Durham Master Gardeners

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Toronto Master Gardeners Technical Update 2023


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Preparing Your Garden for Winter

Oct 13, 2021 07:00 PM

A presentation about getting your garden ready for winter, what to clean up, what to leave, how to deal with annuals, perennials, bulbs, evergreens, ornamental grasses, roses, shrubs, trees and lawns.

Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1wY5TbrASOuyL5PqfFTyhA

Plant Sale

Copy of Parkwood Plant Sale (2)

Come join us at Parkwood on Saturday, September 11th for our 3rd annual Parkwood plant sale. There are lots of interesting new varieties of perennials, heritage plants, and pollinator plants from the Parkwood gardens, as well as houseplants and cacti, fall flowering plants and even cut flower bouquets available this year. The sale will begin at 8:00AM and run to 11:00AM or when we sell out. Bring your own boxes/trays. COVID protocols will be in place.

Oshawa City Hall Giving Gardens

Adopt-a-garden 2021

For the second year in a row, Durham Master Gardener volunteers, in partnership with the Oshawa Garden Club and Oshawa City Council, are converting the Oshawa City Hall annual flower beds into veggie garden extravaganzas to combat food insecurity in the region.

Over the winter, DMGers donated valuable indoor real estate to grow tray upon tray of kale, cabbage, Malabar spinach, hot pepper, and eggplant seedlings in order to get a head start on the growing season. "We are very grateful to our members", say project co-leads Helen Vander Byl and Anne van de Velde, "for responding to our call with such enthusiastic support. The Victoria Day weekend shone bright and warm as we planted our seedlings, as well as onion bulbs, carrot, beet, and beans seeds, alongside companion flowers of nasturtiums, zinnias, cosmos, and marigolds. This year to foil the squirrels we planted squash seeds instead of plants, we'll see how that goes."

DMG looks forward to surpassing last year's donation of 372 lbs. to Feed the Need Durham.

Happy Gardener Workshop

Events Spring 2021


Parkwood continues garden rejuvenation plan

Parkwood Estate is in the midst of the five-year plan to rejuvenate the tennis court gardens. They will complete their second year of work in October. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Parkwood Estates is in the middle of the second year of its rejuvenation of the tennis court gardens and will be hosting another plant sale to help offset the costs.

According to Parkwood Curator Samantha George, the idea to work on the gardens originally came from the Durham Master Gardeners and the Oshawa Garden Club joined in to help. The jointly run project saw plants from the garden sell out in an hour and a half last year.

“We opened at 8 a.m., we advertised it was from 8 until noon. We were packed up, tables away, maybe six plants left by 11,” laughs Robin Burns, past president of the Oshawa Garden Club, adding it was “slim pickings” by 9:30.

According to Burns, the garden groups contribute $500 each year towards the tennis court garden rejuvenation, except Parkwood, which contributes $1,000. The project will cost a minimum of $10,000 and last year’s plant sale raised $2,446.

This year, the plant sale will be held on Sept. 19 and will be at Parkwood again, beginning at 8 a.m. until supplies last.

The tennis court gardens have become purely decorative and are no longer used for their original intended purpose, but the goal of the five-year plan is to give them new life, says Ingrid Janssen of Durham Master Gardeners.

“We’ve always known that the tennis court gardens required some work,” she says.

The gardens were originally created around a tennis court, according to George, but today it looks nothing like that.

Up until the 1940s, George says it was a “screened in tennis court,” and was changed in about 1942 to become a croquet lawn.

“By the 40s, the McLaughlin’s themselves were in their 70s, and I think some people forget that,” says George. “They always think they were 20 all the way through – so they were already in their 70s, and they weren’t running around playing tennis anymore.”

To George, the tennis court gardens are an important part of the estate because it’s the last area available to the public.

It was an area for the McLaughlin’s to entertain and it would have a “lavish” garden, with a border running down the north side and the west side.

Currently, just over half of the north side has been cleaned up, with the team working on the second half this year, including some work on the western border as well.

The project started with a discussion between George and Janssen.

Janssen says the idea to rejuvenate the tennis courts gardens came about because of work done on the estate’s white garden, which is right around the corner from the tennis courts gardens.

The proposal was put together in late 2018 and Janssen says they gained approval to move forward in early 2019.

