For many of us, this summer brought back memories of the warm summers we experienced in our childhood. I recall that the weather seemed to turn cooler in 1980 after Mount St. Helens erupted and it has been many years since we have had such an old-fashioned summer – bright sunny skies, sizzling temperatures and little rain. Some of our members, though, unfortunately saw their summer cottages and farms in western Manitoba affected by this year’s floods. Despite challenges and Manitoba’s unpredictable weather, we love it here. We enjoy every day of our short growing season. That was evidenced by the beautiful gardens we saw in Steinbach, Beausejour, and Winnipeg. This year’s Garden Tour was a wonderful success – thank you to the gardeners who so graciously invited us into their gardens, to the volunteers who lent their help and all of the members who attended, and to Judith Tougher, Garden Tour Chair.
Over the summer the Friends continued to make a number of donations to local community gardens in the inner city including a garden project at the newly renovated Barber House in North Point Douglas and to the Community Residents Association of Elwick Village on Fife Street. Sincere thanks to Friends Board Member Kaz Sawicz for providing wood for raised beds and donations of plants on behalf of the Friends. We will follow the progress of both these initiatives and look for ways in which we can continue to lend our support.
The Friends also participated in a unique initiative championed by Free Press Columnist Gordon Sinclair and City Councillor Ross Eadie. Although the City has provided beautiful floral displays in many areas of Winnipeg, residents in the North End were dismayed by the weed-filled, flowerless planters on the North Main median. The Friends welcomed the opportunity to participate in beautifying their neighbourhood and extend our grateful thanks to Jensen’s Nursery and Kanahda Nursery who provided very generous plant donations. There is no shortage of green spaces in our city and beyond that can benefit from our support. There is a tremendous need in many poorer communities for access to plant material, soil, tools, and expertise that enriches the lives of residents.
There are more reasons than ever to renew your membership! We have a growing list of business discounts, member discounts, great lineup of program evenings and events – and a growing list of initiatives that Friends members can be proud of. In addition to community outreach and the promotion of horticultural education, we are getting closer to realizing our dream for a tropical butterfly exhibit. The Assiniboine Park Conservancy is planning to spend $50 million to rebuild the Assiniboine Park Conservatory, beginning in 2014. In June, the Friends attended the official opening of the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden and were delighted to be acknowledged in the opening remarks for their commitment to a butterfly conservatory. On behalf of the Conservancy, Harvey Sector announced that the new Conservatory will indeed have a tropical butterfly exhibit. The Friends will continue to grow the Butterfly Fund which currently stands at $356,000. As a Friends member, you play a valuable role in supporting this legacy project. If your membership is up for renewal, please contact Dana or Helene at 895-4560 and renew today!
Check out our Events Calendar for the Fall schedule of the Master Gardener program, updates on the Festival of Trees and Lights and the 2012 Gardening Saturday. We look forward to seeing you at the Fall Plant Sale and our monthly program meetings. Contact the Board at any time with your ideas or suggestions – we look forward to the opportunity to volunteer with you in the coming months.