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All About Us Fergus Community Gardens
Plant Sale
Flower Shows
Our History                    

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Perennial/Seed Exchange

All About Us

Since 1857, we have been dedicated to preserving the horticultural heritage of the town of Fergus, Ontario. Our regular meetings and shows encourage the study of cultivation, propagation, and the principles of design, while sharing common interests and fellowship.

Our floral emblem is a common weed found throughout Ontario. The Scotch Thistle has woody, branched stems with long, spine-edged wings running up the sides. It has numerous, large, bright violet to reddish flowers supported by large spine-tipped bracts. Woolly hairs cover large, irregularly-lobed leaves that have sharp yellow spikes. Mature plants can be up to 3 m tall. Ted VanderVeen photographed these Scotch Thistles while walking the trails of Wellington County.

"Gardening is Canada's second most popular physical activity after walking. Gardening is much more than just taking the time to smell the roses and can be an excellent physical activity to keep you healthy. Just ask any gardener."

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Community Gardens

Each year our Society plants and maintains 20 community gardens.

Our community gardens are beautiful outdoor spaces on public or private lands, where our society members (your neighbours) meet to grow and care for flowers and native plant species. We take the initiative and responsibility for purchasing, organizing, maintaining and managing the garden sites. This participation builds garden skills and creates positive community development that is widely accessible to a diverse range of gardeners. Our society prides itself on the teachings of our lifetime gardeners to those who have just discovered the need to plant. Join our "Diggin' in the Dirt" group which assists in the care and the restoration of our natural areas.

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Our meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month, except December, July and August. We meet at the Victoria Park Seniors Centre, 150 Albert St., W., Fergus, at 7:30 p.m. (see map below) The centre is 100% wheelchair accessible. Everyone is welcome, regardless of experience or age. Most important, if you are not a member, we WELCOME you to any of our meetings as our guest. All of our members are very friendly, so please come to a meeting and enjoy the discussion, fellowship and refreshments. The 2009 monthly meetings begin in January and feature informative speakers from all over Ontario. For more information call Kathy at 519-843-7703.

Date Speaker Topic
January 21 Our Members Show & Tell
February 18 Marg & John Gollinger Decorative Landscaping Curbing
March 18 Annerose Schmidt Perennial Change
April 15 Steve Marshall Garden Insect Close-up
May 20 Reiner Jakubowski Peonies
June 17 Heather Grummett Decorating Your Garden with Twigs
September 16 Dale O'Hara Forty Acres of Flowers or Ten Million Roses
October 21 TBA TBA

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Celebrating our 152nd year and going strong, the Fergus and District Horticultural Society welcomes new members. Just $10 a year gives you the following benefits:

* the Society yearbook of events and gardening information

* our monthly newsletter - “Worm’s Eye View”

* 10% discount at the annual plant sale, Saturday May 9, 2009

* 10% discount at Grand Flags, 266 South River Rd., Elora

* 10% discount at LittleTree Horticultural Ltd., Hwy. 6 North, Fergus

* a role in the beautification of our community

* monthly meetings with great speakers, food and door prizes

* access to our perennial and seed exchange via your e-mail address

* special activities, such as the annual Garden Tour and flower shows

* new friends, knowledge and experience

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Plant Sale

During the months of April and early May our members will divide many of their best perennials. The best way to buy perennials is to wait for your local Horticultural Society's plant sale. Our 2009 sale was a huge success.


May 9th, 2009  -  8 am - 12 pm

Volunteers from our garden group will even come and help divide that overgrown bed, so you can donate some of your garden treasures.

Remember, dividing those perennials every 3-5 years keeps them healthy!

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Our History

Celebrating 152 years

Horticultural Societies began to form in the last century as branches of Agricultural Societies . In 1857, Fergus formed an Independent Agricultural Society, making it the first Agricultural (Horticultural) Society in the province. This was primarily due to the early work of one of the directors of the Highland and Agricultural Society, Adam Fergusson, a lawyer and agriculturist, settled in Canada in 1833 (founder of Fergus, Ontario), and became actively involved in organizing agricultural societies in Canada. In 1897 an act of the provincial legislature was passed which supported Horticultural Societies in Ontario "to encourage citizens to beautify their communities as well as their properties".

The Fergus Horticultural Society is affiliated with the Garden Ontario-Ontario Horticultural Association The Association was formed in 1906. The Fergus Horticultural Society is subject to the Constitution of the OHA and the provisions of the Horticultural Societies act, R.S.O. 1980, c.204. This organization gives guidance and support to all members.

