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(2) The placing in our libraries of books dealing with the beautiful in nature, homes and gardens as seen in flowers and fruit.
In these directions a beginning has been made with good results. The problem of the eradication of weeds on vacant lots, and the control and beautifying of vacant corner lots is also receiving attention.
GALT SOCIETY: A. G. Elmslie, Secretary.
We held a School Competition this year at which there were a large number of entries, and we intend continuing on the same lines next year. The following were the conditions:
Section 1. (a) That all competitors be required to plant and cultivate a plot of ground equal to one hundred square feet, preferably ten by ten.
(b) That the Galt Horticultural Society provide them with two kinds of flower seeds and two kinds of vegetable seeds, to be grown by them in rows.
(c) That each competitor is required to exhibit two or more of his or her products at the Society's show, to be held on the 6th and 7th of September next, when each will have another chance of a prize in section three.
(d) That competition be confined to scholars in Third and Fourth Books.
(e) That eight prizes be offered to each school separately, ranging from $2 to 25c. Section 2.-That a prize be offered to each school for competitors in the above only for the best essay on "How I Grew my Plot." There must be more than one competitor. Section 3.-Any scholar not competing in section 1 may obtain from the Society either two packages of flower seeds or two packages of vegetable seeds, to be sown and tended to by themselves, and some of their products must be exhibited at the Horticul tural Show in competitions for prizes.
The essays were not numerous but fairly good. Our annual show turned out to be the best that we ever held, notwithstanding the dry season-we all made an extra effort, and that brought out a number of plants of rare beauty also a great variety of flowers.
ELMIRA SOCIETY: C. P. Ruppel, Secretary.
After canvassing last spring we succeeded in increasing our membership from 64 to 74 members. We put in a beautiful flower bed at the Gore Park and also distributed 300 packages of Aster and Sweet Pea seeds among the school children. Mr. Hunt of the O.A.C. gave us a very interesting lecture last spring on Floriculture with illustrated slides. The flower loving people turned out in good numbers to hear this lecture. Elmira is one of the best of the smaller towns in Ontario when it comes to flowers for the home, the garden and well kept lawns. With our beautiful homes of which 98 per cent. are built of fine brick, we are indeed an inviting place to come and to live in.
At our annual flower show there were over 400 entries, and the plants were excellent specimens, while the exhibits of flowers were also fine. The good work in Horticulture is always kept up here by our citizens.
BERLIN SOCIETY: George De Kleinhans, Secretary.
The work of the Berlin Horticultural Society during the past year has largely been a matter of breaking ground, as this is our first year. The Society was organized in the early part of January, 1911, and at the present date we have in the neighbourhood of three hundred members. We gave to each of the members this year as a premium, their choice of shrubs, bulbs or the Canadian Horticulturist for one year, the premium being worth fifty cents a piece.
We had two or three public meetings at which we had speakers of prominence to talk on the different branches of Horticulture. We wrote all the manufacturers seeking their co-operation in beautifying our town. We also took the matter up with the Grand Trunk Railway Company of having the depot and its surroundings made as presentable as possible. We placed flower-beds in front of the Childrens' Orphanage. We also had an out-door competition open to all and gave prizes totaling $80.00, for the best kept lawns, boulevards, flower beds, and window boxes, and divided this competition so as to make two classes, of those who hire the work done, and those who do it themselves.
We had an Exhibition about the middle of September where we gave prizes for flowers, plants, fruit and vegetables. This Exhibition for the first here was considered very successful. We paid out in prize money, about $225.00. We expect our membership to be largely increased during the new year and we are trying to follow up in a larger degree the lines of work already in hand.
REPORT FROM DISTRICT NO. 7.
W. W. GAMMAGE, LONDON.
I was not able to visit any of the Societies in this district during the year just ended, but from reports received from the Secretaries there appears to be a spirit of enthusiasm prevailing throughout the whole district.
Civic improvement appears to specially appeal to nearly every one of the Societies and has been given a great deal of attention. Several of them are making a practical demonstration by devoting a good share of their funds to the planting and care of shrubs, plants and bulbs, in public squares, boulevards, parks and grounds surrounding municipal buildings.
The spirit of friendly rivalry is ever on the increase. Exhibitions owe much of their success to this, nor is the effect of this friendly rivalry confined to exhibitions, as civic improvement where Horticultural Societies are established, becomes so apparent that others are stirred up to do likewise.
AMHERSTBURG. This Society planted in various parts of the town twenty beds of Tulips (the beds being otherwise planted in summer.) The bulbs are all of superior quality and are considered the best ever imported into Canada. There were also set out eighteen beds of shrubs by the Society, and a number by private citizens as a direct outcome of its influence. The membership is 115 and every member receives a substantial premium in plants, and shrubs, and bulbs, which would cost from $1.75 to $2.00 at retail.
WALKERVILLE. The progress of this Society is all that could be desired, the membership increasing year by year. Members are provided with a liberal premium, having an option of a large number of varieties, also the Canadian Horticulturist as a magazine. Flower beds were planted in prominent places around the town, which were highly appreciated by visitors. Some 5,000 Tulips and 1,000 Hyacinths were planted this fall. The membership is 251.
