Each year at about this time we recondition ourselves to the prospect of outdoor living without the need for woolen hats, mittens and overcoats.
Many of us also reacquaint ourselves with our gardens and all of the rewards (e.g., if you are the one who is married to me) and challenges (e.g., if you are me) awaiting us therein.
There live amongst us, however, a large and growing population of enthusiasts whose passion for all things related to gardening knows no rest, and who regularly cram themselves into an increasingly crowded meeting room at the Leaside Library — even in the depths of winter — for an evening of shared horticultural discovery and learning.
I speak, of course, of the members of the Leaside Garden Society.
Established in 1986, the Leaside Garden Society is a community group comprised primarily of local residents run by a volunteer board drawn from the society’s own membership. For over 25 years, it has been meeting nine times a year at the Leaside Library to share experiences and hear formal lectures delivered by experts — sometimes club members, but usually visiting authorities — on matters relevant to the society’s purposes.
Recent lecture topics have included Shade Gardening, Drought-Resistant Plants, Japanese Garden Design, Gardens of Tuscany, Gardening from a Hammock (I regret that I missed that one), and Balcony Gardening.
Topics for later this year include: Creating Garden Rooms, Planting for Fall Colour, and Preserving our Natural Roots.
Although the purposes of the LGS might fairly be considered more fraternal than charitable, the society is by no means insular or exclusively inwardly focused. To the contrary, its contribution to the community whose name it bears is broad and considerable, albeit probably not widely known:
• The annual Magical Gardens of Leaside Tour (the one event for which it is probably most well known). Each year about eight local gardens are showcased in a self-guided tour managed by members of the society. The particular gardens included each year typically provide a range of garden experiences reflecting a variety of growing conditions. This year’s tour is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 21.
• The annual plant sale: One great thing about this event, of course, is that the plants on offer feature perennials grown by our local gardeners in our local soil and growing conditions, so they should be well suited to the gardens of other local residents. Expert gardeners are there to offer advice too. This year’s sale is to take place at Trace Manes Park on the morning of Saturday, May 10 (same day as my annual compost day at the arena parking lot — drop by and help yourself to some City of Toronto leaf compost after you get your plants).
• Each year members of the society work with local elementary schools to teach gardening fundamentals to young gardeners and supervise their helpful work planting bulbs and annuals in some of our public spaces.
• LGS volunteers work with teachers and children at Thorncliffe Park Public School and the society organizes and funds field trips
to the Toronto Botanical Teaching Garden, where children — many of whom are new to Canada and most of whom have no opportunity to experience a garden at home — learn about our flowers and plants.
• The society presents a Community Award each year to recognize the efforts of local organizations and businesses that enhance the neighbourhood with horticultural features.
• And there is more. Leaside Garden Society: Just another group that helps make our community the special place that those of us who live here value so highly.
Want to know more? Check out Leaside Garden Society on Google or follow @LeasideGardener on Twitter.
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