Thank you so much to Tom Nagy of River City Mushrooms for his excellent presentation and sharing his enthusiasm for small-scale mushroom cultivation at our general meeting on April 18th. On our website is a brief slide show that Tom kindly provided for us of his presentation.
- Freshcap Mushrooms - Mossy Creek Mushrooms - Southwest Fungi
- What The Fungus - Field & Forest Products - North Spore - Fungi Ally - Central Texas Mycological Society
- Paul Stamets - Peter McCoy - Tradd Cotter - Willoughby Arevalo
We encourage you to visit his website ( River City Mushrooms ) for additional information including workshops and events. Spawn and grow kits are available as well.
Subscribe to his Newsletter for notices regarding mushroom product pre-orders, programming announcements, special deals, contests, giveaways, opportunities to get involved, and more.
Thank you so much to our speakers for the evening, Ted McLachlan, the RGS Landscape Management Coordinator, and Rod Kueneman, Sustainable South Osborne Community Coop’s (SSOCC)VP, of Programming. Their presentation, “Factors to Consider in "No-till and Low-till Gardening" was of special interest to our Silver Avenue gardeners as SJHS has recently changed to no-till with the option of individual gardeners to till their own plots.
Their presentation was extremely informative and lively as they shared their experiences and tips regarding how to maintain and sustain a low-till or no-till garden. They left us with much to research, study and think about.
FOLLOWING ARE A WEALTH OF INFORMATION AND LINKS PROVIDED BY TED AND ROD.
Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture
The story of my farm is how I took a severely degraded, low-profit operation that had been managed using the industrial production model and regenerated it into a healthy; profitable one.
In the everyday work of my farm, most of the decisions I make, in one way or another, are driven by the goal of continuing to grow and protect soil. I follow five principles that were developed by nature, over eons of time. They are the same anyplace in the world where the sun shines and plants grow. Gardeners, farmers, and ranchers around the world are using these principles to grow nutrient-rich, deep topsoil with healthy watersheds.
The five principles of soil health are:
1. Limited disturbance. Limit mechanical, chemical, and physical disturbance of soil. Tillage destroys soil structure. It is constantly tearing apart the "house" that nature builds to protect the living organisms in the soil that create natural soil fertility. Soil structure includes aggregates and pore spaces (openings that allow water to infiltrate the soil). The result of tillage is soil erosion, the wasting of a precious natural resource. Synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides all have negative impacts on life in the soil as well.
2. Armor. Keep soil covered at all times. This is a critical step toward rebuilding soil health. Bare soil is an anomaly-nature always works to cover soil. Providing a natural" coat of armor" protects soil from wind and water erosion while providing food and habitat for macro- and microorganisms. It will also prevent moisture evaporation and germination of weed seeds.
3. Diversity. Strive for diversity of both plant and animal species. Where in nature does one find monocultures? Only where humans have put them! When I look out over a stretch of native prairie, one of the first things I notice is the incredible diversity. Grasses, forbs, legumes, and shrubs all live and thrive in harmony with each other. Think of what each of these species has to offer. Some have shallow roots, some deep, some fibrous, some tap. Some are high-carbon, some are low-carbon, some are legumes. Each of them plays a role in maintaining soil health. Diversity enhances ecosystem function.
4. Living roots. Maintain a living root in soil as long as possible throughout the year. Take a walk in the spring and you will see green plants poking their way through the last of the snow. Follow the same path in late fall or early winter and you will still see green, growing plants, which is a sign of living roots. Those living roots are feeding soil biology by providing its basic food source: carbon. This biology, in turn, fuels the nutrient cycle that feeds plants. Where I live in central North Dakota, we typically get our last spring frost around mid-May and our first fall frost around mid-September. I used to think those 120 days were my whole growing season. How wrong I was. We now plant fall-seeded biennials that continue growing into early winter and break dormancy earlier in the spring, thus feeding soil organisms at a time when the cropland used to lie idle.