ST. THOMAS. This Society had a most successful year and a large amount of aggressive work was undertaken that brought the Society prominently before the public. Fourteen fine flower beds were planted on a centre boulevard at a cost of
$80.00, prizes were offered for lawns, large and small, vegetable gardens, old fashioned flower gardens, rose gardens, verandah decorations and home improvements. The competition was keen and the result a revelation of the possibilities when the surroundings are limited.
Lectures on Birds and Trees were largely attended. Flower beds have been planted with bulbs, and a distribution of 3,000 made to members as a fall premium together with the Canadian Horticulturist, and a choice of shrubs in the spring, the slogan "A Broader Outlook on The City beautiful" will do much to encourage the work and efforts of the Society.
TILLSONBURG. The work of this Society has been in the way of generally beautifying the town by planting flower-beds in suitable places, placing window boxes on public buildings, and planting in the park and keeping the same in order, a distribution of flower seed to public school children and an exhibition of the results for which cash prizes were given. A largely attended flower show was held, which drew favourable comment from the judge, Mr. Wm. Hunt. of the O.A.C. $70.00 were paid in prizes.
MITCHELL. An undertaking is now on foot to beautify the river front, which will cost several hundred dollars, the members were well supplied with plants and literature; prospects are bright for 1912.
LONDON. The eleventh annual report of this Society shows a progressive year. Strong working committees were appointed early in the year, whose duty it was to look after membership and premiums, lawn and school gardens, flower shows, educational and press work.
Through the generosity of the Hon. Adam Beck the Society was able to offer prizes for garden competition amounting to $400.00. With this amount a comprehensive competition was participated in by a large number, of which sixty-one were awarded cash prizes and twelve prizes in the fall previous, and a year's membership in the Society.
During the year lectures were given and flower shows were held. Several thousand packets of seed were sold to school children at less than cost and several thousand bulbs and shrubs planted in the grounds surrounding charitable institutions.
Members were given a spring premium of selected seed, and a fall premium of over 50 bulbs each, together with the Canadian Horticulturist and Garden Almanac.
MITCHELL SOCIETY: A. J. Blowes, Secretary.
We have kept the grounds around the Carnegie Library in flowers, which are a credit, also we contemplate making a cement dam below the mill gates, with the town's assistance, and thus form a beautiful sheet of water, in this to build an island for flowers and have a sidewalk alongside of it, with seats for the public. We give each member a copy of the "Canadian Horticulturist," and the beautiful flower gardens, and windows of the homes testify to the education the people have been receiving. We gave in bulbs and flowers this year $110.00 to the members.
STRATFORD SOCIETY: George Westman, Secretary.
The work undertaken by our Society this year differed slightly from that of former years, in that we devoted our energy and money towards the making of nine flower beds in various parts of the city, picking out prominent spots or gores owned by the city. This work appeared to be appreciated.
The flower beds thus planted by our Society did fairly well although no preparation had been made for them one year ago. Next year they should be much
better as we will have them in condition this fall.
We also distributed bulbs among the members of our Society last spring. Our Society also has been working in conjunction with our Park Commission with a view to advising or assisting them in their work.
We also had Professor Knechtel of the Forestry Department here for a meeting last March. His address and views on Canadian Forestry and kindred subjects were very much appreciated.
GEO. VICKERS: The prize list of the Barrie Society last year was $700. We gave prizes for constructing boulevards, as well, and we are influencing the council to commence a park system. We are also getting our council to light the streets with cluster lights. If you visit Barrie you will find some of the finest flowers in the Province grown there, not even excepting Toronto. That is the reason why our town has been called "Beautiful Barrie."
THE BEST SPIRAEAS.
W. T. MACOUN, C.E.F., OTTAWA.
It may be safely said, I think, that if the average person interested in plants. were asked to name the best Spiraeas he would immediately think of Spiraea Van Houttei among shrubs, and the so-called Spiræa japonica among herbaceous plants. We fear that with many persons their knowledge of Spiraeas is limited to these two plants, and one of them is not a true Spiræa, but belongs to the genus Astilbe. If this view is the correct one a paper on Spiræas should prove of value as introducing to lovers of flowers throughout Canada some of the many beautiful hardy species which can now be readily obtained.
In a comparatiely recent edition of the Guide to the Royal Gardens, Kew, there are recorded 63 species of woody or shrubby Spiraeas, and 28 varieties or nearly one hundred distinct sorts. Of the 63 species, 22 are hybrids or of garden origin. Of the 41 which appear to be natural species, 10 are of American, 6 of European, and 25 of Asiatic origin.
At the Central Experimental Farm there have been tested nearly 100 shrubby species and varieties. As most of the Spiræas are natives of the North temperate zone and a large proportion of them natives of the colder parts of it, it is not surprising that there should be many which are hardy or nearly so.
The woody Spiraeas may be divided into two main groups namely, those which bloom during the spring and those which bloom in the summer. The Spiraeas in the former group, so far as we are aware, all have white flowers, while those which bloom in summer are either white or pink or rose. Those which bloom in the spring are as a whole, much more graceful and beautiful than those which bloom later on. The summer flowering sorts have the advantage of having a long blooming season. some of them flowering from June until autumn.
While there is a very large number of species and varieties it is not difficult to select the best dozen, and of these dozen Spiraea Van Houttei and Spiraea arguta are undoubtedly the two best.
Spiraea Van Houttei is a hybrid species of garden origin, a cross between Spiraea cantoniensis and S. trilobata. It is the latter species that gives to S. Van