“So we sat down, we put together a proposal, and based on the experience we had in the white garden, we decided that this was going to be a five-year project,” she explains.

A timeline was then put together and each of the first four years were going to consist of digging up half of one of the borders, clearing it out, mending the soil, and then redesigning the plants for the borders.

The work is done mostly by volunteers, says Janssen.

“We’ve had volunteers do research work. We’ve had volunteers do digging. We’ve had volunteers do weeding on a regular basis,” says Janssen.

Last year, they began their work in June and again in May this year. They will be working every Wednesday until October.

For Oshawa Garden Club President Merle Cole, he is most impressed by the interest they’ve received from the general public, as well as how alive the gardens are with bees, butterflies, and more.

“People from the hospital are coming over for respite, staff members have been coming over here for a break during COVID just to get away from the pressure, and they’re just loving being in the gardens,” says Cole.

He notes some of the visitors just come up and ask questions while they’re working.

Janssen notes she has run into a number of patients from the cancer centre.

“I think one elderly couple was saying the gentleman was coming for treatment, and they just loved to come over and walk through,” she says. “It gave them a sense of peace.”

-with files from Courtney Bachar

Oshawa City Hall Giving Gardens

Members of Durham Master Gardeners and Oshawa Garden Club join Deputy Mayor Bob Chapman (right) in the gardens on the north side of City Hall.

Co-leads: Anne Van de Velde and Helen Vander Byl

Details: The Durham Master Gardeners, in partnership with The Oshawa Garden Club and the City of Oshawa, planted, cared for and harvested nine garden beds located at Oshawa City Hall. A true “Covid Project”, these beds were repurposed from flower beds to vegetable gardens with all of the produce donated to ‘Feed the Need Durham’, an organization that services 65 food banks in the Durham Region. Durham MGs tended four of the garden beds and delivered a total of 372 pounds of fresh produce (kale, beets, parsnips, several varieties of squash, beans, spinach, onions, carrots, cabbage and peas) to ‘Feed the Need’ to support families experiencing food insecurity. Some of the team’s favourite experiences were painting rocks with their children and neighbourhood kids to use as plant markers; engaging with passersby on the best ways to plant and harvest veggies; learning from each other; receiving 1,000 shares on Facebook; making the front page of the local newspaper; and being featured on the CTV Toronto 6 pm news as “The Good News Story of the Day” and seeing our veggies across the nation on the CTV National news.

On October 5th we did a final cleanup of the beds and held a small project end celebration at which City of Oshawa officials presented us with certificates of appreciation recognizing our hard work and dedication to the project. This project allowed us to connect to our community in a very special way and helped fill a significant need, which was very rewarding. Our biggest challenge meant replanting what wildlife either dug up or helped themselves to: in particular the squirrels and chipmunks fancied squash and bean plants! We are hopeful that we will be invited to participate in this fantastic endeavour again next year.

On-line Advice Clinic: Growing Veggies


Saturday, May 16 at 10:30 AM – 11 AM

Bring your questions about veggie gardening to our expert panel Saturday, May 16, 2020 when we take to Zoom to give you lots of tips and tricks to get the most out of the growing season.

About this Event
Open to both novice and experienced growers alike, Durham Master Gardeners Tracey Smyth and Ann Joyner will share their tips and expert advice for getting the most out of the growing season.

So bring your questions!

The advice clinic will be run on Zoom, and questions can be asked in the 'chat' function.

Zoom is easy to use. You don’t even have to download the Zoom app. Once you receive your ticket after registering, follow the link and enter the password given on your ticket.

Reserve Now!

Area Nurseries Operating information

Area Nurseries Operating During COVID Restrictions as at April 27, 2020


Cannabis Panel Information Night

Date: Thursday, September 26, 2019
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: The King St. Community Church, 611 King St. West, Oshawa, ON L1J 2L1 (map)
Price per seat: $10

A limited number of tickets are still available at the door until 6:30 pm!

Cannabis has been legal in Ontario since last year, and the Durham Master Gardeners have been asked many questions about it at events throughout Durham Region. How can you grow it, what are the side effects, what are the medical applications and the legalities? As a community service, what better way to do this than host a panel of industry professionals to answer these questions?

