The Ottawa Horticultural Society was founded in 1892. It is a non-profit organization that exists to promote gardening and horticulture in Ottawa. This is done through a series of presentations, flower shows and workshops. The Society also carries out community beautification projects in Ottawa. CLICK HERE
Deep in Lanark County, in the township of Dalhousie, Pollock and Dora McDougall’s rose garden was the talk of the area. Located a hop, skip , and a jump near Wilson’s Corners 100’s of tourists used to visit this rose garden each year. Sadly, it no longer exists, as well as a floral garden that was once the talk of Carleton Place.
Located on the corner of Queen and Santiago Street was the McRae home and in that home lived a genius horticulturist named Benson/ Ben McRae. Ben worked as a conductor for the C.P.R. station that was just a hop skip and a jump on what is now called Coleman. In his spare time he bred gladiolus and became a name among gladioli societies in Canada and the United States.
He loved these flowers so much he decided to begin a project–hybridizing a gladiola. is experiments were so successful that he had new versions of them listed in catalogues. He won a silver medal for his breed and his bloom was accepted by every province in Canada. he won 15 firsts with it in Montreal shows and was grand champion of the Ottawa and District Gladioli Society. Carleton Place folks of a certain age on Queen and Santiago will remember the tremendous numbers of gladioli he used to grow there.
Mr. McRae developed three gladiolas. White “Gate of Pearls” and Pink “Gate of Pearls” and Patmos which was the wine colour in the middle. All these names were of biblical origins, but because they also lived on the 9th line of Beckwith– the Patmos name was also for the Patmos family who along with his family settled on 220 acres of Beckwith swampy land. But–when they arrived, or when they left, or where they went, is not known. The Man who Disappeared– Stories of Dr. G. E. Kidd
So what happened to all these gladiolas? Eventually after years they developed soft rot bacteria which causes them to completely break down. Neck rot is also more likely to occur with high plant density, and they no longer exist. I don’t know about you but this year I am planting a lot of gladiolas in memory of Mr. McRae. Can you imagine what a tourist attraction we would become if there were gladiolas planted everywhere?
No way you say? One only has to look at Pollock and Dora McDougall’s rose garden that once existed. People came for miles…… and they would here too.
Wed November 1, 2017 at 7:00pm – Michael Runtz will be the speaker at the next meeting talking about ‘The Mysterious Sex Life of Flowers’. Mr. Runtz is one of Canada’s most respected naturalist, nature photographer and natural history author.
Membership price is $10.00 per calendar year or $3.00 for a drop in for the night. Everyone is welcome!
PLEASE NOTE NEW LOCATION: The meeting address has changed effective for our September 6th 2017 meeting. The meeting will be located at the Zion Memorial Church Hall at 37 Franklin Street in Carleton Place, Ontario.
Our Society was founded in 1988 by a group of local dedicated gardeners. We are located in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada. We belong to the Ontario Horticultural Association, and are part of District Two.
There is a story behind every family business and if you have driven down Highway 15 towards Smiths Falls you have gone by Gemmils. When I moved to Carleton Place in 1981 there were very few locations and I remember each year taking the seasonal trek on Highway 15.
I came across these photos by accident, and knew if I had no clue about the history behind the greenhouse there might be others that did not either. Did you know that over 85 years ago, Donald Gemmell, Rob’s grandfather, first began selling flowers, fruits and vegetables, in Smiths Falls, at the same location where their flagship store is now located? Donald began with a small roadside stand, and he also built a honey house. He sold his cut gladiolus, raspberries, strawberries and honey and history began with that first sale.
Soon Donald became well known in the community for excellent quality plants and his passion for growing, particularly his beloved pansies. In 1932, they built new glass greenhouses next to the family home at 52 Church St. W. in Smiths Falls, .
Donald, along with his wife Lillian and his sister Eva Beach, worked together to bring beautiful plants to the local community. Soon after a new generation of Gemmell’s, and Ron, Ralph and Carlisle, were born.
The business grew again in 1967 with a move back out of town to its original location on Highway 15, where several greenhouses were constructed. Donald and his three sons operated Gemmell’s Sunnydale Gardens where Ralph Gemmell was the primary grower.
Ralph and his wife Liz worked tirelessly at the family business as their young sons, Robert and David, grew up running through the greenhouses. They loved to work alongside Grandpa Gemmell, growing snapdragons were a particular favourite. Rob was smitten with the bug to grow from the beginning, while David’s interests always lay in the mechanics.
