Thank you so much to our Lois Grieger for her lively presentation "Planting a Pollinator Garden in the Tallgrass Ecosystem". Lois is with the Living Prairie Museum, and it was very interesting hearing about the connection between the museum and the St. James Horticultural Society. Please view the historical perspective Lois provided us with on this website. She passed out lists of pollinators which I have added at the bottom of this post. Lois shared with us information regarding an upcoming virtual summit (Xerces Pollinator e-conference) and encouraged us all to attend. Please see the information included on this page. Thank you again so much Lois for a very informative and entertaining presentation.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
The Society has held a show in every year since its inception, a record that its members are notably proud of. During the bad years of the depression of the 1930's, the Society's funds were so low that paid-up memberships for the year were given in place of prize money at its shows.
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.