A Worm's Eye View JANUARY 2009
by Elena North, Editor
January 14, 2009


Welcome back and Happy New Year to all of you. What does the year have in store for us? Is it going to be a wet year like last year, a dry year like 2 years ago or perhaps it might just be the "perfect year"? We can only wait and see as we certainly have had a wild ride with the weather so far this winter.

I look forward to working with existing and new members in the many activities that we do throughout the year. I encourage each of you to try something new, whether it is helping out with a committee, meeting new members or trying a new combination of plant material.

If you have a concern, a question or an idea, please contact me in person, by telephone (519-843-7703) or by email,

Happy Gardening!!!

Kathy Bouma


Front - Kathy Bouma, Ron Stevenson, Cheryl Yuill Back - Ted VanderVeen, Rienk Vlietstra, Jennifer Johnson, Helen Lacroix, Darlene Tremblay, Doreen Telford Regrets: Kathy Granger, Julie Kron, Elena North, Meg Walsh

EDITOR'S GREETINGS - Elena North Welcome to the first “Worm’s Eye View” of 2009.

Having steered numerous issues of the newsletter to publication, Roberta Vlietstra has moved out of her Editor’s chair and on, I trust, to more relaxing pursuits. Roberta, we’re all grateful for your devotion to the Worm’s Eye View and for what we’ve learned from you. Looking at ten years’ worth of previous issues, I find taking over from you daunting in fact.

Along with a new editor, the newsletter has a different look (which may be tweaked over the coming months) and a few new features that we hope you will enjoy. Please tell us what you think. Also feel free to send in your suggestions, gardening questions and photos.

Submissions should be received by the first Wednesday of every month and may be sent via email to fergushortsociety@hotmail or by regular mail to Elena North, Editor, 640 St. Andrew St. E., Fergus N1M 1R6.


It’s a new year and time to renew your membership. For just $10, you’ll have access to informative meetings, a 10% discount at LittleTree Horticultural Ltd. and Grand Flags, the members-only plant & seed exchange and more.

To renew, see Meg or Elena at the Membership table. And please mention us to your friends and neighbours. ~


The Society extends sincerest thanks to Grand Flags, LittleTree Horticultural Ltd., Cedar Springs Nursery, Centre Wellington Hydro, Newdon Industries, Victoria Park Seniors Centre, Fergus-Elora News Express and The Wellington Advertiser for their ongoing support of our activities.


This is your space! If you have an announcement, a question on horticultural matters, a book or website recommendation, or news on current or former members, please send it to either the email or postal address mentioned in the Editor's Greetings or speak to Elena.


The Plant Doctor is out but will be here next month to answer any questions you submit to the Worm’s Eye View.


Though the snow lies deep on the ground, there are things you can do to feed your gardening habit:

Get your seed catalogues and plan for the gardening year to come.

Go to the library and immerse yourself in a good gardening book. Among the Wellington County Library holdings is “1001 Tips for Canadian Gardeners” by Patricia Hanbridge.

Remember to feed the birds.

Force some bulbs or flowering branches indoors.

When snow piles up on evergreens, try to gently brush it off. If the snow is frozen on the branch and will not brush off easily, let it melt naturally to minimize damage to the tree or the shrub. Shaking is not advised.

Go after garden pests. Reapply any repellents you might be using and check your winter protection to see that rabbits, voles and deer are kept away.

Visit the indoor gardens at Royal Botanical Garden in Burlington and the tropical environs of the Wings of Paradise Butterfly Sanctuary in Cambridge for a breath of spring.

The Farmer’s Almanac suggests using this month to check your houseplants:

Divide and re-pot any pot-bound plants. Prune judiciously to create a compact, attractive specimen.

Check for pests. Remove aphids from houseplants with a mixture of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water, with a drop of dishwashing detergent. Apply this to troubled plants with a soft brush.

Provide extra protection to houseplants on window sills if it is very cold. Place cardboard between the plants and the glass. Be sure the plants don't touch the windowpanes.