5. Integrated animals. Nature does not function without animals. It is that simple. Integrating livestock onto an operation provides many benefits. The major benefit is that the grazing of plants stimulates the plants to pump more carbon into the soil. This drives nutrient cycling by feeding biology. Of course, it also has a major, positive impact on climate change by cycling more carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it into the soil. And if you want a healthy, functioning ecosystem on your farm or ranch, you must provide a home and habitat for not only farm animals but also pollinators, predator insects, earthworms, and all of the microbiology that drive ecosystem function.
SOURCE: pp. 1 – 3.
Other Recommended Sources:
Regeneration of Our Lands: A Producer’s Perspective | Gabe Brown | TEDxGrandForks 2016 16:24
We can grow healthy soil via biology not chemistry.
Gabe Brown provides five principles developed by nature to grow and protect soil: limited disturbance, armor, diversity, living roots, and integrated animals. This is the back-story!
Dirt begins with sand, silt and/or clay. No dirt is completely devoid of life. Land that has been farmed using industrial agricultural techniques is highly damaged. The ratio of fungi : bacteria is about 1:100. Because it has been regularly tilled, it is basically devoid of structure, has very low levels of organic material and has very limited capacity to absorb water. Gabe Brown’s farm had 1.7 – 1.9 percent organic matter when he took it over in 1991. (The North Dakota prairies are estimated to have had 7 – 8 percent organic matter prior to the introduction of the plow). It was able to absorb ½ inch of rain in an hour. Typical US soil composition is 50% mineral (sand/silt/clay) 25% water, 15% air, and 10% organic matter. His farm had received regular applications of fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides. It had been regularly tilled and used to grow monocultural crops.
Gabe slowly changed the way that he cared for the land. By 2012, the organic content of his soil had risen to 5.3 percent organic material on his croplands and 7.3 percent on his pastures. The water infiltration rate had improved so that the soil could absorb 1” of rain in 9 seconds and a second inch in 16 seconds. It was able to absorb 8” in an hour. The fungi : bacteria ratio had changed to between 1: 1 to 5:1 (the ratio in a forest is 100 : 1). He does not till it, does not apply fertilizer or insecticides, and rarely uses herbicides. It is possible to push a 4 foot metal rod into his soil up to your knuckles. His farm has been heavily researched by the scientific community and this is their understanding of what has enabled this transformation.
It begins by introducing plants. They are understood to be “biological primers” of this transformation. Each plant will use photosynthesis to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and then strip out the oxygen and release what soil microbes do not need into the atmosphere. It uses the carbon that it has absorbed to make sugar. It exudes this sugar from its roots to attract soil microbes that can provide it with the minerals that it requires. It exudes different sugar compositions to attract the specific kind of microbe that it needs. Some of these microbes make nitrogen available to the plant to fertilize it. It is estimated the as much as 60% of the soil bacteria can fix nitrogen from the air.
The bacteria are nourished by the sugar and use some of it to create a carbon-rich glue so that they can bind themselves to the surface of a soil molecule. (These aggregates are especially useful in creating porous structures in clay, which are long rod shaped molecules which when laid side-by-side make a structure that water cannot readily penetrate. The aggregates jumble them up into snowflake like structures that are more porous). They begin to create soil aggregates of irregular shapes, which create cavities in these aggregates for the absorption and transfer of water and air.
The plant will also attract mycorrhizal fungi, which attach themselves to the plant roots by piercing them with tiny thread-like hyphae. The fungi now are capable of transmitting water and minerals to the plant from long distances in exchange for being fed carbon-based sugars. The arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi is a key player in nutrient transfer in the soil. The fungi also use some of the sugar to make and secrete a glue like substance called glomalin, which helps them bind soil particles and bacterial aggregates into even larger and irregular shaped aggregates. This glue lasts for 26 days and then deteriorates so fungi are continually producing more of it. This greatly increases the pore space within the aggregates for water and air circulation. Indeed, it is in these pore spaces that most soil microbes live and move on a thin film of water.
