October 15, 2009
By Kristen McIntyre CHT
Project and event coordinator

More than 200 members and industry professionals enjoyed great weather and even better plant material at the LO Growers’ Group Auction on Sept. 10.

Held at Somerville Nurseries’ 800 acre Loretto Farm location, sales were brisk with more than $18,000 raised through the donated plant material and related products. Proceeds from the event will benefit horticultural research and scholarships. This year also featured a silent auction with weekend getaways and wine packages as prizes. The ticket sale booth was a very popular stop throughout the day.

Each auction lot was assigned a raffle number, with all winning bids entered into a draw for a 40-inch LCD TV, generously donated by Plant Products and Nursery Supplies. Congratulations to Brian Cocks CHT for his exciting win.

Operating since 1950, Somerville Nurseries has more than 30 farms, with close to 3,000 acres in production. The production acreage is split among Christmas tree, nursery and seedling divisions. Visitors were offered early morning wagon tours of the Christmas tree production farm and walking tours of the nursery.

Georgian Lakelands Chapter board of directors manned the barbecue, serving up a delicious lunch for the hungry crowd. During lunch, presentations were made by Somerville’s own Fred Somerville, Paul Fraser and founder John Somerville. Growers’ Group chair Dave Braun and LO executive director Tony DiGiovanni thanked everyone involved, including a plaque presentation to Somerville Nurseries. Dr. Michael Brownbridge, research director of horticultural production systems at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, also addressed the audience. He highlighted the purpose and function of the centre.

The Growers’ Awards of Excellence entries were judged in the morning and the winners announced at the end of the auction. Dave Braun presented the growers with an Awards of Excellence certificate, as the 12 winning lots were auctioned off. Special appreciation goes to the dedicated members of the awards judging panel, who offered their time and expertise: Jen Llewllyn, OMAFRA, Chris Graham of Kimberley Cottage Garden, Luba Taylor of BritAli Gardens, Jim Lounsbery of Vineland Nurseries, Glen Lumis of the University of Guelph and LO’s Francesco Pacelli.

The winners will again be recognized during the Retail Garden Centre program luncheon being held at the Toronto Congress Centre on Oct. 19, in conjunction with Garden Expo.

The LO Growers Group thanks Somerville Nurseries and everyone who contributed to help make this year’s auction a great success.

2009 auction donors

Product was generously donated by the following companies: Agrium Advanced Technologies, ASB Greenworld, Best Western of Orangeville, Braun Nursery, Canadale Nurseries, Connon Nurseries/AVK Holdings, Connon Nurseries/CBV Holdings, Connon Nurseries/NVK Holdings, Gro-Bark (Ontario), Ground Covers Unlimited, Hillen Nursery, Hockley Valley Resort, Hofland Gardens, JC Bakker and Sons, JM Peeters Nurseries, JVK Ltd., Kam’s Growers Supply, Kobes Nurseries, Langendoen Nurseries, Millcroft Inn and Spa, Nursery Supplies Inc., Plant Products Co., Potters Road Nursery, Premier Horticulture, M. Putzer Hornby Nursery, Sheridan Nurseries, Somerville Nurseries, Timm Enterprises, TradeWinds International Sales, Verbinnen’s Nursery, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Willowbrook Nurseries and Winkelmolen Nursery.      

Growers Award Winners, 2009

Category Plants Company
Category 1: Evergreens - Field Grown Upright and Spreading Picea glauca Sheridan Nurseries
Category 2: Evergreens - Container Grown Upright and Spreading Evergreens Willowbrook Nurseries
Category 3: Broadleaf Evergreens Broadleaf Evergreens Willowbrook Nurseries
Category 4: Deciduous Shrubs Deciduous Shrubs Langendoen Nurseries
Category 5: Deciduous Ornamental Trees 300 Cm Or Less   Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’ Winkelmolen Nurseries
Category 6: Deciduous Ornamental Trees Top Grafted/Worked Salix x Hakuro Nishiki Std and Cotoneaster praecox Std Winkelmolen Nurseries
Category 7: Caliper Trees Acer campestre Braun Nursery
Category 8: Vines and Groundcovers Polystichum acrostichoides Ground Covers Unlimited
Category 9: Perennials Perennials Connon Nurseries NVK
Category 10: Unusual and Rare Plants Ginkgo biloba ‘Mariken’ Winkelmolen Nurseries
Category 11: Design on a Skid Display of Assorted Material Willowbrook Nurseries
Judges’ Choice Maclura pomifera Connon Nurseries NVK

Kristen McIntyre may be contacted at kristenm@landscapeontario.com.

Caption: Growers’ Group co-chairman Dave Braun, left, presents the certificates for the best perennials and judges’ choice award to John Moons of Connon Nurseries NVK.