Farm Notes - May 2020

Calling all artists for Art on the Farm! 
Saturday, August 15, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Arboretum


Hello, artists!

With a great deal of hope and optimism, we have opened vendor registration for our popular summer Art on the Farm event, and we invite YOU to be hopeful and optimistic with us! Interested artists will find our registration package for this year's Art on the Farm event here

Art on the Farm is held every year at the Dominion Arboretum, just behind Building 72 at the Central Experimental Farm. This year's event is scheduled for Saturday, August 15, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., RAIN or SHINE. 

Please do not send your registration fee at this time. Arrangements for payment will made when we have confirmation our event can take place. But do send your completed registration form by email to, as our ability to retrieve regular mail is extremely limited at this time.    

Email your questions to You can also leave a message at 613-230-3276, but be advised phone messages are retrieved only once per week. 

We look forward to hearing from you.  In the meantime, keep those creative juices flowing in these extraordinary times!

Membership has even more benefits!
Now you can support the Friends and local plant vendors too

We are pleased to announce the following nurseries are offering discounts to our Friends of the Farm members.
Thank you for supporting these local businesses! 

Established in 1994,  Stoneridge Gardens and Nursery  is a family-owned and operated nursery located at 1851 Galbraith Rd RR 2 in Clayton, ON (near MIddleville). Stoneridge Gardens is offering  a 10%  * discount to all FCEF members  upon presentation of a **valid  FCEF  membership card. 

Beaux Arbres Native Plants  specializes in plants native to the Ottawa Valley, and garden-worthy wildflowers from eastern North America. Beaux Arbres welcomes all current members of the Friends of the Farm to their location at  29 Ragged Chute Rd, Bristol, QC, and  is offering a 10% *discount  on Farm Sales only  upon presentation of a **valid FCEF membership card. 

Since 1987,  Whitehouse Perennials , located at  594 Rae Road in Almonte, ON, has been a destinatio
n for Ottawa-area gardeners. Whitehouse Perennials is offering a  10%  *discount on all regularly priced plant materials at their nursery location upon presentation of a **valid FCEF membership card.

*Some restrictions may apply. 

**These nurseries will honour all FCEF membership cards expiring in 2020 and beyond, as FCEF is currently not able to process membership renewals. For more details contact

Due to Covid-19, p lease call first or visit their websites as interprovincial travel restrictions for certain members may be in place.

Spring Newsletter
Now available on our website

Isabella Preston's 'Audrey' lilac in the Preston Heritage Lilac Collection at the
Ornamental Gardens

Isabella Preston Begins Work at the Farm

One hundred years ago this May, Isabella Preston began her work at the Central Experimental Farm, work that would make her famous worldwide and gain for the Farm's Horticulture Division an international reputation for excellence.

The spring issue of our newsletter ( available here) is a tribute to the life and plant-breeding brilliance of Isabella Preston. We would love to hear from you if you have anything to say about her or her flowers. Send your thoughts to

The Liberation75  campaign
1.1 million tulips honouring 1.1 million Canadians

Despite our earlier-than-usual snow melt, this spring has been sputtering. But spring bulbs are amazingly resilient, and weather forecasters are promising a warm-up soon. So, fingers crossed, the 9,000 tulips donated to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada by the Friends of the Farm should bloom in early May.

As noted in the March and April editions of Farm Notes, the Liberation75 initiative commemorates the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of the Second World War 75 years ago, thanks to the efforts of Canadian troops. The Friends are doing their part towards the national goal of planting 1.1 million Liberation75 tulips in honour of the 1.1 million Canadians who served during the Second World War.

The COVID-19 virus has changed many things in our lives and in the world. As of this writing, vehicle access is temporarily prohibited at the Arboretum, the Ornamental Gardens, and the Shelterbelt. Only walkthroughs, while respecting physical distancing, are permitted. The Canadian Tulip Festival has cancelled all live performances, programming, and public participation and are instead offering events online via their website, social media, and YouTube Channel.

We're doing our bit too, and we join the Canadian Tulip Festival organizers in asking  visitors to the tulip gardens to follow Ottawa Public Health's procedures and protocols. If you do visit the Liberation75 tulip display at the Farm, please practise physical distancing. Enjoy the tulips - but be safe, stay well, and respect the space of others.

Master Gardener Lectures
The tradition continues

Another Gardening Year behind Us
Regrettably, our May lectures have been cancelled, but please check back with us on our website or  Facebook page for information on our September lectures.

 May 5
with Candace Dressler and Rob Stuart.

May 19
with Judith Cox.

STAY TUNED! September 15  Another Gardening Year behind Us 
with Mary Shearman Reid.

STAY TUNED! September 29 
A Garden for the Birds  with Julianne Labreche.

All presentations are from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Building 72 just east of the Prince of Wales roundabout. Parking is free. Lectures can be purchased individually ($12 for FCEF members and $15 for non-members) or as a series ($50 for FCEF members or $60 for non-members). 

Register here  for one or more of our Master Gardener lectures. 

For more information email or  call 613-230-3276.

Friends Used Book Sale
(originally scheduled for  Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21)


The Friends of the Farm's annual (and wildly popular) Used Book Sale is postponed for now, but please stay tuned to our website and our Facebook page for information on new dates for this fabulous event!

Victorian Tea in the Arboretum
(originally scheduled for Saturday June 28)

 Classic Tea served under the trees at the Arboretum

Our beloved annual Victorian Tea is cancelled for 2020, but we'll be back next year for a delightful afternoon of piping hot tea served in delicate china cups alongside delicious handmade finger sandwiches, tantalizing scones, and more!

Help us make your visit better
Take the survey!

As members of the  Central Experimental Farm Advisory Council (CEFAC), the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm are helping to gather feedback about visitor experiences at the Central Experimental Farm.

CEFAC gathers and provides public input to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada about the Farm, and now the Advisory Council is carrying out an online survey* to collect information from all visitors about their experiences at and perceptions of the Farm. This information helps guide CEFAC in their activities. 

You can fill out this short survey by clicking on the following link:

*This survey was prepared by the Central Experimental Farm Advisory Council (CEFAC) to gather information on how the public uses the Farm's facilities and spaces, with the aim of better understanding what people are looking for in their visits. 

If you have any questions about the collection and use of this information, please contact us at The survey information will be used only in aggregate and not on an individual response basis. This survey is to be filled out by adults only (18 years and older).

Volunteer Spotlight  
More than 10,000 hours are donated each year

Did you know that Friends volunteers donate more than 10,000 hours every year  to support our mission and activities? Every month we feature a different volunteer on the Friends website. We invite you to read the stories of our volunteers such as  Randy Thur 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.Their efforts are greatly appreciated by the entire community, and we thank them!