The 3 panelists are:
Sjoerd Visser: Horticulturist & Licensed medical grower
Joe Goldfarb: Cannabis Educator from Durham College and Centennial College
Abby Sampson: Niche Canada (National Institute for Cannabis Health & Education)

See speaker bios here.

We are very excited to share this opportunity to unveil the mysteries of Cannabis.


Joseph R. Goldfarb M.Ed
Joseph brings more than a decade of experience in the industry as a licensed cultivator and cannabis educator, operating cultivation projects in California and Ontario. He specializes in implementing and evaluating training solutions across various delivery channels (Instructor-Led, e-Learning, and Self- Directed).

Joseph has extensive knowledge of regulations, licences and authorizations in the cannabis industry as well as a decade of experience conducting market research and needs assessments, creating engaging instructional designs, developing cannabis curriculum, integrating learning technologies and implementing tools of assessment for major Canadian colleges, businesses and organizations.

In his role as Head of Operations, Joseph is using emerging and progressive strategies to develop innovative and effective solutions for Medz Cannabis Inc.

Abigail Sampson
Abigail Sampson began her cannabis career as a volunteer with NORML Canada, the longest running cannabis advocacy group in the country. During her tenure, she rose to the ranks of Executive Director, the first female to hold this position.

Abigail is the Chair of the Dandelion Initiative, a grassroots not-for-profit organization providing supports and advocating on behalf of survivors of sexual assault. The Dandelion Initiative believes in the power of education as a form of resistance to sexual violence.

Abigail also sits on the Board of NICHE Canada, a not-for-profit corporation established to support the development of public policy and research to assist all levels of government manage the transition to the legalization of the cannabis industry.

Abigail presented as a witness before the Canadian Standing Committee on Health on Bill C45, the Cannabis Act and appeared at Queens Park in response to Bill 178, an Act to amend the Smoke Free Ontario Act. She actively engages Pickering municipal government on cannabis issues and creates opportunities for community education.

Sjoerd Visser
Sjoerd is a University of Guelph Ridgetown campus alumni of the Horticulture program, where he studied landscape design and nursery/greenhouse production. Currently, he is attending the Sustainable Agriculture (Co-op) post-graduate program at Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario.

Sjoerd has over a decade of experience in consulting gardens, designs as well as working in nursery/greenhouse on a commercial scale within the ornamental sector, assistant growing 100,000 cut flower lilies in a 2-acre greenhouse.

Born a dairy farmer, emigrating from the Netherlands as a child, Sjoerd has a natural passion and ability to grow plants. In recent years, after a work injury in the agriculture industry, he gained access to medicinal cannabis, as well as, a personal production license. The opportunity to grow cannabis as a medical patient allowed Sjoerd to apply his knowledge and experience in horticulture within a new capacity of production – cannabis cultivation.

Sjoerd is a student of Dr. Elaine Ingham and continues to gain further insight into soil microbiology, remediation and the soil food web. He has witnessed firsthand what life in the soil can do and encourages the incorporation of microbes into most current practices. Sjoerd is working on methods of integrating aerobic microbiology into general potted hydroponic growing practises.

Ingrid Janssen (Moderator) Master Gardener of Ontario Durham
Ingrid Janssen is a horticulturist, speaker, blogger and master gardener. She has been a member of MGOI Durham for over 6 years and has been gardening for most of her life. Her passion, experience and spirit are seen everyday through her love of gardening.

Ingrid is an inspirational speaker who has appeared on Rogers TV Durham and has spoken at agriculture conferences such as Canada Blooms. She has both ornamental and food production gardens on her country property and has been a dedicated native plant enthusiast for over 30 years. Ingrid received her Horticulturist Diploma from the University of Guelph and is an active member of several horticultural and plant societies.

Canada Blooms 2019 - Speaker DMG Ingrid Janssen

Friday, March 15, 2019
1 pm
Raising Monarch Butterflies

About Ingrid Janssen
Ingrid has been an avid gardener for most of her life and is a passionate, some would say “crazy gardener”. She is the current co-coordinator of the Durham Master Gardener group. She is an inspirational speaker and has made several appearances on Rogers TV Durham to share gardening tips and advice. She has both ornamental and food production gardens on her country property, and is particularly interested in propagation, growing native plants and naturalized gardens. She is also very passionate about peonies! Ingrid has received her Horticulturist Diploma from the University of Guelph and is an active member of several horticultural and plant societies.

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