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Photo Gallery.

Just click on any link to view our member's photos

Wait until the website loads all the slides. This may take a few moments. Once all the slides have loaded,you can view the slides right away. On the anniversary show you have a choice to view this show on the small screen or if you prefer seeing it on the full-screen, just press the full screen button under just the number 117, (under the first slide on the right of the screen). The slide show will forward each slide or if you prefer you can manually advance by just clicking your mouse. On the other slide collection just follow the directions on the screen.

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Flower Shows

Click the link for our Show Entries:

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Dahlia Growing

If you want to grow dahlias in containers, then you may have to search gardening magazines or the internet to get more information. If you don’t know much about dahlia cultivation, then you may not get the desired result. Your dahlias may be low growing or dwarf. On the other hand, you can grow dahlias of any height in a container. But, handling a dwarf variety is little bit easier and you can raise nice bushy dahlia in your balcony or patio. Different heights of dahlias can be used for a deck garden as the different textures and colors make every dahlia unique. Also, you can classify them according to their shapes and sizes. When your dahlia plant gets a minimum of three or four leaves, pinch out the tip of the stalk. Pinching the growth tip helps to create a sturdier and bushier plant. Also, this does not affect the blooming period of the dahlia plant. If you don’t pinch them, you generally get tall and skinny dahlia plants. If you want larger flowers than more flowers, then the side growth buds also have to be pinched when they set up to develop. Remember, you should pinch the miniature flowered buds.

Dahlias are a great addition to any beautiful garden as they provide vibrant colors and attraction to the garden. You can plant dahlias of different colors at different parts of the garden and also there is no need to plant them every year. Dahlias have a hardy stem and the color, size or shape would suit any gardening need. Dahlias normally have a long bloom period, which is from summer through fall. They come in assortment of colors, shapes and sizes. You can find diverse varieties of dahlias – the sizes of the flower ranging from 2 to 12 inches. The plants of dahlia can be 1foot to 7 feet tall! Generally they spring when the threat of frost vanishes. Dahlias like full sun, however if you are planting them in an extremely hot climate then you can grow them in little shade. These plants have to be watered regularly like all other flower plants.
Pacific Rim Dahlias

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Gardening News


Irises actually like this procedure every 3 years or so and they will grow better giving you better bloom in following years. At this time you may choose to refresh/replenish the soil. Irises consume soil nutrients and again they will benefit from this replenishment. Suggestion is to work only one clump at a time to more easily keep track of the variety name. Dig with a pitch fork and shake out the excess remaining soil. Then rinse off the remaining with a garden hose. Break and cleanly cut the clump into individual rhizomes, discarding the old growth and any diseased parts. A little practice on this and you will start to find it easy to access the good from the bad. Inspect the rhizome for iris borers. Click to see the iris borer. Trim the leaf fan at two 45 degree angles to form a point leaving approximately 6 to 8 inches of leaf fan. Trim the roots to 4 to 6 inches. After trimming the leaf fans down mark the correct name of the iris onto the leaf fan with a “Sharpie” marker pen. Next disinfect the rhizomes in a 10 percent solution of water and liquid bleach for about 15 minutes. Not too strong on the bleach/water mix and not too long on the soak. Lay out the rhizomes in the sun to dry. Replant a group of 3 to 5 of the better rhizomes from each variety keeping care to maintain the identification of the variety. Garden signs with the plant names and a back-up map are good ideas. If you have iris rhizomes left over why not donate them to our plant sale in the spring.
Canadian Iris Society


The dependable daylilies, members of the genus Hemerocallis, provide a multitude of brightly colored flowers in mid summer. As their name implies, each individual flower lasts only one day, but the large number of flowers on each stem provide a three week period of bloom for most cultivars. There are nearly 60,000 different daylily cultivars that range from near white through yellow, orange, and red, to brown and violet. These tough perennials have a reputation for low maintenance and require little in the way of special care. Daylilies are very adaptable and can be grown in almost any soil in every corner of the country. They bloom best if given full sun, and they produce more flowers if they are divided periodically. Division is also a great way to expand your planting and share plants with gardening friends. Late summer is the best time to divide your daylilies. Their roots will have time to grow before winter comes if this task is completed in early September.