Mr. Gemmell worked with the plants in the greenhouses right up until his passing in 1979. This event became a major turning point in the family business and in 1982 the business was split into Gemmell’s Flowers, owned and operated by Ron & Janice Gemmell, and Gemmell’s Garden Centre, owned and operated by Ralph & Liz Gemmell.
In 1987, Rob became an active partner in the business with Liz and together, with their hard working team, they continue to bring the tradition of locally grown top quality plants to the surrounding areas. Rob is the third generation of this horticultural family to operate the greenhouses and along with his mother Liz, they grow some of the most beautiful plants in Eastern Ontario.
Someone mentioned on Facebook yesterday that most kids today had no idea that the Trillium was Ontario’s flower and no idea about it’s history and a light bulb went off.
Matthew Jason Dever–
How do kids get to be 17 years old in this city and this province and not know what a trillium is? And what it means to this province? #argh#kidsthesedays
So thank you Matthew for your comment and idea– and here is your 101 and then some…. For all of you adults and the kids:)
The trillium is my absolute favourite wildflower. Every Spring my mother would excitedly tell my sister and me that they were once again in bloom. Out the back door and away we would go, exploring the woods until we came upon the hollow where the trilliums covered the place like a fairyland.
My favourite thing to do in the Spring is to visit the Mill of Kintail just outside of Almonte when the trillium are in bloom. Almost magical–the trillium, a three-petalled white flower exquisitely tinged with purple as are scattered among the trails just past the little bridge. They can be seen all through Lanark County and I have also put a photo of the Beckwith Nature Trail below. The adoption of an official flower for Ontario in 1937 grew out of a movement during the First World War to choose a national floral emblem appropriate for planting on the graves of Canadian servicemen overseas. Although it was well received, no national flower was ever chosen, but the white trillium was chosen as Ontario’s floral emblem.
Mill of Kintail Trillium Loop There is a still a common belief that it is illegal in Ontario to pick white-trillium flowers because of its status as the province’s emblem. Actually common gossip was that if you accidentally stepped on a trillium the Mounties would swarm out of the woods and arrest you! While there is no such law, it is not advisable to pick the flowers because it takes so many years to produce one and the plant may take years to recover from the damage. Anyone who has visited a forested area in the spring in our region is familiar with Ontario’s floral emblem, the white trillium. Many gardeners have failed to grow trilliums in the past because thirty or so years ago the only supply came from wild-collected roots that had dried out in transit. It was impossible to grow these plants then: they simply never got going. Twenty years ago nurserymen began to grow pot-grown specimens raised from seeds and it became possible to buy a healthy trillium that would do well in the garden.
According to “ginsengers”, this group of flowers, as well as Jack in the Pulpit; are good indicators of soil favourable for growing wild ginseng. Maybe the *Watt Brothers in Lanark knew something about this when they had their *Ginseng Company near the village. Did you know that trilliums are edible and medicinal? The flower has a long history of use by Native Americans and the young edible unfolding leaves are an excellent addition to salad tasting somewhat like sunflower seeds. The root is used as an alternative medicine and is antiseptic, antispasmodic, diuretic, and ophthalmic. The roots, fresh or dry, may be boiled in milk and used for diarrhea and dysentery. Yes, we still get dysentery- and it’s just not for the history books.
Sometimes the raw root is grated and applied as a poultice to the eye in order to reduce swelling, or on aching rheumatic joints. The leaves were once boiled in lard and applied to ulcers as a poultice, and to prevent gangrene. An infusion of the root is used in the treatment of cramps and a common name for the plant, birthroot’, originated from its use to promote menstruation. Some of the root bark can be used as drops in treating earache. Constituents found in the volatile and fixed oils are, tannic acid, saponin, a glucoside resembling convallamarin, sulphuric acid and potassium dichromate, gum, resin, and starch.
Folklore: Used to facilitate childbirth, and to treat other female problems by the women of many Native American tribes. Trillium root was considered to be a sacred female herb and they only spoke of it to their medicine women.
Medicinal drink: Add 1 tsp. herb decoction to 1 cup warm milk, take at bedtime for diarrhea.
Mark Piper has added— To the tune of the Flowers that Bloom in the Spring (from the Mikado):
Arrest from the Red-Coated men, tra la If you step on that poor Trillium. Arrest from the Mounties in red, tra la For assault on Ontario’s emblem.
So that’s what we mean when we say when we sing Except for the Trilliums, step on anything.