Also, check any bulbs and tubers you may have stored to determine if moisture is okay. Repack bulbs that seem too damp, discarding any moldy ones. If bulbs seem too dry, try moving them to another location.

And think, as of our January meeting, there are only 59 days till spring!


Winter is a good time to broaden your horticultural knowledge and the Internet makes this a breeze. Whether you have your own computer or use the facilities at the library, the following sites are worth a visit.

On the Society’s two websites, Webmaster Ron has posted a history of the Society and our plans for 2009. Go to for the Garden Ontario or for I Can Garden site. Or you can simply Google Fergus Horticultural Society and it will list both references.

Ontario Horticultural Association: Not only does this site host our web presence, it offers a gateway to gardening information and resources.

University of Guelph Distance Education: For a fee, this website offers formal accreditation in Horticulture, Growing Plants for Profit and Landscape Design and other areas, all from the comfort of your home: This is almost an on-line university with sites offering tips and lessons on general gardening, container gardening, herb gardens, lawn care, xeriscaping, landscaping and other topics, all free! Go to and enter ‘gardening’ in the search box.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden: This website offers advice on an array of gardening topics including unusual topics such as tropical trees that will fruit indoors.

Taunton’s Fine Gardening: The website of this excellent magazine has many attractions, including a plant pronunciation guide and an on-line newsletter that you may subscribe to. Right now the newsletter features 2009 garden resolutions:

The Weather Network: Recommended for information on plant hardiness zones and lawn and garden tips:


January 21: monthly get-together, Victoria Park Seniors Centre, 7:30 p.m.; the annual Members’ ‘Show and Tell’ and the results of the photo competition

January 28: Elora & Salem Horticultural Society AGM and potluck, Heritage River Retirement Community, 25 Wellington Drive, Elora, 6:00 p.m.

February 4: Board of Directors meeting, 1:30 p.m., Centre Wellington Sportsplex

February 8: 12th Annual Elora-Salem Gardening Conference, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Elora Legion Hall, $35 including lunch. To register send your name and cheque to the Elora-Salem Horticultural Society c/o A. Graham, P.O. Box 95, Elora, On N0B 1S0

February 18: monthly get-together, Victoria Park Seniors Centre, 7:30 p.m.; “Decorative Landscaping Curbing”

Looking ahead: Keep Friday, March 27 open for a group outing to see Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Nile” at the Fergus Grand Theatre. Tickets are $12. To reserve yours, please see Kathy Bouma or Fran Binning by the end of February.


Old to new was the theme of the December Board meeting. Following the election of new officers at the Annual General Meeting, retiring Directors took a bow for all their hard work and handed over their files and responsibilities to their replacements.

Among other things, the Board adopted the Society's motto for 2009: "Those who plant seeds plant hope."

The Directors also designated Committee heads for the coming year. The Committees and their Chairpersons are:

Budget: Jennifer Johnson, Helen Lacroix

Civic Beautification: Pat Wilcox, Doreen Telford

Door Prizes: Elena North

Garden Tour: Helen Lacroix, Cheryl Yuill

Greeters: Helen Lacroix, Julie Kron

Membership: Meg Walsh, Elena North

Newsletter: Elena North, Ron Stevenson

Nominations: Rienk Vlietstra, Doreen Telford, Fran Binning

Plant Sale: Kathy Granger, Julie Kron

Programs: Kathy Bouma, Helen Lacroix

Publicity: Ron Stevenson

Shows: Liz Redshaw, Mary Reimer, Ted VanderVeen

Social Convener: Darlene Tremblay

Website: Ron Stevenson

At the January meeting, the Board decided to put a Suggestion Box out at our monthly get-togethers in order for members to make their views, questions and comments known. Please use it to tell us what you have enjoyed and how we can do better.

The Society ended 2008 with 98 members, not including life members. This year our goal is to break 100. To acquaint new members with the Society, the standard handouts of Yearbook and brochure will be supplemented by the list of membership benefits and a letter from the Board outlining our activities in more detail.


Members are encouraged to submit their digitals to for publication in our e-newsletter.

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