Crown Point Garden Club

Growing in East Hamilton

Natalie Page receives ‘Heart Award’ 2020

What happens when you combine a healthy bank account, a social conscience, and a bunch of people who love gardening? You get the Crown Point Garden Club Heart Award—a bursary for students of horticulture in Hamilton. A service organization in the east Hamilton neighbourhood of Crown Point, the garden club came together in 2014 with a community-focused mandate. “We’re activists with a gardening problem” quips founding member Bev Wagar. In that spirit, surplus from the club’s successful annual “Garden Day” event was dedicated to the cause.

Course instructor Sean James with 2020 Award Recipient Natalie Page

The club set up a Bursary Committee and Chair Jordan Sullivan researched local horticulture and landscaping programs. He discovered “City School” by Mohawk College and its unique approach to education. City School actively recruited students through employment agencies, finding people who would not qualify for a conventional college program but who still were looking for skills. The school offers a range of courses, free of charge, at mobile classrooms located throughout the city. Subjects include Manufacturing, Ship Building, Early Childhood Education, Personal Support Worker—and Start: Horticulture. It was just what the club was looking for. Gardening could help a person find a vocation.

City School’s “Start: Horticulture” program is ultra-condensed. Instructor Sean James presents a full curriculum of theory and practice that gets students employment-ready in less than a year. Sean, a Milton-based designer, landscaper, educator, and advocate for ecologically-informed gardening, expected to work with three classes per year.

Natalie Page with award. From left: Bev Wagar, Natalie Page, Jordan Sullivan, Christina Babcock.

As Jordan worked out the details with instructor Sean and staff from the Mohawk College Foundation, it became clear that, for an aspiring landscaper, academic excellence would not be the most meaningful criteria. So the Crown Point Garden Club’s bursary became the “Heart Award.” The eligible horticulture students were all unemployed and keen on learning a trade. Awarding tools instead of money was a way to get one of them started on their career…and the recipient would be chosen by the instructor, based on class contribution and involvement.

But COVID-19 had other plans, abruptly shutting down not only the mobile classroom but all outdoor classes and trips. Despite the challenges of social distancing and the sudden dependence on Internet technology, the first class graduated in August 2020.

Sean credits student Natalie Page with pulling the class together during the crisis. Said Sean: “Natalie Page, from our first cohort, has been amazing throughout… Natalie went above and beyond the call, scholastically, but more importantly, with supporting and networking the entire group.” Natalie had set up a Facebook page for the class where ideas, observation and support could be shared. Her online involvement “took the whole class to the next level” according to Sean. Natalie became the first recipient of the Crown Point Garden Club’s Heart Award.

Natalie recalls being devastated when the pandemic put an end to their field work outdoors. She found a way to “practice” at home by expanding and building new garden beds—which had the added benefit of hooking her husband on the joys of growing food. For her final project Natalie designed a garden for a cottage that her husband and father-in-law are building.

Natalie’s bursary was a pair of must-have tools for every aspiring landscaper: Felco secateurs and a quality pruning saw. They will come in handy next year when she and her husband buy property “up north”. Their goal is to start a business teaching about permaculture gardening to help people with food security, to sell their excess produce and preserves, and to both use and promote sustainable energy options.

The Crown Point Garden Club would like to continue presenting Heart Awards, one for each graduating class of City School’s Start: Horticulture program. Arranging an annual donation with the Mohawk College Foundation should simplify the process going forward. The club also hopes to provide learning and mentorship opportunities. “We always welcome volunteers at the public gardens we maintain” says Bev Wagar. “It’s a great way for horticulture students to learn about uncommon plants and challenging sites.”

Looking back, Jordan Sullivan thinks the bursary project turned out “better than we envisioned. We ventured out of the neighbourhood with the Heart Award. The journey’s been bumpy, but very worthwhile.”

Sept. 15 work party at DePave

Mark your calendars for Saturday September 15 (2018) for a hour or so of weeding, planting, and trash pickup at the DePave Garden. Meet at 3:00 pm at the garden (corner of Kenilworth and Britannia). Dress for mess, wear gloves, closed-toe shoes, and bring tools.