Tra la la la la, Tra la la la la, Tra la la la la la.
Next Meeting:Wed March 1, 2017 at 7:00pm
Topic: David Dunn and Rob Caron are from Rideau Woodland Ramble and will speak on “Design and Development of Shade Gardens”.
Membership price is $10.00/year or $3.00 for a drop in for the night. Everyone is welcome! Please join us at 39 Bridge St. at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Hall (back entrance in the basement) in Carleton Place, Ontario.
Take a few moments to relax under the vine-covered trellis and view the original Carleton Place horse-watering trough, now a delightful planter. Then wander through the 20th Anniversary Celebration arbour and hedge to visit the Community Gardens Project.
Yearly Perennial Plant Sale (Saturday May 27, 2017)
Wed March 1, 2017 at 7:00pm – David Dunn and Rob Caron are from Rideau Woodland Ramble will speak on “Design and development of shade gardens”.
Wed April 5, 2017 at 7:00pm – Jamie Roy owner of Acanthus floral and botanical in Almonte will speak on “Tropical house plant propagation”.
Wed May 3, 2017 at 7:00pm – our “Spring flower show” and also Joanna Kowalczyk will give a talk on “Pruning”. Joanna is a graduate from Humber College and Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture.
Wed June 7, 2017 at 6:00pm – June Pot Luck including a “Question and answer period with the Master Gardeners of Lanark”
July and August 2017 – No Meeting
Wed September 6, 2017 at 7:00pm – Sylvia Vanoort will present “Flower Arranging Using Locally Grown Cut Flowers”. Sylvia has her own cut flower nursery and sells at the Perth Farmers Market.
Wed October 4, 2017 at 7:00pm – Jan Kittle will talk on “Floral Designs on Quilting”. Jan is the proprietor of The Pickle Dish in Carleton Place.
Wed November 1, 2017 at 7:00pm – Michael Runtz will speak on “The Mysterious Sex Life of Flowers”. Michael is a professor at Carleton University.
Wed December 6, 2017 at 6:00pm – Pot Luck Christmas dinner, music, annual awards and elections. Bring your pot luck dish, serving spoon, cutlery, plate, mug. Everyone is welcome!
I saw this picture this morning of Erica Zwicker from The Floral Shop and her husband and I had to laugh. People that own businesses have to be the employee of the month in my mind. There is no way anyone works harder than the self-employed. So who do you buy your Christmas flowers from in downtown Carleton Place? Well you buy them from your choice of floral employees of the month.
So it’s up to you which employee of the month you choose to buy from. Just remember they get along with everyone, they can show up to work in their pajamas and they will always be employee of the month to me. So give them all a hug for me and remember…
Sweet April showers do spring May flowers, and then it carries on to June. Flowers shout happiness like Yvonne will at the Carleton Place Ladies who Lunch. No one is too old for flowers or fairy tales. If I had a flower for every time Yvonne made me smile, I would have a garden to walk in forever.
I have a bestie in the UK that is following our Carleton Place Blog. She is going to add some neat tidbits here and there. They don’t have Nanaimo Bars or Date Squares in the UK, so next time Victoria will share how she fared out baking Canadian.
Welcome Victoria Norris.
Here is how she describes where she lives.
Well, I live in Ely (pronounced to rhyme with “wheelie”) but there is also an Ely in Wales, so I always write it as “Ely, Cambridgeshire“, or I suppose you could call it “Ely, England” just to avoid any confusion. This is going to be great fun!
Last week I posted a picture of Easter Flowers on Facebook and she posted one of her Spring displays in England.
This is our local Walmart in Carleton Place
AT THE ADSA STORE IN THE UK
Gnomes in the UK trying to take over Ely
Gnomes in Carleton Place chez moi hiding out from Winter.
1/2 cup vanilla buttercream, colored yellow with food coloring
red sprinkles, to garnish
1Unwrap your first Cadbury Creme Egg. Give it a long, hard look and ask if it is ready to meet its destiny.
2Using your very sharp knife, gently slice the egg in half lengthwise, following the seam that keeps the two egg halves together. The egg should separate into two separate halves fairly easily; each will have a dollop of fondant inside. Leave the fondant inside of the egg halves.
3Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe yellow buttercream in a spiral so that it covers the entire exposed inside of each egg half (directly on top of the fondant). You’ll use about 1-2 teaspoons’ worth of frosting per egg.
4Garnish with red sprinkles to mimic the look of paprika.