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February 2014Presidents' MessageHello everyoneThe weather network is forecasting milder temperatures this week, giving us some relief from the extreme low temperatures -- hopefully +2 as you read this. For months now we have been taking steps to survive these extremes. We know it is only temporary, but how will these low temperatures affect our gardens on a longer term basis after the thaw?

What I've discovered is that there is good and bad news. The good news is that these extreme temperatures will likely be hard on invasive species of insects such as the gypsy moth and emerald ash borer, reducing their numbers. We may also have fewer mosquitoes. All good news. According to Susan Dudley, a McMaster University biologist, this also extends to plant life. "I think it has been a better winter for our native flora than our invasive flora." (The Hamilton Spectator, p. A 3, February 15, 2014) Non-native invasive species are not accustomed to dealing with these conditions and will have a harder time surviving them.

On the Ontario Horticultural Association website, (, I found an article by Peter Dennet from 2007 called The Warmth of Snow. Peter carried out his own experiment about snow as an insulator. Using a temperature sensor placed below 9 inches of snow, Peter found that in cases where the air temperature stayed between 0 and -25, temperatures under the snow remained between -2 to -4.8. Therefore, Peter concluded that '....based on this small experiment, I would say that in a typical winter in our area, provided there is good snow cover before the severe cold arrives, ground level temperatures under the snow are unlikely to go much below 5 no matter how low the outside temperature." That is good news for plant life laying beneath the snow in a typical winter, but this winter has not been typical with temperatures going down to -40 in some areas. Hopefully, Peter's findings will be consistent even with these lower temperatures.

The Spectator article also stated that "...the deep freeze has turned Cootes Paradise into nearly solid ice that has pushed fish and other water life out of the marsh for the winter." The good news is that harmful species such as carp, who create problems that kill plant life, have also moved out and they can be blocked from returning to the marsh.

The bad news is that the consensus is that there is really no way to determine what the negative effects of the long term cold temperatures and layers of snow will be until the final melt. In my searches I found lists of concerns. On the Canadian Gardener website,

(, one gardener, Ian, stated that " shrubs such as hydrangeas, lilacs may not bloom due to the damage of the flower buds or have tip die-back on their stems." Ian was also optimistic though reminding us that "...plants are pretty resilient and may come through with slight damage". Another gardener wondered what would happen to the shrubs that she planted in the fall that hadn't yet had the opportunity to develop established roots. What will be the effects of the many broken branches on trees from the ice storms?

We will have to be patient to see what the effects are in our gardens and neighbourhoods. Other good of February 19th, there are only 19 days until Daylight Savings begins and only 29 days until the official first day of spring.


Jane and Gerrie, February 19, 2014

Photo - Ryan Inch

Coming Events/Notices

ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS680 Plains Road, Burlington

Savage Gardens, Nature's Ninjas January 18 to April 13, 2014 10 am 5 pmCombining science, botany, art, humor, and hands-on activity, Savage Gardens reaches all ages with its rich components. Four monumental sculptures render viewers bug-sized, while interactive and interpretive elements educate and entertain. Meet the creatures that utilize some unusual and amazing defensive strategies to ward off predators and protect themselves. Our special demonstrations bring you eye to eye with a variety of live animals from around the world! Orchid Society Annual Show March 1 (12 noon 5 pm); March 2 (10 am 5 pm; andRBG Centre photographers only 8 10 am) Displays and exhibits; painting, photograph and plant sales.Jazz Brunches Sunday, March 9 and Sunday, March 23 10 am Gardens CafFeaturing the musical magic of Michael Maguire on Mar 9 & the dynamic tones of Steel River Duo on Mar 23.Adults $20 Children (4 10) $12 Reservations recommended 905 527-1158 X 302Outdoor Living & Garden Show March 28 30Ideas and inspiration for every level of gardener.Did you know about the RBG's Gardening Information Service?Get answers to your gardening questions:

by phone: 905 527-1158 X 226; fax: 905 577-0375; or e-mail:

For program information call 905 527-1158 or visit their website

SEEDY SATURDAY February 22 11 am - 4 pmPioneer Memorial Church1974 King Street East, HamiltonSales, swaps, gardening workshops, kids' activities, refreshments and a chance to win great prizes!Vendors will include Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Co.; Seeds of Diversity, Canada or bring some seeds to trade and find something exciting and new to grow this year! For more information go to

STRATFORD GARDEN FESTIVAL Beyond the Garden Gate February 27 to March 2, 2014Stratford Rotary Complex353 McCarthy Rd, StratfordPresented by the Lung Association and sponsored by Orr Insurance and InvestmentTickets $9 (or $20 for a 4-day pass) For more information contact the Lung Association at or call 519 271-7500.

SUCCESSFUL GARDENING SHOW March 6 9 pmMetro Toronto Convention CentreCelebrate the beginning of Spring! OHA Plant & Floral Competition Theme: Let's Dance!Adults $15 Seniors & Youths (9-18) $12OHA volunteers needed. Contact Barb O'Malley at 905 278-1958 or

CANADA BLOOMS Wild! - March 14 23 10 am 9 pm (Sunday 10 - 5)Direct Energy Centre, TorontoConnecting people to nature, Canada Blooms creates inspiring and engaging fantasy gardens that bring people back year after year.Get started on your spring garden info at

WHS NEXT MEETING Wednesday, March 19, 7:30 pmSt. John's Anglican Church Hall, Winona Gerten Bason, of the Hamilton Naturalists' Club, will talk on birds and butterflies and how to attract them to your garden.

GUELPH ARBORETUM WORKSHOPSUniversity of GuelphInformation on Arboretum workshops is now available through their e-newsletter or on The Arboretum website ( To receive the newsletter send an e-mail to and write subscribe to newsletter in the subject line.Upcoming workshops include pruning, wildlife habitat gardening, gardening fundamentals and more.


Tonight's Speaker Marilyn Cornwell, who hails from Grimsby, Ontario, describes herself as an artist and photographer who explores two realms the wonder and magic of gardens and plants in the natural world, and the everyday decays in the urban environment.In the garden, Marilyn focuses on capturing its atmosphere, spirit and beauty, through evocative images that preserve precious garden memories. She seeks out the essence of plants and gardens through the seasons and in the fine details of colour, texture, pattern and form. Marilyn is herself an expert gardener, whose own garden inspires her work, and is often the setting for her floral portraits. In the other realm, which she calls Urban Extraction, Marilyn explores such things as peeling paint, rust, bruised metal, and wasting paper and fabric. She creates abstract images that fascinate the viewer with their origin and source. Having transitioned from a career in information management, IT and business consulting, Marilyn once saw patterns in the organizational routine of the work day. Now she looks to the artistic side of life for patterns and inspiration. You can get to know Marilyn better, and see samples of her work at where you can also access her blog: Redbubble is the purchase site for prints, calendars, greeting cards, etc. You can also arrange to receive a daily or weekly e-mail, featuring Marilyn's excellent photography.

Marilyn has shared her passion with horticultural societies and garden clubs since 2009, when she began this second career in photography. She enjoys public speaking and brings enthusiasm and energy in her presentations. Tonight, through her skilled photographer's eye, Marilyn will take us on a whirlwind tour of some of the great public gardens that are virtually in our own backyard. Many are within easy driving distance, including the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, the Toronto Botanical Garden and the Music Garden in Toronto, the Peony Garden and McLaughlin house in Oshawa, and Spindletree in the Kingston area, with more in the Niagara Peninsula. We are sure to be fascinated, and inspired to seek out these garden treasures on our own.Welcome Marilyn Cornwell!

Baby, It's Cold Outside . . .so what can we do inside to keep from

going stir-crazy?? Here are a couple of suggestions.December's ice storm brought down many trees and live limbs, but some people found a silver lini


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