Farm Notes - April 2017

Spring Newsletter 2017
Available on our website or by mail

Our Spring 2017 issue of the Friends of the Farm newsletter is now available on the Friends' website. Hard copies will soon be delivered to those who indicated on their membership form they wish to receive them by mail (another great reason to become a member).

Did you know that spring in the Arboretum can last for almost two months? That's  how long it can take all the trees and shrubs to sprout leaves.  Zoe Panchen describes her findings on leaf out.  Roman Popadiouk writes about some of the lessons that can be learned from the historic collection  of hedges at the Farm. This collection is part of the Sir John Carling site for the new Civic Hospital (photo). 

Concerns of the Friends of the Farm about the hospital decision are outlined in letters from President  Judy Dodds  to Minister  Catherine McKenna and to the  NCC , reprinted in the newsletter.

Why do we have an Arboretum?  Eric Jones  looks at what trees have to do with farming, and why trees and crops in the fields exist side by side at the Farm. Also in the newsletter,  Blaine Marchand  describes a joint project of the Friends of the Farm and the Ottawa Horticultural Society to celebrate remarkable achievements at the Farm, and we learn about the active life of  volunteer   Yvonne Ackerman .

Volunteers for Gardens and Events
Saturday April 8 at 9:30am

Help us make a difference! It's time to think about the glorious days of spring and getting out into the garden. What better way to enjoy nature, fresh air, exercise, plant life and contribute to the beauty of the Farm than to join one of the Friends' Garden Teams (such as the Perennial Team in the photo). Go to our Volunteer activities page for more info on garden team days, times and tasks. 

For those interested in volunteering for gardens and events, join us for a free Volunteer Recruitment Orientation  on Saturday April 8 at 9:30am in Bldg 72 on the Arboretum. For those who are unable to attend the orientation, download and complete our enrollment and waiver Volunteer form then mail it directly to our office.

The Friends are also firing up their 2017 Event schedule. If you have the time and are able to help, we would greatly appreciate any assistance you can give with these event activities. W e are specifically looking for an Event Coordinator for this year's 'Art on the Farm' taking place Saturday, August 12.  Please contact us at for more event information. 

2017 Annual General Meeting
NEW DATE - Wednesday April 19  from 7pm to 9pm
This year's Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday April 19 from 7pm to 9pm. The decision to move the AGM from September to April was taken last fall by the board of directors.  The AGM will begin with a short business meeting followed by a guest speaker and refreshments. The meeting and presentation will take place in the K.W. Neatby Building at 960 Carling Avenue and Maple Drive on the Central Experimental Farm. Free parking is available in the lot east of the building.

Our speaker will be Richard Hinchcliff, whose topic is "Bloomers are the Craze: Images of the Farm's Gardens." Richard is the author of Blooms, the new book about the Ornamental Gardens. He will introduce us to some of the images of the Farm and the making of those images over the course of 130 years. Blooms will be available for purchase along with For the Love of Trees, Ottawa's Farm, and a new selection of Farm photo cards.  To register for this free event, email or call 613-230-3276.

Master Gardener Lectures
The tradition continues

Every year the Friends partner with the Master Gardeners of Ottawa Carleton to offer timely and informative presentations. This year's Tuesday night lectures include:

 with Laura Moses 

with Julianne Labreche (photo)

All presentations are from 7pm to 9pm in Building 72 just east of the Prince of Wales roundabout with free parking. Lectures can be purchased individually $12 members and $15 non-members or as a series: $40 Member or $50 Non-Member. For more information call 613-230-3276 or email

GET YOUR RAIN BARREL and start watering with nature! This rain barrel sale benefits Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton and will be held at Green Thumb Garden Centre, 17 Tristan Court, Nepean, on Sunday April 30 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Contact or 613-236-0034 for location specific questions. Go to Rain Barrel Fundraising for online info. 

Guided Tree Tour of the Arboretum
Explore this urban gem with tour leaders

Sunday May 7 - Flowering trees: blossoms and pollination. 

The tour will focus on showy tree flowers like the magnolias but there is much to learn about all trees in bloom. Some trees are male, some female, but most are both! Climate change is also affecting the flowering and leafing-out of trees. The flowers and pollination are the key to their survival. Come and enjoy the colour as you learn about the trees.

The tour leaders are Robert Glendinning and Zoe Panchen. The tour will start at 2pm by Building 72 in the Arboretum. 

Although the tours are free and open to the public, please register in advance at or call 613-230-3276. Donations to the Friends of the Farm will be kindly accepted during the tour. Visit Arboretum Tree Tours for more information.

Mark your calendars! Upcoming Tree Tours include:
May 28 - Tree Leaves of Canada with tour l eaders Zoe Panchen and Eric Jones
June 11 - Insect Tree Tour with tour l eaders Christian Schmidt, Henri Goule t

Friends' Plant Sale
Sunday May 14 from 9am to 1pm

Get everything you need for your garden at the spectacular Friends' Plant Sale . New and returning specialty growers and nursery vendors offer hundreds of beautiful plants all in one location! Master Gardeners are on hand to answer any gardening questions. 