There are billions of different soil organisms. Bacteria are the most numerous. A bacterium lives about one hour and can divide every 20 minutes (which means that in just 7 hours one bacterium can generate 2,097,152 bacteria). Fungi are the next most numerous soil organism. There are also earthworms, soil invertebrates, soil insects, protozoa (one-celled organisms), nematodes (tiny worms) and micro arthropods (related to crusteceans and insects). A specific kind of bacteria is attracted because it can make a needed mineral available to the plant. (Both bacteria and fungi secrete enzymes that release minerals from clay, silt and sand as well as from stones and actual bedrock). However, the bacteria may not provide it in a useable form for the plant until it is eaten by another microbe which can digest it into a useable form. The plant will emit a specific sugar to attract the needed soil organism for that purpose. The plant intelligence that has evolved over the eons is remarkable. The community of microbes that develops and multiplies in this rhizosphere of healthy soil is very robust and the plants thrive under these conditions. The nutrients that the plant needs are mediated by biology in order for the plant to be able to use them. As the various microbes are eaten by other microbes, the carbon in their bodies remains ever deeper in the soil and eventually is transformed into humin which is a semi-permanent sequestered deposit which is stable so long as it remains in the soil.
Each plant is a biological primer of this process. Microbial life is strengthen when a polyculture of plants grows in a place. Plant diversity fosters microbial diversity. Planting a variety of plants such as cool and warm weather grasses, cool and warm weather broadleaves, nitrogen fixing legumes, brassicas (including nitrogen accumulating daikon radishes), and forbs each attract different microbes to meet their needs. The wide array of leaf sizes and shapes, plant height and breadth combine to maximize the collection of solar energy, which powers the process of photosynthesis. The planting of annual and perennial plants ensures that, as the nutrients released by plant and root decomposition, they are readily available to the surrounding living plants for their use. By maximizing this energy collection and the formation of organic material, the overall community of plants transforms subsoil into top soil at an accelerated rate. Fungi enabled the evolution of bushes and trees by making minerals and water available in sufficient quantities to support larger plants.
Gabe brown plants cover crops that have between 7 and 30 varieties of seed. In these living fields, he then uses a seed drill to plant specific cash crops in this living mat of plants and their roots find their way into a teaming community of living soil. He also grows these cover crops to feed cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens. A form of intense, short-term grazing is employed so that only a portion of the cover crop is eaten. The rest of the plant is trampled, the soil surface is disturbed, and urine and feces are added. This grazing helps keep the plants in a vegetative state rather than proceeding to form seeds. In response, the plants pulse large quantities of carbon into the rhizosphere, which further stimulates the microbial life and contributes to the formation of more top soil. The animals and crops growing in this healthy community of soil have incorporated nutrient dense food, which enters the bodies of humans who benefit from the food grown in this regenerated soil.
This approach to caring for the land has many advantages: better water infiltration, better soil aggregation, and increased organic content in the soil. Always having the soils covered shields against evaporation and erosion, regulates soils temperature, increases microbial life, and suppresses weeds. The elimination of tilling and the application of chemicals reduces equipment, labour and fuel costs dramatically.
Tilling the soil would destroy this biological achievement and the application of fertilizers or herbicides/pesticides/fungicides/insecticides would seriously weaken it. Tilling enables rapidly reproducing r-strategist bacteria, which have rapid metabolic rates to explode in numbers. They quickly eat the glues and destroy the soil aggregates. The soil should always be covered. If live vegetation is not possible in certain situations, plant residue should be applied to cover the break. This armouring of the soil ensures that the living soil is protected on a continuous basis.
The knowledge that has been gained by the study of Gabe Brown’s farm and the many other case studies identified in his book and Kristin Ohlson and Josh Tickell’s book should stimulate each of us to reexamine our gardening practices to incorporate as many of these insights as possible. Operating in an urban environment presents many challenges and barriers to a fuller adoption of this knowledge, but we have much to gain in our efforts to employ sustainable practices.
I encourage you to read these books yourself so that you can better absorb and understand the wisdom of the plant world. Practices such as these, if employed on a global scale, could sequester an enormous amount of the carbon, which is driving the sixth extinction episode on our home planet.
Special thanks go to Lori Graham, our guest speaker for the evening. Lori is a Master Composter & Master Gardener. She spoke with passion about why and how we should be composting and touched on Chop & Drop as well. Our gardeners have been experimenting with these methods so this was of special interest to all who attended. Thank you as well Lori for the lovely Green Action Centre brochure and the following printout.
