It is that time of year when we are getting antsy to begin working in our garden as spring is in the air. Some days, at least and on others, winter keeps reminding us that we live in the North.

There are many changes taking place in the OHA at the present moment and many of these affect you and your societies. Please share this news with your society members so they are aware of what is going on.

Convention will be held virtually this year. Information will be posted on the gardenontario web page in the next days and weeks so please continue checking for updates. Attending the convention virtually will cost the participant $100. But that includes all of the speakers, video tours, garden walk tours, vendors and exhibitors, Friday night District event including the silent auction, Saturday evening Awards Presentations and Key Note Speaker as well as the OHA AGM. There will be live speakers and some pre-taped sessions as well. Normally, you would choose a morning and an afternoon session however, this year they are trying to get permission from each of the speakers and workshops to have them taped so that they can be maintained on a platform for a specific period of time so that you can go back anytime even after the convention and visit all sessions and  listen to the other speakers/ workshops that you might have missed.

Along with the Virtual Convention also comes the COMPETITIONS. These will be posted soon and you can upload your own entries to the webpage. This year will just be for “Bragging Rights” as no cash prizes will be awarded. You can enter your floral arrangements, artwork, photographs, short stories, poems all by uploading them to the correct web page for judging,  but NO CASH PRIZES.

Please check gardenontario frequently for updates!

Another contest is in the works and will be posted soon so watch for that as well. The winners of the Valentines colouring contest were voted on by members on the Facebook Page. Did know that the majority of the entrants were adults? Some pretty creative colouring took place as well, so watch for the new contest coming soon.

Garden Ontario Web Pages     

Every society has a web page on GardenOntario.org   Unfortunately, only a couple of ours in D14 are maintained by their societies. Dryden does a beautiful job with theirs. I ask that each of your societies recruit a member to take on the responsibility of maintaining your site. I had to set one up for everyone when the old site was being shut down and only a couple of you have followed up and kept them up to date. This is especially important as when people move around Ontario  as they often look for a Horticultural Society near them if they move and yours may not have current or up-to-date contact information on it. Once you have someone willing to take it on please send an email to michele@gardenontario.org to get yourself a password to your webpage so you can log in at any time to update, add photos or other meeting information. Speaking of Michele she is our new webmaster at the OHA. She has taken over from April Davis who resigned her position at the end of April. Should you need to reach the webmaster her  contact address is above.

Gardenontario  Email Addresses                                                                                                                          
If you have a gardenontario email address you are being asked to change it to a gmail and notify me when it is done so we can free up some speed on our page that is being slowed by more than 300 unused email addresses. I have identified a few in our area and have notified those people.

You will be required to complete regular reports (including your audited financials) beginning this fall in order to receive your grant from omafra. An email was sent out to each society and it included a checklist. Please be sure that this is sorted out within your society as to who is completing it. Your annual report will be due to OMAFRA on December 6th and will be completed via TPON.

Additionally, every society should have received their extra $1,140 last month. This was the money designated Covid Recovery Fund as societies could not hold fundraisers last year due to being shut down because of Covid. This is a “one-time” benefit sent out by OMAFRA.

Year Of The Garden 2022    
The Canadian Gardening Council has designated the year 2022 as the Year of the Garden. (Michel Gauthier) is in conversation with the government to request an official designation by the government. Societies are being asked to write a letter of support to your MP’s so this will be responded to positively on the parliament floor.

Further the CGC is planning on creating a legacy program of 100 nominees for Year of the Garden Hall of Fame across Canada. On the Garden Hero Day, Societies can name their garden hero and a certificate can be presented to them by their Society. This is still all in the planning stages but they are asking us to start thinking of ways to celebrate within our societies.  The OHA is looking at possibly creating a special grant for next year to celebrate.

District  Service Award
District 14 has a service award that is to be given out each year but we never hear from our societies as to who you would like to nominate for the award. This happens in many Districts so province has now decided that each society should review the requirements of the District Service Award in your yellow awards booklet and submit ONE name from your society to the District Director between November 1 and January 20th.  A deserving candidate will then be chosen and the award will be presented at a Fall meeting each year.

