By Sharleen Pratt, Master Gardener in Training
As 2018 comes to a close, we can reflect on what was successful in our garden, what surprised us and what we would never do again! Gardening has evolved over the years and some of the trends come and go. There is new excitement from the younger generation who are embracing food gardening and are experimenting with more unusual fruits and vegetables, such as cucuzzi summer squash, kohlrabi and goji berry. Gardening without herbicides and growing for pollinators are both becoming increasingly more important. We are also realizing the value of trees and continue to encourage cities to increase their tree canopy. Community gardens are very popular and some are even grown for local food banks. I believe that gardening connects us all. It is a universal language and not only has wide ranging mental health benefits, but also improves physical fitness and connects us to the natural world!
For me gardening is my ‘happy place’. It can be very meditative. Whether I am splitting perennials, planting something new, discovering a plant that has appeared from seed or just plain weeding, time passes quickly and I always have a sense of ‘being in the moment’. Gardening enthusiasm is contagious and social media has helped to promote the joys of gardening.
One of the reasons many of us become Master Gardeners is because we love to learn. Together we volunteer several thousand hours to the cause of horticulture and gardening education. In 2018, the Peterborough and Area Master Gardeners gave advice at the Ecology Park, the Purple Onion Festival, the Farmers Market, the Activity Haven Garden Tour, the Peterborough Horticultural Society and the Peterborough Garden Show. We ran a successful Day for Gardeners in March, had an amazing Plant Sale in June and continue to run a gardening program for seniors at Princess Gardens.
We went on our annual bus trip, this time exploring parts of southwestern Ontario. We visited Vineland Research & Innovation Centre and learned all about their 49 Parallel roses. We had a tour of the ongoing St. Thomas Elevated Park Project, and learned all about the running of Orchard Hill Farms; a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. On Day 2, we were charmed by Will Heeman, manager and grandson at Heeman’s Garden Centre and visited Cuddy’s Farm Gardens for an interesting tour by some very enthusiastic students. We enjoyed lovely meals and as always came home with a busload of plants!
As we hibernate through the winter months, now is the time to browse through gardening magazines or seed catalogues, learn about new plants for 2019 and dream about those first warm spring days when the snowdrops, hellebores and crocus will wake up and say ‘here I am’.
We would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year! Talk to you again in 2019.