6. Gardener practices to promote community, gardener enjoyment and safety:
a. Respect our gardens by always using garden pathways and not trespassing
on other member garden plots.
b. For the safety of children, please ensure water containers and barrels are
c. Dogs, cats, and other pets are welcome on the grassed perimeter area of
the community gardens and roadways, but not within garden pathways or
your garden plot.
d. Pathways are to be kept open and unobstructed. You are encouraged to
keep the pathway alongside your garden plot weed free. Placing mulch, like
straw or lawn clippings, on the pathway can help.
e. White stakes with the red tops are the property of the SJHS and not be
f. You are encouraged to enclose your garden with a rope. Ropes can be
attached to the white corner posts of your plot. Remove ropes at the end of
the growing season.
g. Take your garbage home.
7. Management of Garden Plots:
a. The Garden Committee is responsible for allocating plots to returning and
new gardeners. A waiting list is maintained.
b. A maximum of two (2) plots will be assigned to a family. Additional plots
can be assigned for one (1) year should they be available after the waiting
list has been exhausted.
c. Returning gardeners in good standing will retain the same plot from year to
d. Gardeners cannot re-assign their plots.
8. Finally, above all – practice respect for ourselves and others during our time at
the garden. Reflection, meditation, socializing, fun, flowers, and food – some of
the reasons so many of us enjoy spending time at this garden.
Hello St James Gardeners!
Best of the Holiday Season to Everyone!
Gardening Season is around the corner!
This email is being sent on behalf of the Garden Committee of the St James Horticultural Society.
The all-volunteer committee directs and manages the Gardens.
This email is to notify you of some of the committee works and requirements of the last 2 months.
The committee hopes to increase management at the gardens and have all plots rented and tended in 2023.
Therefore, here is some of the information and important dates we want you to know.
Information Regarding Gardening in 2023 at Silver and Albany
1. All plots have been renumbered. All plot locations remain the same. No plots have been changed.
Each plot is numbered and all plots are now considered whole plots.
Renters with double plots still have double plots - now each plot is individually numbered.
Why? To make it clearer to find plots and keep track of them.
2. The rental fee for plots increases from $25 to $30 per plot. This includes the water fee. People renting multiple plots will pay $30 per plot. St James Horticultural membership fees remain the same at $15 and are due. Each adult gardener is to pay a horticultural membership.
Why? To prevent losses in a tight budget, to do more projects, and to provide fairness as previously half plots costs actually supplemented the full plots. To make fees clearer and simpler.
3. Deadlines to keep in mind.
Please respond if you are returning to the garden by January 15th, 2023. (Sorry about the short notice, but the committee wants to make sure all plots can be filled and this means they need to know which plots are available)
If you are returning this year after payment is complete, you may access your garden as the pathways are intact. If spring is early, we can put in those cold-loving crops such as peas, onions and lettuce.
All fees are due by February 15, 2023. The most efficient way to pay membership and garden fees is directly by e-transfer to email@example.com Cheques are payable to The St James Horticultural Society and mailed to Box 42086, 1881 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3J 3X7. Cash is no longer accepted due to all the work involved for volunteers to handle it. Sorry about any inconvenience. Thank you for your support.
Look for more emails in the upcoming months as the committee will keep you informed.
Hard to believe that our final flower arranging for the 2022/23 season has concluded. With books as our theme, we've interpreted a variety of genres this year.
Thanks to Sharon for sharing her research on the book and for interpreting "War & Peace" with a duo arrangement which demonstrated tension.
Due to the storm we missed a meeting so tonight was the catch-up with two workshop arrangements: Why The Caged Bird Sings and Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank.
All & all, our flowers told many stories this year. Next year "Sayings" will direct our approach. Thanks Pat for agreeing to work our brainstorming suggestions into a new program. Your work is appreciated.
We finished off tonight with a bit of a social time. Thanks to all for the goodies & beverages. Great year ladies!
Best wishes for a wonderful summer.
