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May 2013 - News & Events

Saturday, May 11, 2013
10 a.m. — 3 p.m.
Markham Civic Centre
101 Town Centre Boulevard
(W. of Warden Ave, N. of Hwy 7)
Well, you must have blinkers on are at least small enchanter's nightshades (Circaea alpine), if you didn't know that the NANPS Spring Plant Sale is next Saturday.
Surely, you could be forgiven for thinking that Spring would never come. You've been viewing your garden out yonder through the clasping Venus' looking-glass (Triodanis perfoliata) for what seems like eternity.
Don't get caught in the trap of hyperventilating that goes along with latest style of weather reporting when the environment doesn't perform on cue. Spring comes, as it inevitably does, even if it takes its own sweetgrass time.
And speaking of the environment, it doesn't hurt to reiterate that the choices we make as individual gardeners have a huge impact on local biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • Don't use pesticides
  • Don't plant invasive plant species - consider anything that is invasive in the northeastern U.S. will be invasive here
  • Plant native species - the more, the merrier
It's only natural that you want to fluff your nest; your yard. And you will be helping to line many a nest whether a caterpillar, a bird or other critters that rely on you to deliver the goods. Just as Douglas Tallamy wrote in Bringing Nature Home, so much of our wildlife is counting on you to bring home the guayabacon (Myrcia leptoclada); to create another wildlife oasis to add to the corridors of life. And collectively, we can make such a difference by choosing and planting native plants!
We're not inventing or reinventing anything. Native plants work because they have grown up with their neighbours - the bacteria, fungi, insects, etc. It's a cozy arrangement that has worked for eons. Why spoil it?
With all the change in the world, it is comforting to know that you can count on the NANPS plant sale to be there for you, when you need it the most - in the Spring, just when the turn of warm weather has pushed all your buttons. And we deliver! Not the plants per se - you will have to pick up your pre-orders starting at 11 a.m. and purchase and take home any additions, including donation table offerings (please label those if you are donating). We deliver on diversity - peruse the extensive plant list if you didn't pre-order you plants or if you pre-ordered and want to add to your collection.
In the Canada Room, we are expecting to have a number of eye-catching info tables with LEAF, Pollination Guelph, OIPC and TRCA. We will also have a ballot box in the Canada Room where customers can drop their contact info, as well as comments and suggestions about the sale. What species weren't at the plant sale or were sold out, but you would you like to purchase? We can pass on this information to our growers to try to source these plants in the future. There will be a draw for a prize.
Check out the NANPS info/demo tables: Butterfly/Pollinator gardening, Planting a Prairie and Container Gardening. A new butterfly guide is hot off the press and will be available in a local nature store, shortly. You might even be able to view a copy at the Pollinator table: A Pocket Guide to Butterflies of Southern & Eastern Ontario (and Southwestern Quebec) by Rick Cavasin, laminated 4x10", fold out guide for the field.
And if you miss out or have regrets that you didn't pick up enough plants, you have a second chance to load up at the High Park Plant Sale on Mother's Day, Sunday May 12th. The HP Stewards have 23 species available at their sale.
It's a photo finish! The NANPS 2013 Winter Photo Competition: Native Plants in Winter has now closed. You have until May 8th to look through the album of 41 photographs, sign in and vote for your favourite on Facebook.
Go LEAF Go! It's Spring and Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests is LEAFing out with many activities: Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens, Tree Tender Courses, Tree Tours, neighbourhood EAB advisor initiatives, and the Leslieville Tree Festival.
Several native plant gardens have been planted as Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens, and maintained at select TTC stations across Toronto by graduates of LEAF's Tree Tender Volunteer Training Program. The gardens showcase the beauty of native species and help build connectivity to the private native plant gardens that we have maintained. Maybe local residents will be inspired to improve their community by putting native plants in their gardens, too.
You can become a LEAF Tree Tenderizer by taking their course. These multi-day courses are designed for individuals who want to gain tree-related knowledge and skills. Registration is required. The cost is $70+HST (includes manual). Currently, two courses are on offer: LEAF Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Toronto (May 22, 23, 25 & 29) LEAF Tree Tenders Volunteer Training York Region (June 8, 12 & 15)
You can help in other ways, like becoming an Emerald Ash Borer Ambassador. No, you are not in any way a neighbourhood welcoming committee for EAB. It's about informing your neighbours of the options for dealing with their ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). They also have EAB Ambassador Training Sessions.
LEAF in collaboration with Councillor Paula Fletcher and Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation hosts the Leslieville Tree Festival which is supported by Toronto Hydro. This free, fun-filled celebration of our urban forest includes activities for the whole family takes place on Saturday, June 22nd from 12-4 p.m.
A green alternative to plant fibre pots! According to U of T Forestry Professor, Sally Krigstin, current fibre pots have a petroleum product in them for water resistance so they don't disintegrate when watered. "Our product, which is 100 per cent bio-based, has the ability to be biodegraded by organisms you'd find in a composter or in the soil."
