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Russell & District Horticultural Society

Stay up to date with all the things going on with the Russell & District Horticultural Society.

The Year in Review - 2016

Well here we are with yet another year behind us. As we greet this year with enthusiasm, we are looking back at 2016 with pride and a bit of nostalgia, as it is with all years past.

Our new board of directors started the year with an annual planning meeting held at Carole and Peter Van Die’s on January 30. Everyone worked hard to plan meetings, events, speakers and day trips for the upcoming year. Thanks for hosting once again Peter and Carole.

Some of us had the pleasure of attending the District 1 AGM in Vankleek Hill, the home turf of Charles and Louise Freeman, District 1 President and Assistant District Director, on April 9th. It was a lovely and lively gettogether of representatives from all of District 1 societies. Charles and Louise were re-elected as well as Mary Regan as the second Assistant District Director, and Ginny Blair as secretary/treasurer. As usual, the display tables put up by all societies, including ourselves, Vankleek Hill as our host, and Martintown, Maxville, Williamstown, Cornwall, Kemptville, and Gloucester were all spectacular.

Our monthly meetings started in January, after a break in December for the Christmas holidays, with Margaret Vant Erve giving us a hands-on workshop on how to make sauerkraut and yogurt, two healthy foods packed with all kinds of probiotic cultures. Her recipes can be found on our website. At the February meeting we were thrilled by four members of the Monarch Teacher Network of Canada, an organization dedicated to help preserve and develop new habitats for the declining Monarch Butterfly. is an instrument where people can obtain all kinds of information to help with this worthwhile cause.

We also had many interesting topics and speakers, including: Patrick Howe of Hydro One speaking about Hydro’s tree trimming policy and program; Robert McDonald, gardener at the Governor General’s; and Lindley with an informative presentation on putting our gardens to bed.

At our May meeting, Louise Houle and Johanne St-Denis held a handson workshop on making floral arrangements with greens and flowers from your garden. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and went home with beautiful arrangements.

The Living Locally Fair continues to grow in popularity and was an astounding success again this past year. This event would not be possible without the partnership and support of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School with its dedicated teachers and students who help us each year. Bravo and thank you to them and thank you to Lindley and all her volunteers for making this possible and a success again this year.

The March It On Out “swap meet” is another of our events which continues to grow in popularity. Started with the idea of keeping many “unwanted” items out of our landfills, we soon discovered that these “unwanteds” were other people’s “wanteds”. For a paltry sum of $10 entrance fee, people can come in and leave with as much as they want. Items are donated by anyone and everyone and are brought to St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday evening and Saturday morning. By the time the doors open, people are waiting eagerly to come in.

The ever popular May Plant Sale, which takes place under the tall whispering White Pines of McDougall Park, is yet another partnered event with St. Thomas Aquinas. We donate money for the purchase of seeds to the students of STACHS and by May they bring the seedlings to our May Plant Sale. In addition, members bring in various plants from their own gardens. This is followed by a plant auction and wonderful flower show at our June meeting. The “Gifts from the Garden” auction takes place at our September meeting which includes plants, produce, books, magazines and various other items. I must say auctions seem to be quite popular with our membership.

At our June meeting, Pat Stachon was presented with a lifetime award for her contributions to the RDHS. The presentation was made by Margaret Helliker and Mary Regan, Assistant Director of District 1 of the OHA. Congratulations Pat. Well deserved!

Thanks again to Alice Proper and Carole Van Die for their leadership at the Russell Fair for the flower show and RDHS table. Well done to both and the other volunteers who helped.

Day trips and workshops continue to attract members. The following workshops were very popular: making Garden Totems; Framed - making an old window or picture frame into a piece of art. The following day trips were well attended: Agape Gardens and Kiwi Gardens, Maplelawn Historic Garden in Ottawa, Domaine Perrault Winery and an evening at the Unrefined Olive in Ottawa.

Four RDHS members attended the OHA Convention held in Kitchener from July 29 to 31, where our Rosie Grigaitis won prizes for her photography and poetry and our Yearbook and other advertising material also won prizes. Well done and congratulations!

The RDHS purchased 3000 Canada Celebration tulips to be planted in public places around Russell and Embrun to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. It’s going to be a great show this coming spring.

Our Society continues to be in financially good shape. Thanks to Peter Van Die for taking care of us financially. As our Treasurer, Peter performs that “silent” but essential task.

Our year was concluded with our AGM on November 28 with a potluck supper and the election of a new board of directors for the upcoming year, 2017. Carole Van Die will be our new president, with Grace Stapper as the first vice-president. Second vice-president is Lindley McPhail and secretary is Erin Holtz Christensen. Our Board remains the same but we’d love to have some more volunteers join us!

Respectfully submitted,
Marcel Beauchamp

It's Starting!!!

Septemer 1, 2013 - Construction of the Children's Fantasy Reading Garden will begin on September 9, 2013!

Trivia Night

June 1, 2013 - Thank you to everyone who came out for the fun-filled trivia night! With your help we managed to raise $4500 for the Children's Fantasy Reading Garden.

Life Members Announced

March 18, 2013 - Grace Stapper and Marianne Vedder were awarded Life Memberships at our meeting on March 18th. These two dedicated members certainly deserve this award for their many years of enthusiasm and hard work. Congratulations ladies you are very appreciated!

Grace Stapper

Grace Stapper (right) receives her award from Margaret Helliker.

Marianne Vedder

Marianne Vedder (left) receives her award from President Pegi Holtz.