"Diary of a Young Girl" (Anne Frank) - demo
A vertical arrangement with a water component. Material from any source.
Demo by Pam
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" - demo
An enclosed arrangement with a bird. Demo by Pat
"Gates of Europe" - (history of Ukraine) - workshop
An arrangement that illustrates the title with blue and yellow predominating. Material from any source.
There was much to appreciate at the St. Vital Agricultural Society's Annual Display and Fair. Along with the many categories of judged entries, the exhibits and displays, the demonstrations, and the varied vendors, there was no shortage of things to do and see. Congratulations to our own Lois Ross on her success at the flower arranging competition. Compliments go to the SVAS for a spectacular annual display and fair.
The Annual General Meeting was held on November 15th at 7:30 pm at our usual meeting place, the STEVENSON-BRITTANIA SCHOOL, located at 1777 Silver Avenue. Many were in attendance, and it proved to be a wonderful success.
The President's report was read by Gayle L. as the president Jennifer R. was ill and not able to attend. The committee reports followed, and after a little productive debate, all reports were accepted as read.
The Garden Committee unveiled new and exciting changes which are happening at our Silver Avenue Gardens. The gardens have been re-parceled into 30' X 30' plots resulting in 226 plots available for our gardeners. Rest assured however, if you gardened last year, you would retain the same plot in 2023, though the plot number may have changed. This change will give you total control of your own plot. Whether you chose to till or not for example. The fees have changed to reflect the new plot sizes and the increase in our costs. The fee for each 30' X 30' plot is now $30. which includes the water fee. As membership in the SJHS is a requirement, there is also an additional membership fee of $15. Please contact us by email with any questions.
Election of directors was held. Several positions needed to be filled. We had volunteers interested in filling these positions. There were no additional nominations, so positions were filled by the volunteers.
Positions filled are as follows:
Gayle Leverton moved up from 1st Vice President to President.
Iris Ingram moved up from 2nd Vice President to 1st Vice President.
Al Robinson was elected to the 2nd Vice President position.
Val Carter was elected as Treasurer.
Natalie Turner was elected as Secretary.
George Ingram and Nathanael Olson were elected as Garden Committee Co-Chairs.
Just a reminder; August 31st is the last date membership is valid according to the constitution, so membership has been due for quite some time.
As has been usual at our AGM, the SJHS Flower Arrangers demonstrated a Christmas flower arrangement. Materials and assistance were provided to interested members to replicate these cute little teacup arrangements to take home.
Thank you to all who donated dainties and snacks for our coffee table.
Next meeting of the SJHS is January 17th, 2023. All are welcome!
Presidents Report AGM 2021/22
To the Members of the
St. James Horticultural Society
This has been a year of many changes as the SJHS welcomed 4 new board members and a small but mighty team of volunteers worked to provide programming for general meetings, wrote grants, collaborated with community members on garden projects, prepared the gardens for the season and worked on projects with the goal of sustainability.
I would like to introduce our board of volunteers that coordinated the various activities of the SJHS this year: Jenn Anderson as President, Brenda Lucas as Past President, Gayle Leverton as first Vice President, Iris Ingram as second Vice President, Sharon Rude as Treasurer, Linda Wall as (interim) Garden Manager, Sandy Venton as chair of Programming, Leah Starwiarski as chair of Membership, Linda Rudachek as chair of Communication, Natalie Turner recently took on the position of (Interim) secretary, and Pat Roberts as chair of Flower Arranging.
We would also like to thank the volunteers that have served on the garden committee and others who have contributed time and energy to the numerous garden projects this year; a lot of exciting things happened because of your hard work.
General meetings took place online during the months of February, March and in October we had our first in person meeting; subjects included, Shade Garden Planting by Sandy Venton, Gardening on a Shoestring by Linda Wall and My Favourite Plants by Sandy Venton.
In the spring the MLA of St. James, Adrien Sala reached out to the SJHS asking us to provide garden planning consultation in an exciting community garden project at the site of the Deer Lodge Community Centre. Linda Wall and Sandy Venton provided a plan that helped them lay the groundwork for a community garden behind the DLCC. If you go to the DLCC’s Instagram, you can see what they have achieved so far, and we look forward to seeing how their project develops going forward.