Dividing a Clump of Daylilies

Dividing large clumps

It is easiest to do this while the plant is still in the ground. Using a sharp spade, divide the clump into as many pieces as you want (pie shapes seem to be the easiest). Then dig the pieces out from the outside edge. I know that many gardening books tell you to dig the clump and divide it with 2 garden forks placed back to back. Unless you have incredible upper body strength, this is, at least for me, an exercise in futility.

Dividing to get as many undamaged fans or small clumps as possible

1 - Haul it out of the ground and shake off as much dirt as possible - feel free to lift and drop the clump until as much dirt as possible is gone.

2 - Cut back the foliage to about 8", then use a spray nozzle to remove more dirt - don't worry about damaging the roots

3 - Rake out the roots and clean dirt from around the crown. Then inspect the clump and find what looks like a natural division between two fans.

4 - Insert a large screwdriver or knife (I use a 10" boning knife) into that spot and give it a sharp twist. You should hear it crack.

5a - Grab the roots, near the crown on either side of where you inserted the knife and start to wiggle it apart. If it doesn't come apart easily you may have to insert the knife somewhere else.

5b - If it doesn't come apart right away, don't panic. You can just slice down between the fans, then pull the clump apart

6 - Continue with this method until you have as many pieces as you want. Trim the foliage back to about 4". Trim back the roots to about 3-4", since the plant will make new roots once planted.

A Single fan ready to plant.

Nancy's Daylily Pages


Peonies are divided in the fall starting about mid September because of their growth pattern. The peony root is a large tuber or storage root but in late autumn, fine fibrous feeder roots and growth buds begin to develop. The plants go dormant during the winter. With the warmer spring weather, the buds begin to elongate while the fibrous roots expand further to absorb moisture and nutrients. If a peony is stored bare-root in cold storage or dug in the spring, the fibrous roots will not develop well and plant growth will suffer. Although the plant may recover eventually, it could be many seasons before it will flower.
In early September, cut the foliage off. Growers of large numbers of peonies are advised to garbage or burn these leaves to help eliminate any chance of disease. However, most gardeners can compost the leaves provided they appear healthy and disease free. If the ground is dry, water the plant the day before you are ready to divide.
Using a strong spade, dig deeply around the plant on all sides and lift the plant with as much of the root system as possible, being careful not to damage the crown. Wash the soil from the roots with a strong spray of water and place the root in a shady spot for a few hours. The root will be less brittle and easier to cut. Examine the root. You will see three parts: the eyes or buds of next year’s growth, the crown and the roots. If the roots are very long, trim them to between six to eight inches.
Any division with one eye will grow but it is recommended to have at least three to five eyes per division, so the plant will mature and flower sooner, possibly the first season. Plan your cuts and with a clean, strong knife cut through the root away from yourself. Sometimes on large strong roots, you may have to pry or pull the roots apart and then trim off jagged edges. If some of the large growth buds become damaged, the smaller secondary ones will enlarge and grow. The roots may be stored for several days in bags of peat moss in a cool place.
Peonies need sunny, well drained conditions and since they will not be moved for many years, the garden should be well prepared. Dig a large hole and mix in slow release fertilizer such as bone meal or compost. Never use fresh manure or let any fertilizer come in direct contact with the crown. Plant the peony root with the highest eyes on the crown no more than two inches below the soil surface and firm the soil. It is often recommended that you mulch the plants for the first winter.
For further information contact the Canadian Peony Society at www.peony.ca. or the Master Gardeners’ Hotline at (705) 741- 4905 or www.peterboroughmg.ca Hazel Cook of Blossom Hill Delphiniums and Peonies is a member of the Peterborough Horticultural Society.

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Contact Us:

      Kathy Bouma, President      
      862 Omar Street
      Fergus, Ontario
       N1M 3C6
      Elena North, Newsletter
      Ron Stevenson, Website

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Seed and Perennial Exchange

Our seed and perennial exchange provides members with the opportunity to trade, exchange, sell or give away seeds and plants. It's open to Fergus Horticultural Society members only. All wants and gives are "connected" through e-mail. All plant exchanges will be on a minimal or no cost basis. It will be up to both parties, who will be connected through e-mail, to set up the exchange. Members just "reply" to the e-mail, or can "advertise" the name of particular plant they wish to receive, buy, trade, sell or give away.

Members are asked to make a point of touring their gardens, spotting any excess perennials or seeds that they can rescue and swap with their fellow green thumbs. Excellent candidates include hostas, daylilies and pachysandra. Members should also consider what they might need to fill in any bare spots, too.

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