The Trillium                                                                                                                                                        

 The Trillium is published 4 times per year and emailed to the identified email address in each society. That person is supposed to email it out to all members of your society so it can be read by every member. The Trillium is composed of articles and news submitted by all members and societies. If your society is interested in submitted an article and/or photos  as to what your society is doing or even some gardening advice or experiences it is welcomed by the editor. Ask at a Society meeting if there is a member that might be interested in submitting these articles. I am sure  you will find a willing volunteer who enjoys writing.  I am happy to see that Dryden Society submits an article for every edition. I know that some of you other societies have some pretty unique contests, workshops, fundraisers, parades etc so you should really find a member that would write an article about these events and submit them to the Trillium for others in Ontario to read about the uniqueness of our District in the North.

These are the deadlines for articles:

March 1- Spring Edition 
June 1- Summer Edition 
September 1 – Autumn Edition
December 1- Winter  Edition

Articles should be sent to editor@gardenontario.org or can be mailed to OHA Trillium Editor c/o Laura Masters,  2986 Wessel Drive RR#1 St. Catherines, ON  L2R6P7  (Guidelines can be found on the GardenOntario Webpage under Trillium ) ANYONE CAN SEND IN AN ARTICLE.

Society Dues                                                                                                                                                         
The OHA is changing the billing date for Society Dues and Insurance to May 15th beginning in 2021.  So, this year on May 15, 2021 you will be receiving your invoice for dues and insurance owed to the OHA.  However, it will also show a credit on this year’s invoice. Back in 2016 an error was made as a new treasurer came aboard during the year and dues were apparently billed and paid twice that year. So Societies that are in Good Standing will receive a credit back for the year 2016  that will show on this year’s invoice.

Benefits to Socities                                                                                                                                             
There are many benefits to being a member of the OHA and of local Societies. These are just a few that you can take advantage of:

Perron’s Seed Catalogue ( formerly Dominion Seeds)  When placing an order there is a spot on the Order form for an OHA member to receive a 10% discount   You need to use for the discount code.

Canada Post When mailing parcels you can use the this only gives you a discount on mailing parcels not stamps or anything else.

Your membership card: Some garden centres offer you a 10% discount when making purchases of regular priced items from the garden centre. Ask beforehand if they offer it and have your card with you as they will want to see it.

Free training sessions:
Due to Covid and the fact that many groups must offer education, there are a number of groups offering free sessions and workshops at the present time. You can do this individually or you can check and have a workshop organized for your society. 
*The Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association has offered to be free speakers at meetings.
*The Toronto Master Gardeners has made the same offer and they also have a number of free virtual advice clinics, workshops and presentations being offered on their web page.       
*Manitoba Horticultural Association is also offering a free Speaker Series and they are open for registration on their Facebook Page under Speaker Series.

Items for your consideration:

Director Position: I have enjoyed my term as your District Director. It has been a learning curve and it seems that there have been so many changes and challenges that the time has passed very quickly. I will be looking for someone to take over next year, so, if you think you might be interested please give me a call and I can talk to you about it. There have been many changes due to Covid and also due to budget cuts so there are only two trips to meetings per year and two (or more if needed will be done virtually). You need to dedicate at least the four weekends from Friday thru to about noon on Sunday. You will meet other directors and create a new group of friends from across Ontario. You  sit on other committees in addition to your Director Position and there again you meet a number of new like minded people. These meetings are in addition to the four weekends but are done regularly by phone calls with your committee. The opportunities are endless as long as you have the desire to learn and share and the time to give. Give me a call to discuss this opportunity  Sandra 827-8971

Meetings: District 14 is the ONLY district that only meets once per year. Our AGM is held each spring hosted by one of our societies. However, all other Districts meet every fall after the OHA board meeting in October. We are being encouraged to hold a meeting each fall as well. I would like your feedback on this meeting. Would you travel if it was held in a central location. Would you prefer that this meeting be done virtually.

Some Districts do a meeting then a workshop. Others have a tour or contest, or entertainment, while others hold a dinner and awards session so that everyone gets time to mix and mingle and make friends with fellow gardeners from across the District.  Please email me as to what your preference would be.

As your District Director I am here to assist you in whatever way I can. Please give me a call to discuss any problems or concerns you might have or be having within your society or community.

Thanks for your time reading this newsletter. It was a great way to get a lot of information out to everyone in a timely fashion. Stay safe, follow the social distancing guidelines and stay healthy. I hope we are all able to get together this fall as we must hold our District Annual Meeting.

Happy Gardening everyone.


Please watch for an email from District 14 Secretary Shirley Robson announcing a webinar this Tuesday, May 18th. All members are invited to participate but you must register in advance. It is perfect timing with gardening right around the corner.


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