We raised $350.00 from our annual Glenlea Plant Sale in the spring, and we thank everyone who volunteered to coordinate the sale and to all who purchased plants.
There was a late start this year with gardening due to weather and I think we were all concerned about what our harvests would look like; it was exciting to see gardeners use their creativity and share knowledge to make the most out of our short growing season.
We partnered with the Leftovers Foundation to donate excess garden produce to an organization in our neighbourhood, Turning Leaf Support Services to provide fresh food to folks that are food insecure. This was a great success, and they look forward to working with us in years to come.
2022 was the Year of the Garden and sustainability was one of our focuses. Planting a shelter belt, experimenting with composting projects and providing workshops on sustainable gardening practices were all part of this endeavour.
We received two grants this year; a TD Friends of the Environment grant for $7,975.00 and another from the Manitoba Community Development Green Team for $2,672.00 that allowed us to hire Matthew Podolsky to help with taking care of the grounds around the gardens.
There have been many challenges over the last few years and as a society we have had to make a lot of adjustments and changes to the way we operate after a pandemic which changed the way we gather and operate. We appreciate the patience of members as we as a board make these changes.
Among the changes were that we did not have an exhibition due to concerns about the cost of running one and concerns about not having enough attendees; we are looking at some exciting options for collaborating with other societies to provide members and gardeners with a venue for exhibiting their plants, crafts, photography and other goods. We will provide more information as plans unfold.
Thank you for your support as members of the St. James Horticultural Society!
Jennifer Anderson President St. James Horticultural Society
This past summer I spent about 30 hours pulling thistle along the banks of Truro Creek. I worked on the area adjacent to Wightman Green at the corner of Linwood and Ness. Wightman Green is the park I adopted 3 years ago. By adopting a park you can help take care of it in a variety of ways. I chose to establish 3 beds of native perennials. I sourced these from plants growing in my own garden. One of them being Swamp Milkweed. While it is a beautiful and hardy plant, it is not particularly drought tolerant therefore not best suited for the middle of the park. I contacted Rod Penner, the City Naturalist. He agreed they would be suitable for naturalizing on the creek bank. His associate dug 12 holes and I planted and watered. They were large transplants and thrived. That very summer they were covered in Monarch caterpillars.
By the next summer,2022,with the help of adequate rainfall, the park gardens were well established. I turned my sights on the ugly thistle patches that border the park and the creek. It didn’t make sense to cultivate a lovely garden and leave invasive thistle next to it. Ironically named Canada Thistle , it is not indigenous to Canada but introduced from Europe hundreds of years ago. It is invasive and crowds out native species that provide a better food source for pollinators and birds. I again contacted Rod and a plan was made to pull the thistle then replant with native species. The thistle should be pulled for 3 years to weaken it enough that the new plants stand a chance. It is best to start pulling early July when it starts to bud.
Wearing a thick pair of gloves and long sleeves, I chose a shady spot to begin my labor. To my surprise , thistle pulls out quite easily using a two handed tug. Of course you don’t get all the roots , that’s why it must be pulled for three years. Every pull weakens it a little more. I found it strangely satisfying yanking at the bristle stems watching the pile of dead thistle grow. Until my back told me that was enough for the day. One day some one from Parks and Open spaces showed up with a couple of young volunteers from the Boys and Girls Club. They worked hard and cleared a lot of thistle , returning later to truck it away.
After clearing thistle from the park edges, I moved further along the creek working on it until mid September. Except for one small area I cleared the creek bed of thistle between Linwood and Winchester. A small area relative to the length of the creek but that is what one person can do. I imagine great progress if a few others pitched in , for even a few hours. I felt I had contributed to the improvement and enhancement of the creek bank habitat. Once the new planting goes in it will become a habitat where, butterflies and birds will thrive and it makes the walk by the park so much more enjoyable.