Planting Trees for the Future Health and Well-Being of our Community

The Russell Environmental Advisory Committee has formed a sub-committee who are concerned about the tree coverage in Russell Township. We need 30% just to sustain wildlife and Russell Township is sitting around 12%. We could be heading back to desert-like conditions. Trees are essential to the environment, community well-being, provide oxygen, prevent soil erosion, provide homes for birds, wildlife, increase property value, are aesthetically pleasing, are calming to the soul and good for human well-being, cool the earth, help to decrease global warming, decrease carbon dioxide, increase pollination, provide shade and so much more. The Russell Environmental Committee is looking for community groups to partner with them and invite local developers to come on board. They also need to preserve the trees we already have in order to keep Russell Township green.

In the Spring of 2013, the Committee will be planting 10,000 trees. They have partnered with South Nation Conservation Authority and this collaborated effort will ensure that trees are here for generations to come. For further info you can contact Councillor Eric Bazinet at: or Cindy Saucier at 613-445-3852 or email

Emerald Ash Borer - An Unwelcome Guest

Ryan Starnaman came to our meeting to talk about the effects that the emerald ash borer is having on the trees in North America. These very invasive insects have now made their way into our area of Prescott-Russell and the damage they cause can already be seen. These bugs kill ash trees very quickly. If you are interested in learning more about the emerald ash borer, how to identify if your trees are affected and what you can do, here are some links to read.

Information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Map of Eastern Ontario showing affected areas (CFIA)

Information from the City of Ottawa

Celebrating National Tree Day

September 26, 2012 - It was National Tree Planting Day Wednesday and District #1 chose to plant the Jubilee Tree the same day to coincide with commemorating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the 60th year of her accession to the throne. OHA gave District #1 the Oak Tree, the NAV CENTRE was the favoured chosen site and horticultural members were royally treated. Everybody was there except the Queen.

16 of 19 Districts planted trees yesterday to coincide with National Tree Day. The remaining 3 in the north will plant their trees in the spring, when the weather is more favourable.

The NAV CENTRE held a reception in the Roberta Bondar Lounge after the ceremony where we were please to meet the staff and executive of the NAV CENTRE. They are looking forward to having our OHA Convention in July 2014.

Patricia Stachon

To read a little more and see some photos, here is an article from The Cornwall Daily.

Another Successful Living Locally Fair

January 27, 2012 - Again this year, everyone had a great time at the Living Locally Fair. It just keeps getting bigger and better each year. Here is a list of links for you to have a look at.

Article in the Cornwall Free News

Video report on Livestream

Rain Barrels for Sale

The RDHS is going to create a Children's Fantasy Reading Garden at the new Russell Public Library. To help to raise funds, we are selling rain barrels. You can go to to learn more and even place an order right on-line.

New Flower Bed at the Russell Public Library

July 31, 2011 - If you frequent the new Russell Public Library you will notice that a new flower bed has been installed between the building and the parking lot.

The bed is a gift to the people of Russell and the township from the Russell and District Horticultural Society and Beyond the House. Each year Beyond the House chooses one community project to support, in the past it has often been MacDougall Park. This year they generously donated the garden design, discounted the cost of the plants and volunteered hours to weed and plant with the members of the Horticultural Society.

Part of the monies the Horticultural Society used was donated to them in memory of former Russell Mayor Michael McHugh. This garden represents a gift of approximately $3000 in garden design, plant material, wages (had they not been volunteered) and mulch.

The Russell & District Horticultural Society and Beyond the House are proud to make this contribution and add to the beauty of the town of Russell.

Plant Sale

May 20, 2011-The weather looks good for tomorrow's plant sale in MacDougall Park at the corner of MacDougall and Craig Streets in Russell. Starting at 8:30am there will be heritage vegetables, plants from members' gardens and a yard sale.

Looking for Our Photos?

April 15, 2011-All of our photos can now be found on You can also check our our videos on our YouTube channel and while you're at it, why not go to our Facebook page and become a fan. Who knew that social networking could be so horticultural!

Launch of New RDHS Web Site

March 21, 2011-Today was the launch of the new RDHS web site.

Living Locally Fair 2011

January 23, 2011-Another successful year! Again this year the Living Locally Fair was the place to be on a chilly January Saturday. This year's event attracted more vendors, producers and visitors than ever before. There were speakers and demonstrations of many different kinds. For a full list of vendors/producers and their contact information, go to

News from the General Annual Meeting

November 23, 2010-At this year's General Annual Meeting held on November 22, 2010, the fabulous potluck dinner was followed by informative info sessions on a variety of topics. Pegi Holtz gave us a run down of how to start paper whites and told us her secret ingredient - gin! She also shared information and tips for poinsettias and amaryllis. Next up was Louise Houle who gave us some excellent advice on decorating for the holidays. Louise had lots of very creative ideas which I'm sure many members who were there plan to use. After that Marilyn MacMillan gave us a rundown of how to make and decorate your very own grapevine wreath.

After the presentations there was a door prize draw for prizes including an amaryllis and some poinsettias from Pegi, a wooden goose decoration from Louise and a big wreath from Marilyn. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to the three ladies for sharing their knowledge and donating the gifts.

Our favourite Past President, Pat Stachon, presided over the official part of the meeting. Pat told us that all the members of last year's board have kindly agreed to stay on for another year. They will be joined by three brand new board members, Tina Lachance, Catherine Italiano and Marcel Beauchamp.

Trillium Award - and the Winner is ...

September 20, 2010-The Russell and District Horticultural Society is very proud of our President Lindley McPhail who deservedly won the prestigious Trillium Award from the Ontario Horticultural Association of Ontario. Lindley was presented with her award at the 104th Annual OHA Convention which was held on August 13 & 14, 2010 in Barrie, Ontario.

flower shows

junior gardeners

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