Walking Tour of Crown Point Public Gardens

In celebration of National Garden Days the Crown Point Garden Club will host a walking tour of the public gardens it maintains. Mark your calendars for the evening of Tuesday June 19. The free, 1.5 km tour starts at 6:30 p.m. sharp. Meet at the trailhead of the Pipeline Trail, behind the Dairy Queen at the corner of Main and Ottawa. Route details are below

All are welcome. Feel free to meet the tour at any point on the route.

The route:
– east on the trail to the Pollinator garden and Triangle Garden.
– left/north at Park Row to the Park Row Boulevard pollinator patches
– possible side trip to Cunningham parkette, site of future garden
– east on Cannon to Kenilworth to the DePave Garden at corner of Britannia and Kenilworth
– social gathering to follow. Manacala? Merk?

Questions? Send us an email via the online form on the contact page:

TreeMobile set for 2018

The 2018 TreeMobile program is underway. TreeMobile is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization that makes perennial food plants, mostly fruit trees, available (at excellent prices) to people in and around the GTA. The TreeMobile web site has comprehensive information on tree planting and care, although the species information is sometimes sketchy.

Orders can be made online and the closest pick-up location to Hamilton is Guelph, on May 12 only. We may be organizing a collective pickup if several club members order. Stay tuned for details– we’ll try to find a coordinator/driver.

Here’s the web site:

New web site is up and running

We’ve moved the club web site off and set up a self-hosted wordpress site/blog on our own domain (opens in new tab). Please update your bookmarks and subscriptions. In a few weeks we’ll be replacing the content on this site with links to the new site.

We are also moving the mailing list to Sendpress so if you receive our emails you’ll notice some changes, including an opt-in link, so we’re completely compliant with Canada’s anti-spam legislation.

There are several reasons for the move. As site visits increase, is starting to deliver advertising to our site. We don’t want that. As well, the dot com setup limits what we can do with widgets and plugins. For example, we can’t run Sendpress without a self-hosted installation. We can also do nifty things with polls, calendars and photo galleries.

RBG spring 2018 courses for gardeners

Posting this to make it easier for our members and followers to learn about the RBG’s course offerings this spring.
RBG logo Royal Botanical Gardens has wonderful programs coming up for the gardener. Register online at or call 905-527-1158 ext. 270.

PERENNIAL PLANT COMMUNITIES “The Know Maintenance Approach”

Friday, March 2; 7 to 8:30 p.m. at RBG Centre
Fee: $18; Members: $6

Roy Diblik’s thoughtful way to design perennial plantings welcomes fresh contemporary styles and plant diversity integrated with responsible maintenance methods. By using a selection of regionally dependable perennials and native plants, endless natural plant patterns can be constructed, each respecting time and cost to maintain. Roy discusses the developing partnership between the gardener, plants and nature, always knowing that the beauty is in the doing.


Friday, May 4; 7 to 8:30 p.m. at RBG Centre.
Fee: $18; Members: $6

Expanding beyond standard garden crops like tomatoes, spinach, and string beans can be intimidating for some vegetable gardeners. Join bestselling author, Niki Jabbour, to shake up your garden and discover unexpected flavours and textures in husk cherries, amaranth greens and yard-long beans (to name a few). Niki outlines dozens of plants for you to consider for your garden.


Wednesday, March 21; 7 to 9 p.m. at RBG Centre.
Fee: $35 (Members 10% off)

We often look at our garden design with only plants in mind. Hardscaping can be as important but is often given little thought. Ben Bushmuller, certified horticulturist, points out various materials to use, what is involved in the installation and why it will enhance your garden design., 905-527-1158, ext. 404. Weather updates are posted before program start time and in the event of weather postponement or cancellation, participants are notified via email at the time of posting.