I never realized that the public could work so closely with the City. That we could have such an important role to play in the state of our green spaces. A better way to live and enjoy your community is by being active in the improvement rather than to complain about the lack of maintenance. If you would to help in the effort to restore Truro Creek to a healthy natural state please feel free to pitch in and pull. It would be wonderful to have more people involved as there is so much that could be accomplished. You can contact myself, Kathryn, through the St. James Horticultural Society at firstname.lastname@example.org or come to the next General Meeting Feb.21. and talk to me. I am the Hospitality Person so I’ll be hanging out by the coffee urn.
Without the fine work of the SJHS and notably Peter de Wet - the Living Prairie Museum site at 2795 Ness Ave. might have been paved over. The efforts of SJHS in collaboration with the International Biological Program worked to secure protected status for the Tallgrass Prairie at Living Prairie Museum (1968-1976).
Members of SJHS worked with Dr Jennifer Walker (botanist from U of MB) to survey the site and develop the data to persuade St James City Council (yes this was before Unicity) to set the area aside as a nature preserve rather than build the proposed housing development. Former SJHS president Pete de Wet made an impassioned presentation before the council to preserve this rare habitat for posterity. Mr. de Wet stressed that this sliver of the prairie was the least we could leave our grandchildren. Over his long life, he must have seen some profound changes. I’m not sure how much prairie there was in 1909 when he arrived in Winnipeg from South Africa. But Mr. Wet and members of the SJHS felt it was important enough to work hard to save it. The Free Press reports the motion passed by a single vote (1971) and the first action taken by the City Naturalists was a to burn the prairie. There was outrage and a lack of understanding that tallgrass prairie ecology depends on fire and other disturbances. From the photo below it appears a fragile Mr. de Wet then 93, was at Major Juba’s side at the Living Prairie’s grand opening in 1976. Mr. De Wet passed two years later, and I like to think that the Living Prairie accomplishment capped off his gardening life. Fern mentioned she recalls Mr. de Wet. She told me when SJHS used to rotate meetings at members’ homes and Mr. De Wet looked out her kitchen window only to report he identified at least 15 different trees and shrubs. Sounds like a gardener’s gardener to me.
Given Winnipeg’s current challenges and the greater challenges presented by the climate crisis I like to tap into SJHS history to recall how through our history we SJHS members have worked in our small corner to benefit our community. And if it is true what one of my hort professor like to remind us that - “The first law of ecology is how everything is connected to everything else”, then our ecological efforts at the Silver Garden – whether it is our soil conservation efforts, planting a wind break, or planting a pollinator garden are part of SJHS’s long history of working to help connect us to everything.
Jacobus Petrus “Pete” de Wet (1883-1978)
Journalist, horticulturist, community activist.
Born at Cape Town, South Africa on 3 February 1883, he came to Winnipeg in May 1909. During the First World War, he served in France with the 90th Winnipeg Rifles. After his return from military service, he worked as a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and provincial correspondent for the Canadian Mining Journal. He was Secretary of the Manitoba Chamber of Mines and editor of its journal, The Precambrian. During the Second World War, he served with the St. John Ambulance Brigade in Winnipeg. He held honourary life memberships in the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Manitoba Horticultural Association, and St. James Horticultural Society, and was a member of the Canukeena Club, Winnipeg Horticultural Society (President, 1957), Manitoba Association of Prospectors and Developers, and Manitoba Progressive Association. He died at the Deer Lodge Hospital on 27 August 1978.
Live the Garden Life, a legacy of the Year of the Garden 2022, is a three-year public campaign developed by Gardens Canada to celebrate Canada’s Garden Culture.
Canadians of all ages, and in all parts of the country at home and in their community, visit gardens, and are positively affected by the many benefits gardens provide. This is your invitation to Live the Garden Life and Make a Difference!
We are thrilled to announce the launch of the much-anticipated Gardens Canada / Live the Garden Life website! Get ready to immerse yourself with enhanced functionality and an updated design. Our website also features a wide range of new resources and information to help you live your best garden life. There are many ways for everyone to Live the Garden Life and Make a Difference. Check out our new website and let us know what you think!
Join in on the celebration of Canada's garden culture during Garden Days, happening from May 19th to June 18th, sponsored by Scotts Canada! Take advantage of this opportunity to plan and enjoy garden-related activities of your choice!