Don't miss the Garden Accessory vendors and the Plant Coat Check service under the Friends' canopy. Keep your hands free by dropping off your plants at the canopy and when you're done shopping, our volunteers help carry the new treasures to your vehicle. 

The sale is located in the K.W. Neatby Building  parking lot  at Maple and Carling Ave. Free admission and parking with donations to Friends of the Farm always kindly appreciated. Refreshments with Bridgehead donated coffee and delicious baked goods will keep you nourished while shopping. 

See you at the Friends' Plant Sale!

Lilac Walk Garden Tour
Sunday May 20 at 2pm

Join Friends of the Farm Lilac Team for a free guided tour of over 200 lilac varieties in the Lilac Walk of the CEF Ornamental Gardens.

Did you know that lilacs, native to the European Balkans, were carried along the spice route and the history of lilacs traces the first collection to the Austrian court in 1563?

Meet at the Macoun Garden, park in the lot at  Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (Pay and Display) off Prince of Wales and follow the signs. Donations are always kindly appreciated during the tour.

June Blooms - Strolling Through Garden History
Garden Tours and Blooms on June 10 from 10am to 2pm

A gem in the heart of Canada's Capital, the Central Experimental Farm's Ornamental Gardens have enchanted visitors for more than a century. As a tribute to Canada's 150th anniversary, the Friends of the Farm invite you to join them in the gardens of this National Historic Site. 

On Saturday June 10, from 10am to 2pm, June Blooms offers free guided tours of the spectacular CEF Ornamental Gardens including these exquisite gardens: Peony, Preston Lilac, Heritage Rose, Explorer Rose, Macoun Memorial Garden, Rock Garden, Perennial and Annual Gardens, and Iris and Daylily Gardens.

In addition to the garden tours, the Friends of the Farm new book, Blooms: An Illustrated History of the Ornamental Gardens at Ottawa's Central Experimental Farm, will be available for purchase. Author Richard Hinchcliff will be on site to sign copies. Other Friends' book publications will be available, as well as new photo cards selected from the Blooms book (photo). Although there is no charge for the tours, donations are always kindly appreciated.

More Blooms events:
May 15 at 7pm Russell & District Horticultural Society - Richard will present the History of Horticulture at the Central Experime ntal Farm ( Blooms available)

May 20 from 11am to 3pm at Chapters South Keys - Richard will be signing Blooms books  

May 27 from 11am to 3pm at  Lee Valley Ottawa - Richard will be signing Blooms books

June 6 at 7:30pm - Kanata-March Horticultural Society - Richard will present Photographing the Central Experimental Farm ( Blooms available)

OHS-Friends Joint Project
Celebrating two anniversaries on the Farm June 10

This year marks a double anniversary: Canada's 150th since Confederation and the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Ottawa Horticultural Society (OHS). To celebrate these, the OHS proposed to the Friends that together both organizations undertake a commemorative project with two components in the Ornamental Gardens at the Farm. Read the full story on page 10 of our Spring Newsletter.  

Research and Beauty: Hybridization and the CEF will be celebrated on June 10 in the Ornamental Gardens with information plaques permanently installed in the pergola. Each plaque details the important work done by Isabella Preston (lilacs), A.P. (Percy) Saunders (peonies) and Dr. Felicitas Svejda (Explorer Roses). QR codes allow visitors with smartphones to access more information on the Farm's illustrious history of hybridization in Canada

Perennial Favourites: Macoun Memorial Garden is a two year project with plantings of historical perennials in the Macoun Memorial Garden. Opened in 1936, the garden honours William T. Macoun, Dominion Horticulturist (1910-1933) and OHS president (1899) on the site of his former house. Using historical records, perennials favoured by Macoun will be planted in the northeast and northwest entrance to the garden close to the Driveway. In 2017 an array of annuals with a colour scheme preferred by Macoun will be planted while the perennial plant discovery process is underway.

Volunteer Spotlight      
Over 10,000 hours donated each year

Did you know that Friends' volunteers donate over 10,000 hours every year  to support its mission and activities? Every month a different volunteer is highlighted on the Friends website. We invite you to share the stories of our tireless volunteers such as  Valerie Gourlay our Volunteer of the Month.  Previous spotlights are also listed. Each volunteer has an interesting story to tell and a unique connection and commitment to the Farm. Your efforts are greatly appreciated by the entire community!

Canada 150 Lectures at the CEF
Free monthly lectures by ORDC scientists 

T he  Ottawa Research and Development Centre  (ORDC)  is celebrating Canada 150 with a  free monthly lecture series. The ORDC was formerly known as the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre (ECORC) on the Central Experimental Farm. 

Here are the ORDC Canada 150 lecture listings so far starting in April.

The public is invited to attend the free lectures at  K.W. Neatby Building , Salons A/B,  starting at  7:00pm.  Each lecture is about 45 minutes with a question/answer period following the presentation.

Free parking is available in the lot beside and spaces around the building. For more information please contact Christine.Poirier@AGR.GC.CA