Master gardeners provide expertise during Shaw Garden Tour

The Shaw Guild’s annual Garden Tour is a way for guests to take in some of the gardens in town— and gain some new knowledge on horticulture.

Thanks to certified trained gardeners — known as master gardeners among horticulturists — at every stop on the self-guided tour, guests could learn about each species on display and receive answers for general gardening inquiries.

Becoming a master gardener takes a bit more than just knowing about gardening, though.

Marie-Claire Groulx, the master gardener at 158 Prideaux St., said that to get her certification, she had to complete a program at the University of Guelph.

At Guelph, certification requires completing three courses along with a required number of volunteer hours.

During the garden tour, Groulx’s role included identifying the 20 plants of interest at the property and answering any questions guests had.

“What I really enjoy about this property is the natural architectural display of mother nature in the structures of the plants,” Groulx told The Lake Report.

Groulx’s expertise inspired Debbie Charlton, a hobby gardener visiting from Keswick.

When Charlton heard about the master gardener certification process, she and Groulx chatted about how she could get involved.

“My first encounter with gardening was growing up in Toronto, we had Italian neighbours and their garden was just spectacular,” Charlton said during an interview.

Nowadays, her focus is more on native plants and finding out more about native wildlife— the animals and insects that she can cultivate, which is where certification will come in handy.

At 380 Johnson St., homeowner Ian Reece worked closely alongside master gardener Linda Wade to identify the best of the plants in his garden.

“(The master gardeners) did it all, really," Reece said. "They came in a couple of months ago."

"I keep all of my plants on an Excel spreadsheet so I gave them that version of all the stuff here and they had that to work with."

He added that he keeps all of his plants logged by their Latin names, so that made things slightly more difficult.

People stopped the master gardeners multiple times during The Lake Report’s visit, asking about the upkeep of certain plants and taking a big interest in some of the more eye-catching features of the garden.

“We had to choose only 20 things to put a little sign next to. It was a hard choice,” Reece said.

Other stops along Saturday’s tour included 135 Centre St., 210 Centre St., 343 Regent St. and 112 Delater St. in Old Town and 56 Princess St. and 14956 Niagara Pkwy. in Queenston.

juliasacco@niagaranow.com

Julia Sacco, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report