Every week, you have an opportunity to participate in the Garden Days Contest and will have a chance to WIN a Scotts Canada gift set valued at over $150!
Mark your calendars and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature!
National Garden Day is approaching on June 17th, with this year’s focus is on inclusion and reconciliation. This is the perfect time to celebrate our garden culture and its impact on our country's development and identity. Share with us how you plan to celebrate this day, whether it's in your garden, business or community! #NationalGardenDay
On May 17th via a Tourism Industry Association of Canada ( TIAC) webinar for its members, we will be discussing the exciting opportunity of garden tourism within the tourism industry. Public gardens and garden destinations can attract more visitors and boost economic growth. From November 1 to 4, 2023, in Victoria, BC we will also be hosting the International Garden Tourism Conference. www.gardentourism.org
Garden Hall of Fame
Explore the Garden Hall of Fame section on our website to learn more about Canada's Garden Moments and the individuals who have made significant contributions to it. Be the first to find out who the first Garden Hall of Famers are by tuning in on National Garden Day, June 17th. Stay tuned for this exciting announcement!
Register your Garden Hero for 2023! Help us celebrate the inspiring individuals who are improving our garden culture and communities. If you know someone who deserves recognition for their contributions to your garden community, make them your Garden Hero and register them so all of Canada can celebrate them!
We are delighted to announce that our esteemed founding sponsors of the Year of the Garden, Proven Winners and Scotts Canada, have returned to support the Live the Garden Life Program! If any of you are interested in becoming a sponsor or promotional partner for Live the Garden Life and would like to associate your brand with the celebration of Canada's garden culture, contact Brent Gavin at email@example.com to learn more about this exciting opportunity. We would also like to extend our gratitude to our previous supporters for helping make it all possible.
In collaboration with Communities in Bloom, we would like to remind everyone to embrace the colour theme of the year in 2023 by planting purple in their gardens. From lilacs to coneflowers, eggplants to barberries, and from coast to coast, let's Live the Garden Life and plant purple!
Let’s stay connected!
We'd love to stay in touch with you beyond this newsletter! Be sure to follow us on our social media platforms for more updates and to engage with our growing community.
The SJHS Grant Working Group is proud to announce that we have received a grant of $7975.00 for our project called, “Regenerating a 100-Year-Old Community Garden”.
Stay tuned for: several compost bins to be constructed in the garden, a Shelter Belt to be planted on the North West corner of the garden in late May and several Pop Up Garden Educational Workshops to be held at our Education Centre, under our tree Canopy.
You might notice the cute, TD Logo that we are now sporting on our newsletter, social media and website. We are proud to recognize the TD FEF organization for their support of the SJHS.
The ST. JAMES HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY provides occasions for interested individuals to compare notes and share information through its programs. We look forward to seeing you at our monthly meetings.
We endeavour to make our meetings interesting and would appreciate suggestions for future meetings.
If you are interested in horticulture and would like to be part of our program, please contact the Program Chairperson.
General meetings of the ST. JAMES HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY are held the 3rd Tuesday in the months of October, November, January, February, March and April at 7:30 p.m. on the second floor of
the STEVENSON-BRITTANIA SCHOOL, located at 1777 Silver Avenue. Elevator service is available. Parking is available on the front street and back lot.
The FLOWER ARRANGING GROUP meet at 7:30 pm the first Wednesday in the months of September, October, November and December, February, March, April, May and June at the office of Adrien Sala, MLA.
The St. James Horticultural Society, the second oldest horticultural society in Manitoba, was organized in November, 1914 by 13 St. James Gardeners. This was the year of the outbreak of the First World War when the call went out that all should supply their own individual needs with Victory Gardens and many plots were put under cultivation during the war years.
In November 1929, the Society applied to the Manitoba Government for a Certificate of Organization under the Manitoba Horticultural Societies Act, and received Certificate No. 8, dated December 1, 1929.
Around 1938, the St. James municipal council allowed the Society the use of a tract of land in the north part of the city which was divided into parcels of 30 feet by 60 feet for annual competition by members. This tract has been under cultivation right up to the present time.