance.  NGS can also be used as a fund raising tool in support of local beautification and community improvement projects. Visit for more information. The info icon on the home page identifies page links that describe and explain how the service works.


Garden Tour 2013 - Brule Gardens and Riverside Drive


Merry May Meeting - May 27, 2013

The May meeting is held at St. George the Martyr Church, 197 John Street. Doors open at 6:30pm. The meeting starts at 7:30pm.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the merging of the Parkdale Hort with the Toronto Hort, which we will celebrate at our May meeting. We hope to make it a festive occasion with birthday cake and no charge for refreshments, lots of door prizes, and special acknowledgements for many of our hardworking volunteers. 
Here is a brief outline of what you can expect:
  • Enjoy a stroll in St.George’s garden when you arrive.
  • Green Elephants for sale.
  • Plant divisions for sale.
  • Purchase your Garden Tour tickets.
  • View the entries in the Flower Show.
  • Eat cake.
  • Presentation by Hort member Gina Matesic.
  • Celebrate your fellow volunteers.
  • Answer Trivia Quiz questions and choose your prize…
  • Two special presentations on Étienne Brûlé and Historic Swansea.
Check your door prize stubs—prizes are courtesy of :
  • Windergarden
  • Fiesta Gardens
  • Martin’s Flower Shop
  • Guffin Hardware
  • Alternative Grounds
Please come. Bring spending money, an empty tote bag for your prizes.

Strawberry Social - June 24, 2013

All Hort members are invited to the Strawberry Social, to be held in the garden at St. Martin in the Fields, on Glenlake Ave. between Keele St. and Indian Grove. Rain or shine the event is on. Please bring a non-alcoholic beverage for yourself. Time 6:30pm to 9pm.

View Larger Map


Plant Fair 2013

On May 11, 2013 from 1:30AM - 1:30pm Coordinators Mary Mosser and Anne Wong bring you the Plant Fair at Parkdale Public School and Community Centre (in the gym), located at 75 Lansdowne Avenue at Seaforth. It is always a busy, fun day for beginning and sophisticated gardeners.
We’ll have a fantastic selection of plants, products, green elephants, information and vendors. To find out more click here.