Krigstin's bio-binder is certified with the USDA's BioPreferred labeling system at 98% bio-based carbon level, as the main constituent of the binder is a waste product from papermaking. They see a much bigger application in replacing Styrofoam in food trays, packaging, fast-food pizza boxes and plastics used by food chains.
But for now, look for dill, tomatoes and Swiss chard labelled "Veggie Guy" being shipped the first week of May.
Give a hoot for the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance! You can help save the North Gwillimbury Forest on the shores of Lake Simcoe by purchasing a lawn sign.
Bad Buckthorn Just when you thought buckthorn was bad for being a highly invasive plant species, it has been found to be even worse for the environment than imagined. European buckthorn has a chemical compound, emodin, which is produced in the leaves, fruit, bark and roots of the plant and is toxic to amphibian embryos. Coincidentally, emodin is at its highest levels in the environment at leaf out, just when amphibian breeding season is underway.
Of course buckthorn is not content just with kicking the butts of native plants and killing amphibian babies; it wants to further disrupt the harmony of the forest. The mere presence of buckthorn forests alters wildlife distribution by attracting some carnivore species: coyotes, raccoons and opossums, which might find birds and their nestlings more favourable dining companions. Meanwhile, buckthorn may distract white-tailed deer which doesn't want anything to do with buckthorn or coyotes.
So, please keep up your eradication efforts with buckthorn and other highly invasive plant species as your targets.
And something even scarier on the horizon Fewer deer in those buckthorn-dominant woods will not translate to a lower tick population and risk of Lyme Disease or other tick-borne diseases. The ticks will seek out more of us as large, secondary hosts.
It is a complex situation and playing wildlife manager is not as easy as you think.
The players and their relationships: Japanese barberry - tick; tick - bird; tick - deer mouse - fox, make for a riveting read. Even opossums play a role!
Heads down! We can expect Lyme Disease to reach Toronto by 2020...
Well, hello my little buttercup! (marsh marigold, Caltha palustris)
Mon. May 6 - Pollinator Gardens Galore Workshop – NANPS TBG, 777 Lawrence Ave. E., Toronto; 7 - 9 p.m. Join us for the "How, Why and Where" of creating pollinator gardens in Toronto. Three experts from Toronto Master Gardeners, North American Native Plant Society and Scarborough Garden and Horticulture Society will share their knowledge. Free, but register.
Sat. May 11 - NANPS Annual Spring Plant Sale & Fundraiser 101 Town Centre Blvd., Markham (Hwy 7 & Warden); 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Wildflowers, ferns, grasses and sedges, as well as trees, shrubs and vines are available for the largest one-day sale of native plants in Canada. Pre-order pickup starts at 11 a.m.
Sat. May 18 - Spring Tours at TBG This event had been scheduled for April 27th originally. The first tour (1:30 – 3 p.m.) will foray into Edwards Gardens and Wilket Creek to look for invasive species and learn about their effect on local ecosystems. After a short break, there will be a second tour (3:30 – 5 p.m.), with a focus on TBG's "Nature's Garden" (plants typical of the eastern Canadian shield) and the brand new native Woodland Walk where NANPSters can assist with the planting at the end of the tour! $8 per person per tour. Meet at the main entrance to The Dembroski Centre for Horticulture, SW corner of the TBG parking lot. Rain or shine!
Sat. June 1 - Markham-Unionville Greens AGM & Native Plant Exchange Sheridan Nurseries, Heritage Room, 4077 Highway #7, Unionville; 2 - 4 p.m. Paul LaPorte, President of NANPS. Paul will cover the role of native plants in our ecosystem and food chain, how to establish a native plant garden, and NANPS's education, conservation, and cultivation activities. Following the talk is a native plant and seed exchange, and then an overview of this local Green Party riding association. Free. More details on Facebook.
Sat. June 8 - NANPS Markham Civic Centre Pond/Wildflower Planting Take part in a planting of wildflowers such as butterfly milkweed, purple coneflower and pearly everlasting to help beautify and help create a beautiful pollinator and butterfly garden! Experts from NANPS will be there to help answer you native gardening questions. Other participants include staff from City of Markham Operations (Parks), TRCA, Evergreen and Rouge Park. The pond is on the south side of the building. Call Karen Boniface at 1-905-477-7000 ext 2700 for more information.
TRCA Greening Your Garden Workshops Events in Markham
Sat. May 4 - Creating a Beautiful Garden with Native Plants
Sat. May 25 - Creating Rain Gardens and Dry Riverbeds
Sat. June 15 - Rain Barrels
Before there was Laura Secord chocolates...
Opening of the Laura Secord Trail - Laura Secord Commemorative Walk
Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 - 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Lots of other events across southern Ontario can be found on the Scoop calendar.
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