Tuesdays, February 27 to March 6; 7 to 9 p.m. at RBG Centre.
Fee: $60 (Members 10% off)

Join Andrea Weddum, certified horticulturist, in this two-part program to help enhance your gardens. She teaches basic techniques in design to help with colour, form, lines, scale and textures. She provides assistance with your garden plans that work with your style and property. Get a jump on the gardening season.


Mondays, March 19 to 26; 7 to 9 p.m. at RBG Centre.
Fee: $60 (Members 10% off)

No two gardens are alike and some are shady. This can create challenges but with the right plants and knowhow, a shade garden can be a lush thriving oasis. Andrea Weddum, certified horticulturist, introduces plants, design concepts and one-on-one assistance so your garden can be transformed this spring.


Saturday, March 24; 2 to 4 p.m. at RBG Centre.
Fee: $50 (Members 10% off)

Heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated, non-hybrid cultivars that often have the best flavour. Linda Crago from Tree & Twig Farms provides all you need to know to grow the best heirloom tomatoes. Participants sow their own tomatoes seeds to germinate and plant in their own gardens.


Thursday, April 5; 7 to 9 p.m. at RBG Centre.
Fee: $35 (Members 10% off)

Lawns do require a lot of maintenance and Ben Buchmuller, certified horticulturist, points out a sustainable way of keeping your lawns healthy. Often grass is an important part of our garden designs and the maintenance can be daunting. A healthy lawn doesn’t mean lots of fertilizer and a chemical routine.


Tuesday, April 10; 7 to 9 p.m. at RBG Centre.
Fee: $35 (Members 10% off)

Tara Nolan, award-winning author of Raised Bed Revolution, discusses the fastest growing strategy for gardening — in containers. Tara reviews types of containers, materials to use and how to utilize a small space with maximum results. She showcases her lettuce table, suitcase planter and many other ideas that suit anyone with limited space. Enhance your gardening techniques.


Saturday, April 14; 2 to 3:30 p.m. at RBG Centre.
Fee: $40 (Members 10% off)

A standard grown plant is a single straight trunk topped with a round or weeping mass of foliage. Chris Tarrant, plant propagation and production manager at RBG, demonstrates the pruning process and care. Each participant has their own plant (a Fuchsias approximately 18″ tall and in a 6″ pot) to set up as a standard, and goes home with another rooted cutting to create a standard on their own.

Seedy Saturday 2018

This year’s Seedy Saturday was held on the mountain at St. Marguerite d’Youville School. It was great to see the “regulars” from Hawthorn Farm Organic Seeds and Urban Harvest and Anything Grows. Some new faces this year: Anita from Annelid Cycle and Alyson at Cottage Botanicals. Matchbox Seeds was back but I don’t recall seeing Hope Seeds in the past.
Our little table for the Crown Point Garden Club had lots of visitors. It was great to meet some of our Facebook friends in person. We sold out completely–all the Acti-sol, PGX seed starting mix, and Bee Friendly fertilizer. Proceeds go to supporting the community work of the club.

Here’s a shot of Fran and Bev on duty. More photos to come…

Roses 101

Roses! The quintessential beauty of the garden. We love them, but sometimes we struggle with them. But they don’t have to be difficult or finicky. Learn how to choose, site, plant, and care for roses. Good choices and improved knowledge will result in a long-lived, robust and, of course, gorgeous display in your garden.

On Wednesday November 22 our special guest speaker is Elizabeth Schleicher from the Hamilton & Burlington Rose Society. Elizabeth will talk about growing roses. Elizabeth is an accredited judge of horticulture and design. Her passion for roses inspired her to become an accredited Canadian Rose Society rose judge.

She is past president of the Canadian Rose Society and her local club, the Hamilton and Burlington Rose Society.

Currently Elizabeth is Flower Show chair for Burlington Horticultural Society and Secretary for Garden Clubs of Ontario, Judges’ Council. She also is an active member in numerous other societies.

In her free time she enjoys the hobbies of photography, gardening, travel and jewellery crafts.

All are welcome to attend this presentation. There is no charge but there will be a donation box at the door if you’d like to support the work of the club.

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